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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/401

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359
ENGLISH BARDS, AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS.

When some brisk youth, the tenant of a stall
Employs a pen less pointed than his awl,
Leaves his snug shop, forsakes his store of shoes,
St. Crispin quits, and cobbles for the Muse,
Heavens! how the vulgar stare! how crowds applaud!
How ladies read, and Literati laud![1]770
If chance some wicked wag should pass his jest,
'Tis sheer ill-nature—don't the world know best?
Genius must guide when wits admire the rhyme,

And Capel Lofft[2] declares 'tis quite sublime.
  1. "This was meant for poor Blackett, who was then patronised by A. I. B." (Lady Byron); "but that I did not know, or this would not have been written, at least I think not."—B., 1816.

    [Joseph Blacket (1786-1810), said by Southey (Letters, i. 172) to possess "force and rapidity," and to be endowed with "more powers than Robert Bloomfield, and an intellect of higher pitch," was the son of a labourer, and by trade a cobbler. He was brought into notice by S. J. Pratt (who published Blacket's Remains in 1811), and was befriended by the Milbanke family. Miss Milbanke, afterwards Lady Byron, wrote (Sept. 2, 1809), "Seaham is at present the residence of a poet, by name Joseph Blacket, one of the Burns-like and Dermody kind, whose genius is his sole possession. I was yesterday in his company for the first time, and was much pleased with his manners and conversation. He is extremely diffident, his deportment is mild, and his countenance animated melancholy and of a satirical turn. His poems certainly display a superior genius and an enlarged mind...." Blacket died on the Seaham estate in Sept., 1810, at the age of twenty-three. (See Byron's letter to Dallas, June 28, 1811; his Epitaph for Joseph Blackett; and Hints from Horace, l. 734.)]

  2. Capel Lofft, Esq., the Mæcenas of shoemakers, and Preface-writer-General to distressed versemen; a kind of gratis Accoucheur to those who wish to be delivered of rhyme, but do not know how to bring it forth.

    [Capel Lofft (1751-1824), jurist, poet, critic, and horticulturist, honoured himself by his kindly patronage of Robert