i6th, the 20th, and the ssd stanzas, and the whole of the Epi- . o
laph ; and Mr. Mason, in his Life of Gray, speaks of this beautiful !
poem as having been " finely translated by Mr. Anstey and Mr. q
Roberts.'' Mr. Gray writing himself upon the subject of this
translation of his own Elegy in a letter to my Father, ( which is ,.
now before me, but in a mutilated and imperfect state, ) has the i
following remarks, which will be read with considerable interest 1
by those who have translated this Elegy into Latin, Greek, or >
French poetry â€” after regretting that gentlemen who can express
their own thoughts so well in Latiij verse, should confine them-
selves within the limits of translation, he adds, " every language
" has its idiom, not only of words and phrases, but of customs and
" manners, which cannot be represented in the tongue of an-
" other nation, especially of a nation so distant in time and
" place, without constraint and difficulty ; of this sort, in the
" present instance, are the curfew bell, the Gothic church, with
" its monuments, organs, and anthems, the texts of Scrip-
" ture, &c. There are certain images, which, though drawn
" from common nature, and every where obvious, yet strike
" us as foreign to the turn and genius of Latin verse ; the
[ xvi ]
" beetle that flies in the evening, to a Roman, I guess, would
" have appeared too mean an object for poetry, ''that leaves
" the w^orld to darkness and to me," is good English, but has
" not the turn of a Latin phrase, and therefore, I believe, you
** were in the right to drop \t." After some verbal criticisms on
particular passages, which were afterwards altered, he goes on
to say, " might not the English characters here be romanized ?
" Virgil is just as good as Milton, and Caesar as Cromwell, but
" who shall be Hampden ?"
There is much justness of criticism in the former part of
the foregoing observations ; but it should seem, with respect to
the latter part, that the opinion of the translators was different,
as the advice was not adopted. With the greatest deference to
so high an authority, it may be safely asserted that in a speci-
men of Latin poetry of this kind, it was the business of the
translators to adhere to the original text ; it seemed more obvi-
ously their duty to accommodate the Usurper's name, however
harsh, to the classic ear, by a Latin termination, than to make
so great a sacrifice to the sound by substituting the name of any
celebrated hero of antiquity in his stead. It would have by no
means accorded with the genius of the composition, and the
train of images, which it is so admirably calculated to raise in
the mind of the reader, to have exchanged the prouder names
of Milton and Hampden, the prime and master spirits of the
age in which they lived, for any of the favourite poets and pa-
triots of ancient Greece and Rome ; as between whom and the
" short and simple annals of the poor'' in an English country
church-yard, there does not appear to be the least necessary
connexion, or moral congruity in the nature of things.
It must be confessed, however, that notwithstanding the just
[ xvii ]
encomiums which he passes upon this elegant and highly
polished translation of his most popular work, there appears to
be a coyness in theAuthor upon the subject of the version, not
without a mixture of apprehension, lest the delicacy of his Muse
should suffer some degree of violence in exchanging the simpli-
city of her English attire, for the harshness of the Roman dress ;
and I question whether he would not have been as well pleased,
if the experiment had never been made.
The circumstance of this translation having been written in
conjunction with Dr. Roberts, is elegantly alluded to by that
gentleman, in a poetical epistle addressed to my Father on the
English poets in the following lines, which though already in
print, the reader may not be displeased at seeing introduced in
Pardon, my Anstey, that Iname thee lastj
Tho' last not least in fame. For thee the Muse
Reserved a secret spot, unknown before.
And smird, and bad thee fix thy banner there^
As erst Columbus on his new-found world
Displayed the Iberian ensigns. Graceful sit
Thy golden chains, and easy flows the rhyme
Spontaneous, While old Bladud's sceptre guards
His medicinal stream, shall Simkin raise
Loud peals of merriment. Thou too canst soar
To nobler heights, and deck the fragrant earth
** Where generous Russell lies.^^ With thee, my friend.
Oft have I strayed from morn to latest e*oe,
And stoVnfrom balmy sleep the midnight hour
To court the Latian Muse. Tho' other cares
Tore me from that sweet social intercourse,
[ xviii ]
/ cannot but remember how I rov^d
By Camus sedgy stream^ and on the pipe,
The rustic pipe, while yet it breath' d thy lips,
Essay' d alternate strains. Accept this verse.
Pledge of remembrance dear, and faithful love.
