Then your face we might behold,
Looking, doubtless, much more snugly,
Yet even then 'twould be damned ugly.
August 12, 1819.
[First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, ii. 235.]
There's something in a stupid ass,
And something in a heavy dunce;
But never since I went to school
I heard or saw so damned a fool
As William Wordsworth is for once.
And now I've seen so great a fool
As William Wordsworth is for once;
I really wish that Peter Bell
And he who wrote it were in hell,
For writing nonsense for the nonce.
- [The MS. of the "Epilogue" is inscribed on the margin of a copy of Wordsworth's Peter Bell, inserted in a set of Byron's Works presented by George W. Childs to the Drexel Institute. (From information kindly supplied by Mr. John H. Bewley, of Buffalo, New York.) The first edition of Peter Bell appeared early in 1819, and a second edition followed in May, 1819. In Byron's Dedication of Marino Faliero, "To Baron Goethe," dated October 20, 1820 (Poetical Works, 1891, iv. 341), the same allusions to Sir George Beaumont, to Wordsworth's "place in the Excise," and to his admission that Peter Bell had been withheld "for one and twenty years," occur in an omitted paragraph first published, Letters, 1891, v. 101. So close a correspondence of an unpublished fragment with a genuine document leaves little doubt as to the composition of the "Epilogue."]
epigrams are included in "Poésies Diverses," which are appended to Les jeux de Mains, a poem in three cantos, published in 1808, and were collected in his Œuvres Posthumes, 1819; but there is no trace of the original of Byron's translation. Perhaps it is after de Rulhière, who more than once epigrammatizes "Une Vieille Femme."]