1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Anonymous, in "The Literary Police Office, Bow-Street, London" Port Folio [Philadelphia] S4 15 (June 1823) 506-07.



LORD BYRON, a young person, apparently of ferocious habits, was placed at the bar, under the care of Jeffrey and Gifford, two of the officers of the Literary Police, charged with a violent assault upon several literary gentlemen; when taken, he made a determined resistance, and beat the officers dreadfully. Jeffrey had his head bound up, in a blue and yellow hankerchief; and Gifford carried his arms in a sling, like David the giant-killer. The office was filled with bruised poets and broken prosers, all clamorous against the offender. It appeared, that, going home on a certain day past, he was accosted by a Muse, and was prevailed upon to take a glass of something at the Flying Horse and Pan-pipes, which, getting into his head, made him unruly. On quitting the place, he was met by the party complaining, who remonstrated with him, and endeavoured to convince him of the badness of the company he was keeping; when, without a word, he began laying about him, mauling, and knocking down all that were far or near. Several men were brained for life, and poor Mr. Fitzgerald got an ode on his head, which it is supposed, will never be subdued; indeed, it increases every year. The prisoner for want of Bayle (which he had lent to Mr. Leigh Hunt, to assist him in his philosophical pursuits,) was committed to Cold Bath Fields, where it is feared he will soon put all the convicts into hot water. There was also an information lodged against him, by a lady of title, for keeping unlawful game in his house, without a license — he was unable to pay the penalties immediately. The prisoner looked scornfully at the Bench; and Southey declared he ought to be hand cuffed, but had not the courage to carry his declaration into effect. The prisoner, seeing one of Messrs. Longman's firm near him, protested, if they published his pal Tom Moore's Loves of the Angels to the world, he would make that deed and Heaven and Earth come together! The Bench shuddered at the thought, and Jeffrey was ordered to look to him. On retiring from the bar, the prisoner was very ferocious, and the officers were compelled to put his crooked spirit into a straight waistcoat. He was scarcely nineteen when he committed the offence for which he was committed.