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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/356

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314
ENGLISH BARDS, AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS.

Since startled Metre fled before thy face,
Well wert thou doomed the last of all thy race!
Well might triumphant Genii bear thee hence,
Illustrious conqueror of common sense!220
Now, last and greatest, Madoc spreads his sails,
Cacique in Mexico,[1] and Prince in Wales;
Tells us strange tales, as other travellers do,
More old than Mandeville's, and not so true.
Oh, Southey! Southey![2] cease thy varied song!
A bard may chaunt too often and too long:
As thou art strong in verse, in mercy, spare!
A fourth, alas! were more than we could bear.
But if, in spite of all the world can say,

Thou still wilt verseward plod thy weary way;230

    or the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great, first played in 1730 at the Haymarket.]

  1. [Southey's Madoc is divided into two parts—Part I., "Madoc in Wales:" Part II., "Madoc in Aztlan." The word "cacique" ("Cacique or cazique ... a native chief or 'prince' of the aborigines in the West Indies:" New Engl. Dict., Art. "Cacique") occurs in the translations of Spanish writers quoted by Southey in his notes, but not in the text of the poem.]
  2. We beg Mr. Southey's pardon: "Madoc disdains the degraded title of Epic." See his Preface. ["It assumes not the degraded title of Epic."—Preface to Madoc (1805), Southey's Poetical Works (1838), vol. v. p. xxi.] Why is Epic degraded? and by whom? Certainly the late Romaunts of Masters Cottle, Laureat Pye, Ogilvy, Hole,[i] and gentle Mistress Cowley, have not exalted the Epic Muse; but, as Mr. Southey's poem "disdains the appellation," allow us to ask—has he substituted anything better in its stead? or must he be content to rival Sir Richard Blackmore in the quantity as well as quality of his verse?
    ^  i. For "Hole," the MS. and British Bards read "Sir J. B. Burgess; Cumberland."