1822
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Untitled, "So the Public at length is beginning to tire on."]

Blackwood's Magazine 11 (April 1822): 456-460.

William Maginn


William Maginn (possibly), writing in Blackwood's Magazine, mistakenly announces that the taste for Byron's poetry is fading: "That wight, who, in endless Spenserian measure, | Roams through the wide world without object or pleasure; | Till at last, we find out, with the pilgrim proceeding, | That we gain no great object nor pleasure in reading!" Allan Lang Stout has attributed this to Col. John Matthews. Not seen.

Epes Sargent: "Maginn (1793-1842), the 'Odoherty' of Blackwood's Magazine, from 1819 to 1828, was a native of Cork. He received the degree of LL.D. in his twenty-fourth year. There was much scholarly wit and satirical power in his writings; but his literary career was irregular, and his intemperate habits made it a failure. He was often arrested, and lodged in jail. He was one of the chief supporters of Fraser's Magazine (1830), and for a time co-editor of the Standard newspaper. In 1838 he commenced a series of Homeric ballads in Blackwood's Magazine. He was also distinguished as a Shakesperian critic" Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 446.



So the Public at length is beginning to tire on
The torrent of poesy pour'd by Lord Byron!
Some guess'd this would happen: — the presage proved true.
Then now let us take a brief, rapid review
Of all, or at least of each principal topic,
Which serves as a theme for his muse misanthropic.

First, note we the prelude, which sung by the minor,
Gave promise of future strains, bolder and finer;
Though the bitter Scotch critic loud raised his alarum,
And swore men and gods could not possibly bear 'em!
To the fame of the bard men have given a shove—
Whate'er may be judged of his merits above.
Thus stung, did the youngster assail, we must own,
Some names which his fury had well let alone;
As a colt, who a thistle beneath his tail feels,
At all things around madly launches his heels.
Yet blithely, though sharply, the young minstrel caroll'd,
To Reviewers and Bards, ere he croak'd with Childe Harold,
That wight, who, in endless Spenserian measure,
Roams through the wide world without object or pleasure;
Till at last, we find out, with the pilgrim proceeding,
That we gain no great object nor pleasure in reading!

[2:327-28]