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Christopher Anstey

(1724-1805 / England)

The Patriot: A Pindaric Epistle, Addressed To Lord Buckhorse


While you, my Lord, great Drury's weal sustain,
Light ev'ry walk, and open all the lane,
With strength of arm plead Black--boy Alley's cause,
Adorn with manners, and improve with laws;
Much would the public suffer from the song
That dar'd, O Buckhorse, to detain thee long.

When Alba's warlike sons of yore,
Held sage debate on Tyber's shore,
A patriot captain of banditti
Was made their chairman of committee,
And plann'd great Rome's imperial city:
Where now, inshrin'd among the gods,
With joy he views, from Heav'n's abodes,
Meek cardinals and holy friars,
For learning fam'd, and chaste desires,
Season the tender minds of youth
With virtue, liberty, and truth:
Like him consign'd to glorious rest
Amid the regions of the blest,
No less, in these degen'rate days,
A pious knight demands our praise,
Who, from an ardent love of knowledge,
Bequeath'd his wealth to found a college.
And much we wish, my Lord, that you
Such bright examples would pursue,
Build here some noble rich foundation,
And form a plan of education
To mend the morals of the nation;
Visit yourself your own asylum,
Statutes and wholsome laws, compile 'em,
Nor suffer bishops to embroil 'em;
Correct their manners, not so gently
As Fame reports of Doctor B---ntl---y,
But at th' election of their stewards,
Accept, my Lord, my thoughts in few words:
If some important dull logician,
Smit by the daemon of ambition,
In pedant politics officious
For Machiavel quits Burgersdicius;
Or like the great men's nomenclator,
Tom Turbulent, that meddling prater,
With pertness, pride, and meanness join'd
To vacant head, and restless mind,
O'er these calm relams, whence science springs,
Bids Discord wave her baleful wings,
These blest abodes in ferment puts--
-- Give him a driver in the guts,
And make such factious, ill--bred chuckles,
Revere the influence of your knuckles;
Thus all their feuds and tumults quell,
And peace restore to Israel:
So may the swans of Camus raise
Their tuneful throats to chaunt thy praise,

Granta her list of worthies crowning
With names of Buckhorse and of Downing.
Bacchus, when India was o'ercome,
And war compos'd by wine and rum,
(Which, you'll confess yourself, my Lord,
Is better far than fire and sword)
To Egypt went, as rich as those
Who've seiz'd a Nabob by the nose;
And there, as ancient bards relate,
Purchas'd a ruin'd 'Squire's estate;
Rubb'd up the family château,
Whose front three window--lights could shew--
--The rest were dark'ned long ago:
There soon, by jollity and bounty,
Gain'd int'rest both in town and county;
Cur'd an old May'r of drinking water,
Sung catches with his wife and daughter,
Sent ven'son, which was kindly taken,

And woodcocks, which they boil'd with bacon;
Created honorary freemen,
Gave toasts, and swallow'd more than three men,
Granted, from fatherly affection,
To ev'ry voter his protection,
Got drunk, and carry'd his election;
A work, my Lord, which all the world, next year,
Expect from you, and many a patriot peer.
Pollux, my Lord, and Castor too,
Were bruisers both renown'd like you,
Were known at cockpits, fairs, and races,
And bore their links at public places;
Now turn'd to heav'nly constellations,
Pursue their ancient occupations:
Yet all these heroes grew dejected,
When favours they in life expected,
Due to their merits, were neglected.
For as our eyes from far survey,
Well--pleas'd the glorious lamp of day,
Whose near approaching lines of light
O'erpower and wound our aching sight;
So virtue, which offends when near,
Plac'd at a distance we revere,
And patriots never, 'till remov'd,
Or quite extinct, are prais'd and lov'd.
E'en he who cover'd with the hide is
Of lion slain, the great Alcides,
Who crush'd the hydra, and, what's more,
Subdu'd a dragon and a boar,
(Worse than the beast who ravag'd long
The peaceful vales of Gevaúdan)
Who clear'd the mews of King Augeas,
Stupendous work! and made so free as

