1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Anonymous, in Modern Parnassus; or, The new Art of Poetry, a Poem (1814) 19-20 &n.



Hail too advent'rous Bard, whose freeborn soul
Bids the wild numbers rove without controul,
Whose verse nor rhyme, nor time, nor measure knows;
An untaught ear would deem it lofty prose;
And prose it were, unless, now short nor long,
Th' unequal lines proclaim'd the pomp of song.

* Although Thalaba the Destroyer is pretty generally known, I shall produce an illustration of the above rule, taken at random from that singular work: premising, however, that we, of the modern school, may think ourselves happy, that we have been able to retain Mr. Southey on our side. It is notorious, that the opposite party, aware that his talents would give splendour to any style, which he adopted, have employed their warmest expostulations and severest censure, to shake his constancy, and seduce his affections from the muse of his choice.

Not in the desert,
Son of Hodeirah,
Wert thou abandon'd!

The coexistent fire,
That in the dens of darkness burnt for thee,
Burns yet, and yet shall live.

In the Domdaniel caverns,
Under the roots of the ocean,
Met the masters of the spell,
&c. &c. &c.