Proscribed not only in the world polite,
But even too nasty for a City Knight!
Peace to Swift's faults! his wit hath made them pass,
Unmatched by all, save matchless Hudibras!400
Whose author is perhaps the first we meet,
Who from our couplet lopped two final feet;
Nor less in merit than the longer line,
This measure moves a favourite of the Nine.
Though at first view eight feet may seem in vain
Formed, save in Ode, to bear a serious strain,
Yet Scott has shown our wondering isle of late
This measure shrinks not from a theme of weight,
And, varied skilfully, surpasses far
Heroic rhyme, but most in Love and War,410
Whose fluctuations, tender or sublime,
Are curbed too much by long-recurring rhyme.
But many a skilful judge abhors to see,
What few admire—irregularity.
This some vouchsafe to pardon; but 'tis hard
When such a word contents a British Bard.
Lest Censure hover o'er some faulty line?
And must the Bard his glowing thoughts confine,
Offensive most to men with house and land
Possessed of Pedigree and bloody hand.—[MS. L. (a).]
- Composed for any but the lightest strain.—[MS. L. (a).]
- And must I then my——.—[MS. L. (a).]