« ForrigeFortsett »
Oh! would thy bards but emulate thy fame,
Waste useless thousands on their Phidian freaks,
Then, hapless Britain ! be thy rulers blest, The senate's oracles, the people's jest ! Still hear thy motley orators dispense The flowers of rhetoric, though not of sense, While Canning's colleagues hate him for his wit, And old dame Portland ? fills the place of Pitt.
Thus far I 've held my undisturb'd career, Prepared for rancour, steeld 'gainst selfish fear: This thing of rhyme I ne'er disdaind to own Though not obtrusive, yet not quite unknown : My voice was heard again, though not so loud, My page, though nameless, never disavow'd ; And now at once I tear the veil away :Cheer on the pack! the quarry stands at bay, Unscared by all the din of Melbourne house, By Lambe's resentment, or by Holland's spouse, By Jeffrey's harmless pistol, Hallam's rage, Elina's brawny sons and bri:nstone page. Our men in buckram shall have blows enough, And feel they too “are penetrable stuff :" And though I hope not hence unscathed to go, Who conquers me shall find a stubborn toe. The tine hath been, when no harsh sound would fall From lips that now may seem imbued with gall; 13 Nor fools nor follies tempt me to despise The meanest thing that crawl'd beneath my eyes : But now, so callous grown, so changed since youth, I've learn'd to think, and sternly speak the truth; Learn'd to deride the critic's starch decree, And break him on the wheel he meant for me; To spurn the rod a scribbler bids me kiss, Nor care if courts and crowds applaud or hiss :
Yet once again, adieu ! ere this the sail
I With this verse the satire originally ended. ? 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 noir gathered to his grandmothers, where he sleeps as sourd as ever; but even his sleep was better than his colleagues' waking. 1811. 3 Georgia.
+ Mount Caucasus. 5 These four lines originally stood, —
" But should I back re:urn, po letter'd sa ze
Shall drag my common-place book on the stage ;
And equal him whose work he sought to mar." 6 (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 Swist's barber, have been down on my kuces to beg he would not put me into black and white.'']
i Lord Elgin would fain persuade us that all the figures, with and without noses, in his stoneshop, are the work of Phidias ! “ Credat Judæus !"
*[The original epithet was "classic." Lord Byron altered it in the fifth edition, and added this nnte:-“ Rapid,"indeed ! He topographised and typographised king Priam's dominions in three days! I called him .classic' before I saw the Troad,
but since have learned better than to tack to his name what don't belong to it.” ]
9 Mr. Gell's Topography of Troy and Ithaca cannot fail to ensure the approbation of every man possessed of classical taste, as well for the information Mr. Gell conveys to the mind of the reader, as for the ability and research the respective works display. --("Since seeing the plain of Troy, my opinions are somewhat changed as to the above note. Geil's survey was hasty and superticial." - B. 1816.)
[Shortly after his return from Greece, in 1811, Lord Byron wrote a review of Mr. (now Sir Williamn) Gell's works for the Monthly Revicw. In his Diary of 1921, there is this pase sage :- “In reading, I have just chanced upon an expression of Tom Carr.pbell's ; - speaking of Collins, he says that no reader cares any more about the characteristic manners of his eclogues than about the authenticity of the tale of Troy! 'Tis false – we do care about the authenticity of the tale of Troy.' I have stood upon that plain, daily, for more than a 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 Hobhouse and others bored me with their learned localities, and I lose quizzing. But I still venerated the grand original as the truth of history (in the material facts) and of place. Otherwise it would have given me no delight. Who will persuale me, when I reclined upon a mighty tomb; that it did not contain a hero ?- its very magnitude prored this. Men do not labour over the ignoble and petty dead:- and why should not the dead be Homer's dead 2 "]"
10 (Lord Byron set out on his travels with the determination to keep no journal. In a letter to his friend Henry Drury, when on the point of sailing, he pleasantly says.-" Hobhouse has made wounds preparations for a book on his returnione hundred pens, two gallons of japan ink, and several volumes of best blank, is no bail provision for a discerning public. I have laid down iny pen, but have promised to contribute a chapter on the state of morals, &c. &c.")
u (“Singular enough, and din enough, God knows." — B. 1816.)
