DGR sent the epigram in a letter to
William Bell Scott of 12
February 1855, where he describes it as “a rough
recollection” of one of the epigrams of James Hannay (1827-1873) who, DGR tells Scott, is about to publish a book of epigrams titled Nettle Flowers. Hannay never published such a book and the epigram is probably DGR's own, though its reference (and the identity of Higg) is obscure. In the letter DGR says the lines are “meant for someone you know” but once again the reference is not clear. In the letter DGR also praises Hannay's 1854 Satire and Satirists. Six Lectures.
The poem was written as part of DGR's letter, which is the only known manuscript.
First published in William Bell Scott's
. The epigram has never been collected.