English Bards And Scotch Reviewers "As Soon Seek Roses In December"
by Lord George Gordon Byron

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"As Soon Seek Roses In December"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Byron's original purpose in writing English Bards and Scotch Reviewers was to satirize contemporary poets, including Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey, of whom he had a low opinion. However, in January, 1808, a scathing review of his Hours of Idleness appeared in the Edinburgh Review. Byron was enraged, and, in retaliation, he included Scotch reviewers in his Popeian satire. He was particularly incensed with Francis Jeffrey, editor of the Edinburgh Review, to whom he attributed the attack on his poetry, though the article had actually been written by Henry Brougham, later Lord Chancellor. In rebellion against the judgment of the critics, Byron writes:

And shall we own such judgment? no–as soon
Seek roses in December–ice in June;
Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff;
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing that's false, before
You trust in critics, who themselves are sore. . . .