From this time to the period of publishing the Bath Guide in
the year 1766, nothing appeared from the Author in print, but
he wrote many occasional little pieces of poetry of local interest
at the time, in the form of letters to his friends. The follow-
ing lines addressed to his friend and brother-in-law, the late
J. Calvert, Esq. are given to the reader as a specimen of the first
English verse of which the Author has preserved a copy. It
affords also some account of himself and of his situation and
habits of life, which he was as willing to make the subject of
his ovm wit and pleasantry, as to smile at the foibles and follies
With every plague that can conspire
To curse a wretched country squire,
Six hundred sheep on fields at Kneeton
Starv'd as their owner was at Eton,
Twelve hide-bound nags, in empty stable,
Like hungry guests at * * * * 's table ;
Calves, cows, and hogs reduced to bone,
Some wanting legs like B*l*k*n,
And all as lean as L**t**n.
Twice twenty hounds, five squalling brats.
One sickly wife, ten thousand rats ;
My hay all swimming down the river !
Tell me, ye Gods, what friend would ever
[ xix ]
O ! say what enemy would choose
To send me four lean Luton hoo^s ?
Happy, too happy sure is spent
A rural life in sweet content !
This Maro taught me long ago,
But clowns will ne'er their blessings know ;
This, on the banks of willowy Cam,
Melodious swan of Bottisham
Assures us we shall find the case,
Though he, too wise to quit his place,
Sings, all reclin'd on Board of Trade,
Of purling streams and sylvan shade,
" And thus, my Lord, he, free from strife,
"Spends an inglorious country life,'*
While I, too happy (as I'm told
By Lord of Trade, and Bard of old),
With rustic muse, go plodding on,
In shady grove of Trumpington.
Unskill'd in flattery's softer arts.
Unfit for satire's pointed darts.
Else would my faithful muse reveal
What wights bestride the common- weal :
I'd sing of statesmen's strange invention
To gain for hungry * * * * s a pension ;
I'd paint sweet peace from Heav'n descending.
And Granta's tuneful sons attending.
How to Parnassian hill they jog
Like hide-bound hacks to Gogmagog,
Blund'ring, and stumbling as they mount,
And flound'ring in the Aonian fount,
* Horses so called, which his friend had been commissioned to purchase
for him at Luton in Bedfordshire.
[ XX ]
But such exalted themes belong
To Churchill's bold immortal song,
*Tis he alone can sweep the lyre,
And kindle Britain's languid fire ;
Ye Muses bring his just reward,
At Freedom's temple crown the Bard.
Enough for me fresh flowers to bring
From hallow'd banks of Pindus' spring,
With careless hand for thee to twine
Th' unfading wreath at Friendship's shrine.
This fragment exhibits in its proper point of view that
enviable spirit of innocent and good-humoured raillery in which
he conceived every thing he wrote ; it will be seen also from
this picture of himself, that although he was fond of the
retirement of a country life, and the amusements it afforded
him, he was not insensible of the whimsical embarrassments
and ridiculous distresses to which country gentlemen are
His first publication in English poetry, was the New Bath
Guide : it was composed at Trumpington, and printed at
Cambridge, in a quarto volume, in the year 1766. It was
hardly possible that a work of this description, the success of
which seemed to depend in a great measure upon the recep-
tion it might meet with in the fashionable world, could have
made its appearance under circumstances of greater disadvan-
tage, written as it was by an unknown author, and published
by a country bookseller, at so great a distance from the place
which gave birth to all the incidents, the scenery, and the
[ xxi ]
different characters, which the Author's imagination and dis-
cernment had suggested from observation in the occasional
visits he made to Bath. As a poem of the Epic cast, it must be
allowed to be complete in all the characteristic and essential
properties ; in the choice of its hero, and the preservation of
his character, as well as in the moral tendency, and effect of
his example and catastrophe; at the same time that it is
original in almost all its analogies to this species of composition.
The epistolary form in which the story is conceived, and the
very frame of the metre in which it is written, (although not the
invention of the Author,) is nevv in its application to the subject
of a continued poem. It is no less original in the happiest
adaptation of names, by which a very large establishment of
subordinate heroes is maintained as it were at the public
expense, without prejudice to the reputation of any one
individual. The rich vein of genuine humour and pleasantry
by which every scene and incident is enlivened, in a connected
system of disguised and temperate satire, entitles it to be re-
garded as one of the most original poems which has appeared
in the last century. It has now been in the hands of the public
above forty years, the admiration and delight of its readers of
all ages, and of all descriptions, and of every country where the
English language is known or studied.
In the miscellaneous collection of manuscripts now before
me, I find a memorandum in an unknown hand, wherein men-
tion is made of the Bath Guide having been translated into the
French language. Upon enquiry I am inclined to believe that
the suggestion may have arisen from the circumstance adverted
to by Mr. Gibbon, in his Memoirs of his own life and writings.
