1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Robinson

John Wolcot, "To Mrs. Robinson, on borrowing her Lap-Dog to paint his Likeness" Morning Post and Gazetteer (15 May 1799).



From her who sweeps the Sapphic lyre,
Come, pretty Cur, whom I admire,
A moment quit her fond embrace,
Yes, little creature, haste away,
Whate'er thy name, Bijou or Tray,
And let me paint thy mop like face.

O, tell thy mistress, if she chuse
Her idle moments to amuse
With my shock poll — instead of thine,
She's welcome, up or in her bed,
To smooth my ears, or pat my head,
And bid me on her breast recline.
Were this to happen, I shou'd be,
O CUR! a happier DOG than THEE!

MRS. ROBINSON'S ANSWER.
O! PETER, since thy sportive Muse
A PUPPY for her theme will chuse,
How envied must his race of brothers be!
How will their "mop-like" tresses flow,
How will their crops, and long ears glow,
When crown'd by Genius, PETER, and by THEE!

But thou! the Muses' watch-dog, PETER,
Who scar'st the highest with thy metre,
Thou never wou'dst a servile state survive,
Thou wou'dst not wear a puppy's chain,
But, treating bondage with disdain,
Wou'dst hope to lead where I wou'd wish to drive.

Then, PETER, boast a nobler fate,
Nor envy SHOCK'S inglorious state;
For know, the puppy species I despise.
With thee I'll wander, wake, or dream,
By Helicon's immortal stream,
Where PETER guards a passage to the skies!

But if, in sportive vein, you seek,
To paint a puppy's whisker'd cheek ,
My little fav'rite shall your levee grace—
For oft, if they are not belied,
At levees, in due pomp and pride,
The highest patronise the fawning race.

My dog has something more to boast;
He scorns the cringing-sneaking host;
And looks for lasting wreaths, by GENIUS twin'd,
Since PETER, with his magic help,
Will keep in countenance the whelp,
And prove the painter, like the puppy, KIND.