1776
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Another Ode for the New Year, 1776.

London Chronicle (2 January 1776) 7.

M.


A burlesque of William Whitehead's new year's ode for 1776 signed "M." The speaker in the original had been Britannia; here America responds: ""In vain, she cry'd, the sword ye wield, | Ye poor, deceiv'd, mistaken men! | Old freedom's sons disdain to yield, | Tho' they have sued in vain!" This parody appears in the same number of the London Chronicle as the original. In 1776 most of the London newspapers had a Whiggish bent and were sympathetic to the colonists.



On the green banks which guard her Strand,
Regardful of the rising day,
Whose radiant orb illum'd her land,
America reclining lay.
Far o'er the boistrous main
Her aching eye-balls strain;
Yet she disdain'd to heave a single sigh,
Or drop a single tear from her enraged eye.

"In vain, she cry'd, the sword ye wield,
Ye poor, deceiv'd, mistaken men!
Old freedom's sons disdain to yield,
Tho' they have sued in vain!
In truth no rebels we,
Who live but to be free;
Who ne'er denied your mild command,
But scorn to sink beneath your wrathful hand.

"Learn to be wise, and learn to know,
What all the world must own,
Your blessings from our blessings flow,
While commerce guards the throne.
Learn this, and let each future year
More radiant than the rest appear:
And let fair freedom shine;
Thine was the fault, Britannia, then
Be reparation thine."

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