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“The poesy of this young lord belongs to the class which neither gods nor men are said to permit. Indeed we do not recollect to have seen a quantity of verse with so few deviations in either direction for that exact standard. His effusions are spread over a dead flat, and can no more get above or below the level than if they were so much stagnant water. . . . We desire to counsel him that he forthwith abandon poetry and turn his talents, which are considerable, and his opportunities, which are great, to better account.*

So his profanity in the “Vision of Judgment,” was in answer to Southey's poem of that name, the introduction of which contained strictures against him. Accused of being Satanic, he replies with some profanity, and with that humour which he principally shows in such retorts

“ Saint Peter sat by the celestial gate,
His keys wore rusty, and the lock was dull,
So little trouble had been given of late--
Not that the place by any means was full;
But since the Gallic era. eighty-eight'
The devils had ta’en a longer, stronger pull,
And 'a pull together,' as they say
At sea-which drew most souls another way.

“The angels all were singing out of tune,

And hoarse with having little else to do,
Excepting to wind up the sun and moon,

* Byron showed his love of humour even in some of these early effusions, speaking of his college he says: “Our choir would scarcely be excused,

Even as a band of raw beginners :
All mercy, now, must be refused

To such a set of croaking sinners.
If David, when his toils were ended

Had heard these blockheads sing before him,
To us his psalms bad ne'er descended;

In furious mood, he would have tore 'em.”

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Or curb a runaway young star or two,
Or wild colt of a comet, which too soon
Broke out of bounds o'er the ethereal blue,
Splitting some planet with its playful tail
As boats are sometimes by a wanton whale."

The effect of Southey reading his “ Vision of Judgment” is thus given :“Those grand heroics acted as a spell,

The angels stopped their ears, and plied their pinions,
The devils ran bowling deafened down to hell,
The ghosts fled gibbering, for their own dominions.”

His poem on a lady who maligned him to his wife, seems to show that he did not well distinguish where the humorous ends and the ludicrous begins. He represents her

“ With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown

A cheek of parchment and an eye of stone,
Mark how the channels of her yellow blood
Ooze at her skin, and stagnate there to mud,
Cased like the centipede in saffron mail,
A darker greenness of the scorpion's scale,
Look on her features! and behold her mind

As in a mirror of itself defined.” No one suffered more than Byron from his humour being misapprehended. His letters abound with jests and jeux d'esprit, which were often taken seriously as admissions of an immoral character. We gladly turn to something pleasanter—to some of the few humorous pieces he wrote in a genial tone

EPIGRAM.
The world is a bundle of hay
Mankind are the asses who pull
Each tugs in a different way,
The greatest of all is John Bull.

Lines to Mr. Hodgson (afterwards Provost of Eton) written on board the packet for Lisbon,

“Huzza ! Hodgson, we are going,
Our embargo's off at last,
Favourable breezes blowing
Bend the canvas o'er the mast,
From aloft the signal's streaming
Hark! the farewell gun is fired,
Women screeching, tars blaspheming,
Tell us that our time's expired.

Here's a rascal

Come to task all,
Prying from the custom house ;

Trunks unpacking,

Cases cracking,
Not a corner for a mouse,
'Scapes unsearched amid the racket
Ere we sail on board the packet. ...

Now our boatmen quit the mooring,
And all hands must ply the oar :
Baggage from the quay is lowering,
We're impatient, push from shore.
“ Have a care that case holds liquor-
Stop the boat-I'm sick-oh Lord !”
“ Sick, ma'am, d-me, you'll be sicker,
Ere you've been an hour on board.”

Thus are screaming

Men and women,
Gemmen, ladies, servants, tacks ;

Here entangling,

All are wrangling,
Stuck together close as wax,
Such the general noise and racket
Ere we reach the Lisbon packet.

Fletcher! Murray! Bob! where are you ?
Stretched along the deck like logs—
Bear a hand, you jolly tar, you !
Here's a rope's end for the dogs.
Hobhouse muttering fearful curses
As the hatchway down be rolls,
Now his breakfast, now his verses,
Vomits forth and d-ns our souls.

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In Beppo there is much gay carnival merriment and some humour—a style well suited to Italian revelry. When Laura's husband, Beppo, returns, and is seen in a new guise at a ball, we read

“He was a Turk the colour of mahogany

And Laura saw him, and at first was glad,
Because the Turks so much admire philogyny,
Although the usage of their wives is sad,
'Tis said they use no better than a dog any
Poor woman, whom they purchase like a pad;
They bave a number though they ne'er exhibits 'em,
Four wives by law and concubines 'ad libitum.”

On being assured that he is her husband, she
exclaims —
Beppo. And are you really truly, now a Turk ?
With any other women did you wire ?
Is't true they use their fingers for a fork?
Well, that's the prettiest shawl-as I'm alive!
You'll give it me? They say you eat no pork.
And how so many years did you contrive
To-Bless me! did I ever! No, I never
Saw a man grown so yellow ! How's your liver ?"

More than half the poem is taken up with digressions, more or less amusing, such as“Oh, mirth and innocence! Oh milk and water !

Ye happy mixtures of more happy days!
In these sad centuries of sin and slaughter

Abominable man no more allays
His thirst with such pure beverage. No matter,

I love you both, and both shall have my praise !
Oh, for old Saturn's reign of sugar-candy!

Meantime I drink to your return in brandy." We may observe that there is humour in the rhymes in the above stanzas. He often used absurd terminations to his lines as

“ For bating Covent garden, I can hit on

No place that's called Piazza in Great Britain."

People going to Italy, are to take with them“ Ketchup, Soy, Chili-vinegar and Harvey,

Or, by the Lord! a Lent will well nigh starve ye.” We are here reminded of the endings of some of Butler's lines. Such rhymes were then regarded as poetical, but in our improved taste we only use them for humour. Lamb considered them to be a kind of punning, but in one case the same position, in the other the same signification is given to words of the same sound. The following couplet was written humorously by Swift for a dog's collar

“ Pray steal me not: I'm Mrs. Dingley's

Whose heart in this four-footed thing lies.” Pope has the well known lines, “Worth makes the man and want of it the fellow,

And all the rest is leather and prunella." Miss Sinclair also, in her description of the Queen's visit to Scotland, has adopted these irregular terminations with good effect“Our Queen looks far better in Scotland than England No sight's been like this since I once saw the King land. Edina! long thought by her neighbours in London A poor country cousin by poverty undone; The tailors with frantic speed, day and night cut on, While scolded to death if they misplace a button. And patties and truffles are better for Verrey's aid, And cream tarts like those which once almost killed

Scherezade.”

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