« PreviousContinue »
If he must fain sweep o'er the etherial plain,
And Pegasus runs restive in his “ Waggon," Could he not beg the loan of Charles's Wain ?
Or pray Medea for a single dragon ? Or if too classic for his vulgar brain,
He fear'd his neck to venture such a nag on, And he must needs mount nearer to the moon, Could not the blockhead ask for a balloon ?
“ Pedlars, and “Boats,” and “Waggons !” Oh! ye
shades Of Pope and Dryden, are we come to this? That trash of such sort not alone evades
Contempt, but from the bathos' vast abyss
Of sense and song above your graves may hiss !-
(DON JUAN, Canto i. Stanzas 204-206.)
If ever I should condescend to prose,
I'll write poetical commandments, which Shall supersede beyond all doubt all those
That went before ; in these I shall enrich My text with many things that no one knows,
And carry precept to the highest pitch : I'll call the work “Longinus o'er a Bottle, Or, Every Poet his own Aristotle.”
Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope ;
Thou shalt not set up Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey ; Because the first is crazed beyond all hope,
The second drunk, the third so quaint and mouthy : With Crabbe it may be difficult to cope,
And Campbell's Hipprocrene is somewhat drouthy : Thou shalt not steal from Samuel Rogers, nor Commit-flirtation with the muse of Moore.
Thou shalt not covet Mr. Sotheby's Muse,
His Pegasus, nor any thing that's his;
(There's one, at least, is very fond of this); Thou shalt not write, in short, but what I choose :
This is true criticism, and you may kiss-
BYRON AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES.
(DON JUAN, Canto xi. Stanzas 53-60.)
JUAN knew several languages—as well
He might-and brought them up with skill, in time To save his fame with each accomplish'd belle,
Who still regretted that he did not rhyme. There wanted but this requisite to swell
His qualities (with them) into sublime : Lady Fitz-Frisky and Miss Mævia Mannish, Both long’d extremely to be sung in Spanish.
However, he did pretty well, and was
Admitted as an aspirant to all
At great assemblies or in parties small,
That being about their average numeral ;
In twice five years the greatest living poet,"
Like to the champion in the fisty ring,
Although 'tis an imaginary thing.
Nor sought of foolscap subjects to be king,-
But Juan was my Moscow, and Faliero
My Leipsic, and my Mont Saint Jean seems Cain : « La Belle Alliance” of dunces down at zero,
Now that the Lion's fall'n, may rise again :
Nor reign at all, or as a monarch reign ;
Sir Walter reign'd before me ; Moore and Campbell
Before and after ; but now grown more holy, The Muses upon Sion's hill must ramble
With poets almost clergymen, or wholly ;
Beneath the very Reverend Rowley Powley,
Then there's my gentle Euphues; who, they say,
Sets up for being a sort of moral me ; He'll find it rather difficult some day
To turn out both, or either, it may be. Some persons think that Coleridge hath the sway ;
And Wordsworth has supporters, two or three ; And that deep-mouth'd Boeotian“
Landor" Has taken for a swan rogue Southey's gander.
John eats, who was kill'd off by one critique,
Just as he really promised something great, If not intelligible, without Greek
Contrived to talk about the gods of late Much as they might have been supposed to speak.
Poor fellow ! His was an untoward fate ; 'Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle, Should let itself be snuff'd out by an article.
The list grows long of live and dead pretenders
To that which none will gain-or none will know The conqueror at least ; who, ere time renders
His last award, will have the long grass grow Above his burnt-out brain, and sapless cinders.
If I might augur, I should rate but low Their chances ;—they're too numerous, like the thirty Mock tyrants, when Rome's annals wax'd but dirty.
(DON JUAN, Canto xiv. Stanzas 1o, 11.)
I HAVE brought this world about my ears, and eke
The other; that's to say, the clergy–who
In pious libels by no means a few.
Tiring old readers, nor discovering new.
But “why then publish ?”—There are no rewards
Of fame or profit when the world grows weary. I ask in turn,—Why do you play at cards ? Why drink? Why read ?—To make some hour less
On what I've seen or ponder'd, sad or cheery ;