Ere your first score of cantos Time unrolls,
Beware—for God's sake, don't begin like Bowles!
"Awake a louder and a loftier strain,"—
And pray, what follows from his boiling brain?—
He sinks to Southey's level in a trice,
Whose Epic Mountains never fail in mice!
Not so of yore awoke your mighty Sire
The tempered warblings of his master-lyre;200
Soft as the gentler breathing of the lute,
"Of Man's first disobedience and the fruit"
He speaks, but, as his subject swells along,
- Ere o'er our heads your Muse's Thunder rolls.—[MS. L. (a).]
- I. [The first line of A Spirit of Discovery by Sea, by the Rev. W. Lisle Bowles, first published in 1805.]
- Earth, Heaven and Hell, are shaken with the Song.—[MS. L. (d).
Pye, and all the "dull of past and present days." Even if he is not a Milton, he may be better than Blackmore; if not a Homer, an Antimachus. I should deem myself presumptuous, as a young man, in offering advice, were it not addressed to one still younger. Mr. Townsend has the greatest difficulties to encounter; but in conquering them he will find employment; in having conquered them, his reward. I know too well "the scribbler's scoff, the critic's contumely;" and I am afraid time will teach Mr. Townsend to know them better. Those who succeed, and those who do not, must bear this alike, and it is hard to say which have most of it. I trust that Mr. Townsend's share will be from envy; he will soon know mankind well enough not to attribute this expression to malice. [This note was written [at Athens] before the author was apprised of Mr. Cumberland's death [in May, 1811].—MS. (See Byron's letter to Dallas, August 27, 1811.) The Rev. George Townsend (1788-1857) published Poems in 1810, and eight books of his Armageddon in 1815. They met with the fate which Byron had predicted. In later life he compiled numerous works of scriptural exegesis. He was a Canon of Durham from 1825 till his death.]