Henry Ellison who was born in 1811 and died in 1880, had some most unusal titles to his sonnets – On the Strangely Botched Endings of Some of Shakespear’s Sonnets, The Sonnet-Rack,Mad Moments: Or First Verse Attempts by a Born Natural, Sonnet to the Gentian,  On Robert Burns’ Humanity and this one I am sharing, To Poets: Have a Good Leading-Off Rime. A biographer said of him “He is a puzzle in many ways, but scarcely less is the unconcern of his representatives toward his memory.”

To Poets: Have a Good Leading-Off Rime
Take not, poetic souls, a word amiss:
I mean the unweaned spirits of the age,
Male, female, epicoene–’tis all the rage
To write; the gentler sex, all-licensed, kiss
The Muse’s hands, one serving that, one this,
In lyric, ode, song, pastoral; on the stage,
In sock or buskin–lively, sad, gay, sage;
Strings of its own their lyre has, which his,
Proud man’s, still lacks. When many sequent rimes,
As in the Sonnet most, offend the ear
Or please, as jangled or well rung the chimes,
With bells each under other answering clear,
Ring ye caesural pauses, rhythmic times,
Following sure lead, well-chosen pioneer.

 

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