1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Hogg

Q., "Says James Hogg to the Curate" Morning Chronicle (3 August 1820).



Says JAMES HOGG to the Curate, since you are a Scholar,
And at Latin and Cribbage can beat the Squire hollow,
You can, doubtless, relieve my dull brains from all fag,
And explain like a saying of LORD CASTLERAG.
He says he has look'd at the case, and he's sure
That a handful of "thyme" won't accomplish a cure.
I know not what Doctor the KING has about him,
But I cannot help thinking he'd do well to scout him;
For, if worst come to worst, Heav'n protect him from malice,
I'm mortal afraid there's no "sage" in his Palace.
Then he goes on to tell us how he, CASTLEREAGH,
Would prescribe, when a man and his wife can't agree;
When the breach is so wide that it won't yield to art,
He declares that the best way to meet it is to part.
'Tis a figure of speech, says the Pedant, a function—
A formula, termed a disjunctive conjunction.
Lord, bless us! says JAMES, how sublime you've exprest it,
I confess, for my part, I should never have guest it;
And to tell you the truth I am greatly to seek, or
CASTLERAG'S a queer round-about sort of a speaker;
His tricks to be sure cannot fail to surprize,
For the Squire says he seldom "stands up," but he "lies;"
And no wonder a man lays his friends on the shelf,
Who makes nothing of "turning his back on himself."
Then to my mind, I own, it is quite out of "nature"
To hold such discourse on the fundament feature,
Like a snake, or a trout with his mouth full of tail;
Very like, says the Curate — but more "like a whale."