BETA

The Hungarian Joseph.

The following poem is intended to commemorate a very interesting episode,
which lately enlivened the deliberations of the National Reform Association.
The usual knot of Parliamentary orators having somewhat cavalierly left
the delegates to their own rhetorical resources, on the third day of conference,
and the conversation having taken a doleful turn, owing to the paucity of
subscriptions, the Chairman, Sir Joshua Walmsley, thought fit to enliven
the spirits of the meeting by the introduction of an illustrious visitor. The
following extract from the morning papers will explain the incident, as well
as the commemorative verses : —
The Chairman (Sir J. Walmsley) here left the platform, and shortly afterwards
returned, leading a short, stout, elderly, intelligent-looking geutleman, with a very
formidable mustache and bushy beard of snowy whiteness, whose appearance created
considerable excitement in the audience, and gave rise to great satisfaction in the
minds of several delegates, who were under the impression that they beheld Mr.
Muntz, the hon. member for Birmingham, whose beard is so well known by report to
the Liberal party.
The Chairman.—Gentlemen, you observed that I left the platform for a short
time, and returned with a gentleman who is now near me. It is no other than the
Joseph Hume of the Hungarians. (Loud cheers, followed by cries of ‘ Name, name.’)
The chairman did not appear able to afford the desired information, and the
venerable Hungarian financier wrote his name on a slip of paper, from which Sir
Joshua Walmsley read aloud what sounded like ‘Eugene Rioschy.’ (Cheers ; and
voices, ‘ We don’t know it now,’ ‘I can’t tell my wife ; ’ and laughter.)

I.

No, no ! ’ tis false ! it cannot be !1
When saw a mortal eye2
Two suns within the firmament,3
Two glories in the sky ?4
Nay, Walmsley, nay !  thy generous heart5
Hath all too wide a room :6
We’ll not believe it, e’en on oath—7
There’s but one Joseph Hume !8

II.

Unsay the word so rashly said ;9
From hasty praise forbear !10
Who bring a foreign Pompey here11
Our Cæsar’s fame to share ?12
The buzzard he is lord above,13
And Hume is lord below,14
So leave him peerless on his perch,15
Our solitary Joe !16

III.

He may be known, that bearded wight,17
In lands beyond the foam ;18
He may have fought the fiery fight19
’Gainst taxes raised at home.20
And hate of kings, and scorn of peers,21
May rankle in his soul ;22
But surely never hath he reached23
The tottle of the whole.”24

IV.

Yes, he may tell of doughty deeds,25
Of battles lost and won,26
Of Austrian imposts bravely spurned !27
By each reforming Hun.28
But dare he say that he hath borne29
The jeers of friend and foe,30
Yet still prosed on for thirty years31
Like our transcendent Joe ?32

V.

Or hath he stood alone in arms33
Against the guileful Greek,34
Demanding back his purchase-coin35
With oath, and howl, and shriek ?36
Deemed they to hold with vulgar bonds37
That lion in the net ?38
One sweep of his tremendous paw39
Could cancel all their debt.40

VI.

How could we tell our Spartan wives41
That, in this sacred room,42
We dared, with impious throats, proclaim43
A rival to the Hume ?44
Our children, in their hour of need,45
Might style us England’s foes,46
If other chief we owned than one,47
The member for Montrose.48

VII.

O soft and sweet are Cobden’s tones49
As blackbird’s in the brake ;50
And Oldham Fox and Quaker Bright51
A merry music make ;52
And Thompson’s voice is clear and strong,53
And Kershaw’s mild and low.54
And nightingales would hush their trill55
To list M’Gregor’s flow ;56

VIII.

But Orpheus’ self, in mute despair57
Might drop his magic reed58
When Hume vouchsafes, in dulcet strains,59
The people’s cause to plead.60
All other sounds of earth and air61
Are mute and lost the while ;62
The rasping of a thousand saws,63
The screeching of the file.64

IX.

With him we’ll live, with him we’ll die,65
Our lord, our light, our own ;66
We’ll keep all foemen from his face,67
All rivals from his throne.68
Though Tory prigs, and selfish Whigs,69
His onward course assail.70
Here stand a hundred delegates,71
All joints of Joseph’s tail.72

X.

Ho, there !  remove that hairy Hun73
With beard as white as snow ;74
We need no rank reformers here75
To cope with honest Joe.76
Not Muntz, with all his bristly pride,77
From him our hearts can wean :78
We know his ancient battle-cry—79
Shave close, my friends, and clean ! ”80