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occurred, though the "taking down the and with some on terms of intimacy;" and poem seems to fix it in the library. Had that he knew "one family in particular to it been "taken up" it would probably have whom its suppression would give pleasure.” been in the drawing-room. I presume also I did not hesitate one moment, it was canthat the "remarkable circumstance" took celled instantly; and it is no fault of mine place after dinner, as I conceive that nei- that it has ever been republished. When ther Mr. Bowles's politeness nor appetite I left England, in April, 1816, with no would have allowed him to detain "the very violent intentions of troubling that rest of the company" standing round their country again, and amidst scenes of various chairs in the "other room" while we were kinds to distract my attention-almost my discussing "the Woods of Madeira" instead last act, I believe, was to sign a power of circulating its vintage. Of Mr. Bowles's of attorney, to yourself, to prevent or sup"good humour" I have a full and not un-press any attempts (of which several had grateful recollection ; as also of his gentle- been made in Ireland) at a republication. manly manners and agreeable conversa- It is proper that I should state, that the tion. I speak of the whole, and not of par- persons with whom I was subsequently ticulars; for whether he did or did not acquainted, whose names had occurred in use the precise words printed in the pam- that publication, were made my acquaintphlet, I cannot say, nor could he with ances at their own desire, or through the accuracy. Of "the tone of seriousness" I unsought intervention of others. I never, certainly recollect nothing: on the con- to the best of my knowledge, sought a trary, I thought Mr. Bowles rather dis- personal introduction to any. Some of posed to treat the subject lightly; for he them to this day I know only by corressaid (I have no objection to be contradicted pondence; and with one of those it was if incorrect), that some of his good-natured friends had come to him and exclaimed, "Eh! Bowles! how came you to make the Woods of Madeira tremble?" and that he had been at some pains and pulling down of the poem to convince them that he had never made "the Woods" do any thing of the kind. He was right, and I was wrong, and have been wrong still up to this acknowledgment; for I ought to have looked twice before I wrote that which involved an inaccuracy capable of giving pain. The fact was, that although I had certainly before read "the Spirit of Discovery," I took the quotation from the Review. But the mistake was mine, and not the Review's, which quoted the passage correctly enough, I believe. I blundered-God knows how -into attributing the tremors of the lovers to the "Woods of Madeira," by which they were surrounded. And I hereby do fully and freely declare and asseverate, that the Woods did not tremble to a kiss, and that the lovers did. I quote from memory—
begun by myself, in consequence, however, of a polite verbal communication from a third person.
I have dwelt for an instant on these circumstances, because it has sometimes been made a subject of bitter reproach to me to have endeavoured to suppress that satire. I never shrunk, as those who know me know, from any personal consequences which could be attached to its publication. Of its subsequent suppression, as I possessed the copyright, I was the best judge and the sole master. The circumstances which occasioned the suppression I have now stated; of the motives, each must judge according to his candour or malignity. Mr. Bowles does me the honour to talk of "noble mind," and "generous magnanimity;" and all this because "the circumstance would have been explained had not the book been suppressed." I see no "nobility of mind” in an act of simple justice; and I hate the word “magnanimity,” because I have sometimes seen it applied to the grossest of impostors by the greatest Stole on the list ning silence,of fools; but I would have "explained the They (the lovers) trembled,circumstance," notwithstanding "the supAnd if I had been aware that this decla- pression of the book," if Mr. Bowles had ration would have been in the smallest expressed any desire that I should. As the degree satisfactory to Mr. Bowles, I should "gallant Galbraith" says to "Baillie Jarnot have waited nine years to make it, vie," "Well, the devil take the mistake notwithstanding that "English Bards and and all that occasioned it." I have had Scotch Reviewers" had been suppressed as great and greater mistakes made about some time previously to my meeting him me personally and poetically, once a month at Mr. Rogers's. Our worthy host might for these last ten years, and never cared indeed have told him as much, as it was very much about correcting one or the at his representation that I suppressed it. other, at least after the first eight and A new edition of that lampoon was prepar- forty hours had gone over them. ing for the press, when Mr. Rogers repre- I must now, however, say a word or sented to me, that "I was now acquainted two about Pope, of whom you have my with many of the persons mentioned in it,│opinion morc at large in the unpublished
letter on or to (for I forget which) the | have lent his talents to such a task. If editor of "Blackwood's Edinburgh Maga- he had been a fool, there would have been zine; "and here I doubt that Mr. Bowles some excuse for him; if he had been a will not approve of my sentiments.
