1798
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode. The Delivery of Holland.

Morning Post and Gazetteer (18 July 1798).

Robert Southey


Ten irregular Spenserians (ababB) on the liberation of Holland from Spanish rule. The poem, not signed, draws a comparison between the tyranny the Spaniards exercised in Holland and the tyranny of the Pitt administration: "The soldiers are let loose unaw'd, | Their lust their law alone; | Murder and violation are abroad, | And if th' oppressed heave one rebel groan, | Tortures and stripes and death must for the crime atone!" I have not identified the patriot-traitors Horne and Egmont. The attribution is from Kenneth Curry, The Contributions of Robert Southey to the Morning Post (1984).



The Traitor's fate, the Traitor's name,
Can these disgrace the dead?
Shall those who perish nobly lose their fame?
England! in rebel arms thy Hampden bled,
Doom'd to the Traitor's death thy Sidney bow'd his head.

What though beneath no hallow'd ground
The Patriot's dust shall lie,
He fears not, when the train of death surround,
In all the pomp of infamy to die,
Nor that his mangled limbs expos'd must rot on hight.

Exulting multitudes beheld
When Horne and Egmont died;
Spain's ruffian sons the long procession swell'd,
Her bloody banners wav'd in triumph wide,
Her pikes, a fearful shew, rose round on ev'ry side.

And does no sign of grief appear?
Where are the just, the good?
Th' indignant Patriot dares not shed a tear,
For flesh'd in slaughter there the soldiers stood,
Apt slaves and tyrants they, prepar'd to sport on blood.

Alas for Holland! spirit broke,
She saw hr guardians bleed,
Heavy she felt the stranger's iron yoke,
Spain's savage hosts on ev'ry side proceed,
And Spain's ferocious priests enforce her bloody creed.

Alas for Holland! — doom'd to groan
In Alva's tyrant reign!
What though her humble plaints assail the throne,
Her humble plaints assail the throne in vain—
'Tis Alva who destroys, the favourite he of Spain.

The soldiers are let loose unaw'd,
Their lust their law alone;
Murder and violation are abroad,
And if th' oppressed heave one rebel groan,
Tortures and stripes and death must for the crime atone!

Her chiefs or exil'd far away,
Or silent in the grave,
Her plunder'd wealth th' insatiate Spaniard's prey,
Of whom shall Holland now protection crave?
What earthly pow'r can now th' oppressed people save?

THEMSELVES. They rear'd the sword, they rose
They burst th' oppressive chain,
Dauntless they dare the fury of their foes,
And long th' unequal conflict they maintain;
And God was just, and gave the conquest over Spain.

The Traitor's shameful death ye died,
Ye bore the Traitor's name,
Egmont and Horne! in life, in death allied,
The same due honours now your mem'ries claim,
And after years are just, and ye receive your fame.

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