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The Poetical Works of the late Christopher Anstey

With Some Account of the Life and Writings of the Author, By his son, John Anstey

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INSCRIPTION On a Cenotaph erected by Sir William Draper, K. B. in his Garden at Clifton near Bristol.

This Cenotaph is sacred
to the Memory
Of those departed Warriors,
of the seventy-ninth regiment,
by whose deliberate Valour,
steady discipline, and perseverance,
The formidable and impetuous efforts
of the French Land forces in Asia
were first withstood, and repulsed;
Our Commerce preserved;
Our Settlements rescued from impending destruction.
The ever memorable defence of Madrass,
The decisive Battle of Wandewash,
Twelve strong and important Fortresses,
Three Capitals
Arcot, Pondicherry, Manilla,


The Philippine Islands,
are witnesses of their Victories,
that would have done honor
even to the Greek and Roman Name
in the most illustrious times of Antiquity,
and well deserve to be transmitted down
to latest Posterity,
that future Generations may hear
and imitate (for they cannot exceed)
Their Glorious Exploits.


EPITAPH On a Lady who died after a lingering Illness, and had earnestly prayed that her only Child might not survive her: The Child died a short time after its Mother.


N. B. An Angel is represented in basso-relievo, holding up a Child to its Mother, and is supposed to speak the following lines.

Sweet Saint! on thee when pining sickness prey'd,
Thy beauty canker'd, and thy youth decay'd,
'Twas thine with patience meek, to Heav'n resign'd,
With Faith that arm'd, and Hope that cheer'd thy mind,
Death's ling'ring stroke undaunted to sustain
And spare thy pitying friend's and husband's pain,
Studious thy heartfelt anguish to disguise
From sympathizing Love's enquiring eyes!


'Tis mine to crown thy wish, reward thy worth,
To wean each fond, each yearning thought from earth;
And bring this much lov'd object of thy care,
Thy joys to perfect, and thy Heaven to share.—

TO A FRIEND, On the Loss of an amiable Daughter.

True, she was sweet, and lovely in thine eyes,
Like some fair flower that blooms awhile, and dies:
Yet O forbear thy heart-felt pangs to shew
In outward pageantry, and pomp of woe:
Say, shouldst thou bid the Parian marble rise,
To tell where innocence and beauty lies,
Aught could it sooth His grief, ill-fated youth!
To whose fond vows she pledg'd her virgin truth?
Thy generous boon to him best serves to prove
Thy manly sorrow, and paternal love,


Firmer than polish'd brass, or sculptur'd stone
Shall long preserve her Memory, and thine own

A genteel and handsome fortune intended for the young lady on her marriage, which her father immediately on her decease presented to the gentleman to whom she was betrothed.

On the Occasion of the Duke of Northumberland's being detained at Bath by a return of his Disorder.

Worn with the raging gout's consuming fires,
The good Northumberland to Bath retires:
There Health awhile her flattering respite brings
From healing medicines, and salubrious springs;
But soon as homeward he directs his way
Th'imperious foe returns, and bids him stay.
How hard, alas! that those who truly know
What social pleasures from his converse flow,
Who feel his virtues, and so rarely find
Candour and truth with courtly manners join'd,
On terms like these his presence must obtain,
And owe their pleasure to his grief and pain!


LINES Inscribed to the memory of Dr. Samuel Johnson, occasioned by reading Mrs. Piozzi's Anecdotes, Mr. Boswell's Tour to the Hebrides, &c. &c.

O! Johnson, learned, venerable shade,
What havock of thy fame hath friendship made,
What childish trophies round thy manly bust,
What noisome weeds are planted in thy dust!
Yet sleep in peace—and though to me unknown
(Save from the musick of thy learn'd renown)
Accept this verse, if aught my verse can boast
To sooth the anguish of thy injured Ghost.
What though thy friends, thy dearest friends, have tried,
To blaze those faults, which e'en thy foes would hide,
Though like a gem by some rude artist set,
We mark thy flaws, thy brilliancy forget,
Yet rest assured, when all their triumph's o'er,
Thy friends and enemies are known no more,


When time shall mould the sprightly works of Thrale,
And turn to vinegar her choicest ale,
When Boswell, of his birth and friendships proud,
Mac Lean, Mac Sweyn, Mac Cromheil, and Mac Cloud,
Indignant round the savoury steak shall fry,
Or light Mundungus in the Isle of Sky,
When Pindar too, Soame Jennyngs, and myself,
Shall lie, meet victims, on a grocer's shelf:
Still shalt thou last, and o'er thy hallow'd tomb,
Fair Science weep, and bays perennial bloom.

