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Byron and Wordsworth.
existence, let us not forget that there | Aristarchus and his opponents, reis a friend who sticketh closer than a specting the comparative merits of brother.
| Lord Byron and Mr. Wordsworth.
JUVENIS. A priori, I was surprised that such Aberdeen, 24th October, 1821.
a comparison should ever have been instituted. I thought that to compare
Lord Byron to Wordsworth, was liko OBSERVATIONS ON THE ENVIOUS MAN. comparing the meridian sun to a rushBY R. R, T., . .
light. And, a posteriori, that opinion has been confirmed. No impartial
reader of the productions on both FRIENDSHIP, that great law of nature,
sides, can for a moment hesitate to the envious man violates. Hence his
admit that Lord Byron towers infinitecharacter is universally detested.
ly above the Lake Poet. Every incident which ought to give
After the complete trouncing which him pleasure, promotes his pain. The
the Derby writer has received, it may objects that gratify him who is exempt
be thought too hard upon him to say from this hateful passion, give the
any thing more ; and perhaps even most corroding pangs to him who is
Aristarchus would declare that “ twice subject to it. The envious man thinks
they slew” poor G. M. But I really the excellencies of his fellow creatures
think that one or two things in G. M.'s odious. Another's merit or prospe
letters ought not to escape ceasure. rity awakens the seeds of this detest
And, first, observe his disingenuousable vice in his breast. To conceive ill
ness. He is afraid of a contest with of one who has done him no injury, to
Aristarchus; refers him to his mighty be offended with a man for excelling
production half-a-year ago; tells him him, to hate him because he is ap
that he will not say any thing more proved,-is a disposition altogether
about Byron; and yet, in the same unnatural; it partakes of the rancour,
number, he calumniates his Lordship of an evil spirit. The envious man's
in delineating “the maudlin prince of Jife must be most miserable, because
mournful sonneteers.” he is surrounded by those who all tend to inflame his mind, by improv
“ The creature's at his dirty work again.” ing their own bappiness and conve-'
Aristarchus appears to deem such nience.
conduct deserving only silent conLet bim whose heart is tainted with
tempt; but I think right to hold it up this detestable vice, bring often into
to public infamy. view those religious sentiments which
Mark G. M.'s logic; he says that respect him as a Christian; namely,
Dr. Woolcott was formerly thought how unworthy he appears in the sight
the greatest poet of the age, and yet of God, and how much the blessings
no one now quotes from him, THEREthat he every day experiences, be
FORE Lord Byron will share the same stowed upon him by the Divine good
fate!!! A child can deny his ergo. " ness, are beyond what he deserves ;
G. M.'s imputation of bad motives to so shall the roots of this malignant
his opponent, merits the severest repassion weaken in his heart, and be
probation. What censure can be too annihilated. His heart will become
harsh upon a man that insinuates that an irresistible barrier to many a
“ one who differs from him in opinion wicked passion, and he will learn in
cannot have read any British poet;" whatsoever state he is, “ therewith to
and that “an admirer of Lord Byron's be content."
poetry must be an infidel?” Infidelity Norwich, 3rd October, 1821.
Aristarchus has abjured ex animo; and his letter, containing French, Latin,
and Greek, shows that he is not ignoBYRON AND WORDSWORTH, BYRON
rant. I cannot help thinking that VINDICATED.
G, M, himself is nothing better than “ Hearken unto me; I also will shew mine a SCIOLIST; or he would not be so opinion.”
JOB xxxii. 10. ready to charge ignorance upon an
other. MR. Epitor.
Aristarchus' “ letter is as much suSir,--With considerable pleasure I perior to G. M.'s in temper, as it is in have read the controversy between argument.” Indeed their modes of No. 34.-Vol. III.
Byron and Wordsworth.
conducting the controversy form a tion, as that which appeared in col. striking contrast. G. M. flies from 921 of your number for October. The the contest; frets, and foams; im- | ingenious writer of the passage to putes bad motives, and calls harsh which I allude, has, by a species of names;
interpretation exclusively his own, " the barbed dart
imagined that by poetry his Lordship Sticks in his side, and rankles in his heart;"
means morality! And, Sir, from this
ignoratio elenchi-this mistake of the wbile Aristarchus “proceeds cheer
proposition, G. M. very logically asks, fully to the combat;” laughs at
if it be conceded that poetry, viz, mo“Farce, Comedy, and Tragedy ;" tri
rality, is in a state of declension, to umphantly refutes his opponents, whom can it be imputed ? This inge“Smiles in the tumult, and ENJOYs the storm." nuous question he replies to with cor
responding candour, and very calmly I am, Sir, your's, &c.
tells us that we may address the fasciSCRUTATOR.
