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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/354

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312
ENGLISH BARDS, AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS.

And sadly gaze on Gold they cannot gain!180
Such be their meed, such still the just reward[1]
Of prostituted Muse and hireling bard!
For this we spurn Apollo's venal son,
And bid a long "good night to Marmion."[2]


These are the themes that claim our plaudits now;
These are the Bards to whom the Muse must bow;
While Milton, Dryden, Pope, alike forgot,
Resign their hallowed Bays to Walter Scott.


The time has been, when yet the Muse was young,
When Homer swept the lyre, and Maro sung,190
An Epic scarce ten centuries could claim,
While awe-struck nations hailed the magic name:
The work of each immortal Bard appears
The single wonder of a thousand years.[3]
Empires have mouldered from the face of earth,

Tongues have expired with those who gave them birth,
  1. Low may they sink to merited contempt.—[British Bards.]
    And Scorn remunerate the mean attempt!—[MS. First to Fourth Editions.]
  2. "Good night to Marmion"—the pathetic and also prophetic exclamation of Henry Blount, Esquire, on the death of honest Marmion.
  3. As the Odyssey is so closely connected with the story of the Iliad, they may almost be classed as one grand historical poem. In alluding to Milton and Tasso, we consider the Paradise Lost and Gerusalemme Liberata as their standard efforts; since neither the Jerusalem Conquered of the Italian, nor the Paradise Regained of the English bard, obtained a proportionate celebrity to their former poems. Query: Which of Mr. Southey's will survive?