1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

James Harley, in The Press, or Literary Chit-Chat. A Satire (1822) 15-17.



JOCUS.
Byron demands a longer notice—

HOCUS.
Yes, my friend,
When he is named, what thoughts within me blend!
Of passion plighted, and of vows forgot,
Of all the mis'ries of the exile's lot,
Of friends forsaken, woo'd again, and next
Extracts from Barrow and Boccaccio mixt!
His Juan is the index of his mind,
There all its contradicting parts we find,
Now he will rave of love, devotion, woe,—
In the next line a sneer on each bestow.

POCUS.
Such is the man, and, with a fiend-like clasp,
Methinks he hath the world within his grasp,
The bas-bleu world, I mean, those knowing wights
Who half adore whatever Byron writes,
Rapt unto blindness by his dazzling spell—

JOCUS.
Query — Where does this magic influence dwell?

POCUS.
Partly, because the vain and wayward Childe
Unbar'd before the world his passions wild,
The deep recesses of his breast exposed,
And all his follies, griefs, and fears disclosed;
He made himself the hero of his song,
The novel plan transfix'd the list'ning throng,
Soon he became the common topic — then
Who could neglect the offspring of his pen?—

JOCUS.
This was the plan Rousseau pursued to lure
The Gauls t' enlist beneath his flag impure.—

HOCUS.
Byron, too, warbles in a strain above
Each common songster in th' Aonian grove;
A fearlessness — a species of delight
Against each old opinion to wage fight—
First he half-makes us think as he does; next
With some strange paradox we are perplex'd,
At length we throw aside the book, and cry,
A riddle both the bard and poetry.

JOCUS.
How he lash'd Jeffrey!

JOCUS.
Yes! and others, too,
As well as him of "saffron and of blue."