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Blue and Buff

George Canning 1770 (Marylebone, Middlesex) – 1827 (Chiswick, Middlesex)

Come, sportive Muse, with plume satiric,
Describe each lawless, bold empiric,
Who, with the Blue and Buffs' sad crew,
Now stripp'd in buff, shall look so blue.

First paint L---d H---w---k, boisterous, rough,
Dealer in wholesale quack'ry stuff,
Who, far beyond famed Katterfelt,
Prescribed what ne'er was seen or felt;
Left Law and Reason in the lurch,
To mould the Senate, twist the Church:
But wand'ring once from Downing street,
Great Buckingham's old dome to greet,
With grand Catholiconian pill,
Was lost--on Constitution-hill.

Next W---dh---m, metaphysic elf,
Who all things knows--except himself;
Three tedious hours who raves and talks
Of all that in his cranium stalks;
Whose regular ideas fear
Militia much, more Volunteer,
A wild inapplicable genius,
Scarce versed in policy's quæ genus;
In syntax yet more scantly read,
Without one concord in his head.

Now, Muse, direct the shaft of wit,
Where little P---tty apes great Pitt;
This year in woe-begone oration,
To Britons paints a bankrupt nation:
Resources all dilapidate,
Taxation at extremest fate;
Whilst next this little, great, small man,
Heigh! presto! pass! by one bold plan,
Restores you all to peace and plenty;
The deuce is in't! won't this content ye?
With necromantic rod of Moses
(A twig cut from a bush of roses),
To ease at once your ev'ry fear,
Turns bear to bull, and bull to bear.

Nor miss, dear Muse, to gild my tale,
The gallant E---rl of L---d---e,
Who late to Paris post was sent, to
Become the dupe of Benevento;
Hush'd to soft sleep like "Baby Bunting,"
Whilst Fap the Great went out "a-hunting."
Or was it, say, thou bonny chiel,
Thy ardent love for Britain's weal,
That led thy steps, a peep to take
At thy great territorial stake;
The purchase of thine assignats,
Thy Corso-Gallican contrats:
At once th' opprobrium and solution,
Of all thy love for revolution.

The Muse recoils, as something shock'd her,
To charge with harm the harmless D---ct---r;
When, una voce, all allow,
He would do right--if he knew how.

But if, amongst this motely crew
One man of real parts we view:
With mind for highest station fit;
The colleague, friend, yet foe of Pitt;
He, to whose merits all men granted,
That Pitt's last list, one great name wanted;
He, who with every talent shone,
Except consistency alone;
"We smile, if such a man there be,
"But weep, if Grenville should be he."

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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George Canning

George Canning, FRS, was a British statesman and politician who served as Foreign Secretary and was briefly Prime Minister. Canning was born into an Anglo-Irish family at his parents' home in Queen Anne Street, Marylebone, London. Canning described himself as "an Irishman born in London". His father, George Canning, Sr., of Garvagh, County Londonderry, Ireland, was a gentleman of limited means, a failed wine merchant and lawyer, who renounced his right to inherit the family estate in exchange for payment of his substantial debts. George Sr. eventually abandoned the family and died in poverty on 11 April 1771, his son's first birthday, in London. Canning's mother, Mary Anne Costello, took work as a stage actress, a profession not considered respectable at the time. Indeed when in 1827 it looked as if Canning would become Prime Minister, Lord Grey remarked that "the son of an actress is, ipso facto, disqualified from becoming Prime Minister". more…

All George Canning poems | George Canning Books

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