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Lord Byron (1788–1824). Poetry of Byron. 1881.

IV. Satiric

Epilogue to English Bards and Scotch Reviewers

THUS far I’ve held my undisturb’d career,

Prepared for rancour, steel’d ’gainst selfish fear:

This thing of rhyme I ne’er disdain’d to own—

Though not obtrusive, yet not quite unknown:

My voice was heard again, though not so loud,

My page, though nameless, never disavow’d;

And now at once I tear the veil away:—

Cheer on the pack! the quarry stands at bay,

Unscared by all the din of Melbourne house,

By Lambe’s resentment, or by Holland’s spouse,

By Jeffrey’s harmless pistol, Hallam’s rage,

Edina’s brawny sons and brimstone page.

Our men in buckram shall have blows enough,

And feel they too are “penetrable stuff:”

And though I hope not hence unscathed to go,

Who conquers me shall find a stubborn foe.

The time hath been, when no harsh sound would fall

From lips that now may seem imbued with gall;

Nor fools nor follies tempt me to despise

The meanest thing that crawl’d beneath my eyes:

But now, so callous grown, so changed since youth,

I’ve learn’d to think, and sternly speak the truth;

Learn’d to deride the critic’s starch decree,

And break him on the wheel he meant for me;

To spurn the rod a scribbler bids me kiss,

Nor care if courts and crowds applaud or hiss:

Nay more, though all my rival rhymesters frown,

I too can hunt a poetaster down;

And, arm’d in proof, the gauntlet cast at once

To Scotch marauder, and to southern dunce.