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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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1814.14
The Congress at Christmas[1]
“Gambols”
The Morning Chronicle (December 24, 1814)

We learn from high sources a project is made,
    How Vienna's Grand Congress the Christmas will spend:
Since public affairs have so long been delayed,
    They may very well wait till the Holidays end.

King and Queen's to be drawn on a Saxony cake,
    To be gained in one slice—'twill be very much followed;
Mile a good Twelfth-night Monarch the Ex-King will make;
    In title a King, though his kingdom is swallowed.

The Dane has long played the Game Royal of Goose,
    His neighbour the Swede as sly Reynard will labour;
And Prussia's great King, though much out of use,
    Is still reckoned skilful at Beggar-my-Neighbour.

At Polish Drafts Russia his pacer will try;
    People think he will win the game easy enough:
For England to meet him appears very shy,
    And with the Pope Austria plays Blindman's-Buff.

France with Naples and Sicily Forfeits will play;
    And while thus engaged no person can blame us,
If our Ministers here, against Christmas day,
    Have rehearsed a long time to perform Ignoramus.


Notes

1. The Congress of Vienna, convened in September 1814, was one of the largest international assemblies ever called. Much time, however, was spent by the delegates enjoying the lavish entertainments provided by Emperor Francis. The full Congress never met officially; the important decisions were made by the four major Allied powers, and Spain, Portugal, and Sweden were allowed to participate in those matters which were of little consequence. The resultant discord of the Congress was a factor in Napoleon's last effort to recover the throne of France.

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September 2004

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