AN HEROIC POEM.
1 OF warring senators, and battles dire,
2 Of quails uneaten. Muse awake the lyre,
3 Where C—pb—ll's chimneys overlook the square,
4 And N—t—n's future prospects hang in air;
5 Where counsellors dispute, and cockers match,
6 And Caledonian earls in concert scratch;
7 A group of heroes, occupied the round,
8 Long in the rolls of infamy renown'd.
9 Circling the table all in silence sat,
10 Now tearing bloody lean, now champing fat;
11 Now picking ortolans, and chicken slain,
12 To form the whimsies of an à-la-reine:
13 Now storming castles of the newest taste,
14 And granting articles to forts of paste;
15 Now swallowing bitter draughts of Prussian beer;
16 Now sucking tallow of salubrious deer.
17 The god of cabinets and senates saw
18 His sons, like asses, to one centre draw.
19 Inflated Discord heard, and left her cell,
20 With all the horrors of her native hell:[Page 93]
21 She, on the soaring wings of genius fled,
22 And wav'd the pen of Junius round her head.
23 Beneath the table, veil'd from sight, she sprung,
24 And sat astride on noisy Twitcher's tongue:
25 Twitcher, superior to the venal pack
26 Of Bloomsbury's notorious monarch, Jack:
27 Twitcher, a rotten branch of mighty stock,
28 Whose interest winds his conscience as his clock:
29 Whose attributes detestable, have long
30 Been evident, and infamous in song.
31 A toast's demanded: Madoc swift arose.
32 Pactolian gravy trickling down his clothes:
33 His sanguine fork a murder'd pigeon prest,
34 His knife with deep incision sought the breast.
35 Upon his lips the quivering accents hung,
36 And too much expedition chain'd his tongue.
37 When thus he sputter'd: "All the glasses fill,
38 And toast the great Pendragon of the hill:
39 Mab-Uther Owein, a long train of kings,
40 From whom the royal blood of Madoc springs.
41 Madoc, undoubtedly of Arthur's race,
42 You see the mighty monarch in his face:
43 Madoc, in bagnios and in courts ador'd,
44 Demands this proper homage of the board." [Page 94]
45 "Monarchs!" said Twitcher, setting down his beer:
