The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 7/Epilogue
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.
It saw the "light in ninety-eight,"
Sweet babe of one and twenty years!
And then he gives it to the nation
And deems himself of Shakespeare's peers!
He gives the perfect work to light!
Will Wordsworth, if I might advise,
Content you with the praise you get
From Sir George Beaumont, Baronet,
And with your place in the Excise!
Ravinna, March 22, 1820.
[First published, Paradies, etc., collected ... by Walter
Hamilton, 1888, p. 105.]
- [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 So close a correspondence of an unpublished fragment with a genuine document leaves little doubt as to the composition of the "Epilogue."]
- [The missing line may be, "To permanently fill a station," see Preface to Peter Bell.]