Tag Archives: nationalism

William Thomas Fitzgerald, “An Address to the Company assembled at Freemason’s Hall, on the Anniversary of the Literary Fund, May 2 1799”


“An Address to the Company assembled at Freemason’s Hall, on the Anniversary of the Literary Fund, May 2 1799”

Is there a sight the heart can hold more dear,
Than what Humanity contemplates here?
Pure the delight that animates the breast,
To see you throng to succour the distress’d.
Manes of Butler, Otway, Dryden, rise!                                                 5
Behold an object grateful to your eyes;
England, at last atoning for her crime—
England, that starv’d the witty and sublime,
With contrite feeling opes her ample store,
And bids the Sons of Genius starve no more.                                  10
‘Tis said, that some to Poesy are foes,
And think that Literature engenders woes:
Such would bring back a barb’rous age again;
For none but Vandals persecute the pen!
Though some profane the Muse’s gift divine,                                   15
And bow at Avarice of Ambition’s shrine;
Though some illiberal Satire’s pen employ,
And mingle hemlock in the cup of joy;
Pierce the recesses of domestic life,
Expose the husband, or defame the wife;                                          20
The tale of scandal bring to public eye,
And in smooth numbers circulate the lie—
The Muse’s happier office is, to prove
The bond of Friendship, and the lamp of Love;
To harmonize the passions of the Mind,                                             25
To please, instruct, and meliorate Mankind.
By her the selfish feelings are suppress’d,
And social virtues kindle in the breast;
She points to Nature’s wise and gen’rous plan,
And shews how strongly man depends on man;                               30
This sacred truth the thatch-roof’d Peasant owns,
And ermin’d Monarchs feel it on their thrones!
A loyal zeal for Freedom she inspires,
And nerves to energy the Patriot’s fires—
Is there a man so base, so lost to shame,                                            35
Who does not venerate the Patriot’s name!
Not the proud leader of the servile crew,
Who grind the many, to enrich the few;
But he who, active in his Country’s cause,                                            40
Asserts her liberties, maintains her laws;
Whose upright mind pursues no private end,
At once the Monarch’s, and the People’s friend!
Who stems Oppression, which much oft’ner springs
From Tyrant Factions than from Tyrant Kings;                                    45
Arms for his Sovereign, to his standard flies;
For Freedom conquers, or for Freedom dies:
Not for that Fiend, detested by the good,
That bath’d unhappy France with kindred blood;
That brutaliz’d a Nation once humane,                                                 50
Whose sire is Discord, and whose offspring Pain!
That drinks the tears despairing orphans shed,
Tortures the living, and insults the dead!
That leads from crime to crime, from bad to worse,
The Prince’s tyrant, and the People’s curse!                                         55
Which, like a torrent bursting ev’ry mound,
Destroys the harvest, desolates the ground;
Saps the foundation of the loftiest tow’r,
And whelms the work of ages in an hour!
This Gallic Daemon, hated by the wise,                                                 60
Shuns the keen searching of the Patriot’s eyes:
‘Tis not for her his country’s foes he braves,
In burning climes, or on the stormy waves;
But for that Freedom, native of our soil,
That dignifies command, and sweetens toil!                                         65
Whose graceful form, unbent by time, appears,
Blooming as youth, though sanctified by years!
For British Liberty—that draws the line,
‘Twixt wild Democracy, and Right Divine;
With equal zeal the Monarch’s powers maintains,                                70
And guards the Subject from despotic chains:
The slave who once imbibes the English air,
Freed from his fetters, owns the Goddess there!
Where Heaven these words, in voice of thunder spoke,
The Tree of Freedom is the British Oak!                                                  75

Excuse the warmth with which my Muse express’d
The subject nearest, dearest to my breast;
But, when the foes of earth and heaven conspire,
To desolate the world with sword, and fire,
Each honest man’s a patriot at the heart,                                               80
And burns to take his King’s and Country’s part.
When Time has swept the present race away,
And friends to Science celebrate this day;
Remembrance shall with more than pleasure name
And give your liberal patronage to Fame—                                              85
To rival Genius—mutual Envy past—
Succeeding ages shall be just at last;
And He, who first this noble fabric rais’d,
Shall with no common gratitude be praised:
Time, that destroys the Hero’s trophied bust,                                         90
Shall spare the bay that blossoms o’er his dust.


