1749 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Fielding

Thomas Cawthorn, "To Henry Fielding, Esq. on reading his inimitable History of Tom Jones" Gentleman's Magazine 19 (August 1749) 371.



Long, thro' the mimic scenes of motly life,
Neglected Nature lost th' unequal strife;
Studious to show, in mad, fantastic shape,
Each grinning gesture of his kindred ape,
Man lost his name: while each, in artful dress,
Appear'd still something more or something less:
Virtue and vice, unmix'd, in fancy stood,
And all were vilely bad, or greatly good;
Eternal distance ever made to keep,
Exciting horrour, or promoting sleep:

Sick of her fools, great Nature broke the jest,
And Truth held out each character to test,
When Genius spoke: Let Fielding take the pen!
Lift dropt her mask, and all mankind were men.