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Poem by James Maxwell


2. On the Ayr-shire Ploughman Poet, or Poetaster, R.B.


Of all British poets that yet have appeard,
None eer at things sacred so daringly sneerd,
As he in the west, who but lately is sprung
From behind the plough-tails, and from raking of dung.
A champion for Satan, none like him before,
And his equal, pray God, we may never see more;
For none have like him, been by Satan inspird,
Which makes his rank nonsense by fools so admird.
He is to this land and this age a disgrace,
And mostly to those who his poems embrace.
His jargon gives rakes and vile harlots delight,
But all sober people abhor the vile sight.
He makes of the scriptures a ribaldry joke;
By him are the laws both of God and man broke.
	But some say, Do justice, give Satan his due,
For Rob hath his virtues, although they be few:
	A jolly companion at bottle and pot,
Tho he be a drunkard, a rake and a sot:
And tho he be wicked, he hath a good heart.
Then why do his brains such vile jargon impart?
Such friendly assertions but very ill suit, 
For surely the tree must b know by its fruit. 
Ill fruit by a good tree was never brought forth, 
And that of a bad one was never ought worth. 
The fruit of this tree proves itself to be nought,
Or such evil fruit it could never have brought. 
Of this let all mankind for ever beware, 
Or certainly they will be caught in a snare: 
As Eve by the serpent, where Satan was hid, 
Gave her of that fruit which the Lord had forbid.
It pleased her eye and her taste, yet we find, 
It proved the poison of all human kind. 
Thus Satan deceivd her by flattry and lies. 
That man should not die, but like gods be made wise, 
Tho BOB cant say now that mankind shall not die,
Because all would know he was telling a lie. 
But he can affirm theyll be turned to nought,1 
And therefore to judgment shall never be brought. 
He says that at death they fall into a sleep 
Eternal, and then final silence shall keep.
 	This doctrine the infidels gladly receive, 
And eagerly strive to make all men believe. 
But this with the rational never will suit; 
The thought they abhor to be evn with the brute: 
For this hellish notion would mankind debase,
And make them like cattle on mountains that graze.
This notion tho Satan would have us receive,
Yet is it what devils can never believe.
They know, and they tremble because tis not true;
But infidels take it their fears to subdue:
And if it were true, it would answer them well,
For it would preserve them from sinking to hell.
	But if this false doctrine by men were believd. 
No matter however in life they behavd. 
For robbry or murder they then might commit.
Or any foul crime which their fancies thought fit. 
And tho they were hangd they had nothing to fear, 
If they were for ever no more to appear.
To Satan this Infidel writes without dread,
Because in rebellion theyre jointly agreed.
Against all the laws in the scriptures forth held, 
He strives to the utmost to have them expelld. 
He also endeavours to taint all our youth, 
And make them regardless of all scripture truth.
  	The prophet Isaiah (divinely inspird)
Who hath been by wise-men so greatly admird. 
The Jewish and Heathen, and Christians too, 
Have thought that his language did all men outdo: 
Yet this stupid blockhead upon him so falls, 
That only wild raptures his diction he calls.2
	The song of the captives at Babylon streams; 
At their lamentation he only makes games; 
Because on the willows their harps silent hung, 
While they by the Heathen endured such wrong;
This infidel mocks at the Psalmist so sly,
Like fiddles and baby-clouts hung up to dry.3 
	The most solemn ordinance Christ hath ordaind,4
Which hath in his church, since his passion, remaind, 
This infidel scoffer calls that but a Fair, 
To which rakes and harlots together repair,
To make lewd appointments of carnal delight; 
Thus is it described by this hellish wight.
Tis true by too many tis grossly abusd,
By whom, like a fair or a market tis usd: 
Too many, like him and his jilts there attend,
Which greatly the hearts of the faithful offend: 
But surely no busness such cattle have there, 
To make it appear like a market or fair.
	This brings a reproach on the church and the nation;
But wo be to those who make such profanation!
Tho now the Lords supper they make like a fair, 
The time will soon come when theyll howl in despair;
Except true repentance mould alter their case,
And they be reclaimd by the God of ail grace.
This infidel Poet hath this in design,
To banter religion and all thats divine. 
This specimen shews what a spirit hes of,
Who can at all scripture so wantonly scoff.
	Nor is this the half that in truth may be said, 
Tho some take his part, who make preaching their trade.
For some of our clergy his Poems esteem, 
And some of our elders think no man like him. 
But let them esteem him, and value his lies, 
By consequence then they the scriptures despise. 
Tho some of that function he favours indeed,
Who seem true adherents to his hellish creed.
But such as count scripture the fountain of truth, 
He calls them old-fashiond, and very uncouth. 
And such as wage war with the princes of hell, 
All such from the earth be seems bent to expel.
	Let mankind beware how they favour that Bard,
Or surely with him they must have their reward.
Twill not be a joke, nor a merriment jest,
If they on the Judges left hand should be placd:
Which is the sure portion of all who rebel,
And wilfully run the broad-way to hell.
Tho now admonition they seem to despise, 
And count all the scriptures but flattring lies;
At death they shall see, if they see not before, 
Which was in the right, tho we add here no more.

1 See his Verses of the 90th Psalm.
2 The Cotters Saturday-Night. 
3 His Poem called The Ordination.
4 His poem  which he calls The Holy Fair.



James Maxwell


James Maxwell's other poems:
  1. 6. On L-----------------s Poems. Another A-----sh-----e Bard
  2. 9. Postscript; by Way of Application
  3. 10. Urania. To the Human Muse
  4. 7. To L-----------s Subscribers
  5. 8. An Epitaph on L Poems. By another Hand


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