Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/349

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

This truth at least let Satire's self allow,
No dearth of Bards can be complained of now.[1]
The loaded Press beneath her labour groans,[2]
And Printers' devils shake their weary bones;
While Southey's Epics cram the creaking shelves,[3]
And Little's Lyrics shine in hot-pressed twelves.[4]
Thus saith the Preacher: "Nought beneath the sun
Is new,"[5] yet still from change to change we run.130
What varied wonders tempt us as they pass!

The Cow-pox, Tractors, Galvanism, and Gas,[6]
  1. No dearth of rhyme.—[British Bards.]
  2. The Press oppress'd.—[British Bards.]
  3. While Southey's Epics load.—[British Bards.]
  4. [Thomas Little was the name under which Moore's early poems were published—The Poetical Works of the late Thomas Little., Esq. (1801). "Twelves" refers to the "duodecimo." Sheets, after printing, are pressed between cold or hot rollers, to impart smoothness of "surface." Hot rolling is the more expensive process.]
  5. Eccles. chapter i. verse 9.
  6. [At first sight Byron appears to refer to the lighting of streets by gas, especially as the first shop lighted with it was that of Lardner & Co., at the corner of the Albany (June, 1805), and as lamps were on view at the premises of the Gas Light and Coke Company in Pall Mall from 1808 onwards. But it is almost certain that he alludes to the "sublimating gas" of Dr. Beddoes, which his assistant, Davy, mentions in his Researches (1800) as nitrous oxide, and which was used by Southey and Coleridge. The same four "wonders" of medical science are depicted in Gillray's caricatures, November, 1801, and May and June, 1802, and are satirized in Christopher Caustic's Terrible Tractoration! A Poetical Petition against Galvanising Trumpery and the Perkinistic Institution (in 4 cantos, 1803).

    Against vaccination, or cow-pox, a brisk war was still being carried on. Gillray has a likeness of Jenner vaccinating patients.

    Metallic "Tractors" were a remedy much advertised at the beginning of the century by an American quack, Benjamin