Continuities and Discontinuities of Language and Voice in Dryden, Pope, and Byron

  • Bernard Beatty


These lines, written at the height of the Separation scandal in 1816 and addressed to Mrs Clermont, his wife’s former governess, are perhaps the closest in all Byron’s corpus to satire in the manner of Pope and Dryden. Wordsworth did not like them. He wrote to John Scott (18 April 1816):

The man is insane. … The verses on his private affairs excite in me less indignation than pity. The latter copy [i.e. ‘A Sketch’] is the Billingsgate of Bedlam.

Wordsworth’s comment is cogent. The first thing we notice about these lines is that they have an ‘over the top’ quality which makes the voice unPopeian.


Dark Greenness Private Affair Silent Change Poetical Work Great Poet 
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© Bernard Beatty 1990

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  • Bernard Beatty

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