Saturday, February 17, 2007

Firmilian, a "Spasmodic" Tragedy: Scene X

by T. Percy Jones (W. E. Aytoun), 1854


SCENE X.
Square below the Pillar

Enter Apollodorus, a Critic

Why do men call me a presumptuous cur,
A vaporing blockhead, and a turgid fool,
A common nuisance, and a charlatan?
I've dashed into the sea of metaphor
With as strong paddles as the sturdiest ship
That churns Medusæ into liquid light,
and hashed at every object in my way.
My ends are public. I have talked of men
As my familiars, whom I never saw.
Nay—more to raise my credit—I have penned
Epistles to the great ones of the land,
When some attack might make them slightly sore,
Assuring them, in faith, it was not I.
What was their answer? Marry, shortly this:
"Who, in the name of Zernebock, are you?"
I have reviewed myself incessantly—
Yea, made a contract with a kindred soul
For mutual interchange of puffery.
Gods—how we blew each other! But, 'tis past—
Those halcyon days are gone; and, I suspect,
That, in some fit of loathing or disgust,
As Samuel turned from Eli's coarser son,
Mine ancient playmate hath deserted me.
And yet I am Apollodorus still!
I search for genius, having it myself,
With keen and earnest longings. I survive
To disentangle, from the imping wings
Of our young poets, their crustaceous slough.

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