1730 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Samuel Croxall

Anonymous, "Dr. Croxall to Sir Robert Walpole" The London Miscellany (1730) 7-10.



If a Truth may be ask'd, Sir, pray what may it mean?
My Pretensions so fair, I'm not yet a Dean?
That my Ovid, my Aesop, Circassian, and all
The gay Things I have wrote, should not merit a Stall?
When the Muse has long begg'd, that you always should slight her,
Who had Hopes of exchanging her Wreathes for a Mitre.
By your Pride or Contempt, my Laurell's ill-fated,
Translating so often — and never translated.

'Tis a Slur on us Poets, our Parts and our Lines,
That the Lawn is still worn by prosaick DIVINES:
Since in Worth, and in Genius, but few can surpass us,
Who have taken a Doctor's Degree on Parnassus,
With Gifts from Apollo, whose Bosoms are fir'd,
And who preach before Kings — by the Muses inspir'd.

Had you wisely thought proper to Dublin or Cassel
To have sent, now your Foe, who so long was your Vassal;
My Ambition to sooth, and gay Hopes to fulfil,
You might have been deem'd a good Minister still;
Nor Solomon e'er from the Pulpit been quoted,
To prove how perversely you've practis'd and voted.
But since your were pleas'd to refuse my Request,
Thank your self — it's painted you none of the best.
If your Person I scorn, and your Counsels oppose,
And preach for the King, while I write for his Foes,
To shut 'em more close while I open Folks Eyes;
With Hints from my Sermon, instead of a better,
Abusing his King, and enliv'ning his Letter.

Had your Prudence or Bounty but soften'd my Spleen
Against Faction or P— my Text had been keen;
To your Sense and fine Parts I had yielded the Prize,
And prov'd the Prince good, and his Counsellors wise.

No Mortal so fit for so honour'd a Station;
Not an abler, or honester Sage in the Nation,
Who cou'd in more Merits or Virtues excell;
Who cou'd find 'em, or pay 'em in others so well.

Tho' a Statesman so fam'd, yet take my Advice,
And ne'er let a Parson sollicit you twice.
For the Loss of a Prebend or Deanery vext,
He knows to revenge the Affront with a Text;
With a Verse out of Scripture, the Old or the New,
And with Nicety chose, he can give you your Due!
Which this Cause, or that Cause, alike shall defend;
This Year strike a Foe; and the next, hurt a Friend.
By Turns lend the plausible Preacher a Sting,
To fix in pert D'Anvers, or injure his King.

By the Laws of the Realm, and the Church, we have Power
To seem learn'd, or serious, or gay for an Hour.
When the Poet may lash, and the Preacher defame,
And draws Things unlike — exactly the same.
When two Things may differ, yet both may unite,
And Rebellion and Duty to Princes excite.
When a Sermon like mine, both Parties shall fire,
And preach'd against Murder, shall Killing inspire.

When the Bays on our Beaver unite with the Rose,
Have a Care of incensing with Orthodox Foes;
Who from Pulpit or Pindus great Ministers strike;
And all must be wicked we please to dislike.
Tho' splenetick P— and D'Anvers can't reach ye,
We'll call up a King of the Jews to impeach ye,
From a Proverb of his raise a petulent Laughter
At a Statesman — tho' christen'd Four thousand Years after.
You may ridicule S—pen— and B—g—ke pity,
And a Craftsman may miss, when a Parson can hit ye.
And your Head, with nice Judgment, a Prophecy aim,
Decyphering Ezekiel, to find out your Name.
By the Help of his Types not a Soul shall endure ye,
All the Creatures you meet — a mere Middlesex Jury.

Instead of your own, we can slily put on
The Face of the frightfullest Beast in St. John;
In the Shape of some Monster, expos'd to Derision,
The Vultur or Lyon, or Bear — in the Vision.
In the Mystical Shadow, some Courtier we see,
A British no doubt — and Sir Robert is He.

But supposing me guilty of scandalous Pranks,
The Senate thought fit not to give me their Thanks;
A kind negative Vote has done me more Right
Than the Praise of a 'Squire or Applause of a Knight;
An Author may sure his own Sermon espouse,
And print what he writes — without leave of the House;
Whate'er some may fancy, the Profit's the same;
If I have it in Cash what is wanting in Fame,
If their Smile I have lost, their Frown does as well,
And more than true Worth their Resentments will sell;
Since all are ador'd who shall venture to sting
Each Person in Place, — and each Friend of the King;
Your Schemes to discharge, my Wit to display,
Forgive — If I spoke not one Word of the Day,
For, a Poet disdain'd, I allow you no Quarter,
Poor Charles is forgotten — to make you the Martyr.