1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Cumberland

Touchstone, "Epigram, on the Battle of Hastings" Morning Post and Daily Advertiser (3 January 1778).



If one man steals, why not another?
A Poet, sure, may rob a BROTHER.
The rhyming race were always poor,
But now, THEY BEG FROM DOOR TO DOOR!
Shakespear, you know, has stol'n himself,
Abundance of poetic pelf
From NATURE; tho' she gave him more
Than all her eldest born before.
Poor Cumberland! a starving wight,
To pilf'ring then may claim a right;
Since GENIUS has not giv'n one farthing,
To save th' hung'ry bard from starving.
Hastings is THEFT, but do not HISS IT,
Shakespear, I'm sure, will never miss it;
And was he wak'd from dust, and SHEWN IT,
He'd die again, — before HE'D OWN IT!
Salopian Coffee-house,
Jan. 29, 1778.