1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hawkins

William Hawkins, "Extempore, addressed, with the utmost chearfulness, to the famished, satirical, and would-be witty Mr. Poetaster" General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer (31 August 1778).



Thy friend he is who gives thee this short hint,
Ne'er let thy future works appear in print.
ANONY.

My sweet Poetaster, who dwells in this town,
Thou'rt surely stark mad, or a simpleton grown;
For no man in his sences cou'd ever have writ
Such bombastical nonsense, had he the least wit:
But 'tis plain that thy poetry has cracked thy brain,
And made thee an elf — or what's worse — quite insane;
Or Midas's fate has again come to pass,
And thou, Poetaster, art turn'd to an ass.
Then spin out no more of your scurrilous stuff,
For I think you have made yourself foolish enough;
And in order to cause you the burst of a laugh,
Behold underneath your sweet Epitaph:—

EPITAPH.
Gentle reader, kindly know it,
That here lies a wou'd-be poet,
Who in the regions us'd to dwell,
But now, alas!
'Tis come to pass,
He's sent from Heav'n down to Hell:

Yet he may be,
From torment free,
Though that's a thing I really doubt;
For he, poor wit,
His brain had split,
In finding of the Devil out.
W. HAWKINS.
From my Palace in Pepper-alley, Southwark.