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English Bards and Scotch Beviewers ;
“I had rather be a kitten, and cry mew!
Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers."-Shakspeare,
“Such shameless bards we have; and yet 'tis true,
There are as mad, abandon'd critics too."- Pope.
any production, which was not entirely and exclasively PREFACE.(2)
my own composition.
With(4) regard to the real talents of many of the All my friends, learned and unlearned, have urged poetical persons whose performances are mentioned or me not to publish this Satire with my name. if i alluded to in the following pages, it is presumed by were to be " turned from the career of my humour the author that there can be little difference of opinion by quibbles quick, and paper bullets of the brain," I in the public at large; though, like other sectaries, should have complied with their counsel. But I am each has his separate tabernacle of proselytes, by whom not to be terrified by abuse, or bullied by reviewers, his abilities are over-rated, his faults overlooked, and with or without arms. I can safely say that I have his metrical canons received without scruple and withattacked pone personally, who did not commence on out consideration. But the unquestionable possession the offensive. An author's works are public property: of considerable genius by several of the writers bere he who purchases may judge, and publish his opinion censured renders their mental prostitution more to be if he pleases; and the authors I have endeavoured to regretted. Imbecility may be pitied, or, at worst, commemorate may do by me as I have done by them. laughed at and forgotten; perverted powers demand I dare say they will succeed better in condemning my the most decided reprehension. No one can wish scribblings, than in mending their own. But my ob- more than the author that some known and able writer ject is not to prove that I can write well, but, if pos- had undertaken their exposure; but Mr. Gifford has sible, to make others write better.
devoted himself to Massinger, and, in the absence of As the poem has met with far more success than I the regular physician, a country practitioner may, in expected, I have endeavoured in this edition to make cases of absolute necessity, be allowed to prescribe his some additions and alterations, to render it more wor nostrum to prevent the extension of so deplorable an thy of public perusal.
epidemic, provided there be no quackery in his treatIn the first edition of this satire, published anony ment of the malady. A caustic is here offered; as it mously, fourteen lines on the subject of Bowles's Pope is to be feared nothing short of actual cautery can rewere written by, and inserted at the request of, an cover the numerous patients afflicted with the present ingenious friend of mine,(3) who has now in the press prevalent and distressing rabies for rhyming.--As to a volume of poetry. In the present edition they are the Edinburgh Reviewers, (5) it would indeed require erased, and some of my own substituted in their stead; | a Hercules to crush the Hydra ; but if the author sucmy only reason for this being that which I conceive ceeds in merely “bruising one of the heads of the serwould operate with any other person in the same man- pent,” though his own hand should suffer in the enner,-a determination not to publish with my name counter, he will be amply satisfied.(6)
(1) The first edition of this satire, which then began with returned.-Note to the fourth edition, 1811.-(" He is, and what is now the ninety-seventh line (" Time was, ere yet," | gone again.” B. 1816.-L.E.] etc.), appeared in March, 1809. A second, to which the (3) Mr. Hobhouse. See p. 54, note 9, col. 2.-L.E. author prefixed his name, followed in October of that year;
(4) Here the preface to the first edition commenced.-and a third and fourth were called for during his first pil. L.E. grimage, in 1810 and 1811. On his return to England, a (5) "I well recollect,” said Lord Byron, in 1821, "the fifth edition was prepared for the press by himself, with
effect which the critique of the Edinburgh Reviewers, on my considerable care, but suppressed, and, except one copy,
first poems had upon me it was rage, and resistance, and destroyed, when on the eve of publication. The text is
redress; but not despondency nor despair. A savage review now printed from the copy that escaped ; on casually
is hemlock to a sucking author, and the one on me (which meeting with which, in 1816, he re-perused the whole, and
produced the English Bards) knocked me down-but I got wrote on the margin some annotations, which also we shall
up again. That critique was a master-piece of low wit, a preserve,--distinguishing them, by the insertion of their
tissue of scurrilous abuse. I remember there was a great date, from those affixed to the prior editions.
deal of vulgar trash, about people being 'thankful for what The first of these MS. notes of 1816, appears on the fly. they could get,'-not looking a gift horse in the mouth, leaf, and runs thus:-“The binding of this volume is con and such stable expressions. But so far from their bullying siderably too valuable for the contents; and nothing but the me, or deterring me from writing, I was bent on falsifying consideration of its being the property of another prevents their raven predictions, and determined to sbow them, me from consigning this miserable record of misplaced | croak as they would, that it was not the last time they anger and indiscriminate acrimony to the flames."--LE. should hear from me."--L. E.
