1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

James Harley, in The Press, or Literary Chit-Chat. A Satire (1822) 25-26.



HOCUS.
A few short miles, and, under Skiddaw's brow,
Where Derwent's fairy mirror floats below
Midst shelt'ring bowers, enlaurell'd Southey's home
Uprears to view its hospitable dome.
Far from the jar of courts he whiles the time
With hist'ry's treasures, or the sweets of rhyme.

JOCUS.
Oh! that his Vision had not met the eyes
Of those who study but to criticise!

POCUS.
Yes, 'tis a foolish thing, unfit to tread
The path that Madoc or stern Rod'rick led.
His Laureate Odes too—

JOCUS.
Are but mawkish trash,
To publish them was impudent and rash.

POCUS.
He can write ably, both in prose and verse,
The latter tuneful, and the former terse.
Like you his Life of Wesley?

HOCUS.
No, not much,
'Tis not a fitting theme for him to touch;
A compilation crude he hath but made,
Too like the common garbage of "the trade."
Southey should stick to Spain; he's there "au fait,"
And with auspicious guidance makes his way.

JOCUS.
Either too fond of writing, or of pelf,
He volumes writes unworthy of himself;
His rivals chuckle, and his foemen laugh,
Hoping his grain will soon be hid by chaff.