The Confessions of Lord Byron, 1905: A Collection of His Private Opinions of Men and of Matters, Taken from the New and Enlarged; Edition of His Letters and Journals (Classic Reprint)
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Excerpt from The Confessions of Lord Byron, 1905: A Collection of His Private Opinions of Men and of Matters, Taken From the New and Enlarged; Edition of His Letters and Journals
But I have by no means' counted the tale of allusions that makes the Letters so piquant. Himself the great champion of the Augustan school of English Poetry, Byron was bound by his theories of his art, by his love for the finished epigram, as distinct from the imaginative suggestion, of the poetic phrase to pay the due meed of reference to the little nightingale of Twickenham. Yet, while he performs this duty most loyally, exalting Pope to the heights of Parnassus in his controversial pamphlets, and quoting from his works in the Letters no less than thirty-six times, it is to Johnson, the great critic in this school of verse-making wits, that he makes the most fre quent appeal. Byron is for ever celebrating Johnson as literary dictator on the one hand, and as master of epigram and of retort on the other. His Ras selas, his Drury Lane Prologue, his Lloes of the Poets, and his Vanity of Human Wishes, are all cited indeed the great satire is quoted on several occas1ons, and is once the subject of an elaborate eulogy. Byron's most interesting allusions to Johnson, however, are such as take the form-of quotations made from Boswell's Life, and to an examination of these quotations I therefore propose to devote the remain ing portion of my space. N ow, inasmuch as most of these phrases are borrowed to accentuate some particularly truculent expression of Byron's own opinions, it is only natural that four of the most im ortant should be taken from places in which J o nson gives his uncompromising judgment of the Fingal controversy; The scathing answer made by the Doctor to Bla1rs question whether any man of a modern age could have written such poems.
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