May 16






Session of Poets.



Sic honor & nomen divinis vatibus atque

Carminibus venit; ———— HOR. de Arte Poet.


The Strings he touch’d with more than human Art,

Which pleas’d the Judge’s Ear, and sooth’d his Heart;

Who soon judiciously the Palm decreed,

And to the Lute postpon’d the squeaking Reed.

CROXAL’s Ovid. Metam.

[two lines]



Printed for M. Smith, near the Royal-Exchange, in Corn-hill.  1724.

[Price 6 d.]











APOLLO, (the God both of Musick and Wit)

To summon a Court did lately think fit;

No Poets were call’d! — the God found, in vain

He hop’d, that a Bard shou’d the Laurel obtain;

Since what was his Right he cou’d not dispose

To one noted for Sense, in Metre or Prose;

The Laureat’s Place to the Court he resign’d,

And the Bays for the best Musician design’d;

As o’er these Twin-Arts he’s known to preside,

To Sounds he’d allow, what to Wit was deny’d.


    THE long expected Day’s at last declar’d,

And th’ Op’ra-House for such a Crowd prepar’d;

Just as when H—gg—r with pious View,

(Careful of Innocence, to Virtue true,) [4]

All Sexes, Ranks, and Int’rests slyly joins,

Whilst the gay Hall with Lights the Day out-shines:

Bright in his glorious Rays Apollo came,

And first his Officers of State did name;

Th’ Academy-Directors all appear’d,

And equal to their Skill in Sounds preferr’d;

One waits his Nod, his Will another writes,

Some give him Tea, and some —— do snuff the Lights;

Soon as the God the lovely Swiss survey’d,

Master of Ceremonies he was made;

B—nst—t and B—sc—i (who peep’d in for Sport,)

Were pitch’d upon for Criers to the Court;

In Recitative they roar the God’s Commands,

Whilst Count V--n--a as the Porter stands.

No sooner was the God’s dread Will made known,

The Time and Place proclaim’d, and fix’d his Throne;

Composers and Performers — all prepar’d

To shew their Skill, and claim the great Reward;

Like Bodies to their Centre swift they ran,

And each by Merit hop’d to be the Man:

But e’er my Muse proceeds, let’s view the Race,

Whose various Tribes did crowd the spacious Place;

Like Brother Homer tell each Hero’s Name,

Where his Abode, or whence his Parents came,

And what his Rank in the Records of Fame.

Masters of various Instruments flock here,

The Scottish Pipe, and British Harp appear;

Lutes and Guitars do form a beauteous Line,

Whilst Dulcimers with Pipe and Tabor join;

From gay Moorfields sweet Singers did attend;

Wapping and Redriff did their Fiddlers send;

Of my Lord Mayor’s choice Band there came the Chief,

Who whet his Lordship’s Stomach to his Beef; [5]

The Parish-Clerks and Waits form one large Group,

And Organists swell up that bright, Psalm-singing, Troop;

Each Dancing-Master held it wond’rous fit,

To flourish thither with his little Kit;

The Play-House Bands in decent Order come,

Conducted thither by a Tragick Drum;

Th’ Op’ra Orchest them o’er-look’d with Pride,

And shew’d superior Skill — in a superior Stride;

Composers next march’d with an Air and Grace,

Some in a light, some in a solemn Pace;

Various they seem to the Beholder’s Eye,

These Largo walk, ---- and others --- Presto — fly;

Above the Clouds they raise their Heads sublime,

They tread on Air —— and step in Tune and Time;

None fail’d that e’er set Note, or Grave, or Airy,

From Doctor P—p—ch, down to Master C—ry.

From this promiscuous Race such Clamours rise,

As stun the God, and rend the vaulted Skies;

In Storms tempestuous some did loudly roar,

In sporting Waves some wanton’d to the Shore;

With vast Cascades these thunder’d from on high,

In creeping Murmurs others glided by;

Here blushing Boreas with his Train did sound,

There milder Gales did gently sweep the Ground:

Thus Voices Treble, Base, and Tenor, join

In glorious Discord; —— Harmony Divine!

With Noise tumultuous into Court they rush,

Scarce cou’d the God himself their Fury hush;

In vain tall B---s--t gaping o’er the Crowd,

With hideous Jaws, bawl’d Silence out aloud:

Till from his Throne the anger’d God arose,

Whose awful Nod the Tempest did compose;

Then the Swiss Count proceeds with comely Grace,

To rank each Candidate in’s proper Place. [6]


    FIRST P—p—ch enter’d with majestick Gate,

Preceded by a Cart in solemn State;

With Pride he view’d the Off-spring of his Art,

Songs, Solo’s, and Sonata’s load the Cart;

Whose Wheels and Axle-tree with Care dispos’d,

Did prelude to the Musick he compos’d.

