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And butting all he meets, with awkward pains,
"ON MR. GIFFORD'S MOTTO.
"The following SPIRITED CHASTISEMENT of the vulgar ignorance and malignity in question was sent on Thursday night-but by an accidental error in one of our clerks, or in the servant delivering the copy at the office, it was unfortunately mislaid!"
Why this is as it should be;- the gods take care of Cato! Who sees not that they interfered, and by conveying the copy out of the compositor's way, procured the author of the Mæviad two comfortable nights! But to the spirited chastisement.'
'Nor wool the pig, nor milk the bull produces.' The profundity of the last observation, by-the-by, proves Mr. Parsons to be an accurate observer of nature: and if the three Irishmen who went nine miles to suck a bull, and came back a-dry, had fortunately had the honour of his acquaintance, we should probably have heard nothing of their far-famed expedition
Nor wool the pig, nor milk the bull produces,
For boars, pardie! have tusks, and bulls have horns.'
For from that hour scarcely a week, or indeed a day, has elapsed, in which Mr. Parsons has not made himself ridiculous by threatening me in the Telegraph, Oracle, World, &c., with those formidable nonentities.
Well and wisely singeth the poet, non unus mentes agitat furor: yet while I give an involuntary smile to the oddity of Mr. Parsons' disease, I cannot but lament that his friends, (and a gentleman who is said to belong to more clubs than Sir Watkin Lewes must need have friends,) I cannot, I say, but lament, that on the first appearance of these knobs, these 'excrescences,' as I call them, his friends did not have him cut for the simples!
LO, DELLA CRUSCA!
'O thon, to whom superior worth's allied, Thy country's honour, and the muses' pride-' So says Laura Maria
Et solem quis dicere falsum
Of this poem no reader (provided he can read) is at this time ignorant; but as there are various opinions concern. ing it, and as I do not choose, perhaps, to dispute with a lady of Mrs. Robinson's critical abilities, I shall select a few passages from it, and leave the world to judge how truly its author is said to be
"Gifted with the sacred lyre,
Whose sounds can more than mortal thoughts inspire." This supernatural effort of genius, then, is chiefly distinguished by three very prominent features.-Downright nonsense. Downright frigidity. Downright doggrel.Of each of these as the instances occur.
"Hang o'er his eye the gossamery tear. Wreathe round her airy harp the timorous joy.
Abortive thoughts, that right and wrong confound,
The BARDSteps forth, in birth-day splendour drest,
A roll inscribed "THE WREATH OF LIBERTY."
And now 'tis silence all. "GENIUS OR MUSE"-
Recumbent eve rock the reposing tide. A web-work of despair, a mass of woes. And o'er my lids the scalding tumour roll." "TUMOUR, a morbid swelling."-Johnson. An excellent thing to roll over an eye, especially if it happen, as in the present case, to be "scalding."
Indeed she says a great deal more; but as I do not found in the compass of half a dozen pages. understand it, I forbear to lengthen my quotation.
Innumerable odes, sonnets, &c. published from time to time in the daily papers, have justly procured this gentleman the reputation of the first poet of the age: but the performance which called forth the high-sounding panegyric above-mentioned is a philosophical rhapsody in praise of the French revolution, called the "Wreath of Liberty."
Their perish'd, proudest pageantry unfold."
But the bare boast of barren heraldry."
Showers her shafts of silver o'er the scene.
To these add," moody monarchs, turgid tyrant, pampered
I popes, radiant rivers, cooling cataracts, lazy Loires, (of which, by-the-by, there are none,) gay Garonnes, gloomy glass, mingling murder, dauntless day, lettered lightnings, delicious dilatings, sinking sorrows, blissful blessings, rich reasonings, meliorating mercies, vicious venalities, sublunary suns, dewy vapours damp, that sweep the silent swamp;" and a world of others, to be
"In phosphor blaze of genealogic line." N. B. Written to "the turning of a brazen candlestick." "O better were it ever to be lost
In blank negation's sea, than reach the coast." "Should the zeal of Parliament be empty words." "Doom for a breath A hundred reasoning hecatombs to death."
A hecatomb is a sacrifice of a hundred head of oxen. Where did this gentleman hear of their reasoning? "A while I'll ruminate on time and fate;
And the most probable event of things"-
And Nature dictates-every thing that's thine."
See the commencement of the Wreath of Liberty, where our great poet, with a dexterity peculiar to himself, has contrived to fill several quarto pages without a single idea.
A wild delirium round th' assembly flies;
Such transitory fame as fools can give?
"But why, (thou say'st,) why am I learn'd, why fraught
With all the priest and all the sage have taught,
And broke thy rest for THIS, for THIS alone?
