Page:Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day.djvu/20

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4
Lord Lytton.

people will think justly. He did not sit silent under this attack. What would be the consequence of such an attack on him now, from such a hand, it is impossible to conceive such things are out of date. This was his reply, and first and last appearance in the columns of 'Punch:'


THE NEW TIMON AND THE POET.


We know him, out of Shakespeare's art,
 And those full curses which he spoke—
The old Timon, with his noble heart,
   That strongly loathing, gently broke.

So died the Old: here comes the New.
   Regard him: a familiar face—
I thought we knew him. What! it's you,—
   The padded man that wears the stays;

Who kill'd the girls and thrill'd the boys
   With dandy pathos when you wrote;
O Lion! you that made a noise,
   And shook a mane en papillotes!

And once you tried the Muses too—
   You fail'd, sir; therefore, now you turn!
You fall on those who are to you
   As captain is to subaltern.

But men of long-enduring hopes,
   And careless what the hour may bring,
Can pardon little would-be Popes
   And Brummels, when they try to sting.

An artist, sir, should rest in Art,
   And waive a little of his claim;
To have a great poetic heart
   Is more than all poetic fame.

But you, sir, you are hard to please,
   You never look but half content,
Nor like a gentleman at ease,
   With moral breadth of temperament.

And what with spites, and what with fears,
   You cannot let a body be;
It's always ringing in your ears,
   'They call this man as great as me!'

What profits how to understand
   The merits of a spotless shirt,
A dapper boot, a little hand,
   If half the little soul is dirt?

You talk of tinsel! Why, we see
   Old marks of rouge upon your cheeks!
You prate of nature! You are he
   That split his life upon the cliques.

A Timon you! Nay, nay, for shame—
   It looks too arrogant a jest,
The fierce old man, to take his name!
   You bandbox, off, and let him rest!'

Time and a change in the mode of expressing literary amenities on the part of famous authors have made these verses quite curious. We introduce them here for this reason, and not with any desire 'to fan afresh the ancient flame' that prompted them. It will only be necessary for us to apologise for their insertion to such of our readers as may recollect their first appearance five-and-twenty years ago, or may have seen them since.