1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hannah More

Nesbit, "In Answer to the impartial Champion of a Gentle-woman" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (22 February 1778).



Jove Venus loves,
And silver doves,
And Phoebus with his quire;
And Dragon too?
The posse view,
And pray the groupe admire.

Their business here,
(I sweat with fear)
To scratch, and pinch, and bite Sir;
Because I swore,
That fam'd Miss More
Had better sew than write, Sir.

Mistaken wight!
I'll set you right,
No pack-horse is Apollo;
Nor Muses nine,
I well divine,
Such scurvy works will follow.

Tho' Sappho's fire
They did inspire,
And Barbauld's verse illumed;
Believe me friend,
They'll ne'er descend,
As pertly you've presumed.

Who'd be a Muse?
I'd rather chuse
To ballad thro' the nation,
Than here to trudge,
On ev'ry fudge
Or flimsy French translation.

Each scribbling lad,
Or maiden sad,
Who finds two words to chime in;
Apollo calls,
Or Parnass' bawls,
To help 'em in their rhyming.

If you should dare
To laugh or stare
At vanity so flagrant,
"Apollo's dart
Will pierce your heart,"
And you'll be deem'd a vagrant.

The sacred Nine,
Whose wreaths entwine
The Grecian bards and Roman,
Are now blasphem'd,
Rank strumpets deem'd,
Hacknied, unchaste, and common.

Apollo send,
This vice to mind,
Another Pope among us!
We've wights in store
For Dunciads score,
Who rhime, and rant, and song us.