1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Samuel Wesley

James Granger, in Biographical History of England (1769; 1824) 6:140.



[Lines under Wesley's portrait with a maggot:]
In's own defence the author writes;
Because, when this foul maggot bites,
He ne'er can rest in quiet;
Which makes him make so sad a face,
He'd beg your worship, or your grace,
Unsight, unseen, to buy it.

This print represents SAMUEL WESLEY, who was, in early life, possessed with the spirit of poetry, as he, in 1685, published in 8vo. a collection of his juvenile compositions, entitled Maggots, or Poems on several Subjects never before handled. He afterward entered into holy orders, and was rector of South Ormesby, in Lincolnshire, when he published The Life of our Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, an heroic poem, 1693, fol. with various cuts, said to have been engraved by Faithorne. He, in 1695, published Elegies on the death of Queen Mary and Archbishop Tillotson. It is to be regretted that his vein of poetry was not exhausted when he published his Maggots, as he incurred the censure of Garth in his Dispensary, who severely lashes him in these lines:

Had Wesley never aim'd in verse to please,
We had not rank'd him with our Ogilbys.
Still censures will on dull pretenders fall:
A Codrus should expect a Juvenal.

He, however, made ample amends for his bad poetry, by his good life, and his Dissertations upon the Book of Job in Latin, which were published after his decease. He was father of John Wesley, well known to the world by his preaching and writings.