With thee our nursery damsels shed their tears,
Ere Miss as yet completes her infant years:
But in her teens thy whining powers are vain;
She quits poor Bowles for Little's purer strain.
Now to soft themes thou scornest to confine
The lofty numbers of a harp like thine;350
"Awake a louder and a loftier strain,"
Such as none heard before, or will again!
Where all discoveries jumbled from the flood,
Since first the leaky ark reposed in mud,
By more or less, are sung in every book,
From Captain Noah down to Captain Cook.
Nor this alone—but, pausing on the road,
The Bard sighs forth a gentle episode,
And gravely tells—attend, each beauteous Miss!—
- But to soft themes.—[British Bards, First Edition.]
- "Awake a louder," etc., is the first line in Bowles's Spirit of Discovery: a very spirited and pretty dwarf Epic. Among other exquisite lines we have the following:—
Stole on the list'ning silence, never yet
Here heard; they trembled even as if the power," etc., etc.
That is, the woods of Madeira trembled to a kiss; very much astonished, as well they might be, at such a phenomenon.
"Mis-quoted and misunderstood by me; but not intentionally. It was not the 'woods,' but the people in them who trembled—why, Heaven only knows—unless they were overheard making this prodigious smack."—B., 1816.
- The Bard has wove.—[British Bards.]
- The episode above alluded to is the story of "Robert à Machin" and "Anna d'Arfet," a pair of constant lovers, who performed the kiss above mentioned, that startled the woods of Madeira. [See Byron's letter to Murray, Feb. 7, 1821, "On Bowles' Strictures," Life, p. 688.]