1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Lisle Bowles

George Daniel, in The Modern Dunciad (1814; 1815) 21-23.



With this reply be satisfied at once,
While BOWLES exists, can satire want a dunce?
BOWLES who hath cherish'd as a costly pearl,
The horse-play, dull obscenity of CURL;
Th' accumulated trash of SMEDLEY'S page,
For why? — to vent on POPE his puny rage.
Oh, shame to genius, to himself, to all!
Let him, a courtly priest, supinely drawl!
His tedious, vapid, stiff, unmeaning prose,
While princes yawn, and lords-in-waiting dose,
But ne'er profane with dark and jealous sneer,
The strain to virtue and the muses dear.
Is it not hard, (my friend) nay doubly hard,
A sorry Critic, and more sorry Bard,
Whose jaded Pegasus 'yclept divine,
Cries out for quarter at the fourteenth line;
Should for base lucre, (oh, how vilely won!)
Complete what RALPH and DENNIS left undone?
Thus urg'd, thus prompted by the warm desire
To vindicate the genius I admire;
To add at least my humble meed of praise,
To names rever'd in BRITAIN'S brighter days;
To strip the poet of his false sublime,
(Then BOWLES, the Lord have mercy on thy rhyme!)
And shew that Critics may at times appear
In praise too cold, in censure too severe;
I take the pen — when folly met his eye,
DEMOCRITUS would laugh — and so must I.