Augustan Satires and Panegyrics on London and Byron’s Image of the City
… Juan now was borne, Just as the day began to wane and darken, O’er the high hill which looks with pride or scorn Toward the great city … (X, st. 80; italics mine)
The sun went down, the smoke rose up, as from A half-unquenched volcano, o’er a space Which well beseemed the ‘Devil’s drawing-room,’ As some have qualified that wondrous place. But Juan felt, though not approaching home, As one who, though he were not of the race, Revered the soil, of those true sons the mother, Who butchered half the earth, and bullied t’other. (X, st. 81)
A mighty mass of brick, and smoke, and shipping, Dirty and dusky … (X, st. 82)
But Juan saw not this: each wreath of smoke Appeared to him but as the magic vapour Of some alchymic furnace, from whence broke The wealth of worlds … (X, st. 83)
the narrator ends his first contemplation of London from this vantage-point with the phrase: ‘He paused — and so will I’ (X, st. 84) Thus the contradictory views of the city are explained explicitly as those of the poem’s protagonist and the poem’s narrator.
KeywordsBurning Furnace Shipping Smoke Hunt
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- 3.Cf. G. Gernentz, Laudes Romae, (Rostock, 1913); cf. C. J. Classen, Die Stadt im Spiegel der Descriptiones und Laudes urbium in der antiken und mittelalterlichen Literatur bis zum Ende des zwölften Jahrhunderts, (Hildesheim, New York, 1980), pp. 1–36; cf. M. Gassenmeier, Londondichtung als Politik: Texte und Kontexte der City-Poetry von der Restauration bis zum Ende der Walpole-Ära, (Niemeyer, Tübingen, 1989), pp. 2f., 104f., 298f.Google Scholar
- 23.Trivia: or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London, Bk II, 115ff. and 126ff., in John Gay, Poetry and Prose, ed. V. A. Dearing, (Oxford, 1974), I, pp. 146f.; cf. H. Meller, ‘Swifts Stadtsatiren und Gays Ursprungsmythos des vierten Standes’, Irland: Gesellschaft und Kultur, IV, ed. D. Siegmund-Schultze, (Halle, Saale, 1985), p. 165.Google Scholar