I too can hunt a Poetaster down


Amy Lowell fund, 1979 – *EC8.M7868.Z816s

Health to Great Jeffrey! Heaven preserve his life,
To flourish on the fertile shores of Fife,
And guard it sacred in his future wars,
Since authors sometimes seek the field of Mars.

Anonymous. Shots at the M—re! (London, 1816).

Byron alludes here to the abortive duel that took place between Jeffrey and Moore at Chalk Farm, where it was rumored that the critic’s pistol was “leadless.” These lines prompted Moore in 1810 to challenge Byron himself to a duel in a letter that was wisely withheld from the poet, then on his travels abroad. The incident became a cause célèbre and the subject of this parody. In 1816 Byron recanted these lines in a marginal note: “All this is bad, because personal.”