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To him let Camoens, Milton, Tasso, yield,
Whose annual strains, like armies, take the field.
First in the ranks see Joan of Arc advance,
The scourge of England, and the boast of France ! 200
Though burnt by wicked BedFORD for a witch,
Behold her statue placed in Glory's niche;
Her fetters burst, and just released from prison,
A virgin Phønix from her ashes risen.'
Next see tremendous Thalaba come on *,
Arabia's monstrous, wild, and wond'rous son;
Domdaniel's dread destroyer, who o'erthrew
More mad magicians than the world e'er knew..
Immortal Hero ! all thy foes o'ercome,
For ever reign--the rival of Tom Thumb! 210

* Thalaba, Mr. SOUTHEY's second poem, is written in open defiance of precedent and poetry. Mr. S. wished to produce something novel, and succeeded to a miracle. Joan of Arc was marvellous enough, but Thalaba was one of those poems “ which, in the words of Porson, will be read when Homer and Virgil are forgotten, but-not till then."

Since startled mètre fled before thy face,
Well wert thou doomed the last of all thy race!
Well might triumphant Genii bear thee hence,
Illustrious conqueror of common sense !

Now, last and greatest, Madoc spreads his sails,
Cacique in Mexico, and Prince in Wales;

Tells us strange tales, as other travellers do,
More old than Mandevilles, and not so true.
Oh! SOUTHEY, SOUTHEY* ! cease thy varied song!
A Bard may chaunt too often and too long : 220

As thou art strong in verse, in mercy spare !

A fourth, alas ! were more than we could bear.

* We beg Mr. SOUTHEY's pardon : “ Madoc disdains the degraded title of Epic.” See his preface. Why is Epic degraded ? and by whom? Certainly the late Romaunts of Masters COTTLE, Laureat Pye, Ogilvy, Hole, and gentle Mistress COWLEY, have not exalted the Epic Muse, but as Mr. SOUTHEY's poem,“ disdains the appellation," allow us to ask-has he substituted any thing better in its stead ? or must he be content to rival Sir Richard BLACKMORE, in the quantity as well as quality of his verse ?

But if, in spite of all the world can say,
Thou still wilt verseward plod thy weary way;
If still in Berkley Ballads most uncivil,
Thou wilt devote old women to the devil*,
The babe unborn thy dread intent may rue :
“ God help thee," Souther, and thy readers

toot.

Next comes the dull disciple of thy school,
That mild a postate from poetic rule,
The simple WORDSWORTH, framer of a lay

230

As soft as eyening in his favourite May,

* See, The Old Woman of Berkley, a Ballad by Mr. SOUTHEY, wherein an aged gentlewoman is carried away by Beelzebub, on a “ high trotting horse."

+ The last line, “God help thee,” is an evident plagiarism from the Anti-jacobin to Mr. SOUTHEY, on his Dactylics :

“God help thee silly one.”—Poetry of the Anti-jacobin, page 23.

Who warns his friend “ to shake off toil and trou

ble,

And quit his books for fear of growing double*;"

Who, both by precept and example, shows

That prose is verse, and verse is merely prose,

Convincing all by demonstration plain,
Poetic souls delight in prose insane ;
And Christmas stories tortured into rhyme,
Contain the essence of the true sublime :

240

Thus when he tells the tale of Betty Foy,

The idiot mother of “ an idiot Boy;"

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A moon-struck silly lad who lost his way,
And, like his bard, confounded night with day*,
So close on each pathetic part he dwells,
And each adventure so sublimely tells,
That all who view the “idiot in his glory,"
Conceive the Bard the hero of the story.

Shall gentle COLERIDGE pass unnoticed here, To turgid ode, and tumid stanza dear?

250

Though themes of innocence amuse him best,

Yet still obscurity's a welcome guest.

* Mr. W. in his preface labours hard to prove that prose and verse are much the same, and certainly his precepts and practice are strictly conformable.

“ And thus to Betty's question he
“Made answer, like a traveller bold,
“ The cock did crow to-whoo, to-whoo.
« And the sun did shine so cold, &c. &c.”

Lyrical Ballads, page 129.

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