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The babe unborn thy dread intent may rue:
"God help thee," Southey,1 and thy readers too.
Next comes the dull disciple of thy
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";3 . 240
Who, both by precept and example,
That prose is verse, and verse is merely
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; 4 250
1 The last line, "God help thec," is an evident plagiarism from the Anli-Jacobin to Mr Southey, on his Dactylics: —
"God help thee, silly one!"
— Poetry ol the Anti-Jacobin, p. 23. a [In the annotated copy of the Fourth Edition Byron has drawn a line down the margin of the passage on Wordsworth, lines 336-248, 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.] 8 Lyrical Ballads, p. 4. —" The Tables Turned," st. 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." 4 Mr W. in his preface labours hard to prove, that prose and verse arc 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.
— Lyrical Ballads, p. 179.
So close on each pathetic part 1
And each adventure so sublimely tells That all who view the "idiot in h glory"
Conceive the Bard the hero of the sti >r
Shall gentle Coleridge pass ui noticed here, To turgid ode and tumid stanza deari Though themes of innocence amuse hi
Yet still Obscurity's a welcome guest
Oh ! wonder-working Lewis ! * Monl
Who fain would make Parnassus
churchyard 1 Lo! wreaths of yew, not laurel, bind th
Thy Muse a Sprite, Apollo's sexto thou!
Whether on ancient tombs thou tak':
thy stand, By gibb'ring spectres hailed, thy kir
dred band; 27
1 Coleridge's Poems, p. xi, "Songs of tr.
Pixies," i.e. Devonshire Fairies; p. 42, we ha* "Lines to a Young Lady"; and, p. 52, "Lines t a Young Ass."
3 [Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-181S known as "Monk" Lewis, was the son of a ric Jamaica planter. In 1704 he was appoinuattache to the Embassy at the Hague, and in !r course of ten weeks wrote Ambrosio, or Tl Monk, which was published in 1795. In 170 he made the acquaintance of Scott, and procure his promise of co-operation in his contemplate Tales o\ Terror, which were printed at Kelso, i 1799. Two or three editions of Tales ol IVcmdo to which Byron refers, were published in 180: Lewis borrowed so freely from all sources tfw the collection was called "Talcs of Plunder.
As a writer, he is memorable chiefly for hi sponsorship of German literature. Scott said c him that he had the finest car for rhythm heeve met with — finer than Byron's; and Coleridge in Table Talk for March 20, 1834, commend his verses. Certainly his ballad of Crazy Jiitu once so famous that ladies look to wearing " Cra*; Jane" hats, is of the nature of poetry. 1
0 tracest chaste descriptions on thy page,
To please the females of our modest age; All hail, M.P. 11 from whose infernal
Thin-sheeted phantoms glide, a grisly
At whose command "grim women"
throng in crowds, And kings of fire, of water, and of
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,
y. Luke alone can vanquish the disease: 280
Et«i 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
1 Strikes his wild lyre, whilst listening
dames are hushed? 'Tis Little! young Catullus of his day, A5 sweet, but as immoral, in his Lay! Grieved to condemn, the Muse must
still be just, Nor spare melodious advocates of lust. ?tre is the flame which o'er her altar
burns; 291 f rom grosser incense with disgust she
Vet, kind to youth, this expiation o'er, ibe bids thee, "mend thy line, and sin
For thee, translator of the tinsel song, To whom such glittering ornaments belong,
'"F<r every one knows little Matt's an M.P." — See 1 pom to Mr Lewis, in The Statesman, sppnwi to be written by Mr Jekyll.
Uoxpk Jekyll (1754-18.57) was celebrated for J" «Tansms and metrical jeux <f'esprit which he ntniled to the Horning Chronicle and the 1 .mat Statesman. He was a favourite with u* Prince Regent, at whose instance he was
Hibernian Strangford I with thine
eyes of blue,1 And boasted locks of red or auburn
Whose plaintive strain each love-sick Miss admires,
And o'er harmonious fustian half expires, 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
By dressing Camoens2 in a suit of lace? Mend, Strangford! mend thy morals
and thy taste; Be warm, but pure; be amorous, but be
Cease to deceive; thy pilfered harp restore,
Nor teach the Lusiari Bard to copy Moore.
Behold — Ye Tarts 1 — one moment
spare the text! — Hayley's last work, and worst — until
his next; 310 Whether he spin poor couplets into plays, Or damn the dead with purgatorial
appointed a Master in Chancery in 1815. See his Correspondence, published in 1894.]
