« AnteriorContinuar »
Have revolutionary pâtés risen,
And turn'd the royal entrails to a prison?
Have discontented movements stirr'd the troops?
Or have no movements follow'd traitorous soups?
Have Carbonaro cooks not carbonadoed
Each course enough? or doctors dire dissuaded
Repletion? Ah! in thy dejected looks
I read all's treason, in her cooks!
Good classic! is it, canst thou say,
Desirable to be the "
Why wouldst thou leave calm
Apician table and Horatian ode,
To rule a people who will not be ruled,
And love much rather to be scourged than school'd?
Ah! thine was not the temper or the taste
For thrones-the table sees thee better placed:
A mild Epicurcan, form'd, at best,
To be a kind host and as good a guest.
To talk of letters, and to know by heart
One half the poet's, all the gourmand's art;
A scholar always, now and then a wit,
And gentle when digestion may permit-
But not to govern lands enslaved or free;
The gout was martyrdom enough for thee!
Shall noble Albion pass without a phrase
From a bold Briton in her wonted praise?
The unwieldy old white horse is apt at last
To stumble, kick, and now and then stick fast
With his great self and rider in the mud;
But what of that? the animal shows blood.
Alas! the country!-how shall tongue or pen
Bewail her now uncountry gentlemen?
The last to bid the cry of warfare cease,
The first to make a malady of peace.
For what were all these country patriots born?
To hunt and vote, and raise the price of corn?
But corn, like
every mortal thing, must fall-
Kings, conquerors, and markets most of all.
must ye fall with every ear of grain?
ny would you trouble Buonaparte's reign?
He was your great Triptolemus; his vices
Destroy'd but realms, and still maintain'd your prices;
He amplified, to every lord's content,
The grand agrarian alchymy-high rent.
Why did the Tyrant stumble on the Tartars,
And lower wheat to such desponding quarters?
Why did you chain him on yon isle so lone?
The man was worth much more upon his throne.
True, blood and treasure boundlessly were spilt,
But what of that? the Gaul may bear the guilt;
But bread was high, the farmer paid his way,
And acres told upon the appointed day.
“Arts-arins—and George-and glory and the isles-But where is now the goodly audit ale?
And happy Britain-wealth and freedom's smiles-
White cliffs, that held invasion far aloof-
Contented subjects, all alike tax-proof
Proud Wellington, with eagle beak so curl'd,
That nose, the hook where he suspends the world!'
And Waterloo-and trade-and-
A syllable of imposts or of debt)-
And ne'er (enough) lamented Castlereagh,
Whose pen-knife slit a goose-quill 't other day-
And "pilots who have weather'd every storm,—
(But no, not even for rhymne's sake, name reform)."
These are the themes thus sung so oft before,
Methinks we need not sing them any more;
Found in so many volumes far and near,
There's no occasion you should find them here.
Yet something may remain, perchance, to chime
With reason, and, what's stranger still, with rhyme;
Even this thy genius, Canning! may permit,
Who, bred a statesman, still was born a wit,
And never, even in that dull house, couldst tame
To unleaven'd prose thine own poetic flame;
Our last, our best, our only orator,
Even I can praise thee-Tories do no more,
Nay, not so much ;-they hate thee, man, because
Thy spirit less upholds them than it awes.-
The hounds will gather to their huntsman's hollo,
And, where he leads, the dutcous pack will follow:
But not for love mistake their yelling cry,
Their yelp for game is not an culogy;
Less faithful far than the four-footed pack,
A dubious scent would lure the bipeds back.
Thy saddle-girths are not yet quite secure,
Nor royal stallion's feet extremely sure;
1 "Naso suspendit adunco."-Horace.
The Roman applies it to one who merely was imperious to his acquaintance
The purse-proud tenant never known to fail?
The farm which never yet was left on hand?
The marsh reclaimed to most improving land?
The impatient hope of the expiring lease?
The doubling rental? What an evil's peace!
In vain the prize excites the ploughman's skill,
In vain the commons pass their patriot bill;
The landed interest-(you may understand
The phrase much better leaving out the land-
The land's self-interest groans from shore to shore
For fear that plenty should attain the poor.
Up! up again: ye rents, exalt your notes,
Or else the ministry will lose their votes,
And patriotism, so delicately nice,
Her loaves will lower to the market price;
For ah! "the loaves and fishes," once so high,
Are gone-their oven closed, their ocean dry;
And nought remains of all the millions spent,
Excepting to grow moderate and content.
