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You're surprised, I suppose, I was absent so long,
But your godship respecting the lilies was wrong;
I hunted the garden from one end to t'other,
And got no reward but vexation and bother,
Till, tossed out with weeds in a corner to wither,
This one lily I found and made haste to bring hither.'

'Did he think I had given him a book to review?
I ought to have known what the fellow would do,'
Muttered Phæbus aside, 'for a thistle will pass
Beyond doubt for the queen of all flowers with an ass
He has chosen in just the same way as he'd choose
His specimens out of the books he reviews;
And now as this offers an excellent text,
I'll give 'em some brief hints on criticism next.'
So, musing a moment, he turned to the crowd,
And, clearing his voice, spoke as follows, aloud-

*My friends, in the happier days of the muse,
We were luckily free from such things as reviews;
Then nought came between with its fog to make clearer
The heart of the poet to that of his hearer ;
Then the poet brought heaven to the people, and they
Felt that they, too, were poets in hearing his lay ;
Then the poet was prophet, the past in his soul
Pre-created the future, both parts of one whole ;
Then for him there was nothing too great or too small,
For one natural deity sanctified all;
Then the bard owned no clipper and meter of moods
Save the spirit of silence that hovers and broods
O'er the seas and the mountains, the rivers and woods;
He asked not earth's verdict, forgetting the clods,
His soul soared and sang to an audience of gods;
'Twas for them that he measured the thought and the line,
And shaped for their vision the perfect design,
With as glorious a foresight, a balance as true,
As swung out the worlds in the infinite blue :
Then a glory and greatness invested man's heart,
The universal, which now stands estranged and apart,
In the free individual moulded, was Art;
Then the forms of the Artist seemed thrilled with desire
For something as yet unattained, fuller, higher,
As once with her lips, lifted hands, and eyes listening,
And her whole upward soul in her countenance glistening,
Eurydice stood-like a beacon unfired,
Which, once touch'd with flame, will leap heav'nward inspired
And waited with answering kindle to mark
The first gleam of Orpheus that pained the red Dark
Then painting, song, sculpture, did more than relieve
The need that men feel to create and believe,
And as, in all beauty, who listens with love,
Hear these words oft repeated— beyond and above;'
So these seemed to be but the visible sign
Of the grasp of the soul after things more divine;
They were ladders the Artist erected to climb
O'er the narrow horizon of space and of time,
And we see there the footsteps by which men had gained
To the one rapturous glimpse of the never-attained,
As shepherds could erst sometimes trace in the sod
The last spurning print of a sky-cleaving god.

But now, on the poet's dis-privacied moods
With do this and do that the pert critic intrudes
While he thinks he's been barely fulfilling his duty
To interpret 'twixt men and their own sense of beauty,
And has striven, while others sought honour or pelf,
To make his kind happy as he was himself,
He finds he's been guilty of horrid offences
In all kinds of moods, numbers, genders, and tenses ;
He's been ob and subjective, what Kettle calls Pot,
Precisely, at all events, what he ought not.
You have done this, says one judge; done that, says another:
You should have done this, grumbles one; that, says t'other;
Never mind what he touches, one shrieks out Taboo!;
And while he is wondering what he shall do,
Since each suggests opposite topics for song,
They all shout together you're right! and you're wrong !

· Nature fits all her children with something to do,
He who would write and can't write, can surely review,
Can set up a small booth as critic and sell us his
Petty conceit and his pettier jealousies ;
Thus a lawyer's apprentice, just out of his teens,
Will do for the Jeffrey of six magazines;
Having read Johnson's lives of the poets half through,
There's nothing on earth he's not competent to;
He reviews with as much nonchalance as he whistles
He goes through a book and just picks out the thistles,
It matters pot whether he blame or commend,
If he's bad as a foe, he's far worse as a friend;
Let an author but write what's above his poor scope,
And he'll go to work gravely and twist up a rope,

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And, inviting the world to see punishment done,
Hang himself up to bleach in the wind and the sun;
Tis delightful to see, when a man comes along
Who has anything in him peculiar and strong,
Every cockboat that swims clear its fierce (pop) gundeck at him
And make as he passes its ludicrous Peck at him,'—

Here Miranda came up and began, 'As to that,'—
Apollo at once seized his gloves, cane, and hat,
And, seeing the place getting rapidly cleared,
I, too, snatched my notes and forthwith disappeared.

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