46 His muscles wreathing a contemptuous sneer;
47 "Monarchs! Of mole-hills, oyster-beds, a rock,
48 These are the grafters of your royal stock
49 My pony Scrub can sires more valiant trace —"
50 The mangled pigeon thunders on his face;
51 His op'ning mouth the melted butter fills,
52 And dropping from his nose and chin distills.
53 Furious he started, rage his bosom warms;
54 Loud as his lordship's morning dun he storms.
55 "Thou vulgar imitator of the great,
56 Grown wanton with the excrements of state:
57 This to thy head notorious Twitcher sends."
58 His shadow body to the table bends:
59 His straining arm uprears a loin of veal,
60 In these degenerate days, for three a meal:
61 In antient times, as various writers say,
62 An alderman or priest, eat three a day.
63 With godlike strength, the grinning Twitcher plies,
64 His stretching muscles and the mountain flies.
65 Swift, as a cloud that shadows o'er the plain,
66 It flew and scatter'd drops of oily rain.
67 In opposition to extended knives,
68 On royal Madoc's spreading chest it drives:
69 Senseless he falls upon the sandy ground,
70 Prest with the steamy load that ooz'd around. [Page 95]
71 And now confusion spread her ghastly plume,
72 And faction separates the noisy room.
73 Balluntun, exercis'd in every vice
74 That opens to a courtiers paradise,
75 With D—s—n trammel'd, scruples not to draw
76 Injustice up the rocky hill of law:
77 From whose humanity the laurels sprung,
78 Which will in George's-Fields be ever young.
79 The vile Balluntun, starting from his chair,
80 To Fortune thus address'd his private prayer:
81 "Goddess of fate's rotundity, assist
82 With thought-wing'd victory my untry'd fist:
83 If I the grinning Twitcher overturn,
84 Six Russian frigates at thy shrine shall burn;
85 Nine rioters shall bleed beneath thy feet;
86 And hanging cutters decorate each street."
87 The goddess smil'd, or rather smooth'd her frown,
88 And shook the triple feathers of her crown:
89 Instill'd a private pension in his soul.
90 With rage inspir'd, he seiz'd a Gallic roll:
91 His bursting arm the missive weapon threw,
92 High o'er his rival's head it whistling slew,
93 Curraras, for his Jewish soul renown'd,
94 Receiv'd it on his ear and kist the ground.
95 Curraras, vers'd in every little art,
96 To play the minister's or felon's part:[Page 96]
97 Grown hoary in the villanies of state,
98 A title made him infamously great.
99 A slave to venal slaves; a tool to tools:
100 The representative to knaves and fools.
101 But see! Commercial Bristol's genius sit,
102 Her shield a turtle-shell, her lance a spit.
103 See, whilst her nodding aldermen are spread,
104 In all the branching honours of the head;
105 Curraras, ever faithful to the cause,
106 With beef and ven'son their attention draws:
107 They drink, they eat, then sign the mean address;
108 Say, could their humble gratitude do less?
109 By disappointment vex'd, Balluntun flies;
110 Red lightnings flashing in his dancing eyes.
111 Firm as his virtue, mighty Twitcher stands,
112 And elevates for furious fight his hands:
113 One pointed fist, his shadow'd corps defends
114 The other on Balluntun's eyes descends:
115 A darkling, shaking light his optics view,
116 Circled with livid tinges red and blue.
117 Now fir'd with anguish and inslam'd by pride,
118 He thunders on his adversary's side:
119 With patt'ring blows prolongs th'unequal fight;
120 Twitcher retreats before the man of might.
121 But Fortune, (or some higher power, or god)
122 Oblique extended sorth a sable rod:[Page 97]
123 As Twitcher retrograde maintain'd the fray,
124 The harden'd serpent intercepts his way:
125 He fell, and falling with a lordly air,
126 Crush'd into atoms the judicial chair.
127 Curraras, for his Jewish soul renown'd,
128 Arose; but deasen'd with a singing sound,
129 A cloud of discontent o'erspread his brows;
130 Revenge in every bloody feature glows.
131 Around his head a roasted gander whirls,
132 Dropping Manilla sauces on his curls:
133 Swift to the vile Balluntun's face it flies,
134 The burning pepper sparkles in his eyes:
135 His India waistcoat reeking with the oil,
136 Glows brighter red, the glory of the spoil.
137 The fight is gen'ral; fowl repulses fowl:
138 The victors thunder, and the vanquish'd howl.
139 Stars, garters, all the implements of shew,
140 That deck'd the pow'rs above, disgrac'd below.
141 Nor swords, nor mightier weapons did they draw,
142 For all were well acquainted with the law.
143 Let Drap—r to improve his diction fight;
144 Our heroes, like Lord George could scold and write.
145 Gogmagog early of the jocky club;
146 Empty as C—br—ke's oratorial tub:[Page 98]
147 A rusty link of ministerial chain;
148 A living glory of the present reign.
149 Vers'd in the arts of ammunition bread,
