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For, firstly, I should have to sally,
All in my little boat, against a Galley;
And, should I chance to slay the Assyrian wight,
Have next to combat with the female knight.
My boat is on the shore,
And my bark is on the sea;
But, before I go, Tom Moore,
Here's a double health to thee!
Here's a sigh to those who love me,
And a smile to those who hate:
And, whatever sky's above me,
Here's a heart for every fate.
Though the ocean roar around me,
Yet it still shall bear me on;
Though a desert should surround me,
It hath springs that may be won.
Were't the last drop in the well,
As I gasp'd upon the brink,
Ere my fainting spirit fell,
"Tis to thee that I would drink.
With that water, as this wine,
The libation I would pour
Should be-peace with thine and mine,
And a health to thee, Tom Moore.'
"["This should have been written fifteen months ago; the first stanza was.”Lord B. to Mr. Moore, July 10, 1817.]
EPISTLE FROM MR. MURRAY TO DR. POLIDORI.3
DEAR Doctor, I have read your play,
Which is a good one in its way,-
Purges the eyes and moves the bowels,
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels
With tears, that, in a flux of grief,
Afford hysterical relief
To shatter'd nerves and quicken'd pulses,
Which your catastrophe convulses.
I like your moral and machinery;
Your plot, too, has such scope for scenery;
Your dialogue is apt and smart;
The play's concoction full of art;
Your hero raves, your heroine cries,
All stab, and every body dies.
In short, your tragedy would be
The very thing to hear and see:
And for a piece of publication,
If I decline on this occasion,
It is not that I am not sensible
To merits in themselves ostensible,
But-and I grieve to speak it-plays
Are drugs-mere drugs, sir-now-a-days.
I had a heavy loss by "Manuel,"
Too lucky if it prove not annual,-
And Sotheby, with his "Orestes,"
(Which, by the bye, the author's best is,)
Has lain so very long on hand,
That I despair of all demand.
I've advertised, but see my books,
Or only watch my shopman's looks ;
["I never," says Lord Byron, was much more disgusted with any human production than with the eternal nonsense, and tracasseries, and emptiness, and ill-humour, and vanity of this young person; but he has some talent, and is a man of honour, and has dispositions of amendment. Therefore use your interest for him, for he is improved and improvable. You want a 'civil and delicate declension' for the medical tragedy? Take it."-Lord B. to Mr. Murray, August 21, 1817.]
Still Ivan, Ina, and such lumber,
My back-shop glut, my shelves encumber.
There's Byron too, who once did better,
Has sent me, folded in a letter,
A sort of it's no more a drama
Than Darnley, Ivan, or Kehama;
So alter'd since last year his pen is,
I think he's lost his wits at Venice.
In short, sir, what with one and t'other,
I dare not venture on another.
I write in haste; excuse each blunder;
The coaches through the street so thunder!
My room's so full-we've Gifford here
Reading MS., with Hookham Frere,
Pronouncing on the nouns and particles,
Of some of our forthcoming Articles.
The Quarterly-Ah, sir, if you
Had but the genius to review!—
A smart critique upon St. Helena,
Or if you only would but tell in a
Short compass what- -but to resume:
As I was saying, sir, the room-
The room's so full of wits and bards,
Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres, and Wards,
And others, neither bards nor wits:
My humble tenement admits
All persons in the dress of gent.,
From Mr. Hammond to Dog Dent.
A party dines with me to-day,
All clever men, who make their way:
Crabbe, Malcolm, Hamilton, and Chantrey,
Are all partakers of my pantry.
They're at this moment in discussion
On poor De Staël's late dissolution.
Her book, they say, was in advance-
Pray Heaven, she tell the truth of France!
Thus run our time and tongues away ;-
But, to return, sir, to your play :
Sorry, sir, but I cannot deal,
Unless 'twere acted by O'Neill;
My hands so full, my head so busy,
I'm almost dead, and always dizzy;
And so, with endless truth and hurry,
Dear Doctor, I am yours,
My dear Mr. Murray,
You're in a damn'd hurry
To set up this ultimate Canto;"
But (if they don't rob us)
You'll see Mr. Hobhouse
Will bring it safe in his portmanteau.
Then you've*** *'s Tour,
No great things, to be sure,
For the Journal you hint of,
As ready to print off,
No doubt you do right to commend it; But as yet I have writ off
The devil a bit of
Our "Beppo : "—when copied, I'll send it.
You could hardly begin with a less work;
For the pompous rascallion,
Who don't speak Italian
Nor French, must have scribbled by guesswork.
You can make any loss up
With "Spence" and his gossip,
A work which must surely succeed;
Then Queen Mary's Epistle-craft,
With the new "Fytte" of "Whistlecraft,"
Must make people purchase and read.
4 [The fourth Canto of "Childe Harold."]
Then you've General Gordon,
Who girded his sword on,
To serve with a Muscovite master,
And help him to polish
A nation so owlish,
They thought shaving their beards a disaster.