Ode to Music. [Parody of Gray's Installation Ode.]

St. James's Chronicle or British Evening Post (15 July 1769).


A parody of Thomas Gray's Installation Ode (1769) attacking corruption in the Ministry and Parliament, with a concluding swipe at Bute and the Scottish influence: "Thy steady Conduct ne'er relax, | Nor heed their Noise, nor fear the Tow'r: | The Star of S—rt shine serene, | And gilds the Horrors of the Axe." The complete title is given as "Ode to Music. To be performed in St. G—rg—'s Fields, May 10, 1770, before A—g—s Henry, D—e of G—n, P—e M—n—st—r. Written by the Right Hon. R—d R—g—y, Esq; Author of several noble Performances. Set to music by P—p C—t W—b, Esq." Gray's ode had celebrated the Duke of Grafton as Chancellor of Cambridge University — he was a target of much opprobrium from versifiers in the St. James's Chronicle.

Hence! avaunt! 'tis sacred Ground,
Let pallid Freedom ever fly,
Let Innocence in Chains be bound,
Nor e'er come Truth or Virtue nigh!
Opposition's Cry prophane
Liberty that scorns the Chain,
Nor in these consecrated Fields,
Let injured Justice weep, that she to Tyrants yields.

Nor dare bright Truth, the Patriot's Friend,
The Minister's high Walk offend,
While stern-ey'd F—tz—y stalks around,
Hence! avaunt! 'tis sacred Ground.

From yonder Realms of ministerial Sway
Bursts on my Ear th' applauding Lay,
There sit the pension'd Sage, the Peer prophane,
The few whom Interest gives to reign
O'er every unborn Place, or yet unclaim'd Domain.
Deep in the Nation's Business they,
Yet hither oft a Glance from high,
They send of Triumph and of Joy,
To bless the Place, where first, on Freedom's Soul,
He bade the Scottish Thunder roll.
'Twas N—t—n rais'd that deep-ton'd Voice,
And as discordant Murm'rings round him rise,
The Sp—k—r's Self bends from his Chair on high,
And shakes his awful Wig, and joins the courtly Cry.

Ye high o'er hanging Walls
That sure no Monarch loves,
Where fain wou'd Freedom linger with Delight,
Oft at the Break of Day
He's sought your wearied Way,
Oft by the Glare of Flambeaux' glitt'ring Light,
In Chariot close, fresh from the Haunts of Folly,
With N—ncy by his Side, sworn Foe to Melancholy.

But hark! the Door's unbarr'd, and marching forth,
With gouty Steps and slow,
Gen'rals and Shrieves, and Peers of Royal Birth,
And mitred Bishops home to Dinner go;
N—th, with th' Exchequer Lawrels on his Brow,
From haughty Gr—nv—lle torn,
And sad F—tzp—ck on his bridal Morn,
That weeps his Fault too late; and proud D—nd—s;
And watchful Dy—n; and the paler B—ke,
The Rival of his Fortune, and his Place;
And either Ons—w there,
The Sp—k—r's Son, and the majestic Chief,
That trains the Surry Bands;
Their Triumphs, their Addresses o'er,
Their County Interest moves no more,
Save at Tha—s D—tt—on, or in O—kh—m Lands.
He that on Thames's greedy Shore,
For Streams of Royal Bounty sighs;
And they who wait for fickle Fortune's Guise,
The liquid Language of Whitehall.

What are Pensions without Power,
Heavy Toll, insipid Pain,
Who but wou'd wish like thee to gain
The Guidance of the public Weal;
Sweet is D—nd—s's golden Show'r
Cli—e's visionary Treasure sweet,
Sweet H—ll—d's Rise, but sweeter yet,
The still small Place of Privy Seal.

Foremost, and leaning from her gilded Coach,
The venerable Gert—de see,
Welcome, my noble Friend, she cries, approach
To thy new-kindred Train and me,
Pleas'd in thy future Breed to trace
A R—ff—'s Fire, a Wr—trsl—y's Grace.

Thy practis'd Heart, thy judging Eye,
The Bet unheeded shall descry,
And bid it through Newmarket shed
Fresh Honour on thy well-known Head,
Shall raise at White's thy drooping Heart,
To glitter in a Gamester's Part.

Lo! London waits to lead another Band,
Not flatt'ring nor addressing thee;
No vulgar Praise, no venal Incense stings,
Nor dares with courtly Tongue refin'd
Profane thy Sov'reign's Royalty of Mind:
She can prize herself and thee.
With conscious Joy to grace thy youthful Brow,
The Ornaments which Cits oft wear she brings,
Then with a just and equal Hand,
She rids thee of thy N—cy's Sway:
While Ladies rang'd above, and Boys below,
Join with glad Voice the loud triumphant Lay.

Through the broad Streets as they roar,
With watchful Eye and dauntless Mien,
Thy steady Conduct ne'er relax,
Nor heed their Noise, nor fear the Tow'r:
The Star of S—rt shine serene,
And gilds the Horrors of the Axe.