12 (In this passage, luastily thrown oft as it is. “ve findi," sars Toore, " the strongest trace of that wounded feeling, which bleeds, as it were, through all his subsequeat writings.")
• Lord Valentia (whose tremendous travels are forthcom. ing, with due decorations, graphical, topographical, typographical) deposed, on Sir John Carr's unlucky sait, 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, &c.
† (From the many tours he hade, Sir John was called " The Jaunting Car.” A wickal wit having sererely lashed him in a publication, called " My Pocket Book ; or Hints for a Rrgit Verrie and Conceited Tour," he brought an action of dainages 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 Wreatis," consisting of translations from Sappho, Bion and Voschus," Old Sick, satirical story, and an edition of the Decameron of Boccaccio.)
Nay more, though all my rival rhymesters frown, vengeance will keep hot till my return. Those who know me
can testify that my motives for leaving England are very dirI too can hunt a poetaster down ;
ferent from fears, literary or personal : those wlio do not, may And, arm'd in proof, the gauntlet cast at once one day he convinced. Since the publication of this thing, my To Scotch marauder, and to southern dunce.
name has not been concealed; I have been mostly in Londoli,
ready to answer for my transgressions, and in daily expectation Thus much I 've dared ; if mny incondite lay
of sundry cartels ; but, alas ! "the age of chivalry is over," Hath wrong'd these righteous times, let others say : or, in the vulgar tongue, there is no spirit now-a-days. This, let the world, which knows not how to spare,
There is a youth ycleped Hewson Clarke (subaudi esquire),
a sizer of Emanuel College, and, I believe, a denizen of Ber. Yet rarely blames unjustly, now declare. I
wick-upon-Tweed, whom I have introduced in these pages to much better company than he has been accustomed to meet ;
he is, notwithstanding, a very sad dog, and for no reason that POSTSCRIPT TO THE SECOND EDITION.
I can discover, except a personal quarrel with a bear, kept by I Have been informed, since the present edition went to the
me at Cambridge to sit for a fellowship, and whom the jea
lousy of his Trinity contemporaries prevented from success, press, that my trusty and well-beloved cousins, the Edinburgh
has been abusing me, and, what is worse, the defenceless Reviewers, are preparing a most vehement critique on my poor, gentle, unresisting Muse, whom they have alrcady so
innocent above mentioned, in the " Satiris?," for one year and be-deviled with their ungodly ribaldry :
some months. I am utterly unconscious of having given him
any provocation ; indeed, I am guiltless of having heard his # Tantæne animis cælestibus ir.c!"
name till coupled with the “Satirist." He has therefore no
reason to complain, and I dare say that, like Sir Fretful PlaI suppose I must say of Jeffrey as Sir Andrew Aguecheek saith, " An I hul known he was so cunning of sence, I had
giary, he is rather pleased than otherwise. I have now men
tioned all who have done me the honour to notice me and seen him dannelere I had fought him." What a pity it is
mine, that is, my bear and my book, except the editor of the that I shall be leyond the Bosphorus before the next number has passed the Tweed! But I yet lope to light my pipe with
"Satirist,” who, it seems, is a gentleman - God wot! I wish
he could impart a little of his gentility to his subordinate scrih. it in Persia
blers. I hear that Mr. Jerningham is about to take up the By northern friends have accused me, with justice, of per
cudgels for his Marcenas, Lord Carlisle. I hope not: he was sonality towards their great literary anthropor:hagus, Jeffrey; but what else was to be done with him and his dirty pack, him, treated me with kindness when a boy, and whatever
one of the few, who, in the very short intercourse I had with who feed by lying and slandering," and slake their thirst by "evil speaking?" I have adduced facts already well known.
