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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 7/To Lord Thurlow



"I lay my branch of laurel down."

"Thou lay thy branch of laurel down!"
Why, what thou'st stole is not enow;
And, were it lawfully thine own,
Does Rogers want it most, or thou?
Keep to thyself thy withered bough,
Or send it back to Doctor Donne:[2]
Were justice done to both, I trow,
He'd have but little, and thou—none.


"Then, thus, to form Apollo's crown."

A crown! why, twist it how you will,
Thy chaplet must be foolscap still.
When next you visit Delphi's town,
Enquire amongst your fellow-lodgers,
They'll tell you Phœbus gave his crown,
Some years before your birth, to Rogers.


"Let every other bring his own."

When coals to Newcastle are carried,
And owls sent to Athens, as wonders,
From his spouse when the Regent's unmarried,
Or Liverpool weeps o'er his blunders;
When Tories and Whigs cease to quarrel,
When Castlereagh's wife has an heir,
Then Rogers shall ask us for laurel,
And thou shalt have plenty to spare.

[First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, i. 397.]

  1. ["On the same day I received from him the following additional scraps ['To Lord Thurlow']. The lines in Italics are from the eulogy that provoked his waggish comments."—Life, p. 181. The last stanza of Thurlow's poem supplied the text—

    "Then, thus, to form Apollo's crown,
    (Let ev'ry other bring his own,)
    I lay my branch of laurel down."]

  2. [Lord Thurlow affected an archaic style in his Sonnets and other verses. In the Preface to the second edition of Poems, etc., he writes, "I think that our Poetry has been continually declining since the days of Milton and Cowley ... and that the golden age of our language is in the reign of Queen Elizabeth."]