1738 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dennis

Anonymous, in "The Apotheosis of Milton" Gentleman's Magazine 8 (1738) 521-22.



Dennis, whose Veins with youthful Vigour flow,
Firm as an Oak beneath the Weight of Snow,
True Foe to Vice, of modern Bards the Dread,
Who spurious Wit has oft' in Triumph led,
Rears, as Apollo and the Nine inspire,
With Hands tremendous, the vindictive Fire.

No Member coming in for some Minutes, I had leisure to remark a very odd Figure, who seem'd to be somewhat betwixt a Doorkeeper and Beadle; his Age was about 60, he was drest in a Suit of Irish Frize laid over taudry French Lace, which serv'd to heighten the Hideousness of his Figure; his Forehead was large and bald, his Eyes sunk, but full of Malignant Fire; his Cheeks hollow, his Nose sharp and turned up, and his Chin prominent; he wore a large bushy Peruke, that seem'd to be cast off by some French Player, and his Temples were incircled by a Garland, which, upon examining, I found to be composed of Nettles. The Figure you regard so attentively, said my Guide, is John Dennis; since he came into the World of Spirits, he made frequent Applications to be admitted as one of this Society. The Members could not absolutely refuse him, and yet they knew too much of the Man to admit him; so they fairly compromised the Matter with him, by making him their Summoner, which gives him a Right to be present in the Assembly, tho' not as a Member, as a Servant. He is sometimes employed as a Beadle, which gives him great Pleasure, and in that Capacity is extremely serviceable, for no Society in the World is more pester'd with Interlopers and Vagrants than this is.