Изображения страниц
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

There wanted but this requisite to swell

His qualities(with them) into subline: Lady Fitz-Frisky, and Miss Mævia Man

nish, Both long'd extremely to be sung in

Spanish. However, he did pretty well, and was

Admitted as an aspirant to all The coteries, and, as in Banquo's glass,

At great assemblies or in parties small, He saw ten thousand living authors pass, That being about their average num

eral ; Also the eighty "greatest living poets,” As every paltry magazine can show it's. In twice five years the “ greatest living

poet.' Like to the champion fisty in the ring, Is call'd on to support his claim, or show

it, Although it is an imaginary thing. Even I-albeit I'm sure I did not know it, Nor sought of foolscap subjects to be

king: Was reckon'd a considerable time, The grand Napoleon of the realms of

rhyme. 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 : But I will fall at least as fell my hero ;

Nor reign at all, or as a monarch reign ; Or to some lonely isle of gaolers go, With turncoat Southey for my turnkey


Yields him but vinegar for his reward,That neutralized dull Dorus of the

Nine ; That swarthy Sporus, neither man nor

bard; That ox of verse, who ploughs for every

line: Cambyses' roaring Romans beat at least The howling Hebrews of Cybele's

priest. 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 “Sav

age Landor” Has taken for a swan rogue Southey's



John Keats, 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; 'T is strange the mind, that very fiery

particle, Should let itself be snuff’d out by an


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 : And Pegasus has a psalmodic amble Beneath the very Reverend Rowley

Powley, Who shoes the glorious animal with

The list grows long of live and dead pre

tenders To that which none will gain--or none

will know The conqueror at least; who, ere Tinie

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 All kinds of toil, save for our country's

stilts, A modern Ancient Pisto -- by these

ts!Still he excels that artificial hard Laborer in the sa'ne vineyard, though.

the vine

1 Barry Cornwall, once called "a moral Byron." * The entirely mistaken idea that Keais' decline and death were due to the severe criticism on his Endymion in the Quarterly Review, was shared by Shelley, and waz generally prevaleut until the publication of Milnes' Life of Keats: See A. Buxton Forman's edition of Keats' Works, Vol. IV., pp. 225-272, and Colvin's Life of Keats. np 124 and 208.

goodWhich grows no better, though 't is time

it should.

[ocr errors]

Their chances ;--they 're too numerous,

like the thirty Mock tyrants, when Rome's annals wax'd

but dirty. This is the literary lower empire, Where the prætorian bands take up

the matter ;A “ dreadful trade,” like his who“ ga

thers samphire," The insolent soldiery to soothe and

flatter, With the same feelings as you'd coax a

vampire. Now, were I once at home, and in

good satire, I'd try conclusions with those Janizaries, And show them what an intellectual

war is. I think I know a trick or two, would

turn Their flanks ;-but it is hardly worth

my while With such small gear to give myself

Indeed I've not the necessary bile; My natural temper 's really aught but

stern, And even my Muse's worst reproof 's a

smile; And then she drops a brief and modern

curtsy, And glides away, assured she never

His afternoons he pass'd in visits, lunch

eons, Lounging, and boxing ; and the twi.

light hour In riding round those vegetable punch

eons Calid “ Parks," where there is neither


fruit nor flower Enough to gratify a bee's slight munch

ings; But after all it is the only " bower" (In Moore's phrase) where the fashion

able fair Can form a slight acquaintance with

fresh air,

concern :

Then dress, then dinner, then awakes the

world ! Then glare the lamps, then whirl the

wheels, then roar Through street and square fast flashing

chariots hurl'd Like harness'd meteors ; then along

the floor Chalk mimics painting ; then festoons

are twirld; Then roll the brazen thunders of the

door, Which opens to the thousand happy few An earthly Paradise of “ Or Molu.

hurts ye.

My Juan, whom I left in deadly peril Amongst live poets and blue ladies,

pass'd With some small profit through that

field so sterile, Being tired in time, and neither least

nor last, Left it before he had been treated very And henceforth found himself more

gaily classid Ainongst the higher spirits of the day, The sun's true son, no vapor, but a ray. His morns he pass'd in business—which

dissected, Was like all business, a laborious noth

ing That leads to lassitude, the most infected And Centaur Nessus garb of mortal

clothing, And on our sofas makes us lie dejected, And talk in tender horrors of our


There stands the noble hostess, nor shall

sink With the three-thousandth curtsy ;

there the waltz, The only dance which teaches girls to

think, Makes one in love even with its very

faults. Saloon, room, hall, o'erflow beyond their

brink, And long the latest of arrivals halts, Midst royal dukes and dames condemn'd

to climb, And gain an inch of staircase at a time.



Thrice happy he who, after a survey

Of the good company, can win a corner, A door that's in or boudoir out of the

way, Where he may fix himself like small

" Jack Horner,” And let the Babel round run as it may,

And look on as a mourner, or a scorner

[blocks in formation]

Or an approver, or a mere spectator, Yawning a little as the night grows later. But this won't do, save by and by; and he

> Who, like Don Juan, takes an active

share, Must steer with care through all that

glittering sea Of gems and plumes and pearls and

silks, to where He deems it is his proper place to be ; Dissolving in the waltz to some soft

air, Or prouillier prancing with mercurial

skill, Where Science marshals forth her own

quadrille. Or, if he dance not, but hath higher

views Upon an heiress or his neighbor's

bride, Let him take care that that which he

pursues Is not at once too palpably descried. Full many an eager gentleman oft rues His baste; impatience is a blundering

guide, Amongst a people famous for reflection, Who like to play the fool with circum

spection. But, if you can contrive, get next at

supper ; Or if forestall’d, get opposite and

ogle : Oh, ve ambrosial moments ! always

upper In mind, a sort of sentimental bogle, Which sits for ever upon memory's

crupper, The ghost of vanish'd pleasures once in

vogue ! Ill Can tender sonls relate the rise and fall Of hopes and fears which shake a single

ball. But these precautionary hints can touch Only the cominon run, who must

pursue, And watch, and ward ; whose plans a

word too much Or little overturns ; and not the few Or many (for the number is sometimes

such) Whom a good mien, especially if new, Or fame, or panie, for wit, war, sense,

or nonsense, Permits whate'er they please, or did not

long since.

