Byron's Poetical Works, Vol. 1
by Byron
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And shall we own such judgment? no—as soon Seek roses in December—ice in June; Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff, Believe a woman or an epitaph, Or any other thing that's false, before You trust in Critics, who themselves are sore; 80 Or yield one single thought to be misled By JEFFREY'S heart, or LAMB'S Boeotian head. [10] To these young tyrants, by themselves misplaced, Combined usurpers on the Throne of Taste; To these, when Authors bend in humble awe, And hail their voice as Truth, their word as Law; While these are Censors, 'twould be sin to spare; [11] While such are Critics, why should I forbear? But yet, so near all modern worthies run, 'Tis doubtful whom to seek, or whom to shun; 90 Nor know we when to spare, or where to strike, Our Bards and Censors are so much alike. Then should you ask me, [12] why I venture o'er The path which POPE and GIFFORD [13] trod before; If not yet sickened, you can still proceed; Go on; my rhyme will tell you as you read. "But hold!" exclaims a friend,—"here's some neglect: This—that—and t'other line seem incorrect." What then? the self-same blunder Pope has got, And careless Dryden—"Aye, but Pye has not:"— 100 Indeed!—'tis granted, faith!—but what care I? Better to err with POPE, than shine with PYE. [14]

Time was, ere yet in these degenerate days [15] Ignoble themes obtained mistaken praise, When Sense and Wit with Poesy allied, No fabled Graces, flourished side by side, From the same fount their inspiration drew, And, reared by Taste, bloomed fairer as they grew. Then, in this happy Isle, a POPE'S pure strain Sought the rapt soul to charm, nor sought in vain; 110 A polished nation's praise aspired to claim, And raised the people's, as the poet's fame. Like him great DRYDEN poured the tide of song, In stream less smooth, indeed, yet doubly strong. Then CONGREVE'S scenes could cheer, or OTWAY'S melt; [16] For Nature then an English audience felt— But why these names, or greater still, retrace, When all to feebler Bards resign their place? Yet to such times our lingering looks are cast, When taste and reason with those times are past. 120 Now look around, and turn each trifling page, Survey the precious works that please the age; This truth at least let Satire's self allow, No dearth of Bards can be complained of now. [ix] The loaded Press beneath her labour groans, [x] And Printers' devils shake their weary bones; While SOUTHEY'S Epics cram the creaking shelves, [xi] And LITTLE'S Lyrics shine in hot-pressed twelves. [17] Thus saith the Preacher: "Nought beneath the sun Is new," [18] yet still from change to change we run. 130 What varied wonders tempt us as they pass! The Cow-pox, Tractors, Galvanism, and Gas, [19] In turns appear, to make the vulgar stare, Till the swoln bubble bursts—and all is air! Nor less new schools of Poetry arise, Where dull pretenders grapple for the prize: O'er Taste awhile these Pseudo-bards prevail; [xii] Each country Book-club bows the knee to Baal, And, hurling lawful Genius from the throne, Erects a shrine and idol of its own; [xiii] 140 Some leaden calf—but whom it matters not, From soaring SOUTHEY, down to groveling STOTT. [20]

Behold! in various throngs the scribbling crew, For notice eager, pass in long review: Each spurs his jaded Pegasus apace, And Rhyme and Blank maintain an equal race; Sonnets on sonnets crowd, and ode on ode; And Tales of Terror [21] jostle on the road; Immeasurable measures move along; For simpering Folly loves a varied song, 150 To strange, mysterious Dulness still the friend, Admires the strain she cannot comprehend. Thus Lays of Minstrels [22]—may they be the last!— On half-strung harps whine mournful to the blast. While mountain spirits prate to river sprites, That dames may listen to the sound at nights; And goblin brats, of Gilpin Horner's [23] brood Decoy young Border-nobles through the wood, And skip at every step, Lord knows how high, And frighten foolish babes, the Lord knows why; 160 While high-born ladies in their magic cell, Forbidding Knights to read who cannot spell, Despatch a courier to a wizard's grave, And fight with honest men to shield a knave.

Next view in state, proud prancing on his roan, The golden-crested haughty Marmion, Now forging scrolls, now foremost in the fight, Not quite a Felon, yet but half a Knight. [xiv] The gibbet or the field prepared to grace; A mighty mixture of the great and base. 170 And think'st thou, SCOTT! by vain conceit perchance, On public taste to foist thy stale romance, Though MURRAY with his MILLER may combine To yield thy muse just half-a-crown per line? [24] No! when the sons of song descend to trade, Their bays are sear, their former laurels fade, Let such forego the poet's sacred name, Who rack their brains for lucre, not for fame: Still for stern Mammon may they toil in vain! [25] And sadly gaze on Gold they cannot gain! 180 Such be their meed, such still the just reward [xv] Of prostituted Muse and hireling bard! For this we spurn Apollo's venal son, And bid a long "good night to Marmion." [26]

These are the themes that claim our plaudits now; These are the Bards to whom the Muse must bow; While MILTON, DRYDEN, POPE, alike forgot, Resign their hallowed Bays to WALTER SCOTT.

The time has been, when yet the Muse was young, When HOMER swept the lyre, and MARO sung, 190 An Epic scarce ten centuries could claim, While awe-struck nations hailed the magic name: The work of each immortal Bard appears The single wonder of a thousand years. [27] Empires have mouldered from the face of earth, Tongues have expired with those who gave them birth, Without the glory such a strain can give, As even in ruin bids the language live. Not so with us, though minor Bards, content, [xvi] On one great work a life of labour spent: 200 With eagle pinion soaring to the skies, Behold the Ballad-monger SOUTHEY rise! To him let CAMOENS, MILTON, TASSO yield, Whose annual strains, like armies, take the field. First in the ranks see Joan of Arc advance, The scourge of England and the boast of France! Though burnt by wicked BEDFORD for a witch, Behold her statue placed in Glory's niche; Her fetters burst, and just released from prison, A virgin Phoenix from her ashes risen. 210 Next see tremendous Thalaba come on, [28] Arabia's monstrous, wild, and wond'rous son; Domdaniel's dread destroyer, who o'erthrew More mad magicians than the world e'er knew. Immortal Hero! all thy foes o'ercome, For ever reign—the rival of Tom Thumb! [29] Since startled Metre fled before thy face, Well wert thou doomed the last of all thy race! Well might triumphant Genii bear thee hence, Illustrious conqueror of common sense! 220 Now, last and greatest, Madoc spreads his sails, Cacique in Mexico, [30] and Prince in Wales; Tells us strange tales, as other travellers do, More old than Mandeville's, and not so true. Oh, SOUTHEY! SOUTHEY! [31] cease thy varied song! A bard may chaunt too often and too long: As thou art strong in verse, in mercy, spare! A fourth, alas! were more than we could bear. But if, in spite of all the world can say, Thou still wilt verseward plod thy weary way; 230 If still in Berkeley-Ballads most uncivil, Thou wilt devote old women to the devil, [32] The babe unborn thy dread intent may rue: "God help thee," SOUTHEY, [33] and thy readers too.

Next comes the dull disciple of thy school, [34] That mild apostate from poetic rule, The simple WORDSWORTH, framer of a lay As soft as evening in his favourite May, Who warns his friend "to shake off toil and trouble, And quit his books, for fear of growing double;" [35] 240 Who, both by precept and example, shows That prose is verse, and verse is merely prose; Convincing all, by demonstration plain, Poetic souls delight in prose insane; And Christmas stories tortured into rhyme Contain the essence of the true sublime. Thus, when he tells the tale of Betty Foy, The idiot mother of "an idiot Boy;" A moon-struck, silly lad, who lost his way, And, like his bard, confounded night with day [36] 250 So close on each pathetic part he dwells, And each adventure so sublimely tells, That all who view the "idiot in his glory" Conceive the Bard the hero of the story.

Shall gentle COLERIDGE pass unnoticed here, [37] To turgid ode and tumid stanza dear? Though themes of innocence amuse him best, Yet still Obscurity's a welcome guest. If Inspiration should her aid refuse To him who takes a Pixy for a muse, [38] 260 Yet none in lofty numbers can surpass The bard who soars to elegize an ass: So well the subject suits his noble mind, [xvii] He brays, the Laureate of the long-eared kind. [xviii]

Oh! wonder-working LEWIS! [39] Monk, or Bard, Who fain would make Parnassus a church-yard! [xix] Lo! wreaths of yew, not laurel, bind thy brow, Thy Muse a Sprite, Apollo's sexton thou! Whether on ancient tombs thou tak'st thy stand, By gibb'ring spectres hailed, thy kindred band; 270 Or tracest chaste descriptions on thy page, To please the females of our modest age; All hail, M.P.! [40] from whose infernal brain Thin-sheeted phantoms glide, a grisly train; At whose command "grim women" throng in crowds, And kings of fire, of water, and of clouds, With "small grey men,"—"wild yagers," and what not, To crown with honour thee and WALTER SCOTT: Again, all hail! if tales like thine may please, St. Luke alone can vanquish the disease: 280 Even Satan's self with thee might dread to dwell, And in thy skull discern a deeper Hell.

Who in soft guise, surrounded by a choir Of virgins melting, not to Vesta's fire, With sparkling eyes, and cheek by passion flushed Strikes his wild lyre, whilst listening dames are hushed? 'Tis LITTLE! young Catullus of his day, As sweet, but as immoral, in his Lay! Grieved to condemn, the Muse must still be just, Nor spare melodious advocates of lust. 290 Pure is the flame which o'er her altar burns; From grosser incense with disgust she turns Yet kind to youth, this expiation o'er, She bids thee "mend thy line, and sin no more." [xx]

For thee, translator of the tinsel song, To whom such glittering ornaments belong, Hibernian STRANGFORD! with thine eyes of blue, [41] And boasted locks of red or auburn hue, Whose plaintive strain each love-sick Miss admires, And o'er harmonious fustian half expires, [xxi] 300 Learn, if thou canst, to yield thine author's sense, Nor vend thy sonnets on a false pretence. Think'st thou to gain thy verse a higher place, By dressing Camoens [42] in a suit of lace? Mend, STRANGFORD! mend thy morals and thy taste; Be warm, but pure; be amorous, but be chaste: Cease to deceive; thy pilfered harp restore, Nor teach the Lusian Bard to copy MOORE.

