1808.7 - "The Choice"

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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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1808.7
The Choice
Anon
The Morning Chronicle (July 14, 1808)

Strum Accipe Horum Mavis.[1]

    High, from his Imperial Throne,
    Done at Bayonne,
The wonder-working NAPPY,
Anxious, forsooth, to make his Spaniards happy,
Even as his slaves at home, and just as free,
Let loose a king-demolishing Decree.

    Spaniards! 'tis ruled by me and fate,
That I alone can save your state;
CHARLES and your Monarch late
Confess sincerely, without feigning,
They've ta'en a great dislike to reigning.[2]
        Then let one united voice
        Now proclaim the nation's choice;
    Then make your choice,—the terms we give
        Hear, my beloved, hear—
    These fetters on your hands receive,
        Or—in your hearts the spear.

    "Is then the contest o'er," they cried,
        And lie we at your feet;
    And dare you vauntingly decide
        The fortunes such a cause shall meet.
    Can we forget our old renown,
        The good old times of victory,
    And yield an independent Crown,
        Our ancient Laws and Liberty!
Shall thus thy fell destroying hand
Pass unresisted o'er our native land,
High-blooded Spain and all her Thrones, thy prey
Fall prostrate and adore thy mushroom sway!
    No! we'll revive our old renown,
        The good old times of victory,
    Preserve an independent Crown,
        Our ancient Laws and Liberty.
    And when thy slaves of France
    On freedom's fiery sons advance,
        Then will we shew
        This vapouring foe,
    That in the cause of Spain
    Spaniards are more than men;
    Nerves of steel and souls of flame,
    Burning to vindicate her ancient fame,
        Or sleep in honourable graves,
    And leave her sons the riches of a name
    Dearer than all her Indies boast;
    More glorious than a countless host
        Of titled Tyrants and of ribbon'd Slaves.

    Then, Despot! hear our nation's voice,
    And let high-blooded Spain rejoice—
    Her Sons will make a SPANIARD'S CHOICE,
                       Live free or perish gloriously.
    And when, proud day for Spain, that day
    Shall come, when thro' thy proud array
    Our swords shall mow a freeman's way,
                       Vanquishing victoriously,
    Then, as they lie in death's cold grasp,
        We'll cry—"OUR CHOICE IS MADE;"
    Our hands the sabre's hilt shall clasp—
        Their hearts shall feel the blade.


Notes

1. "Take whichever of these you prefer." Strum is a misprint for Utrum.

2. Charles IV of Spain abdicated in March 1808 in favor of his son Ferdinand. In May, 1808, they both renounced the throne at Napoleon's insistence.

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Published @ RC

September 2004

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