1761 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Smart

Gentle Susan, "To Mrs. Midnight, on her Re-appearance to the World" Public Ledger 2 (3 July 1761) 629.



What, Mother Midnight come again, — egad!
The bard, the critic — all mankind are glad.
When wit no more could furnish aught that's new,
And the press fear'd a famine would ensue;
'Twas kindly done your humour to resume,
To fill your inkhorn, and to nibb your plume.
Do try to reconcile the warring wits,
And bid satiric ** mind his hits.
What shame that men of parts should thus descend,
And for an ill-tim'd banter lose a friend!
His recantation bid him quickly make,
Nor injure others for false humour's sake.
Tho' Lord John Toss, and Messieurs Bob Nankeen
And Viscount Dupe should burst with mutual spleen;
Tho' States with States eternal war should wage,
And beaux with belles in warm disputes engage
Methinks the Bards should unconcerned sit,
Nor each at each direct the shaft of wit.
Try what thou can'st — thou good Old Woman, do;
By none they'll learn, unless they're taught by you.