The Hungry Mob of Scribblers and Etchers

by an unknown artist

British Museum 1868,0808.4185

The text below the image reads:

If thine Enemy be hungry give him Breatd to eat;
and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink    Proverbs 25 . 21

Let each Scribler that will ply his Needle or Quill
     In Despite of the Beadle or Gallows
And their Venom throw out all the Kingdom about
     No Regard should be paid to such Fellows

Was a God to alight from Olimpus height
     Or Pallas to Guide in this Nation
The hungry Tribe 'gainst her Rules would Subscribe
And endeavour to blacken her Station

Then in Pit-y behold; how they Scratch and they Scold
     And Spew from their Airy Dominions
Not any of Sense can sure take Offence?
     Or be Bi-Assd by such weak Opinions?

If their snarling youd stop give the Hellhouds a Sop
     Like Cerberus, that Infernal Growler
They'l Riggle and bow; and Praises bestow
     Tho' now they breathe nothing but Foul Air.

From the British Museum description:

Satire on Lord Bute's attempts to enlist satirists on his side: Bute descends a staircase tossing coins down to a crowd of writers and printmakers including William Austin holding a scroll lettered "Etching in Genl by W A", William Hogarth holding a large burin under his arm, Matthew Darly holding an impression of "The Screen" (i.e., BM Satire 3825), Charles Churchill in clerical dress rasing his hat to Bute, and Samuel Johnson holding a scroll marked "300£ pr Ann"; Stephens identifies the man on the steps holding out his hat as the political writer, John Shebbeare.