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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/533

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489
THE WALTZ.

Then flamed of Austerlitz the blest despatch,[1]
Which Moniteur nor Morning Post can match70
And—almost crushed beneath the glorious news—
Ten plays, and forty tales of Kotzebue's;[2]
One envoy's letters, six composer's airs,
And loads from Frankfort and from Leipsic fairs;
Meiners' four volumes upon Womankind,[3]

Like Lapland witches to ensure a wind;
  1. [Austerlitz was fought on Dec. 2, 1805. On Dec. 20 the Morning Chronicle published a communication from a correspondent, giving the substance of Napoleon's "Proclamation to the Army," issued on the evening after the battle, which had reached Bourrienne, the French minister at Hamburg. "An army," ran the proclamation, "of 100,000 men, which was commanded by the Emperors of Russia and Austria, has been in less than four hours either cut off or dispersed." It was an official note of this "blest despatch," forwarded by courier to Bath, which brought "the heavy news" to Pitt, and, it is believed, hastened his death.]
  2. [August Frederick Ferdinand von Kotzebue (1761-1819), whom Coleridge appraised as "the German Beaumont and Fletcher without their poetic powers," and Carlyle as "a bundle of dyed rags," wrote over a hundred plays, publishing twenty within a few years.

    An adaptation of Misanthropy and Repentance as The Stranger, Sheridan's Pizarro, and Lewis' Castle Spectre are well-known instances of his powerful influence on English dramatists. "The Present," writes Sara Coleridge, in a note to one of her fathers letters, "will ever have her special votaries in the world of letters, who collect into their focus, by a kind of burning-glass, the feelings of the day. Amongst such Kotzebue holds a high rank. Those 'dyed rags' of his once formed gorgeous banners, and flaunted in the eyes of refined companies from London to Madrid, from Paris to Moscow."—Coleridge's Biographia Literaria (1847), ii. 227.]

  3. [A translation of Christopher Meiners' History of the Female Sex, in four volumes, was published in London in 1808. Lapland wizards, not witches, were said to raise storms by knotting pieces of string, which they exposed to the wind.]