1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Matthew Prior

Alexander Thomson, in The Paradise of Taste (1796) 84-85.



We saw, reclining at a table,
The matchless Bard, whose comic fable
Of HUDIBRAS would almost force
Smiles from the muscles of a horse;
His pow'rful hand was sketching out
A picture of the rabble rout,
Where many a figure strange he drew,
And many a phiz grotesque and new;
And tho' some features soon decay'd,
The greater part shall never fade.
At this great Master's feet was seen,
Of humble imitative mien,
A pupil Bard, who from his draught
Some strokes to fill his canvass caught;
And tho' his tints were not so strong,
Their strength perhaps might last as long:
'Twas he whose skill, in sportive lays,
His philosophic lore conveys,
And ALMA'S progress, sov'reign dame,
Attends o'er all the human frame;
'Twas he who last presum'd to sing
The virtues rare of CARVEL'S ring;
The ladle, cause of nuptial strife,
And grave PURGANTI'S wanton wife:
On these effusions rests the claim
On which alone he builds his fame;
Whilst all his long and lofty lyrics,
And all his am'rous panegyrics,
Are, in this land, remember'd not,
And even by himself forgot.