1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Wolcot

Andrew Macdonald, "Heroic Epistle to Peter Pindar Esq. on the Report that he had purchased for Fifty Guineas Sir Joshua Reynold's Sleeping Nymph" Macdonald, Miscellaneous Works (1791) 103-05.



O PETER, PETER, PETER, PETER, PETER,
Where dost thou sell, who buys thy matchless meter?
What, fifty guineas all at once to handle,
Exclusively of coals, cow-heel, and candle,
Beer and a bunter — lucky, lucky, PINDAR,
All bards who were, or are, to thee but wind are!

Perhaps the money came, as a douceur,
From COURT, thy future friendship to secure,
In likeness of a fee retaining, giv'n
For Odes from thee when WARTON went to Heav'n.

Or did good-natur'd BOZZY this way try
From thine Epistle to expunge the lie,
About the kicking bus'ness and debate,
Between him and MACDONALD, Lord of Slate!
Perhaps it came with a big butt of ale,
As tribute from the quondam spouse of THRALE.

Or a nice Rouleau, with card of thanks,
From SOLOMON the Second, Sir JOE BANKS,
Who knows all herbs and plants, from cedars tall,
To water-dock and hysop of the wall.

Perhaps, (but such a thing would move my sorrow,)
Thou, spendthrift like, didst all these guineas borrow;
From A. B., or X. Y. the money-lenders,
Who in the papers make such civil tenders;
And yet I scarce believe they'd be so rash,
As on thy mortgag'd Odes to risk their cash.

I'm told thou think'st it neither sin nor shame
With borrow'd sparks to brighten up thy flame,
Which might have led thine honest soul astray
To some such dabbling in the money way.

Then all this precious gold to give to REYNOLDS,
Of whose high varnish'd tints not one in ten hold,
For the dead likeness of a lovely lass,
Extended sleeping among flow'rs and grass!
I'd rather giv'n it, tho' not fond of raking,
All for a lovely lass alive and waking.

But, PETER, didst thou this rare picture buy,
Merely to gorge and glut thy goatish eye?
To gourmandize with never-ending fury,
As on the kiss eternal of an HOURI?
Or didst thou purchase, in more prudent vein,
Intending speedily to sell again?

Think not these queries idle, Sir, nor funny;
Like thee, I fain would save a little money,
Either by satirizing, sonnetteering,
Penning of Odes, or picture-auctioneering;
And, in simplicity of heart, I pray,
Of thee, a dab, to know the readiest way.
MATTHEW BRAMBLE.