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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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1804.11
A New Song to an Old Tune
Anon
The Morning Chronicle (October 12, 1804)

At Walmer, there lately was held consultation,
About the best method of saving the Nation;
There was MELVILLE and PITT, Sir HOME POPHAM and KEITH,[1]
Who swore they would dash NAPPY'S threats in his teeth.
                                                            Derry down.

Now heated with wine, there no danger appear'd,
The success of the scheme, not a soul of them fear'd;
And consulting together, contriv'd a grand plan,
To destroy the French Navy by catamaran.
                                                            Derry down.

Colonel PITT look'd quite big, as he push'd round the bottle,
And fancied he had BONAPARTE by the throttle;
Lords MELVILLE and KEITH hob a nobb'd, while HOME POPHAM
Of the scheme talk'd so much, that they scarcely could
                                 stop him.
                                                            Derry down.

Then having determin'd, without more ado,
That BONY'S flotilla to Davy should go—
They resolv'd that the more our old foe to affright,
This daring attempt should be made in the night.
                                                            Derry down.

And MELVILLE, cock sure, of receiving some sport,
Left for once, all the joys, and the comforts of Port;
And boldly declar'd, he'd not flee from the danger
But go out to sea, tho' to ships quite a stranger.[2]
                                                            Derry down.

He here shew'd his art, for our proverbs expound,
There's no reason to think he will ever be drown'd;
Then quickly he hurried away from the table,
And went in his namesake, 'yclept the Aimable.
                                                            Derry down.

Now safely on board, from fair Albion sailed,
Sir HOME hop'd success where brave NELSON had failed;
The attack then began, and before it was over,
Some flaming accounts soon reached London from Dover.
                                                           Derry down.

And dwelling the whole, on the very same notes,
Assur'd us the loss was a hundred odd boats;
The news like a wildfire the town quick o'erspread—
Some run, they scarce knew on their heels or their head.
                                                           Derry down.

If the question you ask'd, were the stocks low or high?
One hundred and fifty was all the reply;
In short all the way, from the Court to the City—
The flotilla's destruction, was every one's ditty.
                                                           Derry down.

But lo! what a change will a day or two show,
For truth now declares, we've scarce injur'd the foe;
And after the whole of his trouble and pain,
"The Giant refresh'd"—finds his labours in vain.
                                                           Derry down.

Then BRITANNIA be wise, trust the schemer no more,
But drive the vile reptile away from your door;
Too long have you cherish'd the profligate elf
Tis time that you had, some regard for yourself.
                                                           Derry down.

                                 MORAL.

You people all, both great and small, who hope success
                            to win—
Be sure you always catch the Bear, before you sell the
                            skin.


Notes

1. Sir Home Popham, Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville, and George Keith Elphinstone, Viscount Keith were all responsible for defending Britain against the threatened invasion by the French. Keith, who had become Commander-in-Chief after Jervis's resignation, was appointed to the North Sea station in 1801 where he defended England from invasion until 1807. It was on a ship of his fleet, the "Bellerophon," that Napoleon surrendered after Waterloo.

2. Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville (1742-1811), called "King Harry the Ninth" for his adroit control of Scottish politics, held a series of posts in Pitt's government. In 1804 he became first Lord of the Admiralty, though he had no experience to recommend him to the post. In 1806 he was impeached on a charge of financial mismanagement of the Admiralty, and, although acquitted, he never held office again.

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Published @ RC

September 2004