Behold—Ye Tarts!—one moment spare the text! [xxii]— HAYLEY'S last work, and worst—until his next; 310 Whether he spin poor couplets into plays, Or damn the dead with purgatorial praise, [43] His style in youth or age is still the same, For ever feeble and for ever tame. Triumphant first see "Temper's Triumphs" shine! At least I'm sure they triumphed over mine. Of "Music's Triumphs," all who read may swear That luckless Music never triumph'd there. [44]

Moravians, rise! bestow some meet reward [45] On dull devotion—Lo! the Sabbath Bard, 320 Sepulchral GRAHAME, [46] pours his notes sublime In mangled prose, nor e'en aspires to rhyme; Breaks into blank the Gospel of St. Luke, [xxiii] And boldly pilfers from the Pentateuch; And, undisturbed by conscientious qualms, Perverts the Prophets, and purloins the Psalms.

Hail, Sympathy! thy soft idea brings" [xxiv] A thousand visions of a thousand things, And shows, still whimpering thro' threescore of years, [xxv] The maudlin prince of mournful sonneteers. 330 And art thou not their prince, harmonious Bowles! [47] Thou first, great oracle of tender souls? Whether them sing'st with equal ease, and grief, [xxvi] The fall of empires, or a yellow leaf; Whether thy muse most lamentably tells What merry sounds proceed from Oxford bells, [xxvii] Or, still in bells delighting, finds a friend In every chime that jingled from Ostend; Ah! how much juster were thy Muse's hap, If to thy bells thou would'st but add a cap! [xxviii] 340 Delightful BOWLES! still blessing and still blest, All love thy strain, but children like it best. 'Tis thine, with gentle LITTLE'S moral song, To soothe the mania of the amorous throng! With thee our nursery damsels shed their tears, Ere Miss as yet completes her infant years: But in her teens thy whining powers are vain; She quits poor BOWLES for LITTLE'S purer strain. Now to soft themes thou scornest to confine [xxix] The lofty numbers of a harp like thine; 350 "Awake a louder and a loftier strain," [48] Such as none heard before, or will again! Where all discoveries jumbled from the flood, Since first the leaky ark reposed in mud, By more or less, are sung in every book, From Captain Noah down to Captain Cook. Nor this alone—but, pausing on the road, The Bard sighs forth a gentle episode, [xxx] [49] And gravely tells—attend, each beauteous Miss!— When first Madeira trembled to a kiss. 360 Bowles! in thy memory let this precept dwell, Stick to thy Sonnets, Man!—at least they sell. But if some new-born whim, or larger bribe, Prompt thy crude brain, and claim thee for a scribe: If 'chance some bard, though once by dunces feared, Now, prone in dust, can only be revered; If Pope, whose fame and genius, from the first, [xxxi] Have foiled the best of critics, needs the worst, Do thou essay: each fault, each failing scan; The first of poets was, alas! but man. 370 Rake from each ancient dunghill ev'ry pearl, Consult Lord Fanny, and confide in CURLL; [50] Let all the scandals of a former age Perch on thy pen, and flutter o'er thy page; Affect a candour which thou canst not feel, Clothe envy in a garb of honest zeal; Write, as if St. John's soul could still inspire, And do from hate what MALLET [51] did for hire. Oh! hadst thou lived in that congenial time, To rave with DENNIS, and with RALPH to rhyme; [52] 380 Thronged with the rest around his living head, Not raised thy hoof against the lion dead, A meet reward had crowned thy glorious gains, And linked thee to the Dunciad for thy pains. [53]

Another Epic! Who inflicts again More books of blank upon the sons of men? Boeotian COTTLE, rich Bristowa's boast, Imports old stories from the Cambrian coast, And sends his goods to market—all alive! Lines forty thousand, Cantos twenty-five! 390 Fresh fish from Hippocrene! [54] who'll buy? who'll buy? The precious bargain's cheap—in faith, not I. Your turtle-feeder's verse must needs be flat, [xxxii] Though Bristol bloat him with the verdant fat; If Commerce fills the purse, she clogs the brain, And AMOS COTTLE strikes the Lyre in vain. In him an author's luckless lot behold! Condemned to make the books which once he sold. Oh, AMOS COTTLE!—Phoebus! what a name To fill the speaking-trump of future fame!— 400 Oh, AMOS COTTLE! for a moment think What meagre profits spring from pen and ink! When thus devoted to poetic dreams, Who will peruse thy prostituted reams? Oh! pen perverted! paper misapplied! Had COTTLE [55] still adorned the counter's side, Bent o'er the desk, or, born to useful toils, Been taught to make the paper which he soils, Ploughed, delved, or plied the oar with lusty limb, He had not sung of Wales, nor I of him. 410

As Sisyphus against the infernal steep Rolls the huge rock whose motions ne'er may sleep, So up thy hill, ambrosial Richmond! heaves Dull MAURICE [56] all his granite weight of leaves: Smooth, solid monuments of mental pain! The petrifactions of a plodding brain, That, ere they reach the top, fall lumbering back again.

With broken lyre and cheek serenely pale, Lo! sad Alcaeus wanders down the vale; Though fair they rose, and might have bloomed at last, 420 His hopes have perished by the northern blast: Nipped in the bud by Caledonian gales, His blossoms wither as the blast prevails! O'er his lost works let classic SHEFFIELD weep; May no rude hand disturb their early sleep! [57]

Yet say! why should the Bard, at once, resign [xxxiii] His claim to favour from the sacred Nine? For ever startled by the mingled howl Of Northern Wolves, that still in darkness prowl; A coward Brood, which mangle as they prey, 430 By hellish instinct, all that cross their way; Aged or young, the living or the dead," [xxxiv] No mercy find-these harpies must be fed. Why do the injured unresisting yield The calm possession of their native field? Why tamely thus before their fangs retreat, Nor hunt the blood-hounds back to Arthur's Seat? [58]

Health to immortal JEFFREY! once, in name, England could boast a judge almost the same; [59] In soul so like, so merciful, yet just, 440 Some think that Satan has resigned his trust, And given the Spirit to the world again, To sentence Letters, as he sentenced men. With hand less mighty, but with heart as black, With voice as willing to decree the rack; Bred in the Courts betimes, though all that law As yet hath taught him is to find a flaw,— Since well instructed in the patriot school To rail at party, though a party tool— Who knows? if chance his patrons should restore 450 Back to the sway they forfeited before, His scribbling toils some recompense may meet, And raise this Daniel to the Judgment-Seat. [60] Let JEFFREY'S shade indulge the pious hope, And greeting thus, present him with a rope: "Heir to my virtues! man of equal mind! Skilled to condemn as to traduce mankind, This cord receive! for thee reserved with care, To wield in judgment, and at length to wear."

Health to great JEFFREY! Heaven preserve his life, 460 To flourish on the fertile shores of Fife, And guard it sacred in its future wars, Since authors sometimes seek the field of Mars! Can none remember that eventful day, [xxxv] [61] That ever-glorious, almost fatal fray, When LITTLE'S leadless pistol met his eye, [62] And Bow-street Myrmidons stood laughing by? Oh, day disastrous! on her firm-set rock, Dunedin's castle felt a secret shock; Dark rolled the sympathetic waves of Forth, 470 Low groaned the startled whirlwinds of the north; TWEED ruffled half his waves to form a tear, The other half pursued his calm career; [63] ARTHUR'S steep summit nodded to its base, The surly Tolbooth scarcely kept her place. The Tolbooth felt—for marble sometimes can, On such occasions, feel as much as man— The Tolbooth felt defrauded of his charms, If JEFFREY died, except within her arms: [64] Nay last, not least, on that portentous morn, 480 The sixteenth story, where himself was born, His patrimonial garret, fell to ground, And pale Edina shuddered at the sound: Strewed were the streets around with milk-white reams, Flowed all the Canongate with inky streams; This of his candour seemed the sable dew, That of his valour showed the bloodless hue; And all with justice deemed the two combined The mingled emblems of his mighty mind. But Caledonia's goddess hovered o'er 490 The field, and saved him from the wrath of Moore; From either pistol snatched the vengeful lead, And straight restored it to her favourite's head; That head, with greater than magnetic power, Caught it, as Danaee caught the golden shower, And, though the thickening dross will scarce refine, Augments its ore, and is itself a mine. "My son," she cried, "ne'er thirst for gore again, Resign the pistol and resume the pen; O'er politics and poesy preside, 500 Boast of thy country, and Britannia's guide! For long as Albion's heedless sons submit, Or Scottish taste decides on English wit, So long shall last thine unmolested reign, Nor any dare to take thy name in vain. Behold, a chosen band shall aid thy plan, And own thee chieftain of the critic clan. First in the oat-fed phalanx [65] shall be seen The travelled Thane, Athenian Aberdeen. [66] HERBERT shall wield THOR'S hammer, [67] and sometimes 510 In gratitude, thou'lt praise his rugged rhymes. Smug SYDNEY [68] too thy bitter page shall seek, And classic HALLAM, [69] much renowned for Greek; SCOTT may perchance his name and influence lend, And paltry PILLANS [70] shall traduce his friend; While gay Thalia's luckless votary, LAMB, [xxxvi] [71] Damned like the Devil—Devil-like will damn. Known be thy name! unbounded be thy sway! Thy HOLLAND'S banquets shall each toil repay! While grateful Britain yields the praise she owes 520 To HOLLAND'S hirelings and to Learning's foes. Yet mark one caution ere thy next Review Spread its light wings of Saffron and of Blue, Beware lest blundering BROUGHAM [72] destroy the sale, Turn Beef to Bannocks, Cauliflowers to Kail." Thus having said, the kilted Goddess kist Her son, and vanished in a Scottish mist. [73]

Then prosper, JEFFREY! pertest of the train [74] Whom Scotland pampers with her fiery grain! Whatever blessing waits a genuine Scot, 530 In double portion swells thy glorious lot; For thee Edina culls her evening sweets, And showers their odours on thy candid sheets, Whose Hue and Fragrance to thy work adhere— This scents its pages, and that gilds its rear. [75] Lo! blushing Itch, coy nymph, enamoured grown, Forsakes the rest, and cleaves to thee alone, And, too unjust to other Pictish men, Enjoys thy person, and inspires thy pen!

