Appeal to the Professors of Art and Literature in the United Kingdom, An
ON BEHALF OF WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR, ESQUIRE; CONCLUDING WITH A RESPECTFUL REPRESENTATION TO THE ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY .
Y E painters and engravers! hear my call,
Sculptors and poets, artists one and all,
Let Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Walter Scott,
Pitt, Fox, and Burke, and Canning be forgot:
—Pre-eminent in priggery supreme
Let Walter Savage Landor be your theme:
Neither a Tory, Radical, nor Whig,
But an immaculate consummate prig!
—Ye Shaftesbury's and prigs of elder time,
Less perfect, and of priggery less sublime,
In those Elysian fields where now you tread
Engaged in conversations with the dead,
With contemplation of the immortal Plato,
And admiration of the virtuous Cato,
And other mighty prigs renowned in story;
Alas, alas, for your departed glory!
Here Walter Savage Landor comes to snatch
The laurel from the brows of all your batch!
Rise then, and with profound obeisance greet
Bowing at Walter Savage Landor's feet!
And own yourselves (as needs you must confess,
In prose less prosy, and in priggishness,
Beyond dispute, immeasurably less—
But I proceed too fast. It may be said
That Walter Savage Landor is not dead.
'Tis well observed, and therefore I return
To speak a word to those it may concern—
Painters and artists (as I said before)
I wish you to proceed on a new score.
Let Walter Savage Landor's glorious noddle
Be your exclusive, universal model.
Work! Work upon it! with renewed delight,
Work! Work (I tell ye) morning, noon, and night,
That in shop windows it may charm the sight,
Attracting every gaze; eclipsing all
Modern celebrities, both great and small,
Whiggish, Conservative, and Radical.
—Ye printsellers all! wherefore should ye deal
In lithographs of Wellington and Peel,
O'Connells, and Lord Melbournes, and Lord Johns?
List to my words! discard them all at once!
Compared, I say, with Walter Savage Landor
The most distinguished statesman and commander
In future ages will be deemed a gander.
Yes! Walter Savage Landor beats them hollow,
Away with them; let wits and poets follow,
Let the great Landor be your great Apollo;
Discard Lord Byron with his loose shirt collar,
Our glorious Landor is a better scholar,
Riper, as Shakespeare has it, and completer,
And makes Hendecasyllables in metre
As good as any fifth-form boy could do,
Without false quantities, or very few;
And tho' Lord Byron's peerage ranks him higher,
Yet Mister Landor writes himself “Esquire,”
And keeps a groom! and boasts himself to be
A scion of heraldic ancestry,
Wearing a coat of arms upon his seal!
A circumstance which animates his zeal
Against a base plebeian prelacy,
Fellows without a genealogy!
Poised on the cherub contemplation's wings,
His lordship sits blaspheming as he sings,
Cursing and damning all terrestrial things,
Feeling the persecution and malignity
Of providence; but feeling it with dignity,
Such as befits a person of his quality,
Pursued by a predestinate fatality,
But an essential poet in reality.
Admitting, therefore, that his lines are grander
Than those of Mister Walter Savage Landor,
We still maintain that in another sense
Our Landor claims a first pre-eminence.
I should be sorry to be deemed severe,
But Byron was a most licentious peer,
Leading, in fact, a dissipated life,
Without respect of widow, maid, or wife.
While Walter Savage Landor's immorality
Is mere imaginary classicality,
Wholly devoid of criminal reality.
Yet Walter Savage Landor in his way
Is often-times unutterably gay.
“ He frolicketh ,” and “ doth frolic ,” and in fine
(Adhering strictly to the classic line
With such methodic gambols as become
A classic Prig) Landor is frolicsome :
Quite a beau garçon, a consummate beau,
In the beau-monde two thousand years ago.
A perfect master of the savoir vivre .
