1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

J. R., "Lines to the Laureate" Morning Herald (11 August 1787).



Our modern Laureat, who for pelf,
Would flatter ev'n the Devil himself,
Disturbs a Dryden's hallow'd ashes,
And without fear the poet lashes;
"And spurns his panegyric strings,
And partial homage tun'd to Kings."
What, tho' he stoop'd in venal rhymes,
To varnish o'er a Stuart's crimes;
And painted virtue on a throne,
Where vice triumphant reign'd alone;
O spare the mem'ry of the dead,
Who drew, like thee, his quill for bread;
Nor tarnish thou that sacred name,
His heir in flatt'ry, not in fame!
Oft, as on birth-days, we peruse
The sallies of thy courtly muse;
And share, among the bright display,
And other blessings of the day,
The fragrant incense Warton brings,
In honor of the best of Kings;
Enough thy blandishments appear,
To tire and cloy the satiate ear,
And prove that Flatt'ry's baneful art
Is no such alien to thy heart.
But if we own the Laureat's praise,
Less fulsome than its ancient days;
If more the portraits drawn by thee,
With their originals agree,—
Hence let the real cause be known,
'Tis not thy virtue, but their own.
New-street, Hanover Square.