Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/433

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Displays a crowd of figures incomplete,
Poetic Nightmares, without head or feet.

Poets and painters, as all artists know,[1]
May shoot a little with a lengthened bow;
We claim this mutual mercy for our task,
And grant in turn the pardon which we ask;
But make not monsters spring from gentle dams—
Birds breed not vipers, tigers nurse not lambs.20

A laboured, long Exordium, sometimes tends
(Like patriot speeches) but to paltry ends;[2]
And nonsense in a lofty note goes down,
As Pertness passes with a legal gown:[3]

Thus many a Bard describes in pompous strain[4]
  1. —— as we scribblers.—[MSS. L. (a and b), MS. M.]
  2. Like Wardle's[a] speeches.—[MS. L. (a).]
    ^  a. [Gwyllim Lloyd Wardle (1762- 1834), who served in Ireland in 1798, as Colonel of the Welsh Fusiliers, known as "Wynne's lambs," was M.P. for Okehampton 1807-12. In January, 1809, he brought forward a motion for a parliamentary investigation into the exercise of military patronage by the Duke of York, and the supposed influence of the Duke's mistress, Mary Anne Clarke.]
  3. As pertness lurks beneath a legal gown.
    And nonsense in a lofty note goes down.
    —[MS. L. (a).]
    or, Which covers all things like a Prelate's gown.—[MS. L. (b).]
    or, Which wraps presumption.—[MS. M. erased.]

  4. As when the poet to description yields
    Of waters gliding through the goodly fields;
    The Groves of Granta and her Gothic Halls,
    Oxford and Christchurch, London and St. Pauls,
    Or with a ruder flight he feebly aims
    To paint a rainbow or the River Thames.
    Perhaps you draw a fir tree or a beech,
    But then a landscape is beyond your reach;
    Or, if that allegory please you not,
    Take this— you'ld form a vase, but make a pot.
    —[MS. L. (a).]