They sought and found undying fame: They toiled not for reward nor thanks: Their cheeks are hot with honest shame For you, the modern mountebanks!
Who preach of Justice--plead with tears That Love and Mercy should abound - While marking with complacent ears The moaning of some tortured hound:
Who prate of Wisdom--nay, forbear, Lest Wisdom turn on you in wrath, Trampling, with heel that will not spare, The vermin that beset her path!
Go, throng each other's drawing-rooms, Ye idols of a petty clique: Strut your brief hour in borrowed plumes, And make your penny-trumpets squeak.
Deck your dull talk with pilfered shreds Of learning from a nobler time, And oil each other's little heads With mutual Flattery's golden slime:
And when the topmost height ye gain, And stand in Glory's ether clear, And grasp the prize of all your pain - So many hundred pounds a year -
Then let Fame's banner be unfurled! Sing Paeans for a victory won! Ye tapers, that would light the world, And cast a shadow on the Sun -
Who still shall pour His rays sublime, One crystal flood, from East to West, When YE have burned your little time And feebly flickered into rest!