1788 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Mark Akenside

Frances Burney, 1788; Diary and Letters of the Author of Madam D'Arblay, ed. Austin Dobson (1904-05) 4:66-67.



When Miss Planta, therefore, took her evening stroll, Akenside again came forth, and with more security.

"There is an ode here," he [Mr. Fairly, Colonel Stephen Digby] cried, "that I wish to read to you, and now I think I can."

I gold him I did not in general like Akenside's odes, at least what I had chanced to read, for I thought they were too inflated, and filled with "liberty cant." "But this, however," cried he, "I must read to you, it is so pretty, though it is upon love!"

'Tis addressed to Olympia: I daresay my dearest Freddy recollects it. It is, indeed, most feelingly written; but we had only got through the first stanza when the door suddenly opened, and enter Mr. Bunbury.

After all the precautions taken, to have him thus appear at the very worst moment! Vexed as I was, I could really have laughed; but Mr. Fairly was ill disposed to take it so merrily. He startled, threw the book forcibly behind him, and instantly took up his hat, as if decamping.

I really believe he was afraid Mr. Bunbury would caricature us! "The sentimental readers!" or what would he have called us?

Luckily this confusion passed unnoticed. Mr. Bunbury had run away from the play to see after the horses, etc. for his Duke, and was fearful of coming too late.