Although I regret having published "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," the part which I regret the least is that which regards Mr. Bowles with reference to Pope. Whilst I was writing that publication, in 1807 and 1808, Mr. Hobhouse was desirous that I should express our mutual opinion of Pope, and of Mr. Bowles's edition of his works. As I had completed my outline, and felt lazy, I requested that he would do so. He did it. His fourteen lines on Bowles's Pope are in the first edition of "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers; and are quite as severe and much more poetical than my own in the second. On reprinting the work, as I put my name to it, I omitted Mr. Hobhouse's lines, and replaced them with my own, by which the work gained less than Mr. Bowles. I have stated this in the preface to the second edition. It is many years since I have read that poem; but the Quarterly Review, Mr. Octavius Gilchrist, and Mr. Bowles himself, have been so obliging as to refresh my memory, and that of the public. I am grieved to say, that in reading over those lines, I repent of their having so far fallen short of what I meant to express upon the subject of Bowles's edition of Pope's Works. Mr. Bowles says, that "Lord Byron knows he does not deserve this character." I know no such thing. I have met Mr. Bowles occasionally, in the best society in London; he appeared to me an amiable, well informed, and extremely able man. I desire nothing better than to dine in company with such a mannered man every day in the week: but of "his character" I know nothing personally; I can only speak to his manners, and these have my warmest approbation. But I never judge from manners, for I once had my pocket picked by the civilest gentleman I ever met with; and one of the mildest persons I ever saw was Ali Pacha. Of Mr. Bowles's "character" I will not do him the injustice to judge from the edition of Pope, if he prepared it heedlessly; nor the justice, should it be otherwise, because I would neither become a literary executioner, nor a personal one. Mr. Bowles the individual, and Mr. Bowles the editor, appear the two most opposite things imaginable.
"And he himself one--antithesis."
I won't say "vile," because it is harsh; nor "mistaken," because it has two syllables too many: but every one must fill up the blank as he pleases.
What saw of Mr. Bowles increased my surprise and regret that he should ever
needy or a bad man, his conduct would have been intelligible: but he is the opposite of all these; and thinking and feeling as I do of Pope, to me the whole thing is unaccountable. However, I must call things by their right names. I cannot call his edition of Pope a “candid” work; and I still think that there is an affectation of that quality not only in those volumes, but in the pamphlets lately published.
"Why yet he doth deny his prisoners." Mr. Bowles says, that "he has seen passages in his letters to Martha Blount which were never published by me, and I hope never will be by others; which are so gross as to imply the grossest licentiousness." Is this fair play? It may, or it may not be that such passages exist; and that Pope, who was not a monk, although a catholic, may have occasionally sinned in word and in deed with woman in his youth; but is this a sufficient ground for such a sweeping denunciation? Where is the unmarried Englishman of a certain rank of life, who (provided he has not taken orders) has not to reproach himself between the ages of sixteen and thirty with far more licentiousness than has ever yet been traced to Pope? Pope lived in the public eye from his youth upwards; he had all the dunces of his own time for his enemies, and, I am sorry to say, some, who have not the apology of dulness for detraction, since his death; and yet to what do all their accumulated hints and charges amount?— to an equivocal liaison with Martha Blount, which might arise as much from his infirmities as from his passions; to a hopeless flirtation with Lady Mary W. Montagu; to a story of Cibber's; and to two or three coarse passages in his works. Who could come forth clearer from an invidious inquest on a life of fifty-six years? Why are we to be officiously reminded of snch passages in his letters, provided that they exist. Is Mr. Bowles aware to what such rummaging among "letters" and "stories” might lead? I have myself seen a collection of letters of another eminent, nay, pre-eminent, deceased poet, so abominably gross, and elaborately coarse, that I do not believe that they could be paralleled in our language. What is more strange, is, that some of these are couched as postscripts to his serious and sentimental letters, to which are tacked either a piece of prose, or some verses, of the most hyperbolical indecency. He himself says, that if "obscenity (using a much coarser word) be the sin against the Holy Ghost, he most certainly cannot be saved.” These
letters are in existence, and have been seen by many besides myself; but would his editor have been "candid" in even alluding to them? Nothing would have even provoked me, an indifferent spectator, to allude to them, but this further attempt at the depreciation of Pope.
