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A mind well skilled to find or forge a fault,
Shrink not from blasphemy, 'twill pass for wit;
Care not for feeling-pass your proper jest,
And shall we own such judgment ? no-as soon
* Messrs. JEFFREY and LAMB are the Alpha and Omega, the first and last of the Edinburgh Review ; the others are mentioned hereafter.
To these young tyrants*, by themselves misplaced, Combined usurpers on the Throne of Taste;
To these when Authors bend in humble awe
But yet so near all modern worthies run,
+ Then should you ask me, why I venture o'er The path, which Pope and Gifford trod before ?
* “ Stulta est Clementia, cum tot ubique
Juvenal, Sat. 1.
If not yet sickened, you can still proceed;
Time was, ere yet in these degenerate days Ignoble themes obtained mistaken praise, When Sense and Wit with Poesy allied, No fabled Graces, flourished side by side, 100 From the same fount their inspiration drew, And, reared by Taste, bloomed fairer as they grew. Then, in this happy Isle, a Pope's pure strain Sought the rapt soul to charın, nor sought in vain ; A polished nation's praise aspired to claim, And rais'd the people's, as the poet's fame. Like him great DRYDEN poured the tide of song, In stream less smooth, indeed, yet doubly strong. Then CONGREVE's scenes could cheer, or OTWAY'S
melt; For Nature then an English audience felt- 110
But why these names, or greater still, retrace,
When taste and reason with those times are past.
Now look around, and turn each trifling page,
While Southey's Epics cram the creaking shelves, And Little's Lyrics shine in hot-pressed twelves.
Thus saith the Preacher*; “nought beneath the
Is new,” yet still from change to change we run,
. . Ecclesiastes, Cap. I.
In turns appear to make the vulgar stare
Nor less new schools of poetry arise,
* STUTT, better known in the “Morning Post” by the name of Hafiz. This personage is at present the most profound explorer of the Bathos. I remember, when the reigning family left Portugal, a special ode of Master Stort's beginning thus :
(Stott loquitur quoad Hibernia.) “ Princely offspring of Braganza
“ Erin greets thee with a Stanza,” &c. &c. Also a sonnet to Rats, well worthy of the subject, and a most thundering ode, commencing as follows :
“ Oh! for a Lay! loud as the surge
“ That lashes Lapland's sounding shore." Lord have mercy on us ! the “ Lay of the last Minstrel” was nothing to this,