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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/465

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Am I not wise, if such some poets' plight,
To purge in spring—like Bayes[1]—before I write?480
If this precaution softened not my bile,
I know no scribbler with a madder style;
But since (perhaps my feelings are too nice)
I cannot purchase Fame at such a price,
I'll labour gratis as a grinders' wheel,[2]
And, blunt myself, give edge to other's steel,
Nor write at all, unless to teach the art
To those rehearsing for the Poet's part;
From Horace show the pleasing paths of song,[3]
And from my own example—what is wrong.490

Though modern practice sometimes differs quite,

'Tis just as well to think before you write;

    of the Courier, at his fine new house in Harley Street, the butler would not admit them further than the hall, and was not a little taken aback when he witnessed the deference shown to these strangely-attired figures by his master.—Personal Reminiscence of the late Miss Stuart, of 106, Harley Street.]

  1. ["Bayes. If I am to write familiar things, as sonnets to Armida, and the like, I make use of stewed prunes only; but when I have a grand design in hand, I ever take physic and let blood; for when you would have pure swiftness of thought, and fiery flights of fancy, you must have a care of the pensive part. In fine, you must purge."—Rehearsal, act ii. sc. 1. This passage is instanced by Johnson as a proof that "Bayes" was a caricature of Dryden. "Bayes, when he is to write, is blooded and purged; this, as Lamotte relates, . . . was the real practice of the poet."—Lives of the Poets (1890), i. 388.]
  2. I'll act instead of whetstone—blunted, but
    Of use to make another's razor cut.—[MS. L. (c).]

  3. From Horace show the better arts of song.—[MS. L. (a).]