Illustrious HOLLAND! hard would be his lot, 540 His hirelings mentioned, and himself forgot! [76] HOLLAND, with HENRY PETTY [77] at his back, The whipper-in and huntsman of the pack. Blest be the banquets spread at Holland House, Where Scotchmen feed, and Critics may carouse! Long, long beneath that hospitable roof [xxxvii] Shall Grub-street dine, while duns are kept aloof. See honest HALLAM [78] lay aside his fork, Resume his pen, review his Lordship's work, And, grateful for the dainties on his plate, [xxxviii] 550 Declare his landlord can at least translate! [79] Dunedin! view thy children with delight, They write for food—and feed because they write: [xxxix] And lest, when heated with the unusual grape, Some glowing thoughts should to the press escape, And tinge with red the female reader's cheek, My lady skims the cream of each critique; Breathes o'er the page her purity of soul, Reforms each error, and refines the whole. [80]

Now to the Drama turn—Oh! motley sight! 560 What precious scenes the wondering eyes invite: Puns, and a Prince within a barrel pent, [xl] [81] And Dibdin's nonsense yield complete content. [82] Though now, thank Heaven! the Rosciomania's o'er. [83] And full-grown actors are endured once more; Yet what avail their vain attempts to please, While British critics suffer scenes like these; While REYNOLDS vents his "'dammes!'" "poohs!" and "zounds!" [xli] [84] And common-place and common sense confounds? While KENNEY'S [85] "World"—ah! where is KENNEY'S wit? [xlii]— 570 Tires the sad gallery, lulls the listless Pit; And BEAUMONT'S pilfered Caratach affords A tragedy complete in all but words? [xliii] Who but must mourn, while these are all the rage The degradation of our vaunted stage? Heavens! is all sense of shame and talent gone? Have we no living Bard of merit?—none? Awake, GEORGE COLMAN! [86] CUMBERLAND, awake![87] Ring the alarum bell! let folly quake! Oh! SHERIDAN! if aught can move thy pen, 580 Let Comedy assume her throne again; [xliv] Abjure the mummery of German schools; Leave new Pizarros to translating fools; [88] Give, as thy last memorial to the age, One classic drama, and reform the stage. Gods! o'er those boards shall Folly rear her head, Where GARRICK trod, and SIDDONS lives to tread? [xlv] [89] On those shall Farce display buffoonery's mask, And HOOK conceal his heroes in a cask? [90] Shall sapient managers new scenes produce 590 From CHERRY, [91] SKEFFINGTON, [92] and Mother GOOSE? [xlvi] [93] While SHAKESPEARE, OTWAY, MASSINGER, forgot, On stalls must moulder, or in closets rot? Lo! with what pomp the daily prints proclaim The rival candidates for Attic fame! In grim array though LEWIS' spectres rise, Still SKEFFINGTON and GOOSE divide the prize. And sure 'great' Skeffington must claim our praise, For skirtless coats and skeletons of plays Renowned alike; whose genius ne'er confines 600 Her flight to garnish Greenwood's gay designs; [xlvii] [94] Nor sleeps with "Sleeping Beauties," but anon In five facetious acts comes thundering on. While poor John Bull, bewildered with the scene, Stares, wondering what the devil it can mean; But as some hands applaud, a venal few! Rather than sleep, why John applauds it too.

Such are we now. Ah! wherefore should we turn To what our fathers were, unless to mourn? Degenerate Britons! are ye dead to shame, 610 Or, kind to dulness, do you fear to blame? Well may the nobles of our present race Watch each distortion of a NALDI'S face; Well may they smile on Italy's buffoons, And worship CATALANI's pantaloons, [95] Since their own Drama yields no fairer trace Of wit than puns, of humour than grimace. [96]

Then let Ausonia, skill'd in every art To soften manners, but corrupt the heart, Pour her exotic follies o'er the town, 620 To sanction Vice, and hunt Decorum down: Let wedded strumpets languish o'er DESHAYES, And bless the promise which his form displays; While Gayton bounds before th' enraptured looks Of hoary Marquises, and stripling Dukes: Let high-born lechers eye the lively Presle Twirl her light limbs, that spurn the needless veil; Let Angiolini bare her breast of snow, Wave the white arm, and point the pliant toe; Collini trill her love-inspiring song, 630 Strain her fair neck, and charm the listening throng! Whet [97] not your scythe, Suppressors of our Vice! Reforming Saints! too delicately nice! By whose decrees, our sinful souls to save, No Sunday tankards foam, no barbers shave; And beer undrawn, and beards unmown, display Your holy reverence for the Sabbath-day.

Or hail at once the patron and the pile Of vice and folly, Greville and Argyle! [98] Where yon proud palace, Fashion's hallow'd fane, 640 Spreads wide her portals for the motley train, Behold the new Petronius [99] of the day, [xlviii] Our arbiter of pleasure and of play! There the hired eunuch, the Hesperian choir, The melting lute, the soft lascivious lyre, The song from Italy, the step from France, The midnight orgy, and the mazy dance, The smile of beauty, and the flush of wine, For fops, fools, gamesters, knaves, and Lords combine: Each to his humour—Comus all allows; 650 Champaign, dice, music, or your neighbour's spouse. Talk not to us, ye starving sons of trade! Of piteous ruin, which ourselves have made; In Plenty's sunshine Fortune's minions bask, Nor think of Poverty, except "en masque," [100] When for the night some lately titled ass Appears the beggar which his grandsire was, The curtain dropped, the gay Burletta o'er, The audience take their turn upon the floor: Now round the room the circling dow'gers sweep, 660 Now in loose waltz the thin-clad daughters leap; The first in lengthened line majestic swim, The last display the free unfettered limb! Those for Hibernia's lusty sons repair With art the charms which Nature could not spare; These after husbands wing their eager flight, Nor leave much mystery for the nuptial night.

Oh! blest retreats of infamy and ease, Where, all forgotten but the power to please, Each maid may give a loose to genial thought, 670 Each swain may teach new systems, or be taught: There the blithe youngster, just returned from Spain, Cuts the light pack, or calls the rattling main; The jovial Caster's set, and seven's the Nick, Or—done!—a thousand on the coming trick! If, mad with loss, existence 'gins to tire, And all your hope or wish is to expire, Here's POWELL'S [101] pistol ready for your life, And, kinder still, two PAGETS for your wife: [xlix] Fit consummation of an earthly race 680 Begun in folly, ended in disgrace, While none but menials o'er the bed of death, Wash thy red wounds, or watch thy wavering breath; Traduced by liars, and forgot by all, The mangled victim of a drunken brawl, To live like CLODIUS, [102] and like FALKLAND fall.[103]

Truth! rouse some genuine Bard, and guide his hand To drive this pestilence from out the land. E'en I—least thinking of a thoughtless throng, Just skilled to know the right and choose the wrong, 690 Freed at that age when Reason's shield is lost, To fight my course through Passion's countless host, [104] Whom every path of Pleasure's flow'ry way Has lured in turn, and all have led astray— E'en I must raise my voice, e'en I must feel Such scenes, such men, destroy the public weal: Altho' some kind, censorious friend will say, "What art thou better, meddling fool, [105] than they?" And every Brother Rake will smile to see That miracle, a Moralist in me. 700 No matter—when some Bard in virtue strong, Gifford perchance, shall raise the chastening song, Then sleep my pen for ever! and my voice Be only heard to hail him, and rejoice, Rejoice, and yield my feeble praise, though I May feel the lash that Virtue must apply.

As for the smaller fry, who swarm in shoals From silly HAFIZ up to simple BOWLES, [106] Why should we call them from their dark abode, In Broad St. Giles's or Tottenham-Road? 710 Or (since some men of fashion nobly dare To scrawl in verse) from Bond-street or the Square? [l] If things of Ton their harmless lays indite, Most wisely doomed to shun the public sight, What harm? in spite of every critic elf, Sir T. may read his stanzas to himself; MILES ANDREWS [107] still his strength in couplets try, And live in prologues, though his dramas die. Lords too are Bards: such things at times befall, And 'tis some praise in Peers to write at all. 720 Yet, did or Taste or Reason sway the times, Ah! who would take their titles with their rhymes? [108] ROSCOMMON! [109] SHEFFIELD! [110] with your spirits fled, [111] No future laurels deck a noble head; No Muse will cheer, with renovating smile, The paralytic puling of CARLISLE. [li] [112] The puny schoolboy and his early lay Men pardon, if his follies pass away; But who forgives the Senior's ceaseless verse, Whose hairs grow hoary as his rhymes grow worse? 730 What heterogeneous honours deck the Peer! Lord, rhymester, petit-maitre, pamphleteer! [113] So dull in youth, so drivelling in his age, His scenes alone had damned our sinking stage; But Managers for once cried, "Hold, enough!" Nor drugged their audience with the tragic stuff. Yet at their judgment let his Lordship laugh, [lii] And case his volumes in congenial calf; Yes! doff that covering, where Morocco shines, And hang a calf-skin on those recreant lines. [114] 740

With you, ye Druids! rich in native lead, Who daily scribble for your daily bread: With you I war not: GIFFORD'S heavy hand Has crushed, without remorse, your numerous band. On "All the Talents" vent your venal spleen; [115] Want is your plea, let Pity be your screen. Let Monodies on Fox regale your crew, And Melville's Mantle [116] prove a Blanket too! One common Lethe waits each hapless Bard, And, peace be with you! 'tis your best reward. 750 Such damning fame; as Dunciads only give [liii] Could bid your lines beyond a morning live; But now at once your fleeting labours close, With names of greater note in blest repose. Far be't from me unkindly to upbraid The lovely ROSA'S prose in masquerade, Whose strains, the faithful echoes of her mind, Leave wondering comprehension far behind. [117] Though Crusca's bards no more our journals fill, [118] Some stragglers skirmish round the columns still; 760 Last of the howling host which once was Bell's, [liv] Matilda snivels yet, and Hafiz yells; And Merry's [119] metaphors appear anew, Chained to the signature of O. P. Q. [120] When some brisk youth, the tenant of a stall, Employs a pen less pointed than his awl, Leaves his snug shop, forsakes his store of shoes, St. Crispin quits, and cobbles for the Muse, Heavens! how the vulgar stare! how crowds applaud! How ladies read, and Literati laud! [121] 770 If chance some wicked wag should pass his jest, 'Tis sheer ill-nature—don't the world know best? Genius must guide when wits admire the rhyme, And CAPEL LOFFT [122] declares 'tis quite sublime. Hear, then, ye happy sons of needless trade! Swains! quit the plough, resign the useless spade! Lo! BURNS and BLOOMFIELD, nay, a greater far, GIFFORD was born beneath an adverse star, Forsook the labours of a servile state, Stemmed the rude storm, and triumphed over Fate: 780 Then why no more? if Phoebus smiled on you, BLOOMFIELD! why not on brother Nathan too? [123] Him too the Mania, not the Muse, has seized; Not inspiration, but a mind diseased: And now no Boor can seek his last abode, No common be inclosed without an ode. Oh! since increased refinement deigns to smile On Britain's sons, and bless our genial Isle, Let Poesy go forth, pervade the whole, Alike the rustic, and mechanic soul! 790 Ye tuneful cobblers! still your notes prolong, Compose at once a slipper and a song; So shall the fair your handywork peruse, Your sonnets sure shall please—perhaps your shoes. May Moorland weavers [124] boast Pindaric skill, And tailors' lays be longer than their bill! While punctual beaux reward the grateful notes, And pay for poems—when they pay for coats.

