1786 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

George Colman, "The Laureat. An Ode" St. James's Chronicle (11 April 1786).



Warton, I know you'll ne'er repine
That Witlings carp at ev'ry Line,
And with your Lyricks quarrel.
Alas! from Party, Spite, or Whim,
Such ever is the Fate of him
Who boasts the Royal Laurel.

That Laurel, once by Dryden worn!
But since by many Dunces borne,
Each rival Dunce cry'd fie on!
The boasted Laurel was, they said,
No more than a poor P—ss-a-bed,
At Court call'd Daun-de-Lion.

For Scenes of Comedy renown'd,
And justly for his Acting crown'd,
The Prince of Fops and Folly;
Nor Kings, nor Poetry regarding,
And writing Odes not worth one Farthing,
Long liv'd the Laureat Colly.

Him Pope assail'd, by Legions back'd,
And often to his Couplets tack'd
The Name of idle Cibber:
Yet Coll, unskill'd in long and short,
Made in plain Prose a smart Retort,
To Pope a damn'd "Grim-Gribber."*

Will. Whitehead bade the Reign commence
Of Birth-Day Odes and Common Sense;
And there his Efforts rested:
True Poetry, by Genius fir'd,
Billy's cold Bosom ne'er inspir'd;
For Bill was Chicken-breasted.

Warton, on Greek and Roman Base,
Rescued the Laurel from Disgrace,
With Fame no Foes shall hinder.
Blest with the Gift of ev'ry Tongue,
Themes Royal royally he sung,
A HORACE and a PINDAR!

* Grim-Gribber. See Tom's Law-Jargon in The Conscious Lovers. "I touched him to the Quick about Grim-Gribber."