1804 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Chesterfield

William Tooke, Note to The Ghost; Poetical Works of Charles Churchill (1804) 2:101-02n.



Poets have always been suspected
Of having truth in rhime neglected,
That bard except, who from his youth
Equally fam'd for faith and truth,
By prudence taught, in courtly chime
To courtly ears, brought truth in rhime.

Mallett addressed a contemptible poem, intitled "Truth in Rhime," to the celebrated Lord Chesterfield, who suffered it to be published with the following extraordinary sanction prefixed:

It has no faults or I no faults can spy,
It is all beauty or all blindness I.
Imprimatur meo periculo.
CHESTERFIELD.

If this quotation from Conyngham was irronically applied, or really intended as a compliment, it in neither case does any credit to his lordship's taste. If modesty had found a place in the catalogue of Mallett's virtues, it would have induced him to suppress, instead of publickly exulting in, a testimony, too extravagant for any poem ever to have deserved.