1818
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Warning Voice.

The Morning Post (4 July 1818).

C.


A very curious sonnet signed "C.," consisting of one regular and one irregular Spenserian stanza. The poet invokes the spirit of the Napoleonic Wars to rouse the Tory party to electoral victory: "Men, Friends, Electors, hasten to your post! | That battle waver'd till the day was done." The "thrilling voice" of the first line is identified in a note as "Southey's Chronicle of the Cid." No doubt the Morning Post wished that the Poet Laureate would reenter the political fray, but despite frequent pummeling in the opposition press he refused to rise to the bait.



Oh, for that thrilling voice, which erst to Spain,
Awoke her sceptered dead from Death's grim thrall:
Then would I rouse that slumb'ring reckless train,
Whose votes lies dead, to hear their country's call.
Awake, awake! come forward, one and all:
MAXWELL, and real freedom, be the cry;
'Tis the same cause which lately freed the ball
At Waterloo; not fought by enginery
But mind; 'tis order, still, opposed to Anarchy.

Men, Friends, Electors, hasten to your post!
That battle waver'd till the day was done,
Time's sport; but still enough to crush the host
Banner'd by Revolution; on, friends, on!
One gen'rous onset more, and victory is won.

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