Byron’s Don Juan - “Dedication”
‘Which pye being open’d 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 encumber’d 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!
BOB SOUTHEY! You ‘re a poet — Poet-laureate,
And representative of all the race,
Although ‘t is true that you turn’d 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;’
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;
‘T is 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.