« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
is not surprising that the lash of correc- This early and signal discomfiture of tion deservedly applied to the one, the Goliaths of literature, though achievshould, sometimes, inflict an unmerited ed by a stripling, with little more tban stripe on the other. "It is not, however, a pebble, was enough to deter less probably, the first instance in which kis doughty champions from bazarding a lordship bas suffered from an impru- conflict. Nor was the effect of this dent connexion.
exploit merely to avert the danger of We have said that his lordship had attack. Whilst the few who bad felt long enjoyed an exemption from the bis force, or feared bis vigour, were scourge of criticism ; but it was not al- awed at least into respectful silence, the ways so ;-nor was the lenity of the many who rejoiced in the defeat of the critics owing to the humility with vanquished, conspired to extol the which he, at any time, kissed the rod. prowess of the victor :-and, unfortuThe Edinburgh Reviewers frowned nately, bis lordship was weak enough to terribly at the peccadillos of his lord- measure his desert by the scale of their ship’s lisping muse. The venial pue- gratitude. rilities of some juvenile performances,
The noble author did not repose long which that eagerness for notoriety that upon bis laurels. He soon made a bold has been the bane of bis life, impelled experiment upon the strength of his rehim to print, drew down upon him, putation ; which unhappily bore him out from those obdurate censors, a de- in it. He was able, and his very temerity nunciation that might have daunted a and extravagance were accessary to his veleran. So far, however, from inspir- success, to bring into vogue a new style ing his lordship with diffidence in his of poetry, compared with which every powers, or operating to dissuade him thing that had preceded it was tame. from bis favourite pursuits, this severity He placed himself at the head of a of reprehension, wbilst it inflamed his new school; and the Stagirite never ire, suggested a means of appeasing bis had more disciples. The votaries of wrath. His retort in the satire of the the system, of which Lord Byron was
English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,' the propagator, bave ravaged every re-
A clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
tion.' Such is the fate of most of the herd
of Byron's followers.' In his lordship's lordship seems to think it is as much wildest incoherence, there is something beneath him to attend to the melody of of poetic frenzy; and there are inter- bis nunbers, as it would be below a vals in his raving :-—even bis absurdi. great general to step to the air of a ties are rarely ridiculous, and there march. He sacrifices on all occasions, is sometimes, method in his mad- without hesitation, both rhyme and Dess."
rythm to piquancy of phrase. He is But his lordship has entirely lost sight teazing us constantly, too, with hints of the true end of poetry. He has and innuendos at ideas which he cannot stripped her of her dignity. He has define, simply because he does not comdivorced her from reason, and prosti- prehend them. Mystery is a source of tuted her to passion. It used to be the sublime, but not a convertible term considered the province of poetry to for sublimity. inculcate useful truths by pleasing fic- On the whole, his lordship's productions; to instil moral lessons by im- tions leave an impression on the mind, pressive illustrations; to assign, witb (which we cannot but suspect that they
poetic justice,' to virtue its reward, and were designed to create,) that the author to vice its punishment ; to excite horror is capable of more than he has perat crime, and sympathy for suffering ; 'formed. It would seem as is one who in short, to refine the manners, ' to raise could do so well, might do better.-We the genius, and to mend the beart. Not sincerely hope he may. one of these objects has his lordship ever His lordship is not destitute of amproposed to himself. He has selected bition ; but it is not of the right sort. traitors, seducers, pirates, robbers, mur- He has an inordinate appetite for popuderers, and atheists, as the heroes of larity; but is satisfied with the coarsest bis plots, and bas held them up, if not kind of it. As long as he can procure to the approbation, at least to the com- his daily bread of praise, in return for miseration of his readers. He has, by his fragments of epic and fritters of an incongruous assemblage of inconsist- song, we bave no hope of his addicting ent qualities in the creatures of his himself to more worthy exertions. The imagination, and by throwing into his only chance is, that his readers will pictures an artful and deceptive mix. at last be surfeited with his trash. ture of light and shade, endeavoured As they become fastidious, he will proto dazzle our sight and mislead our bably mend; but whilst he can get even judgment. He has laboured to enlist crumbs of encomium in exchange for our best feelings on the worst side, and to the crudities with which he crowds the entice us to applaud the expression of market, there is no prospect of innsentiments which it would be impious provement in the manufacture of his to entertain.
materials. His • Third Canto of Childe But laying aside the moral of bis fa- Harold,' with its giblets and garnishes, bles, we have objections of no trivial forcibly reminded us of Peter Pindar's Dature to his lordship's manner.
