The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #2530117
Posted By: Amos
02-Jan-09 - 08:22 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Let it not be said that we, who strive for excellence in the house of MOAB, are poorly descended or in any way wanting in the Merits of our Forebears. In evidence of which, I append hereunto the words on this topic by none other than B. Franklyn, Printer and Almanack Maker of Philadelphia.

"In the next Place, I lay it down as a certain Maxim or Position, that an Almanack-Writer shou'd not be a finish'd Poet, but a Piece of one, and qualify'd to write, what we vulgarly call Doggerel; and that his Poetry shou'd bear a near Resemblance to his Prose. I must beg Horace's and my Lord Roscommon's Pardon, if I dissent from them in this one particular. I will give you their Rule in my Lord's English Translation, and save myself the Trouble of transcribing the Latin of Horace.

But no Authority of Gods nor Men
Allow of any Mean in Poesy."

This might for all I know be a Rule for Poetry among the Ancients, but the Moderns have found it troublesome, and the most of them, have wholly neglected it for that Reason. Witness the Authors Verses, whose Praise I am now celebrating, December 1736.

Now is my 12 Months Task come to conclusion,
Lord free us from Hatred, Envy and Confusion.
All are not pleas'd, nor never will i'th' main.
Fewds and Discords among us will remain.
Be that as 'twill, however I'm glad to see,
Envy disappointed both at Land and Sea.

I do not pretend to say, that this is like the Poetry of Horace, or Lord Roscommon, but it is the Poesy of an Astrologer; it is his own and not borrowed; It is occult and mysterious. It has a due Degree of that Sort of Gravity, which I have mentioned: In short, it is form'd upon the Rules which I have laid down in this short Essay.

I could further prove to you, if I was to go about it, That an Almanack-Writer ought not only to be a Piece of a Wit, but a very Wag; and that he shou'd have the Art also to make People believe, that he is almost a Conjurer, &c. But these Things I reserve for my greater Work, and in the mean time, until that appears, I desire to remain,

Sept. 27. 1737. Your very humble Servant,

The Pennsylvania Gazette, October 20, 1737"

Humbly tendered to my cousins in BS,