1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Hawkesworth

Anonymous, "On reading the celebrated Voyages lately published by Dr. Hawkesworth" St. James's Chronicle (10 August 1773).



To traverse Regions yet unknown,
And bring fair Science Captive home,
Ease, Pleasure, Health, and Fortune risquing,
Not carelessly with B—tt frisking,
Sounds well — and yet this Thirst for Knowledge,
No gaping Emigrant from College,
Who travels Pott thro' Rome to Paris,
And preaches about Art like H—s;
E'er less improv'd to real Use,
With Prejudice a Moment's Truce.—
The Bill of Fare I lay before you,
Judge for yourselves, both Whig and Tory—
Three Quarters — With an Introduction,
To palliate Murther or Seduction,
Or any other base Excess.—
We simple Men, I must confess,
Our Latitude be what it will,
Remember this: — "Thou shalt not kill."—
Our Doctor mitigates old Moses,
And thus his Argument proposes:
"To shoot a Savage is no Crime;
Yon' tawny Smith, that he may dine,
Sweats at the Furnace; this grows pale
O'er Learning's Lamp, — to shun a Jail—
All these in Village, Town, or City,
Shorten their Days, and meet no Pity.
And if we risque our own Existence,
To purchase but a poor Subsistence,
Then why for Cannibals that Tear?"
The Reasoning is fair and clear.—
Next Providence is made a Bubble,
That never takes the smallest Trouble
To rescue e'en her chosen Flock,
From Sand bank, Shipwreck, Wave, or Rock;
The listless God of Epicurus,
Or sleepy Baal, more secures us.
By Way of Preface this we read—
To Zealand let us now proceed.
"The Sails unfurl'd, the Anchor weigh'd,
The Pennant hoisted, Sailors paid;
The Wind — but I can't box the Compass,
Nor make with Trifles such a Rumpuss.
Then comes a Storm of Hail and Thunder,
Birds fly about, that makes you wonder.
These mighty Difficulties past,
An Island we descry at last;
Where — to present you with a Picture
Of human Life, without one Stricture,
First, telling you, we set our Feet
Upon the Strand, and thought it meet
To claim the Country as our Right,
The Natives neither Black nor White.
Facetious, idle, merry Creatures,
With strange, uncouth, distorted Features.
A Nose and Mouth of great Extent,
Dark Eyes, and Shoulders rather bent.
They feed upon a Kind of Jelly,
Which makes a Prominence of Belly."
And then, what finishes the Farce, is,
The Men and Women paint their Ar—s.
Of hard Words next, a learned Roll,
To rival Littleton, or Cole,
And teach us how to bid Good Night t'y',
To any Prince of Otaheity.
Was it for this the public Voice
Had sanctify'd a Monarch's Choice?
Inscrib'd to him, let him regard,
Whom Kings employ, may Kings reward.
Yet once, e'en Envy's Self must own,
Your Learning, Wit, and Morals shone,
In Works Mankind with Pleasure read,
And fondly thought on all you said.