1786 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Wolcot

Anonymous, "Verses, by Way of a Puff; addressed to Peter Pindar" Morning Herald (28 April 1786).



Hail, Peter Pindar! true to Satire's laws,
Nor fear the Critic's frown, nor court applause;
Hail, Peter Pindar! thine the glorious task,
To pluck from folly's face, fair friendship's mask.
To vindicate old Johnson's murdered fame,
Whilst gossip Boswell trembles at thy name;
How do we laugh to hear the lisping Piozzi,
Prattle alternate nothing with her Bozzi!
Or, when in earlier times, thy lyric lays,
With mingled irony, have scatter'd praise;
O'er arts and artists, by the fostering wing,
Of royal favor nursed, nor spared the king.
How have we laughed — Gods, could a paltry louse,
A monarch's soul to fiercest transport rouse!
Yet, quit, my friend, this barren road of fools;
Of flatt'ring coxcombs, and dependent tools;
Ah, do not thus, thy vigorous thoughts confine,
For nobler heights, sublimer flights be thine;
Be thou — what Churchill was — with virtuous rage,
Lash the bold vice of an abandoned age.—
Indignant, rough, let Satire's torrent roll,
Bear down the base, o'erwhelm the guilty soul:
Enough of artists, kings, and little men,
Heaven and thy country now demand thy pen.
Temple, April 24.