Some folks are fond of hearing themselves chat- His friends, indeed, have said that ter,
the noble author appropriates no porPromising wine, and giving milk and water, Or that most mawkish mess call'd water-gruel
, tion of these sums to his own This is not fair, my lord-'tis very cruel.
We know not how the fact may beAnother motive than vanity might, though we should never have thought indeed, be suggested for the inconti- of reproaching any man with receiving nence of his lordship’s muse. It came the reward of bis labours, had he not out in evidence, in a recent trial before himself endeavoured to render it opthe Lord Chancellor, on an application probrious. The world, we imagine, for an injunction to restrain the sale of would much more easily forgive his certain poems,* to which the publisher lordship for subsisting on the products had taken the liberty to prelix his lord- of his literary toil, than for squandership's vaine to give them currency, that ing the inheritance of his family. The his lordship had received 2000l. from humiliation of vending his verses is his Bookselier, Mr. MURRAY, for the but the consequence of the dilapidation copy.right of the little volume before of his patrimony, and no disgrace in us, and 50001. at different times, on ac- comparison with the alienation of the count of works purchased by him of the venerable monuments of the feudal noble author. This huckstering does grandeur of his house. not exactly correspond with the lofty
But we shall gaze, in vain, on the strain of his indignant apostrophe to galaxy of his lordship’s virtues, for any Walter Scott
glimmering of consistency. His cba. And think'st thou, Scott, by vain conceit
racter is a compound of contrarielies-
and his course has been as chequered On public taste to foist thy stale romance, as his character. It is amusing to trace Though Murray with his Miller should com- his meanderings. To-day, he offers
bine To yield thy muse just half-a-crown per line ?
some fruit of his fecundity as a tribute No, when the sons of song descend to trade,
of gratitude and a testimony of regard Their bays are sear, their former laurels fade. to a noble relative ;*_to-morrow,
disaLet such forego the poets' sacred name,
vows the acknowledgment; and the Who rack their brains for lucre, not for fame; Low may they sink to merited contempt,
third day, recants his revocation. Some. And scorn remunerate the mean attempt;
times the process is reversed, and he Such be their meed, such still the just reward, begins with reviling and ends with a Of prostituted muse, and hireling bard! dedication. In one breath, he stigmaFor this we spurn Apollo's yenal son, And bid a long •Good-night to Marmion.'
tizes a man as a dunce, I or an ass,& and If his lordship have incurred his own the Earl of Carlisle, his guardian; ridiculed him
* His lordship dedicated his juvenile poems to anathema, it is but an exemplification in his Satires; and confesses, in his third canto of of the old adage.
Childe Harold, that he wronged him.
+ Lord Holland and Thomas Moore were dealt
with after this manner. * These spurious poems, which have been re
| Mr. Jeffrey, the leading editor of the Edinprinted in this country under Lord Byron's name, burgh Review, to abuse whom, he wrote his Saare Lord Byron's Pilgrimaye to the Holy Land, tire, and to gratify whom, he afterwards bought the Tempest, &c. We notice them to guard up the whole edition, and suppressed it
. our readers against the impestute.
Mr. Coleridge: this sentimental ballade
in the next, admits him to be a scho- of Lord Byron and of his muse, we lar, or commends him as a poet.
sbould have heard no more, till time,
at least, and meditation, should have Perhaps it will be thought unneces
enlarged the soul of the poet, and sary to have lacerated his lordship so mellowed the power of his song. But deeply, in the dissection of his works. a very few months since his Lordship and But the noble author has so identified the public parted in no very pleasant himself with his theme, that it is next mood; be called them forth not as ar
bitrators, but as parties in bis domestic to impossible to sever him from bis feuds ; they obeyed the summons, but subject. Besides, we had an object the cause which ibey espoused was not in making an anatomy of his lordship. that of his Lordship; they gave their It has been said, by one whose opinion sentence with justice and enforced it deserves consideration, that none but
with spirit; and from that decision,
after a vain, and, in our opinion, a paltry a good man can be a good orator. Il appeal to their worst passions, he fled. the axiom be equally applicable to the We little thought that his Lordship poet, perhaps we bare detected the would again bave wooed so disdainful a secret of his lordship’s failure !—and it mistress, especially when that mistress
bad begun to show some signs of lassimay be useful to point it out.