To kick such jockeys from his stable,
As now, by gambling tricks, are able
To treat whole boroughs at their table;
Who, when a child in cradle laid,
On necks of snakes his strength display'd,
Roast beef, instead of pap, would cram,
Like giant boy of Willingham;
From which such vigour was created,
He cuff'd the maid that on him waited;
And after that, to prove his might,
Got fifty children in a night;
E'en he, for all his virtuous labours,
Was damn'd and hated by his neighbours,
And every monster overthrown,
Found Envy tam'd by Death alone.
On thee, while yet alive, great Sir,
Maturer honours we confer:

My Muse is ready to make oath,
And swear by gods and altars both,
We ne'er have seen, or e'er shall see,
A patriot so renown'd as thee.--

Oh! on the swan's broad pennons could I soar,
As erst the Latian bard, new tracks explore
O'er Afric's plains, o'er Hyperborean shore,
And Asia's wide domain! Ye sacred Nine,
Daughters of Jove, forsake the throne divine,
Bear me, O bear me on your airy wings
To Twit'nam's laurel groves, and silver springs,
Where erst the sage, 'mid Thames's list'ning swains,
Attun'd th' Horatian lyre to Brilish strains;
Give me, like him, to sound my patron's praise,
And pluck one garland of unfading bays,
So to the world great Buckhorse I'll proclaim,
Enroll with heroes and with kings his name,
And twine the wreath immortal as his fame.
I'll sing, my Lord, thy trophies won
On bloody plains of Kennington,
Sing how thy early worth was prov'd,
'Mid scenes of death thy soul unmov'd,
What time the hangman's murd'rous crew
The rebels' mangled entrails drew;
Confusion reign'd, and dire dismay--
Struck with remorse, the god of day
Turn'd his affrighted beams away.
But you, my Lord, well skill'd to cater,
Resolv'd in mind, compos'd in feature,
Seiz'd on the bowels of the traitor;
And, vulture--like, eat piping hot
The liver of rebellious Scot.
Tell me no more of turtle--eaters,
Hogs barbecu'd, and monstrous creatures,
Devour'd by aldermen and praetors:
What member of a calves--head party
E'er din'd so loyal and so hearty?
'Tis true, some men of taste and breeding
Copy your Lordship's mode of feeding,
And comme il faut their fingers grease
With rotten cabbage, Limburgh cheese,
Italian paste, and dainties more
Than grac'd th' Apician board of yore;
Transported when they meet with dishes,
That answer to their ardent wishes;
In raptures they'll the cook embrace,
Saluting him with French grimace,
On both sides of his greasy face;
So have they learnt, in foreign parts,
T'adore the culinary arts,
And soon, in eating's noble science,
May hope to bid the world defiance.
A roasted bear did no small credit
To those who ate and those who fed it;
But in these dreadful days of famine,
While one half of the world is cramming,
And t'other rioting and damning,
K---g, Lords, and Commons, all must own,
A nation's thanks are your's alone;
Your men of art, and science too,
Their premium shall assign to you,
To you the palm, who first such food
Invented for the public good,
And shew'd at once to all mankind
Your country's love, your taste refin'd.
Thus, when from Heav'n the pow'rs divine
Came down with Tantalus to dine,
The Lydian king, his banquet to improve,
On human flesh regal'd, and taught great Jove
To add one dainty to his feasts above.

