Title: The Author to Her Book. After reading the title I'd predict that the poem will be about an author speaking to her own work of literature.
The ugly child of my thoughts.
Who stuck with me day and night.
Unitl you were taken by those who thought they were helping
By showing you to an editor.
Who spliced and diced and edited.
Which embarassed me to see how jouvenile my work still was.
I crumbled your pages and tossed you to the trash heap.
The site of you disgusted me.
Buy you were still my creation, and part of me knew there was good there.
I'd edit and revise and make it work if I could.
I tried but only found more issues.
The more I worked it and rearranged the words the worse it became.
I cut out words, sentences, whole paragraphs
But still it was a mess.
I thought I could dress it up, make it pretty, use style
But all I have are my own tools.
So be it, you are what you are
I hope critics never find you.
And that this example of my work doesn't spread.
IF they ask who was your father, there was none.
And your mother, she is just a struggling artist
Which is why I need to send you out as a submission
Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to publick view,
Made thee in raggs, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judg).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joynts to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun Cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam.
In Criticks hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy Mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.
The underlined portions all illustrate different forms of figurative speech. In reality the entire poem is figurative as she's talking about a book or a piece of writing as though it is a deformed child.
The speaker is a bit sorrowful as a mother who has given birth to a deformed baby. (Given the time period this would be like a woman giving birth to a child surely destined for the freak show. Think Nobody's Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pin Head by Bill Griffith) Then she's a bit embarrassed when she is judged. The embarrassment of being critiqued turns to anger and even hatred of the thing she has created. Then suddenly this turns to pitty or even loving tenderness and she realizes it is still part of her, something that came from her. In the end she has a sort of caring motherly attitude that she couldn't do more but knows she must send it off into the world because she is poor and needs the money. (Again almost amazingly just like the Schlitzie story).
In my interpretation the speaker is the writer of the book.
See Tone and attitude above.
The poem The Author to Her Book is about artistic creation and reveals the almost paternal emotional turmoil artists experience with their work.