This distinguished author notices a translation of some of the
[ xxii ]
letters of the Bath Guide into French prose, published in 17^7,
in a work entitled Mhnoires Literaires de la Grande Bretagne, the
joint production of himself and a Mr. Deyverdun, a Sv/iss gen-
tleman, who had been tutor to the grandson of the Margravine
of Schavedt, of the royal family of Prussia, and resided with the
historian at Geneva. This work, which is a critique upon English
literature, though in part written by Mr. Gibbon, is not compre-
hended in the collection of his works published since his de-
cease ; â€” the book is exceedingly scarce, and almost unique in the
hands of the gentleman to whose politeness I am indebted for
the opportunity of presenting the reader with a specimen of a
French prose translation of the New Bath Guide ;* he will not
*" Muses, descendez dans la plaine! inspirez moi pour nion amie campa-
" gnarde, non de ces odes que d'un vol lapide s'elevent au-dessus des nues ; les
" champs vastes et ferliles de rimagination ne plaisent pas de meme a tous
" les yeux : Mais Calliope, c'est loi quej'invoque, viens celebrer les plaisirs qui
*' varient ici les jours ; soil que tu te prom^nes sur la Parade, ou dans le Bos-
" quel d'Orange, ou que tu respire un air plus pur dans le Cirque ou le Quarr^.
" Viens chanter avee moi les plaisirs de Bath !
" Le matin voit naitre le plaisir, le soir le voit paroitre encore; les scenes
" qu'il ^tale sont toujours fraiches et riantes. Lorsque I'Aurore peint les nues,
" je sors d'une couche que des songes enchanteurs ont embellie. La Musique
" m'appelle k cette Fontaine d'oi d^coulent la fraicheur, et la vivacity. â€”
" C'est 1^ que la D^esse de la Sante repand abondamment ses faveurs. Je
" vole a ses autels, je n'use jamais de ses dons ; mais je me place pr^s de la
*' source, un bouquet k la main. Le Capitaine s'approche : Bon jour, ma
" Belle ! me dit-il, le Capitaine ! Je vois d'ici votre curiosity, ma ch^re,
" V0U8 voulez savoir le nom du Capitaine Tu le sÂ§auras, mon enfant
" Mais surtout n'en dis rien k ma Xante : le nom du Capitaine est Cor-
" MORA NT â€” mais apprends que dans la suite, il se nommera Romeo, et plus de
" Jenny, je serai Juliette. Dieux charmans qui pr^sidez k I'Amour ! que je
" voye souvent mon Romeo ! que je jouisse souvent de sesdoux entretiens! et
" que dans le tourbillon vari^ de nos plaisirs,j'occiipe seul ses pens^es ! Mais oh
" court toute la bande joyeuse ? C'est au dejeuner public de Sir Toby," &c. &c.
[ xxiii ]
fail to be amused with the singular ingenuity of the foreigner,
as well as with the boldness of the undertaking, in which he
has preserved the spirit, and in a manner naturalized the cha-
racteristic and local humour of the subject, so as to give an air
of originality to the translation itself, seldom if ever exceeded
in works of this nature.
Although this Poem obtained the highest reputation to the
author, his profits upon it were by no means considerable ; he
sold the copy-right to Mr. Dodsley, soon after the publication
of the second edition, for 200/. and gave the balance of his ac-
count with his bookseller at Bath, to the benefit of the General
Hospital in that city, as appears by the following letter to a
friend, which on this account, an because it shews his attach-
" Enfin la Toilette m'appelle. O^ sont mon aigrette, mes grenats, et ma coeffe ?
*' que Singe vienne ine coeffer. Donne moi ma Mazarine en argent, on ne vit
" rien de plus brillant. Tabitha, apporte moi mon manchon : oil est-il ce cher
" ce delicieux manchon ? Manchon present de mon fidele Romeo: manchon
" faitde duvet de eigne. O le cher ! I'aimable homme ! Manchon, qui me rap-
" pelle comment Jupiter descendit vers Leda Tabby ! vois qui frappe
'* k la porte. Madame, Madame, c'est le Capilaine! Oui, surement c'est sa
" voix que j'entends. Ah, c'est lui, c'est mon Romeo ; taille degag^e, air ais^
" bague de diamaut, solitaire, tout annonce I'Homme de condition, I'Homme k
" la mode. Quel feu! quelle douceur danssesyeux ! qu'ilsparlentbien d'apr^s
" son coeur ! Voisles fossettes de ses joues, vois le sourire, et dire d'un ton de
" voix charmant, Aimable Nimphe ! j'ai en main quelque chose de tout pret pour
" vous que vousne refuserez point, j'esp^re, etqui iious arausera delicieusement,
" tous les deux cette nuit. Lady Whisker me persecute pour I'avoir ; Miss
" Badger brule de le posseder ; mais par Jupiter ! vous seule en jouirez. Ma
" Chere, c'est â€” un Billet de Bal, que je mets a vos pieds, ma Belle ; les Amours
" et les Graces vous invitent k cette petite fete particuli^re, et je renonce k la
" Comedie, au Phraon, au Lansquenet, au Loo, pour y danser avec vous, ma
" Charmante ! J'accorde le Billet avec joye, et je le cache dans mon sein.
