페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

XCII.

A general bustle spread throughout the throng,
Which seem'd to hold all verse in detestation;
The angels had of course enough of song

When upon service; and the generation
Of ghosts had heard too much in life, not long
Before, to profit by a new occasion:

The monarch, mute till then, exclaim'd, "What! what!"
Pye" come again? No more-no more of that!"

XCIII.

The tumult grew; an universal cough

Convulsed the skies, as during a debate, When Castlereagh has been up long enough (Before he was first minister of state,

I mean the slaves hear now); some cried "Off, off!"

As at a farce; till, grown quite desperate,

The bard Saint Peter pray'd to interpose (Himself an author) only for his prose.

XCIV.

The varlet was not an ill-favour'd knave;
A good deal like a vulture in the face,
With a hook nose and a hawk's eye, which gave
A smart and sharper-looking sort of grace
To his whole aspect, which, though rather grave,
Was by no means so ugly as his case;
But that, indeed, was hopeless as can be,
Quite a poetic felony “de se.”

XCV.

Then Michael blew his trump, and still'd the noise
With one still greater, as is yet the mode
On earth besides; except some grumbling voice,
Which now and then will make a slight inroad
Upon decorous silence, few will twice

Lift up their lungs when fairly overcrow'd;
And now the bard could plead his own bad cause,
With all the attitudes of self-applause.

XCVI.

He said (I only give the heads)-he said,
He meant no harm in scribbling; 'twas his way
Upon all topics; 'twas, besides, his bread,

Of which he butter'd both sides; 'twould delay
Too long the assembly (he was pleased to dread),

And take up rather more time than a day,

To name his works-he would but cite a few

"Wat Tyler "—" Rhymes on Blenheim ”—“ Waterloo.”

XCVII.

He had written praises of a regicide;

He had written praises of all kings whatever; He had written for republics far and wide,

And then against them bitterer than ever; For pantisocracy he once had cried

Aloud, a scheme less moral than 'twas clever ;

Then grew a hearty anti-jacobin

Had turn'd his coat-and would have turn'd his skin.

XCVIII.

He had sung against all battles, and again

In their high praise and glory; he had call'd Reviewing "the ungentle craft," and then

Became as base a critic as e'er crawl'dFed, paid, and pamper'd by the very men

By whom his muse and morals had been maul'd: He had written much blank verse, and blanker prose, And more of both than any body knows.

XCIX.

He had written Wesley's life :-here turning round
To Satan, "Sir, I'm ready to write yours,
In two octavo volumes, nicely bound,

With notes and preface, all that most allures
The pious purchaser; and there's no ground

For fear, for I can choose my own reviewers :
So let me have the proper documents,
That I may add you to my other saints.”

C.

Satan bow'd, and was silent. "Well, if you,
With amiable modesty, decline

My offer, what says Michael? There are few

Whose memoirs could be render❜d more divine. Mine is a pen of all work; not so new

As it was once, but I would make you shine Like your own trumpet. By the way, my own Has more of brass in it, and is as well blown.

CI.

"But talking about trumpets, here's my Vision!

Now you shall judge, all people; yes, you shall Judge with my judgment, and by my decision

Be guided who shall enter heaven or fall. I settle all these things by intuition,

Times present, past, to come, heaven, hell, and all, Like King Alfonso." When I thus see double, I save the Deity some worlds of trouble."

CII.

He ceased, and drew forth an MS.; and no
Persuasion on the part of devils, saints,
Or angels, now could stop the torrent; so

He read the first three lines of the contents;
But at the fourth, the whole spiritual show
Had vanish'd, with variety of scents,
Ambrosial and sulphureous, as they sprang,
Like lightning, off from his " melodious twang.""

CIII.

Those grand heroics acted as a spell;

The angels stopp'd their ears and plied their pinions; The devils ran howling, deafen'd, down to hell;

The ghosts fled, gibbering, for their own dominions(For 'tis not yet decided where they dwell,

And I leave every man to his opinions);
Michael took refuge in his trump-but, lo!
His teeth were set on edge, he could not blow!

CIV.

Saint Peter, who has hitherto been known

For an impetuous saint, upraised his keys, And at the fifth line knock'd the poet down;

Who fell like Phaeton, but more at ease, Into his lake, for there he did not drown;

A different web being by the Destinies Woven for the Laureate's final wreath, whene'er Reform shall happen either here or there.

CV.

He first sank to the bottom-like his works,

But soon rose to the surface-like himself;
For all corrupted things are buoy'd like corks,"
By their own rottenness, light as an elf,
Or wisp that flits o'er a morass: he lurks,

It may be, still, like dull books on a shelf,
In his own den, to scrawl some "Life" or "Vision,"
As Welborn says-" the devil turn'd precisian."

99 19

CVI.

As for the rest, to come to the conclusion
Of this true dream, the telescope is gone
Which kept my optics free from all delusion,

And show'd me what I in my turn have shown;
All I saw farther, in the last confusion,

Was, that King George slipp'd into heaven for one And when the tumult dwindled to a calm,

I left him practising the hundredth psalm.

NOTES TO THE VISION OF JUDGMENT.

1 [George III. died the 29th of January, 1820,- —a year in which the revolutionary spirit broke out all over the south of Europe.]

2 [Louis XVI., guillotined in January, 1793.]

3 ["I believe it is almost impossible for words to give an idea of the beauty and variety which this magnificent phenomenon displayed. The luminous arch had broken into irregular masses, streaming with much rapidity in different directions, varying continually in shape and interest, and extending themselves from north, by the east, to north. The usual pale light of the aurora strongly resembled that produced by the combustion of phosphorus ; a very slight tinge of red was noticed when the aurora was most vivid, but no other colours were visible.”—Sir E. Parry's Voyage in 181920, p. 135.]

4 [Johanna Southcote, the aged lunatic, who fancied herself, and was believed by many followers, to be with child of a new Messiah, died in 1815.]

5 [This refers to the opposition of George III. to the Catholic claims.]

6 [A gold or gilt key, peeping from below the skirts of the coat, marks a lord chamberlain.]

7 [An allusion to Horace Walpole's expression in a letter-"the summer has set in with its usual severity."]

66

8 [Among the various persons to whom the letters of Junius have been attributed we find the Duke of Portland, Lord George Sackville, Sir Philip Francis, Mr. Burke, Mr. Dunning, the Rev. John Horne Tooke, Mr. Hugh Boyd, Dr. Wilmot. "I don't know what to think," says Lord Byron in 1813. 'Why should Junius be dead? If suddenly apoplexed, would he rest in his grave without sending his eldwλov to shout in the ears of posterity, 'Junius was X. Y. Z., Esq., buried in the parish of ***** ' Repair his monument, ye churchwardens! Print a new edition of his Letters, ye booksellers! Impossible, the man must be alive, and will never die without the disclosure. I like him ;—he was a good hater."-Sir Philip Francis, whose pretensions Lord Byron seems to favour, died in 1818.]

9 [The mystery of "l'homme au masque de fer," the everlasting puzzle of the last century, has in the opinion of some been cleared up, by a French work published in 1825, and which formed the basis of an entertaining one in English by Lord Dover.]

10 [The well-known motto of Junius is, "Stat nominis umbra."]

11 [Mr. Southey's residence was on the shore of Derwentwater, near the Mountain Skiddaw.]

« 이전계속 »