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steer

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And scorn the censures of the envious

throng; Prove to the world, in these new-dawning

skies, What genius kindles and what arts arise ; What fav’ring Muses lent their willing

aid, As gay through Pindus' flowery paths

you stray'd; While in your strains the purest morals

flow'd, Rules to the great, and lessons to the

good. All Virtue's friends are yours. Disclose

the lays; Your country's heroes claim the debt of

praise; Fame shall assent, and future years ad

mire Barlow's strong flight, and Dwight's Homeric fire.

1785.

M'FINGAL

The cloud of Critics on your Muse de

scends! From every side, with deadly force, shall The fierce Review, the censuring Gazet

teer, Like Magazines, that pointless jests supply, And quick Gazettes, that coin the cur

rent lie. Each coffee-house shall catch the loud

alarms, The Temple swarm, and Grub-street

wake to arms. As vultures, sailing through the dark

en'd air, Whet their keen talons, and their beaks

prepare, O'er warring armies wait th' approaching

fray, And state their wishes on the future prey; Each cens'rer thus the tempting lure pur

sues, And hangs o'er battles of your Epic muse, The pamper'd critic feeds on slaughter'd

names, And each new bard a welcome feast pro

claims, Such men to charm, could Homer's muse

avail, Who read to cavil, and who write to rail; When ardent genius pours the bold sub

lime, Carp at the style, or nibble at the rhyme; Misstate your thoughts, misconstrue your

design, And cite, as samples, every feebler line? To praise your muse be your admirer's

care; Her faults alone the critics make their

share. Where you succeed, beyond their sphere

you've flown, But where you fail, the realm is all their

own. By right they claim whatever faults are

found, For nonsense trespasses on critic ground; By right they claim the blunders of your

lays, As lords of manors seize on waifs and

strays. Yet heed not these, but join the sons

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CANTO III

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THE LIBERTY POLE 1 Now warm with ministerial ire, Fierce sallied forth our loyal ’Squire, And on his striding steps attends His desperate clan of Tory friends. When sudden met his wrathful eye A pole ascending through the sky, Which numerous throngs of whiggish race Were raising in the market-place. Not higher school-boy's kites aspire, Or royal mast, or country spire; Like spears at Brobdignagian tilting, Or Satan's walking-staff in Milton. And on its top, the flag unfurl'd Waved triumph o'er the gazing world, Inscribed with inconsistent types Of Liberty and thirteen stripes.? Beneath, the crowd without delay The dedication-rites essay, And gladly pay, in antient fashion, The ceremonies of libation;

1 The first two cantos, originally published as one in 1776, tell of the debate between Honorius, the Whig, and M'Fingal, the Loyalist.

The fourth, published with the third in 1782, con. cluded the story with the forced flight of M'Fingal. 2 The American flag. It would doubtless be

to imagine that the stripes bear any allusion to the slave trade. (This and the other notes to the poem were supplied by the author in the edition of 1820.)

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of song,

sal ignorance and stupidity. The present writers in the Quarterly Review have made it the vehicle of insult and slander upon our genius and manners. Whether they will be more successful with the pen, than with the sword, in prostrat. ing America at their feet, Time, the ancient arbiter, will determine in due season.

wrong

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While briskly to each patriot lip
Walks eager round the inspiring Aip:1
Delicious draught! whose powers inherit
The quintessence of public spirit;
Which whoso tastes, perceives his mind
To nobler politics refined;
Or roused to martial controversy,
As from transforming cups of Circe;
Or warm'd with Homer's nectar'd liquor,
That fill'd the veins of gods with ichor. 30
At hand for new supplies in store,
The tavern opes its friendly door,
Whence to and fro the waiters run,
Like bucket-men at fires in town.
Then with three shouts that tore the sky,
'Tis consecrate to Liberty.
To guard it from th' attacks of Tories,
A grand Committee cull'd of four is;
Who foremost on the patriot spot,
Had brought the flip, and paid the shot. 40