F. And is it nothing, then, to hear our name
The sober verdict found by taste and sense:
*At this late hour-I learn from Della Crusca's lamentations, that he is declined into the vale of years; that the women say to him, as they formerly said to Anacreon, yɛpwv εt, and that Love, about two years since,
"Tore his name from his bright page, And gave it to approaching age."
+ Recounts the wayward fate, &c.-In the INTERVIEW, see the British Album, the lover, finding his mistress inexorable, comforts himself, and justifies her, by boasting how well he can play the fool. And never did Don Quixote exhibit half so many extravagant tricks in the Sierra Morena, for the beaux yeux of his dulcinea, as our distracted amoroso threatens to perform for the no less beautiful ones of Anna Matilda.
"Yes, I will prove that I deserve my fate,
Was born for anguish, and was formed for hate; With such transcendent wo will breathe my sigh, That envying fiends shall think it ecstacy," &c.
And are not now the author's ashes blest?
Is praise an evil? Is there to be found
P. With 'Squire Jerningham descend To pastry cooks and moths, " and there an end!" O thou, who deign'st this homely scene to share, Thou know'st, when chance (though this indeed be rare)*
With random gleams of wit has graced my lays, Thou know'st too well how I have relish'd praise.
Not mine the soul which pants not after fame :-Ambitious of a poet's envied name,
I haunt the sacred fount, athirst, to prove
Mine eye has glisten'd, and my check has glow'd,
Yet, when I prostitute the lyre to gain
And tear the strings indignant from my hand!
*Thou know'st, when chance, &c.-To see how a Cruscan can blunder! Mr. Parsons thus politely con ments on this unfortunate hemistich:
"Thou lowest of the imitating race,
Thou imp of satire, and thou foul disgrace;
Who callest each coarse phrase a lucky hit," &c. Alas! no: But this is of a piece with his qui-pro-quon the preface of the Mæviad-where, on my saying that I had laid the poem aside for two years, he exultingly exclaims, "Soh! it was two years in hand, then!"
Mr. Parsons is highly celebrated, I am told, for his skill in driving a bargain: it is to be presumed that he does it with his spectacles on.-But, indeed, he began with a blunder:-if he had read my motto carefully, he must have seen that I never taxed him with keeping a bull for his own milking: no; it was the infatuated man who looked for sense in Mr. Parsons' skull that was charged with this solecism in economics. And yet the bare belief of it produced the metamorphosis which I have already noticed, and which his friends have not yet ceased to deplore.
+ Morton's catchword. WONDERFUL is the profundity of the bathos! I thought that O'Keefe had reached the bottom of it; but, as uncle Bowling says, I thought a d-n'd lie; for Holcroft, Reynolds, and Morton have sunk beneath him. They have happily found
In the lowest deep a lower still,
and persevere in exploring it with an emulation which does them honour.
And Holcroft's Shug-lane cant, and Merry's Moor- That e'en the guilty at their sufferings smile, fields whine ?t
And bless the lancet, though they bleed the while.
Skill'd in one useful science, at the least,
The great man comes and spreads a sumptuous feast:
Then, when his guests behold the prize at stake,
"If comedy be yours, the searching strain Blends such sweet pleasure with corrective pain,
And ask no culture but what Byshe supplies! cry-Happier the bards, who, write whate'er they will, Find gentle readers to admire them still!
+ Merry's Moorfields whine.-In a most wretched rhapsody of incomprehensible nonsense, addressed by this gentleman to Mrs. Robinson, which she, in her valuable poems, (page 100,) calls a charming composition, abounding in lines of exquisite beauty, is the following
Conjure up demons from the main, Storms upon storms indignant heap, Bid ocean howl, and nature weep, Till the Creator blush to see How horrible his world can be: While I will glory to blaspheme, And make the joys of hell my theme." The reader, perhaps, wonders what dreadful event gave birth to these fearful imprecations. As far as I can collect from the poem, it was the momentary refusal of the aforesaid Mrs. Robinson-to open her eyes! Surely, it is most devoutly to be wished that these poor creatures would recollect, amidst their frigid ravings and commonplace extravagances, that excellent maxim of POPE
If tragedy, th' impassion'd numbers flow,
With such a liquid lapse, that they betray
* And Holcroft's Shug-lane cant. This is a poor stupid wretch, to whom infidelity and disloyalty have given a momentary notoriety, which has imposed upon the oscitancy of the managers, and opened the theatre to two or three of his grovelling and senseless productions.
Will future ages believe that this facetious triumvirate should think nothing more to be necessary to the construction of a play, than an eternal repetition of some contemptible vulgarity, such as "That's your sort!" "Hey, damme !" What's to pay ?" "Keep moving!" &c. They will; for they will have blockheads of their own, who will found their claims to celebrity on similar follies. What, however, they will never credit is, that these dri--Album, vol. ii. vellings of idiotism, these catchwords, should actually preserve their respective authors from being hooted off the stage. No, they will not believe that an English audience could be so besotted, so brutified, as to receive such senseless exclamations with bursts of laughter, with peals of applause. I cannot believe it myself, though I have witnessed it. Haud credo-if I may reverse the good father's position-haud credo, quia possibile est.
