The Art of Poetry [excerpt]
Gently make haste, of Labour not afraid; A hundred times consider what you've said: Polish, repolish, every Colour lay, And sometimes add; but oft'ner take away. 'Tis not enough, when swarming Faults are writ, That here and there are scattered Sparks of Wit; Each Object must be fix'd in the due place, And diff'ring parts have Corresponding Grace: 'Till, by a curious Art dispos'd, we find One perfect whole, of all the pieces join'd. Keep your subject close, in all you say; Nor for a sounding Sentence ever stray.
From The Art of Poetry, by Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux. This poem is in the public domain.