1738 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Fielding

Anonymous, "On a Pompous Edition of the Craftsman, in Fourteen Volumes" Daily Gazetteer (29 December 1738).



Nick's Father hearing that his Son,
In Print, had many Wonders done;
(The Seats of Wisdom forc'd to quit,
To entertain the Town with Wit)
Resolv'd one Day, (since on his Shelves,
The Sire was always fond of Twelves)
In civil Language to apply,
And beg Nick's Works, too dear to buy.
My Works, says Nick, — with all my Heart!
—But, pray, Sir, have you brought your Cart?
Nay, stare not! — in a Year or two,
Your largest Waggon will not do;
Unless to those you drove before,
You add at least two Horses more:
My Satires Weight yon Garret feels;
And what cracks Shelves, may ruin Wheels.
See Wit and Wagg'ry there unfold,
More than ten modern Bulks can hold;
That croud poor F—nkl—n's lean Abodes;
Near F—ld—ng's Songs, and W—stl—y's Odes.
Two hardy Chiefs, tho' void of Fear
To gain a Fame, will risque an Ear.
Our Fame in Science now is light,
If Folks can carry half they write.
And all, are Wisdom deem'd to lack,
Whose Head does not their Shoulders crack:
In Size let Giant Writers swell,
Whate'er is in't, the Piece will sell;
Few Authors now allow'd to think,
Who have not drain'd their Floods of Ink;
Peace, War, — whatever is the Theme,
To please, — be sure to fill your Rheam!
Men ask not, what, or whose the Lays;
But only, what the Epick weighs;
In a rich Cover, broad and long,
We never view one Period wrong!
The Sheets will sell, whoever wrot' e'm,
G. L— or Bunyan at the Bottom;
'Tis Great, — 'tis Heavenly, P— will cry;
And, if P— praises, all must buy!

The Sire, who dream'd of no such Load,
Was come without his Whip, or Goad;
And since, till now, he never found,
That Sense was rated by the Pound;
That Men, for Bulk, nor Merit pay'd,
And Books like Veal, in Scales were weigh'd;
(While Calves and Craftsmen every Day,
Were bought and sold the self-same Way)
After he long and gravely mus'd,
Half his Son's learned Works refus'd;
And better pleas'd, but with one Part,
Than to take both, and sink his Cart;
Accepted whatt wou'd fill one Chest,
And left Friend *Cozens all the rest.

* An eminent Grocer formerly in St. Paul's Church-yard.