To the famed throng now paid the tribute due, [lv] Neglected Genius! let me turn to you. 800 Come forth, oh CAMPBELL! give thy talents scope; Who dares aspire if thou must cease to hope? And thou, melodious ROGERS! rise at last, Recall the pleasing memory of the past; [125] Arise! let blest remembrance still inspire, And strike to wonted tones thy hallowed lyre; Restore Apollo to his vacant throne, Assert thy country's honour and thine own. What! must deserted Poesy still weep Where her last hopes with pious COWPER sleep? 810 Unless, perchance, from his cold bier she turns, To deck the turf that wraps her minstrel, BURNS! No! though contempt hath marked the spurious brood, The race who rhyme from folly, or for food, Yet still some genuine sons 'tis hers to boast, Who, least affecting, still affect the most: [lvi] Feel as they write, and write but as they feel— Bear witness GIFFORD, [126] SOTHEBY, [127] MACNEIL. [128] "Why slumbers GIFFORD?" once was asked in vain; Why slumbers GIFFORD? let us ask again. [129] 820 Are there no follies for his pen to purge? Are there no fools whose backs demand the scourge? Are there no sins for Satire's Bard to greet? Stalks not gigantic Vice in every street? Shall Peers or Princes tread pollution's path, And 'scape alike the Laws and Muse's wrath? Nor blaze with guilty glare through future time, Eternal beacons of consummate crime? Arouse thee, GIFFORD! be thy promise claimed, Make bad men better, or at least ashamed. 830

Unhappy WHITE! [130] while life was in its spring, And thy young Muse just waved her joyous wing, The Spoiler swept that soaring Lyre away, [lvii] [131] Which else had sounded an immortal lay. Oh! what a noble heart was here undone, When Science' self destroyed her favourite son! Yes, she too much indulged thy fond pursuit, She sowed the seeds, but Death has reaped the fruit. 'Twas thine own Genius gave the final blow, And helped to plant the wound that laid thee low: 840 So the struck Eagle, stretched upon the plain, No more through rolling clouds to soar again, Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart, And winged the shaft that quivered in his heart; Keen were his pangs, but keener far to feel He nursed the pinion which impelled the steel; While the same plumage that had warmed his nest Drank the last life-drop of his bleeding breast.

There be who say, in these enlightened days, That splendid lies are all the poet's praise; 850 That strained Invention, ever on the wing, Alone impels the modern Bard to sing: Tis true, that all who rhyme—nay, all who write, Shrink from that fatal word to Genius—Trite; Yet Truth sometimes will lend her noblest fires, And decorate the verse herself inspires: This fact in Virtue's name let CRABBE [132] attest; Though Nature's sternest Painter, yet the best.

And here let SHEE [133] and Genius find a place, Whose pen and pencil yield an equal grace; 860 To guide whose hand the sister Arts combine, And trace the Poet's or the Painter's line; Whose magic touch can bid the canvas glow, Or pour the easy rhyme's harmonious flow; While honours, doubly merited, attend [lviii] The Poet's rival, but the Painter's friend.

Blest is the man who dares approach the bower Where dwelt the Muses at their natal hour; Whose steps have pressed, whose eye has marked afar, The clime that nursed the sons of song and war, 870 The scenes which Glory still must hover o'er, Her place of birth, her own Achaian shore. But doubly blest is he whose heart expands With hallowed feelings for those classic lands; Who rends the veil of ages long gone by, And views their remnants with a poet's eye! WRIGHT! [134] 'twas thy happy lot at once to view Those shores of glory, and to sing them too; And sure no common Muse inspired thy pen To hail the land of Gods and Godlike men. 880

And you, associate Bards! [135] who snatched to light [lvix] Those gems too long withheld from modern sight; Whose mingling taste combined to cull the wreath While Attic flowers Aonian odours breathe, And all their renovated fragrance flung, To grace the beauties of your native tongue; Now let those minds, that nobly could transfuse The glorious Spirit of the Grecian Muse, Though soft the echo, scorn a borrowed tone: [lx] Resign Achaia's lyre, and strike your own. 890

Let these, or such as these, with just applause, [lxi] Restore the Muse's violated laws; But not in flimsy DARWIN'S [136] pompous chime, [lxii] That mighty master of unmeaning rhyme, Whose gilded cymbals, more adorned than clear, The eye delighted, but fatigued the ear, In show the simple lyre could once surpass, But now, worn down, appear in native brass; While all his train of hovering sylphs around Evaporate in similes and sound: 900 Him let them shun, with him let tinsel die: False glare attracts, but more offends the eye. [137]

Yet let them not to vulgar WORDSWORTH [138] stoop, The meanest object of the lowly group, Whose verse, of all but childish prattle void, Seems blessed harmony to LAMB and LLOYD: [139] Let them—but hold, my Muse, nor dare to teach A strain far, far beyond thy humble reach: The native genius with their being given Will point the path, and peal their notes to heaven. 910

And thou, too, SCOTT! [140] resign to minstrels rude The wilder Slogan of a Border feud: Let others spin their meagre lines for hire; Enough for Genius, if itself inspire! Let SOUTHEY sing, altho' his teeming muse, [lxiii] Prolific every spring, be too profuse; Let simple WORDSWORTH [141] chime his childish verse, And brother COLERIDGE lull the babe at nurse [lxiv] Let Spectre-mongering LEWIS aim, at most, [lxv] To rouse the Galleries, or to raise a ghost; 920 Let MOORE still sigh; let STRANGFORD steal from MOORE, [lxvi] And swear that CAMOENS sang such notes of yore; Let HAYLEY hobble on, MONTGOMERY rave, And godly GRAHAME chant a stupid stave; Let sonneteering BOWLES [142] his strains refine, And whine and whimper to the fourteenth line; Let STOTT, CARLISLE, [143] MATILDA, and the rest Of Grub Street, and of Grosvenor Place the best, Scrawl on, 'till death release us from the strain, Or Common Sense assert her rights again; 930 But Thou, with powers that mock the aid of praise, Should'st leave to humbler Bards ignoble lays: Thy country's voice, the voice of all the Nine, Demand a hallowed harp—that harp is thine. Say! will not Caledonia's annals yield The glorious record of some nobler field, Than the vile foray of a plundering clan, Whose proudest deeds disgrace the name of man? Or Marmion's acts of darkness, fitter food For SHERWOOD'S outlaw tales of ROBIN HOOD? [lxvii] 940 Scotland! still proudly claim thy native Bard, And be thy praise his first, his best reward! Yet not with thee alone his name should live, But own the vast renown a world can give; Be known, perchance, when Albion is no more, And tell the tale of what she was before; To future times her faded fame recall, And save her glory, though his country fall.

Yet what avails the sanguine Poet's hope, To conquer ages, and with time to cope? 950 New eras spread their wings, new nations rise, And other Victors fill th' applauding skies; [144] A few brief generations fleet along, Whose sons forget the Poet and his song: E'en now, what once-loved Minstrels scarce may claim The transient mention of a dubious name! When Fame's loud trump hath blown its noblest blast, Though long the sound, the echo sleeps at last; And glory, like the Phoenix [145] midst her fires, Exhales her odours, blazes, and expires. 960

Shall hoary Granta call her sable sons, Expert in science, more expert at puns? Shall these approach the Muse? ah, no! she flies, Even from the tempting ore of Seaton's prize; [lxviii] Though Printers condescend the press to soil With rhyme by HOARE, [146] and epic blank by HOYLE: [lxix] [147] Not him whose page, if still upheld by whist, Requires no sacred theme to bid us list. [148] Ye! who in Granta's honours would surpass, Must mount her Pegasus, a full-grown ass; 970 A foal well worthy of her ancient Dam, Whose Helicon [149] is duller than her Cam. [lxx]

There CLARKE, [150] still striving piteously "to please," [lxxi] Forgetting doggerel leads not to degrees, A would-be satirist, a hired Buffoon, A monthly scribbler of some low Lampoon, [151] Condemned to drudge, the meanest of the mean, And furbish falsehoods for a magazine, Devotes to scandal his congenial mind; Himself a living libel on mankind. 980

Oh! dark asylum of a Vandal race! [152] At once the boast of learning, and disgrace! So lost to Phoebus, that nor Hodgson's [153] verse Can make thee better, nor poor Hewson's [154] worse. [lxxii] But where fair Isis rolls her purer wave, The partial Muse delighted loves to lave; On her green banks a greener wreath she wove, [lxxiii] To crown the Bards that haunt her classic grove; Where RICHARDS wakes a genuine poet's fires, And modern Britons glory in their Sires. [155] [lxxiv] 990

For me, who, thus unasked, have dared to tell My country, what her sons should know too well, [lxxv] Zeal for her honour bade me here engage [lxxvi] The host of idiots that infest her age; No just applause her honoured name shall lose, As first in freedom, dearest to the Muse. Oh! would thy bards but emulate thy fame, And rise more worthy, Albion, of thy name! What Athens was in science, Rome in power, What Tyre appeared in her meridian hour, 1000 'Tis thine at once, fair Albion! to have been— Earth's chief Dictatress, Ocean's lovely Queen: [lxxvii] But Rome decayed, and Athens strewed the plain, And Tyre's proud piers lie shattered in the main; Like these, thy strength may sink, in ruin hurled, [lxxviii] And Britain fall, the bulwark of the world. But let me cease, and dread Cassandra's fate, With warning ever scoffed at, till too late; To themes less lofty still my lay confine, And urge thy Bards to gain a name like thine. [156] 1010

Then, hapless Britain! be thy rulers blest, The senate's oracles, the people's jest! Still hear thy motley orators dispense The flowers of rhetoric, though not of sense, While CANNING'S colleagues hate him for his wit, And old dame PORTLAND [157] fills the place of PITT.