tude on the endless repetition of the We have protracted, beyond our in- same tedious and disgusting strain. And tention, what we designed merely as
yet bis Lordship informs us,
“I have not loved the world, nor the world me ; an introduction to a review which we I have not flattered its rank breath, nor bow'd have extracted from the British Critic. To its idolatries a patient knee
Nor coined my cheek to smiles-Dor cried aloud In resuming the exercise of those In worship of an echo." rights which she seemed for a time to
“ This is all vastly indignant and bave abdicated, Criticism enters on the
vastly grand; yet we have now two
witnesses before us who speak a very duties of her office in sullen state, and different language, and we find ten more proceeds to arraign his lordship for a in Mr. Murray's catalogue, who tell the Ing arrearage of offences. We would same tale. The man who sends out Bot be understood as entirely accord. into the world a single poem, the labour ing with the decisions of the reviewer, pretence of probability, to scorn the
perhaps of years, may affect, with some though we think them nearly as dis- voice of public censure or approbation ; passionate, and quite as just, as such but he who, at intervals only of a few sentences generally are.
months, shall continue to court the ex
pectations of the world with the suc. “We had cherished a hope, that cessive fruits of his poetic talent, not
only exists a pensioner
upon public fame, inger, besides being honoured with the epithet but lives even from hand to mouth upon above alluded to, is thus coupled in a stanza with popular applause. Every poem which another worthy of the same school, Let simple Wordsworth chime his childish
he publisbes is a living witness that he
bows to the idolatry of the world a And brother Coleridge lull the babe at nurse.
patient knee, and that he worships the And yet in return for some paltry compliment, very echo which be professes to scorn. his lordship has christened the Christabel,' the “The first publication of the noble most puling and drivelling of all • baby-nurse, Lord which claims our attention is the Coleridge' bantlings, that wild and singularly third part of Childe Harold. As the original and beautiful poem'
first and second parts of this poem ap- vastly superior both he and his genius peared before we commenced our criti- are to the common herd of mankind; cal labours, we shall pass no opinion on that he is a being of another and higher their merits, except that they were too order, wbose scowl is sublimity, and generally over rated by the fashion of whose frown is majesty. We have the the day. The poem before us is much noble Lord's word for this and for a more likely to find its level. The no- great deal more, and if he would have ble Lord has made such draughts upon been content with telling us so not more public parliality, that little is now left than balf a dozen times, to please bim, him but the dregs of a cup which he we would have believed it. But he once fondly thought to be inexhaustible. bas pressed so unmercifully, that we The hero of the poem is, as usual, bim- now begin to call for proof, and all self: for he has now so unequivocally the prooi we can find is in his own asidentified himself with his fictitious hero, sertion. The noble Lord has written that even in his most querulous moods, a few very fine, and a few very pretty le cannot complain of our impertinence verses, which may be selected from a in tracing the resemblance. We really heap of crude, barsh, unpoetical strains; wish that the noble Lord would suppose farther than this we neither know nor that there was some other being in the wish to know of his Lordship’s fame. world besides himself, and employ bis His Lordship's style, by a fortunate bit, imagination in tracing the lineament of caught the favourable moment in the some oiber character than his own. One turn of the public taste ; his gall was would have imagined that in twelve mistaken for spirit; his affectation for several and successive efforts of bis feeling, and bis harshness for originality. muse, sometbing a little newer than this The world are now growing tired of same inexhaustible self might have been their luminary, and wait only for the invented. Wherever we turn, the same rise of some new meteor, to transfer portrait meets our eye. We see it now their admiration and applause. The glaring in oils, now sobered in fresco, noble Lord bad talents, which if they now dim in transparency. Sometimes had been duly husbanded, might have it frowns in the turban of the Turk, ensured him à more permanent place sometimes it struts in the buskins and in their estimation. His Lordship never cloak of the Spaniard, and sometimes could have been a Milton, a Dryden, a it descends to fret in its native costume ; Pope, or a Gray, but he might bave but frown, strut, or fret where it will, been a star of the third or fourtb mag. the face is still but one, and the features nitude, whose beams would have shown are still the same. Mungo here, even upon posterity with no contempti. Mungo there, Mungo every where.” ble lusire. As the matter stands, be We are ever ready to listen with all will now be too late convinced that he due patience to a long story, provi- whose theme is only self, will find at ded it be not too often repeated, but Jast that self his only audience. there is really a limit beyond which “ The first sixteen stanzas of the Poem human patience ceases to be a virtue. before us are dedicated to this one We must come at last to the question, everlasting theme, and contain, like a Wbat is Lord Byron to us, and what repetition pye, nothing more than the have we to do either with his sublimity scraps of bis former strains, seasoned or his sulks ? It is his poetical not bis rather with the garlic of misanthropy personal character which is the subjeet than the salt of wit. “ Self-exiled of our criticism, and when the latter is Harold” reaches the plain of Waterloo, so needlessly obtruded upon our atten- but with a step not inore auspicious tion, it betrays at once poverty of in- than that of preceding poets, who have vention and lack of discretion. The trod that bloody plain. We know not what poble Lord is ever informing us how strange fatality attends a theme so sa.