1798
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Jacobinism.

Anti-Jacobin, or Weekly Examiner No 20 (26 March 1798).

George Ellis


Six irregular Spenserians (ababccdD), a line-by-line paraphrase of Thomas Gray's Hymn to Adversity. The poem is signed "An English Jacobin." Henry Morley speculates that the unknown author is George Ellis; see Parodies and other Burlesque Pieces by George Canning, George Ellis, and John Hookham Frere (1890) 229. It may be so, though there is apparently no evidence for the attribution. Not seen.

C. H. Timperley: "This paper arose from the determination of George Canning and other literary men to establish a weekly newspaper, for the purpose of exposing to ridicule the political agitators of the time. Dr. Grant, well known as a writer in the reviews and other periodicals, was the first person chosen to be the editor, but upon his declining the office, William Gifford accepted the situation. It continued to be published until July 9, 1798. Mr. Wright, in PIccadilly, was the publisher" Encyclopaedia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote (1842) 2:797.

W. Davenport Adams: "To this famous periodical, which supported by the bitterness of pun, epigram, and parody, the principles of the Tory party, the principal contributors were Gifford, Hookham Frere, and Canning. In its pages appeared some of the latter's liveliest jeux d'esprit, such as the Needy Knife-grinder, and the tragedy of the Rovers. See the Cornhill Magazine for 1867, Hayward's Essay (2nd Series), and the Works of John Hookham Frere. A selection, entitled Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin, was published in 1801, and has been frequently reprinted" Dictionary of English Literature (1878) 27.

Samuel Smiles: "The publication of a Tory Review was not the result of a sudden inspiration. The scheme had long been pondered over. Mr. Canning had impressed upon Mr. Pitt the importance of securing the newspaper press, then almost entirely Whiggish or Revolutionary, on the side of the administration. To combat, in some measure, the democratic principles then in full swing, Mr. Canning, with others, started, in November 1797, the Anti-Jacobin, or Weekly Examiner. The Anti-Jacobin ceased to be published in 1798, when Canning, having been appointed Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, found his time fully occupied by the business of his department, as well as by his parliamentary duties, and could no longer take part in that clever publication" Memoirs of John Murray (1891) 1:91.



Daughter of Hell, insatiate power,
Destroyer of the human race,
Whose iron scourge and madd'ning hour
Exalt the bad, the good debase;
Thy mystic force, despotic sway,
Courage and innocence dismay,
And patriot monarchs vainly groan
With pangs unfelt before, unpitied and alone!

When first to scourge the sons of earth,
Thy sire his darling child design'd,
Gallia receiv'd the monstrous birth—
VOLTAIRE inform'd thy infant mind;
Well-chosen nurse! his sophist lore
He bade thee many a year explore!
He mark'd thy progress, firm though slow,
And statesmen, princes, leagued with their invet'rate foe.

Scared at thy frown terrific, fly
The morals (antiquated brood);
Domestic Virtue, social Joy,
And Faith that has for ages stood:
Swift they disperse, and with them go
The friend sincere, the gen'rous foe.—
Traitors to God and man avow'd,
By thee now rais'd aloft, now crush'd beneath the crowd.

Revenge, in blood-stain'd robe array'd,
Immersed in gloomy joy profound;
Ingratitude, by guilt dismay'd,
With anxious eye wild glancing round,
Still on thy frantic steps attend:
With Death, thy victim's only friend,
Injustice, to the truth severe,
And Anguish, dropping still the life-consuming tear.

Oh swiftly on my country's head,
Destroyer, lay thy ruthless hand;
Nor yet in Gallic terrors clad,
Nor circled by the Marseilles band,
(As by th' initiate thou art seen),
With thund'ring cannon, guillotine,
With screaming Horror's funeral cry,
Fire, Rapine, sword, and chains, and ghastly Poverty.

Thy sophist veil, dread goddess, wear,
Falsehood insidiously impart;
Thy philosophic train, be there,
To taint the mind, corrupt the heart;
The gen'rous virtues of our isle,
Teach us to hate and to revile;
Our glorious Charter's faults to scan,
Time-sanction'd truths despise, and preach THY RIGHTS OF MAN.

[Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin (1890) 129-30]