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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/484

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442
HINTS FROM HORACE.

Till, lo! that modern Midas, as he hears,[1]
Adds an ell growth to his egregious ears![2]


    many of the industrious poor. Nathaniel Bloomfield and his brother Bobby have set all Somersetshire singing; nor has the malady confined itself to one county. Pratt too (who once was wiser) has caught the contagion of patronage, and decoyed a poor fellow named Blackett into poetry; but he died during the operation, leaving one child and two volumes of "Remains" utterly destitute. The girl, if she don't take a poetical twist, and come forth as a shoemaking Sappho, may do well; but the "tragedies" are as ricketty as if they had been the offspring of an Earl or a Seatonian prize poet. The patrons of this poor lad are certainly answerable for his end; and it ought to be an indictable offence. But this is the least they have done: for, by a refinement of barbarity, they have made the (late) man posthumously ridiculous, by printing what he would have had sense enough never to print himself. Certes these rakers of "Remains" come under the statute against "resurrection men." What does it signify whether a poor dear dead dunce is to be stuck up in Surgeons' or in Stationers' Hall? Is it so bad to unearth his bones as his blunders? Is it not better to gibbet his body on a heath, than his soul in an octavo? "We know what we are, but we know not what we may be;" and it is to be hoped we never shall know, if a man who has passed through life with a sort of éclat is to find himself a mountebank on the other side of Styx, and made, like poor Joe Blackett, the laughing-stock of purgatory. The plea of publication is to provide for the child; now, might not some of this Sutor ultra Crepidam's friends and seducers have done a decent action without inveigling Pratt into biography? And then his inscription split into so many modicums!—"To the Duchess of Somuch, the Right Hon. So-and-So, and Mrs. and Miss Somebody, these volumes are,"etc. etc.—why, this is doling out the "soft milk of dedication" in gills,—there is but a quart, and he divides it among a dozen. Why, Pratt, hadst thou not a puff left? Dost thou think six families of distinction can share this in quiet? There is a child, a book, and a dedication: send the girl to her grace, the volumes to the grocer, and the dedication to the devil.

  1. Till lo ! that modern Midas of the swains
    Feels his ears lengthen—with the lengthening strains.—[MS. M. erased.]

  2. Adds a week's growth to his enormous ears.—[MS. M. erased.]