1 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 Rnnew of Strangford's Camoens. [Percy Clinton Sydney Smythe, sixth Viscount Strangford (1780-1855), published Poems jrom the Portuguese by Luis dt Camoens, in 1803, The note to which Byron refers runs thus: "Locks of auburn and eyes of blue have ever been dear to the sons of song," etc. It may be added that Byron's^ own locks were auburn, and his eyes a greyish-blue. 1
•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.
* See his various Biographies of defunct Painters, etc. [William Hayley (1745-1820) published a biography of Milton in 1706, of Cowper in 1803-4, of Romney in 1800. 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, 1. 155, 156 — "Of these twelve volumes, twelve of amplest size, Redeemed from topers and defrauded pies."]
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 triumphed • there.1
Moravians, rise 1 bestow some meet reward 2
On dull devotion — Lol the Sabbath Bard, 320
Sepulchral Grahame,3 pours his notes sublime
In mangled prose, nor e'en aspires to rhyme;
Breaks into blank the Gospel of St Luke,
And boldly pilfers from the Pentateuch;
And, undisturbed by conscientious qualms,
Perverts the Prophets, and purloins the Psalms.
1 Hayley's two most notorious verse productions are Triumphs oj Temper (1781) and The Triumph 0) Music (1804). 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 Wvcherley to Mr H.'s consideration, viz., "to convert poetry into prose," which may easily be done by taking away the final syllable of each couplet.
1 [Lines 319-326 were substituted for a passage which reflected on Samuel Jackson Pratt (1740-1814), a poet of the Cruscan School, author of Gleaning, and Sympathy, a Poem (1788): —
In verse most stale, unprofitable, flat —
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 Grahame has poured forth two volumes of Cant, under the name of Sabbath Walks and Biblical Pictures, [James Grahame (17651811), a lawyer, afterwards a clergyman. The Sabbath was published in 1804; and to a second edition were added Sabbath Walks, Biblical Pictures appeared in 1807.]
Hail, Sympathy! thy soft idea brir A thousand visions of a thousa. things,
And shows, still whimpering throu
threescore of years, The maudlin prince of mournful sc.
neteers. 3 And art thou not their prince, hi
monious Bowles 11 Thou first, great oracle of tender soul Whether thou sing'st with equal ea
and grief, The fall of empires, or a yellow leaf; Whether thy muse most lamentably te What merry sounds proceed fr<
Oxford bells, Or, still in bells delighting, finds
In every chime that jingled fix Ostend;
Ah! how much justcr were thy Mus< hap,
If to thy bells thou would'st but add cap! 3
Delightful Bowles! still blessing ai still blest,
All love thy strain, but children like best.
'Tis thine, with gentle Little's mot song,
To soothe the mania of the amoro throng!
With thee our nursery damsels shed th< tears,
Ere Miss as yet completes her infa years:
But in her teens thy whining powers a vain;
She quits poor Bowles for Lrrai
purer strain. Now to soft themes thou scornest
confine; The lofty numbers of a harp like thin
'[The Rev. W. Lisle Bowles (1762-18} His edition of Pope's Works, in ten volum which stirred Byron's gall, appeared in i8< The Fall o\ Empires, Tyre, Carthage, etc, the subject of part of the third book of T Spirit of Discovery by Sea (1804). Lines a Withered Leaf," arc, perhaps, of later da but the "sear tresses," and "shivering leave of "Autumn's gradual gloom" are famili images in his earlier poems. Among his port are a "Sonnet to Oxford," and "Stanzas hearing the Bells of Ostend."]
Awake a louder and a loftier strain," 1 such as none heard before, or will again 1 ■Vbere all discoveries jumbled from the food,
Since first the leaky ark reposed in mud,
3t more or less, are sung in every book, from Captain Noah down to Captain Cook.
Xor this alone — but, pausing on the road,
The Bard sighs forth a gentle episode,1
And gravely tells — attend, each beauteous Miss! —
'.Vhen first Madeira trembled to a kiss. 360
Bowles! in thy memory let this precept dwell,
Stick to thy Sonnets, Man! — at least they sell.
Eat 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, Sow, prone in dust, can only be revered; i! Pope, whose fame and genius, from
ilave foiled the best of critics, needs the worst,
bo thou essay: each fault, each failing
The first of poets was, alas! but man.
: "Awake a louder." etc., is the first line in Bowles's Spirit of Discovery: a very spirited ad pretty dwarf Epic. Among other exquisite -*i*s we have the following: —
— "A kiss Stute oa the list'ning silence, never yet Here heard; they trembled even as if the power," etc
That is, the woods of Madeira trembled to » kiss; Terr much astonished, as well they might be, at such a phenomenon.
