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That it is, as the phrase goes, extremely "refreshing.” 1
Tra. No; I left a round dozen of authors and others
Tra. What, won't you return to the lecture?
Besides, our friend Scamp is to-day so absurd-
Tra. I have had no great loss then?
Is that your deduction?
Tra. And the crowd of to-day shows that one fool
Pray, then, let us retire.
Tra. I would, but.
I own it-t is true
Tra. I say she's an angel.
Miss Lilac !
To speak ill?
You 're a terrible stick, to be sure. Tra. I own it; and yet, in these times, there's no Tra. I make you! lure Ink. Yes, you! I said nothing until For the heart of the fair like a stanza or two; You compell'd me, by speaking the truth And so, as I can't, will you furnish a few ? Ink. In your name? Tra. In my name. I will copy them out, To slip into her hand at the very next rout. Ink. Are you so far advanced as to hazard this? Tra. Why, Do you think me subdued by a Blue-stocking's eye, So far as to tremble to tell her in rhyme What I've told her in prose, at the least, as sublime? Ink. As sublime! If it be so, no need of my Muse. Tra. But consider, dear Inkel, she's one of the "Blues."
[This cant phrase was first used in the Edinburgh Review-probably by Mr. Jeffrey.]
Tra. And is that any cause for not coming
2 ["Her favourite science was the mathematical — In short she was a walking calculation,
Ink. Humph! I can't say I know any happy alliance Which has lately sprung up from a wedlock with science.
She's so learned in all things, and fond of concerning
I perhaps may as well hold my tongue; But there's five hundred people can tell you you're
Tra. You forget Lady Lilac's as rich as a Jew.
Tra. Let her live, and as long as she likes; I
Tra. A propos-Will you write me a song now and then?
Ink. To what purpose?
Tra. You know, my dear friend, that in prose
Tra. And is that not a sign I respect them? Ink.
To be sure makes a difference.
I know what is what: And you, who're a man of the gay world, no less Than a poet of t'other, may easily guess That I never could mean, by a word, to offend A genius like you, and moreover my friend.
Ink. No doubt; you by this time should know what is due
To a man of-but come-let us shake hands.
Ink. That's my bookseller's business; I care not Indeed the best poems at first rather fail. There were Renegade's epics, and Botherby's plays, 1 And my own grand romance
Had its full share of praise. I myself saw it puff'd in the "Old Girl's Review. "2 Ink. What Review? [Trevoux; "3 • Tra. 'Tis the English “Journal de A clerical work of our jesuits at home. Have you never yet seen it?
That pleasure's to come.
Tra. Make haste then.
And I own, for my own part, that 't is not unpleasant.
But let us proceed; for I think, by the hum
Ink. Very true; let us go, then, before they can come,
Or else we'll be kept here an hour at their levy,
[Messrs. Southey and Sotheby.]
2 ["My Grandmother's Review, the British." This heavy journal has since been gathered to its grandmothers.]
3 [The Journal de Trevoux (in fifty-six volumes) is one of the most curious collections of literary gossip in the world, -and the Poet paid the British Review an extravagant compliment, when he made this comparison.]
["Sotheby is a good man-rhymes well (if not wisely); but is a bore. He seizes you by the button. One night of a rout at Mrs. Hope's, he had fastened upon me (something about Agamemnon, or Orestes, or some of his plays) not
Ink. That's clear. But for God's sake let's go, or the Bore will be here. Come, come: nay, I'm off. [Exit INKEL. Tra. You are right, and I'll follow; 'Tis high time for a " Sic me servavit Apollo."4 And yet we shall have the whole crew on our kibes, Blues, dandies, and dowagers, and second-hand scribes, All flocking to moisten their exquisite throttles With a glass of Madeira at Lady Bluebottle's.
An Apartment in the House of LADY BLUEBOTTLE A Table prepared.
SIR RICHARD BLUEBOTTLE solus.
Was there ever a man who was married so sorry?
In science and art, I'll be cursed if I know
Is the numerous, humourous, backbiting crew
Enter LADY BLUEBOTTLE, MISS LILAC, LADY BLUEMOUNT, MR. BOTHERBY, INKEL, TRACY, MISS MAZARINE, and others, with SCAMP the Lecturer, &c. &c.
Lady Blueb. Ah! Sir Richard, good morning; I've brought you some friends.
