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Don Juan

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    Bob Southey! You're a poet, poet laureate,
    And representative of all the race.
    Although 'tis true that you turned out a Tory at
    Last, yours has lately been a common case.
    And now my epic renegade, what are ye at
    With all the lakers, in and out of place?
    A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye
    Like four and twenty blackbirds in a pye,

    Which pye being opened they began to sing'
    (This old song and new simile holds good),
    'A dainty dish to set before the King'
    Or Regent, who admires such kind of food.
    And Coleridge too has lately taken wing,
    But like a hawk encumbered with his hood,
    Explaining metaphysics to the nation.
    I wish he would explain his explanation.

    You, Bob, are rather insolent, you know,
    At being disappointed in your wish
    To supersede all warblers here below,
    And be the only blackbird in the dish.
    And then you overstrain yourself, or so,
    And tumble downward like the flying fish
    Gasping on deck, because you soar too high,
    Bob, And fall for lack of moisture quite a dry Bob.

    And Wordsworth in a rather long Excursion
    (I think the quarto holds five hundred pages)
    Has given a sample from the vasty version
    Of his new system to perplex the sages.
    'Tis poetry, at least by his assertion,
    And may appear so when the Dog Star rages,
    And he who understands it would be able
    To add a story to the tower of Babel.

    You gentlemen, by dint of long seclusion
    From better company, have kept your own
    At Keswick, and through still continued fusion
    Of one another's minds at last have grown
    To deem, as a most logical conclusion,
    That poesy has wreaths for you alone.
    There is a narrowness in such a notion,
    Which makes me wish you'd change your lakes for ocean.

    I would not imitate the petty thought,
    Nor coin my self-love to so base a vice,
    For all the glory your conversion brought,
    Since gold alone should not have been its price.
    You have your salary; was't for that you wrought?
    And Wordsworth has his place in the Excise.
    You're shabby fellows—true—but poets still
    And duly seated on the immortal hill.

    Your bays may hide the baldness of your brows,
    Perhaps some virtuous blushes; let them go.
    To you I envy neither fruit nor boughs,
    And for the fame you would engross below,
    The field is universal and allows
    Scope to all such as feel the inherent glow.
    Scott, Rogers, Campbell, Moore, and Crabbe will try
    'Gainst you the question with posterity.

    For me, who, wandering with pedestrian Muses,
    Contend not with you on the winged' steed,
    I wish your fate may yield ye, when she chooses,
    The fame you envy and the skill you need.
    And recollect a poet nothing loses
    In giving to his brethren their full meed
    Of merit, and complaint of present days
    Is not the certain path to future praise.

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