Yet once again, adieu! ere this the sail That wafts me hence is shivering in the gale; And Afric's coast and Calpe's adverse height, [158] And Stamboul's minarets must greet my sight: 1020 Thence shall I stray through Beauty's native clime, [159] Where Kaff [160] is clad in rocks, and crowned with snows sublime. But should I back return, no tempting press [lxxix] Shall drag my Journal from the desk's recess; Let coxcombs, printing as they come from far, Snatch his own wreath of Ridicule from Carr; Let ABERDEEN and ELGIN [161] still pursue The shade of fame through regions of Virtu; Waste useless thousands on their Phidian freaks, Misshapen monuments and maimed antiques; 1030 And make their grand saloons a general mart For all the mutilated blocks of art: Of Dardan tours let Dilettanti tell, I leave topography to rapid [162] GELL; [163] And, quite content, no more shall interpose To stun the public ear—at least with Prose. [lxxx]

Thus far I've held my undisturbed career, Prepared for rancour, steeled 'gainst selfish fear; This thing of rhyme I ne'er disdained to own— Though not obtrusive, yet not quite unknown: 1040 My voice was heard again, though not so loud, My page, though nameless, never disavowed; And now at once I tear the veil away:— Cheer on the pack! the Quarry stands at bay, Unscared by all the din of MELBOURNE house, [164] By LAMB'S resentment, or by HOLLAND'S spouse, By JEFFREY'S harmless pistol, HALLAM'S rage, Edina's brawny sons and brimstone page. Our men in buckram shall have blows enough, And feel they too are "penetrable stuff:" 1050 And though I hope not hence unscathed to go, Who conquers me shall find a stubborn foe. The time hath been, when no harsh sound would fall From lips that now may seem imbued with gall; Nor fools nor follies tempt me to despise The meanest thing that crawled beneath my eyes: But now, so callous grown, so changed since youth, I've learned to think, and sternly speak the truth; Learned to deride the critic's starch decree, And break him on the wheel he meant for me; 1060 To spurn the rod a scribbler bids me kiss, Nor care if courts and crowds applaud or hiss: Nay more, though all my rival rhymesters frown, I too can hunt a Poetaster down; And, armed in proof, the gauntlet cast at once To Scotch marauder, and to Southern dunce. Thus much I've dared; if my incondite lay [lxxx] Hath wronged these righteous times, let others say: This, let the world, which knows not how to spare, Yet rarely blames unjustly, now declare. [165] 1070

[Footnote 1: "The 'binding' of this volume is considerably too valuable for the contents. Nothing but the consideration of its being the property of another, prevents me from consigning this miserable record of misplaced anger and indiscriminate acrimony to the flames."—B., 1816.]

[Footnote 2: IMITATION.

"Semper ego auditor tantum? nunquamne reponam, Vexatus toties, rauci Theseide Codri?"

JUVENAL, 'Satire I'.l. 1.]

[Footnote 3: "'Hoarse Fitzgerald'.—"Right enough; but why notice such a mountebank?"—B., 1816.

Mr. Fitzgerald, facetiously termed by Cobbett the "Small Beer Poet," inflicts his annual tribute of verse on the Literary Fund: not content with writing, he spouts in person, after the company have imbibed a reasonable quantity of bad port, to enable them to sustain the operation.

[William Thomas Fitzgerald (circ. 1759-1829) played the part of unofficial poet laureate. His loyal recitations were reported by the newspapers. He published, 'inter alia', 'Nelson's Triumph' (1798), 'Tears of Hibernia, dispelled by the Union' (1802), and 'Nelson's Tomb' (1806). He owes his fame to the first line of 'English Bards', and the famous parody in 'Rejected Addresses'. The following 'jeux desprits' were transcribed by R. C. Dallas on a blank leaf of a copy of the Fifth Edition:—

"Written on a copy of 'English Bards' at the 'Alfred' by W. T. Fitzgerald, Esq.—

I find Lord Byron scorns my Muse, Our Fates are ill agreed; The Verse is safe, I can't abuse Those lines, I never read.

Signed W. T. F."

Answer written on the same page by Lord Byron—

"What's writ on me," cries Fitz, "I never read"! What's writ by thee, dear Fitz, none will, indeed. The case stands simply thus, then, honest Fitz, Thou and thine enemies are fairly quits; Or rather would be, if for time to come, They luckily were 'deaf', or thou wert dumb; But to their pens while scribblers add their tongues. The Waiter only can escape their lungs. [A]]

{Sub-Footnote 0.1: Compare 'Hints from Horace', l. 808, 'note' 1.}

[Footnote 4: Cid Hamet Benengeli promises repose to his pen, in the last chapter of 'Don Quixote'. Oh! that our voluminous gentry would follow the example of Cid Hamet Benengeli!]

[Footnote 5: "This must have been written in the spirit of prophecy." (B., 1816.)]

[Footnote 6: "He's a very good fellow; and, except his mother and sister, the best of the set, to my mind."—B., 1816. [William (1779-1848) and George (1784-1834) Lamb, sons of Sir Peniston Lamb (Viscount Melbourne, 1828), by Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke, were Lady Byron's first cousins. William married, in 1805, Lady Caroline Ponsonby, the writer of 'Glenarvon'. George, who was one of the early contributors to the 'Edinburgh Review', married in 1809 Caroline Rosalie Adelaide St. Jules. At the time of the separation, Lady Caroline Lamb and Mrs. George Lamb warmly espoused Lady Byron's cause, Lady Melbourne and her daughter Lady Cowper (afterwards Lady Palmerston) were rather against than for Lady Byron. William Lamb was discreetly silent, and George Lamb declaimed against Lady Byron, calling her a d——d fool. Hence Lord Byron's praises of George. Cf. line 517 of 'English Bards'.]

[Footnote 7: This ingenuous youth is mentioned more particularly, with his production, in another place. ('Vide post', l. 516.)

"Spurious Brat" [see variant ii. p. 300], that is the farce; the ingenuous youth who begat it is mentioned more particularly with his offspring in another place. ['Note. MS. M.'] [The farce 'Whistle for It' was performed two or three times at Covent Garden Theatre in 1807.]

[Footnote 8: In the 'Edinburgh Review'.]

[Footnote 9: The proverbial "Joe" Miller, an actor by profession (1684-1738), was a man of no education, and is said to have been unable to read. His reputation rests mainly on the book of jests compiled after his death, and attributed to him by John Mottley. (First Edition. T. Read. 1739.)]

[Footnote 10: Messrs. Jeffrey and Lamb are the alpha and omega, the first and last of the 'Edinburgh Review'; the others are mentioned hereafter.

[The MS. Note is as follows:—"Of the young gentlemen who write in the 'E.R.', I have now named the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the best and the worst. The intermediate members are designated with due honour hereafter."]

"This was not just. Neither the heart nor the head of these gentlemen are at all what they are here represented. At the time this was written, I was personally unacquainted with either."—B., 1816.

[Francis Jeffrey (1773-1850) founded the 'Edinburgh Review' in conjunction with Sydney Smith, Brougham, and Francis Horner, in 1802. In 1803 he succeeded Smith as editor, and conducted the 'Review' till 1829. Independence of publishers and high pay to contributors ("Ten guineas a sheet," writes Southey to Scott, June, 1807, "instead of seven pounds for the 'Annual'," 'Life and Corr'., iii. 125) distinguished the new journal from the first. Jeffrey was called to the Scottish bar in 1794, and as an advocate was especially successful with juries. He was constantly employed, and won fame and fortune. In 1829 he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, and the following year, when the Whigs came into office, he became Lord Advocate. He sat as M.P. twice for Malton (1830-1832), and, afterwards, for Edinburgh. In 1834 he was appointed a Judge of the Court of Sessions, when he took the title of Lord Jeffrey. Byron had attacked Jeffrey in British Bards before his 'Hours of Idleness' had been cut up by the 'Edinburgh', and when the article appeared (Jan. 1808), under the mistaken impression that he was the author, denounced him at large (ll. 460-528) in the first edition of 'English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers'. None the less, the great critic did not fail to do ample justice to the poet's mature work, and won from him repeated acknowledgments of his kindness and generosity. (See 'Edinburgh Review', vol. xxii. p. 416, and Byron's comment in his 'Diary' for March 20,1814; 'Life', p. 232. See, too, 'Hints from Horace', ll. 589-626; and 'Don Juan', canto x. st. 11-16, and canto xii. st. 16. See also Bagehot's 'Literary Studies', vol. i. article I.)]

[Footnote 11: IMITATION.

"Stulta est dementia, cum tot ubique ———occurras periturae parcere chartae."

JUVENAL, 'Sat. I.' ll. 17, 18.]

[Footnote 12: IMITATION.

"Cur tamen hoc potius libeat decurrere campo, Per quem magnus equos Auruncae flexit alumnus, Si vacat, et placidi rationem admittitis, edam."

JUVENAL, 'Sat. I'. ll. 19-21.]

[Footnote 13: William Gifford (1756-1826), a self-taught scholar, first a ploughboy, then boy on board a Brixham coaster, afterwards shoemaker's apprentice, was sent by friends to Exeter College, Oxford (1779-81). In the 'Baviad' (1794) and the 'Maeviad' (1795) he attacked many of the smaller writers of the day, who were either silly, like the Della Cruscan School, or discreditable, like Williams, who wrote as "Anthony Pasquin." In his 'Epistle to Peter Pindar' (1800) he laboured to expose the true character of John Wolcot. As editor of the 'Anti-Jacobin, or Weekly Examiner' (November, 1797, to July, 1798), he supported the political views of Canning and his friends. As editor of the 'Quarterly Review', from its foundation (February, 1809) to his resignation in September, 1824, he soon rose to literary eminence by his sound sense and adherence to the best models, though his judgments were sometimes narrow-minded and warped by political prejudice. His editions of 'Massinger' (1805), which superseded that of Monck Mason and Davies (1765), of 'Ben Jonson' (1816), of 'Ford' (1827), are valuable. To his translation of 'Juvenal' (1802) is prefixed his autobiography. His translation of 'Persius' appeared in 1821. To Gifford, Byron usually paid the utmost deference. "Any suggestion of yours, even if it were conveyed," he writes to him, in 1813, "in the less tender text of the 'Baviad', or a Monck Mason note to Massinger, would be obeyed." See also his letter (September 20, 1821, 'Life', p.531): "I know no praise which would compensate me in my own mind for his censure." Byron was attracted to Gifford, partly by his devotion to the classical models of literature, partly by the outspoken frankness of his literary criticism, partly also, perhaps, by his physical deformity.]

