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Of prostituted muse and hireling bard!
For this we spurn Apollo's venal son,
And bid a long "good night to Marmion."

These are the themes that claim our plaudits now; These are the bards to whom the muse must bow; While Milton, Dryden, Pope, alike forgot, Resign their hallow'd bays to Walter Scott.

The time has been, when yet the muse was young, When Homer swept the lyre, and Maro sung, An epic scarce ten centuries could claim, While awe-struck nations hail'd the magic name: The work of each immortal bard appears The single wonder of a thousand years. Empires have moulder'd from the face of earth, Tongues have expired with those who gave them birth, Without the glory such a strain can give, As even in ruin bids the language live. Not so with us, though minor bards, content On one great work a life of labour spent: With eagle pinion soaring to the skies, Behold the ballad-monger Southey rise! To him let Camoëns, Milton, Tasso yield, Whose annual strains, like armies, take the field. First in the ranks see Joan of Arc advance, The scourge of England and the boast of France ! Though burnt by wicked Bedford for a witch, Behold her statue placed in glory's niche; Her fetters burst, and just released from prison, A virgin phoenix from her ashes risen. Next see tremendous Thalaba come on, Arabia's monstrous, wild, and wondrous son; Domdaniel's dread destroyer, who o'erthrew More mad magicians than the world e'er knew. Immortal hero! all thy foes o'ercome, For ever reign-the rival of Tom Thumb ! Since startled metre fled before thy face, Well wert thou doom'd the last of all thy race! Well might triumphant genii bear thee hence, Illustrious conqueror of common sense!

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Now, last and greatest, Madoc spreads his sails,
Cacique in Mexico, and prince in Wales;
Tells us strange tales, as other travellers do,
More old than Mandeville's, and not so true.
Oh! Southey! Southey! cease thy varied song!
A bard may chant too often and too long:
As thou art strong in verse, in mercy, spare!
A fourth, alas! were more than we could bear.
But if, in spite of all the world can say,
Thou still wilt verseward plod thy weary way;
If still in Berkley ballads most uncivil,
Thou wilt devote old women to the devil,
The babe unborn thy dread intent may rue :
"God help thee," Southey, and thy readers too.


Next comes the dull disciple of thy school, That mild apostate from poetic rule, The simple Wordsworth, framer of a lay As soft as evening in his favourite May, Who warns his friend "to shake off toil and trouble, And quit his books, for fear of growing double; Who, both by precept and example, shows That prose is verse, and verse is merely prose; Convincing all, by demonstration plain, Poetic souls delight in prose insane; And Christmas stories tortured into rhyme Contain the essence of the true sublime. Thus, when he tells the tale of Betty Foy, The idiot mother of an idiot boy; A moon-struck, silly lad, who lost his way, And, like his bard, confounded night with day; So close on each pathetic part he dwells, And each adventure so sublimely tells, That all who view the "idiot in his glory Conceive the bard the hero of the story.


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Shall gentle Coleridge pass unnoticed here, To turgid ode and tumid stanza dear? Though themes of innocence amuse him best, Yet still obscurity 's a welcome guest.



If Inspiration should her aid refuse
To him who takes a pixy for a muse,
Yet none in lofty numbers can surpass
The bard who soars to elegize an ass.
So well the subject suits his noble mind,
He brays, the laureate of the long-ear'd kind.


Oh! wonder-working Lewis! monk, or bard, Who fain wouldst make Parnassus a churchyard! Lo! wreaths of yew, not laurel, bind thy brow, Thy muse a sprite, Apollo's sexton thou! Whether on ancient tombs thou tak'st thy stand, By gibb'ring spectres hail'd, thy kindred band; Or tracest chaste descriptions on thy page, To please the females of our modest age; All hail, M.P. ! from whose infernal brain Thin-sheeted phantoms glide, a grisly train; At whose command "grim women throng in crowds, And kings of fire, of water, and of clouds, With "small gray men, wild yagers, and what not, To crown with honour thee and Walter Scott; Again all hail! if tales like thine may please, St. Luke alone can vanquish the disease; Even Satan's self with thee might dread to dwell, And in thy skull discern a deeper hell.