Peter Pindar. Vide Town Eclogues; Bossy, Piozzi, &c. &c. &c.

Vide Epitaph on Dr. Johnson, written by this celebrated Author.


DEO OPT. MAX. VOTUM. C. P. Auctore.


The Same, translated at the Request of the Widow of the Deceased.

Parent supreme! whose all discerning mind
Appoints the various portions of mankind,
On me, my country, and on all, bestow
Such needful gifts as from thy wisdom flow:
Fix'd in thy love, to me the joys impart
Which virtuous Friendship gives the feeling heart:
Such talents as to me thy grace conveys
Be all repaid in gratitude and praise:
O may my much lov'd wife survive to share
Her children's love, and they her fost'ring care:
One mind be theirs, with mutual wishes blest,
Till in the bosom of their God they rest,
And wake with me in yon bright realms above,
To purer joys, and more than earthly love.
Enough to ask—thy wise paternal care
Knows when to grant and when deny the prayer,
By thee our life is given, our death decreed,
From thee the just shall reap their promis'd meed.
Yet give me to prefer the good man's praise
To fading honours, or to length of days,
At death's dread summons be prepar'd to go,
With patience wait, nor fear th' impending blow.


On the Recovery of a young Lady by the use of the Cheltenham Waters.

With pining sickness worn, her beauty fled,
Hither my Charlotte's trembling steps I led;
Meek and resign'd, from this salubrious well
She drank, and on the cup a blessing fell!

From Macrobius, Saturn. 11. 7.


Translation of the above, A. D. 1794.

As circling ivy works the tree's decay,
Time's cold embraces steal my strength away,
Till like an empty tomb, my aged frame
Tells only what I was, and bears my name.


In Promptu, to a Lady enquiring the reason why Beards were not worn as in former times.

Sapientem pascere barbam. Hor.

To brush the cheeks of Ladies fair,
With genuine charms o'erspread,
Their sapient beards with mickle care
Our wise forefathers fed.
But since our modern Ladies take
Such pains to paint their faces,
What havock would such brushes make
Amidst the loves and graces!

In Promptu, written in 1779.

You say, my Friend, that every day
Your company forsaking,
In quest of news I haste away,
The Morning Post to take in:
But if nor news nor sense it boast,
Which all the world agree in,
I don't take in the Morning Post,
The Morning Post takes me in.



Occasioned by the late scarcity of Grain, and inscribed to the Author's three Periwigs, Malus, Pejor, and Pessimus.

Aliquisque Malo fuit usus in illo.

Ah me! full sorely doth it rend my heart,
O! Pessimus, my veteran friend, to view
Thy time-worn front, and curls of yellow hue,
And think, how soon unpowder'd we must part!
And much it grieves me that thy brothers twain,
Malus and Pejor (both the offspring fair
Of Orchard's plastic hand) thy fate must share,
Nor graceful wave their mealy locks again!
Yet doth my soul a secret solace find,
(Such solace as the wise and patient know,
Who taste the blessings which from evils flow;)
That thou to Priapean head consign'd
Shalt scare voracious crows—and all un-flour'd
Protect the grain thy hungry caul devour'd.

Mr. Orchard, peruke-maker in Bath.


From Martial.

Tu Setina quidem nobis, &c.

You press me to drink your Champayn, and Tokay
By which you have poison'd four wives, as they say:
I ne'er can believe such a scandalous tale,
—So here's your good health, in a glass of your—ale.

On the Execution of Mr. Coyghley for High Treason.

Some wept, you say, when Coyghley was no more!
I wept, because he was not hang'd before.


Ad Gentem Gallicam Germani apud Anglos commorantis Deprecatio.



Translation of the same.

To the Citizens of France.
Ye doubtful race! whom apes and foxes bred,
And, drench'd with human gore, a tigress fed!
Mid your sad triumphs o'er your murder'd King,
While waste and death to Belgia's realms you bring;
Whether for love of Liberty, or frogs,
Ye wage foul combat in Hollandia's bogs,
Or grudge her sons their galligaskins wide,
Rich trophies! to your ragged chiefs denied;
Still naked, hungry still, awhile forbear
Your arms, and England's happy kingdom spare:—
If Liberty alone such rage inspires,
Here unremitting blaze her hallow'd fires:
Nor deem that empire harsh, those laws severe,
Where, in both senates, unrestrain'd by fear,
Her patriots dare, in these rebellious times,
To boast your friendships and applaud your crimes.




“Come and listen to my ditty.”

