1774
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

An Elegy written in Bartholomew Fair.

Public Advertiser (6 September 1774).

M.


Five elegiac quatrains, signed "M." in the manner of Gray's Elegy written in a Country Churchyard. The poem is part of the series of Gray imitations concerned with life in London, where Bartholomew Fair was held each year on the third of September. Many decades later the Fair was taken as the subject of another, more literal Gray imitation, Elegy. Written in Bartlemy Fair at five o'clock in the Morning, published in the Morning Chronicle (14 September 1812).



Dull is the Scene of antient Feats of Wit,
Where mimic Mirth its Gambols played around;
And dull the Place where many a vacant Cit
An Hour's Relief from Care and Business found.

Flockton no more shall dance his Puppet Ring,
The swagg'ring Giant fill the Room no more,
No more the Monkey on the Rope shall swing,
Nor grin portentous at the Alehouse Door.

The Round-about its Wheel no more shall ply,
(Sure Emblem of the giddy Round of Life)
Nor Andrew's Self his merry Tricks shall try,
To raise amid the Croud the curious Strife.

Old Momus' Sons, and Thespis' merry Boys
In joint Exclusion curse their wayward Doom;
"Genius, they cry, must yield to gilded Toys,
And Wit to Plumbs and Apples must give Room!"

And now, so City Magistrates ordain,
In Oysters may we spend our sober Pence,
Or eat the Sausage on th' extended Plains:—
Alas! that City Magistrates have Sense!

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