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I shrink from crime alone. Oh! if my voice
Might yet have power amongst you, I would say,
Associates, leaders, be avenged! but yet
As knights, as warriors !
Peace! have we not borne
Th’ indelible taint of contumely and chains ?
We are not knights and warriors.' Our bright crests
Have been defiled and trampled to the earth.
Boy! we are slaves—and our revenge shall be
Deep as a slave's disgrace.
Why, then farewell;
I leave you to your counsels. He that still
Would hold his lofty nature undebased,
And his name pure, were but a loiterer here.
SIR JOSEPH BANKS-PETER.....John Wolcott.
Sir Joseph. YOUR meaning, friend, I easily divine !
Peter. Yes, quit for life the chair-resign, resign.
Sir J. No, with contempt the grinning world I see, And always laugh at those who laugh at me.
Pet. To steal a point then, may I never thrive
But you must be the merriest man alive.
Sir J. Good !—but, my friend, 'twould be a black No-
To lose the chair, and sneak a vulgar member;
Sit on a bench mumchance without my hat,
Sunk from a lion to tame tom cat :
Just like a schoolboy trembling o'er his book,
Afraid to move, or speak, or think, or look,
When Mr. President, with mastiff air,
Vouchsafes to grumble 'Silence' from the chair.
Pet. All this is mortifying to be sure,
And more than flesh and blood can well endure !
Then to your turnip fields in peace retire :
Return, like Cincinnatus, country 'squire.
Thus, though proud London dares refuse you fame,
The towns of Lincolnshire shall raise your name,
Knock down the bear, and bull, and calf, and king,
And bid Sir Joseph on their signposts swing.
Sir J. No! since I've fairly mounted fortune's mast,
Till fate shall chop my hands off, I'll hold fast.
Pet. And yet, Sir Joseph, fame reports you stole
To fortune's topmast through the lubberhole.
Think of the men whom science so reveres !
Sir J. Blockheads ! for whom I do not care a button,
Fools, who to mathematics would confine us,
And bother all our ears with plus and minus.
Pet. Sir Joseph, do not fancy, that by fate
Great wisdom goes with titles and estate!
I grant that pride and insolence appear
Where purblind fortune thousands gives a year.
Too many of fortune's insects have I seen,
Proud of some little name, with scornful mien,
High o'er the head of modest genius rise,
Pert, foppish, whiffling, flutt'ring butterflies !
Sir J. Since truth must out, then know, my biting friend,
Philosophers my soul with horror rend;
Whene'er their mouths are opened, I am mum-
Plague take 'em, should a president be dumb?
I loath the arts—the universe may know it-
I hate a painter, and I hate a poet.
Pet. In troth, Sir Joseph, I have often seen ye
Look in debate a little like a ninny,
Struggling to grasp the sense with mouth, hands, eyes,
And with the philosophic speaker rise ;
Just like a spider, brushed by Susan's broom,
That tries to claw its thread, and mount the roon,
Poor sprawling reptile, but with humbled air
Condemn’d to sneak away behind a chair.
Sir J. Still to the point-a rout let fellows make;
My power is too well fix'd for such a shake;
My sure artillery hath o'ercome a host.
Pet. I own the great past powers of tea and toast !
Ven'son's a Cæsar in the fiercest fray;
Turtle an Alexander in its way;
And then, in quarrels of a slighter nature,
Mutton's a most successful mediator!
Sir J. Come, tell me fairly without more delay,
What 'tis the tattling world hath dar'd to say.
Pet. Thus, then, · How dares that man his carcass squat,
Bold in the sacred chair where Newton sat;
Whose eye could Nature's darkest veil pervade,
And, sun-like, view the solitary maid;
Pursue the wand'rer through each secret maze,
And on her labours dart a noontide blaze?
When to the chair Banks forc'd his bold ascent,
He crawled a bug upon the monument.
His words like stones for pavements, make us start ;
Rude, roughly rumbling, tumbling from the cart;
Who for importance all his lungs employs,
And think that words, like drums, were made for noise.'
You see the world, Sir Joseph, scorns to flatter-
Sir J. In truth, I think it hath not minc'd the matter.
Yet, by all that's strange, good Peter, know,
I'm honour'd, star'd at wheresoe'r 1 go!
Soon as a room I enter, lo, all ranks,
Get up to compliment Sir Joseph Banks!
Pet. And then sit down again, I do suppose;
And then around the room a whisper goes,
'Lord, that's Sir Joseph Banks!-how grand his look,
Who sail'd all round the world with Captain Cook !!
Sir J. Zounds! what the devil's fame if this be not?