" Ah ! qui sail mieux que moi comment mon Romeo brille k la Danse," See. Sec.
Vide Bath Guide, Part Second, Letter TX.
ment to a place which he had made the subject of his innocent
pleasantry, and for other reasons which may be interesting to
the reader, is given to him in this place.
XO *****, ESQ.
" I fully intended myself the pleasure of visiting Bath this
" season, to which the prospect of seeing you there, and re-
" newing those social and agreeable hours I have formerly
" passed with my worthy friend, would have been the greatest
" inducement ; but my family now is grown so large, that a
" small army might be removed with less difficulty and ex-
*' pence. You may remember, that in a former letter I
" mentioned to you my intention of making a present to the
" hospital at Bath of twenty guineas, out of the profits of the
" Bath Guide. I flatter myself you will excuse the trouble I
" give you, in begging the favour of you to settle the enclosed
" account with Mr. Frederick the bookseller, and to pay that sum
" for me to the Governors. This is so small a contribution,
" that it will be of little account if put into the general fund, I
" would therefore desire it may be given to twenty of the
" poorest patients, who reside at a distance from Bath, a guinea
" each, towards carrying them to their respective homes. I
" am certain your readiness to succour the distressed, and to
" oblige your friends, will be a sufficient apology for my
" giving you this trouble. But one favour I beg, that my name
" may not be mentioned in this small donation ; which arises
" from my partiality to a place from which, I thank God, I
[ XXV ]
" have received great benefits as to my health, and in which I
" have spent many happy days.
" I am, dear Sir, your very sincere
Mr. Dodsley very candidly confessed, about ten years after
he had purchased the Bath Guide, that his profits upon the sale
of it w^ere greater than he had ever made by any other book,
during the like period, and for this reason generously gave
back the copy-right to the Author in the year 1777. It is re-
printed in this collection without alteration, and with the addi-
tion only of a translation of Miss Prudence Bl â€” nâ€” r â€” d's letter
into Latin verse, written, as it is conjectured, not long after the
Appendix to the second edition.
His Elegy on the much-lamented Death of the Marquis of
Tavistock appeared in the year 1767, a few months only after
the publication of the Bath Guide. There is something in the
manner and turn of the expression in these beautiful lines,
which distinguish them from the ordinary style of elegy. The
abrupt apostrophe with which the poem commences appears
to be the natural and almost unpremeditated effect of the first
emotions of pity in a benevolent mind ; it is the language of
sympathy enlivened with the spirit of poetry. All the familiar
topics of domestic interest are interwoven with the subject,
with such a peculiar character of tenderness and simplicity, in
the pensive tone and structure of the cadences, as carry the
story of distress irresistibly home to the bosom and feelings of
The originality of his genius was conspicuous in almost
[ xxvi ]
every thing he wrote, and its versatility in no instance more
remarkable than in this last mentioned publication, considered
with reference to the Bath Guide, which preceded it but a few
months, and contrasted with the distinct and opposite character
of the Patriot, a Pindaric Epistle, which was written towards the
close of the same year.* This latter production was of a poli-
tical nature ; the author's name was not intended to be kept
secret, and from the style of the Appendix, which is in the same
metre with the Bath Guide, and in no respect inferior to the
most admired passages of that poem, it was soon discovered to
be the production of the same author, and acquired that cele-
brity which was inseparable from all his writings. The moral
object of this poem was to degrade and bring to its proper level,
in the estimation of mankind, the vulgar and savage practice
of prize-fighting, then in its highest vogue, and patronized by
noblemen and gentlemen of the first fashion and figure in the
country, a practice which, it is greatly to be regretted, has since
been revived, and gradually improved upon principles of science,
into a public nuisance, commencing in outrage, and generally
ending in tumult and bloodshed, and not unfrequently homi-
cide, to the great scandal of the police, and the disgrace of a
Buckhorse, the most noted bruiser of his time, and to whom
it is addressed, actually sat for his picture, from which the
* The Bath Guide is dated in 1766; the Marquis of Tavistock died of a fall
from his horse, on the 22d of March, 1767 ; and the Elegy written upon the
occasion of his death was printed and had passed through the hands of the
public several days before the last obsequies had been paid to his memory.
