1898 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Sotheby

Rowland E. Prothero, in Byron, Letters and Journal, ed. Rowland E. Protheros (1898-1901) 2:208-09n



William Sotheby (1757-1833), once a cavalry officer, afterwards a man of letters and of fortune, published his Oberon in 1798, and his Georgics in 1800 (see English Bards, etc., line 818, and note). The following passage from Byron's Detached Thoughts (1821) refers to him:—

"Sotheby is a good man; rhymes well (if not wisely), but is a bore. He seizes you by the button. One night of a rout, at Mrs. Hope's, he had fastened upon me (something about Agamemnon or Orestes — or some of his plays), notwithstanding my symptoms of manifest distress, (for I was in love and had just nicked a minute when neither mothers, nor husbands, nor rivals, nor gossips, were near my then idol, who was beautiful as the Statues of the Gallery where we stood at the time). Sotheby, I say, had seized upon me by the button, and the heart-strings, and spared neither. W. Spencer, who likes fun, and don't dislike mischief, saw my case, and, coming up to us both, took me by the hand and pathetically bade me farewell, 'for,' said he, 'I see it is all over with you.' Sotheby then went away. 'Sic me servavit Apollo.'"