Persist, by nature, reason, taste unawed;
Sunk in acrostics, riddles, roundelays,
Happy the soil, where bards like mushrooms
Some love the verse that like Maria's flows,
* E'en Bertie, &c.-For Bertie, (Greathead, I think they call him,) see the Mæviad.
† Where airy lays, &c.
"Was it the shuttle of the morn
In thousand rich enamell'd dyes,
MIT YENDA. This is Mr. Tim, alias Mr. Timothy Adney, a most pertinacious gentleman, who makes a conspicuous figure in the daily papers under the ingenious signature above cited; it being, as the reader already sees, his own name read backward. "Gentle dulness ever loves a joke!"
Of his prodigious labours I have nothing by me but the following stanza, taken from what he calls his Poor Man:
Reward the bounty of your generous hand,
Your head each night in comfort shall be laid, And plenty smile throughout your fertile land, While I do hasten to the silent grave."
"Good morrow, my worthy masters and mistresses all, and a merry Christmas to you!"
I have been guilty of a misnomer. Mr. Adney has politely informed me, since the above was written, that his Christian name is not Timothy, but Thomas. The anagram in question, therefore, must be MOT YENDA, omitting the H, euphonia gratia. I am happy in an opportu nity of doing justice to so correct a gentleman, and I pray him to continue his valuable lucubrations.
§ TONY PASQUIN.-I have too much respect for my reader, to affront him with any specimens of this man's poetry, at once licentious and dull beyond example: at the same time I cannot resist the temptation of presenting him with the following stanzas, written by a friend of mine, and sufficiently illustrative of the character in question:
Others, like Kemble, on black-letter pore,
And live upon a whilome for a week.
And can we, when such mope-eyed dolts are And call for Mandeville, to ease my head.
O for the good old times! WHEN all was new,
By thoughtless fashion on the throne of taste-
Lo! Beaufoy* tells of Afric's barren sand, In all the flowery phrase of fairy land :
TO ANTHONY PASQUIN, ESQ. "Why dost thou tack, most simple Anthony,
The name of Pasquin to thy ribald strains? Is it a fetch of wit, to let us see,
It has been represented to me, that I should do well to avoid all mention of this man, from a consideration, that one so lost to every sense of decency and shame was a fitter object for the beadle than the muse. This has induced me to lay aside a second castigation which I had prepared for him, though I do not think it expedient to omit what I had formerly written.
Here on the rack of satire let him lie,
Thou, like that statue, art devoid of brains? "But thou mistakest: for know, though Pasquin's head Is not THIS sad?
Be full as hard, and near as thick as thine,
Many a keen gibe, and many a sportive line.
Within, all brick-dust-and without, all brass.
John Williams, or Tom Fool, will do as well."
*Lo! Beaufoy, &c.-" The feet are accommodated with shoes, and the head is protected by a-woollen night-cap." -AFRICAN ASSOCIATION, p. 139.
There Fezzan's thrum-capp'd tribes, Turks, Chris-
Accommodate, ye gods! their feet with shoes;
"From this scene of gladsome contrast, i. e. from the mountain of Zilau, (p. 288,) whose rugged sides are marked with scanty spots of brushwood, and enriched with stores
Of streams of amber, and of rocks of gold ;
1 Shoes. By your leave, master critic, here is a small oversight in your quotation. The gentleman does not say their feet are accommodated with shoes, but with slippers. For the rest, accommodate, as I learn, is a scholar-like word, and a word of exceeding great propriety. "Accommodate! it comes from accommodo: that is, when a man's feet are, as they say, accommodated, or when they are--being-whereby they may be thought to be accommodated: which is an excellent thing!"-Printer's Devil.
F. ""Tis pitiful, heaven knows
Their rhymes were vicious, and their diction coarse ;
P. Now 'tis plain you sneer, One word more. I am told that there are men so weak For Weston'st self could find no semblance here : as to deprecate this miserable object's abuse, and so vain, so despicably vain, as to tolerate his praise-for such I have nothing but pity;-though the fate of Hastings, see the "Pin-basket to the Children of Thespis," holds out a dreadful lesson to the latter:-but should there be a man or a woman, however high in rank, base enough to purchase the venal pen of this miscreant for the sake of traducing innocence and virtue, then I was about to threaten, but 'tis not necessary: the profligate cowards who employ Anthony can know no severer punishment than the support of a man whose acquaintance is infamy, and whose touch is poison.
P. Pshaw; I have it here.
F. You suppose These lines, perhaps, too turgid; what of those "THE MIGHTY MOTHER
of water, to the long ascent of the broad rock of Gerdobah, (p. 289,) from whose inflexible barrenness little is to be got-from this scene, I say, of gladsome contrast to the inveterate mountains of Gegogib, &c.