he may say or do, “pour on, I will endure." I have nothing
further to add, save a general note of thanksgiving to readers, and of Jeffrey's mind I have stateil my free opinion, nor has he thence sustained any injury; - what scavenger was ever
purchasers, and publishers; and, in the words of Scott, I wish soiled by being peltal with mud?. It may be said that I quit
" To all and each a fair good night, Englan: because I have censured there" persons of honour
And rosy dreams and slumbers light." and wit about town;" but I am coming back again, and their
Hints from Horace:
BEING AN ALLUSION IN ENGLISH VERSE TO TIIE EPISTLE “ AD PISONES, DE ARTE POETICA," AND
INTENDED AS A SEQUEL TO « EXCLISII B.ARDS AND SCOTCII REVIEWERS.
! [" The greater part of this satire I most sincerely wish had never been written – not only on account of the injustice of much of the critical, and some of the personal part of itbut the tone and temper are such as I cannot approve." BYRON. July 14, 1816. Diodati, Geneva.]
? (Authors are apt, it is said. to estimate their performances more according to the trouble they have cost themselves, than the pleasure they afford to the public; and it is only in this way that we can pretend to account for the extraordinary value which Lord Byron attached, eren many long years after they were written, to these “lints from Horace." The business of translating Horace has hitherto been a hopeless one ; - and notwithstanding the brilliant cleverness of some passages, in both Pope's and Swist's Imitations of him, there had been, on the whole, very little to encourage any one to meddle seriously even with that less difficult department. It is, comparatively, an easy affair to transfer the effect, or some
thing like the effect, of the majestic declamations of Juvenal; but the Horatian satire is cast in a mould of such exquisite delicacy - uniting perfect ease with perfect elegance through
hitherto defied all the skill of the moderns. Lord Byron, however, having composed this piece at Atbens, in 1811, and brought it home in the same desk with the two first cantos of " Childe Harold," appears to have, on his arrival in London, contemplated its publication as far more likely to increase his reputation than that of his original poem. Perhaps Milton's preference of the “ Paradise Re. gained" orcr the “ Paradise Lost" is not a more decisive ex. ample of the extent to which a great author may inistake the source of his greatness.
Lord Byron was prevented from publishing these lines, by a feeling, which, considering his high notion of their merit, does hiin honour. By accident, or nearly so, the " llarold came out before the " Hints ;"- and the reception of the Not all that forced politeness, which dcfends
Laugh'd into Lethe by some quaint Review,
Let it at least be simple and entire.
The greater portion of the rhyming tribe Poets and painters, as all artists - know,
(Give ear, my friend, for thou hast been a scribe) May shoot a little with a lengthen'd bow;
Are led astray by some peculiar lurc.
I labour to be brief - become obscure;
One falls while following clegance too fast;
Another soars, inflated with bombast;
Too low a third crawls on, afraid to fly,
He spins his subject to satiety; A labourd, long exordium, sometimes tends
Absurdly varying, he at last engraves
Fish in the woods, and boars beneath the waves ! (Like patriot speeches) but to paltry ends ; And nonsense iu a lofty note goes down
Unless your care 's exact, your judgment nice, As pertness passes with a legal gown :
The fight from folly leads but into vice ;
Like certain tailors, limited in art.
But coats must claim another artisan. 7
Now this to me, I own, seems much the same To paint a rainbow, or- the river Thames. 5
As Vulcan's feet to bear Apollo's frame 8;
Or, with a fair complexion, to expose You sketch a tree, and so perhaps may shine –
Black eyes, black ringlets, but - a bottle nose ! But daub a shipwreck like an alebouse sign; You p'an a vase - it dwindles to a pot ;
Dear authors ! suit your topics to your strength, Then glide down Grub-street — fasting and forgot ; And ponder well your subject, and its length;
Spectatum admissl risum teneatis, amici ?
Inceptis gravibus plerumque et magna prosessis
Maxima pars ratum, pater, et juvenes patre digni,
In vitium ducit culpæ fuga, si caret arte.
