1804
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hymn to Levity; or, L'Allegro Imperiale: in imitation of Milton.

The Daily Advertiser and Oracle (15 November 1804).

Thomas Stott


A Miltonic burlesque signed "Hafiz, St. Sloud, Nov. 5." The occasion for this poem is the coronation of Napoleon, who is the speaker: "And, if I do thee honour due, | Give me to gull the cringing crew— | Let me, for a good set-off, | And to blunt the shafts of scoff, | From his Apostolic Chair, | Bring St. Peter's Holy heir." At this period the Daily Advertiser was directing a steady torrent of abuse at France, including several items by the ubiquitous Thomas Stott.



Hence, loath'd Melancholy!
Of gloomy Guilt and grim Reflection born,
In Syrian wilds forlorn,
'Mongst horrid shapes and shrieks, and sights unholy:
Find out some humbler breast
Pervious to Conscience's repeated slings,
While the night-raven sings:
There, thou terrific foe of human rest!
Let thy distemper'd visions roll
In dire review before the shrinking soul.

But come, thou Goddess gay and bright,
LEVITY in Gallia hight;
Ever sprightly, ever smiling,
Singing, dancing, time beguiling;
Whom the Nymph VARIETY,
Bore to young EBRIETY.
In a drunken frolic straying
Down the Banks of Seine, a Maying,
There on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses wash'd with dew,
Underneath an ivy bower,
Emblem of Youth's vigorous power,
Buxom, blithe, and debonair,
He embraced the yielding Fair,
Who, in due time, (so Fate design'd)
Gave thee, sweet solace, to mankind.

Haste thee, Nymph, and with thee bring
All that play on pipe or string;
All Italia's tuneful choir,
Warbling Eunuchs, charm and wire,
Sport that wrinkled care derides,
Laughter holding both his sides,
Wantonness with naked breast,
Folly in the fashion drest,
Antic gestures, quips and cranks,
Demireps, and mountebanks,
Princes, Senators, buffoons,
Soldiers, Players, air-balloons;
And in thy right hand led with thee
Th' Helvetian Captive — LIBERTY.—
She, tho' once perversely wild,
Now so tame, submiss and mild:
And, if I do thee honour due,
Give me to gull the cringing crew—
Let me, for a good set-off,
And to blunt the shafts of scoff,
From his Apostolic Chair,
Bring St. Peter's Holy heir,
(As befits my high renown)
On my head to place the crown;
While my Vassals, in amaze,
At my Royal Splendour gaze,
And the distant Alps resound—
Vive NAPOLEON! Emp'ror crown'd.

These delights if thou canst give,
Levity, with thee I'll live.

[unpaginated]