Paris, August 30, 1792.

MON Dieu ! what a riot, the people now reign,
They're as saucy as Britons, and fling off their chain ;
All bold and erect, every ruffian we meet,
And the coachmen in tremors, scarce trot thro' the street ;
With a flourishing whip, once they gallop'd along,
And crush'd out the souls of the insolent throng ;
To fracture a leg, was but reckon'd a joke,
While the chariot was whirling thro' foam, and thro' smoke;
How delightfully shrill the vile porters would bawl,
As their guts were squeez'd out, tho' they crept to the wall.
And the simpering beaux, with a grace, and an air,
Said, the streets are too narrow — why should they be there?
But now the canaille plead the freedom of man,
And the more is the pity, cries Mallet du Pan.*

All order is lost, no distinctions remain,
Crosses, ribbands, and titles no rev'rence obtain ;
Yet these innovators, whose crimes I detest,
Say mortals are equal, the best are the best ;
In somethings they're equal, as ev'ry one knows,
Each man has two arms, two legs, and one nose ;
And of the same blood is the poissarde and madam,
If we foolishly wander to Eve, and to Adam ;
But who can e'er doubt, where nobility shines,
That the blood in its course, both ferments and refines ;
Impregnate with virtue, it splendid flows,
Tho' from the same source it congenially rose ;
So parsnips and carrots a spirit produce,
But the flavour and strength are confin'd to the juice ;
Tho' meteors from dunghills with lustre arise,
Is the filth left behind like the flame in the skies ?
As the blossoms and fruit — the sweet nobles we see,
Like the clod, the mere vulgar should nourish the tree ;
Comte, Prince, and Marquis, are somewhat divine,
And the multitude sure little better than swine :
Then on this great topic, let's have no more babble,
For the nobles are nobles, the people are rabble.

The bishops no longer in splendour appear,
For alas ! they're reduced to five hundred a-year ;
The wicked now scoff, as Christ's vicars approach,
As they've lost all respect with their footmen and coach ;
And the poor now retort with a sly sneer and laughter,
The worse your lot now — you'll be better hereafter.
Chaste Nuns in their cloysters no longer will tarry,
Nor like angels count beads, but like carnal jades marry :
With no Matins, no Vespers their sorrow prolong,
But their sentiments speak in this amorous song:


NO more we'll celebrate the MASS,
     With Abbesses and Friars ;
But all our future moments pass
     In soothing soft desires !

To nuptial bliss we'll now aspire,
     And beauty's triumphs shew,
While beam our eyes with youthful fire,
     While yet our bosoms glow.

To Venus, and the winged Boy,
     We'll consecrate our lives ;
Chaste Nuns shall feel a double joy,
     As mothers and as wives.

Alas ! what a change in the clergy of late,
No more will they model, and govern the state ;
No moreh e'en the name of the people erase,
And elect to the crown by their own special grace ;
No more to a king in their loyalty turn,
And beg each hereticali monster to burn ;
From christian affection they'd torture his frame,
And inspire him with grace, and new life from the flame ;
A frog thus our curious Anatomists chop,
Lay bare his fine nerves, his elastic limbs lop,
Till he dies all convulsed in sad muscular strife,
Then they grant him a wond'rous reversion of life ;
By electrical sparks all his functions restore,
And the croaker soon vibrates, and jumps as before.§
But still to the Priests of dear Albion I stray,
And passive obedience inspires the fond lay ;
Which they piously preach, while their hands they uplift,
Abjuring the tenets of PARR and of SWIFTl :
Those lights of the Church, how they gloriously shine,
While HORSLEY in Kings spies out somewhat divine !
As Ulysses inspir'd saw Gods in disguise,**
Tho' Asses and Owls in an Infidel's eyes ;
And hence on the Prelate, grace sheds a new light,
As a glass Achromatic§§ illumines the night :
Celestial his ken, beyond dim reason's mark,
For a Priest like a cat can see best in the dark ;
This leads him of mystical secrets to tell,
As stars lost in the sky, may be found in a well.

