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ter it, states negotiated for his ashes, and disputed present state of poetry in England, and having had for the sites of the composition of the Divina Com-it long, as my friends and others well knowmedia. Petrarch was crowned in the Capitol. possessing, or having possessed loo, as a wriAriosto was permitted to pass free by the public ter, the ear of the public for the time beingrobber who had read the Orlando Furioso. I have not adopted a different plan in my own would not recommend Mr. Wordsworth to try the compositions, and endeavoured to correct rasame experiment with his Smugglers. Tasso, not-ther than encourage the taste of the day. To this, withstanding the criticisms of the Cruscanti, would I would answer, that it is easier lo perceive the have been crowned in the Capitol, but for his wrong than to pursue the right, and that I have death.
never contemplated the prospect of filling (with It is easy to prove the immediate popularity of Peter Bell,(4) see its Preface) permanently a station the chief poets of the only modern nation in Eu- in the literature of the country." Those who know rope that has a poetical language, the Italian. In me best know this; and that I have been consiour own, Shakspeare, Spenser, Jonson, Waller, 'derably astonished at the temporary success of my Dryden, Congreve, Pope, Young, Shenstone, Thom- ' works, having Nattered no person and no party, son, Johnson, Goldsmith, Gray, were all as popular and espressed opinions which are not those of the in their lives as since. Gray's Elegy pleased in- general reader. Could I have anticipated the destantly, and eternally. His Odes did not, nor yet gree of attention which has been accorded me, as-, do they. please like his Blegy. Milton's politics' suredly I would have studied more to deserve it. kept him down. Bui the Epigram of Dryden,(1) But I have lived in far countries abroad, or in the and the very sale of his work, in proportion to the agitating world at home, which was not favourable less reading time of its publication, prove him to to study or reflection; so that almost all I have have been honoured by his contemporaries. I written has been mere passion,-passion, it is true, will venture to assert, that the sale of the Paradise of different kinds, but always passion : for in me Lost was greater in the first four years after its (if it be not an Irishism to say so) my indifference publication, than that of the Excursion in the Was a kind of passion, the result of experience, same number, with the difference of nearly a cen- and not the philosophy of nature. Writing grows : tury and a half between them of time, and of thou-, a habil, like a woman's gallantry: there are women sands in point of general readers. Notwithstand- who have had no intrigue, but few who have had ing Mr. Wordsworth’s having pressed Milton into' but one only; so there are millions of men who his service as one of those not presently popular, have never written a book, but few who have 10 favour his own purpose of proving that our written only one. And thus, having written grandchildren will read him (the said William once, I wrote on ; encouraged no doubt by the sucWordsworth), I would recommend him to begin cess of the moment, yet by no means anticipating first with our grandmothers. But he need not be ils duration, and, I will venture to say, scarcely alarmed; he may yet live to see all the envies pass even wishing it. But then I did other things beaway, as Darwin and Seward, and Hoole, and sides write, which by no means contributed either
Hole, (2) avd Hoyle,(3, have passed away; but their to improve my writings or my prosperity. declension will not be his ascension : he is essen I have thus expressed publicly upon the poetry tially a bad writer, and all the failures of others of the day the opinion I have long entertained and can never strengthen him. He may have a sect, espressed of it to all who have asked it, and to but he will never have a public; and his “au- some who would rather not have heard it : as I dience" will always be “ sero," without being told Moore not very long ago,“we are all wrong 'fit," —except for Bedlam.
except Rogers, Crabbe, and Campbell." (5) WithIt may be asked, why, having this opinion of the out being old in years, I am old in days, and do
f) The well-known lines under Milton's picture,
walk of the art in which he himself so grandly trod, than in the l'bree poets, in three distant ages born," etc.-E.
inconsistency of which I thought him guilty, in condemning all
Those who stood up for particular "schools' of poetry, and yet, (2) The Rev Richard Hole. He published, in early life, a ver
at the same time, maintaining so exclusive a theory of the art silication of Fingal, and, in 1789, Arthur, a Poelical Romance.
