1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Anonymous, "A Foolish Letter" Morning Chronicle (17 January 1822).



And now, O Muse! in faithful numbers tell,
The memorable squabble that befel,
When S—Y and Lord B—N joined in fight,
And whence descended each illustrious wight.
B—N, of high descent, from nobles sprung;
The chain of Slavery on the Laureate hung.
We laugh, &c.
HOR. Lib. 1, Sat. 3.

What would these sons of song be at,
The laurell'd and the Laureate,
The Free-born, and the Birth-day Muse?
The SACK-BUTT taxes his invention,
And tho' for praise, he has his pension,
He finds it easier to abuse.

Ah, me! what perils do environ,
The man that meddles with Lord B—R—N!
Facts that burn, and wit that stings!
Oh, better far that the reviler
Had still been Laureate to WAT TYLER;
Or vex'd his muse in praise of Kings!

Far better Epics, strung together,
As if no end were to his tether,
And quiet slept upon the shelf,
Than touch'd his pay, no duty doing
But to corruption, in reviewing,
Or singing praises — of himself!