Tag Archives: liberty

“E. B.,” “Some additional Lines, which were recited at the Caractacan Meeting…”

“E. B.”

“Some additional Lines, which were recited at the CARACTACAN Meeting, at Longnor, in Shropshire, in July, 1776.”

So sung the bard, who, in Silurian groves
Sequester’d, chaunted his prophetic strain.
Far other scenes, beyond the vast Atlantic,
Horrid with arms, and stain’d with civil blood,
The Muse with grief beholds, and with soft Pity’s                          5
Mournful eye deplores, weeping the dire ills
Of lawless Faction, blasting the fair fruits
Which Freedom and true Liberty bestow’d,
In happiest climes, on those her fav’rite sons.
Instead of regal sway, for gen’ral good,                                         10
Fierce democratic rage usurps the seat
Of Empire, spurning with rebellious pride
The hand parental, which has rais’d and nurtur’d
Their infant weakness up to the strength and power.
Yet, ‘midst the conflict of th’ impurpled field,                               15
If Victory should crown our warriors brows,
O yet may Britons, in whose gen’rous breasts
Firm Valour is with gentlest Mercy join’d,
(Noblest distinction of the brave and good!)
Learn to forgive e’en blind deluded zeal                                       20
For what was rashly deem’d their Country’s Cause.
Each real grievance, ev’ry public wound,
By Wisdom’s mild and lenient councils heal’d,
May smiling Peace, and ev’ry lib’ral art,
Return again to bless Columbia’s shores;                                     25
Commerce with swelling sails waft o’er the Main
The various bounties of each distant clime:
May Albion’s wide-extended Empire’s bounds,
In closest union link’d, defy her foes,
And kindred nations hail one Patriot King!                                  30

NOTES:

Title  CARACTACAN An originally Welsh society honoring Caractacus, the Briton king who led the war against Rome’s invasion of England (National Library of Wales); Longnor Village near the Welsh border.

1  Silurian “[O]f ancient southeastern Wales” (OED).

2  chaunted Chanted.

15  impurpled field A field made purple by the spilling of much blood.

25  Columbia America.

26  Main The Atlantic Ocean.

28  Albion “A poetic or literary term for Britain or England” (OED).

30  Patriot King King George III, who reigned from 1760 to 1820, but possibly also a reference to Henry St. John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke’s 1740 treatise, The Idea of a Patriot King, which claimed that England needed an outside-of-politics king to take power and save the country from the factional and corrupt party politics that plagued England’s government under Robert Walpole in the 1720 and 1730s.  Before he became King, George was said to have been an admirer of Bolingbroke’s tract.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. 46 (September 1776), p. 427.

Edited by George Griffith

“E. V.”, “The Nightingale’s Complaint”

“E. V.”

“The Nightingale’s Complaint”

Why, my mournful warbler, why
Dost waste the tedious day
With many a tear, and many a sigh,
And many a plaintive lay?

Dost thou the captive state bewail                                         5
In which thou’rt doom’d to dwell?
No more to visit hill or dale,
Or woods or shaded dell?

To which my bird, my fav’rite bird,
With sweet persuasion sung;                                            10
Nor sweeter numbers e’er were heard
From Linley’s tuneful tongue:

“Is there not cause for tears and sighs,
“For loss of sacred home?
“For loss of freedom of the skies                                            15
“Giv’n us at large to roam?

“Is there not cause for tears and sighs,
“When, in some distant grove,
“Perhaps my Philomela dies
“In absence from her love?                                               20

“Oft, after Vespers, would repair
“The woods and groves among,
“The matron, and her virgin care,
“And listen to my song.

“The hermit, too, would oft attend                                         25
“Unseen by mortal eye;
“Awhile his beads, his pray’rs suspend,
“And praise my melody.

“Oft wou’d some hapless shepherd swain
“Beneath the shade recline;                                              30
“Of love’s vicissitudes complain,
“And mingle woes with mine.

“What is the fretted roof to me,
“Or spacious splendid dome,
“Compar’d to sweet simplicity,                                                35
“Compar’d to humbler home?

“Some other birds of brighter dyes,
“Some bird of happier grace,
“May boast, perhaps, might proudly prize
“This gay, distinguish’d place.                                            40

“Vain of his plumage, vain of dress,
“Vain of his gaudy cage;
“But sure the graces ne’er will bless,
“Nor will his note engage.

“Ne’er was the servile votive song                                           45
“To harmony ally’d;
“Nor e’er shall slav’ry guide my tongue;”
He said, he bow’d and dy’d.

NOTES:

Title Nightingale The nightingale is used frequently in poetry. Its song is emphasized and usually linked to the art involved in the creation of poetry.

7 dale A valley.

8 dell A deep natural hollow or vale of no great extent, the sides usually clothed with trees or foliage (OED).

12 Linley’s tuneful tongue This is likely a reference to Elizabeth Ann Linley. She was the daughter of the famous musician Thomas Linley and belonged to a musically-gifted family. Elizabeth Ann was known for her singing voice and her career was at its height during the mid 1770s.

19 Philomela A poetic term for nightingale.

21 Vespers The Evening Prayer or Evensong; this prayer was typically said around sunset.

29 swain A man, a youth, a boy (OED).

SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 45 (London, 1775), p. 492

Edited by Shanna Cooper