1795.16 - "Anticipation"

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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1795.16
Anticipation
"J. T. Rutt"
[John Towell Rutt][1]
The Cambridge Intelligencer (October 24, 1795)

MY LORDS and GENTLEMEN—I greet you,
It glads my royal heart to meet you;
Since we can taste white flour again;
Nor need the clamourous poor complain:
For them my granaries are filling,
And bread has fallen—to a shilling;
The Scarcity indeed was heav'n sent,
As you have heard from pious VINCENT:[2]
For lest my people should abhor,
This just and necessary war;
The reverend priest with loyal care,
Made Providence the burden bear:
Drawing oblivion's decent veil,
O'er Quiberon's tragi-comic tale:
Where ev'n my minister, starvation,
Contriv'd to feed a hostile nation;
With christian zeal he would bestow,
Our plenty on a famish'd foe,
And were they wise enough to crave it,
Our Constitution—they should have it.

    As to the war in which we still,
Are deep engag'd against our will;
With grief I speak, and with surprise,
You'll hear me mention our allies:
All christian princes, priests, or kings,
(From pagans we had fear'd such things;)
PRUSSIA with English gold in pocket,
Cries bite—and calls sage PITT a blockhead;
SPAIN, though yclep'd most catholic,
Is of the holy warfare sick;
And while the vagrant French are routing
His troops—the EMPEROR is doubting:
The holy Father who at ROME,
Kingdoms enlarg'd or fix'd their doom,
No more his awful thunder rolls,
His care is now the care of souls;
For this he bids his eldest son,
Beware the allurements of a throne,
And rather in a pious trance,
Fancy Verona's closet—France;
The great Prince-Butcher serene HESSE,
Will sell us no more carcasses,
And still to heighten the distress,
'Tis said my bosom friend's gone over—
The wise ELECTOR of HANOVER;
Thus 'twill be BRITAIN's praise alone,
To build most christian CAPET's[3] throne,
Or gloriously to risque her own.

    Then, (though it pains my royal heart,
Hints of new taxes to impart)
My Commons, large supplies prepare,
For under Providence's care,
With FRANCE eternal war we make,
Nobles, your titles are at stake!
Your ribbons hang on the decision,
And holy Bishops—your religion;
But to say what the people dread,
Because all Gallia's kings are dead;
Surpasses ev'n a royal wit—
Go Commons—go and learn from PITT.


Notes

1. John Towell Rutt (1760-1841), a druggist, became interested in the French Revolution and joined the "Society of Friends of the People" to which Lord Grey, Erskine, and other prominent Whigs belonged. Active in social reform movements, Rutt was a founder of TheMonthly Repository and was a regular contributor to its poetry columns. He published The Sympathy of Priests, a volume of poetry, in 1792, but his major work was his edition of the Theological and Miscellaneous Works of Dr. Joseph Priestley in 25 volumes (1817-1831), of whom he was a close associate.

2. John Jervis, Lord St. Vincent.

3. Family name of the Bourbons.

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September 2004

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