Sweet patron of the Muse's lyre,
Phoebus, if e'er thou didst inspire
One modern bard with Theban fire,
Taught him aloft, from garret winder,
To sound the deep ton'd shell of Pindar,
And catch his heav'nly flame like tinder,
Fly through the liquid air,
Be Broughton's games thy care,
And all thy golden shafts be there.
Bid Clio quit her blest abode,
And speed her flight to Oxford--Road,
Adore the theatre of Broughton,
And kiss the stage his Lordship fought on;
Let all his battles be recounted,
By--battles, till the masters mounted,
Ere yet the tender down began
To shade his chin, and promise man:
Tell, to what deeds of bold emprize
We saw his manly strength arise;
Superior to the mean events
Of little warlike accidents,
Which still might greatly discompose
The features of our modern beaux,
And from their macaroni faces
Send packing all the loves and graces;
Two batter'd jaws, a flatten'd snout,
Depending like a broken spout,
And wisdom at one eye shut out.
Nathless the hero, undismay'd,
Pursues the bold Olympic trade,
Snuffs up a battle from afar,
And trains the hardy youth to war;
Ne'er mourns one minister of light,
Condemn'd in ever--during night
To roll and find no dawn, while t'other
Does double duty for its brother;
And when two chiefs of like renown
Grappling contest the Pythian crown,
The gods, delighted, oft survey
His single orb, with piercing ray,
Twinkling direct the doubtful fray.
Such, though from heaven it so far be,
Well--pleas'd, of late they view'd at Derby,
When discord rag'd and wrath grew higher,
Betwixt the Nailor and the Dyer:
Stern was the fight; one Pallas fir'd,
And t'other Mars himself inspir'd,
'Till Jove, who knew their stubborn spirits,
Call'd for his scales, to weigh their merits;
And all the deities allow,
Such sport was ne'er beheld till now.
O! may some bard resound the theme,
From Derwent's banks to Thames's stream!
Immortalize such deeds divine
In far sublimer strains than mine!
Nor let their praises be omitted,
Who two such gallant heroes pitted,
Forsook their cards, dice, cocks, and stud,
For deeper bets on human blood:
Yet not the Dyer, or the Nailor,
Can equal half his passive valour;
No bruiser fam'd in ancient story,
Transcend his persevering glory.
E'en the stern master of the sev'n--fold shield,
Who forc'd the doughty Trojan from the field;
E'en the Dictator, who by yielding won
His tardy triumphs o'er Amilcar's son,
The Lybian chiefs from fair Tarentum drove,
And bore their spoils to Capitolian Jove,
Submit to Buckhorse in the same degree
As water yields to gin, or Scotch baubee
To Caesar's golden face.--Permit, my Lord,
The Muse who tunes her throat
To Victory's gladsome note,
The black--ey'd nymph Thalia to record
What erst these eyes beheld.--

'Twas at Westminster election,
When factious chiefs brew'd insurrection,
A boist'rous independant wight,
Confiding in his giant might,
Provok'd thee to th' athletic fight;
Arraign'd thy free, thy British spirit,
And set at nought thy patriot merit;
With look malign, and taunt severe,
Swore that your Lordship's fate was near,
And whisper'd Tyburn in thine ear.
I heard the wretch thy mother curse,
With language vile, invective worse
Than reigns at Billinsgate, or even
At the fam'd chapel of St. St---ph---n;
While you serene, with conscious virtue,
Pull'd off your waistcoat, and your shirt too,
And many a bang, and many a cuff,
Undauntedly sustain'd in buff.
But what I deem your Lordship's fort, is,
You lay collected like a tortoise,
Suffer'd the caitiff to bestride
And bruise thy unrelenting hide,
'Till, prodigal of strength, the foe
Such toil no more could undergo,
And, quite exhausted, sat him down,
Thinking the laurels all his own:
But you, who found you'd got no harm yet,
First peep'd from underneath your armpit,
Then, to the joy of all beholders,
Rais'd up your head above your shoulders,
Pull'd up your breeches, scratch'd your head,
Spit in your hands, and roll'd your quid;
And then, like some great rhetorician,
Of Greek and Roman erudition,
In senates us'd to wield with ease
The thunder of Demosthenes,
Open'd your budget to harangue him,
Before you undertook to bang him,
Thinking the hero well might bear
One short philippic in his ear.

``Dost thou traduce the Buckhorse name,
``And taint my virtuous mother's fame;
``Thou miscreant base! dost thou presume
``At Tyburn to announce my doom?
``Think'st thou, by devils hatch'd, to quell
``My patriotic principle?
``Famine, dismay, and foul disgrace,
``And pillory seize thy ruthless face,
``Ugly as Newgate steps.--
``Witness ye pure, ye virtuous tribes,
``Unmov'd by pensions and by bribes,
``If e'er I pouch'd one single farthing,
``Since by G---d's grace I've known the Garden;
``E'er taken one unbritish measure,
``To stain my hands with public treasure:
``Say, have I tamper'd with the stocks?
``(Behold this brass tobacco--box,
``Fair Freedom's boon) have I play'd booty?--
``At Tott'nham--Court I've done my duty.--
``Ask of yon stage, where late I fought,
``Ask Broughton's self, if e'er I sought
``One dirty job--ambition'd aught
``But Giles's welfare!--
``Yet still if gentlemen concur
``My post of honour to transfer,
``In abler hands my office fix,
``I'm ready to resign my sticks.
``Still shall I live to hear you peach,
``And chaunt your own last dying speech;
``But come, thou sneaking varlet, now is
``The time to shew thy strength and prowess:
``Gird well thy loins, for I this day
``With interest thy blows will pay.''

