1846 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bryan Waller Procter

Walter Savage Landor, "To Barry Cornwall" Works of Walter Savage Landor (1846) 2:671.



Barry! your spirit long ago
Has haunted me; at last I know
The heart it sprung from: one more sound
Ne'er rested on poetic ground.
But, Barry Cornwall! by what right
Wring you my breast and dim my sight,
And make me wish at every touch
My poor old hand could do as much?
No other in these later times
Has bound me in so potent rhymes.
I have observed the curious dress
And jewelry of brave Queen Bess,
But always found some o'ercharged thing,
Some flaw in even the brightest ring,
Admiring in her men of war,
A rich but too argute guitar.
Our foremost now are more prolix,
And scrape with three-fell fiddlesticks,
And, whether bound for griefs or smiles,
Are slow to turn as crocodiles.
Once, every court and country bevy
Chose the gallant of loins less heavy,
And would have laid upon the shelf
Him who could but talk of himself.
Reason is stout, but even Reason
May walk too long in Rhyme's hot season.
I have heard many folks aver
They have caught horrid colds with her.
Imagination's paper kite,
Unless the string is held in tight,
Whatever fits and starts it takes,
Soon bounces on the ground, and breaks.
You, placed afar from each extreme,
Nor dully drowse nor wildly dream,
But, ever flowing with good-humour,
Are bright as spring and warm as summer.
Mid your Penates not a word
Of scorn or ill-report is heard;
Nor is there any need to pull
A sheaf or truss from cart too full,
Lest it overload the horse, no doubt,
Or clog the road with falling out.
We, who surround a common table,
And imitate the fashionable,
Wear each two eye-glasses: this lens
Shows us our faults, that other men's.
We do not care how dim may be
This by whose aid our own we see,
But, ever anxiously alert
That all may have their whole desert,
We would melt down the stars and sun
In our heart's furnace, to make one
Thro' which the enlighten'd world may spy
A mote upon a brother's eye.