They who are not so had their turn-and turu
About still flows from fortune's equal urn;
Now let their virtue be its own reward,
And share the blessings which themselves proped.
See these inglorious Cincinnati swarm,
Farmers of war, dictators of the farm!
Their ploughshare was the sword in hireling nus,
Their fields manured by gore of other lands;
Safe in their barns, these Sabine tillers sent
Their brethren out to battle-why? for rent!
Year after year they voted cent. per cent.
Blood, sweat, and tear-wrung millions-why? for rent'
They roar'd, they dined, they drank, they swore they
To die for England-why then live? for rent!
The peace has made one general malcontent
Of these high-market patriots; war was rent'
Their love of country, millions all mispent,
How reconcile?-by reconciling rent.
And will they not repay the treasures lent?
No: down with every thing, and up with rent!
Their good, ill, health, wealth, joy, or discontent,
Being, end, aim, religion-Rent, rent, rent!
Thou sold'st thy birthright, Esau! for a mess:
Thou shouldst have gotten more or eaten less:
Now thou hast swill'd thy pottage, thy demands
Are idle; Israel says the bargain stands.
Such, landlords, was your appetite for war,
And, gorged with blood, you grumble at a scar!
What, would they spread their earthquake even o'er cash?
And when land crumbles, bid firm paper crash?
So rent may rise, bid bank and nation fall,
And found on 'Change a foundling hospital!
Lo, mother church, while ail religion writhes,
Like Niobe, weeps o'er her offspring, tithes ;
The prelates go to-where the saints have gone,
And proud pluralities subside to one;
Church, state, and faction, wrestle in the dark,
Toss'd by the deluge in their common ark.
Shorn of her bishops, banks, and dividends,
Another Babel soars-but Britain ends.
And why? to pamper the self-seeking wants,
And prop the hill of these agrarian ants.
"Go to these ants, thou sluggard, and be wise;"
Admire their patience through each sacrifice,
Till taught to feel the lesson of their pride,
The price of taxes and of homicide;
Admire their justice, which would fain deny
The debt of nations: pray, who made it high?
Or turn to sail between those shifting rocks,
The new Symplegades-the crushing Stocks,
Where Midas might again his wish behold
In real paper or imagined gold.
That magic palace of Alcina shows
More wealth than Britain ever had to lose,
Were all her atoms of unleavened ore,
And all her pebbles from Pactolus' shore.
There Fortune plays, while Rumour holds the stake,
And the world trembles to bid brokers break.
How rich is Britain! not indeed in mines,
Or peace, or plenty, corn, or oil, or wines;
No land of Canaan, full of milk and honey,
Nor (save in paper shekels) ready money:
But let us not to own the truth refuse,
Was ever Christian land so rich in Jews?
Those parted with their teeth to good King John,
And now, ye kings! they kindly draw your own;
All states, all things, all sovereigns, they control,
And waft a loan "from Indus to the Pole."
The banker-broker-baron-brethren, speed
To aid these bankrupt tyrants in their need.
Nor these alone; Columbia feels no less
Fresh speculations follow each success ;
And philanthropic Israel deigns to drain
Her mild per centage from exhausted Spain.
Not without Abraham's seed can Russia march-
"Tis gold, not stee', that rears the conqueror's arch.
Two Jews, a chosen people, can command
realm their scripture-promised land:
Two Jews keep down the Romans, and uphold
The accursed Hun, more brutal than of old:
Two Jews-but not Samaritans-direct
The world, with all the spirit of their sect.
What is the happiness of earth to them?
A congress forms their "Now Jerusalem,"
Where baronies and orders both invite-
Oh, holy Abraham! dost thou see the sight?
Thy followers mingling with these royal swine,
Who spit not "on their Jewish gaberdine,"
But honour them as portion of the show-
(Where now, oh, Pope! is thy forsaken toe?
Could it not favour Judah with some kicks?
Or has it ceased to "kick against the pricks?")
On Shylock's shore behold them stand afresh,
To cut from nations' hearts their "pound of flesh."
Strange sight this congress! destined to unite
All that's incongruous, all that 's opposite.
I speak not of the sovereigns-they 're alike,
A common coin as ever mint could strike:
But those who sway the puppets, pull the strings,
Have more of motley than their heavy kings.