What harassing duties their Lordships can bear,
While they vote as they're bid — or compose a fine pray'r !
Hear PORTEUS exclaim ; ***Could the envious but see,
Their heart-felt afflictions, they soon would agree,
That coaches, emoluments, titles, and plate,
Are but trifling douceurs to alleviate their state ;
While the dire apprehensions they scarcely can bear,
Lest the souls should be lost, they have had in their care ;
This mars all their pleasures, deprives them of rest,
And with dismal forebodings distresses their breast ;"
On the bench, for our sins, how the pious tear drops,
Where they nod like black Turkey-cocks hung with red chops.

Thro' the peasants, rebellion her venom has spread,
And the wholesome coercion of justice is fled ;
Uncontroll'd every farmer, nay cottager runs,
To range o'er the fields with his dogs and his guns :
And each ploughman exults, and triumphantly bears,
To his children and wife, the plump pheasants and hares ;
Tho' once if he dar'd thus to sport and to dally,
He had tug'd for his life in the king's royal galley :
O ne'er may such freedom in Britain prevail,
May the 'Squire still commit to the hulks, or the jail,
The felons, who dare e'en to throw a sly glance,
On a partridge or hare that's brought over from France.§§§
And lest poachers should ever escape from his fury,
Imprison and whip, without judges or jury.
May our Lords and our Commons associate together,
And join in this cause like birds of a feather ;
To enforce the game laws, may they always assemble,
Informers to cherish, make yeomen to tremble.

Here the peasant affects to be chearful and blythe,
Tho' he works at no corvée, nor pays any tythe ;
He's a Citizen call'd, by this title so fine,
He eats his own bread, and enjoys his own wine ;
And this maxim flagitious he ventures to broach,
That he'll now drive his cart, cheek by jowl with a coach ;
And as mortals are equal by nature and birth,
That we all have a claim to a slice of the earth.
Tho' Aristocrates their own purpose to serve,
Would surfeit and riot, when millions they starve.
Ah curs'd be such maxims, shall monarchy bow,
And man claim a right to the sweat of his brow ?
Shall thrones be revers'd by such apothegms scurvy
That our system will shake, till it's quite topsy turvy.

Still I mourn, and exclaim what disasters I see,
For pleasure is fled with all laughter and glee ;
Here the rough sons of Britain were taught the soft glance,
And imbib'd the allegiance, and maxims of France ;
To spurn the mere vulgar, to bow with some grace,
And beg at St. James's a title or place.
Now saucy viragoes triumphantly ride
With a belt o'er the shoulder, and sword by the side ;
Of Freedom and France with much sauciness prate,
And encourage their children to fight for the state ;
They all are be-soldier'd, no citizen's idle,
As some hold the musquet, and others the bridle
Clad in blue (without buff), but the poor tatter'd tyke,
Who can't purchase a gun, struts along with a pyke.
Postillions and Carters, most civilly greet,
And bestow on each other cockades in the street ;
But no silk one's allow'd on Egalité's plan,
As a worsted cockade marks the level of man.

Here the Graces no longer frisk, frolic, and smile,
No more will gay Paris all Europe beguile ;
Nor enchant her wild Youth both by love and by play,
And inebriate their souls at a petit souper :
For love was enhanc'd by the musical strain,
And the fair were Calypsos, in wit and champaign ;
Our beauties to please, as my lays dance along,
I, gladly translate a short amorous song:

LUCINDA boasts a charm divine,
     By love's enchanting grace;
On me her eyes benignly shine,
     While blushes paint her face.

She clasps me to her panting breast,
     Pleas'd with th'impassion'd strife;
Then sooths my amorous woes to rest,
     And cheers the gloom of life.

