The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 7/Ballad

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For works with similar titles, see Ballad.




Of all the twice ten thousand bards
That ever penned a canto,
Whom Pudding or whom Praise rewards
For lining a portmanteau;
Of all the poets ever known,
From Grub-street to Fop's Alley,[1]
The Muse may boast—the World must own
There 's none like pretty Gally![2]


He writes as well as any Miss,
Has published many a poem;
The shame is yours, the gain is his,
In case you should not know 'em:
He has ten thousand pounds a year—
I do not mean to vally—
His songs at sixpence would be dear,
So give them gratis, Gally!


And if this statement should seem queer,
Or set down in a hurry,
Go, ask (if he will be sincere)
His bookseller—John Murray.
Come, say, how many have been sold,
And don't stand shilly-shally,
Of bound and lettered, red and gold,
Well printed works of Gally.


For Astley's circus Upton[3] writes,
And also for the Surry; (sic)
Fitzgerald weekly still recites,
Though grinning Critics worry:
Miss Holford's Peg, and Sotheby's Saul,
In fame exactly tally;
From Stationer's Hall to Grocer's Stall
They go—and so does Gally.


He rode upon a Camel's hump[4]
Through Araby the sandy,
Which surely must have hurt the rump
Of this poetic dandy.
His rhymes are of the costive kind,
And barren as each valley
In deserts which he left behind
Has been the Muse of Gally.


He has a Seat in Parliament,
Is fat and passing healthy;
And surely he should be content
With these and being wealthy:
But Great Ambition will misrule
Men at all risks to sally,—
Now makes a poet—now a fool,
And we know which—of Gally.


Some in the playhouse like to row,
Some with the Watch to battle,
Exchanging many a midnight blow
To Music of the Rattle.
Some folks like rowing on the Thames,
Some rowing in an Alley,
But all the Row my fancy claims
Is rowing of my Gally.

April 11, 1818.[5]

  1. [For Fop's Alley, see Poetical Works, 1898, i. 410, note 2.]
  2. [H. Gally Knight (1786-1846) was at Cambridge with Byron.]
  3. [William Upton was the author of Poems on Several Occasions, 1788, and of the Words of the most Favourite Songs, Duets, etc., sung at the Royal Amphitheatre, Westminster Bridge, etc. In the dedication to Mrs. Astley he speaks of himself as the author of the Black Castle, Fair Rosamond, etc. He has also been credited with the words of James Hook's famous song, A Lass of Richmond Hill, but this has been disputed. (See Notes and Queries, 1878, Series V. vol. ix. p. 495.)]
  4. [Compare—

    "Th' unloaded camel, pacing slow,
    Crops the rough herbage or the tamarisk spray."

    Alashtar (by H. G. Knight), 1817, Canto I. stanza viii. lines 5, 6.]

  5. [From an autograph MS. in the possession of Mr. Murray, now for the first time printed. For stanzas 2 (lines 5-8), 3, 4, 6, 7, see Letters, 1900, iv. 219, 220. For stanzas 1, 2, 3 of "Another Simple Ballat. To the tune of Tally i.o. the Grinder" (probably a variant of Dibdin's song, "The Grinders, or more Grist to the Mill"), vide ibid., pp. 220, 221.]