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is not surprising that the lash of correc- This early and signal. discomfiture of tion deservedly applied to the one, the Goliaths of literature, though achievshould, sometimes, inflict an unmerited ed by a stripling, with little more than stripe on the other. It is not, however, a pebble, was enough to deter less probably, the first instance in wbich his doughty champions from hazarding a lordship has suffered from an impru- conflict. Nor was the effect of this dent connexion.
exploit merely to avert the danger of We have said that his lordship bad attack. Whilst the few who had felt long enjoyed an exemption from the bis force, or feared his vigour, were scourge of criticism ; but it was not al- awed at least into respectful silence, the ways so ;-nor was the lenity of the many wbo rejoiced in the defeat of the critics owing to the humility with vanquished, conspired to extol the which he, at any time, kissed the rod. prowess of the victor:-and, unfortuThe Edinburgh Reviewers frowned nately, bis lordship was weak enough to terribly at the peccadillos of bis lord- measure his desert by the scale of their ship’s lisping muse. The venial pue- gratitude. rilities of some juvenile performances,
The noble author did not repose long which that eagerness for potoriety that upon his laurels. He soon made a bold has been the bane of his life, impelled experiment upon the strength of his rebim to print, drew down upon him, putation; which unhappily bore him out from those obdurate censors, a de- in it. He was able, and bis very temerity nunciation that might have daunted a and extravagance were accessary to his veteran. So far, however, from inspir- success, to bring into vogue a new style ing his lordship with diffidence in his of poetry, compared with which every powers, or operating to dissuade bin thing that had preceded it was tame. from bis favourite pursuits, this severity He placed bimself at the head of a of reprehension, whilst it inflamed his new school ; and the Stagirite never ire, suggested a means of appeasing bis bad more disciples. The votaries of wrath. His retort in the satire of the the system, of which Lord Byron was • English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, the propagator, bave ravaged every reafforded him, at once, the gratification gion of fancy, and have erected the of revenge and the eclat of triumph, bigb places of their monstrous idolatry Its influence was not confined to pro
in groves sacred to the muses. ducing a change in public sentiment; Is there a parson much bemused in beer, but strange as it may seem, it wrought A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
A clerk foredoom'd bis father's soul to cross, a prodigious revolution in the minds of
Who pens a stanza when he should engross? his adversaries. However it may be Is there who lock'd from ink and paper scrawls accounted for, certain it is, that they Withdesperate charcoal, round hisdarken'd walls. suddenly relaxed the austerity of their All, all are imitators of Byron. But features, and have, ever since, continued one may mimic the contortions of the to smile on bis lordship with the most Sybil,' without catching her inspiracondescending complacency.
tion. Such is the fate of most of the herd
of Byron's followers. In his lordship's lordship. seems to think it is as much wildest incoherence, there is something beneath him to attend to the melody of of poetic frenzy, and there are inter his numbers, as it would be below : vals iniz, raying:-even his absurdi- great general to step to the air of a ties are rarely ridiculous, and there march. He sacrifices on all occasions, is sometimes, method in his mad- without hesitation, both rhyme and Dess.
rythm to piquancy of phrase. He is But his lordship has entirely lost sight teazing us constantly, too, with binta of the true end of poetry.
He has and innuendos at ideas which he cannot stripped ber of her dignity. He has define, simply because he does not comdivorced her from reason, and prosti- prehend them. Mystery is a source of tuted her to passion. It used to be the sublime, but not a convertible terin considered the province of poetry to for sublimity. inculcate useful truths by pleasing fic- On the whole, his lordship's productions; to instil moral lessons by im- tions leave an impression on the mind, pressive illustrations; to assign, with (which we cannot but suspect that they
poetic justice,' to virtue its reward, and were designed to create, that the author to vice its punishment; to excite horror is capable of more than he has perat crime, and sympathy for suffering; formed. It would seem as if one who in short, to refine the manners, ' to raise could do so well, might. do better. We the genius, and to mend the heart. Not sincerely hope he may. one of these objects has his lordship ever His lordship is not destitute of amproposed to himself. He has selected bition ; but it is not of the right sort, traitors, seducers, pirates, robbers, mur- He has an inordinate appetite for popuderers, and atheists, as the heroes of larity; but is satisfied with the coarsest bis plots, and has held them up, if not kind of it. , As long as he can procure to the approbation, at least to the com- his daily bread of praise, in return for miseration of his readers. He has, by his fragments of epic and fritters of an incongruous assemblage of inconsist- song, we have no hope of his addicting ent qualities in the creatures of his himself to more worthy exertions. The imagination, and by throwing into his only chance is, that his readers will pictures an artíul and deceptive mix- at last be surfeited with bis trash. ture of light and shade, endeavoured As they become fastidious, he will proto dazzle our sight and mislead our bably mend; but whilst he can get even judgment. He has laboured to enlist crumbs of encomium in exchange for our best feelings on the worst side, and to the crudities with which he crowds the entice us to applaud the expression of market, there'is no prospect of insentiments which it would be impious provement in the manufacture of his to entertain.
materials. His Third Canto of Childe But laying aside the moral of bis fa- Harold,' with its giblets and garnisbes, bles, we have objections of no trivial forcibly reminded us of Peter Pindar's Dature to his lordship’s manner.
