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With the morning's wet newspaper,
Our pursy Woollen-draper.
And so my Muse perforce drew bit;
And in he rush'd and panted-
What, ha'nt you heard ?” Come, out with it !-“That Tierney votes for Mister Pitt,
And Sheridan's recanted !” +
TALLEYRAND TO LORD GRENVILLE.
A METRICAL EPISTLE. I
[An unmetrical letter from Talleyrand to Lord Grenville has already appeared, and from an authority too high to be questioned : otherwise I could adduce some arguments for the exclusive authenticity of the following metrical Epistle. The very epithet which the wise ancients used, aurea carmina, might have been supposed likely to have determined the choice of
* But lo ! to interrupt my chat-1798. † “That Tierney's wounded Mr. Pitt,
And his fine tongue enchanted ?”—1798. Morning Post, January 10, 1800 ; Coleridge's “Essays on his own Times,” vol. 1. pp. 231-237.
the French minister in favour of verse; and the rather when we recollect that this phrase of “golden verses is applied emphatically to the works of that philosopher who imposed silence on all with whom he ḥad to deal. Besides is it not somewhat improbable that Talleyrand should have preferred prose to rhyme, when the latter alone has got the chink? Is it not likewise curious that in our official answer no notice whatever is taken of the Chief Consul, Bonaparte, as if there had been no such person existing ; notwithstanding that his existence is pretty generally admitted, nay that some have been so rash as to believe that he has created as great a sensation in the world as Lord Grenville, or even the Duke of Portland ? But the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Talleyrand, is acknowledged, which, in our opinion, could not have happened had he written only that insignificant prose-letter, which seems to precede Bonaparte's, as in old romances a dwarf always ran before to proclaim the advent or arrival of knight or giant. That Talleyrand's character and practices more resemble those of some regular Governments than Bonaparte's I admit ; but this of itself does not appear a satisfactory explanation. However, let the letter speak for itself. The second line is supererogative in syllables, whether from the oscitancy of the transcriber, or from the trepidation which might have overpowered the modest Frenchman, on finding himself in the act of writing to so great a man, I shall not dare to determine. A few Notes are added by
GNOME. To the Editor of The Morning Post.
P.S.-As mottoes are now fashionable, especially if taken from out-of-the-way books, you may prefix, if
you please, the following lines from Sidonius Apollinaris :
Saxa, et robora, corneasque fibras
TALLEYRAND, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AT
PARIS, TO LORD GRENVILLE, SECRETARY OF
Y Lord ! though your Lordship repel deviation
my name. I dared not presume on your Lordship to bounce, But thought it more exquisite first to announce ! My Lord ! I've the honour to be Talleyrand, And the letter's from me! you'll not draw back
Nor yet take it up by the rim in dismay,
Bribes, perjury, theft, and the devil and all !
serious ! It shock'd us at Paris, like something mysterious, That men who've a Congress—But no more of ’t !
I'm proud To have stood so distinct from the Jacobin crowd.
My Lord! though the vulgar in wonder be lost at My transfigurations, and name me Apostate, Such a meaningless nickname, which never in
Cannot prejudice you or your Cousin against me: I'm Ex-bishop. What then ? Burke himself would
agree That I left not the Church—'twas the Church that
left me. My titles prelatic I loved and retain'd, As long as what I meant by Prelate remain’d : And tho' Mitres no longer will pass in our mart, I'm episcopal still to the core of
* This sarcasm on the writings of moralists is, in general, extremely just; but had Talleyrand continued long enough in England, he might have found an honourable exception in the second volume of Dr. Paley's Moral Philosophy ; in which both Secret Influence, and all the other Established Forms, are justified and placed in their true light.
of A fashionable abbreviation in the higher circles for Republicans. Thus Mob was originally the Mobility.
No time from my name this my motto shall sever : 'Twill be Non sine pulvere palma* for ever!
Your goodness, my Lord, I conceive as excessive, Or I dared not present you a scroll so digressive; And in truth with my pen thro’ and thro’ I should
strike it; But I hear that your Lordship's own style is just
like it. Dear my Lord, we are right: for what charms can
be show'd In a thing that goes straight like an old Roman road? The tortoise crawls straight, the hare doubles about; And the true line of beauty still winds in and out. It argues, my Lord ! of fine thoughts such a brood
To split and divide into heads multitudinous, While charms that surprise (it can ne'er be denied
us) Sprout forth from each head, like the ears from
King Midas. Were a genius of rank, like a commonplace dunce, Compell’d to drive on to the main point at once, What a plentiful vintage of initiations i
* Palma non sine pulvere. In plain English, an itching palm, not without the yellow dust.
† The word Initiations is borrowed from the new Constitution, and can only mean, in plain English, introductory matter. If the manuscript would bear us out, we should propose to read the line thus"What a plentiful Verbage, what Initiations !” inasmuch as Vintage must necessarily refer to wine,