1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Anonymous, "Childe Harold in a Fever" Morning Post (16 February 1822).



Childe Harold in his politics is out,
Or he would not become so vastly mouthy;
Your virtue nobody pretends to "doubt,"
Why "viper Byron" would you bite "file" SOUTHEY?

Can't you still compliment the Doctor's wife,
And truth and sense with puff affront?*
Can't you with SHELLEY live a quiet life,
Or with that paragon of scribes, LEIGH HUNT?

If these all fail to give your heart content,
If in your ears "Miladi's" rage has rung,
Because, though you have called her "excellent,"
You ventured not to tell us she is "young;"

If such your case, or if you are annoyed
By finding baffled all your views of gain;
And Juan pirated, the public cloyed,
You have been blasphemous and lewd in vain:

Why, even then, digest it as you can,
"Each has his pang, but feebler sufferers groan;"
Attempt to act a little like a man,
And though you feel it keenly, do not own.

If for lost character you needs must grieve,
Attack not SOUTHEY. — This is most unwise;
(He says, and all who know you must believe)
Of you he never uttered calumnies.

Because your virtues are of that rare sort,
That any libeller a fool would seem,
Who wishing to be scurrilous for sport,
Should make your name the subject of his theme.

Have you e'er heard a patriotic thief,
Doom'd for his hapless country's weal to smart,
Indulging in a vein of generous grief,
While dancing in attendance on some cart.

And as poor "puss" with her "nine tails" came down,
Marked how he grew from laceration brave,
Till tears succeeded by the oath and frown,
He most intrepidly began to rave.

Like such a martyr, you just now appear,
Your fury carries you too far by half;
And though you doubtless mean to be severe,
Your breathless virulence provokes a laugh.

* "Lady MORGAN'S fearless and excellent work upon Italy." LORD BYRON, — Vide Advertisement.
"Miladi" appears almost broken-hearted, because some of her critics have let out the fact, that she is well stricken in years.