Jews, authors, generals, charlatans, combine,
While Europe wonders at the vast design:
There Metternich, power's foremost parasite,
Cajoles; there Wellington forgets to fight;
There Chateaubriand forms new books of martyrs ;'
And subtle Greeks intrigue for stupid Tartars;
There Montmorency, the sworn foe to charters,
Turns a diplomatist of great eclat,
To furnish articles for the "Debats ;"
Of war so certain-yet not quite so sure
As his dismissal in the "Moniteur."
Alas! how could his cabinet thus err?
Can peace be worth an ultra-minister?
He falls indeed,—perhaps to rise again,
"Almost as quickly as he conquer'd Spain."
Enough of this-a sight more mournful woos
The averted eye of the reluctant muse.
The imperial daughter, the imperial bride,
The imperial victim--sacrifice to pride;
The mother of the hero's hope, the boy,
The young Astyanax of modern Troy;
The still pale shadow of the loftiest queen
That earth has yet to see, or e'er hath seen:
She flits amidst the phantoms of the hour,
The theme of pity, and the wreck of power.
Oh, cruel mockery! could not Austria spare
A daughter? What did France's widow there?
Her fitter place was by St. Helen's wave-
Her only throne is in Napoleon's grave.
But, no,-she still must hold a petty reign,
Flank'd by her formidable chamberlain ;
The martial Argus, whose not hundred eyes
Must watch her through these paltry pageantries.
What though she share no more, and shared in vain,
A sway surpassing that of Charlemagne,
Which swept from Moscow to the Southern seas,
Yet still she rules the pastoral realm of cheese,
Where Parma views the traveller resort
To note the trappings of her mimic court.
But she appears! Verona sees her shorn
Of all her beams-while nations gaze and mourn-
Ere yet her husband's ashes have had time
To chill in their inhospitable clime,
(If e'er those awful ashes can grow cold-
But no,-their embers soon will burst the mould);
She comes!-the Andromache (but not Racine's,
Nor Homer's); lo! on Pyrrhus' arm she leans!
Yes! the right arm, yet red from Waterloo,
Which cut her lord's half-shatter'd sceptre through,
Is offer'd and accepted! Could a slave
Do more? or less?-and he in his new grave!
her cheek, betray no inward strife,
And the Ex-empress grows as Er a wife!
So much for human ties in royal breasts!
But, tired of foreign follies, I turn home,
And sketch the group-the picture's yet to come.
My Muse 'gan weep, but, ere a tear was spilt,
She caught Sir William Curtis in a kilt!
While throng'd the Chiefs of every Highland clan
To hail their brother, Vich Ian Alderman!
Guildhall grows Gael, and echoes with Erse roar,
While all the Common Council cry, "Claymore!"
To see proud Albyn's tartans as a belt
Gird the gross sirloin of a City Celt,
She burst into a laughter so extreme,
That I awoke-and lo! it was no dream!
Here, reader, will we pause:-if there's no harm in
Why spare men's feelings, when their own are jests? This first-you'll have, perhaps, a second “ Carmen."
SUGGESTED BY THE COMPOSITION SO ENTITLED BY THE AUTHOR OF "WAT TYLER.'
A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.
SAINT Peter sat by the celestial gate,
His keys were rusty, and the lock was dull,
So little trouble had been given of late;
Not that the place by any means was full, But since the Gallic era "eighty-eight,"
The devils had taken a longer, stronger pull, And a pull altogether," as they say
At sea-which drew most souls another way.
The angels all were singing out of tune,
And hoarse with having little else to do,
Excepting to wind up the sun and moon,
Or curb a runaway young star or two,
Or wild colt of a comet, which too soon
Broke out of bounds o'er the ethereal blue,
Splitting some planet with its playful tail,
As boats are sometimes by a wanton whale.
The guardian seraphs had retired on high,
Finding their charges past all care below;
Terrestrial business fill'd nought in the sky
Save the recording angel's black bureau;
Who found, indeed, the facts to multiply
With such rapidity of vice and woe,
That he had stripp'd off both his wings in quills,
And yet was in arrear of human ills.
His business so augmented of late years,
That he was forced, against his will, no doubt,
(Just like those cherubs, earthly ministers),
For some resource to turn himself about,
And claim the help of his celestial peers,
To aid him ere he should be quite worn out
By the increased demand for his remarks:
Six angels and twelve saints were named his clerks.
