1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Joanna Carey, "The Laureate. On reading, in Landor's Imaginary Convesations, some Remarks on the Inadequacy of the Laureate's Salary" Morning Post (9 August 1826).



"LANDOR, thou reason'st well!" Monarchs should pay
Right royally, the Poet's deathless lay.
No earth-born cares should vex the gen'rous mind,
Inspir'd by genius, and by taste refin'd.
Let worldling's number pence — How poor their art!
Give me the numbers that can touch the heart,
Th' inspiring numbers that to verse belong,
And all the soothing melody of song.

Monarchs must die — and, though the trump of Fame,
In proudest tones, resound the warrior's name,
He too, in turn, must share the gen'ral doom,
In turn, must moulder in the silent tomb:
And — though, awhile, the monumental bust
May mark the spot where Greatness sleeps in dust—
Yet, as years pass, and human works decay—
And countries sink, by Ocean swept away,
E'en that may perish — but the verse sublime,
That Genius owns, shall brave the wreck of time—
In climes remote, to distant ages live,
And, to heroic deeds, immortal lustre give.

Few years have flown, since Europe's pow'rs (combin'd
Against the force of one all-daring mind)
Saw her brave hosts o'erpower'd in battle-field,
And Kings and Chieftains to the Conqu'ror yield.
And well did Albion, in that fearful hour,
With her firm bands oppose his giant pow'r.
Had she not singly fought, perchance, this day
Had seen all Europe subject to his sway.
But, taught by her, what hearts resolv'd could do,
The rallying nations to the contest flew;
And Time brought on the day, all-glorious Waterloo!

The, since such triumphs grace thy brilliant reign,
Illustrious GEORGE! let not the Poet's strain
Be check'd by care; but give him gold and wine,
And homage due. — So shall those triumphs shine
To latest times; and Minstrels, yet unborn,
Shall sing the deeds of that victorious morn,
Which saw the Conqu'ror, who had aw'd the world,
(Subdued at length) from his proud station hurl'd,
And, where his Eagles cower'd, Britannia's Flag's unfurl'd.
West-square, Aug. 9, 1826.