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THE BLUES
A Literary Eclogue

By
Lord Byron



&/\&/\&

ECLOGUE THE SECOND.

An apartment in the House of LADY BLUEBOTTLE. - A Table prepared.
 

SIR RICHARD BLUEBOTTLE    solus.

Was there ever a man who was married so sorry?

Like a fool, I must needs do the thing in a hurry.

My life is reversed, and my quiet destroy'd;

My days, which once pass'd in so gentle a void,

Must now, every hour of the twelve, be employ'd;

The twelve, do I say? --- of the whole twenty-four.

Is there one which I dare call my own any more?

What with driving and visiting, dancing and dining,

What with learning, and teaching, and scribling and shining

In science and art, I'll be cursed if I know

Myself from my wife; for although we are two,

Yet she somehow contrives that all things shall be done

In a style which proclaims us eternally one.

But the thing of all things which distresses me more

Than the bills of the week ( though they trouble me sore )

Is the numerous, humorous, backbiting crew

Of scribblers, wits, lecturers, white, black, and blue,

Who are brought to my house as an inn, to my cost ---

For the bill here, it seems, is defray'd by the host ---

No pleasure !    No leisure !    No thought for my pains,

But to hear a vile jargon which addles my brains;

A smatter and chatter, glean'd out of reviews,

By the rag, tag, and bobtail, of those they call "BLUES;"

A rabble who know not --- But soft, here they come !

Would to God I were deaf !    As I'm not, I'll be dumb.

#############

Enter LADY BLUEBOTTLE, MISS LILAC, LADY BLUEMOUNT, MR. BOTHERBY, INKEL, TRACY, Miss MAZARINE, and others, with SCAMP the Lecturer, &c. &c.
 

Lady Blueb.

Ah !   Sir Richard, good morning:  I've brought you some friends.
 

Sir Rich. ( Bows, and afterwards aside ).

If friends, they're the first.
 

Lady Blueb.

But the luncheon attends.

I pray ye be seated. "Sans cérémonie."

Mr. Scamp, you're fatigued; take your chair there next to me.

                                                                                              [They all sit.

Sir Rich. ( aside ).

If he does, his fatigue is to come.
 

Lady Blueb.

Mr. Tracy ---

Lady Bluemount --- Miss Lilac --- be please, pray, to place ye;

And you, Mr. Botherby ---
 

Both.

Oh, my dear Lady,

I obey.
 

Lady Blueb.

Mr. Inkel, I ought to upbraid ye:

You were not at the lecture.
 

Ink.

Excuse me, I was:

But the heat forced me out in the best part --- alas !

And when -----
 

Lady Blueb.

To be sure it was broiling; but then

You have lost such a lecture !
 

Both.

The best of the ten.
 

Tra.

How can you know that?   there are two more,
 

Both.

Because

I defy him to beat this day's wondrous applause.

The very walls shook.
 

Ink.

Oh, if that be the test,

I allow our friend Scamp has this day done his best.

Miss Lilac, permit me to help you; --- a wing?
 

Miss Lil.

No more, sir, I thank you.  Who lectures next spring?
 

Both.

Dick Dunder.
 

Ink.

That is if he lives.
 

Miss Lil.

And why not?
 

Ink.

No reason whatever, save that he's a sot

Lady Bluemount !    a glass of Madeira?
 

Lady Bluem.

With pleasure.
 

Ink.

How does your friend Wordswords, that Windermere treasure?

Does he stick to his lakes, like the leeches he sings,

And their gatherers, as Homer sung warriors and kings?
 

Lady Bluem.

He has just got a place.
 

Ink.

As a footman?
 

Lady Bluem.

For shame !

Nor profane with your sneers so poetic a name.
 

Ink.

Nay, I meant him no evil, but pitied his master;

For the poet of pedlars 't were sure, no disaster

To wear a new livery; the more, as 't is not

The first time he has turn'd both his creed and his coat.
 

Lady Bluem.

For shameI repeat.  If Sir George could but hear -----
 

Lady Blueb.

Never mind our friend Inkel; we all know, my dear,

'Tis his way.
 

Sir Rich.

But this place -----
 

Ink.

Is perhaps like friend Scamp's,

A lecturer's.
 

Lady Bluem.

Excue me --- 't is one in the "Stamps:"

He is made a collector.
 

Tra.

Collector !
 

Sir Rich.

How?
 

Miss Lil.

What?
 

Ink.

I shall think of him oft when I buy a new hat:

There his works will appear -----
 

Lady Bluem.

Sir, they reach to the Ganges.
 

Ink.

I shan't go so far --- I can have them at Grange's.
 

Lady Bluem.

Oh fie !
 

Miss Lil.

And for shame !
 

Lady Bluem.

You're too bad.
 

Both.

Very good !
 

Lady Bluem.

How good?
 

Lady Blueb.

He means nought --- 't is his phrase.
 

Lady Bluem.

He grows rude.
 

Lady Blueb.

He means nothing; nay, ask him.
 

Lady Bluem.

Pray, SirDid you mean

What you say?
 

Ink.

Never mind if he did;  't will be seen

That whatever he means won't alloy what he says.
 

Both.

Sir?
 

Ink.

Pray be content with your portion of praise;

'T was in your defence.
 

Both.

If you please, with submission,

I can make out my own.
 

Ink.

It would be your perdition.

While you live, my dear Botherby, never defend

Yourself or your works; but leave both to a friend.

Apropos --- Is your play then accepted at last?
 

Both.

At last?
 

Ink.

