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SUPPLEMENTAL NOTES TO
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.
to the admiring throng
The Smithfield Rosciad. By the Author.
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
By titles Churchill, Colman, Lloyd;
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,
A Parody on the Rosciad of Churchill.
Fænum habet in cornû, longe fuge.
All this I do, because I dare."
Though freedom reigns in Churchill's mighty rhymes,
And blacken with reproach his glorious name.
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.
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,
the request of the Manager.
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.
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: