« PreviousContinue »
Forsook the labours of a servile state,
Stemm'd the rude storm, and triumph'd over fate:
Then why no more? if Phoebus smiled on you,
Bloomfleld! why not on brother Nathan too ?1
Him too the mania, not the muse, has seized;
Not inspiration, but a mind diseased:
And now no boor can seek his last abode,
Jfo common be enclosed 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 1
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 2 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, Selected genius I let me turn to you. Come forth, oh Campbell31 give thy talents scope; Who dares aspire if thou must cease to hope ? 1 And thou, melodious Rogers*! rise at last, Recall the pleasing memory of the past; Arise | let blest remembrance still inspire. And strike to wonted tones thy hallow'd lyre;
1 See Nathaniel Bloomfield's ode, elegy, or whatever he or anyone else chooses to call it, on the enclosures of "Honingtoo Green."
1 Vide " Recollections of a Weaver in the Moorlands of Staffordshire."
1 It would be superfluous to recall to the mind of the reader tbe authors of** The Pleasures of Memory " and " The l'leawres of Hope," the most beautiful didactic poems in our language, If we except Pope's " Essay on Man : " but so many poetasters have started up, that even the names of ■ il and Rogers are become strange. — [Beneath this rwe Lord Byron scribbled, in 1816, —
*' Pretty Miss Jacqueline
Led a great army on. Making Kehama look Like a fierce Mameluke.'
* P* I have been reading," says Lord Byron, in 1813, "Memory again, and Hope together, and retain all my preference of the former. His elegance is really wonderful — there is no such a thing as a vulgar line in his book."]
1 P* Rogers has not fulfilled the promise of his first poems, btt has still very great merit."— B. 1816. J
s Gilford, author of the Baviad and Mieviad. the first satires of the day, and translator of Juvenal.— [The opinion of Mr. Giflord had always great weight with Lord Byron. "Any ^^Sestion of yours, he says in a letter written in 1813, "even were It conveyed in the less tender shape of the text of the Baviad, or a Monk Mason note in Massingor, would be oh*7ed" A few weeks before his death, on hearing from ry'.wl of a report that he had written a satire on Mr. Gilford, he wrote instantly to Mr. Murray : — *'Whoever "serts that I am the author or abettor of anything of the *iod, lies fn his throat. It is not true that 1 ever rf/d, will,
-dd. could, or should write a satire against Giffbrd, or a hair cf hi* head. 1 always considered him as my literary ktber, and myself as bis ' prodigal1 son ; and if I have allowed bis ' fatted calf to grow to an ox before he kills it on my return, it is only because I prefer beef to veal."]
7 Sotheby, translator of Wieland's Oberon and Virgil's Georgics, and author of ** Saul," an epic poem. — [Mr. ■""Hiii-by afterwards essentially raised his reputation by varlassj original poems, and a translation of the Iliad. He died
* Macneil, whose poems are deservedly popular, particularly " Scotland's Scaltb," and the " Waes of War," of which
The spoiler swept that soaring lyre away,
There be, who say, In these enlighten'd days,
And here let Shee * and Genius find a place,
Blest is the man who dares approach the bower
I [Mr. Southey's delightful Life of Kirke White ii in every one's hands.]
* [" I consider Crabbe and Coleridge as the first of these times, in point of power and genius." — B. 1816.3
9 [This eminent poet and excellent man died at his rectory of Trowbridge, in February 1832, aged seventy-eight. With the exception of the late Lord Stowell, he was the last surviving celebrated man mentioned by Boswell in connection with Johnson, who revised his poem of the " Village." His other works are the " Library," the "Newspaper," the "Borough," a collection of " Poems," which Charles Fox read in manuscript on his death-bed; " Tales," and also "Tales of the Hall." He left various poetical pieces in MS., and a collective edition of his works was published in 1834, preceded by an interesting Memoir, written by his Son.]
4 Mr. Shee, author of " Rhymes on Art," and " Elements of Art."—[Now (1836) Sir Martin Sheei and President of the Royal Academy.]
5 Walter Rodwell Wright, late consul-general for the Seven Islands, Is author of a very beautiful poem, just published: it is entitled " Horse Ionics," and is descriptive of the isles and
the adjacent coast of Greece [To the third edition, which
came out in 1816, was added an excellent translation of the "Oreste" of Alfieri. After his return to England, Mr. Wright was chosen Recorder of Bury St. Edmunds.]
And sure no common muse Inspired thy pen
And you, associate bards6! who snatch'd to light
Let these, or such as these, with just i
Yet let them not to vulgar Wordsworth stoop,
And thou, too, Scott91 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 r Let Southey sing, although his teeming muse, Prolific every spring, be too profuse; Let simple Wordsworth10 chime his childish vcr?e, And brother Coleridge lull the babe at nurse; Let spectre-mongering Lewis aim, at most. To rouse the galleries, or to raise a ghost; Let Moore still sigh; let Strangford steal from Moor, And swear that Camoens sang such notes of yore;
• The translators of the Anthology, Bland and Merivale, have since published separate poems, which evince geniui that only requires opportunity to attain eminence—[The late Rev. Robert Bland published, in conjunction with Mr. Merivale, " Collections from the Greek Anthology." He also wrote " Edwy and Elgiva," the "Four Slaves of Crcbf rs." Ac- In 1814, Mr Merivale published "Orlando in Reftcevalles ; " and In the following year, ** An Ode on the Delivery of i.urope." He became a Commissioner of the B*i.truptcy Court.]