himself. How little, however, he attended to either the grounds He died in 1803.-E.
or degrees of my dissent from him will appear by the following 3) Charles Hoyle, of Trinity College, Cambridge, author of wholesale report of my opinion in Detached Thoughts:-One Exodus, an epic in thirteen books.-E.
of my notions different from those of my contemporaries, is, that (4) Peler Bell first saw the light in 1798. During this long the present is not a high age of English poetry. There are Rierval, pains have been taken at different times to make the
more poets soi-disant) than ever there were, and proportionproduction less unworthy of a favourable reception; or rather, nally less poetry. This thesis I have maintained for some years, lo til it for filling permanently a slation, however humble, in but, strange to say, it meetelh not with favour from my brethren the literature of my country." Wordsworth, 1819.-E.
of the shell Even Moore shakes his head, and firmly believes (5) "I certainly ventured to differ from the judgment of my that it is the grand age of British poesy.'" Moore. noble friend, no less in his attempts to depreciate that peculiar
not feel the adequate spirit within me to attempt has no genius. We are sneeringly told that he is a work which should show what I think right in the “Poet of Reason,” as if this was a reason for his poetry, and must content myself with having being no poet. Taking passage for passage, I will denounced what is wrong. There are, I trust, undertake to cite more lines teeming with imaginyounger spirits rising up in England, who, es- ation from Pope than from any two living poets, caping the contagion which has swept away poe- be they who they may. To take an instance at try, from our literature, will recall it to their coun- random from a species of composition not very try, such as it once was and may still be. favourable to imagination-Satire : sel down the
In the mean time, the best sign of amendment character of Sporus,(2) with all the wonderful play will be repentance, and new and frequent editions of fancy which is scattered over it, and place by its of Pope and Dryden.
side an equal number of verses, from any two exThere will be found as comfortable metaphysics, isting poels, of the same power and the same vaand len times more poetry, in the Essay on Man, riety-where will you find them ? than in the Excursion. If you search for passion, I merely mention one instance of many, in reply where is it to be found stronger than in the Epistle to the injustice done to the memory of him who from Eloisa to Abelard, or in Palamon and Ar- harmonised our poetical language. The attorney's cite? Do you wish for invention, imagination, clerks, and other self-cducated genii, found it easier sublimity, character ? seek them in the Rape of the to distort themselves to the new models, than 10 Lock, the Fables of Dryden, the Ode for Saint toil after the symmetry of him who had enchanted Cecilia's Day, and Absolom and Architophel : their fathers. They were besides smitten by being you will discover, in these two poets only, all for told that the new school were to revive the lanwhich you must ransack innumerable melres, and guage of Queen Elizabeth, the true English; as God only knows how many writers of the day, every body in the reign of Queen Anne wrote no without finding a title of the same qualities, better than French, by a species of literary treason. with the addition, 100, of wit, of which the latter Blank verse, which, unless in the drama, no one have none. I have not, however, forgotten Tho-except Milton ever wrote who could rhyme, became mas Brown the Younger, northeFudge Family,(1)| the order of the day,-or else such rhyme as looked nor Whistlecrafl; but that is not wit-it is hu- still blanker than the verse without it. I am aware
I will say nothing of the harmony of Pope that Johnson has said, after some hesitation, that and Dryden in comparison, for there is not a living he could not “prevail upon himself to wish that poet (except Rogers, Gifford, Campbell, and Milton had been a rhymer.” The opinions of that Crabbe), who can write an heroic couplet. The truly great man, whom it is also the present fashion fact is, that the exquisite beauty of their versifi- to decry, will ever be received by me with that decation has withdrawn the public attention from ference which time will restore to him from all; their other excellences, as the vulgar eye will rest but, with all humility, I am not persuaded that the more upon the splendour of the uniform than the Paradise Lost would not have been more nobly quality of the troops. It is this very harmony, par-conveyed to posterity, not perhaps in heroic couticularly in Pope, which has raised the vulgar and plets, although even they could sustain the subject atrocious cant against him :--because his versifi- if well balanced, but in the stanza of Spenser or cation is perfect, it is assumed that it is his only of Tasso, or in the terza rima of Dante, which the perfection; because his truths are so clear, it is as- powers of Milton could easily have grafted on our serted that he has no invention; and because he is language. The Seasons of Thomson would have always intelligible, it is taken for granted that he been better in rhyme, although still inferior to his
(1) In 1812, Mr. Moore published The Twopenny Postbag
Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk?
