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Budgell, a rogue and rhymester, for no good,

1 Unless his case be much misunderstood)

When teased with creditors' continual

claims,

'To die like Cato," 1 leapt into the Thames!

And, therefore, be it lawful through the town

For any Bard to poison, hang, or drown. Who saves the intended Suicide receives Small thanks from him who loathes the

life he leaves; 830 And, sooth to say, mad poets must not

lose

The Glory of that death they freely choose.

Nor is it certain that some sorts of verse

Prick not the Poet's conscience as a curse;

Dosed 3 with vile drams on Sunday he

was found, Or got a child on consecrated ground! And hence is haunted with a rhyming

rage —

Feared like a bear just bursting from

his cage. 'If free, all fly his versifying fit, Fata] at once to Simpleton or Wit: 840 Eut him, unhappy! whom he seizes, — him

. He flays with Recitation limb by limb; Probes to the quick where'er he makes

his breach, And gorges like a Lawyer — or a Leech.

r 1 On his table were found these words: — "What Cato did, and Addison approved, cannot be wrong." But Addison did not "approve";

'and If be had, it would not have mended the matter. He had invited his daughter on the same water-party: but Miss Budgell, by some

• incident, escaped this last paternal attention. Thus fell the sycophant of "Atticus," and the enemy of Pope! [Eustace Budgell (168617^7). a friend and relative of Addison's, "leapt

1 into the Thames" to escape the dishonour which attached to him in connection with the

\ irarcediate pressure of money difficulties. He was. more or less, insane. BosweU's Life o\ Joknum (1886), p. 281.]

'If "dosed with." etc. be censured as low, I beg leave to refer to the original for something soil lower; and if any reader will translate

'"Miaxerit in patrios ciaeres," etc into a decent

THE

CURSE OF MINERVA.1

"Pallas te hoc vulnere, Pallas

Immolat, et pcenam scelcralo ex sanguine sumit."

&neid, lib. xii. 11. gd8, oag.

Athens: Capuchin Convent,
March 17, 1811.

Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run,'

Along Morea's hills the setting Sun; Not, as in northern climes, obscurely bright,

But one unclouded blaze of living light; O'er the hushed deep the yellow beam he throws,

Gilds the green wave that trembles as it glows;

On old jEgina's rock and Hydra's isle The God of gladness sheds his parting smile;

O'er his own regions lingering loves to shine,

Though there his altars are no more divine. 10

Descending fast, the mountain-shadows kiss

Thy glorious Gulf, unconquered Salamis!

Their azure arches through the long

expanse,

More deeply purpled, meet his mellowing glance,

And tenderest tints, along their summits driven,

Mark his gay course, and own the hues of Heaven;

couplet, I will insert said couplet in lieu of the present.

'[A fragment (in lines) of The Curse of Minerva, was first published in the New Monthly Magazine, for April, 1815. It was entitled The Malediction 0} Minerva; or The Athenian Marble Market. The full text was published, in 1815, nominally in Philadelphia, but, probably, in London.]

■ [The lines (1-54) with which the Satire begins, down to "As thus, within the walls of Pallas' fane," first appeared (1814) as the opening stanza of the Third Canto of The Corsair. At that time the publication of The Curse o\ Minerva had been abandoned. (See Byron's note to The Corsair, Canto III. St. i. 1. 1.)]

Till, darkly shaded from the land and deep,

Behind his Delphian rock he sinks to sleep.

On such an eve his palest beam he cast

When, Athens! here thy Wisest looked his last. 20

How watched thy better sons his farewell ray,

That closed their murdered Sage's1

latest day! Not yet — not vet — Sol pauses on the

hill,

The precious hour of parting lingers still;

But sad his light to agonising eyes, And dark the mountain's once delightful dyes;

Gloom o'er the lovely land he seemed to pour,

The land where Phoebus never frowned before;

But ere he sunk below Citharon's head, The cup of Woe was quaffed — the Spirit fled; 30 The soul of Him that scorned to fear or

Who lived and died as none can live or die.

But lo! from high Hymettus to the plain

The Queen of Night asserts her silent reign;'

No murky vapour, herald of the storm, Hides her fair face, or girds her glowing form;

With cornice glimmering as the moonbeams play,

There the white column greets her grateful ray,

And bright around, with quivering

beams beset, Her emblem sparkles o'er the Minaret:

1 Socrates drank the hemlock a short time before sunset (the hour of execution), notwithstanding the entreaties of his disciples to wait lilt the sun went down.

■ The twilight in Greece is much shorter than in our own country; the days in winter are longer, hut in summer of less duration.

The groves of olive scattered dark am wide, 4

Where meek Cephisus sheds his scant; tide,

The cypress saddening by the sacrec

mosque,

The gleaming turret of the gay kiosk, And sad and sombre 'mid the hob calm,

Near Theseus' fane, yon solitary palm All, tinged with varied hues, arrest th<

eye;

And dull were his that passed thenheedless by.

