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The Grasmere cuckoo leaves those sylvan scenes,
Now Wordsworth ! lest we never meet again, Write, on the prose-side tablet of thy brain, A worldly counsel to a worldly mind, And grow less captious if thou grow less kind. Leave Moore, sad torturer of the virgin breast, One lyre for beauty, one for the opprest: Leave Campbell Wyoming's deserted farms And Hohenlinden's trumpet-tongued alarms. Permit us to be pleas’d, or even to please, And try at other strains than such as these. ..
“ I do assert it boldly, 'tis a shame “ To honor Dryden with a poet's name.
“ What in the name of goodness can we hope
Pity, they flirt so flippant with the pen !
Any two stanzas here are worth 'em all.. “ So let your Privy Council give the wall. “ Göethe may be a baron or a graf, “ Call him a poet, and you make me laugh: “ Either my judgement is entirely lost or “ Never was there so cursed an impostor."*
“ Impostor" was the expression. Two thousand years and more had elapsed, and nothing like the pure Grecian had appeared in the world until the Iphigeneia of Goethe, excepting a few verses of Catullus and Horace. We English had indeed somewhat more than an Peace to the soother of Orestes ! peace
To the first Spirit that awoke on Greece !
equivalent in Shakspeare and Milton; the Italians in Dante but the Iphigeneia is fairly worth all the poetry of the Conti nent since the Divina Comedia.
* “ Chateaubriant's sand.”—Whenever we enter into another treaty with France, let a clause be inserted against the reduction of English poetry to French.
Our occasional laugh, however hearty, is a poor compensation to the unhappy poets in hot water.
The most racy of the French is now living in the midst of them, Beranger: otherwise, for purity, simplicity, and pathos, they must turn over two whole centuries, full of mummies in periwigs, distortions, and distillations.
But massier things and loftier here and there
Tho' Southey's poetry to thee should seem Not worth five shillings (such thy phrase)* the ream, Courage! good wary Wordsworth! and disburse The whole amount from that prudential purse.
* So long as this was oral, and merely oral, however widely disseminated and studiously repeated, it was discreet tu leave it uncastigated; now it has found its way into print; a thing inevitable, sooner or later.
Nevertheless he has thought worse poetry, if not worth five shillings, nor thanks, nor acknowledgment, yet worth borrowing and putting on.
The author of Gebir never lamented when he believed it lost, and never complained when he saw it neglected, Southey and Forster have now given it a place, whence men of lower stature are in vain on tiptoe to take it down. It would have been honester and more decorous if the writer of the following verses had mentioned from what bar he drew his wire. Here they are both.
Here, take my word, 'tis neither shame nor sin
It hath its weight and precious substance still.
Of inland ground, applying to his ear
ExcuRSION, p. 191.
But I have sinuous shells of pearly hue