Sumite materiem vestris, qui scribitis, æquam
Ordinis hæc virtus erit et venus, aut ego fallor,
former was so flattering to Lord Byron, that it could scarcely fail to take off, for the time, the exige of his appetite for lite. rary bitterness. In short, he found himself mixing constantly in society with persons who had – from good sense, or good. nature, or from both-overlooked the petulancies of his “ English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," and felt, as he said, that he should be "heaping coals of fire on his head” if he were to persist in bringing forth a continuation of his juvenile lampoon. Nine years had passed ere he is found writing thus to Mr. Murray: - " Get from Mr. Hobhouse, and send ine, a proof of my · Hints from Horace :' it has now the nonum prematur in annum complete for its production. I have a notion that, with some omissions of names and passages, it will do ; and I could put my late observations for Pope amongst the notes. As far as versification goes, it is good ; and, in looking back at what I wrote about that period, I am astonished to see how little I have trained on. I wrote better then than now ; but that comes of my having fallen into the atrocious bad taste of the times." On hearing, however, that, in Mr. Hobhouse's opinion, the iambics would require “a good deal of slashing" to suit the times, the notion of printing them was once more abandoned. They were first published, therefore, in 1831, seven years after the poet's death.)
In an English newspaper, which finds its way abroad wherever there are Englishmen, I read an account of this dirty dauber's caricature of Mr. H— as a "beast," and the consequent action, &c. The circumstance is. probably, too well known to require further comment. - [The gentleman here alluded to was Thomas Hope. Esq., the author of "Ana. stasius," and one of the most munificent patrons of art this country ever possessed. Having, soineho'x, oifended an un
principled French painter, by name Dubost, that adventurer revenged himself by a picture called “ Beauty and the Beast," in which Mr. Hope and his lady were represented according to the well-known fairy story. The picture had too much malice not to succeed ; and, to the disgrace of John Bull, the exhibition of it is said to have fetched thirty pounds in a day. A brother of Mrs. Hope thrust his sword through the can. vass; and M. Dubost had the consolation to get tire pounds damages. The affuir made much noise at the time; though Mr. llope had not then placed himself on that seat of literary eminence, which he afterwards attained. Probably, indeed, no man's reputation in the world was ever so suudenly and completely altered, as his was by the appearance of his magnificent romance. He died in 1833.)
? (" Moschus."— In the original Ms., Ilobhouse.")
3 (The opening of the poem is, with reference to the original, ingenious.-MOORE.]
• ["All artists."- Originally, “ We scribblers."']
8 [" As one leg perfect, and the other lame." - MS.)
Nor lift your load, before you 're quite aware
Though as a inonarch nods, and commerce calls,
The immortal wars which gods and angels wage, Are they not shown in Milton's sacred page ? His strain will teach what numbers best belong To themes celestial told in epic song.
Let judgment teach him wisely to combine With future parts the now omitted line : This shall the author choose, or that reject, Precise in style, and cautious to select ; Nor slight applause will candid pens afford To him who furnishes a wanting word. Then fear not, if 't is needful, to produce Some term unknown, or obsolete in use, (As Pitt' has furnish'd us a word or two, Which lexicographers declined to do) So you indeed, with care, — (but be content To take this license rarely) — may invent. New words find credit in these latter days If neatly grafted on a Gallic phrase. What Chaucer, Spenser did, we scarce refusc To Dryden's or to Pope's maturer musc. If you can add a little, say why not, As well as William Pitt, and Walter Scott? Since they, by force of rhyme and force of lungs, Enrich'd our island's ill-united tongues ; 'T is then - and shall be -- lawful to present Reform in writing, as in parliament.
The slow, sad stanza will correctly paint The lover's anguish, or the friend's complaint. But which deserves the laurel — rhyme or blank ? Which holds on Helicon the higher rank ? Let squabbling critics by themselves dispute This point, as puzzling as a Chancery suit.
Satiric rhyme first sprang from selfish spleen. You doubt - see Dryden, Pope, St. Patrick's dean. 3
As forests shed their foliage by degrees, So fade expressions which in season please ; And we and ours, alas ! are due to fate, And works and words but dwindle to a datc.
