1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Anonymous, "Imitation of Horace — Ode 2. Book 4. addressed by J. W. Cr-k-r, Esq. to the Poet Laureat" Morning Chronicle (13 May 1816).



Th' advent'rous orator, whoe'er
To rival CASTLEREAGH should dare,
Altho', my SOUTHEY, for a time
On waxen wings he soar sublime,
With headlong fall will soon or late
Partake poor ICARUS'S fate.
Like mountain torrents after rain
The wordy Viscount scours amain,
With froth and eddies down he sweeps,
And all known boundaries o'erleaps.
Worthy your laurel, bard divine,
Whether the web obscure he twine,
Of words releas'd from grammar's rules,
And all the fetters of the schools;
Or whether he the triumph sings,
Of the legitimate blood of Kings;
Our REGENT, who revives the story
Of our great sign-post champion's glory,
And routs NAPOLEON o'er the flagon,
Just as ST. GEORGE o'erthrew the dragon.
Or whether he prolong the strain
To LOUIS home return'd again,
And France, to whom such boons we bring,
Her statues take, but give her King:
Or mourn the country's dead expence,
From soldier's widow maintenance,
Or chaunt the virtues, till you're sick,
Of his confederate Old Nic.
The Swan of Derry in mid-air,
Lost in the clouds, makes gazers stare;
I, like the little busy bee,
Make honey at the Admiralty;
And on the banks of Thames compose
My labour'd fictions, verse and prose.
Thou shalt a song of triumph raise,
Great Poet, to our REGENT'S praise,
When he the White Boys shall have made
Assume the Orangemens' cockade;
(Our REGENT, than whom partial heaven
No greater good to earth has given,
Nor e'er shall give, tho' as of old,
The Bank should pay its notes in gold).
Then shall our great metropolis see,
Well-pleas'd, another Jubilee;
Rockets and squibs shall pierce the heavens,
And all be silent at St. Stephens.
Then if my brogue can make pretence,
To th' honour of an audience;
O happy sun, I'll say, to view
The REGENT, — not the REGENT you!
Erin go bragh, shall be my strain,
Erin go bragh I'll shout again!
Ten butts of sack shall come to thee;—
Increase of salary to me.
In time of peace I'll pocket clear
Four thousand yellow-boys a year.