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Ballad on Sir John Moore.
Globe and Traveller  No. 6842  (4 November 1824)
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The Globe & Traveller.

No. 6842. THURSDAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 4, 1824. Price 7d.


H Marshall, Ode on the Burial of Moore

H. Marshall, M.D., of Durham (who seems to unite poetry with fire and physic in as great a perfection as they have been combined since the time of Phœbus Apollo), has sent the following letter to the Courier:

“Permit me, through the medium of our highly respectable journal (which I have chosen as the channel of this communication, from my having been a subscriber to it for the last fifteen years), to observe, that the statement lately published in the Morning Chronicle, the writer of which ascribes the lines of the burial of Sir John Moore to Woolf, is false, and as barefaced a fabrication as ever was foisted on the public. The lines in question are not written by Woolf, nor by Hailey, nor is Deacoll the author, but they were composed by me. I published them originally, some years ago, in the Durham County Advertiser, a journal in which I have at different times inserted several poetical trifles, as “The Prisoner’s Prayer to Sleep”—“Lines on the lamented Death of Benjamin Galley, Esq.” and some other effusions.

“I should not, Sir, have thought the lines on Sir John Moore’s funeral worth owning, had not the false statement of the Chronicle met my eye. I can prove, by the most incontestable evidence, the truth of what I have asserted. The first copy of my lines was given by me to my friend and relation, Capt. Bell, and it is in his possession at present; it agrees perfectly with the copy now in circulation, with this exception—it does not contain the stanzas commencing with “Few and short,”” which I added afterwards at the suggestion of the Rev. Dr. Alderson, of Butterby. I am, Sir, yours &c.

“South-street, Durham, Nov. 1, 1824.”

We are very sorry the Doctor has not sent the Courier his Lines on the Lamented Death of Benjamin Galley, Esq., the very title of which bears a poetical air, and his “some other little effusions.” It is a greet pity that any thing from such a genius should be lost. We ourselves, rather than fail, would print them—and
Register to Fame eternal
In deathless pages of diurnal.

The Doctor reckons the lines on the Burial of Sir John Moore among his “trifles.” We trust, however, that after the success it has met with, he will favour the world with his serious writings. We do not mean his prescriptions.

Mr. J. S. Taylor has published a letter in the Morning Chronicle to-day, in which he still maintains that the Rev. Charles Woolf was the author of said Ode.

“I had advanced nothing in my letter,” says Mr. Taylor, “which ought to give personal offence to any man; I corrected errors, and maintained such principles as I avow in the full and fair spirit of public discussion; I did not charge any individual with intentional deception; but I convicted many of misinformation. My statement is at once described by this Dr. Marshall as false and fabricated. I know not who this professor of medicine is, but this rampant rudeness strikes me as being very characteristic of the quack. Had the Doctor made his claim in the consciousness of its rectitude, he would have felt that it did not promote his cause to he equally imbecile in argument end ferocious in expression.

“As his main argument, the Doctor tells us that he gave a copy of the verses some years ago to one of his friends, who has it still in his possession, and that, with the exception of one verse, which he subsequently wrote, that copy perfectly agrees with the one which is now in circulation. I have no reason to doubt this statement; but if he makes this a proof of authorship, he is as bad a logician as a poet, however bad that may be. That he represented the anonymous verses as his own, may be very true; that he should have found any one to believe him is more extraordinary. The circumstance of his copy perfectly agreeing with that now in circulation, which is full of errors, as I have shown, proves that he was as clearly the author of the original verses as that Alexander, the coppersmith, was the founder of the Macedonian Empire.”

There is something very poetical in the whole dispute. This pulling and hauling at a disputed ode reminds us of the battle over the dead body of Cebriones, in the 16th book of the Iliad. We hope, for the sake of public merriment, that the combat is not at an end, and that the Doctor will come forth with some of the other little infusions which he has composed, and purge himself from the maculæ which Mr. S. Taylor endeavours to attach to the surface of his poetical reputation. We would not prescribe to him;—but we should suggest to him, in the friendly spirit of the Reverend Doctor Alderson, of Butterby, to which we are indebted for half the present ode, that he should double it;—repetatur dosis. The cordial manner in which it will be received by the public, will be the best balm for his wounded feelings. and act as a lenitive upon that irritation which (whatever predisposing causes may have existed) Mr. Taylor’s cataplasm seems to have excited.