1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

J. W., "On the New Poet Laureate" Morning Chronicle (1 January 1814).



SIR,
The following lines are copied verbatim from a copy of verses left this afternoon by the Beadle of the East Division of the parish of St. Paul, Covent-Garden — "Humbly presented to all his worthy Masters and Mistresses." If you think them not too severe upon Bob, as he familiarly calls him, you will perhaps give them a place in your Paper. I am, yours, &c.
J. W.
Bow-street, Covent-Garden, Dec. 30, 1813.

"My honest Masters, take care of extremes,
BOB SOUTHEY, once upon a time, it seems,
(Too young to know the value of decorum)
Held in disdain all crowns, and those who wore 'em;
For suffering them, he saw no reason why;
And as to flattering them — he'd rather die.
Such was his tone for years, and such his scorning,
When lo! one fine autumnal blushing morning,
Changing his mind and coat, as CRABBE would say,
He comes to Court — the oddest of the gay,
And there not only lays his notions by,
Kissing the REGENT'S hand with down-dropt eye,
But puts the Crown on, that was worn by PYE!
My noble Masters, how could this change be?
———*———*———*———*———
I’ll tell you what it was, my Masters dear—
Pure weakness, and a hundred pounds a-year!
———*———*———*———*———
In what, my candid Masters, I have said,
Do not suppose I've been by malice led;
I would not of his fame the Laureat rob;
Think not your Bellman would speak ill of BOB.
'Tis of his odd extremes I speak alone;
In all things else — his verse, his taste, his tone,
I'm sure I look on BOB'S fame as my own."