1793 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

John Wolcot, "On Alexander's Feast" The Diary, or Woodfall's Register (4 January 1793).



The following JEU D'ESPRIT was lately written by the ingenious PETER PINDAR on being asked his opinion of DRYDEN'S celebrated Ode, called ALEXANDER'S FEAST. The lively Bard desired a pen and ink, and in a few moments produced the ensuing lines, after the Ode had been recited.

Such is the song called ALEXANDER'S FEAST,
Where the great Conqueror is as great a beast,
Where TIMOTHY such stories sings and tells—
Who lulls his hero on his strumpet's lap,
To take a comfortable drunken nap,
Much like our maudlin bucks at Sadler's Wells,
And where at length the whore and drunken squire,
Reel forth to set PERSEPOLIS on fire.

Such is the subject of this famous Ode,
This masterpiece of British rhyme,
This cloud-capp'd mountain of SUBLIME,
Pointing to Immortality the road,
Which, if it be the road, great Jove I pray,
That MUSE and I may never find the way.