1797 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Gifford

George Dyer, in The Poet's Fate, a Poetical Dialogue (1797) 28-29 &n.



See Pye and Hayley steal each relique bough;
That for great George, and this for Howard's brow;
And should I dare one sonneteering line,
Perchance in future Baviads I might shine.

The Baviad, a satirical poem, directed against Robert Merry, the author of De la Crusca, and his followers. The Maeviad, by the same author, Gyffard, and on the same subject, though with less success, has since been published. The author unquestionably professes a true vein of satire, and is a good imitator of Persius. His numbers, too, with a few exceptions, are correct and harmonious. But after all, though the hero of the Baviad betrayed glitter and negligence, — though he misled the the taste of some, too much inclined to admire and to imitate defects; yet Merry's poems possess poetical merit; and the spirit of liberty and benevolence that breathes through them is ardent and sincere. Softling! cries Gyffard, unworthy of a place in the Bavaid; but to Gyffard, and to all satirists and critics, let the author of The Poet's Fate hint, what they already know, that the province of criticism is to point out excellencies, as well as defects.