Nor will Melpomene ascend her Throne
Without high heels, white plume, and Bristol stone.
Old Comedies still meet with much applause,
Though too licentious for dramatic laws;
At least, we moderns, wisely, 'tis confest,
Curtail, or silence, the lascivious jest.
Whate'er their follies, and their faults beside,
Our enterprising Bards pass nought untried;450
Nor do they merit slight applause who choose
An English subject for an English Muse,
And leave to minds which never dare invent
French flippancy and German sentiment.
Where is that living language which could claim
Poetic more, as philosophic, fame,
If all our Bards, more patient of delay,
Would stop, like Pope, to polish by the way?
O'erthrow whole quartos with their quires of faults,460
Lords of the quill, whose critical assaults
And Tragedy, whatever stuff he spoke
Now wants high heels, long sword and velvet cloak.—[MS. L. (a) erased.]
Curtail or silence the offensive jest.—[MS. M.]
Curtail the personal or smutty jest.—[MS. L. (a) erased.]
- [See letters to Murray, Sept. 15, 1817; Jan. 25, 1819; Mar. 29, 1820; Nov. 4, 1820; etc. See also the two Letters against Bowles, written at Ravenna, Feb. 7 and Mar. 21, 1821, in which Byron's enthusiastic reverence for Pope is the dominant note.]
- O'erthrow whole books with all their hosts of faults.—[MS. L. (a).]