1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Maginn

John Wilson, in Blackwood's Magazine (March 1823) 284-85.



ODOHERTY. I write politics in the Quarterly — Belles Lettres sometimes for the Edinburgh; ditto, for the Monthly Review, (particularly the Supplemental Numbers about foreign books.) Divinity for the British Critic — these are pretty regular jobs — but I also favor now and then Colburn, Constable, Waught, &c. in their Magazines. In point of fact, I write for this or that periodical, according to the state of my stomach or spirits, (which is the same thing,) when I sit down. Am I flat — I tip my Grandmother a bit of prose. Am I dunned into sourness — I cut up some deistical fellow for the Quarterly. Am I yellow about the chops — do I sport what Crabbe calls

The cool contemptuous smile
Of clever persons overcharged with bile;

Why, then there's nothing for it but stirring up the fire, drawing a cork, and Ebonizing — "ansi va le monde!"

NORTH. So, Principle, Mr. Odoherty, is entirely laid out of view?

ODOHERTY. Not at all, not for the Bank of England, my dear fellow. But what has Principle to do here? no more than Principal Baird, caricatures of the King for Hone, and those of the Queen for the other party, and who thought the less of either of him or his caricatures? Are a man's five fingers not his own property?

NORTH. "Dans sa peau mourra le Reynard." So you seriously think yourself entitled to play Whig one day and Tory the next.

ODOHERTY. "Tros Tyriusque mihi nullo discrimine agetur"—

NORTH. You talk "en Suisse."

ODOHERTY. Ay, and as you know to your cost, old boy. "Point d'argent, point de Suisse!"

HOGG. I dinna follow you vera weel, but I'm feared you're making a very shameful story of yourself, Captain Odoherty.

NORTH (aside to Hogg.) My dear Corydon — he's only bamming us, I believe.