Betty Martin (my eye), antedatings

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sat Jun 16 14:46:49 UTC 2012

OED has 1781

The poetical calendar. Containing a collection of scarce and valuable pieces of poetry: With Variety of originals and translations, by the most ...
London, MDCCLXIII. [1763]. v. 9, p. 105. A Journey to Doncaster. ... By learned men it is agreed, Poets should ride the winged steed; And therefore, thus says Betty Martin, "Thou art no poet, that's most certain."

The poetical magazine: or, The muses monthly companion. ... [London] 1764 p. 140 (in Ode to Dullness p. 139-140):
Now point, ye mongrels! point the cobweb jest,
Spit forth your venum, drain your inkhorns dry,
By Scandal's breath, too firm to be depress'd.
Your praise I scorn, your censure--* oh my eye!
                                   BETTY MARTIN.
* Some copies read, I defy.
The Rev. J. Langhorne, [John Langhorne (1735-1779)?]

Middlesex Journal or Chronicle of Liberty [London] January 11, 1770 - January 13, 1770; Issue 123 col. 1-2 (here 2)
Poets Corner...To the Third Regiment of Guards......Auctioneer. My eye, Betty Martin! What have we here? The identical Snipper Snapper, that shot John Wileks in the belly. Hold up your target Betty Martin....

Public Advertiser [London] Tuesday, September 21, 1779; Issue 14026. col. 2
To the Printer of the Public Advertiser
This grand Manoeuvre of De Sartin
Is all my Eye*, now, Mrs. Martin
And till the Fleets have met and fought,
We're making much ado of Nought.
* "My Eye, Betty Martin," a common Phrase for Things that come to nought.

Stephen Goranson

The American Dialect Society -

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