The Devil at Malmaison;
An Ode on St. Napoleon’s Day . . .
“C. S. B.”
The Poetical Magazine, I (1809), pp. 105-109
An Ode on St. Napoleon's Day,
Being a Parody on Dryden's "Alexander's Feast."
'Twas at a banquet. held at Malmaison,
Aloft in gaudy state
The fell Usurper sate
his ill-got throne:
His new-made Lords around were plac'd,
Their necks with Legionary Honours grac'd;
So with wrought hemp should each be brac'd.
Beside him sat his Josephine,
Like a fair wretch whose life has been
Devoted to the Cyprian Queen;
matchless, matchless pair;
more deserve Apollyon's care!
Discordia, perch'd on high,
the Music's strain,
Rend'ring the player's efforts vain;
Notes, diff'ring from their own, reply,
was come again.—
How strange the song did flow;
Satan, who left the realms below,
Resolv'd to work Creation woe,
Quickly assum'd with ease the form of man:
And seem'd an humble Corsican,
When he the Emp'ror's mother press'd,
And rais'd an image of himself, a torment to the world.
horrid truths the gaping crowd confound;
Diable! soon they shout around,
Diable! all the roofs rebound.
robe he tore,
At length the sounds assuage.—
The joys of murder then their alter'd song inspire:
Of murder ever horrible and dire;
The gloomy chief in triumph comes;
Draw the daggers, beat the drums;
He comes with silent pace,
Behold his blood-stain'd face!—
Now clash the gory swords; he comes, he comes!—
Murder, horrible and dire,
Treachery did first impart
Murder here we own a treasure,
Murder is our Emp'ror's pleasure;
Oh! 'tis sweet to stab the heart.
Rous'd at the sound, the hilt he press'd
Of dagger lurking in his vest,
And oft the Emp'ror look'd around to plunge it in some
Discord perceiv'd the
His redd'ning cheeks, his eager eyes;
And while he Heav'n, hell, earth defied,
Soon reduc'd his savage pride.
She chose a theme unkind,
To bring his crimes to mind:
Enghien was sung: in Boulogne wood
By too severe a fate
Murder'd, murder'd, murder'd, murder'd,
A victim to the tyrant's hate,
Because of Bourbon blood;
Robb'd of his crown, and rightful throne,
By him for whom the deed was done;
With his own guiltless blood was stain'd,
That land o'er which he should have reign'd.—
With conscious guilt abash'd
the Emp'ror sate,
Revolving in his soul
render'd all his projects vain;
Till happy Britain cross'd
madness rose again.—
Discord views the deed,
And smiles to see her
With other sounds she
strikes the lyre,
The rage for conquest
Loudly in Tritonian measures
Soon she told of Albion's
Albion caus'd him endless
Rend'ring all his schemes
content, tho' ever winning,
navy ever thinning,
And the captures rich
Albion's charms invite
Never rest till safe at
"Bravo," cried Talleyrand,
while all accord,
And strive to animate their upstart Lord:
Their Lord, unable to conceal his pain,
Curs'd Albion fair,
Who caus'd his care,
And vow'd revenge, vow'd revenge,
Vow'd revenge, and vow'd again.
O'er wearied Nature could support no more,
And chok'd with rage he sunk upon the floor.
Now give the trumpet
Blow louder yet, blow
yet a louder strain—
Break his fainting fit asunder,
And let him hear that rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark, those dismal
Have rais'd up his head,
As awak'd from the dead,
And alarm'd he deeply
Revenge, revenge, Discordia cries,
See what horrors arise!
too is near,
reveal'd to our eyes!
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a crescent in hand,
These are ghosts of the Turks that at Jaffe were slain!
In oblivion the deed
Had for ever been hid;
But thy crimes to proclaim
And to publish thy shame,
That mercantile crew
The intelligence gave
Abroad to the world, scarce doubting the truth.
Remember how oft thy heart bleeds,
Whene'er they enum'rate thy foul disdeeds!
The Emp'ror in rage, and with furious tone,
Seiz'd his sceptre, and cried, "Fellow soldiers,
His wife he bid to stay,
Lest she should fall a
Then forth he rush'd in haste, and march'd towards Boulogne.
But coward fear,
Soon as fair Albion's
Assails his alter'd mind;
He dreads the raging adverse
And raging main,
Thinks his invading scheme might shorten much his reign:
He therefore wisely fac'd
And issued these his orders
"Halt, soldiers, halt; for we will not expose
"Our sacred life in this affair;
"And being worth our care,
"Would rather save it now, and disappoint our foes."
Let Discord here suspend
quite resign the crown;
She fir'd with rage his
pull'd his courage down.