Criticism of Hester Thrale

  • Posted on: 24 September 2009
  • By: David Thrale

Hester Lynch Thrale by John Singleton Copley in 1778

In 1789 a poor quality satire The Sentimental Mother, A Comedy in Five Acts; The Legacy of an old Friend and His Last Moral Lesson to Mrs. Hester Lynch Thrale, now Mrs. Hester Lynch Piozzi. was published by Baretti in the European Magazine. 

James Sayers also produced an etching called Johnson's Ghost, in which the Doctor, addresses Mrs Piozzi thus:

She is a most dear Creature, but never restrains her Tongue in any thing.

— Fanny Burney's remark to her sister.

When Streatham spread its pleasant board,
I opened learnng's valued hoard,
And as I feasted, prosed.
Good things I said, good things I eat,
I gave you knowledge for your meat,
And thought th' account was closed.

If obligations I still owed,
You sold each item to the crowd,
I suffered by the tale.
For God's sake, Madam, let me rest,
No longer vex your quondam guest:
I'll pay you for your ale.