cant moral; but always cant, multiplied through all the varieties of life. It is the fashion, and while it lasts will be too powerful for those who can only exist by taking the tone of the time. I say cant, because it is a thing of words, without the smallest influence upon human actions; What should we say to an editor of the English being no wiser, no better, and Addison, who cited the following passage much poorer, and more divided amongst from Walpole's letters to George Montagu? themselves, as well as far less moral, than "Dr. Young has published a new book. they were before the prevalence of this Mr. Addison sent for the young Earl of verbal decorum. This hysterical horror Warwick, as he was dying, to show him of poor Pope's not very well ascertained in what peace a Christian could die; un- and never fully proved amours (for even luckily he died of brandy: nothing makes Cibber owns that he prevented the somea Christian die in peace like being maud- what perilous adventure in which Pope lin! but don't say this in Gath where you was embarking) sounds very virtuous in are." Suppose the editor introduced it a controversial pamphlet; but all men of with this preface: "One circumstance is the world who know what life is, or at mentioned by Horace Walpole, which if least what it was to them in their youth, true was indeed flagitious. Walpole in- must laugh at such a ludicrous foundation forms Montagu that Addison sent for the of the charge of "a libertine sort of love;" young Earl of Warwick, when dying, to while the more serious will look upon show him in what peace a Christian could those who bring forward such charges die; but unluckily he died drunk." Now, upon an insulated fact, as fanatics or byalthough there might occur on the subse-pocrites, perhaps both. The two are somequent, or on the same page, a faint show times compounded in a happy mixture. of disbelief, seasoned with the expression Mr. Octavius Gilchrist speaks rather of "the same candour” (the same exactly irreverently of a "second tumbler of hot as throughout the book), I should say white-wine-negus." What does he mean? that this editor was either foolish or false Is there any harm in negus? or is it the to his trust; such a story ought not to worse for being hot? or does Mr. Bowles have been admitted, except for one brief drink negus? I had a better opinion of mark of crushing indignation, unless it him. I hoped that whatever wine he drank were completely proved. Why the words was neat; or at least, that like the ordi"if true?" that "if" is not a peace-maker.nary in Jonathan Wild, “he preferred punch, Why talk of "Cibber's testimony" to his the rather as there was nothing against it licentiousness; to what does this amount? in Scripture." I should be sorry to believe that Pope when very young was once de- that Mr. Bowles was fond of negus; it is coyed by some nobleman and the player to such a "candid" liquor, so like a wishya house of carnal recreation. Mr. Bowles washy compromise between the passion for was not always a clergyman; and when wine and the propriety of water. But difhe was a very young man, was he never ferent writers have divers tastes. Judge seduced into as much? If I were in the Blackstone composed his "Commentaries" humour for storytelling, and relating little (he was a poet too in his youth) with a anecdotes, I could tell a much better story bottle of port before him. Addison's conof Mr. Bowles, than Cibber's, upon much versation was not good for much till he better authority, viz. that of Mr. Bowles had taken a similar dose. Perhaps the himself. It was not related by him in my prescription of these two great men was presence, but in that of a third person, not inferior to the very different one of a whom Mr. Bowles, names oftener than once soi-disant poet of this day, who after wanin the course of his replies. This gentle-dering amongst the hills, returns, goes to man related it to me as a humourous bed, and dictates his verses, being fed by and witty anecdote; and so it was, what a bystander with bread and butter during ever its other characteristics might be. the operation. But should I, for a youthful frolic, brand I now come to Mr. Bowles's "invariable Mr. Bowles with a "libertine sort of love," principles of poetry." These Mr. Bowles or with "licentiousness?" Is he the less and some of his correspondents pronounce now a pious or a good man, for not hav-"unanswerable;" and they are "unanswering always been a priest? No such thing; ed," at least by Campbell, who seems to I am willing to believe him a good man, have been astounded by the title. The almost as good a man as Pope, but no better. The truth is, that in these days the grand “primum mobile" of England is cant; cant political, eant poetical, cant religious,
sultan of the time being offered to ally himself to a king of France, because “he hated the word league;" which proves that the Padisha understood French. Mr.
