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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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1799.7
The Triumph of Britons[1]
“Peter Pindar” [2]
[John Wolcot]
The European Magazine, XXXV (March 1799), p. 191

Again we begin to be Britons, my boys,
    While united success we command:
Lo, each Tar on the Ocean a triumph enjoys,
    And laurels shall cover the land.
Tho' surrounded by foes, that in legions arise,
    And cry for our ruin aloud,
The Genius of England their fury defies,
    And bursts like the Sun from a cloud!

                      Chorus

May the King live for ever the friend of our Isle,
    Who revolts at the name of a Slave;
Whose eye for fair merit possesses a smile,
    And a tear for the tomb of the brave.

What man to his mistress or wife will return,
    And say, "I have fled from the foe,
"My honour is gone, in the grave let me mourn
    "A disgrace that no Briton should know?"
The Frenchman, who, fierce for dominion, has cried
    "To France shall the world be a slave!"
Submitting, shall lower his top-sail of pride,
    And skulk to his ports from the wave.

            Cho.—May the King, &c.

The Spaniard too late shall his folly confess,
    When his Indies no longer remain;
And the Dutchman, a frog in the days of Queen Bess,
    Shall croak in his ditches again.
But how needless to talk of our prowess in war,
    And proclaim what an universe knows!
Let Old Nile, who has witness'd our wonders, declare
    What it is to have Britons for foes!

           Cho.—May the King, &c.


Notes

1. [Note appended to poem]: "This loyal and patriotic effusion was written by the celebrated Peter Pindar,[2] and sung at the Bath Harmonic Society, March 1799."

2. Pseudonym of John Wolcot (1738-1819).

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September 2004

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