By this, M'Fingal with his train
Advanced upon th' adjacent plain,
And full with loyalty possest,
Pour'd forth the zeal, that fired his breast.
“What mad-brain'd rebel gave commis-

sion, To raise this May-pole of sedition? Like Babel, rear'd by bawling throngs, With like confusion too of tongues, To point at heaven and summon down The thunders of the British crown? Say, will this paltry Pole secure Your forfeit heads from Gage's power? Attack'd by heroes brave and crafty, Is this to stand your ark of safety ; Or driven by Scottish laird and laddie, Think ye to rest beneath its shadow ? When bombs, like fiery serpents, fly, And balls rush hissing through the sky, Will this vile Pole, devote to freedom, Save like the Jewish pole in Edom; Or like the brazen snake of Moses, Cure your crackt skulls and batter'd noses?

"Ye dupes to every factious rogue And tavern-prating demagogue, Whose tongue but rings, with sound more

full, On th' empty drumhead of his scull; Behold you not what noisy fools Use you, worse simpletons, for tools? For Liberty, in your own by-sense, Is but for crimes a patent license, To break of law th' Egyptian yoke, And throw the world in common stock; Reduce all grievances and ills To Magna Charta of your wills;

Flip, a liquor composed of beer, rum, and sugar; the common treat at that time in the country towns of New England.

Establish cheats and frauds and nonsense,
Framed to the model of your conscience;
Cry justice down, as out of fashion,
And fix its scale of depreciation; 2
Defy all creditors to trouble, ye,
And keep new years of Jewish jubilee; 80
Drive judges out, 3 like Aaron's calves,
By jurisdiction of white staves,
And make the bar and bench and steeple
Submit t' our Sovereign Lord, The People;
By plunder rise to power and glory,
And brand all property, as Tory;
Expose all wares to lawful seizures
By mobbers or monopolizers;
Break heads and windows and the peace,
For your own interest and increase;
Dispute and pray and fight and groan
For public good, and mean your own;
Prevent the law by fierce attacks
From quitting scores upon your backs;
Lay your old dread, the gallows, low,
And seize the stocks, your ancient foe,
And turn them to convenient engines
To wreak your patriotic vengeance;
While all, your rights who understand,
Confess them in their owner's hand;
And when by clamours and confusions,
Your freedom's grown a public nuisance,
Cry “Liberty." with powerful yearning,
As he does “Fire!" whose house is burning;
Though he already has much more
Than he can find occasion for.
While every clown, that tills the plains,
Though bankrupt in estate and brains,
By this new light transform'd to traitor,
Forsakes his plough to turn dictator,
Starts an haranguing chief of Whigs,
And drags you by the ears, like pigs.
All bluster, arm'd with factious licence,
New-born at once to politicians.
Each leather-apron'd dunce, grown wise,
Presents his forward face t advise,
And tatter'd legislators meet,
From every, workshop through the street.
His goose the tailor finds new use in,
To patch and turn the Constitution;
The blacksmith comes with sledge and

grate
To iron-bind the wheels of state;
The quack forbears his patients' souse,
To purge the Council and the House;

? Alluding to the depreciation of the Continental paper money. Congress finally ascertained the course of its declension at different periods, by what was called, A Scale of Depreciation.

3 On the commencement of the war, the courts of justice were,

where shut up. instances, the judges were forced to retire, by the people, who assembled in multitudes, armed with white staves.

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ever

In some

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The tinker quits his moulds and doxies,
To cast assembly-men and proxies.
From dunghills deep of blackest hue,
Your dirt-bred patriots spring to view,
To wealth and power and honors rise,
Like new-wing'd maggots changed to
flies,