(2) This preface was written for the second edition, and (6) « The severity of the criticism," as Sir Egerton Brydges printed with it. The noble author had left this country has well observed, “ touched Lord Byron in the point where previous to the publication of that edition, and is not yet his original strength lay: it wounded his pride, and roused
STILL must I hear? (2)—shall hoarse Fitzgerald (3)
bawl | His creaking couplets in a tavern hall, (4) And I not sing, lest, haply, Scotch reviews Should dab me scribbler, and denounce my muse? Prepare for rhyme-I'll publish, right or wrong: Fools are my theme, let satire be my song.
When Vice triumphant holds her sovereign
sway, Obey'd by all who nought beside obey; When Folly, frequent harbinger of crime, Bedecks her cap with bells of every clime; When knaves and fools combined o'er all prevail, And weigh their justice in a golden scale; E'en then the boldest start from public sneers, Afraid of shame, unknown to other fears, More darkly sin, by satire kept in awe, And shrink from ridicule, though not from law,
Oh! nature's noblest gift-my grey goose-quill! Slase of my thoughts, obedient to my will, Torn from thy parent bird to fo.m a pen, That mighty instrument of little men! The pen! foredoom'd to aid the mental throes Of brains that labour, big with verse or prose, Though nymphs forsake, and critics may deride, The lover's solace, and the author's pride. What wits, what poets, dost thou daily raise! How frequent is thy use, how small thy praise ! Condemn'd at length to be forgotten quite, With all the pages which 't was thine to write. Bat thou, at least, mine own especial pen! Once laid aside, but now assumed again, Our task complete, like Hamet's (5) shall be free; Though sparn'd by others, yet beloved by me: Then let us soar to-day; no common theme, No eastern vision, no distemper'd dream (6) Inspires-oor path, though full of thorns, is plain; Smooth be the verse, and easy be the strain.
Such is the force of wit! but not belong To me the arrows of satiric song; The royal vices of our age demand A keener weapon, and a mightier hand. Still there are follies, e'en for me to chase, And yield at least amusement in the race. Laugh when I laugh, I seek no other fame; The cry is up, and scribblers are my game. Speed, Pegasus !-ye strains of great and small, Ode, epic, elegy, have at you all! I too can scrawl, and once upon a time I pour'd along the town a flood of rhyme, A schoolboy freak, unworthy praise or blame; I printed older children do the same. 'Tis pleasant, sure, to see one's name in print; A book's a book, although there's nothing in't. Not that a title's sounding charm can save Or scrawl or scribbler from an equal grave: This Lambe must own, since his patrician name Faild to preserve the spurious farce from
his bitter indignation. He published English Bards, and howed down those who had hitherto beld a déspotic victory ever the public mind. There was, after all, more in the baldness of the enterprise, in the fearlesness of the attack, than in its intrinsic force. But the moral effect of the gal. lastry of the assaalt, and of the justice of the cause, made it victorious and triumphant. This was one of those lucky developments which cannot often occur, and which fixed Lord Byres's fame. From that day he engaged the public actice as a writer of undoubted talent and energy, both of intellect and temper."-L. E.
(1) The title of this Satire was originally intended to be The Britisk Bards, but the author afterwards substituted the vard English for British, and made the addition as it now staads. See Dallas.-P. E. KIT. * Semper ego auditor tantum ? nunquamne re
Jur. Sat. I. 3) Hoarse Futzgerald."-"Right enough; but why notice each a moantebank ?" B. 1816.-L. E.