Why I thought --- that's to say --- there had pass'd

A few green-room whispers, which hinted, --- you know

That the taste of the actors at best is so so.
 

Both.

Sir, the green-room's in rapture, and so's the Committee.
 

Ink.

Ay --- yours are the plays for exciting our "pity

And fear," as the Greek says' for "purging the mind,"

I doubt if you'll leave us an equal behind.
 

Both.

I have written the prologue and meant to have pray'd

For a spice of your wit in an epilogue's aid.
 

Ink.

Well, time enough yet, when the play's to be play'd.

Is it cast yet?
 

Both.

The actors are fighting for parts,

As is usual in that most litigious of arts.
 

Lady Blueb.

We'll all make a party, and go the first night.
 

Tra.

And you promised the epilogue, Inkel.
 

Ink.

Not quite.

However, to save my friend Botherby trouble,

I'll do what I can, though my pains must be double.
 

Tra.

Why so?
 

Ink.

To do justice to what goes before.
 

Both.

Sir, I'm happy to say, I've no fears on that score.

Your parts, Mr. Inkel, are -----
 

Ink.

Never mind mine;

Stick to those of your play, which is quite your own line.
 

Lady Bluem.

You're a fugitive writer, I think, sir, of rhymes?
 

Ink.

Yes, ma'am; and a fugitive reader sometimes.

On Wordswords, for instance, I seldom alight,

Or on Mouthey, his friend, without taking to flight.
 

Lady Bluem.

Sir, your taste is too common; but time and posterity

Will right these great men, and this age's severity

Become its reproach.
 

Ink.

I've no sort of objection,

So I'm not of the party to take the infection.
 

Lady Blueb.

Perhaps you have doubts that they ever will take?
 

Ink.

Not at all; on the contrary, those of the lake

Have taken already, and still will continue

To take --- what they can, from a groat to a guinea,

Of pension or place; --- but the subject's a bore.
 

Lady Bluem.

Well, sir, the time's coming.
 

Ink.

Scamp don't you feel sore?

What say you to this?
 

Scamp.

They have merit, I own;

Though their system's absurdity keeps it unknown.
 

Ink.

Then why not unearth it in one of your lectures?
 

Scamp.

It is only time past which comes under my strictures.
 

Lady Blueb.

Come, a truce with all tartness; --- the joy of my heart

Is to see Nature's triumph o'er all that is art.

Wild Nature !     Grand Shakspeare !
 

Both.

And down Aristotle !
 

Lady Bluem.

Sir George thinks exactly with Lady Bluebottle;

And my Lord Seventy-four, who protects our dear Bard,

And who gave him his place, has the greatest regard

For the poet, who, singing of pedlars and asses,

Has found out the way to dispense with Parnassus.
 

Tra.

And you, Scamp ! ---
 

Scamp.

I needs must confess I'm embarrass'd.
 

Ink.

Don't call upon Scamp, who's already so harass'd

With old schools, and new schools, and no schools, and all schools.
 

Tra.

Well, one thing is certain, that some must be fools.

I should like to know  who.
 

Ink.

And I should not be sorry

To know who are not: --- it would save us some worry.
 

Lady Blueb.

A truce with remark, and let nothing control

This "feast of our reason, and flow of the soul."

Oh !    my dear Mr. Botherby !    sympathise --- I

Now feel such a raputre, I'm ready to fly,

I feel so elastic --- "so buoyant --- so buoyant ! "
 

Ink.

Tracy!  open the window.
 

Tra.

I wish her much joy on 't.
 

Both.

For God's sake, my Lady Bluebottle, check not

This gentle emotion, so seldom our lot

Upon earth.  Give it way:  't is an impulse which lifts

Our spirits from earth; the sublimest of gifts;

For which poor Prometheus was chain'd to his mountain:

"Tis the source of all sentiment --- feeling's true fountain;

'T is the Vision of Heaven upon Earth:  't is the gas

Of the soul;  't is the seizing of shades as they pass,

And making them substance:  't is something divine: ---
 

Ink.

Shall I help you, my friend, to a little more wine?
 

Both.

I thank you; not any more, sir, till I dine.
 

Ink.

Apropos --- Do you dine with Sir Humphry to-day?
 

Tra.

I should think with Duke Humphry was more in your way.
 

Ink.

It might be of yore; but we authors now look

To the Knight, as a landlord, much more than the Duke.

The truth is, each writer now quite at his ease is,

And ( except with his publisher ) dines where he pleases.

But 'tis now nearly five, and I must to the Park.
 

Tra.

And I'll take a turn with you there till  't is dark.

And you, Scamp ----
 

Scamp.

Excuse me !    I must to my notes,

For my lecture next week.
 

Ink.

He must mind whom he quotes

Out of  "Elegant Extracts."
 

Lady Blueb.

Well, now we break up;

But remember Miss Diddle invites us to sup.
 

Ink.

Then at two hours past midnight we all meet again,

For the sciences, sandwiches, hock, and champagne !
 

Tra.

And the sweet lobster salad !
 

Both.

I honour that meal;

For 't is then that our feelings must genuinely --- feel.
 

Ink.

True; feeling is truest then; far beyond question

I wish to the gods 't was the same with digestion !
 

Lady Blueb.

Pshaw ! --- never mind that;  for one moment of feeling

Is worth --- God knows what.
 

Ink.

'Tis at least worth concealing

For itself, or what follows -----  But here comes your carriage.
 

Sir. Rich. ( aside ).

I wish all these people were d ---- d with my marriage !

                                                                                                 [Exeunt.

&/\&/\&


 
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