1786 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

John Wolcot, "To the Rev. Thomas Warton, Poet-Laureat" Newcastle Chronicle (7 January 1786).



TOM! what the devil wilt thou say
Of our GREAT MAN, on New-year's Day?
Exhausted seems the store-house of thy brain,
Thy Muse of late so feeble grown,
And G— such trifling things has done,
That we shall have a lamentable strain.

By way of trap-doors into Heav'n,
The K— some charities hath given;
THESE in thy LYRICS thou might'st well have hinted,
But p—x on't! ev'ry gracious act,
(For fear that God might doubt the fact)
His M—y has ordered to be printed.

The story also of the Deer,
In Windsor Park (the BARD too there)
When G— so lash'd a thousand Bucks and Does,
And horse-whip'd too, among the rest,
The Windsor-Barber like a beast,
Already hath grown stale in verse and prose.

What, Thomas! nothing new to sing,
Of our sweet Sov'reign Lord the King?
Thank God, I've stumbled on a recent story;
Accept a subject for thy praise,
Sublime the theme for lyric lays,
A theme that crowns the K— with endless glory.

Not only NATURALIST, MUSICIAN,
And so forth — G— is an OPTICIAN,
A marvellous OPTICIAN let me say;
Who being told, that in the fleet,
Confin'd (I do presume for debt)
A man of Optic Science starving lay.

Inspir'd by novelty's keen rage,
He instantly dismiss'd a page,
The poor imprison'd famish'd wretch to bring;
PAGE to the gloomy prison went,
Proclaim'd his master's good intent,
And brought the artist soon before the K—g.

The K—, as usual, soon began,
To show'r his questions on the man,
As quick as light'ning, and as thick as hail;
Star'd at his works with admiration,
Call'd him an honour to the nation,
Then nobly sent him back again to jail!

Now, Thomas, is not this sublime,
Will not this deed adorn thy rhyme,
And bid thy Muse not only sing but roar;
And if for novelty she thirst,
It sure must charm — for I'll be curst,
If ever Monarch did the like before!
[From Gazeteer, 30 December 1785]