The New French Grammar Analysed
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXXVIII (May, 1808), pp. 439-440
The Hull Packet (April 25, 1809)
Ye Preceptors, no longer perplex Pupil's senses,
With old systems of Cases, Moods, Genders, and Tenses—
Napoleon's Construction is now the new book,
On which Master and Pupil should studiously look;
For if they neglect it, in spite of their rules,
Europe's Masters and Scholars will find themselves fools—
Europe's Masters and Scholars will go to their graves,
The dullest of Dunces, the vilest of Slaves!
Napoleon's a Noun that can vary his Case
With an unprecedented assurance of face—
'Tis Dative or Ablative, just as he likes—
But Vocative caret whenever he strikes.
Altho' in the Genitive none have him seen,
Since his fond Conjugation with fair Josephine,
Yet few can excel him in arts of seduction,
Notwithstanding this Case may not suit his construction.
In the Nominative none can such energy boast,
As many a Potentate knows to his cost!
In the gloomy Accusative, too, he displays
A promptness that puzzles, destroys, and dismays.
A lofty Pronoun, indeclinable He,
Whose Imperial I supersedes Royal We!
For We, among Kings, consultation implies,
But who dares an absolute Tyrant advise?
An Irregular Verb, but by few understood,
Save when he is in the Imperative Mood:
Then, presto! his will must be done in a wink,
There's no time left to loiter, remonstrate, or think.
His Indicative some new aggression foreshews—
His Potential means plunder to friends and to foes—
His Subjunctive denotes turning Saints into Cash—
His Optative aims at these Islands a dash:
But his cloudy Infinitive mocks speculation—
Ambition ne'er form'd such a strange Conjugation!
Of Adverbs about him still strut a vain crowd,
Submissive as Spaniels, as Turkey-cocks proud.
Prepositions unnumber'd his mandate can muster,
And curious Conjunctions, like bees in a cluster.
But dull Interjections are kept at a distance,
Except on occasions that need their assistance:
They then must take care, as their silence they burst,
That their Notes sound the praise of Napoleon the First.
Ye Linguists of Britain! then keep a strict watch,
Lest he in his Syntax you napping should catch.
Entrapp'd, all your logic will thenceforth be vain—
Your Pens and your Tongues he at once will enchain.