1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charlotte Smith

Ticklepitcher, "Ode to Charlotte Smith" Morning Post and Daily Advertiser (14 December 1789).



CHARLOTTE, my dear! I'm really hurt,
To see you throw about your dirt,
And give yourself such dreadful labour,
To soil and villify your neighbour.
Bless me! you hardly can be known,
When seated on your critic throne,
Attended by that worthy man
HAYLEY; and SEWARD smiling thro' her fan.

When late your Sonnets I perused,
Without a joke I was amused,
And when you said the moon at night
Was very pale, and gave a light,
And that the nightingale would sing,
I own I rather lik'd the thing.
I was as pleas'd as pleas'd could be,
To see the "Sea-bird quit the sea,"
And when you said how billows roll,
I lov'd "the mournful purpose of your soul."
And when you stood "upon a rock,
A shipwreck'd mariner," to weep,
It gave my nature such a shock,
Upon my life, I could not sleep.
To lend you succour I was willing,
And instantly subscrib'd my shilling.

But now I find you deal in satire,
It is a very different matter,
I scarcely can believe my eyes,
So wonderful is my surprise,
To think that you, so soft and tender,
Should turn out furious as the Witch of Endor.
O fye upon you, fye, my dear,
I'm sorry for it, but I fear,
That as you first took up the rod,
You may bet whipp'd yourself, by G—.
A wasp you know's a little creature,
Famous for crossness and ill nature,
On which no man a thought bestows,
Unless he catch it on his nose,
And then, perhaps, his anger springs,
He pinches it, and breaks its wings.
I, too, myself, can never bear
To hear it buzzing in the air,
Such nasty reptiles teaze and fright me,
I'd rather have a bull-dog bite me.

To analyze the matter strictly,
And scrutinize what you have done,
Methinks, as FALSTAFF says to QUICKLY,
"There's some one now has set you on."
HAYLEY, perhaps, protecting Bard!
Who works off verses by the yard,
Spinning them out from day to day,
In one unvarying, wearying lay,
Altho' no human soul can quote
A single line he ever wrote,
Because, or may I never thrive,
He is the dullest dog alive.
It must be he, upon my word,
Who made sweet CHARLOTTE so absurd;
For SEWARD would disdain such folly,
An honest, hearty, buxom Dolly!
Indeed she is the Muse for me,
Handsome, and liberal, and free,
And tho' I love her tuneful clack,
I more should lover her lips to smack.

Well, let me stop, or folks will think,
That I'm run made with pen and ink,
And am a cruel Hottentot,
Because eight children you have got,
For every SHE may crack a skull,
Who first can prove her nursery full.
Dear precious bantlings! great and small,
May G— Almighty bless them all!
I would not stain their cheeks with tears,
To live a hundred thousand years;
I only wish MAMMA to smile,
And take some drugs to cure her bile,
Then I will praise my charming fair,
Her eyes, and nose, and "raven hair,"
And I will praise her novels fine,
Her ETHELINDE, and EMMELINE,
And I will be her flatterer daily,
I'll be — JUST WHAT SHE IS TO HAYLEY.