This was a handsome board-at least for heaven;
And yet they had even then enough to do,
So many conquerors' cars were daily driven,
So many kingdoms fitted up anew;
Each day, too, slew its thousands six or seven,
Till at the crowning carnage, Waterloo,
They threw their pens down in divine disgust-
The page was so besmear'd with blood and dus
Let's skip a few short years of hollow peace,
Which peopled earth no better, hell as wont,
And heaven none-they form the tyrant's lease,
With nothing but new names inscribed upon 't;
"I will one day finish: meantime they increase,
"With seven heads and ten horns," and all in front,
Like Saint John's foretold beasts; but ours are born
Less formidable in the head than horn.
In the first year of freedom's second dawn
Died George the Third; although no tyrant, one Who shielded tyrants, till each sense withdrawn Left him nor mental nor external sun: A better farmer ne'er brush'd dew from lawn, A worse king never left a realm undone ! He died-but left his subjects still behind, One half as mad-and t' other no less blind.
He died!-his death made no great stir on earth; His burial made some pomp; there was profusion Of velvet, gilding, brass, and no great dearth
Of aught but tears-save those shed by collusion; For these things may be bought at their true worth: Of elegy there was the due infusionBought also; and the torches, cloaks, and banners, Heralds, and relics of old Gothic manners,
Form'd a sepulchral melo-drame. Of all
The fools who flock'd to swell or see the show, Who cared about the corpse? The funeral Made the attraction, and the black the woe.
I know this is unpopular; I know
"T is blasphemous; I know one may be damn'd For hoping no one else may e'er be so;
I know my catechism; I know we are cramm'd With the best doctrines till we quite o'erflow;
I know that all save England's church have shamm And that the other twice two hundred churches And synagogues have made a damn'd bad purchase. XV.
God help us all! God help me, too! I am,
God knows, as helpless as the devil can wish, And not a whit more difficult to damn
Than is to bring to land a late-hook'd fish,
Or to the butcher to purvey the lamb;
Not that I'm fit for such a noble dish
As one day will be that immortal fry
Of almost every body born to die.
Saint Peter sat by the celestial gate,
And nodded o'er his keys: when lo! there came A wondrous noise he had not heard of late
A rushing sound of wind, and stream, and flame; In short, a roar of things extremely great, Which would have made aught save a saint exclaim; But he, with first a start and then a wink, Said, "There's another star gone out, I think " XVII.
But ere he could return to his repose,
A cherub flapp'd his right wing o'er his eyesAt which Saint Peter yawn'd, and rubb'd his nose; "Saint porter," said the angel, "prithee rise!"
T'here throbb'd not there a thought which pierced the pall; Waving a goodly wing, which glow'd, as glows
And when the gorgeous coffin was laid low
It seem'd the mockery of hell to fold
The rottenness of eighty years in gold.
So mix his body with the dust! It might
Return to what it must far sooner, were
The natural compound left alone to fight
Its way back into earth, and fire, and air;
But the unnatural balsams merely blight
What nature made him at his birth, as bare As the mere million's base unmummied clayYet all his spices but prolong decay.
He's dead-and upper earth with him has done :
He's buried; save the undertaker's bill,
Or lapidary scrawl, the world is gone
For him, unless he left a German will;
But where's the proctor who will ask his son ?
In whom his qualities are reigning still,
Except that household virtue, most uncommon,
Of constancy to a bad ugly woman.
"God save the king!" It is a large economy
In God to save the like; but if he will
Be saving, all the better; for not one am I
Ot those who think damnation better still:
I hardly know too if not quite alone am I
In this small hope of bettering future ill
By circumscribing, with some slight restriction, The eternity of hell's hot jurisdiction.
An earthly peacock's tail, with heavenly dyes: To which the saint replied, "Well, what's the matter? Is Lucifer come back with all this clatter?"
"No," quoth the cherub; "George the Third is dead." "And who is George the Third ?" replied the apostle: "What George? what Third ?" "The King of England," said
The angel. "Well! he won't find kings to jostle Him on his way; but does he wear his head? Because the last we saw here had a tussle, And ne'er would have got into Heaven's good graces, Had he not flung his head in all our faces. XIX.
"He was, if I remember, king of --:
That head of his, which could not keep a crown
On earth, yet ventured in my face to advance
A claim to those of martyrs-like my own:
If I had had my sword, as I had once
When I cut ears off, I had cut him down;
But having but my keys, and not my brand,
I only knock'd his head from out his hand.
"And then he set up such a headless howl,
That all the saints came out and took him in;
And there he sits by Saint Paul, check by jowl;
That fellow, Paul-the parvenu! The skin
Of Saint Bartholomew, which makes his cow!
