Posts Tagged ‘Occupational Poetry’

The Poetic Printers

March 21, 2009

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Elegant Extract!

Sir John Suckling used to say, “I pity the poet who has to write for his bread — I pity the man who has fallen into the hands of a pettifogging attorney — I pity the man who is married to a scold, unless he is deaf — I pity the woman who is married to a rakish spouse, unless she is blind — I pity the man who is in debt and would pay if he could — I pity the man who can only boast of a long pedigree.” Sir John says no further. But were I to add a pity to the list, it would be this: I pity the Printer, who, after he has earned his scanty stipend, stands but one chance in three of getting it the first time he calls.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Feb 14, 1821

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THE PRINTER.

Says Thomas, our neighbors have wrote to the Printer,
To stop sending newspapers during the winter;
For living is hard, and provisions are dear,
And there’s seldom much news at this time of the year.
But in summer the papers more news will contain,
And then, or in spring we may take them again.

Says John, neighbor Thomas, your scheme makes me smile;
But how is the Printer to live the mean while?
If times are so hard as you do not deny,
The Printer, unless he’s supported, must die;
The summer or spring he can never survive,
Unless thro’ the winter you keep him alive,
And if once you him starve, it will be in vain,
To expect that he ever will serve you again.

Says Thomas, indeed we did not one of us think,
That Printers could feel, or could want meat or drink,
Or like other people, would clothing require,
Or wood for warming themselves with a fire;
And if none of these wants any trouble could cause,
They might live as bears do, by sucking their paws!

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jan 5, 1825

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Oh! If there were no Printers, what would the People do?
AIR: “Fine Old English Gentleman.”
BY E.M. HEIST.

The Printers! Ho! I sing to them! I dedicate this day
To those who ply the noble Art, which, like the sun’s bright ray,
Gives light and happiness to all, and shines the wide world through;
Oh! if there were no Printers, what would the People do?

The Politician, then, indeed, would be a sorry thing,
For there would be no daily sheet election news to bring;
And he would have to wait for it, perhaps a month or two;
Oh! if there were no Printers, what would the People do?

The Senator and Member, too, might bid farewell to fame,
Were not one found to print their thoughts — their mighty deeds proclaim —
Their speeches made for “Buncombe” they’d find to be “no go!”
Oh! if there were no Printers, what would our wise men do?

The Poet and the Novelist might lay aside their quill —
Give up their toil and study, and bid their brains be still;
For who would read their manuscripts, or even look them through?
Oh! if there were no Printers, what would our authors do?

The Merchant, every day, might get new styles and fresh supplies;
But were no papers to be found wherein to advertise,
He’d find his stock grow very large — his dollars very few;
Oh! if there were no Printers, what would the tradesmen do?

The Ladies, too — God shield them well, and bless each gentle heart! —
How they would grieve, if to the world was lost the Printer’s art;
For there would come no magazines each month with FASHIONS new;
Oh! if there were no Printers, what would the dear ones do?

Then, honor to the Printer! — to whom I give this lay! —
To those who ply the noble Art, which, like the sun’s bright ray,
Gives light and happiness to all, and shines the wide world through;
For, if there were no Printers, WHAT would the People do?

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Feb 15, 1847

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“No man out of the craft, who has not ‘seen the elephant,’ knows the ‘first thing’ of the harassed and toilsome life of a printer who can just make a ‘rub and go’ of it. Unless he has a constitution like an alligator, and perseverance like a toad under a harrow, ten to one he breaks down, and finds himself in the world with a shattered constitution, ill-health, empty pockets, and a dozen sweet cherubs crying for — not ‘more copy!’ — but ‘a little more bread and butter!'”

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jan 31, 1848