"In the long course of a seven days' passage, the tra veller is scarcely sensible that a few spots of thin and meager brushwood slightly interrupt the vast expanse of sterility, and diminish the amplitude of desolation!!!"
*Hasten, &c.-This and the following quotation are taken from the "Laurel of Liberty," a work on which the great author most justly rests his claim to immortality. See p. 167.
+ Weston. This indefatigable gentleman has been long employed in attacking the moral character of Pope in the Gentleman's Magazine, with all the virulence of Gildon, all the impudence of Smedley, and all the ignorance of Curl and his associates.
What the views of the bland Sylvanus may be, in standing cap in hand, and complacently holding open the door of the temple, for nearly two years, to this "execrable"
1 Such is the epithet applied to Pope by the "virtuous indignation" of this "amiable" traducer of worth and genius!
Weston, who slunk from truth's imperious light,
Enough. But where, (for these, you seem to say, Your fate already I foresee. My lord,
Erostratus, I know not. He cannot surely be weak
Heavens! if our ancient vigour were not fled,
F. So let it be; and yet, methinks, my friend,
* Canst thou, Matilda, &c. vide Album, vol. ii.—Matilda! "Nay then, I'll never trust a madman again." It was but a few minutes since, that Mr. Merry died for the love of Laura Maria; and now is he about to do the same thing for the love of Anna Matilda?
What the ladies may say to such a swain, I know not; but certainly he is too prone to run wild, die, &c. &c. Such, indeed, is the combustible nature of this gentleman, that he takes fire at every female signature in the papers; and I remember, that when Olaudo Equiano, who, for a black, is not ill-featured, tried his hand at a soft sonnet, and by mistake subscribed it Olauda, Mr. Merry fell so desperately in love with him, and "yelled out such syllables of dolour" in consequence of it, that the pitiful-hearted negro was frightened at the mischief he had done, and transmitted in all haste the following correction to the editor-For OlaudA, please to read Olaud 0, the black MAN."
With cold respect, will freeze you from his board;
Lo! here- Canst thou, Matilda, urge my fate,
* Of the talents of this spes altera Rome, this second hope of the age, the following stanzas will afford a sufficient specimen. They are taken from a ballad which
P. Enough. Thank heaven! my error now I see, And all shall be divine, henceforth, for me:
Softly steals the bird of night,
Ruthless winds deny thee rest:
It has been suggested to me, that this nightman of literature designs to reprint as much as can be collected of The story of this poor owl, who was at one and the same the heroes of the Dunciad.-If it be so, the dirty work of time at sea and on land, silent and noisy, sheltered and traducing Pope may be previously necessary; and pre-exposed, is continued through a few more of these "mellijudice itself must own, that he has shown uncommon fluous" stanzas, which the reader, I doubt not, will readily penetration in the selection of the blind and outrageous forgive me for omitting; more especially if he reads the mercenary now so laboriously employed in it. ORACLE, a paper honoured-as the grateful editor very properly has it-by the effusions of this "artless" gentle
man above all others.
N.B. On looking again, I find the owl to be a nightingale!-N'importe.
Whatever be the design, the proceedings are by no means inconsistent with the plan of a work which may not unaptly be styled the charnel-house of reputation, and which, from the days of Lauder to the present, has delighted to asperse every thing venerable among uswhich accused Swift of lust, and Addison of drunkenness! which insulted the ashes of Toup while they were yet warm, and gibbeted poor Henderson alive: which affect ed to idolize the great and good Howard, while idolatry was painful to him: and the moment he fell, gloriously fell, in the exercise of the most sublime virtue, attempted to stigmatize him as a brute and a monster!
It was said of Theophilus Cibber, (I think by Goldsmith,) that as he grew older, he grew never the better. Much the same (mutatis mutandis) may be said of the gentlemen of the Baviad. After an interval of two years, I find the "mellifluous" ARNO celebrating Mrs. Robinson's novel in strains like these.
"For the Oracle.
SONNET TO MRS. ROBINSON,
Upon reading her VANCENZA.
"What never-ceasing music! From the throne
To every murmuring breeze of passing wind! "O, bless'd with all the lovely lapse of song,
That bathes with purest balm the soften'd breast, I see thee urge thy fancy's course along
The solemn glooms of Gothic piles unbless'd. "Vancenza rises-o'er her time-touch'd spires
Guilt unreveal'd hovers with killing dew, Frustrates the fondness of the Virgin's fires, And bares the murderous casket to her view. "The thrilling pulse creeps back upon each heart, And horror lords it by thy fascinating art."-Arno. Et vitula Tu dignus, et HEC! The novel is worthy of the poetry, the poetry of the novel.