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
Prol. to Sat.-E
Castle of Indolence; and Mr. Southey's Joan of it affects our poetical numbers alone, and there Arc no worse, although it might have taken up six is matter of more importance that requires present months instead of weeks in the composition. 1 reflection.” recommend also to the lovers of lyrics the perusal The second is from the volume of a young per. of the present laureate's Odes by the side of Dryden's son learning to write poetry, and beginning by on “Saint Cecilia,” but let him be sure to read teaching the art. Hear bim : (2)— first those of Mr. Southey.
“But ye were dead To the heaven-born genii and inspired young
To things ye knew not of-were closely wed
To musly laws lined out with wretched rule scriveners of the day much of this will appear pa
And compass vile; so that ye laught a school (3) radox: it will appear so even to the higher order or dolts to smooth, inlay, and chip, and fil, of our critics; but it was a truism twenty years ago,
Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit,
Their verses tallied. Easy was the task: and it will be a re-acknowledged truth in ten more.
A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask In the mean time, I will conclude with two quota
of poesy. Il-fated impious race, tions, both intended for some of my old classical That blasphemed the bright lyrist to his face,
And did not know it; no, they went about friends who have still enough of Cambridge about
Holding a poor decrepit standard out them to think themselves honoured by having nad
Mark'd with most flimsy mollos, and in large John Dryden as a predecessor in their college, and The name of one Boileau ! "
to recollect that their earliest English poetical plea A little before, the manner of Pope is termed, sures were drawn from the little nightingale" of
" A scism, (4) Twickenham. The first is from the notes to the
Nurtured by foppery and barbarism, Poem of the Friends:(1)
Made great Apollo blush for this bis land."(5) "It is only within the last twenty or thirty years I thought“ foppery” was a consequence of retbåt those notable discoveries in criticism have finement; but n'importe. been made which have taught our recent versifiers The above will suffice to show the notions en
lo undervalue this energetic, melodious, and moral tertained by the new performers on the English poet. The consequence of this want of due esteem lyre of him who made it most tuneable, and the for a writer, whom the good sense of our prede- great improvements of their own" variazioni.” cessors had raised to his proper station, have been The writer of this is a tadpole of the Lakes, a NUMEROUS AND DEGRADING ENOUGH. This is not young disciple of the six or seven new schools, in the place to enter into the subject, even as far as which he has learnt to write such lines and such
(1) Written by Lord Byron's early friend, the Rev. Francis Hodgson.-E.
(2) In a manuscript note on this passage of the pamphlet, dated Nov. 12, 1821, Lord Byron says,—“Mr. Keats died at Rome about a year after this was written, of a decline produced by his having burst a blood-vessel on reading the article on bis Endymion in the Quarterly Review. I have read the article before and since; and, although it is biller, I do not think that a man should permit himself to be killed by it. But a young man little dreams what he must inevitably encounter in the course of a life ambitious of public police. My indignation of Mr. Keats's depreciation of Pope has hardly permitted me to do justice to his own genius, which, malgré all the fantastic fopperies of his style, was undoubtedly of great promise. His fragment of Hyperion seems actually inspired by the Titans, and is as sublime as Æschylus. lle is a loss to our literature; and the more so, as he himself, before his death, is said to have been persuaded that he had not taken the right line, and was re-forming bis style upon the more classical models of the language.-E. (3) It was at least a grammar “school." (4) So spelt by the author.
(5) As a balance to these lines, and to the sense and sentiment of the new school, I will put down a passage or two from Pope's earliest poems, taken at random:
Envy her own soakes shall feel,
Apd gasping Furies thirst for blood in vain." “Ah! what avails his glossy varying dyes,
His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes;
His painted wings, and breast thai Dames with gold!" “ Round broken columns clasping ivy twined,
O'er beaps of ruin stalk'd the stately bind,
The fox obscene to gaping tombs retires,
and savage howlings fill the sacred quires."