The glow-Worm's tail thus sheds a light,
     To guide her lover's way ;
For him illumes the dreary night,
     And gilds the thorny spray.

Thus the glow of dear sentiment bright'ned the face,
And beauty from fashion deriv'd a new grace ;
Sensation was taught mental feelings to prize,
And the wish of the heart gives a tongue to the eyes.
Sweetly throb'd with emotion the sensitive breast,
As myrtle deliciously breathes, when its press'd.
Social taste gave the ton, sped the blessings of life,
And every man courted another man's wife :
Thus friends were attach'd by the charms of each woman,
As the primitive christians had all things in common.
Love spread her gauze veil, and became more refin'd,
And the joys of the sense were impress'd on the mind :
So the painters bright tints we with rapture admire,
When enamel'd they shine, and are fixed by the fire.
The fair took from books what was decent and fit,
Hence the flavour and zest of their delicate wit :
Thus, from islands of spice, zephyrs flauntingly bear
The sweets that they steal, and perfume the whole air.

Here the pretty Bourgeoise, drest in simles and in charms,
Oft ogled the courtier, and flew to his arms ;
And a Lettre de cachet secur'd them their bliss,
For the spouse was bastil'd, and saw nothing amiss.
What a delicate trait of the courtier and wife,
To save the poor cuckold from conjugal strife !
But alas ! all these pretty manœuvres are o'er ;
True politeness is fled, — the Bastile is no more !
When lettres de cachet were sign'd, and were ready,
They kept millions submissive, and government steady.
And Mam Pompadour by so lenient a law,
The culprit reform'd, by bread, water, and straw.
At her concert, Tartini play'd hy-der-um diddle,
And Diderot sneer'd at the twang of his fiddle ;
But it cost him full dear; in a cell he lay low,
Till Peccavi he cry'd to the Prince of the bow.
Thus the claims of respect were ne'er riven asunder,
And the Court of Versailles stir'd up envy and wonder.
No more from each Province will fair ladies trudge,
To solicit their suit, and enrapture the judge ;
So the rigour of justice was soften'd by love,
And the harpy of strife took the form of a dove ;
The spirit of chivalry reign'd o'er the laws,
When the glances of beauty decided the cause.

But Gallia is ruin'd, and chivalry dead,
And the glory of Europe for ever is fled ;
Proud Freedom in servitude lately we saw,
But now, sex and rank are enslav'd by the law ;
The grace of life's gone which came hither unbought,
Of heroes the nurse, and of ev'ry bright thought :
How chaste the men's honour ! a stain was a scar,
But no lady was scratch'd in this chivalry war ;
Vice lost all its grossness, became pure and fine,
And to virtue was chang'd by a polish divine ;
As water polluted, and foul to the sight,
By filt'ring, again runs pellucid and bright.
So CASSAVI's roots a dire venom contain,
Squeeze out the gross juice, and you squeeze out the bane ;
For this logic persuasive, no merit I claim,
EDMUND proves vice and virtue sublimely the same :
His eulogium, our own native Trinity †† tells,
Tho' Oxford refuses her Cap; — without bells !
To France and rebellion I' now bid adieu,
On Hesperia's sweet plain, I'll again write to you.


ALAS ! Who'd have thought it — the Prussians one night,
With Fred the illum'd have skulk'd off in a fright !
He's shamefully gone, for the drums would'nt beat,
As his Uncle had bid them, ne'er tap a retreat ;
The Peasants are dup'd, and with anguish they weep,
And beg he'd come back to account for their sheep.
Some say that his Soldiers were melted to jelly
By eating of grapes, that cathartic'd the belly.
As a Corps of vile Doctors were sent at full gallop,
Thro' Alsace to sprinkle the Vineyards with jalap ;
But the base Sans Culottes here exultingly boast,
How the Monarch was scar'd by his uncle's grim ghost ;
That he trembled and shook, like the Jew — royal Saul,
When the old Witch of Endor foretold the King's fall ;
In such haste the next morning he wish'd to retire,
That he left fity reg'ments stuck fast in the mire.
And now the Comedians exultingly sing,
A shabby Duet, to enrage the good King.



