1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Westall

John Taylor Esq., "Lines on the Portrait of the late Lord Byron, painted by Richard Westall, Esq. R.A." The Sun (5 June 1824).



No wonder, WESTALL, that thy skill could trace
The mental movements e'en of BYRON'S face;
Thou saw'st the Poet, with a poet's eye,
And hence a poet's mind could well descry,
For thou, to graphic genius not confin'd,
Can'st boast the pow'rs of a poetic mind.

In pensive dignity the Bard we see,
As if from all unruly passions free,
As if not brooding o'er man's vice, but woe,
And all the sad vicissitudes below,
Ere yet the mark of envy and of hate,
That spread a darksome col'ring o'er his fate;
While in life's spring he Nature's beauties found,
And saw her blooming roses scatter'd round;
By Fortune bade to choose his onward way,
To cleave to Virtue, or with Fancy stray.

Then might the mind thy pencil here pourtrays
Have mark'd the tenor of his future days,
Then might his mind, as in thy canvass seen,
Have kept his temper gentle and serene.

Such BYRON was, ere malice, pride, and scorn
O'ercast the lustre of his radiant morn,
To point with vengeful spirit, Satire's dart,
And give the tones of his surpassing lyre
To wanton sport and misanthropic ire.

Else he through life had held a high career,
To Virtue's enemies alone severe.
Else he had always prov'd the zealous friend,
And his chief purpose been a moral end.
Still his bold Muse, in all her strains sublime,
Secures due homage from admiring Time.

And, WESTALL, in thy faithful work we find,
His native features, and his pregnant mind.
Such BYRON from the hand of NATURE came,
Illum'd by GENIUS with its brightest flame.
GREECE o'er his urn will shed a grateful tear,
And FREEDOM, rescued, consecrate his bier.