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'Why, sir, d'ye think I've lost my eyes?' "Twere no great loss,' the friend replies; 'For if they always serve you thus, You'll find them but of little use.'
So high at last the contest rose,
'Sirs,' cries the umpire, 'cease your pother;
'Well, then, at once to ease the doubt,'
He said; and full before their sight
JOHN SCOTT (1730-1783) was our only Quaker poet till Bernard Barton graced the order with a sprig of laurel. Scott was the son of a draper in
Scott's Grotto, Amwell. London, who retired to Amwell, in Hertfordshire, and here the poet spent his days, improving his garden and grounds. He published several poetical
pieces, of mediocre merit. The following seems to have been dictated by real feeling, as well as Quaker principle:
[Ode on Hearing the Drum.]
I hate that drum's discordant sound, Parading round, and round, and round: To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields, And lures from cities and from fields, To sell their liberty for charms Of tawdry lace, and glittering arms; And when Ambition's voice commands, To march, and fight, and fall in foreign lands.
I hate that drum's discordant sound, Parading round, and round, and round: To me it talks of ravaged plains, And burning towns, and ruined swains, And mangled limbs, and dying groans, And widows' tears, and orphans' moans; And all that misery's hand bestows To fill the catalogue of human woes.
WILLIAM OLDYS (1696-1761) was a zealous literary antiquary, and Norroy King-at-Arms. He wrote a Life of Raleigh, and assisted every author or bookseller who required a leaf from his voluminous collections. His obscure diligence amassed various interesting particulars of literary history. The following exquisite little Anacreontic was from the pen of Oldys, who occasionally indulged in deep potations of ale, for which he was caricatured by his friend and brother antiquary, Grose:
Song, made Extempore by a Gentleman, occasioned by
JOHN CUNNINGHAM (1729-1773), the son of a wine-cooper in Dublin, was a respectable actor, and performed several years in Digges's company, Edinburgh. In his latter years he resided in Newcastleon-Tyne, in the house of a generous printer,' whose hospitality for some time supported the poet. Cunningham's pieces are full of pastoral simplicity and lyrical melody. He aimed at nothing high, and seldom failed.
Song-May-Eve, or Kate of Aberdeen. The silver moon's enamoured beam, Steals softly through the night, To wanton with the winding stream, And kiss reflected light.
*Oldys's song was included in a 'Select Collection of English Songs,' published by J. Johnson in 1783. Burns, the Scottish poet, had a copy of this work (one of the volumes of which is now before us), and we observe he has honoured the extem
pore lyric of the old antiquary with pencil marks in the margin. In his Lines written in Friars' Carse Hermitage, Burns has echoed some of Oldys's thoughts and expressions.
treatment of cases of insanity. Cowper, his patient, bears evidence to his well-known humanity and sweetness of temper.'
Dear Chloe, while the busy crowd,
The vain, the wealthy, and the proud,
Where love our hours employs;
Of rest was Noah's dove bereft,
Though fools spurn Hymen's gentle powers,
Our babes shall richest comforts bring;
We'll form their minds, with studious care,
No borrowed joys, they're all our own,
We'll therefore relish with content
Nor lose the present hour.
And pleased with favours given; Dear Chloe, this is wisdom's part; This is that incense of the heart,
Whose fragrance smells to heaven.
We'll ask no long protracted treat,
Thus, hand in hand, through life we'll go; Its chequered paths of joy and wo
With cautious steps we'll tread; Quit its vain scenes without a tear, Without a trouble or a fear,
And mingle with the dead: While conscience, like a faithful friend, Shall through the gloomy vale attend, And cheer our dying breath; Shall, when all other comforts cease, Like a kind angel, whisper peace, And smooth the bed of death.
CHRISTOPHER ANSTEY (1724-1805) was author of The New Bath Guide, a light satirical and humorous poem, which appeared in 1766, and set an example in this description of composition, that has since been followed in numerous instances, and with great | success. Smollett, in his Humphry Clinker, published five years later, may be almost said to have reduced the New Bath Guide' to prose. Many of the characters and situations are exactly the same as those of Anstey. This poem seldom rises above the tone of conversation, but is easy, sportive, and entertaining. The fashionable Fribbles of the day, the chat, scandal, and amusements of those attending the wells, and the canting hypocrisy of some sectarians, are depicted, sometimes with indelicacy, but always with force and liveliness. Mr Anstey was son of the Rev. Dr Anstey, rector of Brinkeley, in Cambridgeshire, a gentleman who possessed a considerable landed property, which the poet afterwards inherited. He was educated at Eton school, and elected to King's college, Cambridge, and in both places he distinguished himself as a classical scholar. In consequence of his refusal to deliver certain declamations, Anstey quarrelled with the heads of the university, and was denied the usual degree. In the epilogue to the New Bath Guide,' he alludes to this circumstance
Granta, sweet Granta, where studious of ease, Seven years did I sleep, and then lost my degrees.
