1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Jackson Pratt

Charles Caleb Colton, in Hypocrisy, a Satire (1812) 57-58 &n.



While we, poor leasers lagging far behind,
With eyes less keen, have still less left to find;
Where Pratt* the refuse gleaning forms the rear,
Nor leaves on Helicon one scattered ear;
Like Butler's rat, prepared for lake or land,
On verse to sink, or solid prose to stand;
Poor prating Pratt, like Priestly, all things tried,
But nought at last, not e'en a Poet died.

* An indefatigable Traveller both by Sea and Land; and a voluminous sentimental writer, both in Prose and Verse. "Of all the cants in this canting age, the cant of Hypocrisy is the worst, the cant of Criticism the most tormenting," — and we may add, the cant of Sentiment the most contemptible. Of all our Sentimental Poets, the Author of the Pleasures of Hope is certainly the best; he seems to unite Feeling with Sentiment, which is not always the case. Sterne drew torrents of tears from his female Readers, by an exquisite specimen of sentimental rant upon a Dead Ass; at the same time that it is said he had a living Mother starving, and, by him at least, neglected.