1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Colman

Philo-Musa, "To G. Colman, Esq." Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (21 July 1778).



Why Colman, thus insult the Town,
And rashly brave the Public frown,
Reviving strains long dead?
Say, is it Contrast's power to prove?
Surely the genius of self-love
Hath discompos'd thy head?

Canst thou expect these sultry days,
For five long acts to Tragic lays,
That we should sit and sigh?
While D-gg-s his heavy drawl prepares,
To stupify our jaded ears
With dull monotony?

D-gg-s, who no trace of nature knows,
Whose action all from labour flows,
The anvil ever beating,
Unnatural gait, unnatural air,
Unnatural twitch, unnatural stare,
His character completing.

May Beaumont still, and Fletcher's name
Retain their just degree of fame,
I'll add one garland more;
But novelty our taste requires,
Your stage without it always tires,
The Public shuns your door.

Observe how e'en your genuine wit,
Can scarcely fill the steaming pit,
With all its living grace:
This resurrection of dry bones,
For which you rake the charnel stones,
Will ill supply its place.

Raise up you may, but cannot save
Bonduca from a speedy grave,
We damn her in idea;
You'd better from the Southern Seas
Your friend, the amorous B-nks, to please,
Translate Queen Oberea.

O Colman! listen to a friend,
And do not from thyself descend,
Ne'er deal in paltry arts;
The griping Manager's address,
His shifts, and pitiful finesse,
Are crimes in men of parts.

A Guardian of the Pubic taste,
Be living excellence embrac'd!
Call latent genius forth:
Let not the Muses e'er complain,
That under Colman's liberal reign
Was blasted rising worth.

We need not to dead authors fly,
Still British Fancy can supply
Th' Original and New;
Each Muse from her sequester'd grove,
Usher'd by thee to light, shall prove
That this Assertion's true.