Jonathan Swift on the Writing Process

From Richard Nordquist, a poem by Jonathan Swift:

Consult yourself, and if you find
A powerful impulse urge your mind,
Impartial judge within your breast
What subject you can manage best;
Whether your genius most inclines
To satire, praise, or hum’rous lines,
To elegies in mournful tone,
Or prologue sent from hand unknown.
Then, rising with Aurora’s light,
The Muse invoked, sit down to write;
Blot out, correct, insert, refine,
Enlarge, diminish, interline;
Be mindful, when invention fails,
To scratch your head, and bite your nails.
Jonathan Swift, “On Poetry: A Rhapsody,” published on December 31, 1733
Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 James Ament

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