BETA

Proteus, the Politician.

And this is law, I will maintain,
Until my dying day, sir,
That whatsoever king shall reign,
I’ll still be vicar of Bray, sir.”
Old Song.
What is patriotism, most excellent Pautagruel ?
The love of our country, say the philosophers.
The philosophers were thrice-distilled fools, herbs gathered from the weedy gardens of Egyptian,
cloisters and the Platonic Academe, and exposed to a white heat of moonshine ; thence all of them is
vapourish and cold, like the dew of nightshade. The true patriotism is, to serve one’s country ; and
how is that to be done but by first serving one’s-self ? most profound Pantagruel.
I agree, ‘ conceditur.’ Thy words are worthy of the cedar presses of Dionysius the Elder.
Non amplius argumento utar.’ The courtier is the best patriot, because, whoever may rule, he
is ready to be paid.
Of a verity so it is, Doctissime. Whoever is cook, he will be turnspit.—Bruen—Ainsi soit il—
In sæcula
,”
RABELAIS.
Come you who’d learn the states-
man’s trade,
1
And listen to my tale, sir ;2
I’ll show you how a fortune’s made,3
Without the risk of jail, sir ;4
Alike in sunshine and in rain,5
I’ll teach you to make hay, sir.6
Get on, with neither heart nor brain,7
And never miss quarter-day, sir.8

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain9
Until I’m on halfpay, sir,10
I’ll wear, whoever gilds, the chain,11
And never miss quarter-day, sir.12
When first, a clown, I tried the town,13
I play’d, of course, the Tory,14
For Pitt was up, and Fox was down,15
And England in her glory.16
I curl’d my locks, I laugh’d at Fox,17
Swore Grey was but his lees, sir ;18
Call’d every Whig a fool and prig,19
And got my bread and cheese, sir.20

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.21
But Death, that strikes the man of
might,
22
And leaves the mean behind, sir,23
Took Pitt, and left, in England’s spite,24
The blind to lead the blind, sir.25
So, since stocks were up with Fox,26
(As honest as his sire, sir,)27
I saw new light, found black was white,28
And follow’d him through the mire,
sir
.
29

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.30
Then foggy Grenville, for a week31
Took up old Charley’s dice, sir :32
I got my livery and my steak,33
A patriot’s honest price, sir.34
But Perceval took up the box,35
And threw the lucky Main, sir :36
I ratted back, found white was black,37
And Tory turn’d again, sir.38

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.39
To Perceval I stoutly clung40
Till ended his career, sir,41
For which old Bellingham was hung.”42
My conscience then grew clear, sir ;43
I play’d court fool for Liverpool,44
I fetch’d and carried news, sir ;45
From year to year I bore his sneer,46
And would have wiped his shoes,
sir
.
47

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.48
Then Canning, pledged the state to
save,
49
Came in ’ twixt Whig and Tory,50
Unrivall’d at a pun or stave,51
Speech, epigram, or story ;52
But just as fit to follow Pitt,53
As squibs to light the sun, sir.54
To stick to place is no disgrace,55
So I kept sticking on, sir.56

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.57
Then out went Canning’s sparkling
lamp,
58
And Goderich came, the placid ;59
The first the meteor of the swamp,60
The next a neutral-acid. ;61
I changed my cloth, and, nothing loth62
Fell back upon the Whig, sir.63
A wise man likes his supper hot,64
The rest’s not worth a fig, sir.65

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.66
Then Lansdowne came, that son of
fame,
67
Once puff’d to rival Pitt, sir ;68
Thus learned pigs wear judge’s wigs,69
And monkeys show their wit, sir.70
Thus Brummagem makes London
knives,
71
And Liverpool cigars, sir ;72
And every village stroller strives73
To rank with Drury’s stars, sir.74

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.75
Then Wellington, the Mighty, reign’d76
And I was his recruit, sir ;77
I felt my conscience unrestrain’d,78
And kiss’d his Tory boot, sir.79
The Papist bill, his sovereign will80
Commanded to be law, sir ;81
’Twas all the same, from whom it came,82
His Highness, or Jack Straw, sir.83

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.84
But every dog will have his day,85
The Whigs once more slipt in, sir,86
High times for granite-visaged Grey,87
And all his kith and kin, sir !88
My conscience whisper’d— “ Cut his
Grace,
89
And serve your country still, sir.”90
I kept its counsel, and my place,91
And swallow’d Lord John’s pill,
sir
.
92

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.93
Next Melbourne came, the ladies’
flame,
94
A man to “ courts” well known,
sir
;
95
The nation’s pride, the church’s guide,96
True pillar of the throne, sir ;97
Who guards our isles with smirks
and smiles,
98
And laughs at troops and ships,
sir
,
99
But makes reports on Windsor sports,100
And chamber-women’s slips, sir.101

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.102
Then Chartism roar’d from north to
south,
103
And Whigs, for once, were mute,
sir
,
104
And Melbourne, unsuspecting youth, 105
Lent Owen his court-suit, sir.106
I ogled then “ Mackenzie” Hume,107
My conscience was new skinn’d,
sir
;
108
In Rome we do like those in Rome,109
And none can live on wind, sir.110

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain, &c.111
And now I stand, like Talleyrand,112
Of every quack the drum, sir,113
Thro’ time and space I’ll keep my
place,
114
And worship all that come, sir,115
Peel, Jack the Painter, Wellington,116
Wat Tyler, or old Grey, sir,117
My rule— “ Take care of Number
One,
118
And never miss quarter-day,” sir.119

Chorus.

And this is sense, I will maintain120
To gather place and pay, sir,121
To labour, live, and die for gain,122
And never miss quarter-day, sir.123