1784
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mother Hubberd's Tale of the Fox and Ape.

Mother Hubberd's Tale of the Fox and Ape. Selected from the Works of Edmund Spenser. With the Obsolete Words Explained. With a dedication to the Right Hon. C. J. Fox, by the editor.

Edmund Spenser


A reprint of Mother Hubberds Tale, evidently intended as a fable for the times. The poem was published as a satire on Charles James Fox, though the dedication is not present in the British Library copy. It seems likely that the poems republication would be related to the essay "Mother Hubberd's Tale. A Prophecy of Spenser" which was published in the Morning Post and Daily Advertiser 1 and 14 June 1782.

Henry John Todd: "Mother Hubberds Tale must not be dismissed, without remarking the political knowledge which Spenser displays in it. Let the reader attentively peruse the poem from ver. 1119. to ver. 1224, and he will probably not deny the discernment of the poet, even if he applies his positions to the history of modern Europe. This Poem, I must add, was re-published in 1784, with a Dedication, highly satirical, to the Hon. Charles James Fox, by George Dempster, Esq. M. P." Works of Spenser (1805) 1:lxxxvii.

Critical Review: "For what purpose he [the editor] should singly select and reprint it from Spenser's works, we cannot conjecture. Some passages towards the conclusion might strike him as bearing a resemblance to our political transactions; or he might think, that from its title people would suppose it alluded to a well-known character, and buy up the impression in expectation of finding some strictures in it. We may however guess wide of the mark, and nothing but a predilection for the poem itself may have caused its publication" 58 (July 1784) 78.

William Enfield: "A neat edition, with a correct glossary" Monthly Review 71 (August 1784) 228.

English Review: "What can a Reviewer say of this child of idleness and absurdity?... If any courteous reader chuses to purchase sixty pages of such rhymes, we shall only say he must have a very peculiar taste!" 4 (December 1784) 461.

George L. Marsh: "The volume contained a satirical introduction to C. J. Fox, by George Dempster, M. P., indicating that a contemporary application of the old fable was made" "Imitation and Influence of Spenser" (1899) 40-41.

The satirical dedication is not included in the British Museum copy on microforms. This item is not to be confused with the 1715 Jacobite parody.



It was the month in which the righteous Maid,
That for disdain of sinful worlds upbraid,
Fled back to Heaven, whence she was first conceived,
Into her silver bower, the sun received;
And the hot Syrian dog on him awaiting,
After the chased lion's cruel baiting,
Corrupted had th' air with his northern breath,
And pour'd on th' earth plague, pestilence, and death.
Emongst the rest, a wicked malady
Reign'd emongst men, the many did to die,
Depriv'd of sense and ordinary reason;
That it to leeches seemed strange and geason. . . .

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