Let Satire Be My Song


Amy Lowell fund, 1973 – p*EB8.F5768.806i

Still must I hear? – shall hoarse FITZGERALD bawl
His creaking couplets in a tavern hall,
And I not sing, lest, haply, Scotch Reviews
Should dub me scribbler, and denounce my Muse?

William Thomas Fitzgerald (1759?-1829). An Independent Tribute to the Memory of the Hon. William Pitt (London, [1806]).

Dubbed the “Small Beer Poet” by English radical William Cobbett, Fitzgerald would be forgotten today but for Byron’s mention of him. Byron added these introductory lines to the second edition of English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers, alluding to Fitzgerald’s annual recitations at the Literary Fund dinner, which raised money for indigent writers. In 1816 Byron glossed this passage with the note, “Right enough, but why notice such a mountebank?”