Lord Byron's Verses On Sam Rogers.[579]

A poem by Lord George Gordon Byron

QUESTION.

Nose and Chin that make a knocker,[hx]
Wrinkles that would puzzle Cocker;
Mouth that marks the envious Scorner,
With a Scorpion in each corner
Curling up his tail to sting you,[hy]
In the place that most may wring you;
Eyes of lead-like hue and gummy,
Carcase stolen from some mummy,
Bowels - (but they were forgotten,
Save the Liver, and that's rotten),
Skin all sallow, flesh all sodden,
Form the Devil would frighten G - d in.
Is't a Corpse stuck up for show,[580]
Galvanized at times to go?
With the Scripture has't connection,[hz]
New proof of the Resurrection?
Vampire, Ghost, or Goul (sic), what is it?
I would walk ten miles to miss it.



ANSWER.

Many passengers arrest one,
To demand the same free question.
Shorter's my reply and franker, -
That's the Bard, and Beau, and Banker:
Yet, if you could bring about
Just to turn him inside out,
Satan's self would seem less sooty,
And his present aspect - Beauty.
Mark that (as he masks the bilious)
Air so softly supercilious,
Chastened bow, and mock humility,
Almost sickened to Servility:
Hear his tone (which is to talking
That which creeping is to walking -
Now on all fours, now on tiptoe):
Hear the tales he lends his lip to -
Little hints of heavy scandals -
Every friend by turns he handles:
All that women or that men do
Glides forth in an inuendo (sic) -
Clothed in odds and ends of humour,
Herald of each paltry rumour -
From divorces down to dresses,
Woman's frailties, Man's excesses:
All that life presents of evil
Make for him a constant revel.
You're his foe - for that he fears you,
And in absence blasts and sears you:
You're his friend - for that he hates you,
First obliges, and then baits you,
Darting on the opportunity
When to do it with impunity:
You are neither - then he'll flatter,
Till he finds some trait for satire;
Hunts your weak point out, then shows it,
Where it injures, to expose it
In the mode that's most insidious,
Adding every trait that's hideous -
From the bile, whose blackening river
Rushes through his Stygian liver.

Then he thinks himself a lover - [581]
Why? I really can't discover,
In his mind, age, face, or figure;
Viper broth might give him vigour:
Let him keep the cauldron steady,
He the venom has already.

For his faults - he has but one;
'Tis but Envy, when all's done:
He but pays the pain he suffers,
Clipping, like a pair of Snuffers,
Light that ought to burn the brighter
For this temporary blighter.
He's the Cancer of his Species,
And will eat himself to pieces, -
Plague personified and Famine, -
Devil, whose delight is damning.[582]
For his merits - don't you know 'em?[ia]
Once he wrote a pretty Poem.

1818.

[First published, Fraser's Magazine, January, 1833, vol. vii. pp. 88-84.]

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