(4) Mr. Fitzgerald, facetiously termed, by Cobbett, the Small Beer Poet," inflicts his annual tribute of verse on the Literary Fond: 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 operationFer the long period of thirty-two years, this harmless poetaster was an attendant at the anniversary dinners of the literary Fund, and constantly honoured the occasion with as ede, which he himself recited with most comical dizaity of enphasis. He was fortunate in baring for his patron the late Viscount Dudley and Ward, on whose death without a will, his benevolent intentions towards the bard were falfined by the present Earl Dudley, who generously sent him a draft for £5000. Fitzgerald died in 1829. Of his tumeroas loyal effusions only a single line has survived its anther; but the characteristics of his style have been so happily bit off in the Rejected Addresses-(a work wbich Lord Byron has pronounced to be by far the best thing of the kind since the Rolliad”-that we cannot resist the tetaptation of an extract:
" Who burnt (confound his soul!) the houses twain
or Covent Garden and of Drury Lane?
England's prime minister, then bless the Devil!"-L. E.) The following smart epigram was written by Mr. Fitzgerald in a copy of English Bards
"I find Lord Byron scorns my muse
Our fates are all agreed ;
Those lines I never read." Lord Byron accidentally met with the copy, and subjoined the following pungent reply :
What's writ on me, cried Fitz, I never read,
The waiter only can escape their lungs."-P.E. (5) Cid Hamet Benengeli promises repose to his pen, in the last chapter of Don Quicote. Oh ! that our voluminous gentry would follow the example of Cid Hamet Benengeli.
(6) “ This must have been written in the spirit of prophecy.” B. 1816.-L. E.
(7) This ingenuous youth is mentioned more particularly, with his production, in another place.
or rajand thine simply thus," Fitz, none
No matter, George continues still to write,(1)
If not yet sicken'd, you can still proceed:
A man must serve his time to every trade
And shall we own such judgment ? no-as soon
Time was, ere yet in these degenerate days (5)
Then should you ask me, (4) why I venture o'er The path which Pope and Gifford trod before;
(1) In the Edinburgh Review.- ("He's a very good fel
e--and exhorteth the Moravians to glorify Mr.! low; and, except bis mother and sister, the best of the set, | Grahame-sympathiseth with the Reverend -- Bowlesto my mind." B. 1816.-L. E.)
and deploreth the melancholy fate of James Montgomery(2) Messrs. Jeffrey and Lambe are the alpha and omega, breaketh out into invective against the Edinburgh Reviewers the first and last of the Edinburgh Review ; the others are -calleth them hard names, harpies and the like-apos. mentioned hereafter.
trophiseth Jeffrey, and prophesieth.- Episode of Jeffrey and [" This was not just. Neither the heart nor the head of
Moore, their jeopardy and deliverance ; portents on the these gentlemen are at all what they are here represented.
morn of the combat ; the Tweed, Tolbooth, Frith of Forth, At the time this was written (1808), I was personally un
severally shocked ; descent of a goddess to save Jeffrey ;
incorporation of the bullets with his sinciput and occiput. acquainted with either.” B. 1816.-1. E.)
-Edinburgh Reviewers en masse ; Lord Aberdeen. Herbert, (3) Imit. “ Stalta est Clementia, cum tot ubique
Scott, Hallam, Pillans, Lambe, Sydney Smith, Brougham, occurras perituræ parcere charta."
etc.-The Lord Holland applauded for dinners and transla
Juv. Sat. I. tions.- The Drama ; Skeffington, Hook, Reynolds, Kenney,
Per quem magnus equos Auruncæ flexit alumnus: | upon to write.- Return to pocsy-scribblers of all sorts !
Juv. Sat. I. tilda, and X. Y. Z.-Rogers, Campbell, Gifford, etc., true i (5) The first edition of the Satire opened with this line ;
poets- Translators of the Greek Anthology-Crabbe-Dar. and Lord Byron's original intention was to prefix the fol.
win's style-Cambridge-Seatonian Prize-Smythe--Hodg. lowing
son--Oxford- Richards-Poeta loquitur--Conclusion.”..L.E. U ARGUMENT.
