1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cook

Beppo, "To William Cooke, Esq. on reading his Poetical Portraits of Celebrated Men" The Sun (11 November 1818).



Hail to the Great! they come at last
Right to pleasantly before us:—
Look! — as each speaking verse is pass'd,
Reality comes o'er us!
In sooth, they're done most bold and free,
Yet mark'd with strict fidelity.

LAWRENCE, away! no need thy touch
To make our Portraits fine;
Henceforth we'll have them done in such
Poeticals as thine!
So bold, so living, and so free,
And yet exact fidelity!

The simple GOLDSMITH took his pen
And made, of those he priz'd,
A sort of etching: Ah! those men
Were but epitomis'd.
Thine are whole-lengths — rich, bold, and free,
Yet all exact fidelity!

Go on — 'tis pity thou should'st stop
Thy harp's pictorial tones;
Can'st thou not raise thy pen, and drop
Our well-known living ones?
Ah me! that were a task for thee
Too mean, too wicked, bold, and free,
To face thy pure fidelity!