1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Wolcot

Lawrence Hynes Halloran, "To Peter Pindar, on his Nil Admirari; an attack on the Bishop of London and Miss Hannah More" Battle of Trafalgar (1806) 116-18.



Offspring of Momus! born of jaundic'd spleen,
Beneath the Machineel's empoisoning dews;
Whose Satires, pointed by the jest obscene,
Abuse, and lies, and ribaldry diffuse;

Whose paltry rhimes while puisne Critics praise,
And low buffoonery genuine wit misname;
The Dupe of Pride usurps the Poet's bays,
And deems th' applause of fools, the meed of fame.

A Pindar, Thou! — As well might we compare
The royal lion to the sportive kid;
A glimm'ring taper to the sun's broad glare,
A pigmy nine-pin to a pyramid!

The Theban Eagle soaring to the sun,
With eye undazzled view'd his mid-day beams;
You, owl-like, Virtue's milder radiance shun,
And, wrapt in darkness, pour your hateful screams.

He, true to merit, eterniz'd the names
Of god-like Heroes in immortal strains;
Your doggrel verse the brightest worth defames,
And fouls the purest streams with Envy's stains.

The bright effusions of his Muse sublime,
While Taste and Genius live, shall ne'er expire;
The sports of malice, thy malignant rhyme,
With infamy shall die before their Sire.

Thou, like the miscreant Prototype of yore,
Thersites, — chusest for thy Satire's theme,
The wise, the good — a Porteus, or a More,
But sov'reign scandal thy delight supreme!

Unhallow'd Wretch! when thy detested name,
When all the odious libels Malice rais'd,
Shall be forgotten, or but live to Shame,
And thoughtless Folly blushes to have prais'd;

Their works shall please, instruct, reform mankind;
Their genuine worth, and pure unspotted lives,
Shall leave that just, that honest Fame behind,
Which Art's most lasting monuments survives!

And Thou! if e'er Reflection intervene,
If Grace e'er shed her influence on thy soul;
Anticipate the last, sad, awful, scene,
When shuddering Nature hastens to her goal.

Think, then, the wrongs by patient merit borne,
Shall wring Contrition's agonizing sigh;
And the vain wish, like those whom now you scorn,
With Virtue to have liv'd, in peace to die!

Then while, as all their injuries recur,
You wish each now applauded line unwrit,
Your conscious judgment shall too late prefer
The humblest Virtue to the proudest Wit.