1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Anstey

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 107-08.



From an original Picture in the possession of Arthur Anstey Calvert, Esq.

We like the look of this portrait, as we like the lively writings of the author. CHRISTOPHER ANSTEY looks like a gentleman. He has a full, open, confident, examining eye, and a shrewd mouth, and looks fit to have been the author of the Bath or the Pleader's Guide. We forget whether he or his descendant wrote the second poem, (The "Pleader's Guide,") but we remember acquiring some of our principles, legal and classical, from that amusing work. We remember defending ourselves to some purpose with a quotation from Mr. Christopher Anstey, at a time when no other author stood forward in our behalf. It was at a period when we practised the gymnastic art, which goes by the name of "self-defence." Lest the reader should be pinched in an argument on that subject we will quote a line or two, which he may store in his memory they are decisive in favour of pugilism.

Now fighting's in itself an action,
That gives both parties satisfaction.
A secret joy the bruiser knows,
In giving and receiving blows,
A nameless pleasure, only tasted
By those who've thoroughly been basted.

The argument is founded, as the classical reader will recognize, upon the pleasant principles of the Epicurean philosophy.