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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/371

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329
ENGLISH BARDS, AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS.

Bent o'er the desk, or, born to useful toils,
Been taught to make the paper which he soils,
Ploughed, delved, or plied the oar with lusty limb,
He had not sung of Wales, nor I of him.410


As Sisyphus against the infernal steep
Rolls the huge rock whose motions ne'er may sleep,

So up thy hill, ambrosial Richmond! heaves

    or both, once sellers of books they did not write, and now writers of books they do not sell, have published a pair of Epics—Alfred (poor Alfred! Pye has been at him too!)—Alfred and the Fall of Cambria.

    "All right. I saw some letters of this fellow (Jh. Cottle) to an unfortunate poetess, whose productions, which the poor woman by no means thought vainly of, he attacked so roughly and bitterly, that I could hardly regret assailing him, even were it unjust, which it is not—for verily he is an ass."—B., 1816.

    [Compare Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin

    "And Cottle, not he whom that Alfred made famous,
    But Joseph of Bristol, the brother of Amos."

    The identity of the brothers Cottle appears to have been a matter beneath the notice both of the authors of the Anti-Jacobin and of Byron. Amos Cottle, who died in 1800 (see Lamb's Letter to Coleridge of Oct. 9, 1800; Letters of C. Lamb, 1888, i. 140), was the author of a Translation of the Edda of Sœmund, published in 1797. Joseph Cottle, inter alia, published Alfred in 1801, and The Fall of Cambria, 1807. An Expostulatory Epistle, in which Joseph avenges Amos and solemnly castigates the author of Don Juan, was issued in 1819 (see Lamb's Letter to Cottle, Nov. 5, 1819), and was reprinted in the Memoir of Amos Cottle, inserted in his brother's Early Recollections of Coleridge (London, 1837, i. 119). The "unfortunate poetess" was, probably, Ann Yearsley, the Bristol milk-woman. Wordsworth, too (see Recollections of the Table-Talk of S. Rogers, 1856, p. 235), dissuaded her from publishing her poems. Roughness and bitterness were not among Cottle's faults or foibles, and it is possible that Byron misconceived the purport of the correspondence.]