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And fluttering round in high parade,
Strut in the robe, or gay cockade.
See Arnold quits, for ways more certain,
His bankrupt-perj'ries for his fortune,
Brews rum no longer in his store,
Jockey and skipper now no more,
Forsakes his warehouses and docks,
And writs of slander for the pox;1
And cleansed by patriotism from shame,
Grows General of the foremost name. 140
For in this ferment of the stream
The dregs have work'd up to the brim,
And by the rule of topsy-turvies,
The sum stands foaming on the surface.
You've caused your pyramid t' ascend,
And set it on the little end.
Like Hudibras, your empire's made,
Whose crupper had o'ertopp'd his head.
You've push'd and turn'd the whole world

upSide down, and got yourself at top,

150 While all the great ones of your state Are crush'd beneath the popular weight; Nor can you boast, this present hour, The shadow of the form of power. For what's your Congress 2 or its end? A power, t' advise and recommend; To call forth troops, adjust your quotasAnd yet no soul is bound to notice; To pawn your faith to th' utmost limit, But cannot bind you to redeem it;

160 And when in want no more in them lies, Than begging from your States-Assem

blies,
Can utter oracles of dread,
Like friar Bacon's brazen head,
But when a faction dares dispute 'em,
Has ne'er an arm to execute 'em :

1 Arnold's perjuries at the time of his pre. tended bankruptcy, which was the first rise of his fortune; and his curious lawsuit against a brother skipper, who had charged him with hav. ing caught the above-mentioned disease, by his connection with a certain African princess in the West Indies, were among the early promises of his future greatness, and honors.

? The author here, in a true strain of patriotic censure, pointed out the principal defects in the first federal constitution of the United States; all which have been since removed in the new Constitution, established in the year 1789. So that the prophecy below, You'll ne'er have sense enough to mend it, must be ranked among the other sage blunders of his second-sighted hero. Lond. Edit.

As tho' you chose supreme dictators,
And put them under conservators.
You've but pursued the self-same way
With Shakespeare's Trinc'lo3 in the play;
"You shall be Viceroys here, 'tis true, 171
"But we'll be Viceroys over you."
What wild confusion hence must ensue?
Tho' common danger yet cements you:
So some wreck'd vessel, all in shatters,
Is held up by surrounding waters,
But stranded, when the pressure ceases,
Falls by its rottenness to pieces.
And fall it must! if wars were ended,
You'll ne'er have sense enough to mend
it:

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But creeping on, by low intrigues,
Like vermin of a thousand legs,
'Twill find as short a life assign'd,
As all things else of reptile kind.
Your Commonwealth's a common harlot,
The property of every varlet;
Which now in taste, and full employ,
All sorts admire, as all enjoy:
But soon a batter'd strumpet grown,
You'll curse and drum her out of town. 190
Such is the government you chose;
For this you bade the world be foes;
For this, so mark'd for dissolution,
You scorn the British Constitution,
That constitution form'd by sages,
The wonder of all modern ages;
Which owns no failure in reality,
Except corruption and venality;
And merely proves the adage just,
That best things spoil'd corrupt to worst:
So man supreme in earthly station,
And mighty lord of this creation,
When once his corse is dead as herring,
Becomes the most offensive carrion,
And sooner breeds the plague, 'tis found,
Than all beasts rotting on the ground.
Yet with republics to dismay us,
You've call’d up Anarchy from chaos,
With all the followers of her school,
Uproar and Rage and wild Misrule:
For whom this rout of Whigs distracted,
And ravings dire of every crack'd head:
These new-cast legislative engines
Of County-meetings and Conventions;
Committees vile of correspondence,
And mobs, whose tricks have almost un-

done 's : While reason fails to check your course, And Loyalty's kick'd out of doors, 3 This political plan of Trinculo in the "Tem.

may be found in the old folio edition of Shakespeare. It has since been expunged by some of his wise commentators.

* Millepedes.

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pest,

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And Folly, like inviting landlord,
Hoists on your poles her royal standard;
While the king's friends, in doleful dumps,
Have worn their courage to the stumps,
And leaving George in sad disaster,
Most sinfully deny their master.
What furies raged when you, in sea,
In shape of Indians, drown'd the tea ;1
When your gay sparks, fatigued to watch it,
Assumed the moggison and hatchet,
With wampum'd blankets hid their laces,
And like their sweethearts, primed? their

faces :
While not a red-coat dared oppose,
And scarce a Tory show'd his nose;
While Hutchinson,3 for sure retreat,
Maneuvred to his country seat,
And thence affrighted, in the suds,
Stole off bareheaded through the woods.

