1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Cumberland

Anonymous, "On Cumberland's Battle of Hastings" General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer (21 March 1778).



Sure Cumberland deserves his bastings,
For marring thus the fight of Hastings.
Had he of bombast been bereft,
We had forgiv'n him all his theft;
For Shakespeare, Johnson, Otway, Rowe,
Won't make a less inferior show;
Nor will they miss, upon the whole,
The molted feathers he has stole:
Which but disgrace the cuckoo's wing,
Nor help the same-ton'd bird to sing.
If he'd the quill from Colman's hand,
He'd be the same dull Cumberland;
For all his works are own'd so rare,
They may be read like witch's pray'r;
Except his Odes — and they may vie,
In poesy — with Mrs. Pye.
Well might he in the Lobby stand,
And bow, and scrape, with hat in hand,
And thank each fool of town and court,
For giving him such kind support;
Conscious himself — from expectation,
That he and Play deserv'd damnation.