Again the .4igcan, heard no more afar Lulls his chafed breast from elementa

war: 5c Again his waves in milder tints unfold Their long expanse of sapphire and oi

gold,

Mixed with the shades of many a distant isle

That frown, where gentler Ocean deigns to smile.

As thus, within the walls of Pallas' fane,

I marked the beauties of the land and main,

Alone, and friendless, on the magic shore,

Whose arts and arms but live in poets' lore;

Oft as the matchless dome I turned to scan,

Sacred to Gods, but not secure from Man, 60 The Past returned, the Present seemed

to cease,

And Glory knew no clime beyond her

Greece I

Hour rolled along, and Dian's orb on high

Had gained the centre of her softest

sky;

1 The kiosk Is a Turkish summer-house; tlM palm is without the present walls of Athens, not far from the temple of Theseus, between whicli and the tree the wall intervenes. Cephisus1 stream is indeed scanty, and llissus has no stream at all.

1

And yet unwearied still my footsteps trod

O'er the vain shrine of many a vanished God:

Sat chiefly, Pallas! thine, when Hecate's glare

Checked by thy columns, fell more sadly fair

O'er, the chill marble, where the startling tread

ITirills the lone heart like echoes from the dead. 70

Long had I mused, and treasured every trace

The wreck of Greece recorded of her race,

When, lo! a giant-form before me strode,

And Pallas hailed me in her own Abode!

Yes, 'twas Minerva's self; but, ah! how changed, Since o'er the Dardan field in arms she ranged!

Not such as erst, by her divine command,

Her form appeared from Phidias'

plastic hand: Gone were the terrors of her awful

brow,

Her idle Azqs bore no Gorgon now; 80 Her helm was dinted, and the broken lance

Seemed weak and shaftless e'en to mortal glance;

The Olive Branch, which still she

deigned to clasp, Shrunk from her touch, and withered in

her grasp; And, ah! though still the brightest of

the sky,

Celestial tears bedimmed her large blue

eye;

Round the rent casque her owlet

tircled slow, And mourned his mistress with a shriek

of woe!

"Mortal!" — 'twas thus she spake — ".that blush of shame Proclaims thee Briton, once a noble name; 90

First of the mighty, foremost of the free, Now honoured less by all, and least by me:

Chief of thy foes shall Pallas still be found.

Seek'st thou the cause of loathing? —

look around. Lol here, despite of war and wasting

fire,

I saw successive Tyrannies expire; 'Scaped from the ravage of the Turk and Goth,

Thy country sends a spoiler worse than both.

Survey this vacant, violated fane; Recount the relics torn that yet remain: These Cecrops placed, this Pericles

adorned,1 101 That Adrian reared when drooping

Science mourned. What more I owe let Gratitude attest — Know, Alaric and Elgin did the rest. That all may learn from whence the

plunderer came, The insulted wall sustains his hated

name:

For Elgin's fame thus grateful Pallas pleads,

Below, his name —■ above, behold his deeds I

Be ever hailed with equal honour here The Gothic monarch and the Pictish

peer: no Arms gave the first his right, the last had

none,

But basely stole what less barbarians won.

So when the Lion quits his fell repast, Next prowls the Wolf, the filthy Jackal last:

Flesh, limbs, and blood the former make

their own, The last poor brute securely gnaws the

bone.

Yet still the Gods are just, and crimes

are crossed; See here what Elgin won, and what he

lost!

■ This is spoken of the city in general, and not of the Acropolis in particular. The temple of Jupiter Olympius, by some supposed the Pantheon, was finished by Hadrian; sixteen columns are standing, of the most beautiful marble and architecture.

Another name with his pollutes my shrine:

Behold where Dian's beams disdain to shine t 120

Some retribution still might Pallas claim, When Venus half avenged Minerva's shame." 1

She ceased awhile, and thus I dared reply,

To soothe the vengeance kindling in her

eye:

"Daughter of Jovel in Britain's injured name,

A true-born Briton may the deed disclaim.

Frown not on England; England owns him not:

Athena, no! thy plunderer was a Scot. Ask'st thou the difference? From fair

Phyle's towers Survey Bceotia;—Caledonia's ours. 130 And, well I know, within that bastard

land2

Hath Wisdom's goddess never held command;

A barren soil, where Nature's germs, confined

To stern sterility, can stint the mind; Whose thistle well betrays the niggard earth,

Emblem of all to whom the Land gives birth;

Each genial influence nurtured to resist; A land of meanness, sophistry, and mist. Each breeze from foggy mount and

marshy plain Dilutes with drivel every drizzly brain, Till, burst at length, each wat'ry head

o'erflows, 141

Foul as their soil, and frigid as their

snows:

1 His lordship's name, and that of one who no lonjicr bears it, are carved conspicuously on the Parthenon; above, in a part not far distant, are the torn remnants of the basso-relievos, destroyed in a vain attempt to remove them. [On the Erechtheum there was deeply cut in a plaster wall the words —

"quod Non Fetkrunt Goti
H(X 1 Ktrunt Scoti."]

