THE title and nature of this POEM, shew that it owed its birth to some preceding circumstances of festive merriment, which, from the wit of the company, and the very ingenious Author's peculiar oddities, were probably enlivened by some poignant strokes of humour. This piece was only intended for the Doctor's private amusement, and that of the particular friends who were its subject; and he unfortunately did not live to revise, or even finish it, in the manner which he intended.

1 OF old, when Scarron his companions invited,
2 Each guest brought his dish, and the feast was united;
3 If our
a The master of the St James's coffee-house, where the Doctor, and the friends he has characterized in this Poem, held an occasional club.
landlord supplies us with beef, and with fish,
4 Let each guest bring himself, and he brings the best dish,
5 Our
b Doctor Barnard, Dean of Derry in Ireland, author of many in genious pieces.
Dean shall be venison, just fresh from the plains;
6 Our
c Mr Edmund Burke, member for Wendover, and one of the greatest orators in this kingdom.
Burke shall be tongue, with a garnish of brains;
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7 Our
d Mr William Burke, late Secretary to General Conway, and member for Bedwin.
Will shall be wild fowl, of excellent flavour,
8 And
e Mr Richard Burke, Collector of Granada, no less remarkable in the walks of wit and humour than his brother Edmund Burke is justly distinguished in all the branches of useful and polite literature.
Dick with his pepper, shall heighten their savour:
9 Our
f Author of the West-Indian, Fashionable Lover, the Brothers, and other dramatic pieces.
Cumberland's sweet-bread its place shall obtain,
10 And
g Doctor Douglas, Canon of Windsor, 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.
Douglas is pudding, substantial and plain:
11 Our
h David Garrick, Esq joint Patentee and acting Manager of the Theatre-Royal, Drury-Lane.
Garrick's a sallad, for in him we see
12 Oil, vinegar, sugar, and saltness agree:
13 To make out the dinner, full certain I am,
14 That
i Counsellor John Ridge, a gentleman belonging to the Irish bar, the relish of whose agreeable and pointed conversation is admitted, by all his acquaintance, to be very properly compared to the above sauce.
Ridge is anchovy, and
k Sir Joshua Reynolds, President of the Royal Academy.
Reynolds is lamb;
15 That
l An eminent Attorney.
Hickey's a capon, and by the same rule,
16 Magnanimous Goldsmith, a goosberry fool:
17 At a dinner so various, at such a repast,
18 Who'd not be a glutton, and stick to the last:
19 Here, waiter, more wine, let me sit while I'm able,
20 'Till all my companions sink under the table;
21 Then with chaos and blunders encircling my head,
22 Let me ponder, and tell what I think of the dead.
23 Here lies the good Dean, re-united to earth,
24 Who mixt reason with pleasure, and wisdom with mirth:
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25 If he had any faults, he has left us in doubt,
26 At least, in six weeks, I could not find 'em out;
27 Yet some have declar'd, and it can't be denied 'em,
28 That sly-boots was cursedly cunning to hide 'em,
29 Here lies our good Edmund, whose genius was such,
30 We scarcely can praise it, or blame it too much;
31 Who, born for the Universe, narrow'd his mind,
32 And to party gave up, what was meant for mankind,
33 Tho' fraught with all learning, yet straining his throat,
34 To persuade
m Mr. T. Townsend, Member for Whitchurch.
Tommy Townsend to lend him a vote;
35 Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining,
36 And thought of convincing, while they thought of dining;
37 Tho' equal to all things, for all things unfit,
38 Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit:
39 For a patriot too cool; for a drudge, disobedient,
40 And too fond of the right to pursue the expedient.
41 In short, 'twas his fate, unemploy'd, or in place, Sir,
42 To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a razor.
43 Here lies honest William, whose heart was a mint,
44 While the owner ne'er knew half the good that was in't;
45 The pupil of impulse, it forc'd him along,
46 His conduct still right, with his argument wrong;
47 Still aiming at honour, yet fearing to roam,
48 The coachman was tipsy, the chariot drove home;
49 Would you ask for his merits, alas! he had none,
50 What was good was spontaneous, his faults were his own.
51 Here lies honest Richard, whose fate I must sigh at,
52 Alas, that such frolic should now be so quiet!
53 What spirits were his, what wit and what whim,
n Mr Richard Burke. This gentleman having slightly fractured one of his arms and legs, at different times, the Doctor has rallied him on those accidents, as a kind of retributive justice for breaking his jests upon other people.
Now breaking a jest, and now breaking a limb;
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55 Now wrangling and grumbling to keep up the ball,
56 Now teazing and vexing, yet laughing at all?
57 In short so provoking a devil was Dick,
58 That we wish'd him full ten times a day at Old Nick.
59 But missing his mirth and agreeable vein,
60 As often we wish'd to have Dick back again.
