1808
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

An Ode, as it was performed at the Pic-Nic Assembly, Tottenham Street.

Poetical Register and Repository for Fugitive Poetry for 1808-09 (1812) 368-69.

Anonymous


A burlesque allegorical ode, of sorts, in which Milton's L'Allegro is pressed into service to ridicule the affectations of Tory socialites: "Folly, bid thy train advance | In some strange distorting dance; | Deign some British Peer to shew | How to spin upon one toe, | To some Duchess deign reveal | The art of touching head with heel." The poem is printed in the "fugitive verse" portion of the Poetical Register, and likely derives from a newspaper.



Hither, sparkling Folly, come,
Tottenham-street shall be your home!
Beauty here to thee is bending,
Peers, are at thy shrine attending;
Languor studies to be gay,
Listlessness affects to play;
Vapours con the tragic part,
Drawl and spout, and stalk and start:
Luxury here, entirely thine,
By the laws pours out the wine;
By thy nod, appoints the seats,
Culls and cooks, and carves and eats.
Come, O come, and lead with thee,
Loose and dull Festivity;
Maukish Pleasure's idle train,
Pert and silly, loud and vain—
Nods and becks and foppish smiles,
And the glance that lust beguiles;
Such as lurks in Lechery's eyes
With gloting winks, while beauty sighs.
Folly, bid thy train advance
In some strange distorting dance;
Deign some British Peer to shew
How to spin upon one toe,
To some Duchess deign reveal
The art of touching head with heel.
Then bring thy foreign monster here,
With mincing step and simpering leer,
With female dress and gestures lewd,
And vice-persuasive attitude;
And ever, proof 'gainst sense, prepare
Some German or Italian air,
Married to such doggrel rhyme,
As P— or Gr—lle calls sublime:
With studied squalls and labour'd squeaking
The tip-top voice now crowing — creaking—
Breaking through the cords that tie
Th' affrighted soul of Harmony!
That Orpheus' self should own how well
Such strains had been to sing in Hell;
So suited to the Devil's ear,
They would have quite regain'd his dear!

[pp. 368-69]