The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 7/Fragment of an Epistle to Thomas Moore
FRAGMENT OF AN EPISTLE TO THOMAS MOORE.
"What say I?"—not a syllable further in prose;
I'm your man "of all measures," dear Tom,—so here goes!
Here goes, for a swim on the stream of old Time,
On those buoyant supporters, the bladders of rhyme.
If our weight breaks them down, and we sink in the flood,
We are smothered, at least, in respectable mud,
Where the divers of Bathos lie drowned in a heap,
And Southey's last Pæan has pillowed his sleep;
That Felo de se who, half drunk with his Malmsey,
Walked out of his depth and was lost in a calm sea,10
Singing "Glory to God" in a spick and span stanza,
The like (since Tom Sternhold was choked) never man saw.
The papers have told you, no doubt, of the fusses,
The fêtes, and the gapings to get at these Russes,—
Of his Majesty's suite, up from coachman to Hetman,—
And what dignity decks the flat face of the great man.
I saw him, last week, at two balls and a party,—
For a Prince, his demeanour was rather too hearty.
You know, we are used to quite different graces,
The Czar's look, I own, was much brighter and brisker,
But then he is sadly deficient in whisker;21
And wore but a starless blue coat, and in kersey-
mere breeches whisked round, in a waltz with the Jersey,
Who, lovely as ever, seemed just as delighted
With Majesty's presence as those she invited.
[First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, i. 561, 562 (note).]
- [The two first stanzas of Southey's "Carmen Triumphale, for the Commencement of the Year 1814," end with the line—
"Glory to God—Deliverance for Mankind!"]
- ["The newspapers will tell you all that is to be told of emperors, etc. They have dined, and supped, and shown their flat faces in all thoroughfares and several saloons."—Letter to Moore, June 14, 1814, Letters, 1899, iii. 93, 94. From June 6 to June 27, 1814, the Emperor of Russia, and the King of Prussia were in England. Huge crowds watched all day and night outside the Pulteney Hotel (105, Piccadilly), where the Emperor of Russia stayed. Among the foreigners in London were Nesselrode, Metternich, Blücher, and Platoff, Hetman of the Cossacks. The two latter were the heroes of the mob. Ibid., p. 93, note 1.]
- ["The Emperor," says Lady Vernon (Journal of Mary Frampton, pp. 225, 226), "is fond of dancing.... He waltzed with Lady Jersey, whom he admires, to the great discomposure of the Regent, who has quarrelled with her."]