You spoke--and put a look sedate on,
Bold as when Michael frown'd on Satan.
Then, with the rapid lightning's speed,
Drove, like a batt'ring ram, thine head,
Plump in his paunch; the chief astounded,
Back like a culverin rebounded.

As when some man of taste thinks proper
To cover o'er his house with copper,
If chance descends nocturnal Jove
In storms of hailstones from above,
The garreteer, with wild affright,
Starts from the balmy blessings of the night,
Through all the live--long hours condemn'd to hear
The echoing dome re--bellow to his ear;
Thus was the valiant wight confounded,
His clatt'ring cheeks and temples sounded;
While you with frequent fist assail'd him,
With chuckers in the mazzard nail'd him,
And clicks upon the muns regal'd him;
Nor didst thou not amuse with leggers,
Cross buttocks, flying mares, and peggers,
Fall with your elbows in the bellows,
Scatter the grinders, close the smellers,
Darken the day--lights!--Muse, be brief--
You saw the store--room of the chief
Surrender its election beef,
Reluctant dumpling, beer, and gravy,
And heard each groaning bowel cry--peccavi.

Think not, my Lord, I join the crew
Who flattery's courtly arts pursue,
Unenvy'd let the servile throng
Their patrons lull with venal song,
Ne'er was I vers'd in dedication,
Or trod the paths of adulation:
May I be doom'd all day to wait
The issue of some dull debate,
In Robin Hood's well crowded senate,
(Which, thanks to heav'n, but once I've been at,
And then the baker's man made free
To take me into custody.)
But what is worse, may you refuse
The labours of my faithful Muse,
If aught in flattery I mention,
In hopes of bishoprick or pension;
I know your modesty is such,
You hate to be admir'd too much;
But if your Lordship had commanded
The troops that day Prince Ferdinand did,
On Minden's plains the Gallic foe
Had met their final overthrow;
To you the senate had decreed
A statue, for thy glorious meed,
Returning, like Germanic Caesar,
Triumphant from the banks of Wezer.
Perhaps your Lordship may declare,
You hate a continental war,
That you from childhood was afraid
Of powder, balls, and cannonade;
Why didst thou then, with patriot zeal,
Illume the rocket--loaded wheel,
Big with combustion, when such praise
Redounded from the peace of Aix?
And this triumphant frugal nation,
To list'ning Europe's admiration,
Made all her cannon echo louder
Than thund'ring Jove; and spent her powder,
As freely as our warlike swains
Assembled on their peaceful plains,
To scorch their fingers, wigs, and noses,
Firing--pro aris et pro focis.
Say why, my Lord?--but lo! the Muse
No more these arduous themes pursues;
Unable thy exploits to sing,
Trembling she checks her tow'ring wing,
Speeds to domestic scenes of life,
Sighs to salute thy virtuous wife.
O! may ye long unparted prove
The blessings of connubial love,
Live to exhibit in this queer age,
A bright example to the peerage;
Grace Marybone, your ancient seat,
And Hockley--Hole's secure retreat,
Where you as quiet and serene as
Great Africanus, or Maecenas,
From toils of state, from noise and care,
To calm retirement's joys repair:
While Lady Buckhorse tunes her throat
To many a soft love--labour'd note,
Culls each burletta strain she heard in
The comic op'ras of the Garden,
And teaches Trivia to repeat
Italian airs, in English ditties sweet.
Much would your Lordship's erudition
Improve such sprightly composition;
And should some bard, in future years,
Collect the works of modern peers,
(If right I augur) 'twill be thine
First in the noble list to shine.
O! may your candour, taste, and ease,
Instruct my artless Muse to please;
May ev'ry bolder stroke be heighten'd,
And by your abler pencil brighten'd;
So shall I raise my future song
High above all the tuneful throng,
Boasting, as once the comic bard did,
That Laelius all my toils rewarded:
So may the gods attend my pray'r,
And make thy hopeful son and heir,
Young Buckhorse, their peculiar care;
Whose virtues, like fair flow'rs, expand,
Rais'd by your Lordship's fost'ring hand;
Transplanted from Newmarket races
To Alma Mater's chaste embraces,
Where late he came, with resolution
T'observe each pious institution,
With filial duty to regard her;
(Example rare!) and with such ardour
Pursu'd his academic studies,
As worthy of his noble blood is:
Here did he woo the modest Nine,
And tune their instruments divine;
So much improve his nat'ral parts,
That in three weeks he won our hearts,
And gain'd a Mastership of Arts.
Now travels far the Alps beyond,
Of more polite amusements fond,
In which, I hope, and must suppose so,
He'll soon become a virtuoso.
Kind Heav'n protect him! Safe from harms
Restore him to his country's arms,
In Britain's public posts to join
The heroes of the patriot line:
Then may we hope once more to see
The smiling days of liberty,
When son and sire at once espouses
Her sacred cause in both their houses,
And each his influence extends
To virtue only and her friends.
Pleas'd that such patriotic souls
Will condescend to drain his bowls,
Wildman once more his lights resuming,
In transports shall his house relumine.--
And when (may Heav'n ordain it late)
Your Lordship shall submit to Fate,
When, after many a well--fought field,
Yourself to conq'ring Death shall yield,
(As yield you must, and that bright eye
Add glory to its kindred sky)
You shall for ever be The Noted,
And I to distant ages quoted,
My Lord,