nating Byron in the bold and positive
terms with which the inspired Nathan BYRON AND WORDSWORTH.- BYRON
struck terror to the soul of the guilty
monarch: “Thou art the man.” Is VINDICATED.
this, Sir, the plain and deliberate " Pedlars,' and 'boats,' and 'waggons,'—
procedure that should characterize the Oh ye shades
awarders of poetic merit? Is this the Of Pope and Dryden, are we come to this? generous and impartial conduct so That trash of such sort not alone evades essential in discharging the duties of Contempt, but from the bathos' vast abyss
a critic? Is this preinature and unjust Floats scum-like uppermost, and these Jack Cades
decision to blast the laurels, yet smilOf sense and song above your graves may
ing on the brow of the beneficent hiss ?"
Byron? No, Sir, every principle of
virtue and honour forbids it; and MR. Editor.
while his muse continues to breathe Sir,-As many pages of your valu
the high-wrought minstrelsy she has able and impartial publication have of
hitherto donc, as soon will Wordslate been occupied in discussing the
worth's Excursion eclipse Paradise respective merits of Byron and Words
Lost, as G. M.'s lilliputian arrows the worth, I trust I shall not incur the
glory of Byron. ' censure of your disinterested readers,
I will not step beyond my prescribed for obtruding the subsequent remarks
limits to vindicate the moral character on their attention.
of our British bard; I will not attempt I had resolved, Sir, to remain a
to echo the prayers of the captive, the passive spectator of this literary con
blessings of the unfortunate, the joyful test, and merely
cries of the orphan and widowed,
whom Byron has restored to liberty, "- through the loop-holes of retreat to bome, and to happiness. On ArisTo peep at
tarchus the task devolves: to him, the combatants; but since the spirited Sir, I cheerfully resign the enviable advocate of Byron has been meanly charge of convincing the unbiassed and illiberally assailed by the philo- readers of your widely circulated mismusi who, contend for the gentle cellany, that the poet whom he so ably Wordsworth, I care not to thwart the defends, is not that “monstrum hor. opportunity presented me of assuring rendum," that “exquisitely disgustAristarchus, that the Imperial Maga-ing, yea, iniquitous” object, some zine has one correspondent besides have endeavoured to mis-represent himself, who admires the brilliant effu- bim. sions of the Caledonian bard, and who, The precious morceau which princias he is not below his teens, cannot pally gave rise to these observations, relish the puerile productions that its inimitable author has interwoven distinguish the poet of the lakes. with the threads of encomium so fairly
of the various methods by which and deservedly lavished on the sonnets the reputation of Lord Byron is attack of the Rev. W. L. Bowles. None, ed, none, Sir, is marked with such Sir, more esteems the genuine lovelipeculiar acrimony, such unwarrantedness, the touching simplicity, of these license, and such fecundity of inven- elegant compositions, than myself;
Byron and Wordsworth.
and well would it be for G. M. could Fare thee well, but for a day; he treat Lord Byron with a spark of
Then we mix our mould'ring clay. that urbanity and respect, pre-emi
Thou, thy race, lie pale and low,
Pierc'd by shafts of many a bow; nent in the controversy to which he
And the falchion by thy side refers. But I forbear; had he eulo To thy heart thy hand shall guide :: gized the one without reprobating the Crownless, breathless, headless, fall other, all animadversion would be
Son and Sire, the house of Saul !" superseded. :
I remain, Sir, In concluding, Sir, I would direct the attention of those who may peruse
With sincerity and respect,
PHILO-ARISTARCHUS. these remarks, to the song which composes their peroration : the melody of its numbers, the energy of its diction,
BYRON AND WORDSWORTH.-WORDSthe descriptive power it displays, and
WORTH VINDICATED. above all, the sacred feeling it creates, forcibly evince that the writer of " Hebrew Melodies" has rendered
Mr. Editor. himself not less intimate with the SIR,-May I be peripitted to intrude beauties of poesy, than with the cha myself once more upon your notice, racters and passions of those, whose and that of the public, in replying to memory he so expressively revives. the invectives of Aristarchus, inserted
in your last number, whose anger it SONG OF SAUL BEFORE HIS LAST BATTLE. | appears I have kindled not a little. . . Saul.
My motive is the elucidation and esta“Warriors and obiefs! should the shaft or the blishment of trath; and if a firm adhesword
rence to what I conceive to be the Pierce me in leading the host of the Lord,
cause of truth and virtue, subject me Heed not the corse, though a kivg's, in your
to be termed a bigot, I shall, neverpath : Bury your steel in the bosoms of Gath! theless, not shrink from my duty. It
is also to be hoped, that when my opThou who art bearing my buckler and bow,
ponent has considered the whole of Should the soldiers of Saul look away from the foe,
the discussion, especially his own paStretch me that moment in blood at thy feet! | per of October 2d, he will learn to Mine be the doom which they dar'd not to acknowledge the truth of the adage, meet.
which tells us, we may sometimes Farewell to others, but never we part, make more haste than good speed. Heir to my royalty, son of my heart!
