1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas James Mathias

Anonymous, "To the Author of the Pursuits of Literature" Gentleman's Magazine 69 (June 1799) 511.



Sir, since you tell us every book that's good
Is the mind's bread, an intellectual food,
And all good Books are easy of access,
The price of this thine volume shou'd be less.
Else may the mind, suspicious of a cheat,
Think you have mix'd potatoes with your wheat;
For, barring thus the poor man from a slice,
You sink in credit, as you rise in price.
By your own rules dishonest to yourself,
You barter fame for miserable pelf;
And, self-convicted, bear from age to age,
Your own damnation in your title page.*

* Price, eight and six pence.