1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Melesina Chenevix Trench, "On reading Lord Byron's English Bards and Scotch Reviews" April 1809; Remains of Mrs. Richard Trench (1862) 231.



Here wit and humour willing smiles excite,
Yet who can read the volume with delight?
Or, pleased, behold a youthful censor rise,
Disdain and anger flashing from his eyes;
Who tears the silken rose to show the thorn,
Bids Genius quaff the bitter draught of scorn,
Spurns the soft charities of social life,
And rends the veil that hid domestic strife?
Prompt with misguided hand, and zeal misplaced,
The keen, bright shafts of ridicule to waste.

Pope, brilliant star of our Augustan age,
For dulness and for guilt reserved his rage.
The mighty master of the Northern lyre,
Dowered with a painter's eye, a poet's fire,
Scott, spirit-stirring bard to Fancy dear,
Had ne'er endured from him the cutting sneer.
Well had he marked the beauties that belong
To the wild melody of Southey's song,
(Though strangely destitute of taste and rule);
Nor given this cordial to each rhyming fool,
That if he fall, the same unsparing blow
Had purposed to lay Scott and Southey low.