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Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen,
That mighty instrument of little men!
The pen foredoomed to aid the mental throes
Of brains that labor, big with verse or prose,
Though nymphs forsake, and critics may deride
The lover's solace, and the author's pride.
What wits! what poets dost thou daily raise !
How frequent is thy use, how small thy praise!
Condemned at length to be forgotten quite,
With all the pages which 't was thine to write.
But thou, at least, mine own especial pen!
Once laid aside, but now assumed again,
Our task complete, like Hamet's* shall be free;
Though spurned by others, yet beloved by me:
Then let us soar to-day; no common theme,
No eastern vision, no distempered dream †

Inspires our path, though full of thorns, is plain; Smooth be the verse, and easy be the strain.

When Vice triumphant holds her sovereign sway, Obeyed by all who nought beside obey; When Folly, frequent harbinger of crime, Bedecks her cap with bells of every clime; When knaves and fools combined o'er all prevail, And weigh their justice in a golden scale;

* Cid Hamet Benengeli promises repose to his pen, in the last chapter of Don Quixote. Oh! that our voluminous gentry would follow the example of Cid Hamet Benengeli.

t["This must have been written in the spirit of prophecy." -Byron, 1816.]

E'en then the boldest start from public sneers,
Afraid of shame, unknown to other fears,
More darkly sin, by satire kept in awe,

And shrink from ridicule, though not from law.

Such is the force of wit! but not belong
To me the arrows of satiric song;
The royal vices of our age demand
A keener weapon, and a mightier hand.
Still there are follies, e'en for me to chase,
And yield at least amusement in the race:
Laugh when I laugh, I seek no other fame;
The cry is up, and scribblers are my game.
Speed, Pegasus!-ye strains of great and small,
Ode, epic, elegy, have at you all!

I too can scrawl, and once upon a time
I poured along the town a flood of rhyme,
A schoolboy freak, unworthy praise or blame;
I printed — older children do the same.
'Tis pleasant, sure, to see one's name in print;
A book's a book, although there's nothing in 't.
Not that a title's sounding charm can save
Or scrawl or scribbler from an equal grave:
This Lambe must own, since his patrician name
Failed to preserve the spurious farce from shame.*
No matter, George continues still to write,†
Though now the name is veiled from public sight.

* This ingenious youth is mentioned more particularly, with his production, in another place.

† In the Edinburgh Review. -["He's a very good fellow;

Moved by the great example, I pursue

The self-same road, but make my own review:
Not seek great Jeffrey's, yet, like him, will be
Self-constituted judge of poesy.

A man must serve his time to every trade
Save censure — critics all are ready made.
Take hackneyed jokes from Miller, got by rote,
With just enough of learning to misquote;
A mind well skilled to find or forge a fault;
A turn for punning, call it Attic salt;
To Jeffrey go, be silent and discreet,
His pay is just ten sterling pounds per sheet:
Fear not to lie, 't will seem a sharper hit;

Shrink not from blasphemy, 't will pass for wit;
Care not for feeling -
pass your proper jest,
And stand a critic, hated yet caressed.

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And shall we own such judgment? no Seek roses in December-ice in June; Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff; Believe a woman or an epitaph,

- as soon

Or any other thing that's false, before
You trust in critics, who themselves are sore;
Or yield one single thought to be misled
By Jeffrey's heart, or Lambe's Boeotian head.*

and, except his mother and sister, the best of the set, to my mind."- Byron, 1816.]

Messrs. Jeffrey and Lambe are the alpha and omega, the

To these young tyrants,* by themselves misplaced,
Combined usurpers on the throne of taste;

To these, when authors bend in humble awe,
And hail their voice as truth, their word as law
While these are censors, 't would be sin to spare;
While such are critics, why should I forbear?
But yet, so near all modern worthies run,
'Tis doubtful whom to seek, or whom to shun;
Nor know we when to spare, or where to strike,
Our bards and censors are so much alike.

Then should you ask me,† why I venture o'er The path which Pope and Gifford trod before; If not yet sickened, you can still proceed:

Go on; my rhyme will tell you as you read. "But hold!" exclaims a friend, "here's some neglect:

This-that- and t' other line seem incorrect." What then? the self-same blunder Pope has got, And careless Dryden—“Ay, but Pye has not:"

first and last of the Edinburgh Review; the others are mentioned hereafter.

["This was not just. Neither the heart nor the head of these gentlemen are at all what they are here represented. At the time this was written, I was personally unacquainted with either."- Byron, 1816.]

*IMIT. "Stulta est Clementia, cum tot ubique

-occurras perituræ parcere charta."-Juv. Sat. I. IMIT. "Cur tamen hoc libeat potius decurrere campo Per quem magnus equos Auruncæ flexit alumnus: Si vacat, et placidi rationem admittitis, edam."

Juv. Sat. I.

Indeed! 'tis granted, faith! but what care I?

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Better to err with Pope, than shine with Pye.

Time was, ere yet in these degenerate days Ignoble themes obtained mistaken praise,

*

* [The first edition of the Satire opened with this line, and Byron's original intention was to prefix the following —

"ARGUMENT.

'The poet considereth times past, and their poesy-makes a sudden transition to times present-is incensed against bookmakers-revileth Walter Scott for cupidity and ballad-mongering, with notable remarks on Master Southey-complaineth that Master Southey hath inflicted three poems, epic and otherwise, on the public — inveigheth against William Wordsworth, but laudeth Mister Coleridge and his elegy on a young ass- -is disposed to vituperate Mr. Lewis-and greatly rebuketh Thomas Little (the late) and the Lord Strangford-recommendeth Mr. Hayley to turn his attention to prose—and exhorteth the Moravians to glorify Mr. Grahame-sympathizeth with the Reverend - Bowles-and deploreth the melancholy fate of James Montgomery-breaketh out into invective against the Edinburgh Reviewers — calleth them hard names, harpies and the like-apostrophizeth Jeffrey, and prophesieth. — Episode of Jeffrey and Moore, their jeopardy and deliverance; portents on the morn of the combat; the Tweed, Tolbooth, Frith of Forth, severally shocked; descent of a goddess to save Jeffrey; incorporation of the bullets with his sinciput and occiput.-Edinburgh Reviewers en masse. - Lord Aberdeen, Herbert, Scott, Hallam, Pillans, Lambe, Sydney Smith, Brougham, etc. — The Lord Holland applauded for dinners and translations. - The Drama; Skeffington, Hook, Reynolds, Kenney, Cherry, etc. Sheridan, Colman, and Cumberland called upon to write. -Return to poesy-scribblers of all sorts - lords sometimes rhyme; much better not - Hafiz, Rosa Matilda, and X. Y. Z. — Rogers, Campbell, Gifford, etc. true poets - Translators of the Greek Anthology Crabbe Darwin's style - Cambridge- Seatonian Prize- Smythe -Hodgson - Oxford - Richards - Poeta loquitur - Conclusion."]

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