Thomas Babbington Macaulay poems

Thomas Babbington Macaulay(25 October 1800 - 28 December 1859 / Leicestershire)
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An Election Ballad

- by Thomas Babbington Macaulay 31

As I sate down to breakfast in state,
At my living of Tithing-cum-Boring,
With Betty beside me to wait,
Came a rap that almost beat the door in.
I laid down my basin of tea,
And Betty ceased spreading the toast,
"As sure as a gun, sir," said she,
"That must be the knock of the post."

A letter--and free--bring it here--
I have no correspondent who franks.
No! Yes! Can it be? Why, my dear,
'Tis our glorious, our Protestant Bankes.
"Dear sir, as I know you desire
That the Church should receive due protection,
I humbly presume to require
Your aid at the Cambridge election.

"It has lately been brought to my knowledge,
That the Ministers fully design
To suppress each cathedral and college,
And eject every learned divine.
To assist this detestable scheme
Three nuncios from Rome are come over;
They left Calais on Monday by steam,
And landed to dinner at Dover.

"An army of grim Cordeliers,
Well furnished with relics and vermin,
Will follow, Lord Westmoreland fears,
To effect what their chiefs may determine.
Lollard's bower, good authorities say,
Is again fitting up for a prison;
And a wood-merchant told me to-day
'Tis a wonder how faggots have risen.

"The finance scheme of Canning contains
A new Easter-offering tax;
And he means to devote all the gains
To a bounty on thumb-screws and racks.
Your living, so neat and compact--
Pray, don't let the news give you pain!--
Is promised, I know for a fact,
To an olive-faced Padre from Spain."

I read, and I felt my heart bleed,
Sore wounded with horror and pity;
So I flew, with all possible speed,
To our Protestant champion's committee.
True gentlemen, kind and well-bred!
No fleering! no distance! no scorn!
They asked after my wife who is dead,
And my children who never were born.

They then, like high-principled Tories,
Called our Sovereign unjust and unsteady,
And assailed him with scandalous stories,
Till the coach for the voters was ready.
That coach might be well called a casket
Of learning and brotherly love:
There were parsons in boot and in basket;
There were parsons below and above.

There were Sneaker and Griper, a pair
Who stick to Lord Mulesby like leeches;
A smug chaplain of plausible air,
Who writes my Lord Goslingham's speeches.
Dr Buzz, who alone is a host,
Who, with arguments weighty as lead,
Proves six times a week in the Post
That flesh somehow differs from bread.

Dr Nimrod, whose orthodox toes
Are seldom withdrawn from the stirrup;
Dr Humdrum, whose eloquence flows,
Like droppings of sweet poppy syrup;
Dr Rosygill puffing and fanning,
And wiping away perspiration;
Dr Humbug who proved Mr Canning
The beast in St John's Revelation.

A layman can scarce form a notion
Of our wonderful talk on the road;
Of the learning, the wit, and devotion,
Which almost each syllable showed:
Why divided allegiance agrees
So ill with our free constitution;
How Catholics swear as they please,
In hope of the priest's absolution;

How the Bishop of Norwich had bartered
His faith for a legate's commission;
How Lyndhurst, afraid to be martyr'd,
Had stooped to a base coalition;
How Papists are cased from compassion
By bigotry, stronger than steel;
How burning would soon come in fashion,
And how very bad it must feel.

We were all so much touched and excited
By a subject so direly sublime,
That the rules of politeness were slighted,
And we all of us talked at a time;
And in tones, which each moment grew louder,
Told how we should dress for the show,
And where we should fasten the powder,
And if we should bellow or no.

Thus from subject to subject we ran,
And the journey passed pleasantly o'er,
Till at last Dr Humdrum began;
From that time I remember no more.
At Ware he commenced his prelection,
In the dullest of clerical drones;
And when next I regained recollection
We were rambling o'er Trumpington stones.

The Cavalier's March to London

- by Thomas Babbington Macaulay 29

To horse! to horse! brave Cavaliers!
To horse for Church and Crown!
Strike, strike your tents! snatch up your spears!
And ho for London town!
The imperial harlot, doom'd a prey
To our avenging fires,
Sends up the voice of her dismay
From all her hundred spires.

The Strand resounds with maidens' shrieks,
The 'Change with merchants' sighs,
And blushes stand on brazen cheeks,
And tears in iron eyes;
And, pale with fasting and with fright,
Each Puritan Committee
Hath summon'd forth to prayer and fight
The Roundheads of the City.

And soon shall London's sentries hear
The thunder of our drum,
And London's dames, in wilder fear,
Shall cry, Alack! They come!
Fling the fascines;--tear up the spikes;
And forward one and all.
Down, down with all their train-band pikes,
Down with their mud-built wall.

Quarter?--Foul fall your whining noise,
Ye recreant spawn of fraud!
No quarter! Think on Strafford, boys.
No quarter! Think on Laud.
What ho! The craven slaves retire.
On! Trample them to mud,
No quarter!--Charge--No quarter!--Fire.
No quarter!--Blood!--Blood!--Blood!--

Where next? In sooth there lacks no witch,
Brave lads, to tell us where,
Sure London's sons be passing rich,
Her daughters wondrous fair:
And let that dastard be the theme
Of many a board's derision,
Who quails for sermon, cuff, or scream
Of any sweet Precisian.

Their lean divines, of solemn brow,
Sworn foes to throne and steeple,
From an unwonted pulpit now
Shall edify the people:
Till the tir'd hangman, in despair,
Shall curse his blunted shears,
And vainly pinch, and scrape, and tear,
Around their leathern ears.

We'll hang, above his own Guildhall,
The city's grave Recorder,
And on the den of thieves we'll fall,
Though Pym should speak to order.
In vain the lank-haired gang shall try
To cheat our martial law;
In vain shall Lenthall trembling cry
That strangers must withdraw.

Of bench and woolsack, tub and chair,
We'll build a glorious pyre,
And tons of rebel parchment there
Shall crackle in the fire.
With them shall perish, cheek by jowl,
Petition, psalm and libel,
The Colonel's canting muster-roll,
The Chaplain's dog-ear'd Bible.

We'll tread a measure round the blaze
Where England's past expires,
And lead along the dance's maze
The beauties of the friars:
Then smiles in every face shall shine,
And joy in every soul.
Bring forth, bring forth the oldest wine,
And crown the largest bowl.

And as with nod and laugh ye sip
The goblet's rich carnation,
Whose bursting bubbles seem to tip
The wink of invitation;
Drink to those names,--those glorious names,--
Those names no time shall sever,--
Drink, in draught as deep as Thames,
Our Church and King forever!
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