(6) When Lord Byron, in the autumn of 1808, was occu. " The poet considereth times past, and their pocsy-makes
pied upon this Satire, he devoted a considerable portion of a sudden transition to times present-is incensed against
his time to a deep study of the writings of Pope, and from book-makers-revileth Walter Scott for cupidity and ballad.
that period may be dated his enthusiastic admiration of mongering, with notable remarks on Master Southcy-com
this great poet.-L. E. plaineth that Master Southey hath inflicted three poems, epic (7) “ One of my notions is, that the present is not a high and otherwise, on the public-inveigheth against William age of English poetry. There are more poets (soi-disant) Wordsworth, but laudeth Mister Coleridge and his elegy on than ever there were, and proportionately less poetry. This a young a3s-is disposed to vituperate Mr. Lewis- and thesis I have maintained for some years; but, strange to greatly rebuketh Thomas Little (the late) and the Lord say, it meeteth not with favour from my brethren of the Strangford-recommendeth Mr. Hayley to turn his atten shell." Diary, 1821.-L. E.
| Ia turns appear, to make the vulgar stare,
Till the swoln bubble bursts—and all is air!
That dames may listen to the sound at nights;
And frighten foolish babes, the Lord knows why;
Behold! in various throngs the scribbling crew, For notice pager, pass in long review: Each spurs his jaded Pegasus apace, And rhyme and blank maintain an equal race; Scapets on sonnets crowd, and ode on ode; And tales of terror jostle on the road; Immeasurable ineasures move along; Fur simpering folly loves a varied song, To strange mysterious dulness still the friend, Adnaires the strain she cannot comprehend. Thas Lays of Minstrels (3) -- may they be the
last! On half-strang harps whine mournful to the blast. While mountain spirits prate to river sprites,
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, The gibbet or the field prepared to grace; A mighty mixture of the great and base. And think'st thou, Scott!(4) by vain conceit per
chance, 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? 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, (5) not for fame:
1) - With regard to poetry in general, I am convinced that we are all upon a wrong revolutionary poetical system, net worth a damn in itself, and from which none but Rogers and Crabbe are free. I am the more confirmed in this by havng lately gode over some of our classics, particularly Pope, whom I tried in this way:--| took Moore's poems,
on I tried in this way I took Moore's poems, and my own, and some others, and went over them side by ride with Pope's, and I was really astonished and mortified at the inestable distance, in point of sense, learning, effect, and even imagination, passion, and invention, between the Etile acea Anne's man, and us of the Lower Empire. De. pend won it, it is all Horace then, and Claudian now, among es ; and if I had to begin again, I would mould my. self accordingly." Diary, 1817.-L. E.
2 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, begin. ming thus:-Stott loquitur quoad Hibernia),
**Princely offspring of Braganza,
Erin greets thee with a stana," ete. Also a Soanet to Rats, well worthy of the subject, and a most thandering 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 mething to this.
3) See the Lay of the Last Minstrel, passim. Never was any plan so incongruous and absurd as the groundwork of this predaction. The entrance of Thunder and Lightning, pradegnising to Bayes' tragedy, unfortunately takes a way the arrit of originality from the dialogue between Messieurs the Spirits of Flood and fell in the first canto. Then we have the araiable William of Deloraine, “a stark moss-trooper," ridelicet, a happy compound of poacher, sbeep-stealer, and highwayman. The propriety of his magical lady's injunc. fiaa not to read ean only be equalled by his candid acknowledgmaent of his independence of the trammels of spelling, Although, to use his own elegant phrase, “'t was his neck Terve at Harribee,” i.e. the gallows. The biography of Gilpia Horper. and the marvellous pedestrian page, who travelled twice as fast as his master's horse, without the aid of seren-leagued boots, are chefs d'aurre in the im Postaent of taste. For incident we have the invisible, wat by no means sparing, box on the ear bestowed on the Tag, and the entrance of a knight and charger into the curte, under the very natural disguise of a wain of bay. Narsion, the hero of the latter romance, is exactly what
Lam of Deloraine would have been, had he been able to trad sad 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 genjas, which is undoubtedly great, by a repetition of black letter ballad imitations.
