1777 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Whitehead

Anonymous, "A Parody of the New Year's Ode for 1777" Public Advertiser (4 January 1777).



Again imperial Winter's Sway,
The Laureat bids his Ode display;
Throws o'er his torpid Brains his icy Bar,
And makes him sing of hostile Lakes and War.
O may it ne'er revive! — Ye Kings,
Whose Bounty gives the But of Sack,
For which our Bays-crown'd Bard like Colley sings,
Lay not that Burthen on his Back.

Enough, enough of New Year Odes we've known,
O, Whitehead, Laureat of these Northern Climes;
For you we heave the Kindred Groan,
We pity your Misfortune and your Rhimes.
Stop, stop th' exhausted Verse,
And other Strains rehearse;
Or rather hear a Parent's dear Request,
For Dullness longs to sleep, and clasp thee to her Breast.

Some Change we do require — some Form
Ideal that may float on Fancy's Sky.
Let Genius break the drowsy Charm,
And glance from Earth to Heav'n with Eagle Eye:
For not on New Year Odes alone
Did Poetry e'er fix her Throne.
There Dullness undisturb'd her Rule maintains,
Can Poetry be found where that cold Tyrant reigns?

Then let thy dismal Ditties henceforth cease;
Drink Sack, and wear the Bays in Peace.
Thus all thy Nonsense ill express'd
Will slumber in eternal Rest,
And Folly's heedless Sons no more
Will gape at what they've read before;
But all lie buried in Oblivion's Flood,
For thy great Comfort and the Public Good.