Sir Rich. (bows, and afterwards aside.) If friends, they 're the first. Lady Blueb. But the luncheon attends. I pray ye be seated, "sans cérémonie." Mr. Scamp, you 're fatigued; take your chair there, next me. [They all sit.
withstanding my symptoms of manifest distress (for I was in love, and just nicked a minute when neither mothers, nor husbands, nor rivals, nor gossips were near my then idol, who was beautiful as the statues of the gallery where we stood at the time. Sotheby, I say, had seized upon me by the button and the heart-strings, and spared neither. William Spencer, who likes fun, and don't dislike mischief, saw my case, and coming up to us both, took me by the hand, and pathetically bade me farewell; for,' said he, I see it is all over with you." Sotheby then went his way: sic me sernavit Apollo." — Byron Diary, 1821.]
I defy him to beat this day's wondrous applause. The very walls shook.
Ink. Oh, if that be the test, I allow our friend Scamp hath this day done his best. Miss Lilac, permit me to help you; -a wing?
Miss Lil. No more, sir, I thank you. Who lectures next spring?
Both. Dick Dunder.
That is, if he lives.
With pleasure. Ink. How does your friend Wordswords, that Windermere treasure?
Does he stick to his lakes, like the leeches he sings, And their gatherers, as Homer sung warriors and kings?
Lady Blueb. He has just got a place.
As a footman ?
For the poet of pedlars 't were, sure, no disaster
Lady Bluem. How good?
What you say?
Ink. Pray be content with your portion of praise; 'Twas in your defence.
I can make out my own.
You're too bad. Very good!
If you please, with submission,
Ink. It would be your perdition. While you live, my dear Botherby, never defend Yourself or your works; but leave both to a friend. A propos Is your play then accepted at last ?
Both. At last?
Ink. Why I thought-that's to saypass'd
Your parts, Mr. Inkel, are
A few green-room whispers, which hinted - you know, That the taste of the actors at best is so so. 3
Both. Sir, the green-room's in rapture, and so's the committee.
Ink. Ay-yours are the plays for exciting our "pity [mind," And fear," as the Greek says: for "purging the I doubt if you'll leave us an equal behind.
Both. I have written the prologue, and meant to have pray'd
For a spice of your wit in an epilogue's aid.
Tra. And you promised the epilogue, Inkel.
Never mind mine; Stick to those of your play, which is quite your own
Will right these great men, and this age's severity Become its reproach.
I've no sort of objection,
This gentle emotion, so seldom our lot
So I'm not of the party to take the infection.
Lady Blueb. Perhaps you have doubts that they Our spirits from carth; the sublimest of gifts; ever will take?
For which poor Prometheus was chain'd to his mountain;
Ink. Not at all; on the contrary, those of the lake Have taken already, and still will continue To take what they can, from a groat to a guinea, Of pension or place; — but the subject's a bore. Lady Bluem. Well, sir, the time's coming. Ink. Scamp don't you feel sore?
Both. For God's sake, my Lady Bluebottle, check not
2 [It was not the present Earl of Lonsdale, but James, the first earl, who offered to build, and completely furnish and man, a ship of seventy-four guns, towards the close of the American war, for the service of his country, at his own expense; hence the soubriquet in the text.]
3 ["We learn from Horace, Homer sometimes sleeps ;'
Of ocean? No, of air; and then he makes
'Tis the source of all sentiment-feeling's true fountain:
'Tis the Vision of Heaven upon Earth: 't is the gas Of the soul: 'tis the seizing of shades as they pass, And making them substance: 'tis something divine :Ink. Shall I help you, my friend, to a little more wine?
Both. I thank you; not any more, sir, till I dine. Ink. A propos-Do you dine with Sir Humphry 5 to-day?
Tra. I should think with Duke Humphry was more in your way.
Ink. It might be of yore; but we authors now look To the knight, as a landlord, much more than the Duke.
The truth is, each writer now quite at his case is, And (except with his publisher) dines where he pleases.
Sir Rich. (aside). I wish all these people were
4 Fact from life, with the words.
[The late Sir Humphry Davy, President of the Royal Society.]
6 [The late Miss Lydia White, whose hospitable functions have not yet been supplied to the circle of London artists and literati-an accomplished, clever, and truly amiable, but very eccentric lady. The name in the text could only have been suggested by the jingling resemblance it bears to Lydia.]
The Vision of Judgment,
BY QUEVEDO REDIVIVUS. '
SUGGESTED BY THE COMPOSITION SO ENTITLED BY THE AUTHOR OF "WAT TYLER."
"A Daniel come to judgment ! yea, a Daniel!
IT hath been wisely said, that "One fool makes many;" and it hath been poetically observed,
"That fools rush in where angels fear to tread."- Pope.