"Have you not roused your mobs to join, And make Mandamus-men resign, 238 Call'd forth each duffil-drest curmudgeon, With dirty trowsers and white bludgeon, Forced all our Councils through the land, To yield their necks at your command; While paleness marks their late disgraces, Through all their rueful length of faces ?

"Have you not caused as woeful work In our good city of New York, When all the rabble, well cockaded, In triumph through the streets paraded, And mobb'd the Tories, scared their

spouses, And ransack'd all the custom-houses ;4 250

Made such a tumult, bluster, jarring,
That mid the clash of tempests warring,
Smith's5 weather-cock, in veers forlorn,
Could hardly tell which way to turn?
Burn'd effigies of higher powers,
Contrived in planetary hours;
As witches with clay-images
Destroy or torture whom they please :
Till fired with rage, th' ungrateful club
Spared not your best friend, Beelzebub, 260
O’erlook'd his favors, and forgot
The reverence due l.is cloven foot,
And in the selfsame furnace frying,
Stew'd him, and North and Bute and

Tryon? 6
Did you not, in as vile and shallow way,
Fright our poor Philadelphian, Galloway,
Your Congress, when the loyal ribald
Belied, berated and bescribbled ?
What ropes? and halters did you send,
Terrific emblems of his end,
Till. least he'd hang in more than effigy,
Fled in a fog the trembling, refugee?
Now rising in progression fatal,
Have you not ventured to give battle?
When Treason chaced our heroes trou-

bled, With rusty gun,s and leathern doublet; Turn'd all stone-walls and groves and

bushes, To batteries arm'd with blunderbusses; And with deep wounds, that fate por

tend,
Gaul'd many a Briton's latter end;
Drove them to Boston, as in jail,
Confined without mainprize or bail.

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1 The cargo of tea sent to Boston, after being guarded for twenty nights, by voluntary, parties of the Whigs, to prevent its being clandestinely brought ashore, was thrown into the sea, by a party of about two hundred young men, dressed, armed and painted like Indians; but many a ruffled shirt and laced vest appeared under their blankets.

Primed, i.e., painted. 3 When the leading Whigs in Boston found it impossible to procure the Tea to be sent back, they secretly resolved on its destruction and prepared all the necessary means. To cover the design, a meeting of the people of the whole Country was convened on the day appointed, and spent their time in grave consultation on the question, what should be done to prevent its being landed and sold. The arrival of the Indians put an end to the debate, at the moment, when one of the foremost of the whig-orators was declaiming against all violent measures. Hutchinson was alarmed at the meeting, and retired privately in the morn. ing, to his country seat at Milton. Whether from mistake or design, information was sent to him, that the mob was coming to pull down his house. He escaped in the utmost haste across the fields. The story of the day was, that the alarm was given, at the time, when he sate half-shaved under the hands of his barber.

• The custom-house was broken open at New York, and all public monies seized.

5 William Smith, an eminent Lawyer in New York. He at first opposed the claims of Britain, but after wavering some time, at last joined our enemy. He has since been Chief Justice in Canada.

* Tryon was Governor of New York and a British General during the war. He had the glory of destroying the towns of Fairfield and Norwalk. Burnings in effigy were frequently the amusements of the mob at that period, and in imitation of the former custom of the Eng. lish in burning annually the Pope, the Devil, and the Pretender, Beelzebub, with his usual figure and accoutrements, was always joined in the conflagration with the other obnoxious char. acters.

" Galloway hegan by being a flaming patriot; but being disgusted at his own want of influence. and the greater popularity of others, he turned Tory, wrote against the measures of Congress, and absconded. Just before his escape, a trunk was put on board a vessel in the Delaware, to be delivered to Joseph Galloway; Esquire. On opening it, he found it contained only, as Shakespeare says, “A halter gratis, and leave to hang himself,