Campbell has no need of my alliance, nor they might have seen the sun shining on shall I presume to offer it; but I do hate a footman's livery, or on a brass warmingthat word "invariable.” What is there of pan; but could the "calm water,” or the human, be it poetry, philosophy, wit, wis-"wind," or the "sun," make all, or any dom, science, power, glory, mind, matter, of these "poetical?" I think not. Mr. life, or death, which is "invariable?" Of Bowles admits "the Ship" to be poetical, but course I put things divine out of the ques- only from those accessaries: now if they tion. Of all arrogant baptisms of a book, confer poetry so as to make one thing poetthis title to a pamphlet appears the most ical, they would make other things poetcomplacently conceited. It is Mr. Camp-ical; the more so, as Mr. Bowles calls a bell's part to answer the contents of this "ship of the line" without them, that is performance, and especially to vindicate to say, its "masts and sails and streamers,” his own "Ship," which Mr. Bowles most "blue bunting," and "coarse canvas,” and triumphantly proclaims to have struck to "tall poles." So they are; and porcelain his very first fire. is clay, and man is dust, and flesh is grass, and yet the two latter at least are the subjects of much poesy.
"Quoth he, there was a Ship;
Now let me go, thou gray-hair'd loon,
It is no affair of mine, but having once
Did Mr. Bowles ever gaze upon the sea? I presume that he has, at least upon a seapiece. Did any painter ever paint the sea only, without the addition of a ship, boat, wreck, or some such adjunct? Is the sea itself a more attractive, a more moral, a more poetical object with or without a vessel, breaking its vast but fatiguing monotony? Is a storm more poetical without a ship; or, in the poem of the Shipwreck, is it the storm or the ship which most interests? both much undoubtedly; but without the vessel, what should we care for the tempest? It would sink into mere descriptive poetry, which in itself was never esteemed a high order of that art.
Mr. Bowles asserts that Campbell's "Ship of the Line" derives all its poetry not from "art," but from "nature.” "Take away the waves, the winds, the sun, one will become a stripe of blue bunting; and the other a piece of coarse canvas on three tall poles." Very true; take away the "waves," "the winds," and there will be no ship at all, not only for poetical, but I look upon myself as entitled to talk for any other purpose; and take away "the of naval matters, at least to poets:—with sun," and we must read Mr. Bowles's pam- the exception of Walter Scott, Moore, and phlet by candlelight. But the "poetry" Southey, perhaps (who have been voyagers), of the "Ship" does not depend on "the 1 have swam more miles than all the rest waves;" on the contrary, the "Ship of the of them together now living ever sailed, Line" confers its own poetry upon the and have lived for months and months on waters, and heightens theirs. I do not shipboard; and during the whole period deny, that the waves and winds," and of my life abroad have scarcely ever passed above all "the sun," are highly poetical; a month out of sight of the ocean: besides we know it to our cost, by the many de- being brought up from two years till ten scriptions of them in verse: but if the on the brink of it. I recollect, when waves bore only the foam upon their anchored off Cape Sigeum, in 1810, in an bosoms, if the winds wafted only the sea- English frigate, a violent squall coming weed to the shore, if the sun shone neither on at sunset, so violent as to make us upon pyramids, nor fleets, nor fortresses, imagine that the ship would part cable, would its beams be equally poetical? I or drive from her anchorage. Mr. Hobthink not: the poetry is at least reciprocal. house and myself, and some officers had Take away "the Ship of the Line" "swing-been up the Dardanelles to Abydos, and ing round" the "calm water," and the were just returned in time. The aspect calm water becomes a somewhat monoton- of a storm in the Archipelago is as poetous thing to look at, particularly if not transparently clear; witness the thousands who pass by without looking on it at all. What was it attracted the thousands to the launch? they might have seen the poetical "calm water" at Wapping or in the "London Dock," or in the Paddington Canal, or in a horse-pond, or in a slopbasin, or in any other vase. They might have heard the poetical winds howling through the chinks of a pigstye, or the garret-window;
ical as need be, the sea being particularly short, dashing, and dangerous, and the navigation intricate and broken by the isles and currents. Cape Sigeum, the tumuli of the Troad, Lemnos, Tenedos, all added to the associations of the time. But what seemed the most "poetical" of all at the moment, were the numbers (about two hundred) of Greek and Turkish craft, which were obliged to "cut and run” before the wind, from their unsafe anchorage,
some for Tenedos, some for other isles, The beautiful but barren Hymettus, the some for the main, and some it might be whole coast of Attica, her hills and mounfor eternity. The sight of these little tains, Pentelicus, Anchesmus, Philopappus, scudding vessels, darting over the foam are in themselves poetical, and would be in the twilight, now appearing and now so if the name of Athens, of Athenians, disappearing between the waves in the and her very ruins, were swept from the cloud of night, with their peculiarly white | earth. But am I to be told that the “nature” sails (the Levant sails not being of "coarse of Attica would be more poetical without canvas," but of white cotton), skimming the "art" of the Acropolis? of the Temple along as quickly, but less safely than the sea-mews which hovered over them; their evident distress, their reduction to fluttering specks in the distance, their crowded succession, their littleness, as contending with the giant element, which made our stout forty-four's teak timbers (she was built in India) creak again; their aspect and their motion, all struck me as something far more "poetical" than the mere broad, brawling, shipless sea, and the sullen winds, could possibly have been without them.
