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This chief came smirking onward, that lookt arch,
But both retreated to the old Rogue's March :
And if, with broken head and bag-pipe lost,
It should be stil the tune they like the most,
There is a reason, were it safe to tell...
Some who fight poorly, plunder pretty well.
Byron was not all Byron; one small part
Bore the impression of a human heart.
Guided by no clear love-star's panting light
Thro the sharp surges of a northern night,
In Satire's narrow strait he swam the best,
Scattering the foam that hist about his breast.
He, who might else have been more tender, first From Scottish saltness caught his rabid thirst.
“ I think I've heard of him."
Shelley stands foremost.”
And his lip was blue.
“ I hear with pleasure any one commend
So good a soul ; for Shelley is my friend."
One leaf from Southey’s laurel made explode
“ An ass! by God!" Who yet surmounted in romantick Spain Highths our brisk courser never could attain.
I lagged; he call’d me; urgent to prolong
My matin chirpings into mellower song.
Mournfuller tones came then.. O ne'er be they
Drown’d in night howlings from the Forth and Spey!
Twice is almighty Homer far above
Troy and her towers, Olympus and his Jove.
First, when the God-led Priam bends before
Him sprung from Thetis, dark with Hector's gore:
A second time, when both alike have bled,
And Agamemnon speaks among the dead.
Calld up by Genius in an after-age,
That awful spectre shook the Athenian stage.
From eve to morn, from morn to parting night,
Father and daughter stood before my sight.
I felt the looks they gave, the words they said,
And reconducted each serener shade.
Ever shall these to me be well-spent days,
Sweet fell the tears upon them, sweet the praise.
Far from the footstool of the tragick throne,
I am tragedian in this scene alone.
Station the Greek and Briton side by side, *
And, if derision is deserv'd, deride.
* “ Station the Greek and Briton side by side.” Surely there can be no fairer method of overturning an offensive reputation, from which the scaffolding is not yet taken down, than by placing against it the best passages, and most nearly parallel in the subject, from Eschylus and Sophocles. To this labour the whole body of Scotch criticks and poets are hereby invited, and moreover to add the ornaments of trans. lation.
Shew me a genuine poet* of our times
Unwrung with strictures or ungall’d with rhymes.
The strong are rowell'd, while the dull stand still,
And those who feed on thistles feed their fill.
On our wide downs there have been, and there are,
Such as indignant Justice should not spare.
Under my wrist ne'er shall her whip be crackt
Where poet leaves a poet's fame intact.
When from their rocks and mountains they descend
To tear the stranger or to pluck the friend,
I spring between them and their hoped-for prey
And whoop them from the fiendish feast away.
Come, if you hate tame vultures, if
The hencoop daws that never see the sun,
* It appears to be at Edinburgh as I remember it was at Oxford. The bargemen usually made choice of some welldrest gownsman for their attacks: scouts and servitors went scot-free: to quarrel with them did not answer.
Come into purer air, where lake and hill
With wholesome breath the heaving bosom fill.
Whom seek we there? alas! we seek in vain
The gentle breast amid the gentle strain.
knock where Self hath most to do, Knock at the freshman's in his first Review,
At under-secretary Stanley's too..
Ion came forth, the generous, brave, and wise,
And tears stood tingling in unwonted eyes.
The proud policeman strain'd each harden'd ball
Round as a fishes, lest a drop should fall.
The exciseman from Gravesend, the steamer's clerk,
The usurer, the bencher, cried out “ Hark!"
Dundas had fear'd his brazen brow might melt,
Pitt almost fainted, Melbourne almost felt..
Amid the mighty storm that swelld around,
Wordsworth was calm, and bravely stood his ground.
No more on daisies and on pilewort fed,
By weary Duddon's ever tumbled bed,