The Patriot bears date the 1st of December, 1767.
[ xxvii ]
vignette which forms the frontispiece of the work was taken:
the whole is a vehicle of apposite and well directed satire,
illustrated with a variety of classical allusions referable to
subjects of great political and public interest, and the popular
and local anecdotes of the day.
As connected with this production, the reader is presented
with the following imitations of Horace.
TO SIR WILLIAM DRAPER, K. B.
With a copy of the Patriot, and a present of Cottenham
Donarem pater as, &c, Hor. Lib. iv. Ode 8.
Freely I'd give ye cups of gold,
Rich with the curious works of old ;
With coins and medals I'd present ye,
And send ye rings and seals in plenty ;
Reward ye like the valiant Greeks,
â€¢ If I, like Deard, could make antiques.
But gifts like these, my generous Friend,
Nor you expect, nor I can send.
Something to eat, I'd have you know it,
Is no small present from a Poet ;
And tho' I took some little pains
In weaving my Pindaric strains.
You're welcome, if my verse displeases,
To d â€” n my book, and eat my cheeses ;
Still will I venture to acquaint ye,
Tho' I, like Gainsborough, cou'd paint ye ;
Tho' I with Wilton's art, could give
The animated stone to live ;
[ xxviii ]
Yet not the picture, or the busto,
Are things that heroes ought to trust to.
Good generals and statesmen too,
From verse alone, must claim their due ;
And oft the friendly Muse supplies
What an ungrateful world denies :
Not the swift flight of threat'ning Lally,
Not every bold successful sally,
Under your banners from Madras,
Tho* told on marble, or on brass :
Not India's distant spoils brought home,
To grace our Henry's lofty dome;*
Without the Muses just regard,
Can give the Conqueror his reward. â€”
â€” Spite of the law's unjust delay.
Your guerdon still the Muse shall pa y
With faithful steps your fame attend.
And speed the wishes of your friend.
Trumpingtoyi, Dec, 24, 1767. C. A.
TO THE SAME;
With a Collar of Brawn, Nov. 1768.
Albij sermonum nostrorum candide Judejo. Hor. Lib. 1. Ep. 4.
Draper, my dear and worthy Friend,
Who rcad'st with candour all I send ;
Say, what employment pleases best,
Since from the north you've travell'd west;
Are you to house of Melmoth flown.
There write what Pliny's self might own ?
* The Spanish colours which were surrendered to the British arms at the
conquest of Manilla, were hung up in the chapel of King's College, Cambridge.
[ xxix ]
Or wand'ring near Sabrina's stream,
Explore some wise and virtuous theme :
Where'er thou art, thy active mind
To trifles never is consign' d ;
Yet, 'mid the busy cares of life,
Vain scenes of anger, noise, and strife,
Reflect how short our time must last.
Nor think on disappointments past.^<y^/<^
The Gods, my friend, your wishes crown,
Make health, success, and fame your own ;
Besides, to this indulgent Heaven
A handsome competence has given.
And what is still a greater blessing,
The art of geu'rously possessing
So neat, so plentiful a board.
Not half our modern knights afford,
And much I fear, I scarce am able
To add one dainty to your table ;
Yet take the collar I have sent ye,
And draw St. Rennet's corks in plenty.
But that my wife will never cease
Her num'rous offspring to increase,
(And well you know I'm not inclin*d
To leave my better half behind,)
I'd promise soon to come to your house
And play the part of Epicurus.
It will not be deemed foreign to the object of this Memoir,
to present the reader v^ith Sir William Draper's answer to
the foregoing letters, as it will serve to give a picture of that
[ XXX ]
distinguished character no less creditable to his taste as an
author, already known to the public by his celebrated answers
to Junius's Letters, than to his feelings as a man, and the native
candour and generosity of his mind and disposition.
TO C. A. ESQ.
From Sir William Draper, K. B. in answer to the foregoing.
So muck, my Friend, jyour poem pleases,
I scarce have time to taste your cheeses.
Much I admire the infant's cradle.
Who for a pap-spoon grasp' d the ladle,
Split Lions' marrow-bones with cleaver.
And suck'd their essence for his beaver â€”
All woud I praise, but deaf Apollo