LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
[John Gibson Lockhart]
Notices to Correspondents.
Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine  Vol. 2  No. 12  (March 1818)  np.
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH


No. XII. MARCH, 1818. Vol. II.


Contributors to Blackwood’s Magazine,
Our honoured Correspondents one and all,
Ye who in Blackwood’s shop are never seen,
And ye who once per diem use to call.
When thro’ the following pages ye shall look,
Some will seem grim among you, and some gay;
Joyous the scribblers who have found a nook,
Gruff those deferred till April or till May.
Necessity, quoth Horace, hath no legs!
’Twould ruin Ebony to print the whole;
The veiled Conductor your forbearance begs;
We can’t afford twelve sheets, upon our soul!
Last month we ventured on some savoury bits,
A few good things, exactly to your gout,
They threw the prudish back-shop into fits,
And made even Cognoscenti to look blue.
My lady swears she will no more take in
A journal which such tinker-stories tells;
And now the winter’s o’er, the Magazine
Can’t walk perdue in muff of modest belles.
Therefore we henceforth purpose ne’er to swerve
From the exactest and most nice morale;
Even Constable’s wise herd shall not preserve
Such parlour-window ethics at we shall.
No—not that journal, most unlaughable
Decorous, issuing from that lordly shop;
Which gentle Bob, in vain attempts to sell,
While in his trim boudoir blue stockings stop.
(Divine boudoir, and kind obliging Bobby!
One moment on your charms we pause with joy;
That back-shop is the Muse’s airy lobby,
And her most graceful usher, thou, my boy!
Let Musty Laing a pedant crowd convoke,
’Mid the tall folios of his dungeon drear;
Let shirtless students tolerate the smoke
Of grim Carfrae’s putrescent atmosphere;
Let prosing Gazetteer and smart Reviewer,
In Constable’s dark den their fingers cool;
Let jocund Johnny’s sale-room still secure
The tea-pot buying, missal-gazing fool;
Let solemn Dominies to Skelly run,
Let Theologians haunt the Bailie’s still;
Dim Antiquarians croak with Jamieson,
And Dilettanti prate with Peter Hill.
But while the young, the beauteous, and the gay,
In circles sit where much-lov’d Miller bows;
There let us lounge the idler hours away,
And chase the wrinkles from our critic brows.)
But to return—next month we mean to handle
Thy yet unrifled treasures, Peu-de-mots,
Nor shall we scruple, Beppo (sink the scandal)
To analyze thine exquisite morçeau.
Take care, Guiseppé, times are altered much,
Since charming Pulci and thy Lafontaine;
If the Suppression get thee in their clutch,
Ne’er shalt thou sing Venetian Dames again.
Of all the blockheads that have sent us verse,
Sure thou, Philemon, art the most obtuse,
Of articles our Blackwood must be scarce,
E’er we waste paper upon such a muse.
Tickler! thy letters, full of point and flame,
May do some good to boys with inky fingers;
Mysterious is the change from Hogg to Grahame
Yet not behind our next the paper lingers.
We’re glad to see that Hogg takes no offence
At Timothy;—and why indeed should he?
Genius is coupled well with manly sense;
Kilmeny’s Bard may bear all jokes with glee.
Well soon insert the letter, dated “Humber,”
But thee “Philander” we with scorn dismiss.
“Juridicus” has sent us perfect lumber;
“The Florist” does not suit a work like this.
We much suspect, “Alpina,” in last Number,
Was written by a Master—not a Miss.
Best thanks and compliments to Dr Jarvie—
We’ve two small questions, worthy buck, to ask ye:
Will fewer personalities not serve you?
Why do you always quiz our friends in Glasgow?
Good “Civis Glasguensis,” we must beg ye
To pay attention to our friendly hint,
We can’t insert your Life of John Carnegie,
Unless he authorises us to print.
We much admire the genius and acumen,
Y., of thine essays on the plays of Dryden;
But H. M., all our English stage will do, man,
Thou surely giv’st the Bard too sore a hiding.
Of pimpled Hazlitt’s coxcomb lectures writing,
Our friend with moderate pleasure we peruse.
A. Z., when Kean’s or Shakspear’s praise inditing,
Seems to have caught the flame of either’s muse.
Thanks to thee, Lauerwinkel, thanks Mein-herr,
And thanks to thee, our young friend, who dost render him:
It seldom happens, that, when Britons err,
Their German allies sapient counsel tender ’em.
Euphrastes, we declare, is in a phrenzy,
We send him back his papers with our thanks,
“Scots Worthies, Number One, Kincaid Mackenzie,”
And Number Two, Sir John Marjoribanks.
Dear Cambrian friend! you’ve heard a genuine story,
The ancient Editors have lodged their summons
’Gainst Blackwood (that devout and ill-used Tory);
’Mong wits such measures certainly are rum ones.
Tho’ thistles spring profuse on Scottish ground,
And few, few roses lift their heads among ’em,
Yet where the lovely stranger flowers are found,
V. P. believe us, Scottish eyes don’t wrong ’em.
We do request thee, Maker, from our clay,
To mould us men: we do solicit thee.
From darkness to promote us into day,
The prayer is bold.—Yet our Prometheus be!
A Berkshire Rector has been pleased to wonder
Why we’ve dismissed the primitive arrangement,
He hates, he says, from verse to prose to blunder,