Blank verse + is now, with one consent, allied To Tragedy, and rarely quits her side. Though mad Almanzor rhymed in Dryden's days, No sing-song hero rants in modern plays; While modest Comedy er verse foregoes For jest and pun
very middling prose.
Ut jam nunc dicat, jam nunc debentia dici Pleraque differat, et præsens in tempus omittat; Hoc amet, hoc spernat promissi carininis auctor.
In verbis etiam tenuis cautusque serendis: Dixeris egregie, notum si callida verbum Reddiderit junctura novum.
Si forte necesse est Indiciis monstrare recentibus abdita reruin, Fingere cinctutis non exaudita Cethegis Continget ; dabiturque licentia sumpta pudenter; Et nora fictaque nuper habebunt verba fidem, si Græco fonte cadant. parce detorta. Quid autem Cæcilio Plautoque dahit Romanus, ademptum Virgilio Varioque ? ego cur, acquirere pauca Si possum, invideor, cum lingua Catonis et Enni Sermonem patrium ditaverit, et nova rerum Nomina protulerit ? Licuit, semperque licebit, Signatum præsente nota producere nomen.
Ut silvæ foliis pronos mutantur in annos; Prima cadunt,: ita verborum vetus interit ætas, Et juvenum ritu florent modo nata, vigentque. Debemur morti nos nostraque: sive receptus Terra Neptunus classes aquilonibus arcet,
Regis opus ; sterilisvc diu palus, aptaque remis,
Res gestæ regumque ducumque et tristia bella,
Versibus impariter junctis querimonia primum ; Post etiam inclusa est voti sententia compos. Quis tamen exiguos elegos emiserit auctor, Grammatici certant, et adhuc sub judice lis est.
rchilochum proprio rabies armavit iambo ; Hunc socci cepere pedem, grandesque cothurni, Alternis aptum sermonibus, et populares Vincentem strepitus, et natum rebus agendis.
Musa dedit fidibus divos, puerosque deorum, Et pugilcm victorem, et equum certamine primum, Et juvenum curas, et libera vina referre.
Descriptas cervare vices operumque colores,
i Mr. Pitt was liberal in his additions to our parliamentary tongue; as may be seen in many publications, particularly the Edinburgh Review.
? Old ballads, old plays, and old women's stories are at present in as inuch request as old wine or new sperches. In fact, this is the millennium of black letter: thanks to our Hebers, Webers, and Scotts !-(There was considerable malice in thus putting Weber, a poor German hack, a mere amanuensis of Sir Walter Scott, between the two other names.)
3" Mac Flecknoe," the “ Dunciad," and all Swirl's lampooning ballads. Whatever their other works may be, these originated in personal feelings, and angry retort on unworthy rivals; and though the ability of these satires elevates the poetical, their poignancy detracts from the personal character of the writers. - (For particulars of Dryden's feud with his successor in the laureateship, Shadwell, whom he has immor. talised under the name of Mac Flecknoe, and also as Og, in the second part of “ Absalom and Achitophel ;" and for the litcrary squabbles in which Swist and Pope were engaged, the reader must turn to the lives and works of these three great writers. See also Mr. D'Israeli's painfully interesting book on “ The Quarrels of Authors.")
* (Like Dr.Johnson, Lord Byron maintained the excellence of rhyme over blank verse in English poetry. “Blank verse," he says in his long lost letter to the editor of Blackwood's Magazine, “unless in the drama, no one except Milton ever wrote who could rhyme. I am aware that Johnson has said, after some hesitation, that he could not prevail upon himself to wish that Milton had been a rhymer.' The opinions of that truly great man, whom, like Pope, it is the present fashion to decry, will ever be received by me with that deler. ence which time will restore to him from all ; but, with all humility, I am not persuaded that the Paradise Lost' would not have been more nobly conveyed to posterity, not perhaps in hieroic couplets, -although even they could sus. tain the subject, if well balanced, — but in the stanza of Spenser, or of Tasso, or in the terza rima of Dante, which the powers of Milton could easily have granted on our lan. guage. The Seasons' of Thomson would have been better in rhyme, although still interior to his · Castle of Indolence;' and Mr. Southey's 'Joan of Arc'no worse.")
