1791 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Merry

William Gifford, in The Baviad (1791) 9-15.



Lo, Della Crusca! In his closet pent,
He toils to give the crude conception vent;
Abortive thoughts that right and wrong confound,
Truth sacrificed to letters, sense to sound,
False glare, incongruous images, combine;
And noise and nonsense clatter thro' the line.
'Tis done. Her house the generous Piozzi lends,
And thither summons her blue stocking'd friends;
The summons her blue-stocking'd friends obey,
Lured by the love of Poetry — and Tea.
The BARD steps forth, in birth-day splendour drest,
His right hand graceful waving o'er his breast;
His left extending, so that all may see,
A roll inscribed "THE WREATH OF LIBERTY."
So forth he steps, and with complacent air,
Bows round the circle, and assumes the chair:
With lemonade he gargles next his throat,
Then sweetly preludes to the liquid note:
And now 'tis silence all. — GENIUS OR MUSE.
Thus while the flowery subject he pursues,
A wild delirium round the assembly flies;
Unusual lustre shoots from Emma's eyes;
Luxurious Arno drivels as he stands;
And Anna frisks, and Laura claps her hands.