1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Colman the Younger

Leigh Hunt, in Feast of the Poets (1814) 42-43n.



'Twas lucky for Colman he wasn't there too,
For his pranks would have certainly met with their due,—
And Sheridan's also, that finish'd old trickster;—
But one was in prison, and both were in liquor.

It cannot be supposed, especially in my present situation, that I should object to a man on the mere ground of his being circumscribed in his movements; but it is pretty well known, I believe, that it is not plain-dealing which sent Mr. Colman to prison, nor any very great care for his honour which keeps him there. These are matters, however, upon which I am loth to touch, and therefore dismiss them. — The pertinacious ribaldry of Mr. Colman, and his affectation of regarding it's reprovers as hypocrites, — things which look more like the robust ignorance of a vulgar young rake, than the proceedings of even an old man of the world who is approaching his grave, — have met with their just reprobation from every reader of common sense. The truth is, that Mr. Colman the Younger, as he calls himself, has been prodigiously overrated in his time, partly perhaps from his real superiority to the Dibdins and Reynoldes as a writer of huge farces and partly from the applauses of a set of interested actors and gratuitous playwrights, whom he has helped to spoil in return; so that it really seems to be half vanity as well as sottishness, that persuades him he has a right to talk as he pleases, and to make us acquainted with this obscene dotage of his over his cups.