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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Epilogue to “The Clergyman’s Daughter”

By Robert Treat Paine, Jr. (1773–1811)

[From Works, in Verse and Prose. 1812.]

WHO delves to be a wit must own a mine,

In wealth must glitter ere in taste he shine;

Gold buys him genius, and no churl will rail,

When feasts are brilliant, that a pun is stale.

Tip wit with gold;—each shaft with shouts is flown;—

He drinks Campaign, and must not laugh alone.

The grape has point, although the joke be flat!

Pop! goes the cork!—there’s epigram in that!

The spouting bottle is the brisk jet d’eau,

Which shows how high its fountain head can throw!

See! while the foaming mist ascends the room,

Sir Fopling rises in the vif perfume!

But ah! the classic knight at length perceives

His laurels drop with fortune’s falling leaves.

He vapors cracks and clinches as before,

But other tables have not learnt to roar.

At last, in fashion bankrupt as in pence,

He first discovers undiscovered sense—

And finds,—without one jest in all his bags,—

A wit in ruffles is a fool in rags!