Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

the fury of resentment, tells us all about him. By this we are informed, but, alas ! too late for redress, that Mr. Marriott is tall; that he is rich; that he is thin and lean; that he laughs when the sun shines; and lastly, that he is the very man who took the two Gregories. Why could be not have told us all this when he published his first pamphlet ? No! he slips it out upon the world in obscurity, and, like Peter the Great, is resolved to quarrel with every creature that does not pay homage to his greasy greatness in disguise. Had he put but half what the present pamphlet contains into the preface of the former, it were easy to have clapped on a pair of prudential spectacles, and read his poetry into rhyme; for he may be convinced that we sooner would have eaten gunpowder, than have meddled with the author who took the two Gregories.

Though the performance was opened with a thorough resolution not to lose our temper upon the perusal, yet we find it so severe, that we kindle as we read. It is all an orange stuffed with cloves: when fatigued with scolding in prose, he has recourse to rhyme, and when he has teazed us sufficiently with English verse, he takes up the cudgels in Latin. All are alike to him, back-sword, single falchion, or quarter-staff; he wields them all with equal dexterity, and no favour. Now he calls us scribblers, anon minor critics, then dull critics, bad-hearted critics. This sure is not polite; yet all this might be borne, but who can be calr when he calls us Bavius? Yes, dear reader, he actually calls us Bavius! Ah, little did we think, that while we censured the writer of “ Female Conduct,” we were only raising the indignation of the author who took the two Gregories.

Yet shall it be left to his own breast, whether he deals candidly with us, or the public. He first writes bad verses, and next he tells the world he does not desire a reputation for poetry. This is very modest either way. Would not any one be induced from such a performance, and with such an invitation, to speak his sentiments without shrinking? In an evil hour we took the author at his word, pitied his performance, and gave him a discharge from Parnassus at his own request; and yet, oh ingratitude ! here we have him in a violent passion for our pains. This author is surely a sly one. He invites us to a feast ; tells us we are heartily welcome to fall to, and yet is violently angry with us for eating. Does this become the patron of virtue, this become the avowed champion of the fair sex? Does this become the man who has fought, and consequently vanquished, gamesters, methodists, and Bolingbroke? Oh, vartue, vartue! to what will this degenerate age at length arrive, when the very man who gives a morsel of bread with one hand, picks it from our teeth with the other !

By this time the reader, perhaps, desires to see how our poet treats us in rhyme ; and though, by quoting him, we propagate our own disgrace, yet will we be just to him and the public. The Epistle in view is from the author to his own book. Let us suppose him sitting like the man in the primer in his arm chair, thus addressing the manuscript which he holds between his finger and thumb : “ My little book,” says he, “ you have an eye or a mind to- -" but take it in his own words:

My book, you have an eye to Temple Bar,

That you may trim in Owen's shop appear;
That you with gilded ornaments may shine,
Polish'd without, and delicate within.
You hate the close restraint of lock and key,
Which to a modest book would grateful be.
But go from me forewarn'd, this lesson learn,
When gone from me you never can return; (1)

(1) “ We are assured there is a mistake here, being informed a large bale of this work was sent to Hillingdon for waste paper."

0-n Gregory, jun.

When this shall happen, I (who in your ear
Instill'd good counsel which you would not hear)
In your distress will scornful laugh at you,
Like him, who down a rock in anger threw
The ass, that would not his commands pursue.
Who'll strive against his will to save a fool
Whom friendly admonitions can't controul ?"

The reader at length smokes the champion we have to deal with; he will observe what strength of thought and diction, and what a flow of poetry are here! A piddling reader, it is certain, might object to almost all the rhymes of the above quotation ; but the less rhyme the more like blank verse, and all know that Milton wrote without such a restraint: but if any reader is for having the above quotation to be rhyme, he has nothing more to do than to read it poetically. Let key, for instance, be called kee, and then it rhymes with be ; and let fool be called fole, and then it answers control in the next line. By this means the poetry, - which our author, no doubt, meant for blank verse, may serve for either. We have here given but a taste of our bard's performance: those who are pleased with it may indulge themselves to satiety, in a publication, which he promises shortly, of several other modernized works of this kind. We shall beg leave, in all friendship only, to offer this unconquered champion the following motto to his future production,

Κην με φαγης επι ριζαν, ομως τι καρτοφορησω.

