1800 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir James Bland Burges

Anonymous, "Mathiasiana No. IX. Matt's Epistle" The Sun (11 November 1800).



["Matt" is Thomas James Mathias, author of Pursuits of Literature.]

In reading shop of JASPER STRANGE,
As I was coming o'er the Papers,
I saw three Poets in a range
Saunt'ring and list'ning to the Scrapers.

Who these three Noddies were, d'ye mind,
In Verse I'll let you known anon,
But for my life I cannot find
A rhime to tag to either one.

So let it pass! As I drew near,
Sir JAMES, methought, was mighty civil,
But CUMBY look'd a little queer,
And BOSS was sulky as the Devil.

Oho! thought I, my Masters three,
Your Worships twig the Wit-pursuer;
Bobs! if you knew as much as me,
You'd never fear my grey-goose skewer.

So on I jogg'd, and slyly fish'd
With Blarney's bait to hook the boobies,
Zooks! let 'em gorge it, and they're dish'd;
Dammee! I'll tickle up their tobies.

And now a buzzing murmur 'gan
Thro' all the crowd — my ears they tingled—
So what did I but chose my man,
And him from out the covey singled.

I walk'd him here, I walk'd him there—
Sir JAMES — or set me down a liar;
He told me — what d'ye guess? — I swear
Just what he might have told the Crier.

And now the scurvy trick I'd play'd him,
It popp'd into my head — odd-rot-it!
But he, tho' sore I had belay'd him,
Talk'd on as if he had forgot it.

For he's good-natur'd, do him right,
He bears no malice I do think,
If spleen he has, it must be white,
When mine, God knows, is black as ink.

He told me how friend PYE and COTTLE
On good King Alfred both were riding;
So forthwith I uncork'd my bottle,
And thrust those Jockies side by side in.

Those fought it out, my hearts, quoth I,
And jowl your Epic Sculls at pleasure;
I'll dress you over bye and bye,
And paragraph you at my leisure.

He own'd King Richard, that brave bouncer,
Had stood a tugg of eighteen books;
Burst it, thought I, this Bard's a flouncer,
I scarce can keep him on my hooks.

Conscious that in a work so vast
I should find store of critic plunder,
Upon the courteous Knight I cast
My very best-made face of wonder.

Bravo! quoth I — By Og and Sihon,
Most various Sir, your book's a thumper;
You are yourself true Coeur-de-Lion,
If you can toss off such a bumper.

Something he said — I scarce know what—
For all this while my head was plotting;
As if his friends — I think 'twas that—
Had help'd him in the task of blotting.

Whereat, thought I, and prick'd my ears,
Just as an ass does at a trumpet,
Fall back, fall edge, my lusty Peers,
I'll hit that blot, and you may lump it.

Now you must know, e'er since the folks
Me for a Jew have oft mistaken,
I'm wondrous fond of hog-stye jokes,
And run my rig on pigs and bacon.

So, quick as thought — (and you shall know it,
For faith! the crotchet made me titter—)
On dunghill stretcht I feign'd the Poet,
With his twelve grunters in a litter.

By G—d! that's good, and I will swear it,
Since Parson BENSON is not by;
He must have hide of hog to bear it;
For a clean currying who but I!

If Wit can kill him, Wit shall do it,
He and his piggery shall be roasted,
'Sblood! the whole porcine herd shall rue it,
In Chronicle St. James posted.

BOSCAWEN, SOTHEBY, and PYE,
And NARES, my quondam kind Reviewer,
REEVES, ANSTEY, CUMBERLAND shall die
By poison'd shafts of sly Pursuer.

For this Sir JAMES is much belov'd,
His friends with smiles of joy receive him,
By all my flattery he's unmov'd,
And all my malice cannot grieve him.

Therefore I hold in mortal spite—
(Ask me not why; it is my whim)
Both Knights and Squires, both Squires and Knights,
Him for himself, and them for him.

I'd not annoy 'em, did they hate him,
But Good loves good, and Evil evil;
So thus I send them cumulation,
Tag, rag, and bob-tail, to the Devil.

A Tramper of the Camp am I;
I love the warfare of the Wits,
When falchions clash and javelins fly,
I gather up the broken bits.

Of these my Armory is compounded,
Patcht up and piec'd for secret use,
And when I see a Bard surrounded
With faithful friends — I stab his Muse.