On that fam'd and ancient station
Where to Thames the Medway runs,
When in lawless combination
Neptune saw his favourite sons,
Straight he bad the waves their motion
And the winds their rage compose,
While from forth her native ocean
Britain's guardian Genius rose;
Not as when, with joy enraptur'd,
Her triumphant Howe she view'd,
Gallia's warlike vessels captur'd,
And her vaunting chiefs subdued;


Not as when her tribute glorious
She to British valour paid,
And for Vincent's Earl victorious
Twin'd a wreath that ne'er shall fade,
But with heart-felt sorrow wounded,
All aghast and pale she stood:
Thames her piercing cries resounded
Back to Medway's trembling flood:
“Tell me, ye, on whom relying
“I the Sea's dominion hold,
“Why these hostile flags are flying,
“Tell me true, my Sailor's bold:
“Is it that your warlike thunder
“On the faithless Dutch may fall,
“Is it wealthy Spain to plunder,
“Or to curb th'ambitious Gaul?
“No!—to seek your own undoing,—
“'Tis that France our shame may view,
“'Tis to work your Country's ruin,
“Which herself alone can do!


“Shall we then, with Discord raging,
“'Gainst ourselves the poniard bare,
“And a war internal waging,
“Britain her own bowels tear?
“Think on Gallia's dread commotion!—
“Ah! what shrine, what sacred flood
“Hath she not defil'd! what ocean
“Left unstain'd with kindred blood!
“List, oh, list! if, mid confusion,
“Reason's voice your ear can gain,
“Waken'd from your curs'd delusion,
“Hear me speak, nor hear in vain.
“Know that party-rage and faction
“Mar themselves with scorpion-wounds,
“And Rebellion's dire distraction
“On its author's head rebounds.
“To Old England firm and hearty,
“And obedient to her laws,
“Sailors own no other party,
“Than their King's, and Country's cause:


“Sure I am, my ancient charter
“You with glory will maintain,
“And for gold would scorn to barter
“Britain's empire o'er the main:
“On that miscreant crew, whose slanders
“Ting'd your generous hearts with gall,
“Not upon your brave commanders
“Let your headlong vengeance fall;
“They in early youth forsaking
“All that they on earth held dear,
“To the paths of honour taking
“Lives of labour learn'd to bear;
“Oft with you they've sail'd together,
“Oft alike with you have far'd,
“Brav'd the boisterous waves and weather,
“And the raging battle shar'd:
“Still, my friends, 'tis not expedient
“Each should hold a ruling hand;
“All should learn to be obedient,
“Few are fitted for command.—


“And will you while Commerce failing
“Daily mourns her captur'd fleet,
“While the noble Bridport's sailing
“In their ports the foe to meet;
“While your friends off Lisbon drinking
“To their gallant leader's health,
“And the Spanish dollars chinking
“Now are counting out their wealth,
“Say, will you, like lazy lubbards,
“Still keep loitering at the Nore,
“Pillaging your pursers' cupboards,
“And consume the naval store,
“Thoughtless in distress and anguish
“How your wives your absence mourn,
“How your helpless children languish
“Hungry, naked, and forlorn?
“If to France your course you're bending
“To invite your country's foe,
“Or for liberty contending
“To some happier clime would go,


“Turn your eyes—see nature show'ring
“Blessings o'er your native plains,
“Health, and wealth, and plenty pouring;
“See how Joy and Freedom reigns!
“Shall some barbarous Gallic ruffian
“Claim such rich domains as these,
“Some half-naked ragamuffin
“On your wives and daughters seize.”
Here she paus'd—with transport spying
(To the traitors sore dismay)
Three brave ships from Parker flying
To the Fort direct their way;
“Now,” she cried, “my friends assemble,
“Now the joyful Union spread,
“See th' affrighted tyrants tremble,
“See th' Arch-rebel hangs his head!


“All aloft, and quick and steady
“Now your canvass wings unbind;
“See, the Dromedary's ready,
“Off she flies before the wind.
“See, another slips her cable,
“All into the port shall sail;
“Loyal crews, and leaders able,
“Must in Britain's cause prevail:
“And in harbour safe arriving
“When our valiant troops you meet,
“In your cause so nobly striving,
“Them with cordial friendship greet:
“Give one curse to Delegation,
“Send her back to France again,
“She's an imp of Usurpation;
“Order here and Peace shall reign.”—

The Repulse, the Ardent, and the Leopard. The first of these ships unfortunately ran ashore in its way to the Fort, and was exposed for near an hour to a very severe fire fom the Monmouth and Director; but by the consummate bravery and perseverance of the officers and crew, was safely brought into the harbour at Sheerness, though in a very shattered condition.