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Placed on his chair of state, he seems a god,
While Sophs and Freshmen tremble at his nod:
As all around sit wrapt in speechless gloom,
His voice in thunder shakes the sounding dome;
Denouncing dire reproach to luckless fools,
Unskilled to plod in mathematic rules.
Happy the youth in Euclid's axioms tried,
Though little versed in any art beside;
Who scarcely skilled an English line to pen,
Scans Attic metres with a critic's ken.
What though he knows not how his fathers bled,
When civil discord piled the fields with dead;
When Edward bade his conquering bands advance,
Or Henry trampled on the crest of France;
Though marvelling at the name of Magna Charta,
Yet well he recollects the laws of Sparta;
Can tell what edicts sage Lycurgus made,
While Blackstone's on the shelf neglected laid;
Of Grecian dramas vaunts the deathless fame,
Of Avon's bard remembering scarce the name.
Such is the youth whose scientific pate
Class honours, medals, fellowships, await;
Or even, perhaps, the declamation prize,
If to such glorious height he lifts his eyes.
But, lo! no common orator can hope
The envied silver cup within his scope;
Not that our Heads much eloquence require,
Th' Athenian's glowing style, or Tully's fire,
A manner clear or warm is useless, since
We do not try, by speaking, to convince;
Be other orators of pleasing proud,
We speak to please ourselves, not move the crowd; Our gravity prefers the muttering tone,
proper mixture of the squeak and groan;
No borrowed grace of action must be seen,
The slightest motion would displease the Dean; Whilst every staring Graduate would prate Against what he could never imitate.
The man who hopes to obtain the promised cup Must in one posture stand, and ne'er look up;
Nor stop, but rattle over every word,
No matter what, so it can not be heard:
Thus let him hurry on, nor think to rest;
Who speaks the fastest 's sure to speak the best :
Who utters most within the shortest space
May safely hope to win the wordy race.
The sons of Science these, who, thus repaid,
Linger in ease in Granta's sluggish shade;
Where on Cam's sedgy banks supine they lie,
Unknown, unhonoured live,-unwept for die :
Dull as the pictures which adorn their halls,
They think all learning fixed within their walls;
In manners rude, in foolish forms precise,
All modern arts affecting to despise ;
Yet prizing Bentley's,* Brunck's,* or Porson's† note,
More than the verse on which the critic wrote;
Vain as their honours, heavy as their ale,
Sad as their wit, and tedious as their tale;
To friendship dead, though not untaught to feel,
When Self and Church demand a Bigot zeal.
With eager haste they court the lord of power,
Whether 'tis Pitt or P-tty rules the hour:
To him with suppliant smiles they bend the head,
While distant mitres to their eyes are spread.
But, should a storm o'erwhelm him with disgrace,
They'd fly to seek the next who filled his place.
Such are the men who learning's treasures guard-
Such is their practice, such is their reward;
This much, at least, we may presume to say-
The premium can't exceed the price they pay.
The present Greek professor at Trinity College, Cambridge; a man whose powers of mind and writings may perhaps justify their preference.
Since this was written Lord H. P--y has lost his place, and, subsequently, (I had almost said consequently,) the honour of representing the University : fact so glaring requires no comment.
Sis memor, et cari comitis ne abscedat Imago.'
Friend of my youth! when young we roved,
Like striplings mutually beloved,
With Friendship's purest glow;
The bliss which winged those rosy hours
Was such as Pleasure seldom showers
On mortals here below.
The recollection seems, alone,
Dearer than all the joys I've known,
When distant far from you;
Though pain, 'tis still a pleasing pain,
To trace those days and hours again,
And sigh again, Adieu !
My pensive memory lingers o'er
Those scenes to be enjoyed no more,
Those scenes regretted ever;
The measure of our youth is full,
Life's evening dream is dark and dull,
And we may meet-ah! never!
As when one parent spring supplies
Two streams, which from one fountain rise,
Together joined in vain ;
How soon, diverging from their source,
Each, murmuring, seeks another course,
Till mingled in the main !
Our vital streams of weal or woe,
Though near, alas! distinctly flow,
Nor mingle as before;
Now swift or slow, now black or clear,
Till Death's unfathomed gulf appear,
And both shall quit the shore.
Our souls, my friend! which once supplied
One wish, nor breathed a thought beside,
Now flow in different channels;
Disdaining humbler rural sports,
'Tis yours to mix in polished courts,
And shine in Fashion's annals.
'Tis mine to waste on love my time,
Or vent my reveries in rhyme,
Without the aid of Reason;
For Sense and Reason (critics know it)
Have quitted every amorous poet,
Nor left a thought to seize on.
Poor Little! sweet melodious bard!
Of late esteemed it monstrous hard,
That he who sang before all;
He who the lore of love expanded,
By dire Reviewers should be branded,
As void of wit and moral.*
And yet, while Beauty's praise is thine,
Harmonious favorite of the Nine!
Repine not at thy lot;
Thy soothing lays may still be read,
When Persecution's arm is dead,
And critics are forgot.
Still I must yield those worthies merit,
Who chasten, with unsparing spirit,
Bad rhymes, and those who write them;
And, though myself may be the next
By critic sarcasm to be vexed,
I really will not fight them.+
Perhaps they would do quite as well
To break the rudely-sounding shell
Of such a young beginner;
He, who offends at pert nineteen,
Ere thirty may become, I ween,
A very hardened sinner.
• These stanzas were written soon after the appearance of a severe critique in a Northern Review on a new publication of the British Anacreon.
↑ A bard (Horresco referens,) defied his reviewer to mortal combat: if this example becomes prevalent, our periodical censors must be dipped in the River Styx, for what else can secure them from the numerous host of their enraged assailants?
I must return to you,
And sure apologies are due ;
Accept, then, my concession:
In truth, dear, in fancy's flight,
I soar along from left to right-
My Muse admires digression.
I think I said 'twould be your fate
To add one star to royal state-
May regal smiles attend you!
And, should a noble monarch reign,
You will not seek his smiles in vain,
If worth can recommend you.
Yet, since in danger courts abound,
Where specious rivals glitter round,
From shares may Saints preserve you! And grant your love or friendship ne'er From any claim a kindred care,
But those who best deserve you.
Not for a moment may you stray
From Truth's secure unerring way!
May no delights decoy!
O'er roses may your footsteps move,
Your smiles be ever smiles of love,
Your tears be tears of joy!
Oh! if you wish that happiness
Your coming days and years may bless,
And virtues crown your brow;
Be still as you were wont to be
Spotless as you've been known to me—
Be still as you are now.
And though some trifling share of praise,
To cheer my last declining days,
To me were doubly dear;
Whilst blessing your beloved name,
I'd wave at once a poet's fame,
To prove a prophet here.