He then went into the army, and married Miss Calvert, sister to his friend John Calvert, Esq., of Allbury Hall, in Hertfordshire, through whose influence he was returned to parliament for the borough of Hertford. He was a frequent resident in the city of Bath, and a favourite in the fashionable and literary coteries of the place. In 1766 was published his celebrated poem, which instantly became popular. He wrote various other pieces-A Poem on the Death of the Marquis of Tavistock, 1767; An Election Ball, in Poetical Letters from Mr Inkle at Bath to his Wife at Gloucester; a Paraphrase of the Thirteenth Chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians; a satire entitled The Priest Dissected; Speculation, or a Defence of Mankind (1780); Liberality, or Memoirs of a Decayed Macaroni (1788); The Farmer's Daughter, a Poetical Tale (1795); and various other copies of occasional verses. Anstey also translated Gray's Elegy into Latin verse, and addressed an elegant Latin Ode to Dr Jenner. While the New Bath Guide' was 'the only thing in fashion,' and relished for its novel and original kind of humour, the other productions of Anstey
were neglected by the public, and have never been revived. In the enjoyment of his paternal estate, the poet, however, was independent of the public support, and he took part in the sports of the field up to his eightieth year. While on a visit to his son-in-law, Mr Bosanquet, at Harnage, Wiltshire, he was taken ill, and died on the 3d of August 1805.
The Public Breakfast.
Now my lord had the honour of coming down post,
To moisten their pinions like ducks when it rains;
With Marshal Carouzer, And old Lady Mouzer, And the great Hanoverian Baron Panzmowzer; Besides many others who all in the rain went, On purpose to honour this great entertainment: The company made a most brilliant appearance, And ate bread and butter with great perseverance: All the chocolate too, that my lord set before 'em, The ladies despatched with the utmost decorum. Soft musical numbers were heard all around, The horns and the clarions echoing sound.
Sweet were the strains, as odorous gales that blow The peer was quite ravished, while close to his side O'er fragrant banks, where pinks and roses grow. Sat Lady Bunbutter, in beautiful pride! Oft turning his eyes, he with rapture surveyed All the powerful charms she so nobly displayed: As when at the feast of the great Alexander, Timotheus, the musical son of Thersander, Breathed heavenly measures.
O! had I a voice that was stronger than steel, With twice fifty tongues to express what I feel, And as many good mouths, yet I never could utter All the speeches my lord made to Lady Bunbutter! So polite all the time, that he ne'er touched a bit, While she ate up his rolls and applauded his wit: For they tell me that men of true taste, when they treat, Should talk a great deal, but they never should eat : And if that be the fashion, I never will give Any grand entertainment as long as I live : For I'm of opinion, 'tis proper to cheer The stomach and bowels as well as the ear. Nor me did the charming concerto of Abel Regale like the breakfast I saw on the table:
I freely will own I the muffins preferred
You may go to Carlisle's, and to Almanac's too;
a volume of miscellaneous pieces, entitled The Florence Miscellany, and afforded a subject for the satire of Gifford, whose 'Baviad and Mæviad' was written to lash the Della Cruscan songsters with whom Mrs Piozzi was associated. The Anecdotes and Letters of Dr Johnson, by Mrs Piozzi, are the only valuable works which proceeded from her pen. She was a minute and clever observer of men and manners, but deficient in judgment, and not partiLon-cular as to the accuracy of her relations. Mrs Piozzi died at Clifton in 1822.
So when we had wasted more bread at a breakfast Than the poor of our parish have ate for this week past, I saw, all at once, a prodigious great throng Come bustling, and rustling, and jostling along; For his lordship was pleased that the company now To my Lady Bunbutter should curtsy and bow; And my lady was pleased too, and seemed vastly proud At once to receive all the thanks of a crowd. And when, like Chaldeans, we all had adored This beautiful image set up by my lord, Some few insignificant folk went away, Just to follow the employments and calls of the day; But those who knew better their time how to spend, The fiddling and dancing all chose to attend. Miss Clunch and Sir Toby performed a cotillon, Just the same as our Susan and Bob the postilion; All the while her mamma was expressing her joy, That her daughter the morning so well could employ. Now, why should the Muse, my dear mother, relate The misfortunes that fall to the lot of the great? As homeward we came 'tis with sorrow you'll hear What a dreadful disaster attended the peer; For whether some envious god had decreed That a Naiad should long to ennoble her breed; Or whether his lordship was charmed to behold His face in the stream, like Narcissus of old; In handing old Lady Comefidget and daughter, This obsequious lord tumbled into the water; But a nymph of the flood brought him safe to the boat, And I left all the ladies a-cleaning his coat.