Some folks are fond of hearing themselves chat- His friends, indeed, have said that ter,
the noble author appropriates no porPromising wine, and giving milk and water,
tion of these sums to his own use. Or that most mawkish mess call'd water-gruel, This is not fair, my lord—'tis very cruel.
We know not how the fact may becom Another motive than vanity might, though we should never have thought indeed, be suggested for the inconti- of reproaching any man with receiving nence of his lordship's muse.
the reward of his labours, had he not out in evidence, in a recent trial before himself endeavoured to render it opthe Lord Chancellor, on an application probrious. The world, we imagine, for an injunction to restrain the sale of would inuch more easily' forgive bis certain poems,* to which the publisher lordship for subsisting on the products bad taken the liberty to prefix his lord- of his literary toil, than for squander. ship’s name to give them currency, that ing the inheritance of his family. The his lordship had received 20001. from humiliation of vending his verses is bis Bookseller, Mr. Murray, for the but the consequence of the dilapidation copy-right of the little volume before of his patrimony, and no disgrace in us, and 50001. at different times, on ac- comparison with the alienation of the count of works purchased by him of the venerable monuments of the feudal poble author. This huckstering does grandeur of his house. not exactly correspond with the lofty
But we shall gaze, in vain, on the strain of his indignant apostrophe to galaxy of his lordship’s virtues, for any Valter Scott
glimmering of consistency. His cha
racter is a compound of contrarieliesAnd think'st thou, Scott, by vain conceit perchance,
and bis course bas been as chequered On public taste to foist thy stale romance, as his character. It is amusing to trace Though Nurray with his Miller should com- his meanderings. To-day, he offers bine
some fruit of his fecundity as a tribute To yield thy muse just half-a-crown per line? No, wben the sons of song descend to trade,
of gratitude and a testimony of regard Their bays are sear,
their former laurels fade. to a noble relative ;*-to-morrow, disaLet such forego the poets' sacred name, vows the acknowledgment; and the Who rack their brains for lucre, not for fame;
tbird day, recants his revocation. SomeLow may they sink to merited contempt, And scorn remunerate the mean attempt;
times the process is reversed, and be Such be their meed, such still the just reward, begins with reviling and ends with or prostituted muse, and hireling bard!
dedication. In one breath, he stigmaFor this we spurn Apollo's venal son,
tizes a man as a dunce, or an ass,g and And bid a long Good-night to Marmion.' If his lordship have incurred his own the Earl of Carlisle, his guardian; ridiculed hing
* His lordship dedicated his juvenile poems to analbema, it is but an exemplification in his Satires; and confesses, in his third canto of of the old adaye.
Childe Harold, that he wronged him.
+ Lord Holland and Thomas Moore were dealt
with after this manner. These spurious poems, which have been re
| Mr. Jeffrey, the leading editor of the Edin. printed in this country under Lord Byron's name, burgh Review, to abuse whom, he wrote his Sa. are Lord Byron's Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, tire, and to gratify whom, he afterwards bought the Tenpest, &c. We hoice them to guard up the whole edition, and suppressed it
. our readers against the importare,
Mr. Coleridge: this sentinental ballad
in the next, admits him to be a scho- of Lord Byron and of his muse, we kar, or commends him as a poet.
sbould have heard no more, till time,
at least, and meditation, should bave Perhaps it will be thought unneces.
enlarged the soul of the poet, and sary to have lacerated his lordship 90 mellowed the power of his song.
But deeply, in the dissection of bis works. a very few months since his Lordship and But ibe noble author bas so identified the public parted in no very pleasant himself with his theme, that it is next mood; be called them fortb not as ar
bitrators, but as parties in bis domestic to impossible to sever bim from bis feuds ; they obeyed the summons, but subject. Besides, we had an object the cause which they espoused was not in making an anatomy of his lordship. that of his Lordship; they gave their It has been said, by one whose opinion sentence with justice and enforced it
with spirit; and from that decision, deserves consideration, that'none but
after a vain, and, in our opinion, a paltry a good man can be a good orator.' li appeal to their worst passions, he fled. the axiom be equally applicable to the We little thought that bis Lord-hip poet, perhaps we have detected the would again have woved so disdaipsula secret of his lordship's failure !- and it mistress, especially when that mistress
bad begun to show some signs of lassimay be useful to point it out.
tude on the endless repetition of the We have protracted, beyond our in- same tedious and disgusting strain. And tention, what we designed merely as yet bis Lordsbip informs us,
“I have not loved the world, nor the world me ; an introduction to a review which we I have not flattered its rank breath, nor bow'd have extracted from the British Critic.