[Footnote 14: Henry James Pye (1745-1813), M.P. for Berkshire, and afterwards Police Magistrate for Westminster, held the office of poet laureate from 1790 till his death in 1813, succeeding Thomas Warton, and succeeded by Southey. He published 'Farringdon Hill' in 1774, The 'Progress of Refinement' in 1783, and a translation of Burger's 'Lenore' in 1795. His name recurs in the 'Vision of Judgment', stanza xcii. Lines 97-102 were inserted in the Fifth Edition.]

[Footnote 15: The first edition of the Satire opened with this line; and Byron's original intention was to prefix the following argument, first published in 'Recollections', by R. C. Dallas (1824):—


"The poet considereth times past, and their poesy—makes a sudden transition to times present—is incensed against book-makers—revileth Walter Scott for cupidity and ballad-mongering, with notable remarks on Master Southey—complaineth that Master Southey had inflicted three poems, epic and otherwise, on the public—inveigheth against William Wordsworth, but laudeth Mister Coleridge and his elegy on a young ass—is disposed to vituperate Mr. Lewis—and greatly rebuketh Thomas Little (the late) and Lord Strangford—recommendeth Mr. Hayley to turn his attention to prose—and exhorteth the Moravians to glorify Mr. Grahame—sympathiseth with the Rev. [William Bowles]—and deploreth the melancholy fate of James Montgomery—breaketh out into invective against the Edinburgh Reviewers—calleth them hard names, harpies and the like—apostrophiseth Jeffrey, and prophesieth.—Episode of Jeffrey and Moore, their jeopardy and deliverance; portents on the morn of the combat; the Tweed, Tolbooth, Firth of Forth [and Arthur's Seat], severally shocked; descent of a goddess to save Jeffrey; incorporation of the bullets with his sinciput and occiput.—Edinburgh Reviews 'en masse'.—Lord Aberdeen, Herbert, Scott, Hallam, Pillans, Lambe, Sydney Smith, Brougham, etc.—Lord Holland applauded for dinners and translations.—The Drama; Skeffington, Hook, Reynolds, Kenney, Cherry, etc.—Sheridan, Colman, and Cumberland called upon [requested, MS.] to write.—Return to poesy—scribblers of all sorts—lords sometimes rhyme; much better not—Hafiz, Rosa Matilda, and X.Y.Z.—Rogers, Campbell, Gifford, etc. true poets—Translators of the Greek Anthology—Crabbe—Darwin's style—Cambridge—Seatonian Prize—Smythe—Hodgson—Oxford—Richards—Poetaloquitur—Conclusion."]

[Footnote 16: Lines 115, 116, were a MS. addition to the printed text of 'British Bards'. An alternative version has been pencilled on the margin:—

"Otway and Congreve mimic scenes had wove And Waller tuned his Lyre to mighty Love."]

[Footnote 17: Thomas Little was the name under which Moore's early poems were published, 'The Poetical Works of the late Thomas Little, Esq.' (1801). "Twelves" refers to the "duodecimo." Sheets, after printing, are pressed between cold or hot rollers, to impart smoothness of "surface." Hot rolling is the more expensive process.]

[Footnote 18: Eccles. chapter i. verse 9.]

[Footnote 19: At first sight Byron appears to refer to the lighting of streets by gas, especially as the first shop lighted with it was that of Lardner & Co., at the corner of the Albany (June, 1805), and as lamps were on view at the premises of the Gas Light and Coke Company in Pall Mall from 1808 onwards. But it is almost certain that he alludes to the "sublimating gas" of Dr. Beddoes, which his assistant, Davy, mentions in his 'Researches' (1800) as nitrous oxide, and which was used by Southey and Coleridge. The same four "wonders" of medical science are depicted in Gillray's caricatures, November, 1801, and May and June, 1802, and are satirized in Christopher Caustic's 'Terrible Tractoration! A Poetical Petition against Galvanising Trumpery and the Perkinistit Institution' (in 4 cantos, 1803).

Against vaccination, or cow-pox, a brisk war was still being carried on. Gillray has a likeness of Jenner vaccinating patients.

Metallic "Tractors" were a remedy much advertised at the beginning of the century by an American quack, Benjamin Charles Perkins, founder of the Perkinean Institution in London, as a "cure for all Disorders, Red Noses, Gouty Toes, Windy Bowels, Broken Legs, Hump Backs."

In Galvanism several experiments, conducted by Professor Aldini, nephew of Galvani, are described in the 'Morning Post' for Jan. 6th, Feb. 6th, and Jan. 22nd, 1803. The latter were made on the body of Forster the murderer.

For the allusion to Gas, compare 'Terrible Tractoration', canto 1—

"Beddoes (bless the good doctor) has Sent me a bag full of his gas, Which snuff'd the nose up, makes wit brighter, And eke a dunce an airy writer."]

[Footnote 20: Stott, better known in the 'Morning Post' by the name of Hafiz. This personage is at present the most profound explorer of the bathos. I remember, when the reigning family left Portugal, a special Ode of Master Stott's, beginning thus:—('Stott loquitur quoad Hibernia')—

"Princely offspring of Braganza, Erin greets thee with a stanza," etc.

Also a Sonnet to Rats, well worthy of the subject, and a most thundering Ode, commencing as follows:—

"Oh! for a Lay! loud as the surge That lashes Lapland's sounding shore."

Lord have mercy on us! the "Lay of the Last Minstrel" was nothing to this. [The lines "Princely Offspring," headed "Extemporaneous Verse on the expulsion of the Prince Regent from Portugal by Gallic Tyranny," were published in the 'Morning Post', Dec. 30, 1807. (See 'post', l. 708, and 'note'.)] ]

[Footnote 21: See p. 317, note 1.]

[Footnote 22: See the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," 'passim'. Never was any plan so incongruous and absurd as the groundwork of this production. The entrance of Thunder and Lightning prologuising to Bayes' tragedy [('vide The Rehearsal'), 'British Bards'], unfortunately takes away the merit of originality from the dialogue between Messieurs the Spirits of Flood and Fell in the first canto. Then we have the amiable William of Deloraine, "a stark moss-trooper," videlicet, a happy compound of poacher, sheep-stealer, and highwayman. The propriety of his magical lady's injunction not to read can only be equalled by his candid acknowledgment of his independence of the trammels of spelling, although, to use his own elegant phrase, "'twas his neckverse at Harribee," 'i. e.' the gallows.

The biography of Gilpin Horner, and the marvellous pedestrian page, who travelled twice as fast as his master's horse, without the aid of seven-leagued boots, are 'chefs d'oeuvre' in the improvement of taste. For incident we have the invisible, but by no means sparing box on the ear bestowed on the page, and the entrance of a Knight and Charger into the castle, under the very natural disguise of a wain of hay. Marmion, the hero of the latter romance, is exactly what William of Deloraine would have been, had he been able to read and write. The poem was manufactured for Messrs. CONSTABLE, MURRAY, and MILLER, worshipful Booksellers, in consideration of the receipt of a sum of money; and truly, considering the inspiration, it is a very creditable production. If Mr. SCOTT will write for hire, let him do his best for his paymasters, but not disgrace his genius, which is undoubtedly great, by a repetition of Black-Letter Ballad imitations.

[Constable paid Scott a thousand pounds for 'Marmion', and

"offered one fourth of the copyright to Mr. Miller of Albemarle Street, and one fourth to Mr. Murray of Fleet Street (see line 173). Both publishers eagerly accepted the proposal." ... "A severe and unjust review of 'Marmion' by Jeffrey appeared in [the 'Edinburgh Review' for April] 1808, accusing Scott of a mercenary spirit in writing for money. ... Scott was much nettled by these observations."

('Memoirs of John Murray', i. 76, 95). In his diary of 1813 Byron wrote of Scott,

"He is undoubtedly the Monarch of Parnassus, and the most 'English' of Bards."

'Life', p. 206.]]

[Footnote 23: It was the suggestion of the Countess of Dalkeith, that Scott should write a ballad on the old border legend of 'Gilpin Horner', which first gave shape to the poet's ideas, and led to the 'Lay of the Last Minstrel'.]

[Footnote 24: In his strictures on Scott and Southey, Byron takes his lead from Lady Anne Hamilton's (1766-1846, daughter of Archibald, ninth Duke of Hamilton, and Lady-in-waiting to Caroline of Brunswick) 'Epics of the Ton' (1807), a work which has not shared the dubious celebrity of her 'Secret Memories of the Court', etc. (1832). Compare the following lines (p. 9):—

"Then still might Southey sing his crazy Joan, Or feign a Welshman o'er the Atlantic flown, Or tell of Thalaba the wondrous matter, Or with clown Wordsworth, chatter, chatter, chatter. * * * * * Good-natured Scott rehearse, in well-paid lays, The marv'lous chiefs and elves of other days."

(For Scott's reference to "my share of flagellation among my betters," and an explicit statement that he had remonstrated with Jeffrey against the "offensive criticism" of 'Hours of Idleness', because he thought it treated with undue severity, see Introduction to 'Marmion', 1830.)]]

[Footnote 25: Lines 179, 180, in the Fifth Edition, were substituted for variant i. p. 312.—'Leigh Hunt's annotated Copy of the Fourth Edition'.]

[Footnote 26: "Good night to Marmion"—the pathetic and also prophetic exclamation of Henry Blount, Esquire, on the death of honest Marmion.]

[Footnote 27: As the 'Odyssey' is so closely connected with the story of the 'Iliad', they may almost be classed as one grand historical poem. In alluding to Milton and Tasso, we consider the 'Paradise Lost' and 'Gerusalemme Liberata' as their standard efforts; since neither the 'Jerusalem Conquered' of the Italian, nor the 'Paradise Regained' of the English bard, obtained a proportionate celebrity to their former poems. Query: Which of Mr. Southey's will survive?]

[Footnote 28: 'Thalaba', Mr. Southey's second poem, is written in defiance of precedent and poetry. Mr. S. wished to produce something novel, and succeeded to a miracle. 'Joan of Arc' was marvellous enough, but 'Thalaba' was one of those poems "which," in the word of PORSON, "will be read when Homer and Virgil are forgotten, but—<i<not till then'." ["Of 'Thalaba" the wild and wondrous song"—Proem to 'Madoc', Southey's 'Poetical Works' (1838), vol. v. 'Joan of Arc' was published in 1796, 'Thalaba the Destroyer' in 1801, and 'Madoc' in 1805.]

[Footnote 29: The hero of Fielding's farce, 'The Tragedy of Tragedies', 'or the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great', first played in 1730 at the Haymarket.]

