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Than that which now across the clotted perch
Crookens the claw and screams for court and church.
What is the church to them? or what the court?
Think ye they care one grain of millet for't?
To such the trembling verse-boy brings his task, Of such the one-spurr'd critick begs to ask, Hath Sheffield's glorious son* the genuine vein? Did Paracelsus+ spring from poet's brain? When all expect it, yes will never do,
The cautious and the business-like say no.
* The Corn-law Rhymer, as he condescends to style himself, has written sonnets, which may be ranked among the noblest in our language.
+ Paracelsus has found a critick capable of appreciating him. It is not often that the generous are so judicious, nor always that the judicious are so generous.
Criticks and maidens should not smile too fast;
A yes, though drawl'd out faintly, comes at last.
Well; you have seen our Prosperos, at whose beck Our ship, with all her royalty, is wreck.
From sire to son descends the wizard book
That works such marvels.
Look behind you! look!
There issue from the Treasury, dull and dry as
Brighter and braver Peter Pindar started,
And ranged around him all the lighter-hearted.
Up from his hole sprang Peter Porcupine.
* "As near the dirt," &c.-The professor, if not Horatian in his,art, is perfectly so in his opinion, exprest by the poet in the verse
"Nec latuit malè qui vivens moriensque fefellit."
Walcot, of English heart, had English pen,
Nor, plumed and mounted on Professor's chair,
Who would not join the joke when hands like these
Lead proudly forward Alcibiades,
Train'd up to fashion by the Nymphs of Leith,
And whiffing his cigar through cheesy teeth.
He surely is as wise as any
Who cheats the world and turns the penny;
And if he does it all life thro
'Tis more than most wise men can do.
It must be acknowledged that some commentators have given the passage a different interpretation.
The learned professor is an important contributor to Blackwood, especially in those graces of delicate wit so attractive to his subscribers. Nevertheless, Lord Byron, who was not quite susceptible of it, declared that "a gentleman could not write in Blackwood." Has this assertion been ever disproved by experiment? If a gentleman could not write in it, why should a gentleman be accused of reading it? Could anything be more unjust or affronting ?
Honester men and wiser, you will say,
Unhurt? for spite? for pay?
Their courteous soldiership, outshining ours,
Mounted the engine, and took aim from tow'rs.
Pope pleas'd alike the playful and severe.
But cowers beneath his bugle-blast for Charles.*
Many have ridiculed, and with no little justice, the pompous diction of Johnson on ordinary occasions; and some have attempted to depreciate his imitations of Juvenal. But among our clippers and sweaters of sterling coin, not one will ever write such vigorous verses as those on Charles the Twelfth, or such vigorous prose as the Lives of Savage and Dryden.
From Vanity and London far removed,*
With that pure Spirit his pure spirit loved,
Churchmen have chaunted satire, and the pews
* Wide indeed is the difference between the manner of Cowper and Johnson. Cowper is often witty, light, and playful; Johnson never. Neither he nor Juvenal are to be called satirists, but acute rhetoricians and animated declaimers.
Although it cannot be said of Satire,
yet the smile is habitual to her countenance.
If her laces
are now and then loosened, it is not that she may give vent to her anger, energy to her action, or display and grandiloquence to her moral sentences. She has little to do with Philosophy, less with Rhetorick, and nothing with the Furies.