1774 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Anstey

Anonymous, "To Mr Anstey, on reading his Priest Dissected" 1774 ca.; The True Briton (20 September 1798).



What! art thou GARRICK'S Nightingale,
Whose warbling gladden'd hill and dale,
Along fam'd Avon's shore?
Now heavy, lumpish, stalks along
The Ghost of thy departed Song,
On stilts of Classic lore.

For ANSTEY'S Muse I search in vain;
Vengeance and Wrath have dull'd thy strain,
And quite untun'd thy lyre.
In vain I look for ANSTEY'S jokes,
Not Tom-a-Stiles, or John-a-Nokes,
Has less poetic fire.

Thy hand the tickling dart adorn'd,
Now, to a chopping-knife 'tis tun'd,
Alas! a dart no more:
And thy THALIA no more is
(As erst) a witty, playful Miss,
But a Bath butcher's Wh—re.

Alack! the doating Keeper thou,
Who smil'st upon the Belgian Vrow,
And think'st her all perfection;
While you together hack and hew,
And beat the Parson black and blue,
Which you miscall Dissection.

Let me advise — when next you wage
Poetic War, mistake not rage
For true Parnassian fury.
A grosser error cannot be;
Of this (you need not trust to me)
DAN PHOEBUS will assure ye.

For you, and ev'ry rhyming Blade
Will find old Pegasus a jade,
When Passion blindly rides—
Anger, dear ANSTY! spoils a jest;
You've butcher'd your Dissected Priest,
Come, give us more Bath Guides.