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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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1804.4
To Buonaparte
“G. C.”
The European Magazine, XLV (February 1804), p. 143

"The English are nothing but a Nation of Shopkeepers,
&c.
Vide MONITEUR.[1]

When the Corsican Chief, with a view to degrade,
Says, we're nothing but shopmen, and sneers at our trade:
Let none to the obvious assertion object,
Nor a charge contradict so extremely correct;
'Tis true, Buonaparte—and we wish you to know,
That the firm of our partnership's, one King and Co.
Tho' our first rate productions so oft you decline,
And always seem hurt when we send you a line,
Yet try us for once, we're quite ready to deal
With a capital stock of lead, iron, and steel,
And a warehouse long open'd, and constantly fill'd
With the choicest of Spirits, most ably distill'd,
Not smuggled from France, but, according to my sense,
Of full British proof, which we sell with a licence.
Should none of these articles prove to your liking,
We can shew you some others, tho' nothing so striking.
Perhaps you've a wish for our virgins and wives,
But these if we sell we must sell with our lives;
And as for our lives, Buonaparte, I much fear,
The price that we ask is a little too dear
Ten French for one English—we cannot abate,
So high are the duties they owe to the state.
These terms if you like, you are welcome to come,
Assur'd that you always will find us at home.
For the sale we're prepar'd—when you please we'll
                             begin it;
Upon honour we serve, you shall not wait a minute.


Notes

1. Napoleon's famous jibe was printed in The Moniteur, the official government newspaper.

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Published @ RC

September 2004