1735 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Walter Harte

Anonymous, "To the Author of the Epistle to the Author of the Essay upon Reason" Grub-Street Journal (26 June 1735).



O! have you not heard
Of a dainty fine bard,
Whose labours of sense never favour?
But of sense there's no need;
Those lines must succeed,
Which boast of a good living a flavour.

In building great RALPH,
Or painting, not half
His equal appears, as they tell ye:
But most are agreed,
His hints all proceed
From his bon gout in — pamp'ring the belly.

Of learning and wit,
In the hot scribling fit,
None e'er cou'd a symptom discover:
His kitchen and vault
Supply ev'ry thought,
And produce both a poet and lover.

To wenches and sense
He makes a pretence,
As some folks assert — never doubt 'em;
To his shame tho' in troth,
He meddles with both,
Ne'er enjoying but — blund'ring about 'em.

Ah! sweet master HARTE,
Take it all in good part,
Tho' he scribles and rails, without reason;
Sometimes, when he dines,
The fume of his wines
Make him against wit to talk treason.

Water-gruel! — ye gods!
And clean straw — yet 'tis odds,
That they never reduce him to thinking:
He has ta'en so much pains,
To debauch all the brains
Nature gave him — by eating and drinking.

Wou'd his vain flimsiness
Never trouble the press,
He might scribble, sell wine, as his trade is;
Read his verses to fools,
Make 'em grin whilst tea cools,
And sing soft lullabys to the ladies.

For HARTE'S answer he hopes:
But true wit never copes
With rank folly. There's none in the whole land,
Besides my own self,
To this poor tiny elf,
To his Oliver wou'd give a Rowland.