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Than close upon the rear of each,
And made it his grand occupation
Bid pilchards and elastic grigs
The Heav'n taught Bards of whom I speak When time was young, in crabbed Greek, Th’ achievements of celestial legions Detail'd among these lower regions. The strains which rais’d Them to renown, Into plain English melted down, Make of each school-boy rhetorician A prodigy of erudition; Who manufactures prose too good To be endur'd or understood,
And verse that emulates thy lay,
* The narrow compass of this single line introduces to the reader two Literary Diamonds of the first water brought in contact, cheek by jowl, like the two kings of Brentford smelling to one nosegay, videlicet:
Jack Sprat, Esq. and Jack Holliday, Esq. To the irreparable loss of the republic of letters the multitudinous and sublime poetical effusions of the first of these distinguished personages, Jack Sprat, Esq. have all disappeared in the lapse of centuries, except the Lay here alluded to, whose justly merited popularity is, however, such that it may be said to be as familiar to the ear of an Englishman, and nearly as old an acquaintance, as his alphabet. It will suffice, therefore, to insert a moiety of it; the corresponding member and climax of the strophe (which unites the true Grecian simplicity with the acumen of the modern epigrammatist) will be supplied by the reader's recollection.
“ Jack SPRAT
&c. &c. &c. But the known liberality of the second of these eminent characters, the inspired Conveyancer, Bard, and Historian of the present day, Jack Holliday, Esq. has afforded us ample scope for our admiration in his recent and invaluable poem, “The “ British Oak;” disporting myself amid the pleasurable parterre of whose luminous poesie, I have cull'd a few, from amongst innumerous blossoms of rival beauty and fragrance, for the improvement and delectation of persons of true classical taste; who are, however, admonished to provide themselves with green spectacles, lest their optic nerves should suffer
In courts, cathedrals, armies, navies,
from excess of light in encountering this redundant blaze of poetical excellencies. , “Lenient balm of Boscobel-Venerable forms sipping scented “ gales ---Kings dissolving Queens--Disguised tythe-pigs sleep“ing in the snow-Muscular oaks bleeding for their country“ Sheep breathing transparent pearly shade Listening oaks “ standing impressive-Confusion rising from ashes like a “ Phænix --Lord Nelson's wide spreading wings -- Majestic “ meeting of courtly oaks—Undulating hills—Tender plants, “ with auburn locks and sparkling eyes-Adopted temples “ humbly towering-Heroes polished by Mrs. Damer-Docile “ anarchists going to Pomona-Oaks winging Io Peans through “ a breeze-Mother Church winning sweepstakes,” &c. &c. &c. See pages 3, 4, 5, 10, 13, 34, 24, 26, 17, 32, 33, 11, 8, of The British Oak. 4to. Cadel, 1800.
So overpowering is the radiance of our illuminated British Oak as, in a manner, to obumbrate and eclipse the diminutive splendour of Jack the First, or Jack Sprat, who seems indeed, in the comparison, to dwindle to the dimensions of a Parnassian acorn ; while the laurel already interweaves its foliage with the congenial curl of our Conveyancer's perriwig, and derives fresh verdure from the huge celebrity of his Life of Earl Mansfield.
Yet how imperiously soever our predilection may incline towards Jack the Second, or Jack Holliday, impartiality demands that the world should no longer be kept in the dark respecting the real extent of the merits and exertions of Jack the First, or Jack Sprat; who, upon more serious and intense investigation, appears (as Jack the second gravely advertises of himself, Morning Chronicle and Times, Dec.13,1800), “ to shine with no less lustre as a biographer than as a poet :” he being