Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/369

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

Thronged with the rest around his living head,
Not raised thy hoof against the lion dead,
A meet reward had crowned thy glorious gains,
And linked thee to the Dunciad for thy pains.[1]

  1. ↑ See Bowles's late edition of Pope's works, for which he received three hundred pounds. [Twelve hundred guineas.β€”British Bards.] Thus Mr. B. has experienced how much easier it is to profit by the reputation of another, than to elevate his own. ["Too savage all this on Bowles," wrote Byron, in 1816, but he afterwards returned to his original sentiments. "Although," he says (Feb. 7, 1821), "I regret having published English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers, the part which I regret the least is that which regards Mr. Bowles, with reference to Pope. Whilst I was writing that publication, in 1807 and 1808, Mr. Hobhouse was desirous that I should express our mutual opinion of Pope, and of Mr. Bowles's edition of his works. As I had completed my outline, and felt lazy, I requested that he would do so. He did it. His fourteen lines on Bowles's Pope are in the first edition of English Bards, and are quite as severe, and much more poetical, than my own, in the second. On reprinting the work, as I put my name to it, I omitted Mr. Hobhouse's lines, by which the work gained less than Mr. Bowles.... I am grieved to say that, in reading over those lines, I repent of their having so far fallen short of what I meant to express upon the subject of his edition of Pope's works" (Life, pp. 688, 689). The lines supplied by Hobhouse are here subjoined:β€”

    "Stick to thy sonnets, man!β€”at least they sell.
    Or take the only path that open lies
    For modern worthies who would hope to rise:
    Fix on some well-known name, and, bit by bit,
    Pare off the merits of his worth and wit:
    On each alike employ the critic's knife,
    And when a comment fails, prefix a life;
    Hint certain failings, faults before unknown,
    Review forgotten lies, and add your own;
    Let no disease, let no misfortune 'scape,
    And print, if luckily deformed, his shape:
    Thus shall the world, quite undeceived at last,
    Cleave to their present wits, and quit their past;
    Bards once revered no more with favour view,
    But give their modern sonneteers their due;
    Thus with the dead may living merit cope,
    Thus Bowles may triumph o'er the shade of Pope."]