1776 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Anstey

E. H., "On a late Publication at Bath" St. James's Chronicle (2 July 1776).



Says William to Thomas, pray who is this Bard,
That has spent so much Money, and labour'd so hard
To publish these Letters about our Election?
A Proof, I suppose, of his Love and Affection.
Quoth Thomas, 'tis he that the Gentry supply'd
Some few Years ago with an excellent Guide;
But their Praises (tho' just) made the Poet so vain,
That good People agree it disorder'd his Brain;
For since he has publish'd a horrible Thing,
And abus'd a poor Gentleman's Eyes, Nose, and Chin;
But when all came to all, the poor Man he abused,
Made it plainly appear he was falsely accused;
But instead of pursuing this W— with a Rod,
He meekly reply'd — like a Servant of God.
Here Tom was with such Admiration possess'd,
That he no longer heeded his Friend Will's Request,
But in Words such as follows, his Hero address'd:
Oh Regulus! may Heaven thy Virtue reward
Thy patient Endurance of this rhyming Bard;
And while that this Poet with Myrtle is crown'd,
May an unfading Garland thy Temples surround.
To you, as the only Physician who can
Restore to his Senses this bewilder'd Man;
Who before, when this Poet was sadly possess'd,
With one potent Prescription compos'd him to Rest.
For the Good of Mankind your Assistance bestow,
To exorcise this Fiend to the Regions below;
For such horrid, such vulgar, such monstrous Conceits
Ne'er enter'd the Mind of a Man in his Wits.
If his Letters you'd read, I need not explain
The shocking distempered State of his Brain;
O then haste to relieve him from this wretched State,
For his own, for the Town's, for his Family's Sake.
Bath, Feb. 4.