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Her earthly guide, he then would plight his troth

To serve her with most strict fidelity,
And show her all his wonders, nothing loth;

For he possess'd Apollo's master-key,
By which are open'd, to the sons of verse,
The hidden chambers of the universe.

Lxii.
And that with love which none but poets feel,

And reverence such as none but poets pay,
He would watch over all her future weal,

And deem her his sole treasure, night and day; And when Death's slumber should her eyelids seal,

And her soul flit to Paradise, away,
Still, upon earth, her sacred name should be
Link'd with his own in Immortality.

Lxiii.
Here pause we,—for the night is on the wane.

Whether the Genius still was doom'd to grieve, Or some kind fortune eased him of his pain,—

Is matter which, in verse, I yet may weave:— But months must first roll by,—for such a strain

Is fitter far for some calm summer eve Than for these merry winter nights, when we Begin to dream of Christmas revelry.

November, 1824.

SIR LAUNFAL.

INTRODUCTORY SONNET.

In youth's wild fervour, ere my heart had yet
Submissive bow'd to the acknowledged sway
Of loftier duty, did I frame this lay,
Which haply 'twould be wisest to forget,
Mingled as 'tis with food for late regret,—
The unpruned blossoms of my wits' warm May ;—
Rank wild flowers, more fantastically gay
Than now beseems my sober coronet.
Yet chide not, thoughtful reader, though thine ear,
Attuned already to my graver strain,
These sportive warblings listeth not to hear,
Nor deem them altogether base and vain,
Though ill accordant they perchance appear
With the ripe produce of my heart and brain.

July, 1836.

CANTO I.

I.

King Arthur, in the tenth year of his reign,
Fell sick of the blue devils:—by his court

So many brace of dragons had been slain,—
So many giants, with their crimes, cut short,-

So many wrongs avenged, and castles ta'en,

That there began to be a lack of sport, The realm, in fact, from Cornwall to the border, Was in a shocking state of peace and order.

II.

For six whole weeks, the Knights of the Round Table,

From morn to night, had nothing else to do Than saunter from the palace to the stable,

Play with their falcons, or their ladies woo, Polish their arms, and laugh (when they were able,)

At their own languid jests; no mortal knew, Till dinner was announced, what he'd be at; And King and courtiers all were growing fat.

in. The game laws were enforced in all their rigour,

And several peasants were convicted fully
Of breaking dragons' eggs, and pulling trigger

At giants with two heads, who chose to bully Their frighten'd children; but with all the vigour

Of the police, the court went on but dully; It seem'd the British fair were past affronting,— And then a frost set in, which spoil'd the hunting.

IV.

As for the ladies, they, poor souls, declared

That " they certayne for dullnesse shulden dye;"

The formal knights so prosed, andbow'd, andstared, With their demure, old-fashion'd courtesy;

And poor Sir Tristram, who could ill be spared, With his gay jests, and harp, and poetry,

In a late fray had got a broken head,
And was not able yet to leave his bed.

v. In short, Miss Edgeworth's demon, pale Ennui,

Had seized on the whole court with dire aggression; And made it stupid as a calm at sea,

Or wedlock, after half a year's possession, Or poor Lord Byron's last new tragedy,

Or octave rhyme when stripp'd of its digression; Or any pitch that human dulness reaches— Save that of Mr. Hume's financial speeches.

VI.

I said the King fell sick (he kept his bed,)
With the blue devils:—'tis a sore disease,

Worse than all fevers, yellow, green, or red,
The jaundice, or " that worm i' th' bud" one sees

On the pale cheeks of hopeless lovers fed;
And if you wish to know the remedies

With which it should be treated, go and look

In Doctor Burton's valuable book.

VII.

'Tis a complaint that's chiefly incidental

To lovers, drunkards, scholars, kings, and bards;

To country squires with an encumber'd rental,
And gamesters apt to hold unlucky cards;

Bards bear it best;—to them it's instrumental
In spinning rhymes: there's Chauncey Towns-
hend lards

His groaning stanzas (just to eke his strains out,)

With gloom enough to blow ten Frenchmen's brains out.

VIII.

The symptoms vary with the sex, condition,
Taste, temper, habits, constitution, age,

And fortune of the patient;—if a rich one,
It makes him fretful,—puts him in a rage

With wife, friends, children, servants, and physi-
cian ;—
If poor, he's apt to quit the world's dull stage

With a sore throat;—it makes the lover sad,

The gamester gloomy, and the poet mad.

IX.

Old ladies call it " fever on the nerves,"—

A name of universal application,
Which for all sorts of peevish humours serves,

And gains, for some cross people, toleration
Of such ill-bred behaviour as deserves

(To say the least,) a handsome flagellation;
A mode of treatment which I own that I,
In " nervous" cases, often long to try.

x.
Of this I'll say no more; because I hear

A better poet is just now preparing A work upon the subject, to appear

In Mr. Knight's best types and paper, bearing The title of" Blue Devils," and I fear

'Twould seem absurd, in one so often wearing Their livery as myself, to act physician To others haply in no worse condition.

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