1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas James Mathias

John Aikin?, in "Retrospect of Domestic Literature" The Monthly Magazine 7 (Supplement, 1799) 535-36.



The author of the Pursuits of Literature has again been obtruding his poetic trash on the public: his last, like his former, is a satirical poem; it is called, The Shade of Alexander Pope on the Banks of the Thames. The occasion of it is the residence of that Irish patriot, Mr. Grattan, at Twickenham, whose presence is very satirically supposed to excite the indignation of Mr. Pope's ghost: the ghost enters, therefore, and very satirically, again, asks Mr. Grattan what business he can possibly have at Twickenham? Like many other people who ask impertinent questions, the ghost waits not for an answer, but abuses Mr. Grattan for interrupting the repose and peacefulness of his shades. After having exhausted his Billingsgate, however, and seeing himself a little out of breath, he exits in a rage, and leaves Mr. Grattan where he found him. This is very severe indeed.

This satirical poem has called forth a very excellent one, entitled An Interview between the Shade of Mr. Pope and the Shade that assumed his Name. The author has here represented the "Pursuer's" Shade of Pope as a fiend in disguise, and has made the real one arise to rebuke him for his presumption.