150 He wav'd a red wheat manchet round his head:
151 David-ap-Howel, furious, wild, and young,
152 From the same line as royal Madoc sprung;
153 Occur'd, the object of his bursting ire,
154 And on his nose receiv'd the weapon dire:
155 A double river of congealing blood,
156 O'erflows his garter with a purple flood.
157 Mad as a bull by daring mastiffs tore,
158 When ladies scream and greasy butchers roar:
159 Mad as B—rg—e when groping through the park,
160 He kiss'd his own dear lady in the dark.
161 The lineal representative of kings,
162 A carving weapon seiz'd, and up he springs:
163 A weapon long in cruel murders stain'd,
164 For mangling captive carcases ordain'd.
165 But Fortune, Providence, or what you will,
166 To lay the rising scenes of horror still;
167 In Fero's person seiz'd a shining pot,
168 Where bubbled scrips, and contracts flaming hot:
169 In the fierce Cambrians breeches drains it dry,
170 The chapel totters with the shrieking cry,[Page 99]
171 Loud as the mob's reiterated yell,
172 When Sawny rose, as mighty Chatham fell.
173 Flaccus the glory of a masquerade;
174 Whose every action is of trifles made:
175 At Graft—n's well-stor'd table ever found;
176 Like G—n too for every vice renown'd.
177 G—n to whose immortal sense we owe,
178 The blood which will from civil discord flow:
179 Who swells each grievance, lengthens every tax,
180 Blind to the rip'ning vengeance of the axe.
181 Flaccus, they outhful, degagée and gay,
182 With eye of pity, saw the dreary fray:
183 Amidst the greasy horrors of the fight,
184 He trembled for his suit of virgin white.
185 Fond of his eloquence, and easy flow
186 Of talk verbose whose meaning none can know:
187 He mounts the table, but thro' eager haste,
188 His foot upon a smoking court-pie plac'd:
189 The burning liquid penetrates his shoe,
190 Swift from the rostrum the declaimer flew,
191 But learnedly heroic he disdains,
192 To spoil his pretty counteance with strains.
193 Remounted on the table, now he stands,
194 Waves his high powder'd-head and ruffled hands. [Page 100]
195 "Friends! Let this clang of hostile sury cease,
196 Ill it becomes the plenipo's of peace:
197 Shall olio's, from internal battle drest,
198 Like bullets outward perforate the breast;
199 Shall jav'lin bottles blood aetherial spill;
200 Shall luscious turtle without surfeit kill."
201 More had he said: when from Doglostock flung,
202 A custard pudding trembled on his tongue:
203 And, Ah! Misfortunes seldom come alone,
204 Great Twitcher rising seiz'd a polish'd bone;
205 Upon his breast the oily weapon clangs;
206 Headlong he falls, propell'd by thick'ning bangs.
207 The prince of trimmers, for his magic fam'd,
208 Quarlendorgongos by infernals nam'd:
209 By mortals Alavat in common stil'd;
210 Nurs'd in a furnace, Nox and Neptune's child:
211 Bursting with rage, a weighty bottle caught,
212 With crimson blood and vital spirits fraught,
213 To Doxo's head the gurgling woe he sends;
214 Doxo made mighty in his mighty friends.
215 Upon his front the stubborn vessel sounds,
216 Back from his harder front the bottle bounds:
217 He fell. The royal Madoc rising up,
218 Repos'd him weary, on his painful crup:
219 The head of Doxo, first projecting down,
220 Thunders upon the kingly Cambrian's crown:[Page 101]
221 The sanguine tumour swells; again he falls;
222 On his broad chest the bulky Doxo sprawls.
223 Tyro the sage, the sensible, the strong,
224 As yet unnotic'd in the muse-taught song.
225 Tyro, for nerocmancy far renown'd,
226 A greater adept than Agrippa sound;
227 Oft as his phantom reasons interven'd,
228 De Viris pension'd, the defaulter screen'd;
229 Another C—rt—t remains in Cl—;
230 In Fl—the—r fifty Jefferies's appear,
231 Tyro stood neuter, till the champions tir'd,
232 In languid attitudes a truce desir'd,
233 Long was the bloody fight; confusion dire
234 Has hid some circumstances from the lyre:
235 Suffice it, that each hero kiss'd the ground,
236 Tyro excepted for old laws renown'd;
237 Who stretching his authoritative hand,
238 Loudly thus issu'd forth his dread command.
239 "Peace, wrangling senators, and placemen, peace,
240 In the King's name, let hostile vengeance cease!"
241 Aghast the champions hear the surious sound,
242 The fallen unmolested leave the ground.
243 "What fury, nobles, occupies your breast;
244 What patriots spirits has your minds possest.
245 Nor honorary gifts, nor pensions, please,
246 Sav, are you Covent-Garden patentees! [Page 102]
247 How? Wist you not what ancient sages said,
248 The council quarrels, and the poor have bread.
249 See this court-pie with twenty-thousand drest;
250 Be every thought of enmity at rest:
251 Divide it and be friends again," he said:
252 The council god return'd; and discord fled.
Bristol, Jan. 4, 1770.