Page images

Spencers and Blandfords in the strife unite,
While Biblio-maniacs shudder at the sight;


Romances, as it appears, from Mr. Nicoll's Catalogue, that “ The beray tret historye of the baliant Knight Jason," printed at Anderwarpe, by Gerard Lera, 1492, was bought by the same nobleman for £ 94 10s.; and the Marquess of Blandford, to complete his classics, buys the (also very true, doubtless) Lyffe of Wirgilius, with wood cuts, for £ 54 12s.

“ The most pytifulle historge of the noble Appolyn, King of Thrze,” 4to. M. G. L. is knocked down to Mr. Nornaville for £115 10s.; and the same gentleman, for “ The Boke of the Fayte of Arms of Thybalrge," blue Turkey, gilt leaves, gives of 336.

Mr. Triphook obtains “ The Storye of Frederyke of Jennen," with wood cuts, 1518, for £65 2s., and “ The Storye of gary of nemegen” for £ 87.

Mr. Heber only pays £ 55 for “ The right pleasaunte and goodlie Historye of the foure Sonnes of almon," 1554; while Earl Spencer for that of Blanchardyn and Eglantyne,"imperfect at the end, puts down £ 215 5s.

Till, hours elapsing ere the Book be won,
It proves at last -an old Decameron!
Then Roxburgh's musty tomes and scurvy trials,
With all the Newgate scraps from Seven Dials,
Can fetch their hundreds, as a set complete
Of ballad prints, that swarm in ev'ry street.


Yet these but serve, in easier flow, to guide
Thro' varied channels Fortune's endless tide.
In wooden types, the idly learned Sage
May trace the follies of a greener age;


The prouffytable Boke for (the heir to the Duke of Roxburgh and) Dane's Soule, called the Chastysinge of Sode's Children, is sold for £ 140.

I. B. We should not greatly admire that well-known sacrifice made by the early converts to Christianity, if the books they committed to the flames had not more intrinsic value than such contemptible trash:- if they were not more truly worth 50,000 pieces of silver.

And feudal Systems in their zenith see,
Degrading Law, to honor Chivalry.

Not for such themes the modern Bard


claim Praise from the living, from the future-fame! Majestic Spenser's once enchanting lays Yield to the measures of our lighter days; And Dryden's fame had scarce suffic'd to save His promis'd “ Arthur” from an early grave: Tho' still one Minstrel moulds the antique rhyme For Elfin prowess in the “ olden time;" Apes Border doggrel, scorns poetic laws, And courts the bubble of misplaced applause. But that applause must ebb as well as rise, 905 The impulse ceases and the bubble fies. Like Spenser's soon may be the fate of Scott, Prais’d by one age, and by the next-forgot!

For what but dark Oblivion can await

Those idle fictions of romantic state,


Where savage Priests, from horrid compact bred,
Offspring at once of living and of dead,
Duergar's, Da'inshi's, and Felon Sows,
And Pigmies, trembling 'neath a Wizard's blows,
Are rais'd on ev'ry wretched, weak pretence, 915
To shock the reason and confound the sense.

But if to please and to instruct were one,
If num'rous beauties might for faults atone,
Who can portray with juster, bolder pen,
The rock, the stream, the mountain, and the glen,
And all the wonders of that northern clime,
Where Nature reigns, unbounded and sublime ?
Who can so well conflicting passions trace,
As changing forms upon a mirror's face;
Bid Truth and Feeling in his strains combine, 925
And thrilling Horror “live along the line?”

Then, Scott! so often warn’d, let judgment plead, Nor Monkish Bards thy truer taste mislead;

Leave Lindesay and the Rhymner, by themselves
To rot forgotten on the mouldering shelves; 930
Fly from the circle, which a wizard age
Has trac'd around thy now neglected page;
Exert that Genius which would paint, at best,
The rude commotions in a robber's breast,
A nobler path of Fancy to design,

935 And make our Reason as our Passionsthine!

Forgot the errors * of his earlier days,
His prurient page and Aristippian lays,
Moore, too, again may wake the pow'rs divine
That form’d his soft, but too licentious line:
His Country's Poet, to a blameless theme
Restrict the wand'rings of his fervid dream;



* Sera nunquam est ad bonos mores via, Quein pænitet peccasse, pæne est innocens.

SENECA, Agamemnon.

« PreviousContinue »