Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

CHAPTER IX.

The Anti-Jacobin - Its Objects and Violence—“The

Friends of Freedom”-Imitation of Latin Lyrics—The “Knife Grinder'—The “Progress of Man.”

THE “Anti-Jacobin” was commenced in

1 1797, with a view of counteracting the baneful influences of those revolutionary principles which were already rampant in France. The periodical, supported by the combined talent of such men as Gifford, Ellis, Hookham Frere, Jenkinson (Lord Liverpool) Lord Clare, Dr. Whitaker, and Lord Mornington, would no doubt have had a long and successful career, had not politics led it into a vituperative channel, through which it came to an untimely end in eight months. The following address to Jacobinism will give some idea of its spirit :“ Daughter of Hell, insatiate power,

Destroyer of the human race,
Whose iron scourge and maddening hour
Exalt the bad, the good debase :
Thy mystic force, despotic sway,
Courage and innocence dismay,
Ard patriot monarchs vainly groan
With pangs unfelt before, unpitied and alone.”

There were pictorial illustrations consisting of political caricatures of a very gross character, representing men grotesquely deformed, and sometimes intermixed with monsters, demons, frogs, toads, and other animlas.

One part of the paper was headed “Lies,” and another was devoted to correcting less culpable mis-statements. Some prose satirical pieces were introduced, such as “Fox's Birthday,” in which a mock description of a grand dinner is given, at which all the company had their pockets picked. After the delivery of revolutionary orations, and some attempts at singing “Paddy Whack,” and “ All the books of Moses,” the festival terminates in a disgusting scene of uproar. Several similar reports are given of “The Meeting of the Friends of Freedom," upon which occasions absurd speeches are made, such as that by Mr. Macfurgus, who declaims in the following grandiloquent style:

“Before the Temple of Freedom can be erected the surface must be smoothed and levelled, it must be cleared by repeated revolutionary explosions, from all the lumber and rubbish with which aristocracy and fanaticism will endeavour to encumber it, and to impede the progress of the holy work. The completion of the edifice will indeed be the more tardy, but it will not be the less durable for having been longer delayed. Cemented with the blood of tyrants and the tears of the aristocracy, it will rise a monument for the astonishment and veneration of future ages. The remotest posterity with our children yet unborn, and the most distant portions of the globe will crowd round its gates, and demand admission into its sanctuary. "The Tree of Liberty' will be planted in the midst, and its branches will extend to the ends of the earth, while the

[blocks in formation]

friends of freedom meet and fraternize and amalgamate under its consolatory shade. There our infants shall be taught to lisp in tender accents the revolutionary hymn, there with wreaths of myrtle, and oak, and poplar, and vine, and olive and cypress, and ivy, with violets and roses and daffodils and dandelions in our hands, we will swear respect to childhood and manhood, and old age, and virginity, and womanhood, and widowhood; but above all to the Supreme Being. There we will decree and sanction the immortality of the soul, there pillars and obelisks, and arches, and pyramids will awaken the love of glory and of our country. There painters and statuaries with their chisels and colours, and engravers with their engraving tools will perpetuate the interesting features of our revolutionary heroes."

The next extract is called “The Army of England,” written by the ci-devant Bishop of Autun, and represents a French invasion as imminent:

“Good republicans all

The Directory's call
Invites you to visit John Bull;
Oppressed by the rod
Of a king and a God

The cup of his misery's full;
“ Old Johnny shall see
What makes a man free,
Not parchments, or statutes, or paper;
And stripped of his riches,
Great charter and breeches,

Sball cut a free citizen's caper.
“ Then away, let us over

To Deal or to Dover,
We laugh at his talking so big;
He's pampered with feeding,
And wants a sound bleeding,

Par Dieu ! he shall bleed like a pig.
“ John tied to a stake

A grand baiting will make
When worried by mastiffs of France,
What republican fun
To see his blood run
As at Lyons, La Vendée and Nantes.

“ With grape-shot discharges,

And plugs in his barges,
With national razors good store,
We'll pepper and shave him
And in the Thames lave him
How sweetly he'll bellow and roar!
“ What the villain likes worse
We'll vomit his purse
And make it the guineas disgorge,
For your Raphaels and Rubens
We would not give twopence ;
Stick, stick to the pictures of George.”

The following is on “ The New Coalition” between Fox and Horne Tooke.

Fox. When erst I coalesced with North
And brought my Indian bantling forth
In place- I smiled at faction's storm,
Nor dreamt of radical reform.
Tooke. While yet no patriot project pushing
Content I thumped old Brentford's cushion,
I passed my life so free and gaily,
Not dreaming of that d-d Old Bailey.
Fox. Well, now my favourite preacher's Nickle,
He keeps for Pitt a rod in pickle;
His gestures fright the astonished gazers,
His sarcasms cut like Packwood's razors.

Tooke. Thelwall's my name for state alarm;
I love the rebels of Chalk Farm;
Rogues that no statutes can subdue,
Who'd bring the French, and head them too.
Fox. A whisper in your ear John Horne,
For one great end we both were born,
Alike we roar, and rant and bellow-
Give us your band my honest fellow.
Tooke. Charles, for a shuffler long I've known thee,
But come-for once I'll not disown thee,
And since with patriot zeal thou burnest,
With thee I'll live-or hang in earnest.

But the most celebrated of these poems is The Knife Grinder."

145

“ The Friend of Humanity, and The KnifeGrinder” –

Friend of Humanity. Needy knife-grinder! whither are

you going?
Rough is the road, your wheel is out of order,
Bleak blows the blast; your hat has got a hole in't,

So have your breeches !
Weary knife-grinder! little think the proud ones,
Who in their coaches roll along the turnpike-road,
What hard work 'tis crying all day, “knives and

Scissors to grind, O!”.
Tell me, knife-grinder, how you came to grind knives ?
Did some rich man tyranically use you?
Was it the squire ? or parson of the parish P

Or the attorney P
Was it the squire for killing of his game ? or
Covetous parson for his tithes distraining ?
Or roguish lawyer, made you lose your little

All in a lawsuit ?
(Have you not read the “Rights of Man" by Tom Paine ?)
Drops of compassion tremble on my eyelids,
Ready to fall as soon as you have told your

Pitiful story. Knife-grinder. Story! God bless you! I have none to

tell, Sir;
Only last night a-drinking at the Chequers,'
This poor old hat and breeches, as you see, were

Torn in a scuffle.
Constables came up for to take me into
Custody; they took me before the justice,
Justice Oldmixon put me in the parish-

Stocks for a vagrant.
I should be glad to drink your honour's health in
A pot of beer, if you will give me sixpence,
But for my part I never love to meddle

With politics, Sir.
Friend of Humanity. I give thee sixpence! I will see

thee d md first! Wretch! whom no sense of wrong can rouse to vengeance ! Sordid ! unfeeling! reprobate ! degraded!

Spiritless outcast! (Kicks the knife-grinder, overturns his wheel, and exit in a

transport of Republican enthusiasm and universal philanthropy.)

This poem, written as a parody of “The
VOL. II.

« ПредишнаНапред »