MRS THRALE (afterwards Mrs Piozzi), who lived for many years in terms of intimate friendship with Dr Johnson, is authoress of an interesting little moral poem, The Three Warnings, which is so superior to her other compositions, that it has been supposed to have been partly written, or at least corrected, by Johnson. This lady was a native of Wales, being born at Bodville, in Caernarvonshire, in 1740. In 1764 she was married to Mr Henry Thrale, an eminent brewer, who had taste enough to appreciate the rich and varied conversation of Johnson, and whose hospitality and wealth afforded the great moralist an asylum in his house. After the death of this excellent man, his widow married Signior Piozzi, an Italian music-master, a step which Johnson never could forgive. The lively lady proceeded with her husband on a continental tour, and they took up their abode for some time on the banks of the Arno. She afterwards published
The Three Warnings.
The tree of deepest root is found
That love of life increased with years
When sports went round, and all were gay, On neighbour Dodson's wedding-day, Death called aside the jocund groom With him into another room,
And looking grave—' You must,' says he,
His reasons could not well be stronger;
To give you time for preparation,
Well pleased the world will leave.'
He chaffered, then he bought and sold,
Brought on his eightieth year.
'Hold,' says the farmer, not so fast! I have been lame these four years past.' 'And no great wonder,' Death replies: 'However, you still keep your eyes; And sure to see one's loves and friends, For legs and arms would make amends.' 'Perhaps,' says Dodson, so it might, But latterly I've lost my sight.'
This is a shocking tale, 'tis true; But still there's comfort left for you: Each strives your sadness to amuse; I warrant you hear all the news.' 'There's none,' cries he; and if there were, I'm grown so deaf, I could not hear.' 'Nay, then,' the spectre stern rejoined,
These are unjustifiable yearnings; If you are lame, and deaf, and blind,
You've had your Three sufficient Warnings; So come along, no more we'll part ;' He said, and touched him with his dart. And now Old Dodson, turning pale, Yields to his fate-so ends my tale.
The REV. THOMAS MOSS, who died in 1808, minister of Brierly Hill, and of Trentham, in Staffordshire, published anonymously, in 1769, a collection of miscellaneous poems, forming a thin quarto, which he had printed at Wolverhampton. One piece was copied by Dodsley into his Annual Register,' and from thence has been transferred (different persons being assigned as the author) into almost every periodical and collection of fugitive verses. This poem is entitled The Beggar (sometimes called The Beggar's Petition), and contains much pathetic and natural sentiment finely expressed.
A little farm was my paternal lot,
Then, like the lark, I sprightly hailed the morn; But ah! oppression forced me from my cot; My cattle died, and blighted was my corn. My daughter-once the comfort of my age! Lured by a villain from her native home, Is cast, abandoned, on the world's wide stage, And doomed in scanty poverty to roam. My tender wife-sweet soother of my care!
Struck with sad anguish at the stern decrce, Fell-lingering fell, a victim to despair,
And left the world to wretchedness and me. Pity the sorrows of a poor old man!
Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door, Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span, Oh! give relief, and Heaven will bless your store.
Though most Scottish authors at this time-as Thomson, Mallet, Hamilton, and Beattie-composed in the English language, a few, stimulated by the success of Allan Ramsay, cultivated their native tongue with considerable success. The popularity of Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany' led to other collections and to new contributions to Scottish song. In 1751 appeared Yair's Charmer,' and in 1769 David Herd published a more complete collection of Scottish Songs and Ballads,' which he reprinted, with additions, in 1776.
ALEXANDER Ross, a schoolmaster in Lochlee, in Angus, when nearly seventy years of age, in 1768 published at Aberdeen, by the advice of Dr Beattie, a volume entitled Helenore, or the Fortunate Shepherdess, a Pastoral Tale in the Scottish Dialect, to which are added a few Songs by the Author. Ross was a good descriptive poet, and some of his songs -as Woo'd, and Married, and a', The Rock and the
Wee Pickle Tow-are still popular in Scotland. Being
chiefly written in the Kincardineshire dialect (which differs in many expressions, and in pronunciation, from the Lowland Scotch of Burns), Ross is less known out of his native district than he ought to bc. Beattie took a warm interest in the good