1785
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Probationary Odes No. XV. Pindaric.

Probationary Odes for the Laureatship: with a Preliminary Discourse, by Sir John Hawkins, Knt. [Richard Tickell? and Joseph Richardson eds.]

Gen. Richard Fitzpatrick


A burlesque birthday ode "By the Right Hon. Hervey Redmond, Lord Viscount Mountmorres, of Castle Morres, of the Kingdom of Ireland, &c. &c. &c." This supposed author, Hervey Redmond Morres (1746?-1797), was an Irish supporter of William Pitt who later shot himself in a fit of insanity. The ode ridicules corruption in the new Irish parliament. The first stanza burlesques Milton's Nativity Ode, the second and third Gray's The Bard; the fifth stanza Milton's L'Allegro, the last Gray's Progress of Poetry. Richard Fitzpatrick was a Whig wit who had contributed to the Rolliad.

Horace Walpole to the Countess of Ossory: "Thanks to the powers of the air that Mr. Fitzpatrick has not new-christened the Thame or the Isis! nor dyed the Saxon White Horse black! Why did he ascend from Oxford? He should have left the Laureate to get another fall from the 'White Horse.' Mr. Fitzpatrick had given ample proofs of his spirit before, and therefore, I hope he will now lie on his arms" 30 June 1785; in Letters, ed. Cunningham (1906) 8:567.

David Rivers: "Rt. Hon. Richard Fitzpatrick, M.P., only brother to the Earl of Upper Ossory in Ireland, and a Major General in the army. When the Duke of Portland was premier, this gentleman filled the important office of Secretary of War. During the administration of Mr. Pitt he has sided with the minority. He has written several Prologues and Epilogues, and is said to have contributed largely to the celebrated Probationary Odes for the Laureatship" Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 1:189.

Nathan Drake: Thomas Warton "was destined, like his predecessors of the laurel, to endure the shafts of ridicule and satire; for, soon after the production of his first Birth-day ode, appeared a publication under the title 'Probationary Odes for the Laureateship'; in which the editor, after assigning a fictitious ode to each of the supposed candidates, has allotted to the Laureate his own composition, as, in his opinion, sufficiently ludicrous for the nature of the work. It must, in justice, be allowed, that the Probationary Odes possess a large fund of wit and humour, and, though abounding in personal raillery, are but little tinged with malignity. Mr. Warton himself, with the good humour incident to his character, entered heartily into the spirit of the joke" Essays Illustrative of the Rambler (1809-10) 2:210.

Richard Ryan: "As a poet, Fitzpatrick is deserving of considerable praise. The smoothness of his verse, and the justness of his conceptions, are greatly to be admired. Thousands have feasted on his poetry, in total ignorance of its author. As he was a politician without. ambition, he was a poet without vanity" Biographica Hibernica (1819) 2:140.



I.
Awake, Hibernian lyre, awake,
To harmony thy strings attune,
O tache their trembling tongue to spake
The glories of the fourth of June.
Auspicious morn!
When George was born
To grace (by deputy) our Irish throne,
North, south, aiste, west,
Of Kings the best,
Sure now he's aquall'd by himself alone!
Throughout the astonish'd globe so loud his fame shall ring,
The dif themselves shall hare the strains, the dumb shall sing.

II.
Sons of Fadruig, strain your throats,
In your native Irish lays,
Sweeter than the screach owl's notes,
Howl aloud your sov'reign's praise,
Quick to his hallo'd fane be led
A milk-what BULL, on soft potatoes fed:
His curling horns and ample neck
Let wreaths of verdant shamrock deck,
And perfum'd flames, to rache the sky,
Let fuel from our bogs supply,
Whilst we to George's health, a'en till the bowl runs o'er,
Rich strames of usquebaugh and sparkling whiskey pour.

III.
Of dithless fame immortal heirs,
A brave and patriotic band,
Mark where Ierne's Voluntares,
Array'd in bright disorder stand.
The Lawyer's corps, red fac'd with black,
Here drive the martial merchants back,
Here Sligo's bold brigade advance,
There Lim'rick legions sound their drum,
Here Gallway's gallant squadrons prance,
And Cork Invincibles are overcome,
The Union firm of Coleraine,
Are scatter'd o'er the warlike plain,
While Tipperary infantry pursues
The Clognikelty horse, and Ballyshannon blues.
Full fifty thousand men we shew
All in our Irish manufactures clad,
Whaling, manoeuv'ring to and fro,
And marching up and down like mad,
In fradom's holy cause they bellow, rant, and rave,
And scorn themselves to know what thy themselves would have.
Ah! should renowned Brunswick chuse,
(The warlike monarch loves reviews)
To see thase haroes in our Phanix fight,
Once more, amidst a wond'ring crowd,
Th' enraptur'd prince might cry aloud,
Oh! Amherst what a hiv'nly sight!
The loyal crowd with shouts should rind the skies,
To hare their sov'reign make a spaach so wise.

IV.
Thase were the bands, mid tempests foul,
Who taught their master, somewhat loth,
To grant (Lord love his lib'ral soul!)
Commerce and constitution both.
Now pace restor'd,
This gracious lord
Would tache them, as the scriptures say,
At laiste, that if
The Lord doth give,
The Lord doth likewise take away.
Fradom like this who iver saw?
We will, hinceforth, for iver more,
Be after making iv'ry law,
Great Britain shall have made before.

V.
Hence, loath'd monopoly,
Of av'rice foul, and navigation bred,
In the drear gloom,
Of British custom-house long room,
'Mongst cockets, clearances, and bonds unholy,
Hide thy detested head.
But come thou goddess, fair and free,
Hibernian reciprocity!
(Which manes, if right I take the plan,
Or ilse the traity divil burn!
To get from England all we can!
And give her nothing in return:)
Thee JENKY, skilled in courtly lore,
To the swate lip'd William bore,
He Chatham's son, (in George's reign
Such mixture was not held a stain)
Or garish day-light's eye afraid,
Through the postern-gate convey'd,
In close and midnight cabinet,
Oft the secret lovers met.
Haste thee, nymph, and quick bring o'er,
Commerce from Britannia's shore,
Manufactures, arts, and skill,
Such as may our pockets fill.
And, with thy left-hand, gain by stealth,
Half our sister's envied wealth,
Till our island shall become
Trade's complate imporium.
Thase joys, if reciprocity can give,
Goddess with thee hinceforth let Paddy live!

VI.
Next to great George be peerless Billy sung,
Hark, he spakes, his mouth he opes,
Phrases, periods, figures, tropes,
Strame from his mellifluous tongue,
Oh! had he crown'd his humble suppliants hopes,
And given him, near his much-lov'd Pitt,
Beyond the limits of the bar to sit,
How with his praises had St. Stephen's rung!
Though Pompey boast not all his patron's pow'rs,
Yet oft have kind Hibernia's Peers
To rade his spaches lent their ears;
So in the Senate, had his tongue, for hours,
Foremost, amid the youthful yelping pack,
That crow and cackle at the Premier's back,
A flow of Irish rhetorick let loose,
Beneath the Chicken scarce, and far above the Goose.

[2nd edition; pp. 61-66]