1794 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Wolcot

Anonymous, "Peter Pindar's Pegasus" St. James's Chronicle (4 February 1794).



ARGUMENT.
Peter Pindar addressed — compared to Royalty, a chimney-sweep in the dirt very naturally leads to fox-hunting and hedge-rows — which as naturally brings us to cock horses — Bartlemy Fair — The stone King at Charing Cross, and the fleet in Torbay — Spurs, whirlabouts, poetick Incense, and sympathy — P. P.'s courage praised, with eulogies on his wig, and allusions to poney-riding — recommendations to buy a new saddle, and why?

Say, Master Peter, whither wilt thou skip,
With merry flea-like nimbleness of foot;
Why mount the wincing jade — the tumbling Rip,
Like some bold, luckless Majesty of Soot;
Who when on high,
With jet-black dignity,
Rump-placed he strides his grisly-bodied foe,
With many a snort, and many a rearward crack,
The filthy subject on his lordly back,
Deep in a kennel lays the Monarch low.
So fares it too with many a simple wight,
With cap and spurs, and skin of buck bedight,
Perch'd on the gentlest gelding of his stud—
Off go the hounds — away the courser flies—
In vain our jockey strains his skin-cramp'd thighs,
For the first hedge-row lays him in the mud.
Now there's a fair call'd Bartlemy I ween,
Where children oft on cock-horse I have seen;
A very sightly beast, with tail and mane beside—
While like the hardy Monarch's fine stone beast
These unbroke chargers caper not the least;
Firm as the man at Charing-Cross,
These pretty children ride this horse,
And nicely on their bums, like ship at anchor ride.
But push these nags, and drive the jockies round,
Plump whirling headlong, on the frisky ground,
These little puking mortals bite the dust—
Here to fill up the goodliness of rhyme,
Let me usurp P. L. in happy time,
And fondly sympathising sigh — Ah! sad! hard crust!!!
Thus Peter you, daring and bold enough I trow,
With gall-drunk pen, and wig thumb'd threadbare thro',
(Black as thy brows, rough, wiry, thick and strong)
Would take a daily airing on the Muses steed,
And prance, like park-rode poney, all day long.
But stop — thy old worn saddle galls a striking jade,
'Twill serve no longer, Peter — get a new one made;
Or look — she'll fling thee surely man — she will indeed.