1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Cottle

Lord Byron, in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809); Poetical Works, ed. E. H. Coleridge (1898-1904) 1:328-29 & n.



Another Epic! Who inflicts again
More books of blank upon the sons of men?
Boeotian COTTLE, rich Bristowa's boast,
Imports old stories from the Cambrian coast,
And sends his goods to market — all alive!
Lines forty thousand, Cantos twenty-five!
Fresh fish from Hippocrene! who'll buy? who'll buy?
The precious bargain's cheap — in faith, not I.
Your turtle-feeder's verse must needs be flat,
Though Bristol bloat him with the verdant fat;
If Commerce fills the purse, she clogs the brain,
And AMOS COTTLE strikes the Lyre in vain.
In him an author's luckless lot behold!
Condemned to make the books which once he sold.
Oh, AMOS COTTLE! — Phoebus! what a name
To fill the speaking-trump of future fame!
Oh, AMOS COTTLE! for a moment think
What meagre profits spring from pen and ink!
When thus devoted to poetic dreams,
Who will peruse thy prostituted reams?
Oh! pen perverted! paper misapplied!
Had COTTLE'S still adorned the counter's side,
Bent o'er the desk, or, born to useful toils,
Been taught to make the paper which he soils,
Ploughed, delved, or plied the oar with lusty limb,
He had not sung of Wales, nor I of him.

Mr. Cottle, Amos, Joseph, I don't know which, but one or both, once sellers of books they did not write, and now writers of books they do not sell, have published a pair of Epics — Alfred (poor Alfred! Pye has been at him too!) — Alfred and the Fall of Cambria.