If Mr. Southey had not rushed in where he had no business, and where he never was before, and never will be again, the following poem would not
[In 1821, Mr. Southey published a piece, in English hexameters, entitled "A Vision of Judgment; " and which Lord Byron, in criticising it, laughs at as "the Apotheosis of George the Third." In the preface to this poem, after some observations on the peculiar style of its versification, Mr. Southey introduced the following remarks: —
"I am well aware that the public are peculiarly intolerant of such innovations; not less so than the populace are of any foreign fashion, whether of foppery or convenience. Would that this literary intolerance were under the influence of a saner judgment, and regarded the morals more than the manner of a composition; the spirit rather than the form! Would that it were directed against those monstrous combinations of horrors and mockery, lewdness and impiety, with which English poetry has, in our days, first been polluted! For more than half a century English literature had been distinguished by its moral purity, the effect, and, in its turn, the cause, of an improvement in national manners. A father might, without apprehension of evil, have put into the hands of his children any book which issued from the press, if it did not bear, either in its title page or frontis. piece, manifest signs that it was intended as furniture for the brothel. There was no danger in any work which bore the name of a respectable publisher, or was to be procured at any respectable hookseller's. This was particularly the case with regard to our poetry. It is now no longer so: and woe to those by whom the offence cometh! The greater the talents of the offender, the greater is his guilt, and the more enduring will be his shame. Whether it be that the laws are in themselves unable to abate an evil of this magnitude, or whether it be that they are remissly administered, and with such injustice that the celebrity of an offender serves as a privilege whereby he obtains impunity, individuals are bound to consider that such pernicious works would neither be published nor written, if they were dis couraged as they might, and ought to be, by public feeling every person, therefore, who purchases such books, or admits them into his house, promotes the mischief, and thereby, as far as in him lies, becomes an aider and abettor of the crime.
"The publication of a lascivious book is one of the worst offences which can be committed against the well-being of society. It is a sin, to the consequences of which no limits can be assigned, and those consequences Whatever remorse of no after repentance in the writer can counteract. conscience he may feel when his hour comes (and come it must!) will be of no avail. The poignancy of a death-bed repentance cannot cancel one copy of the thousands which are sent abroad; and as long as it continues to be read, so long is he the pander of posterity, and so long is he heaping up guilt upon his soul in perpetual accumulation.
These remarks are not more severe than the offence deserves, even when applied to those immoral writers who have not been conscious of any evil intention in their writings, who would acknowledge a little levity, a little warmth of colouring, and so forth, in that sort of language with which men gloss over their favourite vices, and deceive themselves. What then should be said of those for whom the thoughtlessness and inebriety of wanton youth can no longer be pleaded, but who have written in sober minhood and with deliberate purpose? Men of diseased hearts and depraved imaginations, who, forming a system of opinions to suit their own unhappy course of conduct, have rebelled against the holiest ordinances of human society, and hating that revealed religion which, with all their efforts and bravadoes, they are unable entirely to disbelieve, labour to make others as miserable as themselves, by infecting them with a moral virus
* ["Summi poetæ in omni poetarum sæculo viri fuerunt probi: in nos. tris id vidimus et videmus; neque alius est error a veritate longius quam magna ingenia magnis necessario corrumpi vitiis. Secundo plerique posthabent primum, hi malignitate, illi ignorantia; et quum aliquem in. veniunt styli morumque vitiis notatum, nec inticetum tamen nec in libris edendis parcum, eum stipant, prædicant, occupant, amplectuntur. Si mores aliquantulum vellet corrigere, si stylum curare paululum, si fervido ingenio temperare, si moræ tantillum interponere, tum ingens nescio quid et vere epicum, quadraginta annos natus, procuderat. Ignorant verò fel riculis non indicari vires, impatientiam ab imbecillitate non differre; ignorant a levi homine et inconstante muita fortasse scribi posse plusquam mediocria, nihil compositum, arduum, eternum. Savagius Landor, De Cultu atque Usu Latini Sermonis. "This essay, which full of fine critical remarks and striking thoughts felicitous'y express d, reached me. from Fisa, while the proof of the present sheet was before me. Of its author (the author of Gebir and Count Ju ian) I will only say in this place, that, to have obtained his approbation as a poct, and possessed his friend. ship as a man, will be remeinbered among the honours of my life, when the petty enmities of this generation will be forgotten, and its ephemeral reputations shall have passed away."- Mr. Southey's note.]
have been written. It is not impossible that it may be as good as his own, seeing that it cannot, by any species of stupidity, natural or acquired, be worse. The gross flattery, the dull impudence, the rene gado intolerance and impious cant, of the poem by the author of "Wat Tyler," are something so stupendous as to form the sublime of himself-containing the quintessence of his own attributes.
that eats into the soul! The school which they have set up may properly be called the Satanic school; for though their productions breithe the spirit of Belial in their lascivious parts, and the spirit of Moloch in those loathsome images of atrocities and horrors which they delight to represent, they are more especially characterised by a Satanic spirit of pride and audacious impiety, which still betrays the wretched feeling of hopelessness wherewith it is allied.