[Footnote 30: Southey's 'Madoc' is divided into two parts—Part I., "Madoc in Wales;" Part II., "Madoc in Aztlan." The word "cacique" ("Cacique or cazique... a native chief or 'prince' of the aborigines in the West Indies:" 'New Engl. Dict'., Art. "Cacique") occurs in the translations of Spanish writers quoted by Southey in his notes, but not in the text of the poem.]

[Footnote 31: We beg Mr. Southey's pardon: "Madoc disdains the degraded title of Epic." See his Preface. ["It assumes not the degraded title of Epic."—Preface to 'Madoc' (1805), Southey's 'Poetical Works' (1838), vol. v. p. xxi.] Why is Epic degraded? and by whom? Certainly the late Romaunts of Masters Cottle, Laureat Pye, Ogilvy, Hole,[A] and gentle Mistress Cowley, have not exalted the Epic Muse; but, as Mr. SOUTHEY'S poem "disdains the appellation," allow us to ask—has he substituted anything better in its stead? or must he be content to rival Sir RICHARD BLACKMORE in the quantity as well as quality of his verse?

[Sub-Footnote A: For "Hole," the 'MS'. and 'British Bards' read "Sir J. B. Burgess; Cumberland."] ]

[Footnote 32: See 'The Old Woman of Berkeley', a ballad by Mr. Southey, wherein an aged gentlewoman is carried away by Beelzebub, on a "high trotting horse."]

[Footnote 33: The last line, "God help thee," is an evident plagiarism from the 'Anti-Jacobin' to Mr. Southey, on his Dactylics:—

"God help thee, silly one!"

'Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin', p. 23.]

[Footnote 34: In the annotated copy of the Fourth Edition Byron has drawn a line down the margin of the passage on Wordsworth, lines 236-248, and adds the word "Unjust." The first four lines on Coleridge (lines 255-258) are also marked "Unjust." The recantation is, no doubt, intended to apply to both passages from beginning to end. "'Unjust'."—B., 1816. (See also Byron's letter to S. T. Coleridge, March 31, 1815.)]

[Footnote 35: 'Lyrical Ballads', p. 4.—"The Tables Turned," Stanza 1.

"Up, up, my friend, and clear your looks, Why all this toil and trouble? Up, up, my friend, and quit your books, Or surely you'll grow double."]

[Footnote 36: Mr. W. in his preface labours hard to prove, that prose and verse are much the same; and certainly his precepts and practice are strictly conformable:—

"And thus to Betty's questions he Made answer, like a traveller bold. 'The cock did crow, to-whoo, to-whoo, And the sun did shine so cold.'"

'Lyrical Ballads', p. 179. [Compare 'The Simpliciad', II. 295-305, and 'note'.]]

[Footnote 37: "He has not published for some years."—'British Bards'. (A marginal note in pencil.) [Coleridge's 'Poems' (3rd edit.) appeared in 1803; the first number of 'The Friend' on June 1, 1809.]]

[Footnote 38: COLERIDGE'S 'Poems', p. 11, "Songs of the Pixies," 'i. e.' Devonshire Fairies; p. 42, we have "Lines to a Young Lady;" and, p. 52, "Lines to a Young Ass." [Compare 'The Simpliciad', ll. 211, 213—

"Then in despite of scornful Folly's pother, Ask him to live with you and hail him brother."]]

[Footnote 39: Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818), known as "Monk" Lewis, was the son of a rich Jamaica planter. During a six months' visit to Weimar (1792-3), when he was introduced to Goethe, he applied himself to the study of German literature, especially novels and the drama. In 1794 he was appointed 'attache' to the Embassy at the Hague, and in the course of ten weeks wrote 'Ambrosio, or The Monk', which was published in 1795. In 1798 he made the acquaintance of Scott, and procured his promise of co-operation in his contemplated 'Tales of Terror'. In the same year he published the 'Castle Spectre' (first played at Drury Lane, Dec. 14, 1797), in which, to quote the postscript "To the Reader," he meant (but Sheridan interposed) "to have exhibited a whole regiment of Ghosts." 'Tales of Terror' were printed at Weybridge in 1801, and two or three editions of 'Tales of Wonder', to which Byron refers, came out in the same year. Lewis borrowed so freely from all sources that the collection was called "Tales of Plunder." In the first edition (two vols., printed by W. Bulmer for the author, 1801) the first eighteen poems, with the exception of 'The Fire King' (xii.) by Walter Scott, are by Lewis, either original or translated. Scott also contributed 'Glenfinlas, The Eve of St. John, Frederick and Alice, The Wild Huntsmen (Der Wilde Jaeger). Southey contributed six poems, including 'The Old Woman of Berkeley' (xxiv.). 'The Little Grey Man' (xix.) is by H. Bunbury. The second volume is made up from Burns, Gray, Parnell, Glover, Percy's 'Reliques', and other sources.

A second edition, published in 1801, which consists of thirty-two ballads (Southey's are not included), advertises "'Tales of Terror' printed uniform with this edition of 'Tales of Wonder'." 'Romantic Tales', in four volumes, appeared in 1808. Of his other works, 'The Captive, A Monodrama', was played in 1803; the 'Bravo of Venice, A Translation from the German', in 1804; and 'Timour the Tartar' in 1811. His 'Journal of a West Indian Proprietor' was not published till 1834. He sat as M.P. for Hindon (1796-1802).

He had been a favourite in society before Byron appeared on the scene, but there is no record of any intimacy or acquaintance before 1813. When Byron was living at Geneva, Lewis visited the Maison Diodati in August, 1816, on which occasion he "translated to him Goethe's 'Faust' by word of mouth," and drew up a codicil to his will, witnessed by Byron, Shelley, and Polidori, which contained certain humane provisions for the well-being of the negroes on his Jamaica estates. He also visited him at 'La Mira' in August, 1817. Byron wrote of him after his death: "He was a good man, and a clever one, but he was a bore, a damned bore—one may say. But I liked him."

To judge from his letters to his mother and other evidence (Scott's testimony, for instance), he was a kindly, well-intentioned man, but lacking in humour. When his father condemned the indecency of the 'Monk', he assured him "that he had not the slightest idea that what he was then writing could injure the principles of any human being." "He was," said Byron, "too great a bore to lie," and the plea is evidently offered in good faith. As a writer, he is memorable chiefly for his sponsorship of German literature. Scott said of him that he had the finest ear for rhythm he ever met with—finer than Byron's; and Coleridge, in a letter to Wordsworth, Jan., 1798 ('Letters of S. T. C.' (1895), i. 237), and again in 'Table Talk' for March 20, 1834, commends his verses. Certainly his ballad of "Crazy Jane," once so famous that ladies took to wearing "Crazy Jane" hats, is of the nature of poetry. (See 'Life', 349, 362, 491, etc.; 'Life and Correspondence' of M. G. Lewis (1839), i. 158, etc.; 'Life of Scott', by J. G. Lockhart (1842), pp. 80-83, 94.)] ]

[Footnote 40: "For every one knows little Matt's an M.P."—See a poem to Mr. Lewis, in 'The Statesman', supposed to be written by Mr. Jekyll.

[Joseph Jekyll (d. 1837) was celebrated for his witticisms and metrical 'jeux d'esprit' which he contributed to the 'Morning Chronicle' and the 'Evening Statesman'. His election as M.P. for Calne in 1787, at the nomination of Lord Lansdowne, gave rise to 'Jekyll, A Political Eclogue' (see 'The Rottiad' (1799), pp. 219-224). He was a favourite with the Prince Regent, at whose instance he was appointed a Master in Chancery in 1815.]]

[Footnote 41: The reader, who may wish for an explanation of this, may refer to "Strangford's Camoens," p. 127, note to p. 56, or to the last page of the 'Edinburgh Review' of Strangford's Camoens.

[Percy Clinton Sydney Smythe, sixth Viscount Strangford (1780-1855), published 'Translations from the Portuguese by Luis de Camoens' in 1803. The note to which Byron refers is on the canzonet 'Naoe sei quem assella', "Thou hast an eye of tender blue." It runs thus:

"Locks of auburn and eyes of blue have ever been dear to the sons of song.... Sterne even considers them as indicative of qualities the most amiable.... The Translator does not wish to deem ... this unfounded. He is, however, aware of the danger to which such a confession exposes him—but he flies for protection to the temple of AUREA VENUS."

It may be added that Byron's own locks were auburn, and his eyes a greyish-blue.]]

[Footnote 42: It is also to be remarked, that the things given to the public as poems of Camoens are no more to be found in the original Portuguese, than in the Song of Solomon.]

[Footnote 43: See his various Biographies of defunct Painters, etc. [William Hayley (1745-1820) published 'The Triumphs of Temper' in 1781, and 'The Triumph of Music' in 1804. His biography of Milton appeared in 1796, of Cowper in 1803-4, of Romney in 1809. He had produced, among other plays, 'The Happy Prescription' and 'The Two Connoisseurs' in 1784. In 1808 he would be regarded as out of date, "hobbling on" behind younger rivals in the race (see E.B., I. 923). For his life and works, see Southey's article in the 'Quarterly Review' (vol. xxxi. p. 263). The appeal to "tarts" to "spare the text," is possibly an echo of 'The Dunciad', i. 155, 156—

"Of these twelve volumes, twelve of amplest size, Redeemed from topers and defrauded pies."

The meaning of the appeal is fixed by such a passage as this from 'The Blues', where the company discuss Wordsworth's appointment to a Collectorship of Stamps—

"'Inkle'. I shall think of him oft when I buy a new hat; There his works will appear.

"'Lady Bluemount'. Sir, they reach to the Ganges.

"'Inkle'. I sha'n't go so far. I can have them at Grange's."

Grange's was a well-known pastry-cook's in Piccadilly. In Pierce Egan's 'Life in London' (ed. 1821), p. 70, 'note' 1, the author writes, "As I sincerely hope that this work will shrink from the touch of a pastry-cook, and also avoid the foul uses of a trunk-maker ... I feel induced now to describe, for the benefit of posterity, the pedigree of a Dandy in 1820."]

[Footnote 44: Hayley's two most notorious verse productions are 'Triumphs of Temper' and 'The Triumph of Music'. He has also written much Comedy in rhyme, Epistles, etc., etc. As he is rather an elegant writer of notes and biography, let us recommend POPE'S advice to WYCHERLEY to Mr. H.'s consideration, viz., "to convert poetry into prose," which may be easily done by taking away the final syllable of each couplet.]

