Let Satire Be My Song


Gift of the Friends of the Library, 1949 – MS Eng 265.3

Oh! SOUTHEY, SOUTHEY! cease thy varied song!
A Bard may chaunt too often, and too long.

Robert Southey (1774-1843). Joan of Arc: autograph manuscript, first draft (1793).

Byron was not the first to castigate Southey for his ponderous epics Joan of Arc (1796), Thalaba (1801), and Madoc (1805). When Southey learned of Byron’s lines on him in English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers, he cavalierly remarked, “Every apprentice in satire and scandal for the last dozen years has tried his hand upon me.” Byron came to detest Southey, Pye’s successor as poet laureate, on both personal and literary grounds, for allegedly spreading rumors about him while in exile and for naming him a leader of the “Satanic School” of poetry.