5 With all the vulgar applause and critical abhorrence of puns, they have Aristotle on their side; who permits them to orators and gives them consequence by a grave disquisition.
Cur ego, si nequeo ignoroque, poeta salutor ?
Versibus exponi tragicis res comica non rult;
Non satis est pulchra esse poemata ; dulcia sunto, Et, quocunque solent, animum auditoris agunto. Ut ridentibus arrident, ita fentibus adflent Humani vultus : si vis me dere, dolendum est Primum ipsi tibi ; tunc tua ine infortunia lædent. Telephe, vel Peleu, male si mandata loqueris, Aut dormitado, aut ridebo: tristia mæstum Vultum verba decent ; iratum, plena minarum; Ludentem, lasciva ; severum, seria dictu. Format enim natura prius uos intus ad omnem
Fortunarum habitum : juvat, aut impollit ad iram ;
Intererit muituin, Davusne loquatur, an heros; Maturusne senex, an adhuc torente juventa Fervidus ; an matrona potens, an sedula nutrix; Mercatorne vagus, cultorne virentis agelli ; Colchus, an Assyrius; Thebis nutritus, an Argis.
Aut famam sequere, aut sibi convenientia finge, Scriptor. Honoratum si forte reponis Achillcm ; Impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer, Jura neget sibi nata, nihil non arroget armis. Sit Medea ferox invictaque, flebilis Ino, Perfidus Ixion, lo vaga, tristis Orestes, Si quid inexpertum scenæ committis, et audes Personam formare novain ; servetur ad imum Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet.
Dithicile est proprie communia diccre *; tuque Rectius Iliacum carmen deducis in actus, Quam si proferres ignota indictaque prinius.
(" Cicero also,” says Addison, " has sprinkled several of his irorks with them ; and, in his book on Oratory, quotes abundance of savings as pieces of wit, which, upon examina. tion, prove arrant puns. But the age in which the pun chiefly flourished was in the reign of James the First, who wizs himself a tolerable punster, and made very few bishops or priry councillors that had not some time or other signalised themselves by a clinch or a conundrum. The sermons of Bishop Andrews, and the tragedies of Shakspeare, are full of them. The sinner was punned into repentance by the former ; as in the latter, nothing is more usual than to see a hero weeping and quibbling for a dozen lines together.")
" [In Vanbrugh's comedy of the “ Proroked Husband.") ? "And in his car I'll hollo Mortimer !" – 1 Henry IV.
("Johnson. Pray, Sr. Bares, who is that Drawcansir ? Bayes. Why, Sir, a great hero, that frights his mistress, snubs up kings, bares armics, and does what he will, without regard to numbers, good sense, or justice." -- Rehearsal.)
“ Difficile est proprie communia dicere." - Mde. Dacier, Mde. de Sévigné, Boileau, and others, have left their dispute on the meaning of this passage in a tract considerably longer than the poem of Horace. It is printed at the close of the cleventh volume of Viadame de Sévigne's Letters, edited by Grouvelle, Paris, 1806. Presuming that all who can construe may venture an opinion on such subjects, particularly as so many who can not have taken the same liberty, I should have held my " farthing candle" as awkwardly as another, had not my respect for the wits of Louis the Fourteerth's Augustan siécle induced me to subjoin these illustrious authorities. Ist, Boileau : "Il est ditficile de traiter des sujets qui sont à la portée de tout le monde d'une manière qui vous les rende propres, ce qui s'appelle s'approprier un sujet par le tour qu'on y donne." 2dly, Batteux : Mais il est bien difficile da donner des traits propres et individuels aux étres purement possibles." 3dly, Dacier : "Il est difficile de traiter convenablement ces caractères que tout le monde peut insenter." Mde. de Sévigné's opinion and translation, consisting of some thirty pages, I omit, particularly as M. Grourelle obserres, " La chose est Licn remarquable, aucune de ces diverses in.