of Theseus? and of the still all Greek and glorious monuments of her exquisitely artificial genius? Ask the traveller what strikes him as most poetical, the Parthenon, or the rock on which it stands? The COLUMNS of Cape Colonna, or the Cape itself? The rocks at the foot of it, or the recollection that Falconer's ship was bulged upon them? There are a thousand rocks and capes, far more picturesque than those of the Acropolis and Cape Sunium in themselves; what are they to a thousand scenes in the The Euxine is a noble sea to look upon, wilder parts of Greece, of Asia Minor, and the port of Constantinople the most Switzerland, or even of Cintra in Portugal, beautiful of harbours, and yet I cannot but or to many scenes of Italy, and the Sierras think that the twenty sail of the line, some of Spain? But it is the "art," the columns, of one hundred and forty guns, rendered the temples, the wrecked vessel, which it more "poetical" by day in the sun, and give them their antique and their modern by night perhaps still more, for the Turks poetry, and not the spots themselves. Withilluminate their vessels of war in a man-out them, the spots of earth would be unner the most picturesque, and yet all this is artificial. As for the Euxine, I stood upon the Symplegades-I stood by the broken altar still exposed to the winds upon one of them-I felt all the "poetry of the situation, as I repeated the first lines of Medea; but would not that "poetry" have been heightened by the Argo? It was so even by the appearance of any merchantvessel arriving from Odessa But Mr. Bowles says, “why bring your ship off the stocks?" For no reason that I know, except that ships are built to be launched. The water undoubtedly HEIGHTENS the poetical associations, thus it does not make them; and the ship amply repays the obligation: they aid each other; the water is more poetical with the ship-the ship less so without the water. But even a ship, laid up in dock, is a grand and a poetical sight. | Even an old boat, keel upwards, wrecked upon the barren sand, is a "poetical" object (and Wordsworth, who made a poem about a washingtub and a blind boy, may tell you so as well as I); whilst a long extent of sand and unbroken water, without the boat, would be as like dull prose as any pamphlet lately published.
What makes the poetry in the image of the "marble waste of Tadmor," in Grainger's "Ode to Solitude," so much admired by Johnson? Is it the "marble," or the "waste," the artificial or the natural object? The "waste" is like all other wastes; but the "marble" of Palmyra makes the poetry of the passage as of the place.
noticed and unknown; buried, like Babylon and Nineveh, in indistinct confusion, without poetry, as without existence; but to whatever spot of earth these ruins were transported, if they were capable of transportation, like the obelisk, and the sphinx, and the Memnon's head, there they would still exist in the perfection of their beauty and in the pride of their poetry. I opposed, and will ever oppose, the robbery of ruins from Athens, to instruct the English in sculpture; but why did I do so? The ruins are as poetical in Piccadilly as they were in the Parthenon; but the Parthenon and its rock are less so without them. Such is the poetry of art.
Mr. Bowles contends, again, that the pyramids of Egypt are poetical, because of "the association with boundless deserts," and that a “pyramid of the same dimensions" would not be sublime in "Lincoln's Inn Fields:" not so poetical certainly; but take away the "pyramids," and what is the "desert?" Take away Stone-henge from Salisbury-plain, and it is nothing more than Hounslow-Heath, or any other uninclosed down. It appears to me that St. Peter's, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Palatine, the Apollo, the Laocoon, the Venus di Medicis, the Hercules, the dying Gladiator, the Moses of Michel Angelo, and all the higher works of Canova (I have already spoken of those of ancient Greece, still extant in that country, or transported to England), are as poetical as Mont Blanc or Mount Etna, perhaps still more so, as