To its idolatries a patient knee
Nor coined iny cheek to smiles-nor cried aloud In resuming the exercise of those In worship of an echo.” rights which she seemed for a time to
“ This is all vastly indignant and
vastly grand ; yet we have now two bave abdicated, Criticism enters on the
witnesses before us who speak a very duties of her office in sullen state, and different language, and we find ten more proceeds to arraign bis lordship for a in Mr. Murray's catalogue, who tell the long arrearage of offences. We would same tale. The man who sends out
into the world a single poem, the labour not be understood as entirely accord
perhaps of years, may affect, with some ing with the decisions of the reviewer, pretence of probability, to scorn the though we think them nearly as dis- voice of public censure or approbation ; passionate, and quite as just, as such but he who, at intervals only of a few sentences generally are.
months, shall continue to court the ex
pectations of the world with the suc“We had cherished a hope, that cessive fruits of bis poetic talent, not
only exists a pensioner upon public fame, inger, besides being honoured with the epithet but lives even from hand to mouth upon above alluded to, is thus coupled in a stanza with popular applause. Every poem which another worthy of the same school, Let simple Wordsworth chime his childish bows to the idolatry of the world a
he publishes is a living witness that he and brother Coleridge lull the babe at nurse.
patient knee, and that he worships the And yet in return for some paltry compliment
, very echo which he professes to scorn. his lordabip has christened the Christabel,' the “ The first publication of the noble most puling and drivelling of all • baby-nurse,' Lord wbicb claims our attention is the Coleridge's bantlings, that wild and singularly third part of Childe Harold. As the original and beautiful poem."
first and second parts of this poem ap- vastly superior both he and his genius peared before we commenced our criti- are to the common herd of mankind; cal labours, we shall pass no opinion on thai he is a being of another and higher their merits, except ihat they were too order, whose scowl is sublimity, and generally over-rated by the fashion of whose frown is majesty. We have the The day. The poem before us is much noble Lord's word for this and for a more likely to find its level. The no- great deal more, and if he would have ble Lord has made such draughts upon been content with telling us so not more public partiality, that little is now lest than balf a dozen times, to please bim, him but the dregs of a cup which he we would have believed it. But be once fondly thought to be inexhaustible. bas pressed so unmercifully, that we The hero of the poem is, as usual, bim- now begin to call for proof, and all sell: for he has now so unequivocally the proof we can find is in his own asidentified himself withhis fictitious hero, sertion. The noble Lord has written that even in his most querulous moods, a few very fine, and a few very pretty he cannot complain of our impertinence verses, which may be selected from a in tracing the resemblance. We really heap of crude, harsh, unpoetical strains; wish that the noble Lord would suppose farther than this we neither know nor that there was some other being in the wish to know of his Lordship's fame. world besides himself, and employ bis His Lordship's style, by a fortunate bit, imagination in tracing the lineament of caught the favourable moment in the some other character than his own. One turn of the public taste ; his gall was would have imagined that in twelve mistaken for spirit, bis affectation for several and successive efforts of bis feeling, and his barshness for originality, muse, something a little newer than this The world are now growing tired of same inexhaustible self might have been their luminary, and wait only for the invented. Wherever we turn, the same rise of some new meteor, to transfer portrait meets our eye. We see it now their admiration and applause. The glaring in oils, now sobered in fresco, noble Lord had talents, which if they now dim in transparency. Sometimes had been duly husbanded, might have it frowns in the turban of the Turk, ensured him a more permanent place somctimes it struts in the buskins and in their estimation. His Lordship never cloak of the Spaniard, and sometimes could have been a Milton, a Dryden, a it descends to fret in its native costume ; Pope, or a Gray, but he might bave but frown, strut, or fret where it will, been a star of the third or fourth magthe face is still but one, and the features nitude, whose beams would have shown are still the same. Mungo here, even upon posterity with no contemptiMungo there, Mungo every where.” ble lustre. As the matter stands, he We
e are ever ready to listen with all will now be too late convinced that he due patience to a long story, provi- whose theme is only self, will find af ded it be not too often repeated, but last that self his only audience. there is really a liinit beyond which “ The first sixteen stanzas of the Poem buman patience ceases to be a virtue. besore us are dedicated to this one We must come at last to the question, everlasting theme, and contain, like a What is Lord Byron to us, and what repetition pye, nothing more than the have wc to do either with bis sublimity scraps of bis former strains, seasoned or bis sulks? It is his poetical not his rather with the garlic of misanthropy personal character which is the subject than the salt of wit. “ Self-exiled of our criticism, and when the latter is Harold" reaches the plain of Waterloo, so needlessly obtruded upon our atten- but with a step not more auspicious tjon, it betrays at once poverty of in- than that of preceding poets, who have vention and lack of discretion. The trod that bloody plain. We know not what Doble Lord is ever informing us how strange fatality attends a theme so sa.