'The neglect of the *■ Botanic Garden" is some proof of The scenery is its sole I
Let Hayley hobble on, Montgomery rave,
And godly Grahame chant a stupid stave:
Let sonneteering Bowles his strains refine,
And whine and whimper to the fourteenth line;
Let Stott, Carlisle i, 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.
But thou, with powers that mock the aid of praise,
Shouldst leave to humbler bards ignoble lays:
Thy country's voice, the voice of all the nine,
Demand a haliow'd harp — that harp is thine.
Say! will not Caledonia's annals yield
The glorious record of some nobler field,
Than the wild foray of a plundering clan,
Whose proudest deeds disgrace the name of man?
OrMarmion's acts of darkness, fitter food
For Sherwood's outlaw tales of Robin Hood?
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? New eras spread their wings, new nations rise, And other victors fill the applauding skies; 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 2 'midst her fires, Exhales her odours, blazes, and expires.
1 It may be asked why 1 have censured the Earl of Carlisle, ay guardian and relative, to whom I dedicated a volume of puerile poems a few years ago ? — The guardianship was nominal, at least as far as I have b*en able to discover ; the relationship I cannot help, and am very sorry for it; but as his lordship teemed to forget It on. a very essential occasion to me, Iiballnot burden my memory with the recollection. I do not think that personal differences sanction the unjust con. damnation of a brother scribbler j bnt I see no reason why they ihould acta* a preventive, when the author, noble or ifaoble, has, for a series of years, beguiled a " discerning pubis," (ai the advertisements have it) with divers reams of most orthodox, imperial nonsense. Besides, 1 do not step aside to vituperate the earl: no—bis works come fairly in review with those of other patrician literati. If, before I escaped from my taons, l said anything in favour of his lordship's paper books, k was In the way of dutiful dedication, and more from the tdrice of others tnan my own judgment, and I seize the Ant opportunity of pronouncing my sincere recantation. I we heard that some persons conceive me to be under oblipuon* to Lord Carlisle : if so, I shall be most particularly »appy to learn what they are, and when conferred, that they may be duly appreciated and publicly acknowledged. What I nave humbly advanced as an opinion on his printed things, I ■^prepared to support, if necessary, by quotations from wpes, eulogies, odes, episodes, and certain facetious and dainty tragedies bearing his name and mark :—
** What can ennoble knaves, or fools, or cowards?
So says Pope. Amen !— [" Much too savage, whatever the foundation might be." — B. 1816. J
1 [" The devil take that phcenix! How came it there ? "— B. 13160
5 [The Rev. Charles James Hoare published, in 1808, the "Ship^Teck of St. Paul," a Seatonian prise poem.]
* [The Rev. Charles Hovle, author of ** Exodus," an epic in thirteen books, and several other Seatonian prize poems.]
hoary Granta call her sable sons, Expert in science, more expert at puns? Shall these approach the muse? ah, no 1 she flies, Even from the tempting ore of Seaton's prize; Though printers condescend the press to soil With rhyme by Hoare5, and epic blank by Hoyle: * Not him whose page, if still upheld by whist, Requires no sacred theme to bid us list. s Ye I who in Granta's honours would surpass, Must mount her Pegasus, a full-grown ass; A foal well worthy of her ancient dam, Whose Helicon is duller than her Cam.
There Clarke, still striving piteously "to
Oh ! dark asylum of a Vandal race 18
For me, who, thus unask*d, have dared to tell
5 The ■ Games of Hoyle." well known to the votaries of whist, chess, &c, are not to be superseded by the vagaries of his poetical namesake, whose poem comprised, as expressly stated in the advertisement, all the " plagues of Egypt.
6 [" Right enough : this was well deserved, and well laid on.'''— B. 1816.3
7 This person, who has lately betrayed the most rabid symptoms of confirmed authorship, is writer of a poem denominated the " Art of Pleasing," as " lucus a non lucendo," containing little pleasantry and less poetry. He also acts as monthly stipendiary and collector of calumnies for the " Satirist." If this unfortunate young man would exchange the magazines for the mathematics, and endeavour to take a decent degree in his university, it might eventually prove more serviceable than his present salary. — [Mr. Hewson Clarke was aho the author of ■ The Saunterer," and a *' History of the Campaign in Russia." ]
8 " Into Cambridgeshire the Emperor Probus transported a considerable body of Vandals." — Gibbon's Decline and Fall, vol. ii. p. 83. There is no reason to doubt the truth of this assertion ; the breed is still in high perfection.