Learning, be it little or much, ought Bright is the diadem, boundless the sway, not to be a shield for arrogance; and Or Kingly the death, which awaits us to-day! though Aristarchus, as if fearful of
Thou whose spell can raise the dead, trusting his cause to the living, has Bid the prophet's form appear.
called up the dead languages to reinSamuel, raise thy buried head!
force his positions, I will not shun to King, behold the phantom seer!"
meet him on the fair and open ground Earth yawned; he stood the centre of a cloud: 1 of legitimate controversy.. First let Light chang'd its hue retiring from his shroud; Death stood all glassy in his fixed eye,
me vindicate my own character, next His hand was wither'd, and his veins were
expose the errors of my opponent, and, dry;
finally, seek to confirm the assertions His foot, in bony wbiteness, glitter'd there, which I have primarily advanced.. Shrunken and sinewless, and ghastly bare:
Whenever a writer descends to the From lips that moy'd not, and unbreathing
use of scurrilous epithets, he has an frame, Like cavern'd winds the hollow accents came.
evident advantage in sheltering bimSaul saw, and fell to earth, as falls the oak, self under an anonymous signature; At once, and blasted by the thunder stroke. an advantage which, in the present
instance, I have to labour against. Samuel.
The charge of arrogance, however, “Why is my sleep disquieted ? cannot but fall harmless upon me, Who is he that calls the dead?
when applied by one assuming the Is it thou, Oh king? Behold
name of an ancient critic, who would Bloodless are these limbs, and cold:
suffer no verse to pass for Homer's of Such are mine ; and such shall be Thine to-inorrow when with me:
which he did not himself approve. Ere the coming day is done,
But I pass on to a more serious impuSuch shalt thou be, such thy son.
tation. Aristarchus, after givino
Byron and Wordsworth.
tracts from Hazlitt's earlier works, depicted aberrations of the Idiot Boy, pretty plainly draws the inference, in his mistaking the cold moon for the that the words I have quoted from the luminary of day, nor in his infantile same author must be a fabrication of expressions of joyous feeling under my own. The public may readily de- his novel situation---it is a corroboratermine on this case by referring to tion of my opinion, that he is utterly Hazlitt's Table Talk, page 100. Let blinded by prejudice, and unfit for them also consult the whole of the engaging in the analysis of poetic meparagraph from which they were taken. rit. Surely it augars well for the chaIn the hands of this author the rod of racter of Wordsworth's poetry, to find criticism, when applied to Words- his reviler driven to such unworthy worth, becomes a serpent, which swal- expedients. The testimony of the lows up not only his own detractions, contemporary poets adduced in my but also the mite of praise which he former paper, is treated by my oppohad bestowed upon that “noble poet, nent as the unmeaning language of who is fulfilling the promise of his compliment, which he seeks to overyouth.” If Aristarchus could imagine turn by an anonymous paragraph, that, that I had not perused Hazlitt, what for any thing the public knows to the must be said of his strange inaccuracy contrary, may be one of those mites respecting the poems of Wordsworth, which he before tells us he has contriwhich he informs me he has read ? buted to the fund of literature. Such Were he indeed the student he would | a conjecture might be plausibly suplead the public to suppose, he must ported; for I am desired to mark the have known that the “Ancient Mari- contents of the quotation, and I find ner" is a poem, not written by Words- it to be silly enough, overshooting the worth, but by Coleridge; and is that mark it aims at, and degrading its on which his reputation as a poet arrogant style of vituperation, by the principally rests, as being the most | lowness of a pun. Let the following original and powerful of his produc- extract suffice as a specimen of the tions.
poem which Aristarchus would per
suade us is a tissue of “daudling im.“ A little learning is a dangerous thing."