■ "Irish bastards," according; to Sir Callafthan fVHrallaghan. ["A wild Irish soldier in the Prussian Armv. in Macklin's Lovt-A4a-Mo<U (first played December 13, 1750).]

Then thousand schemes of petulam and pride

Despatch her scheming children far ar

wide;

Some East, some West, some — ever;

where but North 1 In quest of lawless gain, they issue fortl And thus — accursed be the day an

year 1 —

She sent a Pict to play the felon here. Yet Caledonia claims some native wort r As dull Bceotia gave a Pindar birth; 15 So may her few, the lettered and th

brave,

Bound to no clime and victors of th

grave,

Shake off the sordid dust of such a lane And shine like children of a happie strand;

As once, of yore, in some obnoxiou place,

Ten names (if found) had saved;

wretched race."

"Mortal!" the blue-eyed maid re sumed, "once more Bear back my mandate to thy native shore.

Though fallen, alas! this vengeance yel is mine,

To turn my counsels far from lands like thine. 16c

Hear then in silence Pallas' stern behest;

Hear and believe, for Time will tell the rest.

"First on the head of him who did

this deed

My curse shall light, — on him and all

his seed:

Without one spark of intellectual fire, Be all the sons as senseless as the sire; If one with wit the parent brood disgrace,

Believe him bastard of a brighter race: Still with his hireling artists let him prate,

And Folly's praise repay for Wisdom's hate; 170

Long of their Patron's gusto let them tell,

Whose noblest, native gusto is— to sell:

To sell, and make — may Shame record

the day! — The State — receiver of his pilfered

prey.

Meantime, the flattering, feeble dotard, West,

Europe's worst dauber, and poor

Britain's best, With palsied hand shall turn each model

o'er.

And own himself an infant of fourscore.'

Be all the Bruisers culled from all St Giles',

That Art and Nature may compare their styles; 180

While brawny brutes in stupid wonder stare.

And marvel at his Lordship's 'stone shop' there.'

Round the thronged gate shall sauntering coxcombs creep

To lounge and lucubrate, to prate and peep;

While many a languid maid, with longing sigh,

On giant statues casts the curious eye;

The room with transient glance appears to skim,

Yet marks the mighty back and length of limb;

Mourns o'er the difference of now and then;

Exclaims, 'These Greeks indeed were proper men I' 190

Draws slight comparisons of these with those.

And envies Lais all her Attic beaux. When shall a modern maid have swains

like these? Alas! Sir Harry is no Hercules! And last of all, amidst the gaping

crew,

Some calm spectator, as he takes his view,

1 Mr West, on seeing the "Elgin Collection," (1 suppose we shall hear of the "Abershaw" and 'Tack Shepherd" collection) declared himself a "mere tyro" in art.

* Poor Crib was sadly puzzled when the nurUes were first exhibited at Elgin House; he vked if it was not "a stone shop"? — He was right; it it a shop.

In silent indignation mixed with grief, Admires the plunder, but abhors the thief.

Oh, loathed in life, nor pardoned in the dust,

May Hate pursue his sacrilegious lust 1 Linked with the fool that fired the

Ephesian dome, 201 Shall vengeance follow far beyond the

tomb,1

And Eratostratus1 and Elgin shine In many a branding page and burning line;

Alike reserved for aye to stand accursed,

Perchance the second blacker than the first.

"So let him stand, through ages yet unborn,

Fixed statue on the pedestal of Scorn; Though not for him alone revenge shall wait,

But fits thy country for her coming fate: Hers were the deeds that taught her lawless son 211 To do what oft Britannia's self had

dune

Look to the Baltic — blazing from afar, Your old ally yet mourns perfidious war.3

Not to such deeds did Pallas lend her aid,

Or break the compact which herself had made;

Far from such counsels, from the faithless field

She fled — but left behind her Gorgon shield,

A fatal gift that turned your friends to stone,

And left lost Albion hated and alone. 220

1 [Lines 202-265 -ire not in the MS.] * [Herostratus or Eraloslratus fired the temple of Artemis on the same night that Alexander the (treat was born.l

1 [Copenhagen was bombarded by tea by Admiral Lord Gambier, and, by land, by General Lord Cathcart, September 2-8, 1807. The citadel was given up to the English, and the Danes surrendered their fleet, with all the naval stores, and their arsenals and dockyards. _ The expedition was promptly and secretly equipped by the British Government, with a view to anticipate the seizure and appropriation of (he Danish tlcct by Napoleon ana Alexander.]

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