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IN ANSWER TO HIS
LORDSHIP'S LETTER TO **** ******, ON THE REV. W. L. BOWLES'S STRICTURES ON THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF POPE:
MORE PARTICULARLY ON THE QUESTION,
Whether POETRY be MORE IMMEDIATELY indebted to what is SUBLIME OF BEAUTIFUL in the Works of NATURE, or the Works of ART?
BY THE REV. WM. L. BOWLES.
"He that plays "at Bowls," must expect RUBBERS.”
“NATURE must give way to ART!" (See Pope's Works.) SONG, BY A PERSON OF QUALITY!
Third Edition with Alterations, exclusively for the Pamphleteer.
I trust Lord BYRON will excuse me for having made somewhat free with the singular Motto to his book. It is, "I will play at Bowls with the Sun and the Moon.”—Old Song.
A "certain Family" had been spoken of, in the Quarterly Review, as "ringing changes on Nature for two thousand years."
By a somewhat ludicrous coincidence, it happens that the "arms" of this "family" are, literally, a "Sun and Moon," a Sun, OR, and a Moon, ARGENT, secundùm artem.
It is, therefore, with this Sun and Moon, that Lord BYRON, I have no doubt, plays at "BoWLS!" not with the Sun and Moon in Nature.
In return, I have only ventured to take, as an inscription to my shield, his Lordship's motto, with a trifling alteration:
He that plays at "BowLS" (with the "SUN and MOON"),
Which is only an old "proverb," for part of an old song! As for any alteration in his heraldic motto, I should not dare to say, Ne crede BYRON; but, I think, in this game, I shall take from his Lordship's arms the "supporters;" though I would not, if I could, touch the graceful and glittering crest of his high poetical character; and long may he wear it uninjured!
When I have classed POPE, as a Poet, inferior to MILTON and SHAKSPEARE, I must beg to be understood, that I do not consider him in the same file with these Poets, nor in any degree to be ranked with them.
It would be important for the reader to keep in mind one plain distinction, in reading what is here offered. Whatever is picturesque, is so far poetical; but all that is" poetical" does not require to be "picturesque." Lord BYRON would never have said, "What painter does not break the sea with a boat," &c. if he had remembered this distinction.
In speaking as I have done of Lord BYRON, lest the language I have used might be attributed to the wish of deprecating his resentment, I must beg to add, that I have always said the same with regard to the high character of his poetry; but I would wish it to be distinctly understood, that, as I do not fear him, so I scorn to flatter him.
HORNE TOOKE, if I remember right, began his well-known letter to JUNIUS in these words: "Tragedy, Comedy, and Farce,-JUNIUS, WILKES, and FOOTE,-against one poor parson, are fearful odds.' So I might say, Lord BYRON, and my two late assailants,-APOLLO, MIDAS, and PUNCH,-are indeed fearful odds against a country clerk and provincial editor.
But to be more courtly, in approaching your Lordship as a controversialist upon any point, I am well aware of the great talents opposed to me. I have just read your remarks (addressed to a friend) on my Life of POPE, on the first part of my Vindication in the Pamphleteer, and on my PRINCIPLES of Poetical Criticism, which I had called (foolishly, in your Lordship's opinion) INVARIABLE.
I thank you, cordially, for this opportunity of explaining. my sentiments, which I know you would not intentionally pervert; for the flattering terms in which you have spoken of me personally; and, most of all, for the honorable and open manner in which you have met the questions on which we are at issue.
The late contest in which I have been involved, with those of a character so opposite, has tended to make this contrast of urbanity and honorable opposition more gratifying. From you, my Lord, I was certain I should not meet coarse and insulting abuse, the foul ribaldry of opprobrious contumely, nor the petty chicanery that purposely keeps out of sight one part of an argument, and wilfully misrepresents another.
Your opposition, as might become a person of so high, a station, and of such distinguished genius, exhibits none of