potent drivel.” The inadvertency of which Aristar
Long have I lov'd what I behold, chus has here been guilty, leads me The night that calms, the day that cheers : to suspect that he has never consulted The common growth of mother earth the long prose critique upon Words
Suffices meher tears, her mirth, worth, given by his friend in the
Her humblest mirth and tears. Literaria Biographia; indeed I cannot
The dragon's wing, the magic wing, but surmise that my antagonist is very I shall not covet for my dower, scantily prepared for the critical ex-) If I along that lowly way ploit which he has undertaken. His
With sympathetic heart may stray, quotations are peculiarly unfortunate
And with a soul of power. for his purpose, and, where they have These given, what more need I desire, any weight, they seem to bear upon the To stir-to soothe-or elevate? opposite side of the question. Would What nobler marvels than the mind any poem, even the writer's favourite
May in life's daily prospect find,
May find or there create ? Don Juan, be fairly represented by a couple of lines maliciously selected ; 1 A potent wand doth sorrow wield; especially when it can be shewn that What spell so strong as guilty fear? the objectionable lines are corrected
Repentance is a tender sprite;
If aught on earth have heav'nly might, in a later edition? One other specimen
'Tis lodg'd within her silent tear. of Wordsworth's poetry is given, which is termed a farrayo: and it cer After this exposure of the critical tainly is not the fault of Aristarchus, if sagacity of my antagonist, it may be it merits a better appellation ; for it superfluous to seek, by any further arconsists of part of the last stanza, guments, to convince him that my omitting the line which gives its prin eulogy of Wordsworth does not rest cipal interest, then follows the 17th, on the baseless fabric of a distempered and after that the 14th stanza of the imagination, but is supported by very poem. But taking the verses as they many passages of extraordinary beauare here given, may I not affirm, that ty, sublimity, and pathos, which if the critic can sce no beauty in the abound in the volumes of bis poetry.
Byron and Wordsworth..
Aristarchus can see beauty in Lord great, but an immoral poet. Whether Byron's verse,
the fetid exhalations of his impurities “ The mind--the music breathing from her
will gather into a cloud that shall eclipse the orb of his genius, or will
be eventually dispelled by its purer while he has overlooked the fine lines of Wordsworth,
rays, is a problem that posterity must
determine. « And she shall lean her ear
I am, yours, &c. In many a secret place
G. M. Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
Derby, November 7, 1821. And beauty born of murmuring sound Shall pass into her face.” by which the idea was probably sug- BYRON AND WORDSWORTH.-WORDSgested to his Lordship; and he can
WORTH VINDICATED. even embellish bis diction by borrowing at unawares from the Excursion, 1 MR. EDITOR.
In making these remarks, I have Sır,--As I am a constant reader of already trespassed upon my third pro- your miscellany, I could not fail to position, and may now hasten to dis observe the “Byronic controversy” miss the subject. The man who ap which has enriched your columns, plies the epithet of “simple" to the Alternately delighted with the letters Author of the Ode on the Intimations of G. M. and H. and made to smile at of Immortality, of the Sonnets to Li- the fantastic folly of Aristarchus, I berty, the poems of Laodamia and of resolved to be a controversialist myDion, is not likely to be wrought upon self; and I now present you with the by any further argument or assertion, first-fruits of my determination, arby more enlarged quotations from his dently requesting you to insert this poetry, or more extended references letter in your next number. to the expression of public opinion. “Passing over his petulance as unI regard him as a greater incurable worthy of notice,” (according to Aristhan the Idiot Boy, who, in the imbe tarchus's own words,) I proceed to cility of his thoughts exclaimed notice the quotations by which he “ And the sun did shine so cold.”
endeavours to support his judgment of
Wordsworth. Unfortunately, the two One word more respecting Aristar- first examples of that poet's "namchus's labourer in the vineyard” of by-pamby compositions, though inimpure grapes, and I have done.serted in the Lyrical Ballads, are by Like the impetuous ostrich, that wan-Coleridge, as this ardent admirer of ders in the desart, and entrusts its Lord Byron may find by turning to the progeny to be hatched into life by the Preface to that beautiful work. solar heat, such is Lord Byron,-an Having thus, I trust, refuted his isolated being, committing, with scorn arguments respecting Wordsworth, I and hate, the offspring of his gigantic proceed to his stories of the charity of intellect to the land which he has for- the author of Don Juan. The circumsaken, and the countrymen whom he stances of Aristarchus's note have has traduced. Were he stripped of long ago been denied; and the inadthe plumage, which he without scru vertency of the person who has endeaple has pillaged from others, still, as voured to depreciate Lord Byron's I have already done, I would call him character by reports • as false as they a mighty one, a poet who has dignified are feeble” must indeed be great, so the crest of nobility with the brighter | great indeed, that I suspect, " through wreath of Apollo: and yet, while I inadvertency,” he never received the admire the beauty and majesty of his pecuniary assistance mentioned. intellectual greatness, I cannot but As for the Editor of the Monthly perceive its resemblance to the image Magazine, not six months ago, he of Nebuchadnezzar; where the golden published a long article, on the plahead, the silver, and the brass, have giarisms of Lord Byron; by which it for their support the feet of clay. If appears, that the account of the shiphis muse be from above, heavenly, she wreck in Don Juan is copied (in some is also of the earth, earthy. In fine, | places word for word) from a book it must be admitted as an incontro containing the accounts of several unvertible fact, that Lord Byrop is a successful voyagcs. Thus Sir Richard