(4) “When Byron wrote his famous satire, I had my share of flagellation among my betters, My crime was har. ing written a poem for a thousand pounds; which was no otherwise true, than that I sold the copyright for that sum. Now, not to mention that an author can hardly be censured for accepting such a sum as the booksellers, are willing to give him, especially as the gentlemen of the trade made no complaints of their bargain, I thought the interference with my private affairs was rather beyond the limits of literary satire. I was, bowever, so far from having any thing to do with the offensive criticism in the Edinburgh, that I re. monstrated against it with the editor, because I thought the Hours of Idieness treated with undue severity. They were written, like all javenile poetry, rather from the recollection of what had pleased the author in others, than what had been suggested by his own imagination ; but, nevertheless, I thought they contained passages of noble promise.” Sir Walter Scott.-L. E.
On this subject Lord Byron, at a later period, altered his opinion considerably. On one occasion he writes thus to Mr. Murray :-“ see no reason why a man should not profit by the sweat of his brain, as well as that of his brow," etc.-P. E.
(5) Lord Byron, as is well known, set out with the determination never to receive money for bis writings. For the liberty to republish this satire, le refused four hundred guineas; and the money paid for the copyright of the first and second canto of Childe Harold, and of the Corsair, he presented to Mr. Dallas. In 1816, to a letter enclosing a draft of 1,000 guineas, offered by Mr. Murray for the Siege of Corinth and Parisina, the noble poet sent this answer : -“ Your offer is liberal in the extreme, and much more than the two poems can possibly be worth - but I cannot accept it, nor will not. You are most welcome to them, as additions to the collected volumes, without any demand or expectation on my part whatever. I have enclosed your draft torn, for fear of accidents by the way. I wish you would not throw temptation in mine; it is not from a disdain of the universal idol-nor from a present snper. fluity of his treasures--I can assure you, that I refuse to worship him; but what is right is right, and must not yield to circumstances.” The poet was afterwards induced, at Mr. Murray's earnest persuasion, to accept the thousand guineas. The subjoined statement of the sums paid by him,
Still for stern Mammon may they toil in vain!
The scourge of England and the boast of France! And sadly gaze on gold they cannot gain!
Though burnt by wicked Bedford for a witch,
Her fetters burst, and just released from prison, For this we spurn Apollo's venal son,
A virgin phænix from her ashes risen.
Arabia's monstrous, wild, and wondrous son; (4)
Immortal hero! all thy foes o'ercome, Resign their hallow'd bays to Walter Scott.
For ever reign-the rival of Tom Thumb!
Since startled metre fled before thy face, The time has been, when yet the muse was young, | Well wert thou doom'd the last of all thy race! When Homer swept the lyre, and Maro sung, Well might triumphant genii bear thee hence, An epic scarce ten centuries could claim,
Illustrious conqueror of common sense! While awe-struck nations haild the magic name: Now, last and greatest, Madoc spreads his sails, The work of each immortal bard appears
Cacique in Mexico, and prince in Wales; The single wonder of a thousand years :(2)
Tells us strange tales, as other travellers do, Empires have moulder'd from the face of earth, More old than Mandeville's, and not so true. Tongues have expired with those who gave them birth, Oh, Southey! Southey! (5) cease thy varied song! Without the glory such a strain can give
A bard may chant too often and too long : As even in ruin bids the language live.
As thou art strong in verse, in mercy, spare ! Not so with us, though minor bards, content,
A fourth, alas! were more than we could bear. On one great work a life of labour spent:
But if, in spite of all the world can say, With eagle pinion soaring to the skies,
Thou still wilt verseward plod thy weary way; Behold the ballad-monger Southey rise!
If still in Berkley ballads most uncivil, To him let Camoëns, Milton, Tasso yield,
Thou wilt devote old women to the devil, (6) Whose annual strains, like armies, take the field. The babe unborn thy dread intent may rue: First in the ranks see Joan of Arc advance,
“God help thee," Southey,(7) and thy readers too!(8)
at various times, to Lord Byron for copyright, may be con the Paradise Lost, and Gerusalemme Liberata, as their sidered a bibliopolic curiosity :-
standard efforts ; since neither the Jerusalem Conquered of
the Italian, nor the Paradise Regained of the English bard, Childe Harold, I. II, ..............£ 600
obtained a proportionate celebrity to their former poems. I . ............. 1,575
Query : Which of Mr. Southey's will survive ? -IV....... ......... 2.100 Giaour.....................