Our quick transitions seem to him derangement.
Begging our good friend’s pardon, we prefer
To mix the dulce with the utile,
And think it has in fact a charming air
Such different things in the same page to see.
To Correspondents.
A sonnet there, a good grave essay here,
Chalmers, Rob Roy, Divorce-law, the New Play,
Next (our divan, amid their toils to cheer)
Some squib upon our neighbours o’er the way.
We leave to Mr Constable’s wise set,
“Repository,” “Notice Analytical,”
And whomsoever such omissions fret,
We must say we esteem him hypercritical.
The pompous airs of that exploded journal,
We own do most immensely tickle us;
We never saw, or Corporal or Colonel,
Make of such little things so great a fuss.
Touches original they say they give one!
Some patch from Hazlitt’s lectures (see our notice of ’em,
Translations from French Journals, don’t deceive one,
We hope themselves are sensible, how low ’tis of ’em.
Then comes some song from Albion’s Anthology,
Copied per favour of our good friend Sandy;
Dry jokes by the great Author of Petralogy,
And ballads to the tune of Jack-a-dandy.
In all the Magazines for twenty years
The Old Bohemian Gypsey cuts a figure,
And now the hag in Constable’s appear?,
And sits by Maga’s side in youthful vigour.
We mention this, because it was not fair,
In D. from old wives tales this one to single,
To send it to us for insertion here,
And lest we smok’d him, to cheat Mr Pringle.
The old Scots Magazine was, in its time,
A decent reputable plundering book;
We don’t think Cleghorn’s prose, or Pringle’s rhyme,
Will ever give the work a better look.
But if they really wish to make a stir,
What hinders them from taking in James Graham?
Malthus, Clieshbotham, Bentham can aver
How great Helvidius heaped them all with shame.
Just here and there, in a few hundred years,
If with keen eye the stream of time we scan,
A Bacon, Newton, or James Grahame, appears
To renovate the intellect of man.
Illustrious youth, though envious dulness sneer
At the bright radiance of thy rising day,
Pursue thy heaven-decreed sublime career,
Be not discouraged though thy works don’t pay.
The midnight oil that wastes thy feeble body
Trains and refreshes the immortal soul;
Far wiser ink consume than whisky-toddy—
A proof-sheet’s better than a flowing bowl.
Printer, Compositor, Pressman, are quaking,
And Oliver and Boyd themselves perplexed,
With our learned paper on that monstrous Kraken,
By the same hand the “Sea Snake” in our next.
The “Feræ” make sad work, but Dr Horn
Maintains the thing’s a sort of allegory.
We burn’d to-day the “Sonnet to the Morn,”
And likewise made short work of a “Long Story.”
“Bess on Flirtation” is but sorry stuff,
While Belles are beautiful, Beaux will be civil.
“Satan Avaunt” is humorous enough;
But we much fear, would vex our printers’ devil.
We send our best respects to Dr Chiel,
And thank him for his poem called “The Race.”
The doctor uses nimbly hand and heel.
The “Weel-faur’d Hizzie” shall not want a place.
But this is nothing to the purpose—Q,
Did you think we should not detect your humming?
Why hear we not more frequently from you,
D. I.? We hope Sir Thomas Craig is coming.
The “Necromancer” is no witch, we fear,
And the “Young Lady” like an old one writes.
This Number of our Work completes the year,
P. will observe. Pray where have prick’d “The Knights
Errant? They should not stop with Number one.
“T. C. on Shakspeare” doth himself surpass.
B’s correspondence we would wish to shun.
The man who writes “On Baxter” is an ass.
Few things more sweetly vary civil life
Than a barbarian savage tinkler tale.
Our friend who on the Gypsies writes in Fife,
We verily believe, promotes our sale.
From various quarters we have understood,
A certain Baronet is waxing wroth,
So we incline, ere long, to cool his blood,
And give the Knight some salt unto his broth.
Fitted to give an Editor the vapours,
Thine essay, “Crito,” is, we frankly tell ye.
Quite otherwise with three ingenious papers,
Named “Rembrandt, Galileo, Machiavelli.”
The last of these our present Number decks;
Unto its author we are grateful debtors;
Though things anonymous our tempers vex,
On this occasion, thank ye, “Man Of Letters.”
Not fudge the whole of these appalling rumours;
A deep and bigot horror, it would seem.
Some brethren have conceived ’gainst Blackwood’s humours.
The most are sadly under one huge thumb—
Even Pat, we hear, upon his last sale dinner,
Tipped Bill a hint in private, not to come.
The pious can’t eat salt with such a sinner.
There are some things that do one good in hearing,
Some jokes that should on no account be lost;
What think ye of our Prince of Pisos, swearing
That Blackwood should to Beelzebub be tost?
And why? O portent rare of matchless brass!
For publishing “a parody profane.”
How think ye will his own offences pass?
Does the Review a Christian air maintain?
Among those pamphlets stitched in blue and yellow,
Should any searcher take the pains to peer,
How easily could he prove, my worthy fellow,
That all your wits against the Gospel sneer!

And now, in the old business style to stop,
Next Number shall grace April’s 20th day.
By May the 1st they’ll be in Baldwin’s shop.

⁂ To Correspondents—Pray the postage pay.