The GOD’s soon own’d that if a num’rous Race

Cou’d claim in any Art the highest Place;

His Quantity wou’d never be despis’d,

But Quality alone in Sounds was priz’d;

He shou’d be satisfy’d with his Degrees,

For new Preferment, wou’d produce new Fees.


    HIS Fate, soft G--ll--rd with Care attends,

In Sounds and Praise they still prov’d equal Friends;

Shewing his Hautboy and an Op’ra Air,

He gently whisper’d in his Godship’s Ear;

So oft he was distinguish’d by the Town,

That without Vanity he claim’d the Crown:

The GOD reply’d, —— your Musick’s not to blame,

But far beneath the daring Height of Fame;

Who wins the Prize, must all the rest out-strip;

Indeed you may — a Conjurer equip;

I think your Airs are sometimes very pretty,

And give you leave to sing ’em in the City.


    AMIDST the Crowd gay L—r-dge did stand,

Smiles in his Face, and —— Claret in his Hand;

The GOD suppos’d he did not come to ask

The Bays, —— but rather recommend his Flask;

Old Friend, says he, if that your Wine is right,

Let’s taste —— d’ye hear? —— I’ll sup with you to Night;

The Laurel if you hope — to do you Justice,

You made —— a charming Fiend in Doctor Faustus. [7]


    PLEAS’D with their Doom, and hopeful of Success

At—l—o forward to the Bar did Press;

The God perceiv’d the Don the Crowd divide,

And e’er he spoke, stopp’d short his tow’ring Pride;

Saying, the Bays for him I ne’er design,

Who ’stead of mounting, always does decline;

Of Ti—s Ma—us you may justly boast,

But dull Ves—an all that Honour lost.


    C—rb—t next him succeeded to the Bar,

And hop’d to fix his Fame by something rare;

Up to the God with Confidence he made,

And’s Instrument De Venere display’d,

How!  Crys the God!  (and frowning told his Doom,)

Am I for such poor Trifles hither come?

Pray tickle off your Venery at Home:

Or else to cleanly Edinburgh repair,

And from ten Stories high breathe Northern Air;

With tuneful G-rd-n join, and thus unite,

Rough Italy with Scotland the Polite.


    APOLLO’s piercing Eye just then espy’d,

Merry L--i--lt stand laughing at one side;

He gently wav’d him to him with his Hand,

Wondring, he at that Distance chose to stand;

Smiling, he said, I come not here for Fame,

Nor do I to the Bays pretend a Claim;

Few here deserve so well, the God reply’d,

But Modestly does always Merit hide;

A Supper for some Friends I’ve just bespoke,

Pray come — and drink your Glass — and crack your Joke.


    ILL fated R—ng—ve approach’d the Bar,

With meagre Looks, and thrumming a Guittar: [8]

Quite out of Tune Apollo found his Head,

And if he gain’d the Bays, he’d run stark mad;

So call’d his Friends, and said, a little Rest,

A darken’d Room, and Straw, wou’d fit him best,

Where to employ him as he lay perdu,

He might new sett Roland le Furieux.


    NEXT him Ge—n—ni did appear,

With Bow in Hand, and much a sob’rer Air;

He simper’d at the God, as who wou’d say,

You can’t deny me, if you hear me play;

Quickly his Meaning Phoebus understood,

Allowing what he did was very good;

And since his Fame all Fiddlers else surpasses,

He set him down First Treble at Parnassus.


    Gr—n, C—fts, and some in the Cathedral Taste,

Their Compliments in form to Phoebus past;

Whilst the whole Choir sung Anthems in their Praise,

Thinking to chant the God out of the Bays;

Who far from being pleas’d, stamp’d, fum’d, and swore,

Such Musick he had never heard before;

Vowing he’d leave the Laurel in the lurch,

Rather than place it in an English Church.