They are young: but know not youth

it is anticipated ; Handsome but wasted, rich without

a sou; Their vigor in a thousand arins is

dissipated; Their cash comes from, their wealth

goes to a Jew; Both senates see their nightly votes par

ticipated Between the tyrant's and the tribunes'

crew : And having voted, dined, drank, gamed,

and whored, The family vault receives another lord.

But“carpe diem," Juan, “carpe.carpe !''

To-morrow sees another race as gay And transient and devour'd by the same

harpy. “Life's a poor player,”-then “play

out the play, Ye villains !” and above all keep a sharp

eyo Much less on what you do tlian what

you say : Be hypocritical, be cautious, he Not what you seem, but always what

you sce,

But how shall I relate in other cantos

Of what befell our hero in the land, Which 'tis the common cry and lie to

vaunt as A moral country? But I hold my

handFor I disdain to write an Atalantis ;

But 'lis as well at once to understand You are not a moral people, and you

know it Without the aid of too sincere a poet.

What Juan saw and underwent shall be My topic, with of course the due re

striction Which is required by proper courtesy ;

And recollect the work is only fiction, And that I sing of neither mine nor me, Though every scribe, in some slight turn of diction,

[doubt Will hint allusions never meant. 'Ne'et This—when I speak, I don't hint, but

speak out. Whether he married with the third or

fourth Offspring of some sage husband-hunting countess,

(worth Or whether with some virgin of more (I mean in Fortune's matrimonial

bounties) He took to regularly peopling Earth Of which your lawful, awful wedlock

fount is,Or whether he was taken in for damages,

{ages,For being too excursive in his lioinIs yet within the unread events of time. Thus far, go forth, thou lay, which I

will back Against the same given quantity of rhyme,

(tack For being as much the subject of atAs ever yet was any work sublime, By those who love to say that white is

black. So much the better !-I may stand alone, But would not change my free thoughts

for a throne. Canto XI. 1822-1823. August 29, 1823.

PREFACE It hath been wisely said, that “One fool makes many;" and it hath been poetically observed

“ That fools rush in where angels fear to tread."-POPE. If Mr. Southey had not rushed in where he had no business, and where he never was before and never will be again, the following poem would not have been written. It is not impossi. ble that it may be as good as his own, seeing that it cannot, by any species of stupidity, natu ral or acquired, be worse. The gross dattery, the dull impudence, the renegado intolerance, and impious cant, of the poem by the author of “ Wat Tyler," are something so stupendous as to form the sublime of himself-containing the quintessence of his own attributes.

So much for his poem--a word on his preface. In this preface it has pleased the magnanimous Laureate to draw the picture of a supposed “Satanic School," the which he doth recom. mend to the notice of the legislature; thereby adding to his other laurels the ambition of those of an informer. If there exists anywhere ex. cept in his imagination, such a School, is he not sufficiently armed against it by his own intense vanity! The truth is, that there are certain writers whom Mr. S. imagines, like Scrub, to have "talked of him ; for they laughed consumedly."

I think I know enough of most of the writers to whom he is supposed to allude, to assert, that they, in their individual capacities, lave done more good, in the charities of life, to their fel. low-creatures, in any one year, than Mr. Southey has done harm to himself by his absurdities in his whole life : and this is saying a great deal. But I have a few questions to ask..

1stly, Is Mr. Southey the author of " Wat Tyler"!

2ndly, Was he not refused a remedy at law by the highest judge of his beloved England, be. cause it was a blasphemous and seditious public cation ?

3dly, Was he not entitled by William Smith, in fuil parliament, "a rancorous renegado !"

4thly, Is he not poet laureate, with his own lines on Martin the regicide staring him in the face ?

And, 5thly, Putting the four preceding items together, with what conscience dare he call the attention of the laws to the publications of others, be they what they may ?

I say nothing of the cowardlice of such a proceeding, its meanness speaks for itself; but I wish to touch upon the motive, which is neither more nor less than that Mr. S. has been laughed at a little in some recent publications, as he was of yore in the “ Anti-Jacobin," by his present patrons. Hence all this "skimble-scamble stuff about “ Satanic," and so forth. However it is worthy of him-" qualis ab incepto."

If there is anything obnoxious to the political opinions of a portion of the public in the follow: ing poem, they may thank Mr. Southey. He might have written hexameters, as he has writ ten everything else, for aught that the writer cared--had they been upon another subject. But to attempt to canonize a monarch, who, whatever were his household virtues, neither a successful nor a patriot king,-inasmuch as several years of his reign passed in war with America and Irelanıl. to say nothing of the aggression upon France.--like all other exaggeration, necessarily begets opposition. In what. ever manner he may be spoken of in this new






A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel ! I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.”


Southey published in 1821 a poem called "A Vision of Judgmeut," in which he extolled George III. for his personal virtues, and described his reception into heaven. In the Pref. ace of this poem he bitterly attacked Byron for immorality in his writings. See full accounts of the affair in the biographies of Byron and Southey: The briefest and best treatment of it is in Nichol's Life of Byron, toward the end of Chapter VIII.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »