1792 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Burke

William Roscoe, "The Life, wonderful Atchievements, and Death of Edmund Burke, a new Ballad" The Bee 8 (14 March 1792) 65-68.



Of all the deeds of high renown
Antiquity can brag on,
From Homer's time, to More that kill'd
Old Wantley's famous dragon.

By hero, sacred or profane,
By Pagan, Jew, or Turk,
There's none, this day, can be compar'd
With the feats of EDMUND BURKE.

Inur'd was EDMUND from his youth
To squabbles and to fighting,
And scenes of war, and desperate deeds,
He always took delight in;

But not that savage kind of war
My readers may suppose,
For EDMUND never got a scar,
Nor risk'd a bloody nose.

Far diff'rent arms he did employ
From those our soldiers wield,
His dagger was an argument,
And sophistry his shield.

Reasons, like red-hot balls, he threw,
With EDMUND none could cope,
But in a metaphor was slain,
Or perish'd by a trope.

Thus, many a year this hero fought,
His fame still rising higher,
Till age, at length crept slowly on,
And damp'd his martial fire.

As candles give a brighter blaze,
Just ere their wick be done,
So EDMUND plann'd some mighty deed
Before his course was run.

As on his bed one morn he lay,
On future glory musing,
An angel form before him glanc'd,
Rich odours round diffusing.

Enthron'd between two diamond eyes,
Sat love, and joy, and mirth,
And, glittering like the morning star,
She scarcely touch'd the earth.

Tumultuous passions through his frame,
In wild disorder ran,
For who, unmov'd, such charms can see
Is more — or, less — than man;

And thus she rais'd her gentle voice,
And wav'd her lily hand,
A wretch forlorn, O EDMUND, hear
From Gallia's neighbour land—

From Gallia's land to thee, I fly,
O vindicate my cause,
O free me from the hated bands
Of barb'rous, modern laws.

So shalt thou, EDMUND, with me share
The plenitude of bliss,
And, as an earnest, I bestow
This soft and melting kiss.

Prick'd by the heav'nly-tempered steel,
As once old Satan rose,
So EDMUND started from his bed,
And threw off all the clothes.

Scar'd at the view, the vision fled;
For much unus'd was she,
Such sights, as EDMUND'S shrivel'd skin,
And spindle limbs, to see.

And now the knight his armour took
And seiz'd his ponderous spear,
And oft, by way of exercise,
Made pushes at the air.

His corslet next he buckled on,
His helm so bright to see,
And, thus accoutered, out he rush'd,
Full arm'd in cap-a-pee.

O had you seen the strange surprize,
O had you heard the rout,
When first, in this most fierce disguise,
The hero ventur'd out.

Some thought old Hamlet's buckram ghost
Had rose in evil hour;
While others judg'd the jointed mail
Had walk'd from out the tower.

But EDMUND soon convinc'd them all
That on his legs he stood,
And that his arm, tho' chill'd with age,
Was yet of flesh and blood.

Full tilt he ran at all he met,
And round he dealt his blows,
Regardless if his fury fell,
Upon his friends or foes.

Amongst the crowd, pell-mell he drove,
Profuse of kicks and knocks,
Till, with a backward stroke, at last,
He hit poor CHARLEY FOX.

Now CHARLEY was, of all his friends,
The warmest friend he had,
So, when he felt the graceless blow,
He deem'd the man was mad.

With grief his gen'rous bosom rose,
A grief too great to hide;
And as the stroke was somewhat hard,
He sat him down and cry'd.

But not a whit did EDMUND feel,
For at his friend he flew,
Resolv'd before the neighbours round,
To beat him black and blue.

Then CHARLES indignant started up,
The meagre form he took,
And, with a giant's awful grasp,
His rusty armour shook.

O have you seen a mastiff strong
A shivering lap-dog tear?
Then may ye judge how EDMUND did,
When claw'd by Charles appear.

But yet his gauntlet down he threw
In beauty's cause to fight,
And dar'd all Christendom to prove
His courage and his might.

And wild he roam'd the country round,
And angry scours the streets,
And tweaks the nose, or kicks the breech
Of ev'ry whig he meets.

The neighbours first were all surpris'd,
Then sorry as he past,
Then laugh'd his antic freaks to see,
But angry grew at last.

And lo! an Amazon stept out,
One WOLSTONECRAFT her name,
Resolv'd to stop his mad career,
Whatever chance became.

An oaken sapling in her hand,
Full on the foe she fell,
Nor could his coat of rusty steel
Her vig'rous strokes repel.

When, strange to see! her conq'ring staff
Returning leaves o'erspread;
Of which a verdant wreath was wove,
And bound around her head.

But heavier ills on EDMUND wait,
He seeks to 'scape in vain,
For out there rush'd a fiercer foe,
Whose dreaded name was PAINE.

A club he bore, whose parent tree
In western climates grows,
And woe to him whose hapless head
Its stroke in anger knows.

As he who once, with strength divine,
Earth's monsters cou'd appal,
Who gagg'd old triple Cerberus,
And cleans'd th' Augean stall;

Like him, this PAINE the world did range,
Its monsters to subdue,
And more than Hercules he fought,
And more than him he slew.

This dreadful foe, when EDMUND saw,
He felt his fate and sigh'd:
His head received the thund'ring blow—
He fainted, gasp'd, and died.

And now, his wandering spectre walks
By night, and eke by day,
A warning to the thoughtless crew
Whom beauty leads astray.