"This evil is political as well as moral, for indeed moral and political evils are inseparably connected. Truly has it been affirmed by one of our ablest and clearest reasoners, that the destruction of governments may be proved and deduced from the general corruption of the subjects' manners, as a direct and natural cause thereof, by a demonstration as certain as any in the mathematics. There is no maxiin more frequently enforced by Machiavelli, than that where the manners of a people are generally corrupted, there the govemment cannot long subsist, a truth which all history exemplifies; and there is no means whereby that corruption can be so surely and rapidly diffused, as by poisoning the waters of literature.
"Let rulers of the state look to this, in time! Hut, to use the words of Southey, if our physicians think the best way of curing a disease is to pamper it, the Lord in mercy prepare the kingdom to sutler, what He by miracle only can prevent!'
"No apology is offered for these remarks. The subject led to them; and the occasion of introducing them was willingly taken, because it is the duty of every one, whose opinion may have any influence, to expose the drift and aim of those writers who are labouring to subvert the foundations of human virtue and of human happiness."
Lord Byron rejoined as follows:
"Mr. Southey, in his pious preface to a poem whose blasphemy is as harmless as the sedition of Wat Tyler, because it is equally absurd with that sincere production, calls upon the legislature to look to it,' as the toleration of such writings led to the French Revolution of such writings as Wat Tyler, but as those of the Satanic School. This is not true, and Mr. Southey knows it to be not true. Every French writer of any freedom was persecuted; Voltaire and Rousseau were exiles, Marmontel and Diderot were sent to the Bastile, and a perpetual war was waged with the whole class by the existing despotism. In the next place, the French Revolution was not occasioned by any writings whatsoever, but must have occurred had no such writers ever existed. It is the fashion to attribute every thing to the French Revolution, and French Revolution to eVITY thing but its real cause. That cause is obvious the government exacted too much, and the people could neither give nor bear more. Without this, the Encyclopedists might have written their fingers off without the occur rence of a single alteration. And the English revolution-the first, I mean) what was it occasioned by? The Puritans were surely as pious and moral as Wesley or his biographer? Acts- acts on the part of goverment, and not writings against them, have caused the past convulsions, and are tending to the future.
"I look upon such as inevitable, though no revolutionist: I wish to see the English constitution restored, and not destroyed. Born an aristocrat, and naturally one by temper, with the greater part of my present property in the funds, what have I to gain by a revolution? Perhaps I have more to lose in every way than Mr. Southey, with all his places and presents for panegyrics and abuse into the bargain. But that a revolution is inevitable, 1 repeat. The government may exult over the repression of petty tumults; these are but the receding waves repulsed and broken for a moment on the shore, while the great tide is still rolling on and gaining ground with every breaker. Mr. Southey accuses us of attacking the religion of the country; and is he abetting it by writing lives of Wesley1 One mode of worship is merely destroyed by another. There never was, nor ever will be, à country without a religion. We shall be told of France again: but it was only Paris and a frantic party, which for a moment upheld their dogmatic nonsense of theo-philanthropy. The church of England, if overthrown, will be swept away by the sectarians and not by the sceptics. l'eopic are too wise, too well informed, too certain of their own Immense importance in the realms of space, ever to submit to the impiety of doubt. There inay be a few such diffident speculators, like water in the pale sunbeam of human reason, but they are very few; and their opinions, without enthusiasm or appeal to the passions, can never gain proselytes unless, indeed, they are persecuted that, to be sure, will increase any thing.
"Mr. Southey, with a cowardly ferocity, exults over the anticipated death-bed repentance' of the objects of his dislike; and indulges himself in a pleasantVision of Judgment in prose as well as verse, full of impious impudence. What Mr. Southey's sensations or ours may be in the awful moment of leaving this state of existence, neither he nor we can pre tend to decide. In cominon, I presume, with most men of any reflection, I have not waited for a death-hed to repent of many of my actions, out. withstanding the 'diabolical pride' which this pitiful renegado in his rancour would impute to those who scorn him. Whether upon the whole the