1727 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Mitchell

William Pattison, "To Mr. Mitchell, upon his two Poetical Petitions" Miscellanea. In Two Volumes (1727) 1:142-43.



Back Scribler, to thy Caledonian Plains,
Cold as thy Genius, barren as thy Brains;
To those inhospitable Mountains shew,
A cursed chiming Itch they never knew:
Premeditated Lectures here won't do,
We never take Dictators from the Plough.
Then peaceably betimes resign thy Quill,
Scotland to British Pow'r is subject still:
While Congreve with a just Politeness warms,
While easy Pope with flowing Musick charms,
While witty Swift shall every Muse adorn,
And Dennis scourge the Fools he does not scorn,
While Philips' Voice delights the list'ning Swains,
And Steele declines the Praise his Merit gains,
While Fenton's sadly-pleasing Numbers move,
And Granville kindles up a nobler Love.

On famous Bards! Your genuine Strength infuse,
And kindly animate an Infant Muse;
A Muse who fir'd with Indignation sings,
And shrouds her Parents with her filial Wings,
So shall she rise to Honour and Delight,
Or nobly perish in her Country's Right.

Yet warm'd by British Heat, and British Lays,
Thou striv'd to turn thy Satire into Praise;
Thus Aegypt's Streams in muddy Channels run,
And ripen into Monsters by the Sun.
In vain thou'rt sanctify'd with Homer's Name,
Not Homer's Laurels shall protect thy Shame,
In mighty Pope that Greek thy Baseness knows,
And Zoilus and Homer still were Foes,
Murderers, like Thee, to an Asylum fly,
Not to show Zeal, but hide their Infamy;
And with convicted Villains mayst thou go,
Guilty of Robbery, and Murder too;
For trace thy Paths, and presently we find,
The Hand that robb'd Pack's* Garden of the Mind.
Tho' here 'twas pretty right, upon my Word,
To steal from One, who can so well afford;
But then to murder too — Oh black Design!
To make that Mortal which he made Divine?
Be Shame thy Punishment, below our Scorn—
For Britons are with noble Spirits born—
But take this timely Caution, and beware,
Nor brave a Danger which may be too near;
Lest some incens'd ULYSSES shou'd be found,
To strike the railing Dastard to the Ground.

* He stole his Thought from Major PACK'S Poem intitled, Religious Solitude. See his Miscellanies, printed for E. CURLL in the Strand.