[Footnote 45: Lines 319-326 do not form part of the original 'MS'. A slip of paper which contains a fair copy of the lines in Byron's handwriting has been, with other fragments, bound up with Dallas's copy of 'British Bards'. In the 'MS'. this place is taken by a passage and its pendant note, which Byron omitted at the request of Dallas, who was a friend of Pratt's:—

"In verse most stale, unprofitable, flat— Come, let us change the scene, and ''glean'' with Pratt; In him an author's luckless lot behold, Condemned to make the books which once he sold: Degraded man! again resume thy trade— The votaries of the Muse are ill repaid, Though daily puffs once more invite to buy A new edition of thy 'Sympathy.'"

"Mr. Pratt, once a Bath bookseller, now a London author, has written as much, to as little purpose, as any of his scribbling contemporaries. Mr. P.'s 'Sympathy' is in rhyme; but his prose productions are the most voluminous."

Samuel Jackson Pratt (1749-1814), actor, itinerant lecturer, poet of the Cruscan school, tragedian, and novelist, published a large number of volumes. His 'Gleanings' in England, Holland, Wales, and Westphalia attained some reputation. His 'Sympathy; a Poem' (1788) passed through several editions. His pseudonym was Courtney Melmoth. He was a patron of the cobbler-poet, Blacket] ]

[Footnote 46: Mr. Grahame has poured forth two volumes of Cant, under the name of 'Sabbath Walks' and 'Biblical Pictures'. [James Grahame (1765-1811), a lawyer, who subsequently took Holy Orders. 'The Sabbath', a poem, was published anonymously in 1804; and to a second edition were added 'Sabbath Walks'. 'Biblical Pictures' appeared in 1807.]

[Footnote 47: The Rev. W. Lisle Bowles (1768-1850). His edition of Pope's 'Works', in ten vols., which stirred Byron's gall, appeared in 1807. The 'Fall of Empires', Tyre, Carthage, etc., is the subject of part of the third book of 'The Spirit of Discovery by Sea' (1805). Lines "To a Withered Leaf," are, perhaps, of later date; but the "sear tresses" and "shivering leaves" of "Autumn's gradual gloom" are familiar images in his earlier poems. Byron's senior by twenty years, he was destined to outlive him by more than a quarter of a century; but when 'English Bards, etc.', was in progress, he was little more than middle-aged, and the "three score years" must have been written in the spirit of prophecy. As it chanced, the last word rested with him, and it was a generous one. Addressing Moore, in 1824, he says ('Childe Harold's Last Pilgrimage')—

"So Harold ends, in Greece, his pilgrimage! There fitly ending—in that land renown'd, Whose mighty Genius lives in Glory's page,— He on the Muses' consecrated ground, Sinking to rest, while his young brows are bound With their unfading wreath!"

Among his poems are a "Sonnet to Oxford," and "Stanzas on hearing the Bells of Ostend."]

[Footnote 48: "Awake a louder," etc., is the first line in BOWLES'S 'Spirit of Discovery': a very spirited and pretty dwarf Epic. Among other exquisite lines we have the following:—

——"A kiss Stole on the list'ning silence, never yet Here heard; they trembled even as if the power," etc., etc.

That is, the woods of Madeira trembled to a kiss; very much astonished, as well they might be, at such a phenomenon.

"Mis-quoted and misunderstood by me; but not intentionally. It was not the 'woods,' but the people in them who trembled—why, Heaven only knows—unless they were overheard making this prodigious smack."-B., 1816.]

[Footnote 49: The episode above alluded to is the story of "Robert a Machin" and "Anna d'Arfet," a pair of constant lovers, who performed the kiss above mentioned, that startled the woods of Madeira. [See Byron's letter to Murray, Feb. 7, 1821, "On Bowies' Strictures," 'Life', p. 688.]]

[Footnote 50: CURLL is one of the Heroes of the 'Dunciad', and was a bookseller. Lord Fanny is the poetical name of Lord HERVEY, author of 'Lines to the Imitator of Horace'.]

[Footnote 51: Lord BOLINGBROKE hired MALLET to traduce POPE after his decease, because the poet had retained some copies of a work by Lord Bolingbroke—the "Patriot King,"—which that splendid, but malignant genius had ordered to be destroyed.]

[Footnote 52: Dennis the critic, and Ralph the rhymester:—

"Silence, ye Wolves! while Ralph to Cynthia howls, Making Night hideous: answer him, ye owls!" DUNCIAD.

[Book III. II. 165, 166, Pope wrote, "And makes night," etc.]]

[Footnote 53: See Bowles's late edition of Pope's works, for which he received three hundred pounds. [Twelve hundred guineas.—'British Bards'.] Thus Mr. B. has experienced how much easier it is to profit by the reputation of another, than to elevate his own. ["Too savage all this on Bowles," wrote Byron, in 1816, but he afterwards returned to his original sentiments. "Although," he says (Feb. 7, 1821), "I regret having published 'English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers', the part which I regret the least is that which regards Mr. Bowles, with reference to Pope. Whilst I was writing that publication, in 1807 and 1808, Mr. Hobhouse was desirous that I should express our mutual opinion of Pope, and of Mr. Bowles's edition of his works. As I had completed my outline, and felt lazy, I requested that 'he' would do so. He did it. His fourteen lines on Bowles's Pope are in the first edition of 'English Bards', and are quite as severe, and much more poetical, than my own, in the second. On reprinting the work, as I put my name to it, I omitted Mr. Hobhouse's lines, by which the work gained less than Mr. Bowles.... I am grieved to say that, in reading over those lines, I repent of their having so far fallen short of what I meant to express upon the subject of his edition of Pope's works" ('Life', pp. 688, 689). The lines supplied by Hobhouse are here subjoined:—

"Stick to thy sonnets, man!—at least they sell. Or take the only path that open lies For modern worthies who would hope to rise: Fix on some well-known name, and, bit by bit, Pare off the merits of his worth and wit: On each alike employ the critic's knife, And when a comment fails, prefix a life; Hint certain failings, faults before unknown, Review forgotten lies, and add your own; Let no disease, let no misfortune 'scape, And print, if luckily deformed, his shape: Thus shall the world, quite undeceived at last, Cleave to their present wits, and quit their past; Bards once revered no more with favour view, But give their modern sonneteers their due; Thus with the dead may living merit cope, Thus Bowles may triumph o'er the shade of Pope."]]

[Footnote 54:

"'Helicon' is a mountain, and not a fish-pond. It should have been 'Hippocrene.'"—B., 1816.

[The correction was made in the Fifth Edition.]]

[Footnote 55: Mr. Cottle, Amos, Joseph, I don't know which, but one or both, once sellers of books they did not write, and now writers of books they do not sell, have published a pair of Epics—'Alfred' (poor Alfred! Pye has been at him too!)—'Alfred' and the 'Fall of Cambria'.

"All right. I saw some letters of this fellow (Jh. Cottle) to an unfortunate poetess, whose productions, which the poor woman by no means thought vainly of, he attacked so roughly and bitterly, that I could hardly regret assailing him, even were it unjust, which it is not—for verily he is an ass."—B., 1816.

[Compare 'Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin'—

"And Cottle, not he whom that Alfred made famous, But Joseph of Bristol, the brother of Amos."

The identity of the brothers Cottle appears to have been a matter beneath the notice both of the authors of the 'Anti-Jacobin' and of Byron. Amos Cottle, who died in 1800 (see Lamb's Letter to Coleridge of Oct. 9, 1800; 'Letters of C. Lamb', 1888, i. 140), was the author of a 'Translation of the Edda of Soemund', published in 1797. Joseph Cottle, 'inter alia', published 'Alfred' in 1801, and 'The Fall of Cambria', 1807. An 'Expostulatory Epistle', in which Joseph avenges Amos and solemnly castigates the author of 'Don Juan', was issued in 1819 (see Lamb's Letter to Cottle, Nov. 5, 1819), and was reprinted in the Memoir of Amos Cottle, inserted in his brother's 'Early Recollections of Coleridge' (London, 1837, i. 119). The "unfortunate poetess" was, probably, Ann Yearsley, the Bristol milk-woman. Wordsworth, too (see 'Recollections of the Table-Talk of S. Rogers', 1856, p. 235), dissuaded her from publishing her poems. Roughness and bitterness were not among Cottle's faults or foibles, and it is possible that Byron misconceived the purport of the correspondence.]]

[Footnote 56: Mr. Maurice hath manufactured the component parts of a ponderous quarto, upon the beauties of "Richmond Hill," and the like:—it also takes in a charming view of Turnham Green, Hammersmith, Brentford, Old and New, and the parts adjacent. [The Rev. Thomas Maurice (1754-1824) had this at least in common with Byron—that his 'History of Ancient and Modern Hindostan' was severely attacked in the 'Edinburgh Review'. He published a vindication of his work in 1805. He must have confined his dulness to his poems ('Richmond Hill' (1807), etc.), for his 'Memoirs' (1819) are amusing, and, though otherwise blameless, he left behind him the reputation of an "indiscriminate enjoyment" of literary and other society. Lady Anne Hamilton alludes to him in 'Epics of the Ton' (1807), p. 165—

"Or warmed like Maurice by Museum fire, From Ganges dragged a hurdy-gurdy lyre."

He was assistant keeper of MSS. at the British Museum from 1799 till his death.]]

[Footnote 57: Poor MONTGOMERY, though praised by every English Review, has been bitterly reviled by the 'Edinburgh'. After all, the Bard of Sheffield is a man of considerable genius. His 'Wanderer of Switzerland' is worth a thousand 'Lyrical Ballads', and at least fifty 'Degraded Epics'.

[James Montgomery (1771-1854) was born in Ayrshire, but settled at Sheffield, where he edited a newspaper, the 'Iris', a radical print, which brought him into conflict with the authorities. His early poems were held up to ridicule in the 'Edinburgh Review' by Jeffrey, in Jan. 1807. It was probably the following passage which provoked Byron's note: "When every day is bringing forth some new work from the pen of Scott, Campbell,... Wordsworth, and Southey, it is natural to feel some disgust at the undistinguishing voracity which can swallow down these... verses to a pillow." The 'Wanderer of Switzerland', which Byron said he preferred to the 'Lyrical Ballads', was published in 1806. The allusion in line 419 is to the first stanza of 'The Lyre'—

"Where the roving rill meand'red Down the green, retiring vale, Poor, forlorn Alaecus wandered, Pale with thoughts—serenely pale."

He is remembered chiefly as the writer of some admirable hymns. ('Vide ante', p. 107, "Answer to a Beautiful Poem," and 'note'.)]

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