    D—p—rt, well powder’d, gave himself an Air,

As if he cou’d not fail of Fortune there,

Who always prov’d successful with the Fair;

The God his Passion hardly cou’d contain,

For’s spoiling Opera-Songs in Drury Lane:

But hop’d his Skill he’d in it’s Sphere confine,

His Fire betwixt the Acts wou’d Brilliant shine. [9]


    As he walk’d off, who stepp’d into his Place,

But Signor P—po with his Four-string’d Bass:

How far his Merit reach’d, the God did know,

And bow’d to him, and’s Bass, prodigious low;

Vowing to him alone the Bays he’d grant,

Cou’d the Orchestre but his Presence want;

Since that was Time and Reputation losing,

Keep to your Playing, and leave off Composing.


    THE God turn’d round, and found just seated by him,

His old Acquaintance, Nicolino H—ym;

With a kind Smile he whisper’d in his Ear,

But what —— no living Creature then cou’d hear;

Since that we’re told, the God of’s special Grace,

Confirm’d him in his Secretary’s Place.


    HAD I a thousand Tongues, or equal Hands,

I cou’d not speak, nor write the Half of their Demands;

A Blockhead’s Indignation it wou’d raise,

When C—ry by his Ballads sought the Bays;

Claude Jean Jillier, to his immortal Glory,

Danc’d thither with his Chansonettes a Boire;

Big with his Hopes small T—p—n too repairs,

To claim the Crown by thin North-British Airs:

A Title King Latinus strongly grounds,

Upon his nice Anatomy of Sounds; [10]

Ev’n W—lsh perks up, — and crys — the Laurel’s mine,

What are your Notes? — unless you wisely join

My brighter Name, in print, to make ’em shine:

Nay, Signor R—lli’s Confidence affords

Some Plea, —— for finding scoundrel Op’ra Words.


    THE weary’d God the wretched Crowd surveys,

And met with nothing equal to the Bays;

His radiant Eyes, eclips’d by sullen Care,

In vain look’d round —— but H—n—1 was not there;

How cou’d he hope to fill the vacant Throne,

In absence of his fam’d, —— his darling Son?


    JUST then grim B—cn—i in the Rear,

Most Fearless of Success came to the Bar;

Two Philarmonick Damsels grac’d his Train,

Whilst his strong Features redden’d with Disdain;

Dear A—s—a hung upon his Arm,

Each Lisp and side-long Glance produs’d its Charm;

Black P—g—y he was forc’d to hawl along,

Humming a Thorough-Base, — and he a Song:

Silent, his rolling Eyes the God survey’d,

Then one Hand soothing Cr--po’s Airs display’d,

The other held a decent Roman Maid;

But had you seen the vast and suddain Change;

Incredible! — to easy Faith most strange!

As Calms succeed a raging Wint’ry Flood,

The restless Throng like Senseless Statues stood;

From the dull Cell of Sloth such Vapours rise,

As clap their Pad-locks on all Ears and Eyes; [11]

Divinity itself cou’d not withstand

Those peaceful Potions from a mortal Hand;

O’er active Life Stupidity did creep, —

The wakeful God of Day fell fast asleep. —


    NOT long they slept — Fame’s Trumpet, loud and vast,

Fill’d the large Dome with one amazing Blast;

Streight were they freed from Sleep’s lethargick Chains,

And captiv’d Life it’s Liberty regains;

The Goddess, ent’ring, shook the trembling Ground,

Her breathing Brass from Earth to Heav’n did sound;

One Hand her Trumpet held with beauteous Grace,

The other led a Hero to his Place;

Whose Art more sure than Cupid’s Bow gives Wounds,

And makes the World submit to conqu’ring Sounds;

When he appear’d, — not one but quits his Claim,

And owns the Power of his superiour Fame;

Since but one Phoenix we can boast, --- he needs no Name:

The God he view’d with a becoming Pride,

Determin’d not to beg, — and easy if deny’d;

Him Phoebus saw with Joy, — and did allow,

The Laurel only ought t[’]adorn his Brow;

For who so fit for universal Rule,

As he who best all Passions can controul;

So spoke the God; — and all approv’d the Choice,

E’en Ignorance and Envy gave their Voice;

Who wisely judg’d, the Sentence did applaud,

And conscious Shame the poor Pretenders aw’d. [12]


    THUS when the World in Nature’s Lap first lay,

In all the Charms of Youth and Beauty gay;

The joyous Parent o’er her Infant smil’d,

Whilst Satan view’d with Spite the Faultless Child;

With hellish Malice fraught, he wond’ring stood,

And tho’ he curs’d it, — own’d that it was good.[1]



[1] advertised in The Weekly Journal or Saturday’s-Post, no. 290, Saturday 16 May 1724, 1814.