1804 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Anstey

Anonymous, "Christopher Anstey" Port Folio [Philadelphia] 4 (17 November 1804) 367.



The celebrate author of the Bath Guide. He is an officer in the army, and published the above excellent poem in the year 1767. Upon its first appearance it was very generally read and admired, and has most signally survived the temporary reign so commonly the lot of similar productions. This may, however, be justly attributed to its playful and humorous satire, levelled rather at the group of whim and folly, than against individual eccentricity: and as the aggregate character experiences little variation in the course of thirty or forty years, so is it natural that it should long be recognized and admired, when delineated by the pencil of so skilful a master. Some years afterwards Mr. Anstey published "An Election Ball, in Poetical Letters from Mr. Inkle at Bath, to his Wife at Gloucester, with a Poetical Address to John Miller, Esq. at Batheaston Villa:" which, though inferior to the former poem, abounds with a considerable degree of wit and humour. He likewise published a Poetical Paraphrase upon the Thirteenth Chapter of the first Book of Corinthians: which serves to evince, his due estimation of his prominent talent in the first instance, and that he than succeeds best when he takes in hand subjects of a fanciful and ludicrous cast. He is also author of "The Priest Dissected," a Satire: "Ad. C. W. Bampfylde, Epistola Poetica Familiaris:" and the Farmer's Daughter, a Poetical Tale founded on fact, published in 1795, with the laudable view, "to set innocence on its guard, and to promote the cause of virtue." This unfortunate damsel had been seduced by a military officer, and was afterwards deserted by him: filled with anguish, shame, and remorse, not without some remains of love for the destroyer of her innocence, she left her father's house in search of her perfidious lover, and perished through fatigue and cold, in one of the inclement nights of the severe winter of 1794. To the elegant pen of this gentleman have also been attributed some beautiful verses, addressed to a friend, which appeared some time ago in the Bath Herald.