Immortal heirs of universal praise!
T'admire superior sense, and doubt their own!"
Strikes, and behold a sudden Thebes aspire!
And half the mountain rolls into a wall."
Rise white in air, and glitter o'er the coast;
The gather'd winter of a thousand years."
The world's just wonder, and even thine, O Rome!
The whole at once is bold and regular."
sentiments as the above. He says “easy was the Pope, whom I have named, have produced beautask” of imitating Pope, or it may be of equalling tiful and standard works; and it was not the numhim, I presume. I recommend him to try, before ber of his imitators who finally hurt his fame, but he is so positive on the subject; and then compare the despair of imitation, and the ease of not imiwhat he will have then written and what he has lating him sufficiently. This, and the same reason nowo written with the hunıblest and earliest com- which induced the Athenian burgher to vote for positions of Pope, produced in years still more the banishment of Aristides, “because he was youthful than those of Mr. Keats when he invented tired of always hearing him called the Just," have his new Essay on Criticism, entitled Sleep and produced the temporary exile of Pope from the Poelry (an ominous title), from whence the above State of Literalure. But the term of his o tracism canons are taken. Pope's was written at nineteen, will expire, and the sooner the belter, not for him, and published at twenty-two.
but for those who banished him, and for the comSuch are the triumphs of the new schools, and ing generation, who such their scholars. The disciples of Pope were
" Will blush to find their fathers were his foes." Johnson, Goldsmith, Rogers, Campbell, Crabbe, Gifford, Matthias (1) Hayley, and the author of the I will now relurn to the writer of the article which Paradise of Coquettes; (2) to whom may be added has drawn forth these remarks. whom I honestly Richards, Heber, Wrangham, Bland, Hodgson, take to be John Wilson, a man of great powers and Merivale, and others who have not had their full acquirements, well known to the public as the aufame, because “the race is not always to the swift, thor of the City of the Plague, Isle of Palms, and nor the battle to the strong,” and because there is Other productions. I take the liberty of naming a fortune in fame as in all other things. Now, of bim, by the same species of courtesy which has inall the new schools—1 say all, for, “like Legion, duced him to designate me as the author of Don they are many" — has there appeared a single scholar Juan. Upon the score of the Lake Poels, he may who has not made his master ashamed of him ?- perhaps recall to mind that I merely express an unless it be Sotheby, who has imilated every body, opinion long ago entertained and specified in a and occasionally surpassed his models. Scott letter to Mr. James Hogg, (6) which he the said found peculiar favour and imitation among the fair James Hogy, somewhat contrary to the law of pens. sex : there was Miss Holford, (3) and Miss Mit- showed to Mr. Jobu Wilson, in the year 1814, as ford,(4) and Miss Francis ; (5) hut, with the greatest he himself informed me in his answer, telling me respect be it spoken, none of his imitators did by way of apology, that“ he 'd bed-lifhe could much honour to the original, except Hoye, the Et-help it;" and I am not conscious of any living like trick Shepherd, until the appearance of The Bridal |“envy” or exacerbation" at this moment which of Triermain, and Harold the Dauntless, which induces me to think beller or worse of Souther
. in the opinion of some equalled, if not surpassed Wordsworth, and Coleridge as poels than I do now. him; and lo! after three or four years, they turned although I do know one or two things more which out to be the Master's own compositions. Have have added to my contempt for them as indisiSouthey, or Coleridge, or t’other fellow, made a fol- duals. (7) And, in return for Mr. Wilson's inver. lower of renown? Wilson never did well till tive, I shall content myself with asking one queshe set up for himself in the city of the Plague. tion :-Did he never compose, recite, or sing, aut Has Moore, or any other living writer of reputation, paroily or parodies upon the Psalms (of what nahad a tolerable imitator, or rather disciple? Now, iure this deponent saith not), in certain jovial it is remarkable, that almost all the followers of meelings of the youth of Edinburgh ? (8) It is not
lowest department of the art, he will be found, on a fair exami-bills ’are never 'lifted," he adds, lotidem verbis. "God dnation, to surpass any living writer.
