Without the glory such a strain can give,
As even in ruin bids the language live.
Not so with us, though minor Bards, content,
On one great work a life of labour spent:200
With eagle pinion soaring to the skies,
Behold the Ballad-monger Southey rise!
To him let Camoëns, Milton, Tasso yield,
Whose annual strains, like armies, take the field.
First in the ranks see Joan of Arc advance,
The scourge of England and the boast of France!
Though burnt by wicked Bedford for a witch,
Behold her statue placed in Glory's niche;
Her fetters burst, and just released from prison,
A virgin Phœnix from her ashes risen.210
Next see tremendous Thalaba come on,
Arabia's monstrous, wild, and wond'rous son;
Domdaniel's dread destroyer, who o'erthrew
More mad magicians than the world e'er knew.
Immortal Hero! all thy foes o'ercome,
- —— though lesser bards content.—[British Bards.]
- Thalaba, Mr. Southey's second poem, is written in open defiance of precedent and poetry. Mr. S. wished to produce something novel, and succeeded to a miracle. Joan of Arc was marvellous enough, but Thalaba was one of those poems "which," in the words of Porson, "will be read when Homer and Virgil are forgotten, but—not till then." ["Of Thalaba the wild and wondrous song."—Proem to Madoc, Southey's Poetical Works (1838), vol. v. Joan of Arc was published in 1796, Thalaba the Destroyer in 1801, and Madoc in 1805.]
- [The hero of Fielding's farce, The Tragedy of Tragedies,