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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/438

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'Tis then—and shall be—lawful to present
Reform in writing, as in Parliament.

As forests shed their foliage by degrees,
So fade expressions which in season please;90
And we and ours, alas! are due to Fate,
And works and words but dwindle to a date.
Though as a Monarch nods, and Commerce calls,[1]
Impetuous rivers stagnate in canals;
Though swamps subdued, and marshes drained, sustain[2]
The heavy ploughshare and the yellow grain,
And rising ports along the busy shore
Protect the vessel from old Ocean's roar,
All, all, must perish; but, surviving last,
The love of Letters half preserves the past.100

True, some decay, yet not a few revive;[3][4]
  1. Though at a Monarch's nod, and Traffic's call
    Reluctant rivers deviate to Canal.—[MSS. M., L. (a and b).]

  2. —— marshes dried, sustain.—[Proof b, British Museum.]
  3. Thus—future years dead volumes shall revive.—[Proof b, British Museum.]
  4. Old ballads, old plays, and old women's stories, are at present in as much request as old wine or new speeches. In fact, this is the millennium of black letter: thanks to our Hebers, Webers, and Scotts! [Richard Heber (1773-1833), book-collector and man of letters, was half-brother of the Bishop of Calcutta. He edited, inter alia, Specimens of the Early English Poets, by George Ellis, 3 vols., London: 1811.

    W. H. Weber (1783-1818), a German by birth, was employed by Sir Walter Scott as an amanuensis and "searcher." He edited, in 1810, Metrical Romances of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Centuries, a work described by Southey (Letters, ii. 308) as "admirably edited, exceedingly curious, and after my own heart." He also published editions of