Let Satire Be My Song


Bequest of Amy Lowell, 1925 – Lowell 1887.7



Next comes the dull disciple of thy school,
That mild apostate from poetic rule,
The simple WORDSWORTH ....
Who, both by precept and example, shows
That prose is verse, and verse is merely prose.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). Lyrical Ballads (London, 1798).

Notwithstanding his own favorable review of Wordsworth’s Poems (1807) in Monthly Literary Recreations, Byron offers this comic redaction in verse of the Lake Poet’s famous preface to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads (1800). These lines and those that follow on Coleridge he later considered “unjust.” This copy of the first edition belonged to Alfred Lord Tennyson, who has transcribed Matthew Arnold’s assessment of Wordsworth and Byron on the flyleaf: “Wordsworth has an insight into the permanent sources of joy & consolation for mankind which Byron with all his imperishable excellence of sincerity & strength has not ....” Tipped in is an autograph letter from Wordsworth to the publisher Edward Moxon.