'Misquoted and misunderstood by me; but 3oc ratentionaily. It was not the 'woods,' but Ae pec-pie in them who trembled — why, Heareo only knows — unless they were overheard ■gfeag this prodigious smack." — B., M,
3 The episode above alluded to is the story of 'Robert a Machin" and "Anna d'Arfet," a raw of constant lovers, who performed the kiss rm> mentioned, that startled the woods of ^fedeffa. [See Byron's letter to Murray, lehraarr 7, iSai, "On Bowles' Strictures," p. 638.]
Rake from each ancient dunghill ev'ry pearl, 371
Consult Lord Fanny, and confide in Curix; 1
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 the garb of honest zeal; Write, as if St John's soul could still inspire,
And do from hate what Mallet 1 did for hire.
Oh I hadst thou lived in that congenial time,
To rave with Dennis, and with Ralph to rhyme' — 380 Thronged with the rest around his living
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.1
1 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.
1 Lord Bollnobroke 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 nius had (
that splendid but malignant j to be destroyed.
8 Dennis the critic, and Ralph the rhymester: "Silence, ye Wolves 1 while Ralph to Cynthia howls,
Making Night hideous: answer him, ye owls!"
[Book III. 11. 165, 166. Pope wrote, "And makes night," etc.]
* See Bowles's late edition of Pope's works, for which he received three hundred pounds. 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, and regretted the omission of "fourteen lines on Bowles's Pope," what Hobhouse had contributed to the First Edition of English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers. The lines supplied by Hobhouse are here subjoined : —
Stick to thy Sonnets, man 1 — at least they sell:
Another Epic I Who inflicts again More books of blank upon the sons of men?
Bceotian Cottle, rich Bristowa's boast, Imports old stories from the Cambrian coast,
And sends his goods to market — all alive!
Lines forty thousand, Cantos twentyfive 1 300
Fresh fish from Hippocrene 11 who'll buy? who'll buy?
The precious bargain's cheap — in faith, not I.
Your turtle-feeder's verse must needs be flat,
Though Bristol bloat him with the
verdant fat; If Commerce fills the purse, she clogs
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 1 what
To fill the speaking-trump of future fame I — 400 Oh, Amos Cottle! for a moment think What meagre profits spring from pen and ink!
When thus devoted to poetic dreams,
On each alike employ the critic's knife,
'"'Helicon* is a mountain and not a fishpond. It should have been 'Hippocrene.'" — B, 1816. [The correction was made in the Fifth Edition.]
* Mr Cottle. Amos. Joseph, I don't know which, hut one or l>oth, once sellers of books they did not write, and now writers of books
Bent o'er the desk, or, born to usef toils,
Been taught to make the paper which 1
Ploughed, delved, or plied the oar wi
lusty limb, He had not sung of Wales, nor I
As Sisyphus against the internal stet Rolls the huge rock whose motions ne'
may sleep, So up thy hill, ambrosial Richmom
Dull Maurice 1 all his granite weig
Smooth, solid monuments of ment
The petrifactions of a plodding brain That, ere they reach the top, fall lur
bering back again. With broken lyre and cheek serene
Lo! sad Alca;us wanders down the val Though fair they rose, and might ha
bloomed at last, 4 His hopes have perished by the northe
they do not sell, have published a pair of Ep
— Alfred (poor Alfred I Pyc has been at h too 1) — Alfred and the Fall of Cambria.
*' All right. 1 saw some letters of tire fell* (Jh- Cottle) to an unfortunate poetess, whose p ductions, which the poor woman by no rati thought vainly of, he attacked so roughly j bitterly, that I could hardly regret assailing hi even were it unjust, which it is not — for vei he is an ass." — B., 1816.
[Compare Poetry of the A nti-Jacobin—
But Joseph of Bristol, the brother of Amo The identity of the brothers Cottle appe to have been a matter beneath the notice both the'authors of the Anti-Jacobin and of Byr Amos Cottle, who died in 1800, was the auth*T a Translation of the Edda of Strmund, public in 1707. Joseph Cottle, inter alia, publi-l Alfred in 1801, and The Fall of Cambria, is The "unfortunate poetess" was, probably, A Yearsley, the Bristol milk-woman.]
1 Mr Maurice hath manufactured the 01 ponent parts of a ponderous quarto, upon! beauties of "Richmond Hill" and the like: it also takes in a charming view of Tumh. Green, Hammersmith, Brentford. OW and Xi and the parts adjacent. [The Rev. Toon Maurice (175-1-1824) puhlished his Rickmt Hill in 1807. He was assistant keeper of M! at the British Museum from 1709 till his deal