1750 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Upton

William Warburton to Richard Hurd, 24 February 1750; Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the XVIII Century (1817-58); 2:849n.



You ask about the Prebendary of Rochester. Browne (the Pipe-of-Tobacco Browne) wrote a lampoon on Lord Granville, called The Fire-side. To add the more poignancy to his satire, he, in the wantonness of his spleen, conceived a design that Upton should write notes upon it. He knew him to be dull enough not to see the drift of the lampoon, and vain enough to think himself honoured by the request; so he got him to his chambers, and persuaded him to write what indeed he himself in part dictated to him. In this condition the lampoon was printed, and then Browne told all his acquaintance the joke. I had it not from himself, and therefore was at liberty to speak of it [in the notes to the Dunciad]. But was it not a charity to caution him against a commerce with this species of Wits, whose characteristic is what Mr. Pope gives them, of, "A brain of feathers, and a heart of lead!" Upton's offence was well known, but it is not always so. For one does not care to trouble the publick with particularities, nor perpetuate the memory of impertinent and forgotten abuse; hence you gain the character, amongst those who neither know you, nor your provocations, of being unjustly censorious and satirical.