For thee, translator of the tinsel song,

To whom such glittering ornaments belong,



Who in soft guise, surrounded by a choir Of virgins melting, not to Vesta's fire, With sparkling eyes, and cheek by passion flush'd, Strikes his wild lyre, whilst listening dames are hush'd? 'Tis Little! young Catullus of his day,

As sweet, but as immoral, in his lay!

Grieved to condemn, the muse must still be just,
Nor spare melodious advocates of lust.
Pure is the flame which o'er her altar burns ;
From grosser incense with disgust she turns :
Yet kind to youth, this expiation o'er,

She bids thee "mend thy line and sin no more."


Hibernian Strangford! with thine eyes of blue,
And boasted locks of red or auburn hue,

Whose plaintive strain each love-sick miss admires,
And o'er harmonious fustian half expires,
Learn, if thou canst, to yield thine author's sense,
Nor vend thy sonnets on a false pretence.
Think'st thou to gain thy verse a higher place,
By dressing Camoëns in a suit of lace?


Mend, Strangford ! mend thy morals and thy taste;
Be warm, but pure; be amorous, but be chaste;
Cease to deceive; thy pilfer'd harp restore,
Nor teach the Lusian bard to copy Moore.

Behold!-ye tarts !-one moment spare the textHayley's last work, and worst-until his next; Whether he spin poor couplets into plays, Or damn the dead with purgatorial praise, His style in youth or age is still the same, For ever feeble and for ever tame. Triumphant first see "Temper's Triumphs" shine! At least I'm sure they triumph'd over mine. Of "Music's Triumphs," all who read may swear That luckless music never triumph'd there.

Moravians, rise! bestow some meet reward
On dull devotion-Lo! the Sabbath bard,
Sepulchral Grahame, pours his notes sublime
In mangled prose, nor e'en aspires to rhyme;
Breaks into blank the Gospel of St. Luke,
And boldly pilfers from the Pentateuch;
And, undisturb'd by conscientious qualms,
Perverts the Prophets, and purloins the Psalms.



Hail, Sympathy! thy soft idea brings

A thousand visions of a thousand things,

And shows, still whimpering through threescore of



The maudlin prince of mournful sonneteers.
And art thou not their prince, harmonious Bowles !
Thou first, great oracle of tender souls ?


Whether thou sing'st with equal ease, and grief,
The fall of empires, or a yellow leaf;
Whether thy muse most lamentably tells
What merry sounds proceed from Oxford bells,
Or, still in bells delighting, finds a friend
In every chime that jingled from Ostend;
Ah! how much juster were thy muse's hap,
If to thy bells thou wouldst but add a cap!
Delightful Bowles ! still blessing and still blest,
All love thy strain, but children like it best.
'Tis thine, with gentle Little's moral song,
To soothe the mania of the amorous throng!
With thee our nursery damsels shed their tears,
Ere miss as yet completes her infant years:
But in her teens thy whining powers are vain;
She quits poor Bowles for Little's purer strain.
Now to soft themes thou scornest to confine
The lofty numbers of a harp like thine;
"Awake a louder and a loftier strain,'
Such as none heard before, or will again!
Where all discoveries jumbled from the flood,
Since first the leaky ark reposed in mud,
By more or less, are sung in every book,
From Captain Noah down to Captain Cook.
Nor this alone; but, pausing on the road,
The bard sighs forth a gentle episode;
And gravely tells-attend, each beauteous miss!-
When first Madeira trembled to a kiss.
Bowles! in thy memory let this precept dwell,
Stick to thy sonnets, man!—at least they sell.
But if some new-born whim, or larger bribe,
Prompt thy crude brain, and claim thee for a scribe;
If chance some bard, though once by dunces fear'd,
Now, prone in dust, can only be revered;
If Pope, whose fame and genius, from the first,
Have foil'd the best of critics, needs the worst,
Do thou essay each fault, each failing scan;
The first of poets was, alas! but man.
Rake from each ancient dunghill every pearl,
Consult Lord Fanny, and confide in Curll;





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