1740 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To Mrs. Bindon at Bath.

A Collection of Poems by Several Hands. Vol. 5 [Robert Dodsley, ed.]

Sir Charles Hanbury Williams


Apollo has abandoned England for Ireland;, declaring that because poetry has been abused by the ill choice of poets laureate, in future he will retire to Ireland and only women shall write: "And lest we shou'd doubt what he said to be true, | Has begun by inspiring Sapphira and You." Edmund Spenser appears in a catalogue of poets of the former age (Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Waller). The poem is followed in Dodsley by "Mrs. Bindon's Answer" and "Sir Charles's Reply." The poem, written while Pope was still living, may first have appeared in New Foundling Hospital for Wit (1743).

Isaac Reed identifies Sapphira as "The name by which Mrs. Barber was generally known among her friends" Collection (1782) 5:168n. This would be the Irish poet Mary Barber (1690?-1757) whose Poems on Several Occasions was published in 1734. William Prideaux Courtney identifies Mrs. Bindon as "possibly the wife of David Bindon, M.P. for Ennis, who died at Limerick on 22 July, 1760" Dodsley's Collection of Poetry (1910) 51. A "Letter from Mrs. Ann Bindon, to Mr. Ralph T—sse," dated "Bath, June the 11th, 1740" was later printed in the Monthly Miscellany; it opens: "Well, here it is; now if I should not find you immediately go distracted, if you do not blow your nose in your stocking, clap your wig on your feet, break your fiddle, and repeat heroicks, then have I spread my nets in vain" 1 (March 1774) 114.

Nathan Drake: "He was the author of a variety of small poems written with ease and spirit, and which are dispersed through the volumes of Dodsley and other collectors" Essays Illustrative of the Rambler (1809-10) 2:311.

J. W. Croker: "We should have thought a new edition of his works not only pardonable, but laudable and useful, if it had been made the opportunity of separating his better from his worse productions, and consigning the latter to obscurity and oblivion. It may not be even now too late. Some of Sir Charles's verses must live; they are not merely witty and gay, but they are the best examples of a particular class of poetry, and are not without their importance in the history of social manners and political parties. We wish that they were collected into a volume, which one could open without being shocked by the juxta-position of the horrors to which we have alluded" Quarterly Review 28 (October 1822) 49-50.

W. Davenport Adams: "Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, diplomatist and poet (b. 1709, d. 1759), wrote Poems (1763) and Odes (1775), which were republished in his Works, printed 'from the originals,' with notes by Horace Walpole, in 1822" Dictionary of English Literature (1878) 691.

Edmund Gosse: "Among all the butterflies of song, Sir Charles Hanbury Williams (1709-1759) takes the place of a wasp, if not of a veritable hornet. He was the Pasquin of his age, and a master of violent stinging invective in hard verse. In his own age no one dared to collect the savage lyrics of Williams, which were first presented to the world in 1822" History of Eighteenth-Century Literature (1889) 229.

Oliver Elton: "There is no lack of light and rasping satire, whether political, or personal, or simply descriptive of manners. The political kind is best represented by Sir Charles Hanbury Williams (1709-1759), once a light skirmisher in the Opposition ranks, and latterly an active but not very successful diplomatist" Survey of English Literature 1730-1780 (1928) 2:28.

Hoxie Neale Fairchild: "Thomas Carlyle described the experience of reading the London, 1822, edition of the Works of Sir Charles Hanbury Williams as 'swimming in the slop-pails of an extinct generation'; but Horace Walpole regarded him as a model of the social graces, and Burke referred to him as 'the polished courtier, the votary of wit and pleasure" Religious Trends in English Verse (1942) 2:24.



Apollo of old on Britannia did smile,
And Delphi forsook for the sake of this isle,
Around him he lavishly scatter'd his lays,
And in every wilderness planted his bays;
Then Chaucer and Spenser harmonious were heard,
Then Shakespear, and Milton, and Waller appear'd,
And Dryden, whose brows by Apollo were crown'd,
As he sung in such strains as the God might have own'd:
But now, since the laurel is given of late
To Cibber, to Eusden, to Shadwell and Tate,
Apollo hath quitted the isle he once lov'd,
And his harp and his bays to Hibernia remov'd;
He vows and he swears he'll inspire us no more,
And has put out Pope's fires which he kindled before;
And further he says, men no longer shall boast
A science their slight and ill treatment hath lost;
But that women alone for the future shall write;
And who can resist, when they doubly delight?
And lest we shou'd doubt what he said to be true,
Has begun by inspiring Sapphira and You.

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