Title The Literary Fund Now, “The Royal Literary Fund.” Founded in 1790 by Rev. David Williams, the fund aims to support writers in pursing their work in times of financial hardship. The fund has aided well-known writers like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Joseph Conrad, D.H. Lawrence, and James Joyce, as well as countless other lesser-known authors.

5 Manes of Butler, Otway, Dryden Summoning the souls of poets Samuel Butler (1612-1680), Thomas Otway (1652-1685), and John Dryden (1631-1700).

9 opes Opens, provides opportunity.

11 Poesy Poetry.

17 illiberal “Unscholarly, not refined” (OED).

18 hemlock “The common name of Conium maculatum, a poisonous umbelliferous plant, having a stout branched stem with purplish spots, finely divided leaves, and small white flowers; it is used medicinally as a powerful sedative” (OED).

32 ermin’d “Cloaked in ermine fur; garmented” (OED).

36 venerate “To regard with feelings of respect and reverence” (OED).

60 Gallic Daemon References the French version of “freedom,” or “liberté,” one of the rallying cries of the French Revolution (1789-99).

69 Right Divine A reference to the divine right of kings, which asserted that a king’s absolute power was sanctioned by God.

75 British Oak An emblem of British nationalism.

88 He, who first this noble fabric rais’d Rev. David Williams (1738-1816), Welsh minster and philosopher who founded the Literary Fund.

91 the bay Or, laurel; “Leaves or sprigs of this tree, esp. as woven into a wreath or garland to reward a conqueror or poet” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (May 1799), pp. 420-21.

Edited by Tanashati Anderson

Jacob Axford, “On my sudden going on board the Orford and her leaving the Land”


 “On my sudden going on board the Orford and her leaving the Land”

And must I go? so sudden the Surprize!
Not one last Look to feed my longing Eyes?
No Time to tell the Part’ner of my Heart,
How long, or wherefore we so soon must part?
Be torn from all, that ALL my Soul held dear?                                      5
My Life, my Love, my Bliss, my All was her.
The kind Companion of each anxious Hour,
Fair Nature’s Pride, and Virtue’s choicest Flower:
Whose Conversation charm’d the tedious Day,
Whilst the wing’d Hours stole unperceiv’d away:                                10
Who soft’ned Anguish with the Sweets of Love,
The last best Blessing of all bounteous Jove.
The Orford now, impatient for the Seas,
Waits the Conveyance of a gentle Breeze.
Th’ expectant Seaman now with eager Eyes                                         15
Sees the kind Zephyrs o’er the Waters rise.
The Waters whiten with th’ auspicious Gales
That fan the Air, and fill the swelling Sails:
The lofty Vessel thro’ the liquid Way
Triumphant rides, and cuts the yielding Sea:                                        20
To fair Britannia bids a long Adieu,
And with far distant Countries in her View
Mounts o’er the Billows, glides along the Main,
Nor leaves th’ Impression on the watry Plain.
Adieu, fair Britain, native lovely Isle,                                                 25
On whom Heaven deigns propitiously to smile;
Bright regal Seat of Princes and of Kings,
To whom each distant World its Tribute brings:
Blest Soil, where Plenty reigns thro’ every Part,
Where bounteous Ceres chears each honest Heart:                            30
Where every Blessing Nature can demand
The GOD of Nature gives with liberal Hand;
And all that Luxury can require, or Pride,
Is by the obedient Sea from far suppli’d:
Where pure Religion shines divinely bright;                                          35
Untainted here, and in its native Light:
Where Heaven born Liberty uprears its Head,
Its Godlike Influence thro’ the Land to spread;
Where beauteous Virgins crown each amouros Swain,
And happy Subjects bless great George’s Reign:                                  40
Farwel fair Isle! may every Blessing crown
Thy happy Shore, and mark it with Renown:
Thy mighty Arms may Conquest still attend,
Till haughty Spain shall sue to be thy Friend:
Till Europe’s Foes be greatly overthrown,                                                45
France find Submission and Lorrain a Throne:
O may no Faction vex thy friendly Shore,
But Peace prevail, and Discord be no more:
May differing Parties lay their Hatred by,
Ambition cease, and baneful Envy die:                                                   50
Bliss, Love, and Union reign throughout thy Isle,
And Joys eternal on thy Natives smile.
The mighty Vessel lab’ring with the Wind,
By narrow Seas no longer now confin’d,
To the vast Ocean wings her watry Way                                                 55
And cuts her Passage thro’ th’ Atlantic Sea.
So when th’ immortal Soul and Body part,
And Nature’s Call o’er-powers the Strength of Art;
Th’ aerial Mind from the embodying Clay
At the dread Summons breaks like Light away;                                     60
And, from the narrow Bound of Time set free,
Plunges into th’ Abyss of vast Eternity:
Stupendous Thought! here stop my Soul, and know
Th’ amazing Change that all must undergo:
When pale Disease proclaims thy parting Breath,                                 65
And sick’ning Nature tells approaching Death:
When the grim King of Terrors shall appear,
Thy tott’ring Frame when strong Convulsions tare:
How wilt thou dare to view thy future State?
Or stand the Shock of thy incumbent Fate?                                            70
Dar’st thou reflect upon that awful Day,
When the great Judge in terrible Array,
To doom the guilty and the just to clear,
In all his Father’s Glory shall appear?
Leaves conscious Guilt no Stain upon thy Mind?                                   75
Hast thou no unrepented Vice behind?
Within the secret Chamber of thy Breast,
Lurks there no guilty no deceitful Guest?
Is all serene, and calm, and clear within?
Does Recollection tell no darling Sin?                                                      80
Then boldly venture on the unknown Shore;
Death with his Terrors can affright no more:
Beyond the peaceful Mansions of the Grave,
No dismal Views thy guiltless Mind can have:
No Hopes, no Cares, thy Peace shall e’er annoy,                                   85
But Death shall prove thy Entrance into Joy:
When on the Bed of Sickness thou shalt lie,
And thy weak Frame shall totter, sink and die,
Thy conscious Innocence thy Mind shall chear,
And glorious Prospects op’ning shall appear:                                         90
Blest Choirs of Angels wait thy fleeting Soul,
And circling Joys thro’ endless Ages roll.
Eternity shall short liv’d Time devour,
And Guilt, and Pain, and Sorrow be no more.


