1725 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gay

Richard Savage, in The Authors of the Town; a Satire (1725) 12-13.



Johnny's fine works at Court obtain Renown!
Aaron writes Trash — He ne'er collogues the Town.
How Grand the Verse which My Lord's Feats declares,
Rude are Lampoons, that lash My Lady's Airs.
How arch the Wit, when Her Grace deigns a Laugh
Dull is the Satire on the Duke's white Staff.
Oh, You Polite! Your Smiles are Fame's sweet Road;
We praise, subscribe, or damn — because the Mode.

Johnny no more reflects a shining Page,
From that bright Genius, that has charm'd the Age!
More conscious now, his single Worth he rates!
Verses are made, like Med'cines, by Receipts.
Soft Phrases he collects — to scan, to chime,
Reads deep, and weighs vast Lexicons of Rhyme.
Hints from Fontaine, some smart Design compleat;
The Whim is pretty, and the Language neat.
Tho' smart, neat, pretty; yet ev'n Courtiers own,
It glitters not with Pope — aside 'tis thrown.

Johnny, who fosters next his Patron's Wit,
Strikes out a Play, with Thought, and Spirit writ!
To first-rank Beaus our artful Bard applies,
One writes to charm the Fair, and One the Wise.
Beaus fly the Fame, yet secret Talents know,
And read, revise, and ev'n Co-Authors grow;
And now anew th' inverted Work they frame,
New Thoughts they hatch! — But Johnny holds the Name.
So fruitful Madams, their Amours unknown,
Bear private Babes, which, born, their Midwives own.
At Grand Assemblies, Play and Bard appear,
Cabals are form'd, our Johnny's Debts to clear;
'Tis read, prais'd, acted! — Now the Poet's Trap!
Beaus heed your Scenes! You know your Cues to clap.