Verse > Lord Byron > Poems
Lord Byron (1788–1824).  Poetry of Byron.  1881.
IV. Satiric
Poetical Commandments
(Don Juan, Canto i. Stanzas 204–206.)

IF ever I should condescend to prose,
  I’ll write poetical commandments, which
Shall supersede beyond all doubt all those
  That went before; in these I shall enrich
My text with many things that no one knows,        5
  And carry precept to the highest pitch:
I’ll call the work “Longinus o’er a Bottle,
Or, Every Poet his own Aristotle.”
Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope;
  Thou shalt not set up Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey;        10
Because the first is crazed beyond all hope,
  The second drunk, the third so quaint and mouthy:
With Crabbe it may be difficult to cope,
  And Campbell’s Hipprocrene is somewhat drouthy:
Thou shalt not steal from Samuel Rogers, nor        15
Commit—flirtation with the muse of Moore.
Thou shalt not covet Mr. Sotheby’s Muse,
  His Pegasus, nor any thing that’s his;
Thou shalt not bear false witness like “the Blues”—
  (There’s one, at least, is very fond of this);        20
Thou shalt not write, in short, but what I choose:
  This is true criticism, and you may kiss—
Exactly as you please, or not—the rod;
But if you don’t, I’ll lay it on, by G—d!

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