1813 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

Anonymous, "Rokeby" The Sun (21 June 1813).



Oh! it is fine to get a name,
To rise by wild romance to fame!
To get the kind booksellers to buy
The stories that in embrio lie;
To get, ere yet we write a line,
THREE THOUSAND POUNDS! — oh, it is fine.
Hail, BALLANTYNE, hail flowing Tees,
Hail castles, turrets, armour, trees,
And hail to all whose wreath abounds,
Who give for rhymes three thousand pounds!
Yet let the Muse not rest upon
Of BALLANTYNE, mere honest JOHN,
But let her, with a lofty glow,
Hail JAMMIE BALLANTYNE also;
These are the patrons who, God wot,
Bring forth the lays of WALTER SCOTT;
Send them to Paternoster-row,
Scite of the ROBINSONS and Co.;
Where dwell great LONGMANS, REES, and HURST,
Of Booksellers among the first;
And let us also note the form,
Of their mild partner, honest ORME.
Theses, these, are they who pay Dan WALTER,
A bard, who ne'er his strains can alter;
Bid him spin out those strains so rare,
Like him who high at Smithfield fair,
Turning to north, east, west, east, and south,
Pulls the long ribband from his mouth;
And to the crowd, with dex'trous skill,
Draws forth the self-same ribband still.

Hail, WALTER SCOTT, with bold equality,
Thou lyric lord of large locality.
How must we joy to see thee stride,
By moor and mountain, shore and tide,
Intent the reader's mind to trap,
And fire his fancy by the map!
Rival of SOLOMON and BRODUM,
If folks will take thy nostrums, load 'em—
Thou art the darling of APOLLO,
And with narcotics beat'st them hollow.
Take all the cash the world can spare
From learning, science, genius rare.
If the last Minstrel's lay thy name,
Or Marmion raise to matchless fame;
If eager fashion's thirst to slake,
Thy Muse should float us with a Lake;
Still, still unalter'd is the song,
Thy works the fav'rite themes prolong;
And ROKEBY kindly gives us more
Of what delighted us before:
The same the mountain, forest, rill,
The wondrous SMITHFIELD RIBBAND still.