Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

SUPPLEMENTAL NOTES TO

THE ROSCIAD.

THE sensation occasioned by the publication of the Rosciad may in some degree be estimated by the swarm of poems and pamphlets to which gare rise: subjoined are the titles of a few only of the best, where almost all were bad. The Churchiliad, or a few modest questions addressed to

the Reverend Author of the Rosciad.
An Epistle to the Author of the Rosciad and the Apology.
Thus noticed in the Monthly Review:-
An exhortation to renounce satire and

to the admiring throng
In sweetest notes pour forth the moral song,

ding dong.

The Smithfield Rosciad. By the Author.
An Epistle to C. Churchill, Author of the Rosciad, by D.

Hayes, Esq.
An Epistle to C. Churchill, Author of the Rosciad, by R.

Lloyd. The Triumvirate, a poetical portrait taken from the life, and finished after the manner of Swift. By Veritas.

[Monthly Review.] Justice to the author obliges us, though we may disapprove the design, to speak favourably of the execution. A peculiar ease of expression runs through the whole, frequently supported with an uncommon strength of thought, from whence we might be induced to guess at the author, did not the dearbought experience of others teach us the danger of such an attempt; the following is the motto or apology for it:

For want of motto take the names
Of those whom infamy proclaims;
Who have the world's contempt employ'd,

By titles Churchill, Colman, Lloyd;
The subjects of the piece I draw,
Who fear no sin, exempt from law,
In scandal husy, censure bold,
By sense of honour uncontroll'd;
To all men foes who merit praise,

Themselves and Company to raise. The following lines apply to the various opinions given of the Rosciad by the same persons, almost in the same breath:

The Rosciad full of bitter spleen,
Where everything and nothing's seen;
Shew'd that his wit was clean and terse,
But that his mind was sour'd or worse;
Or that, perhaps, his soul had grace,
But that his wit was common-place,
Shew'd that his head was sound and clear,
But that he writ without an ear;
Or that the things were smoothly said,
But that he writ without a head;
That he was given much to rail,
That he was in and out of jail.
That both “unknowing and unknown,"
'Twas most undoubtedly his own;
And one with half an eye might see,
It never was or could be he;
All wrong, all right, all truth, all fiction,
All good, all bad, all contradiction.
With chaos heads and hearts of steel,
They not one virtue know or feel,
But ever studious to defame
An author or an actor's name;
O'erleap the sacred bounds of truth,
Nor spare they age, or sex, or youth;
But now in turns shall they be shown,
In colours giaring as the sun:
And each so just, at sight you'll know,
The parson, lawyer, new-made beau,
Acknowledging the very man,
Such matter have I for my plan.

And say,

A Parody on the Rosciad of Churchill.
The Anti-Rosciad by the Author. (This was written by
Dr. Thomas Morell, as he informed Mr. Steevens.)

Fænum habet in cornû, longe fuge.
Against both houses Churchill draws his quill,
Bent like Drawcansir all he meets to kill;
In opposition dire he meets the town,
And all they praise he labours to pull down;
Go on, Drawcansir-like, no mortal spare,

All this I do, because I dare."
The Rosciad of Covent Garden, by the Author (H. J. Pye).

Though freedom reigns in Churchill's mighty rhymes,
Beyond the genius of these leaden times,
Though every line with music flows along,
As Pope harmonious, and as Dryden strong;
Yet cause with sacred truth he dared invade,
The actors in their own theatric shade;
With well-wrought satire moved to idle rage,
The mighty monarchs of the British stage,
The manly roughness of his verse they blame,

And blacken with reproach his glorious name.
The Apology addressed to the Reviewers by Esq.

Author of the Rosciad of Covent Garden. The Battle of the Players, in imitation of Swift's Battle of

the Books, in which are introduced the characters of all the Actors and Actresses on the English Stage, with an impartial estimate of their respective merits.

By the Author. The Four Farthing Candles, a Satire. An Epistle to the Author of the Four Farthing Candles,

By the Author of the Rosciad of Covent Garden. Tliis man and his opponent should, leaving all poetic strains To those whom heaven has bless'd with brains, Some honest occupation choose, As sweeping streets or cleaning shoes.

MONTHLY REVIEW. VOL. I.

15

An Epistle to the irreverend Mr. C. Churchill, in his owo

style and manner, 4to. The Jumble, a Satire, addressed to the Rev. DIr. Churchill

. Epilogue to the Comedy of Have at ye All, intended to

have been spoken by Mr. King on his benefit night,
in answer to the liberties taken with him and other
actors by the author of the Rosciad, but withdrawn at

the request of the Manager.
Against the Actors he declaims with rage,
Another Collier to destroy the stage;
Out comes the Rosciad, and then, hit or miss,
Attacks the whole Personæ Dramatis;
His text he quits, and with becoining grace,
He makes a livelihood of this poor face;
King's impudence--he cries—mute as a post,
I mention not his impudence-pray who has most:
If he succeeds, I never yet repined,
It hurts not me, I hope the man has dined;
He preaches now and then, and to be sure
Attention gets, “I wish he'd get a Cure
Bless'd with a head in trifles to excel,
Where we were born, where bred, and where we dwell,
Who has a wife—who not, the bard can tell,
Good soul, to serve us he took all this pain,
As assafoetida revives the brain;
And lest to him ungrateful I appear,
Let me just drop this counsel in his ear:
No more abroad to mend the manners roam,
But know that charity begins at home;
And ere to plays and players you turn your head,

Attend your function and inter the dead. The popularity of the poem and of its author were evi denced and increased, rather than impaired by the injudi cious attacks upon both; the Rosciad ran through twelve editions in its independent quarto shape at the price of hal -crown, since which it has appeared in more than as many editions of the collected poems of C. Churchill.

THE APOLOGY.

ADDRESSED TO THE CRITICAL REVIEWERS

This poem, which was published in April, 1761, was occasioned by the very extraordinary critique upon the Rosciad which appeared in the Critical Review soon after the publication of that poem. The Monthly Review cautiously abstained from all mention of it, until a second edition proclaimed the author's name, but whether from the esprit du corps, or the personal pique of soms of its conductors, Churchill gained but extorted and reluctant praise for his merits, while his defects were studiously exposed and minutely expatiated upon.

The charge of unprovoked hostility cannot therefore in this instance be imputed with justice to our author. The Reviewers were decidedly the aggressors; they endeavoured, as far as their influence could extend, to prejudice the public mind against a poem that occasioned a greater sensation in it than had ever before been excited in England by any poetical performance. The Rosciad was modestly ushered into the world without the author's name, and consequently claimed for the author in common with all anonymous publications, an exemption from personal abuse: here this precaution was of no avail. A nominal author was selected by the reviewers for the purpose of censuring men far their superiors in intellectual attainments; and though they dared not impeach the general merit of the poem, for it had received the stamp and sanction of public approbation, yet they were sparing of commendation, and gratuitously undertook the defence of the histrionic band, whom they pretended to consider in the light of harmless victims to the insatiable vengeance of a satirical Drawcansir.

The reader will be enabled to judge of the truth of the above statement from the following extract from the Critical Review for March, 1761:

« AnteriorContinuar »