Yield thee not, poet, to the popular cry; Full soon doth perish the world’s noisy praise; The fool’s contempt, the cold crowd’s sneer, thine eye Doth surely mark. Be thou then firm, and gaze Unmoved. Thou’rt king. In thy calm royalty Go freely ‘mid thy solitary ways, Whose genius shall bear fruit in future days, And ask not meed for actions great and high. In thee is thy reward. Thou art the spirit Of Judgment’s self best critic of true merit. Doth this content thy soul, 0 Craftsmen holy? Then let the mob come on, thy genius spurning, Spit on the altars where thy fire is burning, And shake thy tripod in their childish folly.
I imitated Shakespeare in his broad and free delineation of character. I followed Karamzin in his bright development of incident, and I endeavored to comprehend the form of thought and the style of language of those days. The sources are rich, very rich. Whether I succeeded in making the best of them, I do not know…. But I confess openly, the failure of my drama would distress me, because I am convinced that our theatre should proceed in accordance with the laws of the Shakesperian drama and not in the wordly fashion of Racine.