FROM Tartarus I come Fred,
      And fain again would rule ;
Prussia's fame, and Glory's fled,
      And you're a vapouring fool;

My hard-earn'd treasures fly,
      To feed French Jades and Apes ;
Without a wound my Soldiers die,
      By eating jalap'd Grapes.


PERTURBED spirit rest,
      You gorg'd yourself on earth,
With blood and wine, and jest,
      Then leave us to our mirth.

I'll strip rebellious Poles,
      And kiss bold Kate of Russia ;
I'll hang the French, and damn their souls,
      And rise the Pope of Prussia.


End of the First Part

To Letter 3


N O T E S.

* "Ask the porter in the street, who was formerly squeezed between the coach and the wall, if he is sorry, that the coach and he who rode in it are both vanished..—Page 73. Consideration on the French Revolution, translated from the French of M. Mallet du Pan.

h At the coronation of the late unfortunate Louix XVI, the Clergy struck out of the Ceremonial the words — "Elected by the People," and expressly say — "The King, whom we, (i.e. the Clergy) have chosen to reign over France." — Je ne sais si V. M. a reçu l'ouvrage imprimé qui a pour pour titre, Formules & Ceremonies pour le sacre de S.M. Louis XVI. Je voudrais, Sire, que vos occupations, et les vérités trop importantes vous permissent de jeter les yeux sur ce livre, qui a indigné tous les bons et fideles sujets de notre jeune et vertueux monarque ; Vous y verriez a la page 60, que les pretres recommandent a Dieu le nouveau Roi que NOUS ELISONS, disent ils, pour Souverain de ce Royaume. — Comment souffre-t-on cette insulte impudente au Monarque, et a la Nation ?

Oeuvres posthumes de Frederic II. Roi de Prusse, Letter de M. D'Alembert au Roi. Vol. [sic] p. 283, le 3 Octobre, 1775.

i At the same time, (with a true ecclesiastical spirit) they addressed their young and benevolent Monarch to enforce the Penal Laws against the Protestants ! Quant aux pretres, qui sont actuellement assemblés, comme ils le sont par malheur tous les cinq ans, & qui dans cette Assemblée, se devorent, & se dechirent entr'eux, ils partent de là pour aller a Versailles, conjurer le Roi de renouveler les édits atroces & absurdes qui ordonnent la persecution des protestans.—Ut supra.

§ Experiments on Animal Electricity by Eusebius Valli, M. D.

l Swift's Sermon on Mutual Subjection, breathes the true and generous Spirit of uncorrupted Christianity. — In these days, the Author, if it had been preached in Scotland) would have been banished to Botany Bay. Dr. Parr's principles are well known, and I am surprised how he has escaped prosecution, for he treats the pious and glorious Confederacy of Kings as disrespectfully as Dr. Swift could possibly do.

** Homer.

§§ Called the Night-Telescope.

*** See Dr. Porteus's Sermon, preached at the funeral of Archbishop Secker.

§§§ See the Advertisement of the Noblemen and Gentlemen associated for the Preservation of the Game.

Rousseau's Confessions, Vol. III. p. 230.

Johnson's Dictionary.

†† Trinity College. [This rather nasty passage is of course a reference to Edmund Burke's famous statement in his "Reflections on the Revolution in France" (with allusions to Burke's probable Catholicism and his indubitable Irishness):

But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists; and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil by losing all its grossness.

Note: When a word is an anchor, there is a textual note or corrected erratum; when the mouse is over the word, the note will appear in the status window of your browser (almost always the lower left), if your browser is java-enabled. If you click, you come here.

This page is maintained at the University of Chicago by James Eason, who welcomes comments, criticism, and suggestions.