(3) Thalaba, Mr. Southey's second poem, is written in Bride of Abydos ................
open defiance of precedent and poetry. Mr, S. wished to Corsair ..........
525 produce something novel, and succeeded to a miracle. Joan Lara .. .. . . .. .. .. . .. .
700 of Arc was marvellous enough, but Thalaba was one of Siege of Corinth .......
those poems “ which," in the words of Porson, “ will be Parisina ..........
525 read when Homer and Virgil are forgotten, but not till then." Lament of Tasso ....
(4) « Of Thalaba, the wild and wondrous song."- Madoc. Manfred ..........
315 -L. E. Beppo ........
We beg Mr. Southey's pardon: "Madoc disdains the Don Juan, I. II. ..............
degrading title of epic." See his preface. Why is epic - III. IV. V. . .. .. . . ..
degraded ? and by wbom? Certainly the late romaunts of Doge of Venice ...........
Masters Cottle, Laureat Pye, Ogylvy, Hoole, and gentle MisSardanapalus, Cain, and Foscari ..
tress Cowley, have not exalted the epic muse; but as Mr. Mazeppa ................
525 Southey's poem “disdains the appellation," allow us to ask Prisoner of Chillon ..............
-has he substituted any thing better in its stead? or must Sundries .......
450 he be content to rival Sir Richard Blackmore in the quanHours of Idleness, English Bards and Scotch
tity as well as quality of his verse ? Reviewers, Hints from Horace, Werner,
(6) See The Old IV oman of Berkley, a ballad, by Mr. Deformed Transformed, Heaven and Earth,
Southey, wherein an aged gentlewoman is carried away by etc. . . .. .. . .. . . ... ... ..
Beelzebub, on a "high-trotting horse." Life by Thomas Moore ............ 4,200
(7) The last line, “God help thee,” is an evident plagia
rism from the Anti-jacobin to Mr. Southey, on bis Dactylics. --L.E,
-Lord Byron here alludes to Mr. Gifford's parody on Mr.
Southey's Dactylics, which ends thus :(1) 6 Good night to Marmion”- the pathetic and also pro. pbetic exclamation of Henry Blount, Esquire, on the death
"Ne'er talk of cars again! look at thy spelling-book ;
Dilworth and Dyche are both mad at thy quantitiesof honest Marmion,
Dactylics, call'st thou 'em? God help thee! silly one."-L E. [Notwithstanding these harsh lines, Byron has, in many
(8) Lord Byron, on being introduced to Mr. Southey in passages of his poems and journals, evinced his profound
| 1813, at Holland House, describes him “as the best-looking regard and veneration for the character and talents of Sir
bard he had seen for a long time.”-“ To have that poet's Walter Scott, whom he elsewhere designates as “the Mo
head and shoulders, I would," he says, “almost have writ. narch of Parnassus and most English of Bards," and in Childe
ten bis Sapphics. He is certainly a prepossessing person to Harold, canto iv., stanza 40, his Lordship pays a well-merited
look on, a man of talent, and all that, and there is his eucompliment to his gifted friend, styling him
logy." In his Journal, of the same year, he says-“Southey "the minstrel who called forth
I have not seen much of. His appearance is epic, and he is A new creation with his magic line,
the only existing entire man of letters. All the others have
some pursuit annexed to their authorship. His manners are Sang lad ye love and war, romance and knightly worth."-P. E
mild, but not those of a man of the world, and his talents (2) As the Odyssey is so closely connected with the story of the first order. His prose is perfect. Of his poetry there of the Iliad, they may almost be classed as one grand his are various opinions: there is, perhaps, too much of it for torical poem. In alluding to Milton and Tasso, we consider the present generation-posterity will probably select. lie
creation rosto of the northed knightly wo