Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE

FEAST OF THE POETS.

T'OTHER day, as Apollo sat pitching his darts
Through the clouds of November, by fits and by starts,
He began to consider how long it had been,
Since the bards of Old England had all been rung in.
• I think,' said the God, recollecting, and then
He fell twiddling a sunbeam as I may my pen),

I think-let me see-yes, it is, I declare,
As long ago now as that Buckingham there:?
And yet I can't see why I've been so remiss,
Unless it may bem-and it certainly is,
That since Dryden's fine verses and Milton's sublime,
I have fairly been sick of their sing-song and rhyme.

There was Collins, 'tis true, had a good deal to say,
But the rogue had no industry,“neither had Gray:
And Thomson, though best in his indolent fits,
Either slept himself weary, or bloated his wits.a.
But ever since Pope spoil'd the ears of the town
With his cuckoo-song verses, half up and half down,
There has been such a doling and sameness,-by Jove,
I'd as soon have gone down to see Kemble in love.3
However, of late as they've rous'd them anew,
I'll e’en go and give them a lesson or two,
And as nothing's done there now-a-days without eating,
See what kind of set I can muster worth treating.
So saying, the God bade his horses walk for'ard,
And leaving them, took a long dive to the nor'ard:
For Gordon's he made; and as Gods who drop in do,
Came smack on his legs through the drawing-room window.

And here I could tell, if it was'nt for stopping, How all the town shook as the godhead went pop in, How bright look'd the poets, and brisk blew the airs, And the laurels took flow'r in the gardens and squares ; But fancies like these, though I've stores to supply me, I'd better keep back for a poem I've by me,

And merely observe that the girls look'd divine,
And the old folks in-doors exclaimed - Bless us how fine!"

Apollo, arriv’d, had no sooner embodied
His essence ethereal, than quenching his godhead,
He chang'd his appearance-to-what shall I say?
To a gallant young soldier returning in May?
No that's a resemblance too vapid and low:-
Let's see
to a finished young traveller?

-No:
To a graceful young lord just stept out of his carriage?
Or handsome young poet, the day of his marriage ?
No,-nobody's likeness will help me, I see,
To afford you a notion of what he could be,
Not though I collected one pattern victorious
Of all that was good, and accomplish'd, and glorious,
From deeds in the daylight, or books on the shelf,
And calPd up the shape of young Alfred himself.

Imagine however, if shape there must be, A figure sublim'd above mortal degree, His limbs the perfection of elegant strength, A fine flowing roundness inclining to length, A back dropping in,-an expansion of chest, (For the God, you'll observe, like his statues was drest)

4

His throat like a pillar for smoothness and grace,
His curls in a cluster, and then such a face,
As mark'd him at once the true offspring of Jove,
The brow all of wisdom, and lips all of love;
For though he was blooming, and oval of cheek,
And youth down his shoulders went smoothing and sleek,
Yet his look with the reach of past ages was wise,
And the soul of eternity thought through his eyes.

I would not say more, lest my climax should lose;
Yet now I have mention'd those lamps of the Muse,
I can't but observe what a splendour they shed,
When a thought more than common came into his head:
Then they leap'd in their frankness, deliciously bright,
And shot round about them an arrowy light;
And if, as he shook back his hair in it's cluster,
A curl fell athwart them and darken'd their lustre,
A sprinkle of gold through the duskiness came,
Like the sun through a tree, when he's setting in flame.

The God then no sooner had taken a chair, And rung for the landlord to order the fare, Than he heard a strange noise and a knock from without,And scraping and bowing, came in such a rout!

}

There was Arnold, and Reynolds, and Dibdin, and Cherry,
All grinning as who should say, 'Shan't we be merry?'
And mighty dull Cobb, lunb'ring just like a bear up,
And sweet Billy Dimond, a patting his hair up.
The God, for an instant, sat fix'd as a stone,
Till recov'ring, he said in a good-natur'd tone,
! Oh, the waiters, I see ;-ah, it's all very well,
Only one of you'll do just to answer the bell.'
But lord! to see all the great dramatists' faces !
They looked at each other, and made such grimaces !
Then turning about, left the room in vexation,
And Hook, they say, could'nt help mutt'ring. Damnation!!
'Twas lucky for Colman he was'nt there too,
For his pranks would have certainly met with their due,
And Sheridan's also, that finished old tricker;-
But one was in prison, and both were in liquor.'s

The God fell a laughing to see his mistake,
But stopp'd with a sigh for poor Comedy's sake;
Then gave mine host orders, who bow'd to the floor,
And presented three cards that were brought to the door:
Apollo just gave them a glance with his
• Spencer-Rogers-Montgom'ry,' --and putting them by,

eye

« PreviousContinue »