1803 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Randolph

Joseph Moser, "Randolph" European Magazine 43 (January 1803) 17.



This Poet, who was cotemporary with Ben Jonson, who survived him three years, is one of those few that Ben has celebrated, and whom it appears, according to his familiar custom, he had adopted as his son. There is in the works of Randolph a gratulatory poem addressed to Jonson upon this occasion; but it does not appear, whatever might have been his opinion, that his effusions, which are published in a small volume, and consist of Poems; Amyntas, a Pastoral; the Muses Looking-Glass, a Play; Aristippus, a Shew; and the Jealous Lovers, a Comedy; though they run through many editions in the seventeenth, were much esteemed in the eighteenth century. I once had a copy, on the blank leaves of which was written a poem by this Author, and which was (as stated in a note to it) never printed. Though the book has been lost more than thirty years, the subject, I remember, was to commemorate and deplore the effects of a dreadful fire which happened upon London Bridge the 13th of February 1632, two years before the death of the Poet. It began in the house of one Briggs, a needle maker, and consumed more than forty houses, among which was the Mitre Tavern; the fall of which, and allusions to the triple crown, are some of its principal features, and mark with considerable accuracy the spirit of the times: I can only recollect one verse of it, which is less valuable for its poetry than to shew that the violence of Peter was about to be adopted by Jack, while Martin seemed an unconcerned spectator.

Tho' some affirm the Devil did it,
That he might drink up all;
I rather think the Pope was drunk,
And let his Mitre fall.