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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/491

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When teased with creditors' continual claims,
"To die like Cato,"[1] leapt into the Thames!
And therefore be it lawful through the town
For any Bard to poison, hang, or drown.
Who saves the intended Suicide receives
Small thanks from him who loathes the life he leaves;[2]
And, sooth to say, mad poets must not lose831
The Glory of that death they freely choose.

Nor is it certain that some sorts of verse[3]

Prick not the Poet's conscience as a curse;
  1. On his table were found these words:—"What Cato did, and Addison approved, cannot be wrong." But Addison did not "approve;" and if he had, it would not have mended the matter. He had invited his daughter on the same water-party; but Miss Budgell, by some accident, escaped this last paternal attention. Thus fell the sycophant of "Atticus," and the enemy of Pope! [Eustace Budgell (1686-1737), a friend and relative of Addison's, "leapt into the Thames" to escape the dishonour which attached to him in connection with Dr. Tindal's will, and the immediate pressure of money difficulties. He was, more or less, insane. "We talked (says Boswell) of a man's drowning himself. I put the case of Eustace Budgell. 'Suppose, sir,' said I, 'that a man is absolutely sure that, if he lives a few days longer, he shall be detected in a fraud, the consequence of which will be utter disgrace, and expulsion from society?' Johnson. 'Then, sir, let him go abroad to a distant country; let him
  2. Small thanks, unwelcome life he quickly leaves;
    And raving poets—really should not lose.—[MS. M.]

  3. Nor is it clearly understood that verse
    Has not been given the poet for a curse;
    Perhaps he sent the parson's pig to pound,
    Or got a child on consecrated ground;
    But, be this as it may, his rhyming rage
    Exceeds a Bear who strives to break his cage.
    If free, all fly his versifying fit;
    The young, the old, the simpleton and wit.—[MS. L. (a).]