1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Whitehead

Anonymous, "A Parody of the New Year's Ode for 1778" Public Advertiser (7 January 1778).



When tuneful Bards in lofty Verse,
Rich in Numbers, rich in Thought,
To th' attentive World rehearse
Acts which Godlike Virtues fraught,
The Opposition's vain:—
But ah! how hard to check the Smile,
When Sack inspires the Strain.

Each feeble Word, each hobbling Line
And sycophantic Period, mark
The Pen dragg'd forth by Royal Wine
From its Retirement dull and dark!
By ev'ry Jingle is declar'd
St. James's prostituted Bard.

Why, Whitehead, should thy tuneless Soul
Call forth our Passions into Play;
And, raising Heats thou should'st controul,
Graft Politics on New-Year's Day?

Could not thy torpid Spirit mark
The Change of Seasons in the Park,
Or in St. James's Yard?
Content with these, thou shouldst at home
Have staid; for cross the Seas to roam
Fits not St. James's Bard.

Quit Politics, and bow the Knee
To Dullness; that her wise Decree
Thy Odes may regulate!
Submit at once, and be forgiven;
That to her Bosom, as to Heaven,
Thy Lays may Thee translate.