Your Lordship's

Most devoted,


POSTSCRIPT.

My Lord, it grieves me to relate
The worthy Dr. Bolter's fate;
He found his appetite decreas'd
E'er since the Visitation Feast,
Sent for advice, but sent in vain,
For all the Æsculapian train
Were met that week in Warwick--Lane;
Where certain peaceful learned leeches,
With hammers, iron--crows, and speeches,
And blacksmiths arm'd, were making entries
By ways unknown to Coke and Ventris,
While other harmless sons of Galen,
These barb'rous civil feuds bewailing,
Prepar'd their engines for assailing:
So while, his dignity asserting,
Old Dr. Squills behind the curtain,
Eager, as safely as he cou'd,
To vent his choler, and ill--blood;
Pointed his leathern tube to play on
His friend Sir Oxymel Mac'haon,
Seiz'd with an hiccup, flux, and phthisic,
--Th' Archdeacon dy'd for want of physic;--
By which your Toadland living's vacant,
--I beg your Lordship not to speak on't;--
(For previous to a man's interment,
G---d knows I seek not his preferment
But, as I've taken my degree,
And grow impatient to be free,
--I wish, my Lord, you'd think on me.
And if, my Lord, your Lordship chuses
A man of all work for your Muses,
(Such as, for great men's private uses,
This seat of learning oft produces)
To clean a buskin, or a sandal,--
To hear you spout, and hold the candle,--
To fire your crackers in the papers--
To cure unpension'd friends of vapours--
Do dirty jobs about the house too--
I am the man that you may trust to;
And humbly beg that you'll incline
To make that pleasing office mine.

Indulge me still one more request, Sir,
T'oblige my worthy friend Sylvester,
Who, from your Lordship's grace and bounty,
Hopes to be Sheriff for the county;
Fir'd with a gen'rous emulation
T'excel in that important station,
His beeves, his sheep, the 'Squire devotes
To lace, to liv'ries, hats, and coats;
And gives us to expect next year all
A grand assembly in the Shire--hall:
E'en now his venerable coach is
New gilding ere th' Assize approaches;
No longer at the tax repining,
Transported he reviews the lining,
Which he remembers, when a boy,
Was fashionable brown cafoy;
Now, like your Lordship's face, appears
Well--worn, but not subdu'd, by years:
Oft dreams he of election journies,
Writs, jailors, hangmen, and attornies,
Of trumpets echoing in his ears,
Full--bottom'd perriwigs, and spears;
Hears voices at a distance humming,
``Make way, make way--The Shrieve's a--coming.''
Then in his balmy sleep he trudges,
With milk--white wand, before the Judges;
Or thinks, in velvet coat array'd, he
Meets at the ball his frizzled lady,
Who looks half pleas'd, and half affrighted,
E'er since her husband has been knighted.

Yet still, my Lord, with due submission,
Before you realize his vision,
The 'Squire entreats you'd

Desunt multa.

Then, to requite your Lordship's favour,
I hope he'll use his best endeavour,
As one good turn demands another,
To make returns to serve your brother.

Submitted: Thursday, October 07, 2010

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