1733 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

Anonymous, "Epigram on a Lady, who despised Dryden's Fables, and the Comedy of the Drummer; while she praised Haywood's Novels, and the farce called The Devil of a Wife" Grub-Street Journal (27 September 1733).



I tell of a lady, (her first name is KITTY,)
Who never was wise, nor will ever be witty;
Yet a critic, a wit, in her voice, in her thought;
As a wit she can scold, as a critic find fault.
As true she can spell, (for deep learning her gust is)
As a young toupet lord, or an old country justice.
To her DRYDEN'S Fables are stuff of no use;
HAYWOOD'S Novels have charms — they're so charmingly loose!
For ADDISON'S Drummer, her wit never spares it;
Like her neighbour's good name, all to pieces she tears it.
Tho' the poor drumming Devil to her has no merit;
Yet the Devil of a Wife is a Devil of spirit.
Like to like! she's a wit, she's the Farce to the life;
For the wit of a woman is — the Devil of a wife.

Mr. MAEVIUS fancies there is a mistake in transcribing the last verse, which he thinks should rather run, "For a woman, a wit, is — the Devil of a Wife."