Loyal Effusion *
by W. T. F.
“Quicquid dicunt, lando: id rursum si negant, Lando id quoque.” TERENCE.
Hail, glorious edifice, stupendous work!
God bless the Regent and the Duke of York!
Ye Muses! by whose aid I cried down Fox,
Grant me in Drury Lane a private box,
Where I may loll, cry Bravo! and profess
The boundless powers of England’s glorious press;
While Afric’s sons exclaim, from shore to shore,
“Quashee ma boo!”—the slave-trade is no more!
In fair Arabia (happy once, now stony,
Since ruined by that arch apostate Boney),
A Phoenix late was caught: the Arab host
Long ponder’d—part would boil it, part would roast,
But while they ponder, up the pot-lid flies,
Fledged, beak’d, and claw’d, alive they see him rise
To heaven, and caw defiance in the skies.
So Drury, first in roasting flames consumed,
Then by old renters to hot water doom'd,
By Wyatt’s trowel patted, plump and sleek,
Soars without wings, and caws without a beak.
Gallia’s stern despot shall in vain advance §
From Paris, the metropolis of France;
By this day month the monster shall not gain
A foot of land in Portugal or Spain.
See Wellington in Salamanca’s field
Forces his favourite general to yield,
Breaks through his lines, and leaves his boasted Marmont
Expiring on the plain without his arm on;
Madrid he enters at the cannon’s mouth,
And then the villages still further south.
Base Buonaparte, fill’d with deadly ire,
Sets, one by one, our playhouses on fire.
Some years ago he pounced with deadly glee on
The Opera House, then burnt down the Pantheon;
Nay, still unsated, in a coat of flames,
Next at Millbank he cross’d the river Thames;
Thy hatch, O Halfpenny! † Pass’d in a trice,
Boil’d some black pitch, and burnt down Astley’s twice;
Then buzzing on through ether with a vile hum,
Turn’d to the left hand, fronting the Asylum,
And burnt the Royal Circus in a hurry—
(’Twas call’d the Circus then, but now the Surrey).
Who burnt (confound his soul!) the houses twain
Of Covent Garden and of Drury Lane?
Who, while the British squadron lay off Cork,
(God bless the Regent and the Duke of York!)
With a foul earthquake ravaged the Caraccas,
And raised the price of dry goods and tobaccos?
Who makes the quartern loaf and Luddites rise?
Who fills the butchers’ shops with large blue flies?
Who thought in flames St. James’s court to pinch?
Who burnt the wardrobe of poor Lady Finch?—
Why he, who, forging for this isle a yoke,
Reminds me of a line I lately spoke,
“The tree of freedom is the British oak.”
Bless every man possess’d of aught to give;
Long may Long Tylney Wellesley Long Pole live;
God bless the Army, bless their coats of scarlet,
God bless the Navy, bless the Princess Charlotte;
God bless the Guards, though worsted Gallia scoff;
God bless their pig-tails, though they're now cut off;
And, oh! in Downing Street should Old Nick revel,
England’s prime minister, then bless the devil! ‡
* William Thomas Fitzgerald. The annotator’s first personal knowledge of this gentleman was at Harry Greville’s Pic-Nic Theatre, in Tottenham-street, where he personated Zanga in a wig too small for his head. The second time of seeing him was at the table of old Lord Dudley, who familiarly called him Fitz, but forgot to name him in his will. The Viscount’s son (recently deceased), however, liberally supplied the omission by a donation of five thousand pounds. The third and last time of encountering him was at an anniversary dinner of the Literary Fund, at the Freemasons’ Tavern. Both parties, as two of the stewards, met their brethren in a small room about half an hour before dinner. The lampooner, out of delicacy, kept aloof from the poet. The latter, however, made up to him, when the following dialogue took place:
Fitzgerald (with good humour). “Mr. —, I mean to recite after dinner.”
Mr. —. “Do you?”
Fitzgerald. “Yes: you’ll have more of ‘God bless the Regent and the Duke of York!’”
The whole of this imitation, after a lapse of twenty years, appears to the Authors too personal and sarcastic; but they may shelter themselves under a very broad mantle:
“Let hoarse Fitzgerald bawl
His creaking couplets in a tavern-hall.”—BYRON.
§ “The first piece, under the name of the loyal Mr. Fitzgerald, though as good we suppose as the original, is not very interesting. Whether it be very like Mr. Fitzgerald or not, however, it must be allowed that the vulgarity, servility, and gross absurdity of the newspaper scribblers is well rendered in the following lines.”—Edinburgh Review.
† In plain English, the Halfpenny hatch, then a footway through fields; but now, as the same bards sing elsewhere—
“St. George’s Fields are fields no more,
The trowel supersedes the plough;
Swamps huge and inundate of yore,
Are changed to civic villas now.”
‡ Fitzgerald actually sent in an address to the Committee on the 31st of August, 1812. It was published among the other genuine Rejected Addresses, in one volume, in that year. The following is an extract:—
“The troubled shade of Garrick, hovering near,
Dropt on the burning pile a pitying tear.”
What a pity that, like Sterne’s recording angel, it did not succeed in blotting the fire out for ever! That failing, why not adopt Gulliver’s remedy?