1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Capell

George Hardinge, "Chalmeriana No. VI. Capell's Ghost. A Parody" Morning Chronicle (8 October 1799).



To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle.
Inner Temple, Oct. 4.
SIR
... The Ghost of CAPELL appears to congratulate Edmund Malone, Esq. on his victory over [William Henry] IRELAND, and London GEORGE [Chalmers]; but seems to think that though Shakspeare wanted no vindication, Capell does. Besides, Ghosts and Shades are all the fashion now." — " So they have been from the time of Homer, my friend Jasper, and always will be, when they are called up for a good purpose, to serve our country, and the cause of virtue, or to inflict righteous vengeance against public delinquents." — "Very true, Mr. Owen; but in this Parody here is fresh water instead of salt, and unhappily a man may be drowned in a river, as well as in the South Sea." — "You're very profound in your remarks, Jasper: Well, then, I will agree to substitute Stratford for Porto Bello, and Avon for the Pacific, though I cannot say it has deserved that name lately." — I then read the Parody, and approved it much, on which Jasper said; "Will you have any notes to it?" — "No, no, Jasper, it will be understood plain enough by every sailor in that fleet."
I am, yours truly,
OWEN, JUNIOR.

CAPELL'S GHOST.
A PARODY.
(The original M.S. is signed W. G. with this Motto: "In recluctantes Dracones." JASPER HARGRAVE.)


As near honoured STRATFORD lying,
Fast by Avon's swelling Flood,
At Midnight with streamers flying,
SHAKSPEARE'S gallant Navy rode;
There while EDMUND sate all glorious
From false IRELAND'S late defeat,
And the Critic crews victorious
Drank success to every sheet:

On a sudden strangely sounding,
Dubious notes and yells were heard,
Grammar, Sense, and Points confounding,
A sad troop of Clerks appear'd;
All in spotted Night Gowns shrowded,
Which in life for Coats they wore,
And with looks by reading clouded,
Frown'd on the reviewing shore.

On them gleam'd the Moon's wan lustre,
When the shade of CAPELL bold
His black bands was seen to muster,
Rising from their cases old.
O'er the glimmering strains he hied him,
Where THE STEEVENS* rear'd her sail,
With three hundred Clerks beside him,
And in groans old EDMUND hail:

"Heed, oh heed my fatal story,
I am Capell's injured Ghost!
You who now have purchased glory,
Near the place where I was lost.
Though in CHALMERS' leaden ruin
You now triumph free from fears,
When you think of my undoing,
You must mix your joy with tears.

Mark the forms by William painted,
Ghastly o'er the harrowing scene,
Envy wan with colours tainted,
And Detraction's sculking mien.
Mark the passions foul and horrid,
Low'ring o'er the blasted Heath;
Hecate hides her Son's black forehead
At the scoundrel tale beneath.

I, by Learning's train attended,
Treasures hid first brought to light,
And from none my stores defended
Who for Shakspeare burn'd to fight.
Oh, that from such friends' caresses,
I had turn'd me with disdain,
Nor had felt the keen distresses,
Stung by all that serpent train.

Rival Scholars I ne'er dreaded,
But in twenty years had done,
What thou, Edmund, little heeded
Hast achiev'd in two alone.
Then the shelves of Cadell never
Had my foul dishonour seen,
Nor Contempt the sad receiver
Of my SHAKSPEARE'S SCHOOL had been.

Warburton and Pope dismaying,
And their blunders bringing home,
Though condemn'd to Satire's flaying,
I had met a Tibbald's doom;
To have fallen, Sam Johnson crying,
He has played a Scholar's part;
Had been better far than dying,
Struck by cowards to the heart.

Unrepining at such glory,
Thy successful toil I hail,
Men will feel my cruel story,
And let CAPELL'S wrongs prevail.
Doom'd in Slander's clime to languish,
Days and nights consumed in vain,
Worn by treachery and anguish,
Not in open battle slain.

Hence with all my Clerks attending,
From their parchment tombs below,
Through their office-dust ascending,
Here I feed my constant woe;
Here the Commentators viewing.
I recall my shameful doom,
And my primal notes renewing,
Wander through the letter'd gloom.

O'er MY SCHOOL for ever mourning,
Shall I roam depriv'd of rest,
If to Avon's banks returning,
You neglect my just request;
After your dull foe subduing,
When your Stratford friends you see,
Think on Vengeance for my ruin,
And for SHAKSPEARE sham'd in me.

* The Admiral's Ship.