Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/353

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
311
ENGLISH BARDS, AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS.

Now forging scrolls, now foremost in the fight,
Not quite a Felon, yet but half a Knight,[1]
The gibbet or the field prepared to grace;
A mighty mixture of the great and base.170
And think'st thou, Scott! by vain conceit perchance,
On public taste to foist thy stale romance,
Though Murray with his Miller may combine
To yield thy muse just half-a-crown per line?[2]
No! when the sons of song descend to trade,
Their bays are sear, their former laurels fade,
Let such forego the poet's sacred name,
Who rack their brains for lucre, not for fame:

Still for stern Mammon may they toil in vain![3]
  1. Not quite a footpad ——.—[British Bards.]
  2. [In his strictures on Scott and Southey, Byron takes his lead from Lady Anne Hamilton's (1766-1846, daughter of Archibald, ninth Duke of Hamilton, and Lady-in-waiting to Caroline of Brunswick) Epics of the Ton (1807), a work which has not shared the dubious celebrity of her Secret Memories of the Court, etc. (1832). Compare the following lines (p. 9):—

    "Then still might Southey sing his crazy Joan,
    Or feign a Welshman o'er the Atlantic flown,
    Or tell of Thalaba the wondrous matter,
    Or with clown Wordsworth, chatter, chatter, chatter.

    ·····

    Good-natured Scott rehearse, in well-paid lays,
    The marv'lous chiefs and elves of other days."

    (For Scott's reference to "my share of flagellation among my betters," and an explicit statement that he had remonstrated with Jeffrey against the "offensive criticism" of Hours of Idleness, because he thought it treated with undue severity, see Introduction to Marmion, 1830.)]

  3. [Lines 179, 180, in the Fifth Edition, were substituted for variant i. p. 312.—Leigh Hunt's annotated Copy of the Fourth Edition.]