The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Parenthetical Address
BY DR. PLAGIARY.
Half stolen, with acknowledgments, to be spoken in an inarticulate voice by Master —— at the opening of the next new theatre. [Stolen parts marked with the inverted commas of quotation—thus "——".]
"When energising objects men pursue,"
Then Lord knows what is writ by Lord knows who.
A modest Monologue you here survey,
Hissed from the theatre the "other day,"
As if Sir Fretful wrote "the slumberous" verse,
And gave his son "the rubbish" to rehearse.
"Yet at the thing you'd never be amazed,"
Knew you the rumpus which the Author raised;
"Nor even here your smiles would be represt,"
Knew you these lines—the badness of the best,10
"Flame! fire! and flame!" (words borrowed from Lucretius.)
"Dread metaphors" which open wounds like issues!
"And sleeping pangs awake—and—— But away"—
(Confound me if I know what next to say).
Lo "Hope reviving re-expands her wings,"
And Master G— recites what Dr. Busby sings!—
"If mighty things with small we may compare,"
(Translated from the Grammar for the fair!)
Dramatic "spirit drives a conquering car,"
And burn'd poor Moscow like a tub of "tar."20
"This spirit" "Wellington has shown in Spain,"
To furnish Melodrames for Drury Lane.
"Another Marlborough points to Blenheim's story,"
And George and I will dramatise it for ye.
"In Arts and Sciences our Isle hath shone"
(This deep discovery is mine alone).
Oh "British poesy, whose powers inspire"
My verse—or I'm a fool—and Fame's a liar,
"Thee we invoke, your Sister Arts implore"
With "smiles," and "lyres," and "pencils," and much more.30
These, if we win the Graces, too, we gain
Disgraces, too! "inseparable train!"
"Three who have stolen their witching airs from Cupid"
(You all know what I mean, unless you're stupid):
"Harmonious throng" that I have kept in petto
Now to produce in a "divine sestetto"!!
"While Poesy," with these delightful doxies,
"Sustains her part" in all the "upper" boxes!
"Thus lifted gloriously, you'll sweep along,"
Borne in the vast balloon of Busby's song;40
"Shine in your farce, masque, scenery, and play"
(For this last line George had a holiday).
"Old Drury never, never soar'd so high,"
So says the Manager, and so say I.
"But hold," you say, "this self-complacent boast;
Is this the Poem which the public lost?
"True—true—that lowers at once our mounting pride;"
But lo;—the Papers print what you deride.
"'Tis ours to look on you—you hold the prize,"
'Tis twenty guineas, as they advertise!50
"A double blessing your rewards impart"—
I wish I had them, then, with all my heart.
"Our twofold feeling owns its twofold cause,"
Why son and I both beg for your applause.
"When in your fostering beams you bid us live,"
My next subscription list shall say how much you give!
[First published, Morning Chronicle, October 23, 1812.]
- [The original of Dr. Busby's address, entitled "Monologue submitted to the Committee of Drury Lane Theatre," which was published in the Morning Chronicle, October 17, 1812, "will be found in the Genuine Rejected Addresses, as well as parodied in Rejected Addresses ('Architectural Atoms'). On October 14 young Busby forced his way on to the stage of Drury Lane, attempted to recite his father's address, and was taken into custody. On the next night, Dr. Busby, speaking from one of the boxes, obtained a hearing for his son, who could not, however, make his voice heard in the theatre.... To the failure of the younger Busby (himself a competitor and the author of an 'Unalogue' ...) to make himself heard, Byron alludes in the stage direction, 'to be spoken in an inarticulate voice.'" (See Letters, 1898, ii. 176; and for Dr. Busby, see Poetical Works, 1898, i. 481, 485.) Busby's "Address" ran as follows:—
"When energising objects men pursue,
What are the prodigies they cannot do?
A magic edifice you here survey,
Shot from the ruins of the other day!
As Harlequin had smote the slumberous heap,
And bade the rubbish to a fabric leap.
Yet at that speed you'd never be amazed,
Knew you the zeal with which the pile was raised;
Nor even here your smiles would be represt,
Knew you the rival flame that fires our breast,10
Flame! fire and flame! sad heart-appalling sounds,
Dread metaphors that ope our healing wounds—
A sleeping pang awakes—and—— But away
With all reflections that would cloud the day
That this triumphant, brilliant prospect brings,
Where Hope reviving re-expands her wings;
Where generous joy exults, where duteous ardour springs.······
If mighty things with small we may compare,
This spirit drives Britannia's conquering car,
Burns in her ranks and kindles every tar.
Nelson displayed its power upon the main,
And Wellington exhibits it in Spain;
Another Marlborough points to Blenheim's story,
And with its lustre, blends his kindred glory.40
In Arms and Science long our Isle hath shone,
And Shakespeare—wondrous Shakespeare—reared a throne
For British Poesy—whose powers inspire
The British pencil, and the British lyre—
Her we invoke—her Sister Arts implore:
Their smiles beseech whose charms yourselves adore,
These if we win, the Graces too we gain—
Their dear, beloved, inseparable train;
Three who their witching arts from Cupid stole
And three acknowledged sovereigns of the soul:50
Harmonious throng! with nature blending art!
Divine Sestetto! warbling to the heart
For Poesy shall here sustain the upper part.
Thus lifted gloriously we'll sweep along,
Shine in our music, scenery and song;
Shine in our farce, masque, opera and play,
And prove old Drury has not had her day.
Nay more—so stretch the wing the world shall cry,
Old Drury never, never soared so high.
'But hold,' you'll say, 'this self-complacent boast;60
Easy to reckon thus without your host.'
True, true—that lowers at once our mounting pride;
'Tis yours alone our merit to decide;
'Tis ours to look to you, you hold the prize
That bids our great, our best ambitions rise.
A double blessing your rewards impart,
Each good provide and elevate the heart.
Our twofold feeling owns its twofold cause,
Your bounty's comfiort—rapture your applause;
When in your fostering beam you bid us live,70
You give the means of life, and gild the means you give."
Morning Chronicle, October 17, 1812.]
- [Busby's translation of Lucretius (The Nature of Things, a Didascalic Poem) was published in 1813. Byron was a subscriber, and is mentioned in the preface as "one of the most distinguished poets of the age." The passage in question is, perhaps, taken from the Second Book, lines 880, 881, which Busby renders—
"Just as she quickens fuel into fire,
And bids it, flaming, to the skies aspire."]