9 This gentleman's name requires no praise: the man who in translation displays unquestionable genius may be well expected to excel in original composition, of which it Is to be hoped we shall soon see a splendid specimen.— [Besides a translation of Juvenal, Mr. Hou^snn published " Lady Jane Grey," " Sir Edgar," and " The r riends,** a poem in four books. He also translated, in conjunction with Dr. Butler, Lucien Bonaparte's unreadable epic of " Charlemagne."]
10 Hewson Clarke, esq., as it is written.
So sunk in dulness, and so lost in shame, That Smythe and Hodgson scarce redeem thv name."] l" The "Aboriginal Britons," an excellent poem by*Richards. [The Rev. George Richards, D.D. who also sent from the press " Songs of the Aboriginal Bards of Britain," ** Modern France," two volumes of Miscellaneous Poems, and Bampton Lectures *' On the Divine Origin of Prophecy."]
Oh ! would thy bards but emulate thy fame.
Then, hapless Britain ! be thy rulers blest,
Tet once again, adieu ! ere this the sail
But should I back return, no tempting press *
1 With this verse the satire originally ended.
a A friend of mine being asked, why his Grace of Portland was likened to an old woman ? replied, ** he supposed it was because he was past bearing." His Grace is now gathered to his grandmothers, where he sleeps as sound as ever; but even his sleep was better than his colleagues' waking. 1811.
3 Georgia. * Mount Caucasus.
* These four lines originally stood, —
"But should I back return, no letter'd sage
* [In a letter written from Gibraltar to his friend Hodgson, Lord Byron says,—"I have seen Sir John Carr at Seville and Cadiz, and, like Swift's barber, have been down on my knees to beg he would not put me into black and white."J
"Lord Elgin would fain persuade us that All the figures, with and without noses, in his stoneshop, are the work of Phidias I " Credat Judaius V
8 [The original epithet was " classic." Lord Byron altered it In the fifth edition, and added this note: — " Rapid," indeed I He topographised and typographised King Priam's dominions in t tinv days 1 I called him 'classic' before I saw the Troad,
• Lord Valentia (whose tremendous travels are forthcoming, with due decorations, graphical, topographical, typographical) deposed, on Sir John Carr's unlucky suit, that Mr. Dubois's satire prevented his purchase of the ** Stranger in Ireland."—Oh, fie, my lord! has your lordship no more feeling for a fellow-tourist? —but "two of a trade," they say, Ac.
+ [From the many tours he made, Sir John was called "The Jaunting Car. A wicked wit having severely lashed him in a publication, called " Mv Pocket Book; or Hints for a Kyght Merrie and Conceited Tour," he brought an action of damages against the publisher; but as the work contained only what the court deemed legitimate criticism, the knight was nonsuited. Edward Dubois, Esq., the author of this pleasant satire, has also published *' The Wreath," consisting of translations from Sappho, Bion and Moschus, « Old Nick," a satirical story, and an edition of the Decameron of Boccaccio. 3
Waste useless thousands on their Phidian freaks,
Thus far I Ve held my undisturb'd career,
but since have learned better than to tack to bis name »h« don't belong to It." J
9 Mr. GcU'sTopographyof Troy and Ithaca cannot fail to ensure the approbation of every man possessed of claswral taste, as well for the information Mr. Gell conveys to tbc mind of the reader, as for the ability and research the respec* tive works display. — [** Since seeing the plain of Troy, icy opinions are somewhat changed as to the Above note. GelT* survey was hasty and superficial." — B. 1816.1
[Shortly after hi* reiurn from Greece in 1811, Lord Byre*, wrote a review of Sir William Hell's works for tbe Monthly Review. In his Diary of 1831, there is this passwre:■' In reading, I have just chanced upon an expression of Toa Campbell's; — speaking of Collins, he says that' no reader cares any more about tho characteristic manners of hi* eclogues than about the authenticity of the tala of Troj'T is false — we do care about 'the authenticity of the tak of Troy.* I have stood upon that plain, dai/y, for morethsni month, In 1810; and if any thing diminished my pleasure, it was that the blackguard Bryant had impugned its veracity. It Is true I read * Homer Travestied,' because Hobbouse and others bored me with their learned localities, and 1 tee quizzing. But I still venerated tbc grand original at thr truth ot hittory (fn the material facts) and of place. Otherwise It would have given me no delight. Who will persuade me, when I reclined upon a mighty torn bp. that it did not certain a hero ?— its very magnitude proved this. Men do no* labour over the Ignoble and! petty dead: — and why ihooU not the dead be Homer's dead ? "3
i° [Lord Byron set out on his travels with tbe determination to keep no journal. In a letter to his friend Henrv Drury. when on the point of sailing, he pleasantly says,—14 Hobbotn* has made woundy preparations for a book oo his return: — one hundred pens, two gallons of japan ink, and sereril volumes of best blank, Is no bad provision for a disotrnsri public. I have laid down my pen, but hove promised to cootribute a chapter on the state of morals, &c. &c."]
H ['* Singular enough, and din enough, God knows."'—B. 1816.]
11 r In this passage, hastily thrown off as it Is, * we find,' says Moore, "the strongest trace of that wounded feeling which bleeds, as It were, through all his subsequent wriuns*-"