1764
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Song.

St. James's Chronicle or British Evening Post (5 June 1764).

John Gilbert Cooper


Two double-quatrain stanzas signed "Gilbert Cooper, Esq." Though written in the mode of Rowe's Collin's Complaint and Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad, they take the genre in a decidedly anti-anti-realistic direction. If the poem is indeed by Cooper, the age given by the forty-year-old singer would fit, for Cooper was born in 1723. His Poems were published by Dodsley in 1764, which may be the source of this lyric.

Port Folio [Philadelphia]: "Of two songs, one is vulgar and the other vapid; but the Father's Advide, though the sentiments are sufficiently commonplace, deserves to stand in the highest reputation for the extraordinary sweetness of its numbers" 4 (1 August 1807) 74.

J. W. Croker: "John Gilbert Cooper, Esq. author of a good deal of prose and verse, but best known as the author of a Life of Socrates, and a consequent dispute with Bishop Warburton. Cooper was in person short and squab; hence Johnson's allusion to 'Punch'" ["Being told that Gilbert Cooper called him the Caliban of literature, 'Well,' said he, 'I must dub him the Punchinello'"] Boswell, Life of Johnson, ed. Croker (1831) 1:387n.

W. Davenport Adams: "John Gilbert Cooper, poet (b. 1723, d. 1769), wrote The Life of Socrates (1749); Letters Concerning Taste (1754); and Poems (1764)" Dictionary of English Literature (1878) 153.



Dear Chloe, what means this Disdain,
Which blasts each Endeavour to please?
Though Forty, I am free from all Pain;
Save Love, I am free from Disease.
No Graces my Mansion have fled,
No Muses have broken my Lyre;
The Loves frolic still round my Bed,
And Laughter is chear'd at my Fire.

To none have I ever been cold,
All Beauties in Vogue I'm among;
I've Appetite e'en for the Old,
And Spirit enough for the Young.
Believe me, sweet Girl, I speak true,
Or else put my Love to the Test;
Some others have doubted like you,
Like them do you bless and be blest.

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