LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 24 October 1816

Chapter I: 1813
Chapter II: 1814
Chapter III: 1815
Chapter IV: 1816
Chapter V: 1817
Chapter VI: 1818
Chapter VII: 1819
Chapter VIII: 1820
Chapter IX: 1821
Chapter X: 1822
Chapter XI: 1824-33
Chapter XII: 1833-35
Chapter XIII: 1806-40
Chapter XIV: Appendix
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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Oct. 24, 1816.

We have very few political people in town, but from everything we hear the general state of public affairs is very gloomy, and there seems to be no prospect of any improvement, either commercial or agricultural. A general discontent prevails, and there is a great disposition towards some violent measure with respect to the Funds, which would be warmly supported by many country gentlemen, and, I am afraid, by the landed interest in general.

There seems, indeed, to be little doubt that a great blow will be levelled against the Sinking Fund in the course of the next Session.

In the general depreciation of property which has taken place no article appears to maintain its ground except poetry. Murray has given £2,000 for the third canto of “Childe Harold,” which is now printing; and he has sold 7,000 copies of that very indifferent “Tragedy of Bertram1 at the extravagant price of four shillings and sixpence each. Before I conclude I will transcribe some stanzas from Southey’sWaterloo,” which you perhaps have not seen:—

“Two nights have passed, the morning opens well,
Fair are the aspects of the favouring sky,
Soon yon sweet chimes the appointed hour will tell,
For here to music time moves merrily.
Aboard! aboard! no more must we delay;
Farewell, good people of the Fleur de Bled.
Beside the busy wharf the Trekschuit rides,
With painted plumes and tent-like awning gay;

1 By Maturin.

Poem by Southey
Carts, barrows, coaches hurry from all sides,
And passengers and porters throng the way,
Contending all at once in clam’rous speech,
French, Flemish, English, each confusing each.
All disregardant of the Babel sound,
A swan kept oaring near with upraised eye,
A beauteous pensioner, who daily found
The bounty of such casual company;
Nor did she leave us till the bell was rung
And slowly we our watery way begun.
Europe can boast no richer, goodlier scene
Than that through which our pleasant passage lay,
By fertile fields and fruitful gardens green,
The journey of a short autumnal day.
Sleek, well-fed steeds our steady vessel drew,
The heavens were fair and mirth was of our crew.
Along the smooth canal’s unbending line,
Beguiling time with light discourse, we went,
Nor wanting savoury food nor generous wine,
Ashore, too, there was feast and merriment.
The jovial peasants at some village fair
Were dancing, drinking, smoking, gambling there.”

This is very strange poetry!