1773
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Parody on the Laureat's Ode.

Westminster Magazine 1 (January 1773) 105-06.

Christopher Anstey


Two irregular stanzas ridicule the Laureate, William Whitehead. Whitehead's New Year's Ode (printed on the same page) begins, "Wrapt in stole of sable grain, | With storms in tempests in his train." The parody ("for the Westminster Magazine") is signed "C. A-N-Y" for Christopher Anstey, author of the popular New Bath Guide (1766).

Samuel Egerton Brydges: "Anstey, and Cambridge, and Graves, might write doggrel verses; and John Hoole, and Potter, and Murphy, and Carlyle, might translate; but I can scarcely allow them the character of poets. The Wartons, Mason, Burns, Bampfylde, Cowper, Hurdis, Darwin, Beattie, Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Smith, and Kirke White, &c. exhibit a very different picture" Censura Literaria 5 (1807) 402.

W. Davenport Adams: "Christopher Anstey, poet, (b. 1724, d. 1805). He wrote, among other works, An Election Ball, in letters from Mr. Inkle to his Wife at Gloucester; The Priest Dissected; Speculation, or a Defense of Mankind (1780); Liberality, or Memoirs of a Decayed Macaroni; The Farmer's Daughter, and The New Bath Guide (1766). His Poetical Works were published in 1808, with a Life by his son. 'I think him a real genius,' wrote Hannah More, 'in the way of wit and humour'" Dictionary of English Literature (1878) 27.



Wrapt in stole of sable grain,
With Fogs and DULLNESS in my train,
Which damp my voice, and shade my brows,
Behold an Ode — which Genius disavows!
Mark! — 'tis not my last farewell—
Every line in Dunciad's knell!
Fog and gloom shall load my mind,
So oft' by sons of Genius taught
To seek its present weight confin'd,
And to Night's goddess mark the leaden thought!
Odes like mine shall never live!
DULLNESS has no soul, and therefore can't revive.

WHITEHEAD, by George's most indulgent care
Is fix'd the leaden Laureat of the day;
Far from the classick, Heliconian air,
Where Wit and Genius dance the sprightly bay;
Where teeming Genius apes his genial powers;
Where Learning blooms, but not with look severe;
With dull importance big,
With all the majesty of wig,
Who reads by dull compulsion certain hours.
O Parnassus — Aganippe,
Let poor Billy have a sippy,
Let Kitty Clio bring the Bard a cup,
To keep his place — and keep his nonsense up!

[pp. 105-06]