him, and them both. I laughed, and so would you l00, al the (1) Thomas James Matthias, Esq , the well-known author of the way in which this execration is introduced. The said Doze is Pursuils of Literalure, Imperial Epistle to Kien Long, elc. a strange being, but of great, though yoconth, powers. I think In 1814, Mr. M. edited an edition of Gray's Works, which the very lighly of him as a poet; but he and half of these Spaich University of Cambridge published at its own expense.-E.
and Lake troubadours are spoilt by living in little circles and (2) Dr. Thomas Brown, professor of moral philosophy, in the pelly societies." - B. Letlers.-E. University of Edinburgh, who died in 1820.-E.
17. The reader will find, on reference 10 Moore's Life of (3) Author of Wallace, or the Fight of Falkirk, Margarel of Byron, that his Lordship was not less mistaken in allributina Anjou, and other poems.-E,
the “Remarks on Don Juan" in the Edinburgh Magazine to (4) Miss Mary Russell Milford, author of Christina, or the Professor Wilson, than in supposing Dr. Chalmers to bave been Maid of the South Seas, Wallington Hall, Our Village, etc. the “ Presbyter anglicanus' who criticised his Bepps in the etc.-E.
same journal.-E (5) Miss Eliza Francis published, in 1815, Sir Wilibert de (8) The allusion here is to some now forgotten calumnies sbieh Waverley; or the Bridal Eve.-E.
had been circulated by the radical press, at the time wben ur (6) "Oh! I have bad the most amusing letter from Hogg, the Wilson was a candidate for the Chair of Moral Philosophy in the Eurick minstrel and shepherd. He wants me to recommend University of Edinburgh-E. bim to Murray; and, speaking of his present bookseller, whose
that I think any great barm if he did ; because it I will now conclude this long answer to a short seems to me that all depends upon the intention of article, repenting of having said so much in my such a parody. If it be meant to throw ridicule own defence, and so little on the “crying lefton the sacred original, il is a sin: if it be intended hand fallings-off and national defections” of the to burlesque the profane subject, or to inculcate a poetry of the present day. Having said this, I can moral truth, it is none. If it were, the Unbeliever's hardly be expected to defend Don Juan, or any Creed, the many political parodies of various parts Other “living” poetry, and shall not make the alof the Scriptures and liturgy, particularly a cele- tempt. And although I do not think that Mr. John brated one of the Lord's Prayer, and the beautiful Wilson has in this instance treated me with canmoral parable in favour of toleration by Franklin, dour or consideration, I trust that the tone I have which has often been taken for a real extract from used in speaking of him personally will prove that Genesis, would all be sins of a damning nature. I bear him as little malice as I really believe, ai lhc But I wish to know if Mr. Wilson ever has done bottom of his heart, he bears towards me; but this, and if he has, why he should be so very angry the duties of an editor, like those of a tax-gatherer, with similar portions of Don Juan ?-Did no are paramount and peremptory. I have done. "parody profane" appear in any of the earlier
BYKON. numbers of Blackicood's Magazine
FRITTEN UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT THE
AUTHOR WOULD SOON DIE.
ADIEU, thou Hill!(1) where early joy
Spread roses o'er my brow;.
With knowledge to endow.
No more through Ida's paths we siray;
Unconscious of the day.
Ye spires of Granta's vale,
And Melancholy pale.
On Cama's verdant margin placed,
These scenes must be effaced. Adieu, ye mountains of the clime
Where grew my youthful years;
His giant summit rear's.
With sons of pride to roam
To seek a Southeron home?
Yet why to thee adieu ?
Thy lowers my loml) will view :
Forgets its wonled simple note
In dying strains may float.
While yet I linger here,
To retrospection dear.
At noontide heat, their pliant course;
Deprived of active force.
Still nearest to my breast ?
The spot which passion blest;