8 At the battle of Lexington.

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Were not these deeds enough betimes,
To heap the measure of your crimes :
But in this loyal town and dwelling,
You raise these ensigns of rebellion ?
'Tis done! fair Mercy shuts her door;
And Vengeance now shall sleep no more.
Rise then, my friends, in terror rise,
And sweep this scandal from the skies. 290
You'll see their Dagon, though well

jointed,
Will shrink before the Lord's anointed; 1
And like old Jericho's proud wall,
Before your ram's horns prostrate fall,”

This said, our 'Squire, yet undismay'd, Call'd forth the Constable to aid, And bade him read, in nearer station, The Riot-act and Proclamation. He swift, advancing to the ring, Began, “Our Sovereign Lord, the King"When thousand clam'rous tongues he

hears, And clubs and stones assail his ears. To fly was vain; to fight was idle; By foes encompass'd in the middle, His hope, in stratagems, he found, And fell right craftily to ground; Then crept to seek an hiding place, 'Twas all he could, beneath a brace; Where soon the conqu’ring crew espied him, And where he lurk’d, they caught and tied him.

310 At once with resolution fatal, Both Whigs and Tories rush'd to battle. Instead of weapons, either band Seized on such arms as came to hand. And as famed Ovid 2 paints th' adventures Of wrangling Lapithæ and Centaurs, Who at their feast, by Bacchus led, Threw bottles at each other's head; And these arms failing in their scuffles, Attack'd with andirons, tongs and shovels : So clubs and billets, staves and stones 321 Met fierce, encountering every sconce, And cover'd o'er with knobs and pains. Each void receptacle for brains; Their clamours rend the skies around, The hills rebellow to the sound; And many a groan increas'd the din From batter'd nose and broken shin. M'Fingal, rising at the word, Drew forth his old militia-sword; Thrice cried “King George," as erst in

distress, Knights of romance invoked a mistress;

1 The Tory clergy always stiled the King, the Lord's Anointed. The language of Cromwell's and Charles' ays was yet

in New England.

* See Ovid's Metamorphoses, book 12th.

And brandishing the blade in air,
Struck terror through th’ opposing war.
The Whigs, unsafe within the wind
Of such commotion, shrunk behind.
With whirling steel around address’d,
Fierce through their thickest throng he

press'd,
(Who rollid on either side in arch,
Like Red Sea waves in Israel's march) 340
And like a meteor rushing through,
Struck on their Pole a vengeful blow.
Around, the Whigs, of clubs and stones
Discharged whole vollies, in platoons,
That o'er in whistling fury fly;
But not a foe dares venture nigh.
And now perhaps with glory crown'd
Our 'Squire had fell’d the pole to ground,
Had not some Pow'r, a whig at heart,
Descended down and took their part;3 350
(Whether 'twere Pallas, Mars or Iris,
'Tis scarce worth while to make inquiries)
Who at the nick of time alarming,
Assumed the solemn form of Chairman,
Address'd a Whig, in every scene
The stoutest wrestler on the green,
And pointed where the spade was found,
Late used to set their pole in ground,
And urged, with equal arms and might,
To dare our 'Squire to single fight. 360
The Whig thus arm’d, untaught to yield,
Advanced tremendous to the field:
Nor did M'FINGAL shun the foe,
But stood to brave the desp'rate blow;
While all the party gazed, suspended
To see the deadly combat ended;
And Jove 4 in equal balance weigh'd
The sword against the brandish'd spade,
He weigh'd; but lighter than a dream,
The sword flew up, and kick'd the beam. 370
Our 'Squire on tiptoe rising fair
Lifts high a noble stroke in air,
Which hung not, but like dreadful engines,
Descended on his foe in vengeance.
But ah! in danger, with dishonor
The sword perfidious fails its owner;
That sword, which oft had stood its

ground, By huge trainbands encircled round; And on the bench, with blade right loyal, Had won the day at many a trial,5

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The learned reader will readily observe the allusions in this scene, to the single combats of Paris and Menelaus in Homer, Eneas and the Turnus in Virgil, and Michael and Satan in Milton. * Jupiter ipse duas æquato examine lances Sustinet & fata imponit diversa duorum, Quem damnet labor, &c.--Anid, 12. 5 It was the fashion in New England at that time, for judges to wear swords on the bench.

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