1818
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dives Loquitur. In imitation of a great Poet.

Poesy; a Satire: with other Poems.

Chandos Leigh


Five Spenserians, a verse character of Lord Byron, "Newstead's noble lord." Byron considered Chandos Leigh a potential purchaser of Newstead Abbey, and a portrait of Byron hung of the mantle in Lord Leigh's estate at Stoneleigh Abbey. "Charissa" — the name taken from Spenser's House of Holiness in Faerie Queene I — is misspelled "Clarissa" in some editions. The volume was published anonymously. Not seen.

Literary Gazette: "We have reason to believe that this is the production of Mr. Chandos Leigh, whose earlier publications brought down a great weight of criticism upon his head, for their loose morality and licentious tendency. He has now abjured the amorous follies of his younger Muse, and appears armed with the whip of satire, to lash those errors in which he once participated. Yet we do not find that from a sinner he has made the common transition to an intolerant saint; there is not much malice nor ill-nature in the present composition" (10 October 1818) 643.

In his Juvenile Verses (1815) Leigh celebrated the publication of Childe Harold with a more positive character of the poet: "O early wise! with native talents blest, | Champion in Senates of the poor distrest. | High though in rank, with nobler honours shine, | The son of Science, favour'd by the Nine" p. 42.



Had I the wit of Newstead's noble bard
I'd sacrifice it all, again to be
The child I was, when on that smooth green sward
I drove my hoop along with mickle glee,
Or climb'd, with eager haste, yon cherry-tree.
Happy are they who need not e'er regret
The long-past days of careless infancy;
Whom friends have ne'er betray'd, nor knaves beset,
Who never have been caught in woman's subtle net.

Of this enough, — the storm has ceased to rage;
I live — but how, it matters not, — I live—
All, all is vanity — thus spoke the sage;
Yet there remains one pleasure — 'tis to give;
With some, 'tis pouring water through a sieve:
An endless folly, an excessive waste,
To feed their drones, these lordlings rob the hive;
They waste their wealth on fools or dames unchaste;
On gems, or jewels rare, these children have a taste.

DIVES had feasts at home, and many came
To see the strange inventions of the night;
Minstrels were in his halls, resembling flame,
The colour of their robes was very bright,
Ladies were clad in silk, all lily white,
While Burgundy, from golden goblets pour'd,
Freshen'd the heart of man with new delight,
And boon companions gather'd round his board;
Pledging the frequent health of their all-liberal lord.

But what is DIVES now? — a misanthrope—
A snarling cynic, basking in the sun;
O'ercharged with lust, he gave his passion scope;
A self-tormentor, now his course is run,
Mingling with fellow-men, yet loving none.
Divine Charissa calls on him in vain—
Though fools have robb'd thee, do not therefore shun
The sad retreat of penury and pain:
Sullen he stalks apart, and eyes her with disdain.

What wert thou born for, denizen of earth,
To laugh and grieve as suits thy wayward will;
Scoffer — the soul will have a second birth;—
Awake the song — the sparkling goblet fill;
Drown, in thy wine, all thoughts of future ill.
There is another world! — Then be it so—
Of this already have I had my fill!—
"This will not save thee — this fantastic woe:
Thou knowest not, wretched man, where thou art doom'd to go!"

[(1822) 117-120]