Un homme à bonnes fortunes , a gay deceiver,
In his own conduct cautious and correct,
But a decided rake in retrospect
With classic ardour, rash and uncontrolled,
With Lais and with Thais he makes bold,
The Harriette Wilsons of the days of old.
He loves a tête-a-tête with fair Aspasia,
And takes his daily lounge in the gymnasia;
But his supreme delight is Alcibiades.
A rhyme, I want a rhyme for Alcibiades;
There's none that I can think of, none but Pleiades.
And a more lucky rhyme I never met!
For it suggests a scheme I might forget.
One point is settled, that we must not squander,
While we possess a Walter Savage Landor,
Honour or praise on any man beside;
Is he not Europe's wonder? England's pride?
Therefore, I say, let every means be tried
To immortalize the most immortal man;
Let all true Britons do the best they can,
Whatever art can do with brass and copper,
Canvas and marble, will be just and proper:
Whilst we that manufacture prose and verse
In humble strains endeavour to disburse
Our debt of admiration; and express
His high deserts by dint of letter-press;—
But all is transitory—prose and verse,
Sculpture and painting—Wise astronomers!
“In all things I prefer the permanent.”
Could you not place our Landor in the firmament?
Marble will decompose, and canvas moulder,
Before the world is many centuries older.
Moreover, in all likelihood, God knows!
Our compositions, whether verse or prose,
Compose them as we may, will decompose:
Even great Landor's deathless works may die.
Whereas, if you could place him in the sky,
Nothing that happened here need signify.
There he might shine in spite of the ravages
And devastations of invading savages,
Tranquil and bright; whilst a benighted age
Profaned in filthy sort his mighty page.
Surely with all your curious observation
You might detect a vacant constellation;
Or make another new one here or there,
Just as you did with Berenice's hair.
Pope asked the question once, and so shall I!
“Is there no bright reversion in the sky?”
No reserved district? Nothing unallotted?
Were all your predecessors so besotted
As to grant out a total hemisphere
Assigned to the first claimants that appear
(Like that proud Pontiff the sixth Alexander.)
Is nothing left for Walter Savage Landor?
I should not wish for our heraldic scion
To stand a whole-length figure like Orion,
Perseus, and other astronomic giants;
I merely think that by the kind compliance,
Favour and aid of an illustrious science,
Somewhere or other in the bounds of space
His glorious inkstand might obtain a place.
See what a list of articles appear
Established in the southern hemisphere;
Their own chronometers and telescopes
Canonized by your astronomic Popes!
With other objects that still less concern us,
A painter's easel, and a chemist's furnace,
A sculptor's tools and workshop in a lot,
A microscope, an air-pump, and what not,
And, oh! shall L ANDOR'S Inkstand be forgot.
For Landor “scrawls not upon greasy platters,”
Nor such like sordid sublunary matters;
His paper and his ink are transcendental,
Warranted sempiternal, elemental,
His patent right in ink is a good rental,
His affidavit states that the true article
Does not contain a perishable particle.
P. S. AND N. B.
A necessary caution to the buyer—
Counterfeits are abroad—please to enquire
For packets sealed and signed, “ Landor, Esquire .”
The Aeidian fluid, ink of immortality,
The rest are frauds of an inferior quality.
O N second thoughts, “ I must recall my groom ,
And add a postscript, tho' for want of room
It must be short—a warning was omitted
Which to the sons of science is submitted.
My dear Astronomers! you must be sensible
That caution in this case is indispensable;
—I feel I must confess—my doubts and fears,
From Landor's exaltation to the spheres.
Let it be done with care and circumspection;
And don't proclaim a general election
Of candidates for the new constellation,
Or every star will hurry from his station:
The least of them that feels the least ambition
To change his place and better his condition
Will bustle and start forth in the confusion
Of a chaotic general dissolution,—
Depend upon it, we shall hear the sky.
Re-echoing with an universal cry,
“Place us in Landor's inkstand or we die.
“—Yes, welcome chaos! if we can attain
“That high distinction, let it come again.”
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