1784 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Burke

Anonymous, "To Mr. B—rk—" St. James's Chronicle (30 December 1784).



In this long interval of Time,
And having all Things duely weigh'd,
How art thou crown'd with the sublime!
And in the beautiful array'd!

Doubtless, O B—ke—! thy potent Tongue
The whole Arrangement will destroy,
Turn out a Minister so young,
And all who dare support the Boy.

Who can resist thy Rhetorick's Force!
Thy far-fetch'd Metaphors with Wonder
Shall strike the House — and in its Course
Thy Speech shall boast the Strength of Thunder.

Thy Flowers, thick-cull'd from classick Lore,
Each Stripling's Envy shall excite;
Thy Wit shall prove (so vast its Store)
That white is black, and black is white.

How to the Indies wilt thou ramble,
And, mounted on thy jaded Hack,
Instruct the Elephant to amble
Which bears thy Carlo on his Back!

Exalted by thy Aid divine,
The sovereign Power he still shall gain,
For thee inspire the deathless Nine,
Minerva prompts thy sacred Strain.

How doleful shall thy Numbers flow!
Sure thou art Pity's genuine Son;
On cruel Deeds, and India's Woe,
How shall thy Accents glibly run!

Yet, while thy Words invoke Despair,
While thy pure Thoughts thus Eastward roam,
How wilt thou blame all Culprits there,
And shield Delinquents nearer home!

But these Delinquents serv'd thee well;
From H—stings thou'lt not get a Shilling,
His soaring Spirit will rebel,
Nor join with thee, if thou art willing.

Censure his Efforts, which transcend
By some Degrees thy tender Mind,
And deck with Praise thy new made Friend,
Who all our Colonies resign'd.

Resign'd indeed, because compell'd,
But hide the civil Blood he shed,
While Ganges, by thy Fancy swell'd,
Pour Streams of Gore on H—stings' Head.

Then whisper not (for thou art wise)
That he preserv'd the British Name;
For what hast thou to do with Lies?
Or what hath he to do with Fame?