1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmond Malone

Anonymous, "Ode, addressed to E—d M—e, Esq; on his persuading to examine the learned and unanswerable Arguments urged by Jacob Bryant, Esq., and the Rev. Dr. Milles" Public Advertiser (8 June 1782).



Why, E—D, would you rashly thus
Attack the Historian of old CHUS!
A mighty Foe defy!
Bryant, whose learned Lore profound
Shows how the Flood dissolv'd the Ground,
And when the Mud grew dry.

He paints the Woes of the old Ark,
How Men and Beasts shut in the Dark,
For Light alone can wish;
And hence the shows, with Semblance meet
How Noah, Duck-like, got Web-feet,
And was the first Man-fish.

He proves, tho' doubting Walpole carp,
How Tubal's Teeth grip'd the Jews-harp,
And by a lucky Stroke
A Tune divine from Anvils drew;
The Swains and Maids to hear him flew,
And danc'd to the Black Joke.

He tells, why Men are brown or fair,
Why Blacks have lank or woolly Hair;
No Paradox he'll sham:—
He lauds the Golden Cuthie Age,
Jephson can trace from Japhet Sage,
Lord Bacon's Line from HAM.

With holy Zeal, wise Bryant, burn,
To sacred Themes your Genius turn;—
You can alone explain
And show to old Monbodd's Conviction,
(Though sceptic Gibbon think it Fiction)
The Outangs sprung from Cain.

In Etymons profoundly skill'd,
On this firm Base your System build,
No Critic finds you tripping;
Great Things, you know, from small arise,
Newton's Attraction rules the Skies,
The Hint — a falling Pippin.

Greek Sophs and Gypsies still deride,
And show them swell'd by human Pride,
With Wind puff'd like a Bladder;
Who reads your Works can ne'er refuse
To trace all Science to the Jews,
And mount on Jacob's Ladder.

M—e, you're petulant and vain,
Shakspeare has turn'd your giddy Brain,
And Jonson scarce can cure you;
You'll live an Exile from his Wit,
No more your Notes will be admit,
Nor Steevens now endure you.

Young Chatterton in vain you try,
To prove throughout "a living Lie,"
In Verse and Prose a Feign-all;
Since, "though he walk'd the Bristol Green,
And ey'd the Girls with roguish Mien,"
Milles says, "he ne'er was venal."

Proceed, sagacious Dean, and prove
Venality and wanton Love
The same, — so nicely pair 'em;
So Worsley's vagrant Sports no more
Shall tempt chaste Wives to call her Whore,
And she — be pure as SARUM.

The Dame your Kindness to requite,
You and old Bryant shall invite
To an auncyent Feast and Dainty;
With Viper-Broth shall fill your Plates,
Marrow, Eringoes, Quinces, Dates,
And Sparrows Brains in plenty.

A Hart of Greece shall load the Board,
Salacious Food for Dame or Lord,
But Capons she can't bear;—
And Bryant sage, the Feast to grace,
His Knife ROWLANA shall uncase
With Mythologick Air.

Pindar's great Rival, Greene shall quit
His Malt to aid the Flow of Wit,
And add his Strictures clever;
Rome's Classic Band to this shall yield,
Tyb Gorge and Canynge keep the Field,
And Rowley live for ever.