|Bob Southey! You’re a poet, poet
representative of all the race.
|Although ‘tis true that you turned out
a Tory at
| Last, yours
has lately been a common case.
|And now my epic renegade, what are ye
| With all the
lakers, in and out of place?
|A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye
|Like ‘four and twenty blackbirds in a
|‘Which pye being opened they began to
| (This old song
and new simile holds good),
|‘A dainty dish to set before the King’
| Or Regent, who
admires such kind of food.
|And Coleridge too has lately taken
| But like a
hawk encumbered with his hood,
|Explaining metaphysics to the nation
|I wish he would explain his
|You, Bob, are rather insolent, you
| At being
disappointed in your wish
|To supersede all warblers here below,
| And be the
only blackbird in the dish.
|And then you overstrain yourself, or
| And tumble
downward like the flying fish
|Gasping on deck, because you soar too
|And fall for lack of moisture quite a
|And Wordsworth in a rather long
| (I think the
quarto holds five hundred pages)
|Has given a sample from the vasty
| Of his new
system to perplex the sages
|’Tis poetry, at least by his assertion,
| And may appear
so when the Dog Star rages,
|And he who understands it would be able
|To add a story to the Tower of Babel.
|You gentlemen, by dint of long
| From better
company, have kept your own
|At Keswick, and through still continued
| Of one
another’s minds at last have grown
|To deem, as a most logical conclusion,
| That poesy has
wreaths for you alone.
|There is a narrowness in such a notion,
|Which makes me wish you’d change your
lakes for ocean.
|I would not imitate the petty thought,
| Nor coin my
self-love to so base a vice,
|For all the glory your conversion
| Since gold
alone should not have been its price.
|You have your salary; was’t for that
| And Wordsworth
has his place in the Excise.
|You’re shabby fellows—true—but poets
|And duly seated on the immortal hill.
|Your bays may hide the baldness of your
| Perhaps some
virtuous blushes; let them go.
|To you I envy neither fruit nor boughs,
| And for the
fame you would engross below,
|The field is universal and allows
| Scope to all
such as feel the inherent glow.
|Scott, Rogers, Campbell, Moore, and
Crabbe will try
|’Gainst you the question with
|For me, who, wandering with pedestrian
| Contend not
with you on the winged steed,
|I wish your fate may yield ye, when she
| The fame you
envy and the skill you need.
|And recollect a poet nothing loses
| In giving to
his brethren their full meed
|Of merit, and complaint of present days
|Is not the certain path to future
|He that reserves his laurels for
| (Who does not
often claim the bright reversion)
|Has generally no great crop to spare
| Being only
injured by his own assertion.
|And although here and there some
| Arise like
Titan from the sea’s immersion,
|The major part of such appellants go
|To—God knows where—for no one else can
|If fallen in evil days on evil tongues,
appealed to the avenger, Time,
|If Time, the avenger, execrates his
| And makes the
word Miltonic mean sublime,
|He deigned not to belie his soul
| Nor turn his
very talent to a crime.
|He did not loathe the sire to
laud the son,
|But closed the tyrant-hater he begun.
|Think’st thou, could he, the blind old
| Like Samuel
from the grave to freeze once more
|The blood of monarchs with his
| Or be alive
again—again all hoar
|With time and trials, and those
| And heartless
daughters—worn and pale and poor,
|Would be adore a sultan? He obey
|The intellectual eunuch Castlereagh?
|Cold-blooded, smooth-faced, placid
| Dabbling its
sleek young hands in Erin’s gore,
|And thus for wider carnage taught to
Transferred to gorge upon a sister shore,
|The vulgarest tool that tyranny could
| With just
enough of talent and no more,
|To lengthen fetters by another fixed
|And offer poison long already mixed.
|An orator of such set trash of phrase,
|That even its grossest flatterers dare
| Nor foes—all
nations—condescend to smile.
|Not even a sprightly blunder’s spark
| From that
Ixion grindstone’s ceaseless toil,
|That turns and turns to give the world
|Of endless torments and perpetual
|A bungler even in its
| And botching,
patching, leaving still behind
|Something of which its masters are
| States to be
curbed and thoughts to be confined,
|Conspiracy or congress to be made,
| Cobbling at
manacles for all mankind,
|A tinkering slave-maker, who mends old
|With God and man’s abhorrence for its
|If we may judge of matter by the mind,
| Emasculated to
the marrow, it
|Hath but two objects, how to serve and
| Deeming the
chain it wears even men may fit,
|Eutropius of its many masters, blind
| To worth as
freedom, wisdom as to wit,
|Fearless, because no feeling dwells in
|Its very courage stagnates to a vice.
|Where shall I turn me not to view its
| For I will
never feel them. Italy,
|Thy late reviving Roman soul desponds
| Beneath the
lie this state-thing breathed o’er thee
|Thy clanking chain and Erin’s yet green
| Have voices,
tongues to cry aloud for me.
|Europe has slaves, allies, kings,
|And Southey lives to sing them very
|Meantime, Sir Laureate, I proceed to
| In honest
simple verse this song to you.
|And if in flattering strains I do not
| ’Tis that I
still retain my buff and blue;
|My politics as yet are all to educate.
| Apostasy’s so
|To keep one creed’s a task grown
|Is it not so, my Tory, ultra-Julian?
| Classic Poems
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