Pet. Sir Joseph, prithee, don't be such a sot-
Those wonderful admirers, man, were dozens
Of fresh imported, staring country cousins;
To London come, the waxwork to devour,
And see their brother beasts within the Tow'r:
True fame is praise by men of wisdom giv'n,
Whose souls display some workmanship of Heav'n;
Not by the wooden million-Nature's chips,
Whose twilight souls are ever in eclipse ;
Puppies! who though on idiotism's dark brink,
Because they've heads, dare fancy they can think !
Sir J. What though unlettered, I can lead the herd,
And laugh at half the members to their beard.
Frequent to court I go, and ’midst the ring,
I catch most gracious whispers from the king-
Pet. And well, I think, I bear each precious speech,
In sentiment sublime, and language rich;
'What's new, Sir Joseph ? what, what's new found out ?
What's the society, what, what about?
Any more monsters, lizard, monkey, rat,
Egg, weed, mouse, butterfly, pig, what, what, what?
Such is the language of the first of kings,
That many a sighing heart with envy stings;
And much I'm pleas'd to fancy that I hear
Such wise and gracious whispers greet your ear :
Yet if the greater part of members growl,
Though owls themselves, and curse you for an owl;
And bent the great Sir Joseph Banks to humble,
Behold the Giant President must tumble.
Pet. Zounds! sir, the great ones to my whistle come;
I have 'em ev'ry one beneath my thumb.
These shall arise, and with a single frown,
Beat the bold front of opposition down.
Pet. To hunt for days a lizard or a gnat,
And run a dozen miles to catch a bat;
Are matters of proud triumph, to be sure,
And such as fame's fair volume should secure:
Yet to my mind, it is not such a feat
As gives a man a claim to Newton's seat.
Sir J. Yet are there men of genius who support me, Proud of my friendship, see Sir William court me!
Pet. Sir William, hand and glove with Naples' king ! Who made with rare antiques the nation ring; Who when Vesuvius foamed with melted matter, March'd
and clapp'd his nose into the crater, Just with the same sang froid that Joan, the cook, Casts on her dumplings, in the pot, a look.
Sir J. Lo, at my call the noble Marlb'rough's vote, Whose observations much our fame promote.
Pray, then, what think ye of our famous Daines?
Pet. Think of a man deny'd by nature brains ! Who ever from old urns to crotchets leaps, Delights in music, and at concerts sleeps.
Sir J. Zounds! 'tis in vain, I see to utter praise ! -
Pet. Then mention some one who deserves my lays.
Sir J. Know then, I've sent to distant parts to find
Beings the most uncommon of their kind:
The greatest monsters of the land and water-
Pet. The beautiful deformities of nature !
Birds without heads, and tails, and wings, and legs,
Tremendous Cyclop pigs, and speckless eggs,
Snails from Japan, and wasps, and Indian jays,
Command attention, and excite our praise.
Rare are the buttons of a Roman's breeches,
antiquarian eyes surpassing riches :
Rare is each crack’d, black, rotten, earthen dish,
That held of ancient Rome the flesh and fish :
Yet these to gain, and give to public view,
Lo! Parkinson knows full as well as you ;
As did Sir Ashton fam’d, whose mental pow'r
Just reach'd to tell us by the clock the hour.
Sir J. Poh! poh! don't laugh—such things are rich and
Be something sacred-let not all be farce.
Pet. Sir Joseph, I must laugh when things like these Beyond sublimities have pow'r to please : To crowd with such-like littleness your walls, Is putting Master Punch into St. Paul's. Yet to the point—the place on which you dote Hath been for ever carried by the voteKnow then, your parasites begin to bellow : And call you openly a shallow fellow; In vain to fav'ring majesty you fly, 'Tis on the many that you must rely: E'en blockheads blush, so much are they asham'd
Sir J. They and their modest blushes may be hang'd. Ungrateful scoundrels ! eat my rolls and butter, And daring thus their insolences mutter ! Swallow my turtle and my beef by pounds, And tear my venison like a pack of hounds; Yet have the impudence, the brazen face, To
say I am not fitted for the place ! Yet, let me hold by any means the chair! To keep that honour, every thing I dare.
Pet. In short, your gormandizers and your drinkers Quit their old faith and turn out rank freethinkers. Dead is the novelty of fine fat haunches, And truth no longer sacrificed to paunches : No charms surround the knocker of your door, That beam'd with honour, but now beams no more !
Sir J. Betray'd by those on whom my all depends !
Pet. Betray'd, like Cæsar, by his bosom friends!
With solemn, sentimental step, so slow,
I see you through the streets of London go,
With poring, studious, staring, earth-nail'd eye,
As heedless of the mob that bustles by;
This was a scheme of wisdom let me say,
But lo, this trap for fame hath had its day;
And let me tell you, what I've urged before,
The restless members look for something more.
Sir J. Tell, then, each pretty president creator,
Confound him, that I'll eat an alligator !
Pet. Sir Joseph, pray don't eat an alligatorGo swallow something of a softer nature;