GOOD Heaven! whatever shall I do ?
I must write something for my readers:
What has become of my ideas ?
Now, out upon them for seceders!
Of all the places in the world,
To fix upon a port in China;
Celestial empire, how I wish
I had been christened Celestina !
The wish however's served for rhyme,
But here again invention falters :
Had it but been a town in Greece;
I might have raved about its altars,
And talked of liberty and mass,
Of tyrants and Romaic dances,
Of Athens with a German king,
And fifty thousand other chances :
Or had it only been in Spain;
A few night-stars the midnight gemming,
And a guitar, I might have scribbled
The rest from Contarini Flemming :
Or Italy, the land of song;
Of myrtle, pictures, and of passion—
Ah ! that was for mine earlier lute,
I write now in another fashion :
Or France, which, like an invalid,
Goes patching up a constitution;
Those three most glorious days in June,
Might have lain under contribution :
Or had it only been Madeira;
I might have made a charming fiction,
Of some young maiden crossed in love,
And dying of the contradiction.
I’m like a sailor sent to sea,
Sent with “no, nothing” for his sea-hoard ;
What on earth can I find to say,
Of a pagoda, or a tea-board?
No love, no murder, no description,
Their only “old association”
Is with the willow-pattern plates,
That on the dresser have their station.
I give it up in pure despair;
But well the muse may turn refractory,
When all her inspiration is—
A Chinese Town, and an English Factory.
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