61 Here Cumberland lies, having acted his parts,
62 The Terence of England, the mender of hearts;
63 A flattering painter, who made it his care
64 To draw men as they ought to be, not as they are;
65 His gallants are all faultless, his women divine,
66 And comedy wonders at being so fine;
67 Like a tragedy queen he has dizen'd her out,
68 Or rather like tragedy giving a rout.
69 His fools have their follies so lost in a crowd
70 Of virtues and feelings, that folly grows proud,
71 And coxcombs alike in their failings alone,
72 Adopting his portraits are pleas'd with their own.
73 Say, where has our poet this malady caught,
74 Or wherefore his characters thus without fault?
75 Say was it that vainly directing his view,
76 To find out mens virtues and finding them few,
77 Quite sick of pursuing each troublesome elf,
78 He grew lazy at last and drew from himself?
79 Here Douglas retires from his toils to relax,
80 The scourge of impostors, the terror of quacks:
81 Come all ye quack bards, and ye quacking divines,
82 Come and dance on the spot where your tyrant reclines,
83 When Satire and Censure encircled his throne,
84 I fear'd for your safety, I fear'd for my own;
85 But now he is gone, and we want a detector,
86 Our Dodds shall be pious, our Kenricks shall lecture;
87 Macpherson write bombast, and call it a style
88 Our Townshend make speeches, and I shall compile;
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89 New Lauders and Bowers the Tweed shall cross over,
90 No countryman living their tricks to discover;
91 Detection her taper shall quench to a spark,
92 And Scotchman meet Scotchman and cheat in the dark.
93 Here lies David Garrick, describe me who can,
94 An abridgment of all that was pleasant in man;
95 As an actor, confest without rival to shine,
96 As a wit, if not first, in the very first line;
97 Yet with talents like these, and an excellent heart,
98 The man had his failings, a dupe to his art;
99 Like an ill-judging beauty, his colours he spread,
100 And beplaister'd, with rouge, his own natural red.
101 On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting,
102 'Twas only that, when he was off, he was acting:
103 With no reason on earth to go out of his way,
104 He turn'd and he varied full ten times a-day;
105 Tho' secure of our hearts, yet confoundedly sick,
106 If they were not his own by finessing and trick;
107 He cast off his friends, as a huntsman his pack,
108 For he knew when he pleas'd he could whistle them back.
109 Of praise a mere glutton, he swallow'd what came,
110 And the puff of a dunce, he mistook it for fame;
111 'Till his relish grown callous, almost to disease,
112 Who pepper'd the highest, was surest to please.
113 But let us be candid, and speak out our mind,
114 If dunces applauded, he paid them in kind.
115 Ye Kenricks, ye Kellys, and Woodfalls so grave,
116 What a commerce was yours, while you got and you gave?
117 How did Grub-street re-echo the shouts that you rais'd,
118 While he was beroscius'd, and you were beprais'd?
119 But peace to his spirit, wherever it flies,
120 To act as an angel, and mix with the skies:
121 Those poets, who owe their best fame to his skill,
122 Shall still be his flatterers, go where he will.
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123 Old Shakespeare, receive him, with praise and with love,
124 And Beaumonts and Bens be his Kellys above.
125 Here Hickey reclines, a most blunt, pleasant creature,
126 And slander itself must allow him good-nature:
127 He cherish'd his friend, and he relish'd a bumper;
128 Yet one fault he had, and that one was a thumper:
129 Perhaps you may ask if the man was a miser?
130 I answer, no, no, for he always was wiser;
131 Too courteous, perhaps, or obligingly flat;
132 His very worst foe can't accuse him of that.
133 Perhaps he confided in men as they go,
134 And so was too foolishly honest; ah no!
135 Then what was his failing? come tell it, and burn ye,
136 He was, could he help it? a special attorney.
137 Here Reynolds is laid, and, to tell you my mind,
138 He has not left a wiser or better behind:
139 His pencil was striking, resistless and grand,
140 His manners were gentle, complying and bland;
141 Still born to improve us in every part,
142 His pencil our faces, his manners our heart:
143 To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steering,
144 When they judg'd without skill he was still hard of hearing:
145 When they talk'd of their Raphaels, Corregios and stuff,
146 He shifted his
o Sir Joshua Reynolds is so remarkably deaf as to be under the necessity of using an ear trumpet in company.
trumpet, and only took snuff.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): RETALIATION.
Themes: poetry; literature; writing; death
Genres: mock epitaph; character; fragment

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Source edition

Goldsmith, Oliver, 1730?-1774. The Miscellaneous Works of Oliver Goldsmith, M.B. Containing all his Essays and Poems. London: printed for W. Griffin, Catherine-street, in the Strand, 1775, pp. []-200. [8],iv,[1],10-200p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T146118; OTA K113624.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.