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Dr Goldsmith and some of his friends occasionally dined at the St James's Coffee-House.One day it was proposed to write epitaphs on him. His country, dialect, and person, furnished subjects of witticism. He was called on for RETALIATION, and at their next meeting produced the following poem.
Of old, when Scarron his companions invited,
best dish: Our + Dean shall be venison, just fresh from the
plains : Our Burke shall be tongue, with the garnish of
brains : Our S Will shall be wild-fowl, of excellent flavour, And || Dick with his pepper shall heighten the sa
vour: Our Cumberland's sweet-bread its place shall
obtain, And ** Douglas is pudding, substantial and plain:
• The master of the St James's Coffee-house, where the doctor, and the friends he has characterized in this poem, occasionally dined.
+ Doctor Bernard, dean of Derry, in Ireland. # The Right Hon. Edmund Burke.
Š Mr William Burke, late secretary to General Conway, and member for Bedwin.
|| Mr Richard Burke, collector of Granada.
i Mr Richard Cumberland, author of the West Indian, Fashionable Lover, the Brothers, and various other productions/a).
** Dr Douglas, canon of Windsor, (now bishop of Salisbury) an ingenious Scotch gentleman, who has no less distinguished himself as a citizen of the world, than a sound critic, in detecting several literary mistakes (or rather forgeries) of his countrymen; particularly Lauder on Milton, and Bower's History of the Popes.
(a) Since this note was written, of “ Calvary, or the Death of Christ."
Our * Garrick's a sallad ; for in him we see
Here lies the good || Dean, re-united to earth, Who mix'd reason with pleasure, and wisdom with
mirth: If he had any faults, he has left us in doubt, At least in six weeks I could not find 'em out; Yet some have declar'd, and it can't be denied 'em, That sly-boots was cursedly cunning to hide 'em.
Here lies our good Edmund, whose genius was
such, We scarcely can praise it, or blame it too much ; Who, born for the universe, narrow'd his mind, And to party gave up what was meant for mankind. Though fraught with all learning, yet straining his
throat, To persuade
rsuade** Tommy Townshend to lend him a vote;
* David Garrick, Esq. + Counsellor John Ridge, a gentleman belonging to the Irish bar. | Sir Joshua Reynolds. Š An eminent attorney. i Vide page 89. i Vide page 89. ** Mr T. Townshend, member for Whitchurch.
Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining, And thought of convincing, while they thought of
dining : Though equal to all things, for all things unfit, Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit; For a patriot, too cool; for a drudge, disobedient, And too fond of the right to pursue the expedient. In short, 'twas his fate, unemploy'd or in place, sir, To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a razor.
Here lies honest * William, whose heart was a
mint, While the owner ne'er knew half the good that was
The pupil of impulse, it forc'd him along,
ask for his merits ? alas ! he had none; What was good was spontaneous, his faults were
Here lies honest Richard, whose fate I must
sigh at; Alas, that such frolic should now be so quiet! What spirits were his! what wit and what whim! † Now breaking a jest, and now breaking a limb! Now wrangling and grumbling to keep up the ball! Now teasing and vexing, yet laughing at all! In short, so provoking a devil was Dick, That we wish'd him full ten times a-day at old Nick; But missing his mirth and agreeable vein, As often we wish'd to have Dick back again.
Vide page 89. † Mr Richard Burke; vide page 89. This gentleman having slightly fractured one of his arms and legs at different times, the doctor has rallied him on these accidents, as a kind of retributive justice for breaking his jests upon other people.
Here Cumberland lies, having acted his parts, The Terence of England, the mender of hearts ; A flattering painter, who made it his care To draw men as they ought to be, not as they are. His gallants are all faultless, his women divine, And comedy wonders at being so fine; Like a tragedy queen he has dizen'd her out, Qr rather like tragedy giving a rout. His fools have their follies so lost in a crowd Of virtues and feelings, that folly grows proud, And coxcombs, alike in their failings alone, Adopting his portraits, are pleas’d with their own : Say, where has our poet this malady caught, Or, wherefore his characters thus without fault? Say, was it that vainly directing his view To find out men’s virtues, and finding them few, Quite sick of pursuing each troublesome elf, He grew lazy at last, and drew from himself?
Here Douglas retires from his toils to relax, The scourge of impostors, the terror of quacks : Come all ye quack bards, and ye quacking divines, Come, and dance on the spot where your tyrant
reclines : When satire and censure encircled his throne, I fear'd for your safety, I fear'd for my own; But now he is gone, and we want'a detector, Our * Dodds shall be pious, our t Kenricks shall
: lecture; # Macpherson write bombast, and call it a style, Our Townshend make speeches, and I shall com
# The Rev. Dr Dodd.
+ Dr Kenrick, who read lectures at the Devil Tavern, under the title of “ The School of Shakspeare.'
| James Macpherson, Esq. who lately, from the mere force of his style, wrote down the first poet of all antiquity.