Title Orford Ship possibly named after the Royal Navy Officer Edward Russell, the first Earl of Orford 1653-1727. Edward was one of the “Immortal Seven” who encouraged William of Orange to usurp James II (“Edward Russell” Wikipedia).

 12 Jove “The supreme deity of the ancient Romans, corresponding to the Greek Zeus; the ruler of gods and men, and the god of the heavens, whose weapon was the thunderbolt” (OED).

16 Zephyrs “A soft mild gentle wind or breeze” (OED).

 23 Billows A swelling wave of the sea produced by a high wind, but often used as a poetical reference to ‘the sea’ (OED).

 23 Main As in mainsail, which is “the principal sail of a ship” (OED).

26 Propitiously “Of God, the fates, etc.: disposed to be favorable; gracious; merciful, lenient” (OED).

30 Ceres “In Roman religion and mythology, goddess of grain; daughter of Saturn and Ops. She was identified by the Romans with the Greek Demeter. Her worship was connected with that of the earth goddess and involved not only fertility rites but also rites for the dead” (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia).

35 pure Religion Protestantism.

 39 amouros Swain A male servant who is in love, enamored, or fond (OED).

 40 George’s Reign George III (1738-1820), reigned from 1760.

 43-46 Thy mighty arms…France find Submission The Second Hundred Years’ War consisted of a series of military conflicts between France and England, including the Seven Years’ War over the colonization of North America. Such conflicts caused England and France to be bitter rivals, while Spain and France remained allies (“Second Hundred Years’ War,” Wikipedia; “Pacte de Famille,” Enclopedia Britannica).

46 Lorrain a Throne Dominion over Lorraine was exchanged between France and the Habsburgs of the Holy Roman Empire throughout the seventeenth century. “Lorraine was given to Stanisław I, the former king of Poland and father-in-law of the French king Louis XV, by the treaties (1738) ending the War of the Polish Succession.” After Stanislaw I’s death in 1766, Lorraine was officially under French rule (“Lorraine Region, France,” Encyclopedia Britannica).

50 baneful “Destructive to well-being, pernicious, injurious” (OED).

 68 tare “The weight of the wrapping, receptacle, or conveyance containing goods, which is deducted from the gross in order to ascertain the net weight” (OED).

Source: Poems on Various Subjects, Divine, Moral and Entertaining: The Posthumous Works of Mr. Jacob Axford, Of the city of Bath, Late Surgeon of his Majesty’s Ship, Scipio; Written for his own Amusement. (Bath: S. Martin, 1764), pp. 16-19). [Google Books]

Edited by Kandace Linstrom