In heaven, and upon earth redeem'd his si
So as to make a martyr, never sped
Better than did this weak and wooden head.
"But had it come up here upon its shoulders, There would have been a different tale to tell : The fellow-feeling in the saints beholders
Seems to have acted on them like a spell, And so this very foolish head Heaven solders Back on its trunk: it may be very well, And seems the custom here to overthrow Whatever has been wisely done below." XXII.
The angel answer'd, "Peter! do not pout; The king who comes has head and all entire, And never knew much what it was about
He did as doth the puppet-by its wire, And will be judged like all the rest, no doubt: My business and your own is not to inquire Into such matters, but to mind our cueWhich is to act as we are bid to do."
While thus they spake, the angelic caravan,
Arriving like a rush of mighty wind,
Cleaving the fields of space, as doth the swan
Some silver stream (say Ganges, Nile, or Inde,
Or Thames, or Tweed), and 'midst them an old man
With an old soul, and both extremely blind,
Halted before the gate, and in his shroud
Seated their fellow-traveller on a cloud.
But, bringing up the rear of this bright host,
A spirit of a different aspect waved
His wings, like thunder-clouds above some coast
Whose barren beach with frequent wrecks is paved;
His brow was like the deep when tempest-tost;
Fierce and unfathomable thoughts engraved
Eternal wrath on his immortal face,
And where he gazed a gloom pervaded space.
As he drew near, he gazed upon the gate,
Ne'er to be enter'd more by him or sin,
With such a glance of supernatural hate,
As made Saint Peter wish himself within;
He potter'd with his keys at a great rate,
And sweated through his apostolic skin: Of course his perspiration was but ichor, Or some such other spiritual liquor.
The very cherubs huddled altogether,
Like birds when soars the falcon; and they felt A tingling to the tip of every feather,
And form'd a circle, like Orion's belt,
Around their poor old charge, who scarce knew whither
His guards had led him, though they gently dealt
With royal manes (for, by many stories,
And true, we learn the angels all are Tories).
As things were in this posture, the gate flew
Asunder, and ine flashing of its hinges
Flung over space an universal hue
Of many-colour'd flame, until its tinges
Reach'd even our speck of earth, and made a new
Aurora borealis spread its fringes
O'er the North Pole; the same seen, when ice-bound,
By Captain Parry's crews, in "Melville's Sound.”
And from the gate thrown open issued beaming
A beautiful and mighty thing of light,
Radiant with glory, like a banner streaming
Victorious from some world-o'erthrowing fight:
My poor comparison must needs be teeming
With earthly likenesses, for here the night
Of clay obscures our best conceptions, saving
Johanna Southcote, or Bob Southey raving.
'T was the archangel Michael: all men know
The make of angels and archangels, since
There 's scarce a scribbler has not one to show,
From the fiends' leader to the angels' prince.
There also are some altar-pieces, though
I really can't say that they much evince
One's inner notions of immortal spirits;
But let the connoisseurs explain their merits.
Michael flew forth in glory and in good;
A goodly work of him from whom all glory And good arise; the portal pass'd-he stood; Before him the young cherubs and saint hoary (I say young, begging to be understood
By looks, not years; and should be very sorry To state, they were not older than Saint Peter, But merely that they seem'd a little sweeter).
The cherubs and the saint bow'd down before
That arch-angelic hierarch, the first
Of essences angelical, who wore
The aspect of a god; but this ne'er nursed Pride in his heavenly bosom, in whose core No thought, save for his Maker's service, durst Intrude, however glorified and high; He knew him but the viceroy of the sky. XXXII.
He and the sombre silent spirit met
They knew each other both for good and ill; Such was their power, that neither could forget His former friend and future foe; but still There was a high, immortal, proud regret
In either's eye, as if 't were less their will Than destiny to make the eternal years
Their date of war, and their "Champ Clos" the spheres.
But here they were in neutral space: we know
From Job, that Sathan hath the power to pay
A heavenly visit thrice a year or so ;
And that "the sons of God," like those of clay,
Must keep him company; and we might show,
From the same book, in how polite a way
The dialogue is held between the powers
Of good and evil-but 't would take up hours.
And this is not a theologic tract,
To prove with Hebrew and with Arabic
If Job be allegory or a fact,
But a true narrative; and thus I pick
From out the whole but such and such an act
As sets aside the slightest thought of trick.
"T is every tittle true, beyond suspicion,
And accurate as any other vision.