From flashing scimitar to secret knife,
War mouldeth there each weapon to his need—
So may he guard the sister and the wife,
So may he make each curst oppressor bleed—
So may such foes deserve the most remorseless deed!
All that was said, or sung, and lost, or won,
By vaunting Wellesley or by blundering Frere,
He that wrote half the "Needy Knife-Grinder,"
Thus Poesy the way to grandeur paves—
Who would not such diplomatists prefer?
But cease, my Muse, thy speed some respite craves,
Leave legates to the House, and armies to their graves.
Yet here of Vulpes mention may be made
Who for the Junta modelled sapient laws,
Taught them to govern ere they were obeyed:
Certes fit teacher to command, because
His soul Socratic no Xantippe awes;
Blest with a Dame in Virtue's bosom nurst,—
With her let silent Admiration pause!—
True to her second husband and her first:
On such unshaken fame let Satire do its worst.}}
^ 1. "Porphyry said that the prophecies of Daniel were written after their completion, and such may be my fate here; but it requires no second sight to foretell a tome; the first glimpse of the knight was enough."—[MS.]
["I have seen Sir John Carr at Seville and Cadiz, and, like Swift's barber, have been down on my knees to beg he would not put me into black and white" (letter to Hodgson, August 6, 1809, Letters, 1898, i. 235, note).]
^ 2. "I presume Marquis and Mr. and Pole and Sir A. are returned by this time, and eke the bewildered Frere whose conduct was canvassed by the Commons."—[MS.]
[A motion which had been brought forward in the House of Commons, February 24, 1809, "to inquire into the causes ... of the late campaign in Spain," was defeated, but the Government recalled J. Hookham Frere, British Minister to the Supreme Junta, and nominated the Marquis Wellesley Ambassador Extraordinary to Seville. Wellesley landed in Spain early in August, but a duel which took place, September 21, between Perceval and Canning led to changes in the ministry, and, with a view to taking office, he left Cadiz November 10, 1809. His brother, Henry Wellesley (1773-1847, first Baron Cowley), succeeded him as Envoy Extraordinary. If "Mr." stands for Henry Wellesley, "Pole" may be William Wellesley Pole, afterwards third Earl of Mornington.]
^ 3. [The base of the Giralda, the cathedral tower at Seville, is a square of fifty feet. The pinnacle of the filigree belfry, which surmounts the original Moorish tower, "is crowned with El Girardillo, a bronze statue of La Fé, The Faith.... Although 14 feet high, and weighing 2800 lbs., it turns with the slightest breeze."—Ford's Handbook for Spain, i. 174.]
^ 4. [Vide ante, p. 78, note 2.]
^ 5. By shrivelled Wellesley ——.—[MS. erased.]
^ 6. "The Needy Knife-grinder," in the Anti-Jacobin, was a joint production of Messrs. Frere and Canning.
None better knoivn for doing things by halves
As many in our Senate did aver.—[MS. erased.]
^ 8. Yet surely Vulpes merits some applause.—[MS. erased.]
^ 9. [Henry Richard Vassall Fox, second Lord Holland (1773-1840), accompanied Sir David Baird to Corunna, September, 1808, and made a prolonged tour in Spain, returning in the autumn of 1809. He suggested to the Junta of Seville to extend their functions as a committee of defence, and proposed a new constitution. His wife, Elizabeth Vassall, the daughter of a rich Jamaica planter, was first married (June 27, 1786) to Sir Godfrey Webster, Bart. Sir Godfrey divorced his wife July 3, 1797, and three days later she was married to Lord Holland. She had lived with him for some time previously, and before the divorce had borne him a son, Charles Richard Fox (1796-1873), who was acknowledged by Lord Holland.]