1761 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Tobias Smollett

Charles Churchill, in The Apology (1761); Poetical Works of Charles Churchill, ed. William Tooke (1804) 1:85-86.



Whence could arise this mighty critic spleen,
The Muse a trifler, and her theme so mean?
What had I done, that angry heav'n should send
The bitt'rest foe where most I wish'd a friend?
Oft hath my tongue been wanton at thy name,
And hail'd the honours of thy matchless fame.
For me let hoary Fielding bite the ground,
So nobler Pickle stands superbly bound;
From Livy's temples tear th' historic crown,
Which with more justice blooms upon thine own.
Compar'd with thee, be all life-writers dumb,
But he who wrote the Life of Tommy Thumb.
Who ever read the Regicide, but swore
The author wrote as man ne'er wrote before?
Others for plots and under-plots may call,
Here's the right method — have no plot at all.