There lives one Druid, who prepares in time
'Gainst future feuds his poor revenge of rhyme;
Racks his dull Memory, and his duller Muse,
To publish faults which Friendship should excuse.740
If Friendship's nothing, Self-regard might teach
More polished usage of his parts of speech.
But what is shame, or what is aught to him?
- [Lines 737-758 are not in either of the three original MSS. of Hints from Horace, and were probably written in the autumn of 1811. They appear among a sheet of "alterations to English Bards, and S. Reviewers, continued with additions "(MSS. L.), drawn up for the fifth edition, and they are inserted on a separate sheet in MS. M. A second sheet (MSS. L.) of "scraps of rhyme, . . . principally additions and corrections for English Bards, etc." (for the fifth edition), some of which are dated 1810, does not give the whole passage, but includes the following variants (erased) of lines 753-756:—
(i.) "Then let thy ponderous quarto steep and stink,
The dullest fattest weed on Lethe's brink.
Down with that volume to the depths of hell!
Oblivion seems rewarding it too well."
(ii.) "Yet then thy quarto still may," etc.
A "Druid" (see English Bards, line 741) was Byron's name for a scribbler who wrote for his living. In MS. M., "scribbler" has been erased, and "Druid" substituted. It is doubtful to whom the passage, in its final shape, was intended to apply, but it is possible that the erased lines, in which "ponderous quarto" stands for "lost songs," were aimed at Southey (see ante, line 657, note 1).]
But what are these? Benefits might bind
Some decent ties about a manly mind.—[MS. M.]
[For Robert Bloomfield, see English Bards, ll. 774-786, and note 2. For Joseph Blacket, see English Bards, ll. 765-770, and note 1. Blacket's Remains, with Life by Pratt, appeared in 1811. The work was dedicated "To Her Grace the Duchess of Leeds, Lady Milbanke and Family, Benevolent Patrons of the Author," etc.]