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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/441

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399
HINTS FROM HORACE.

At times Melpomene forgets to groan,
And brisk Thalia takes a serious tone;130
Nor unregarded will the act pass by
Where angry Townly[1] "lifts his voice on high."
Again, our Shakespeare limits verse to Kings,
When common prose will serve for common things;
And lively Hal resigns heroic ire,[2]
To "hollaing Hotspur"[3] and his sceptred sire.[4]


'Tis not enough, ye Bards, with all your art,
To polish poems; they must touch the heart:
Where'er the scene be laid, whate'er the song,
Still let it bear the hearer's soul along;140
Command your audience or to smile or weep,
Whiche'er may please you—anything but sleep.
The Poet claims our tears; but, by his leave,
Before I shed them, let me see him grieve.


If banished Romeo feigned nor sigh nor tear,
Lulled by his languor, I could sleep or sneer.[5]
Sad words, no doubt, become a serious face,

And men look angry in the proper place.
  1. [In Vanbrugh and Cibber's comedy of The Provoked Husband, first played at Drury Lane, January 10, 1728.]
  2. And Harry Monmouth, till the scenes require,
    Resigns heroics to his sceptred Sire.—[MS. L. (a).]

  3. "And in his ear I'll holla—Mortimer!" [1 Henry IV., act i. sc. 3.]
  4. To "hollaing Hotspur" and the sceptred sire.—[MS. Corr. in Proof b, British Museum.]
  5. Dull as an Opera, I should sleep or sneer.—[MS. M.]