1833 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Thomas Fitzgerald

James Smith, Note to Rejected Addresses (1833; 1888) 39-41.



The annotator's first personal knowledge of this gentleman was at Harry Greville's Pic-Nic Theatre, in Tottenham Street, where he personated Zanga in a wig too small for his head. The second time of seeing him was at the table of Lord Dudley, who familiarly called him Fitz, but forgot to name him in his will. The Earl's son (recently deceased), however, liberally supplied the omission by a donation of five thousand pounds. The third and last time of encountering him was at an anniversary dinner of the Literary Fund, at the Freemason's Tavern. Both parties, as two of the stewards, met their brethren in a small room about half-an-hour before dinner. The lampooner, out of delicacy, kept aloof from the poet. The latter, however, made up to him, when the following dialogue took place:

Fitzgerald (with good humour), "Mr. — I mean to recite after dinner."

Mr. —. "Do you?"

Fitzgerald. "Yes: you'll have more of 'God bless the Regent and the Duke of York!"

The whole of this imitation, after a lapse of twenty years, appears to the Authors too personal and sarcastic; but they may shelter themselves under a very broad mantle:

Let hoarse Fitzgerald bawl
His creaking couplets in a tavern-hall. — Byron.

Fitzgerald actually sent in an address to the committee on the 31st of August 1812. It was published among the other "Genuine Rejected Addresses," in one volume, in that year. The following is an extract:—

The troubled shade of Garrick, hovering near,
Dropt on the burning pile a pitying tear.

What a pity that, like Sterne's Recording Angel, it did not succeed in blotting the fire out for ever! That failing, why not adopt Gulliver's remedy?