XXII.-DUNKIN'S EPISTLE TO LORD CHESTERFIELD.

[From the Critical Review, 1760. “An Epistle to the Right

Honourable Philip, Earl of Chesterfield, to which is added, An Eclogue. By William Dunkin, D.D.") 8vo.]

In this publication Dr. Dunkin appears at once excessively merry, and extremely sorrowful. His epistle to the earl of Chesterfield is most familiarly good-humoured; his eclogue, or Lawson's obsequies, (2) is mournful to the last degree. The epistle may be considered a smart prologue to a deep tragedy, or a jig before an adagio, or (to run into his own manner) a plate of pickles before a shoulder of mutton. The death of his friend seems no way to have abated his festivity; and though he weeps for Lawson in poetry, he laughs with his lordship in prose : in short, were we to judge of the writer by this production, we would give him the same appellation which Chapelain gave to Ménage, “ the poet with the double face.”

His epistle to the earl of Chesterfield begins thus : “ My lord, your fast friend, trusty correspondent, and faithful ally, the prince of printers, archbibliopolist, intelligencergeneral, and general advertiser of the kingdom of Ire land, having lately discovered, that I had not for many months addressed your lordship by letter, or otherwise, with a very grave face and composed countenance, but a

(1) (In early life Dunkin attracted the attention of Dean Swift, who, in one of his letters, describes him as a “gentleman of much wit, and the best English, as well as Latin poet in Ireland.” The Earl of Chesterfield, when he held the Government of Ireland, gave him the rectory of Enniskilling; where he died in 1765. His Poetical Works, in two volumes quarto, were published in 1774.]

(2) [Dr. John Lawson, author of “ Lectures concerning Oratory, delivered at Trinity College, Dublin.” He died in 1759.)

fervour and tartness of style, unwont to flow from the dispassionate tongue of his most serene highness, called me roundly to task, and expressed his august indignation and royal resentment. • What,' said he was it for this, that we brought thy labours from the darkness of thy closet, into the light of our shop, and clothed thy naked and neglected name with legible respect, and titular dignity ? What apartment from the base to the summit of our Palladian palace hath not been open for thy reception, and furnished for thy residence? When was our oval table unspread for thy repast ; and when was our big-bellied bottle withheld from thy lips ? Hast thou not sat down in our presence, even on our right hand, while poets have stood in waiting ? And have we not in familiar-wise conversed with thee, while we have only nodded unto critics?"

This serene highness, this we, is Mr. Faulkner, the printer, (') who, if he speaks in this manner, must be no doubt an excessively facetious humorous companion, and well worthy not only the acquaintance of the poet and his lordship, but also of the public. A great part of the epistle is taken up with this speech ; which, whenever the writer takes up the conversation himself, is every whit as humorous as the other. Hear him :

“ But, alas ! how will the sanguine hopes and expectations of the parties premised be rendered totally null and void, when the bellowing tribe of meagre bards and lank

He

(1) (George Faulkner, designated by Swift, “ the prince of Dublin printers.” He rose to eminence chiefly under the Dean's patronage, and was the first who gave to the world a collected edition of his works. died, at an advanced age, in 1775. He had been journeyman to Mr. Bowyer. In a letter to Mr. Nichols, written a few months before his death, he says, my apothecary's bill doth not amount to five shillings a year for all my family, two-pence of which is not my share. Claret is the universal medicine here, and the mundungus port the bane and stupefaction of all society.-See Lit. Anec, vol. iii. p 208.]

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »