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Index


Ode To The Departed Regency Bill

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

Daughter of Chaos' doting years,
Nurse of ten thousand hopes and fears!
Whether thy airy, unsubstantial shade
(The rights of sepulture now duly paid)
Spread abroad its hideous form
On the roaring civil storm,
Deafening din and warring rage
Factions wild with factions wage;
Or Underground
Deep-sunk, profound
Among the demons of the earth,
With groans that make
The mountains shake
Thou mourn thy ill-starr'd blighted birth;
Or in the uncreated Void,
Where seeds of future being fight,
With lighten'd step thou wander wide
To greet thy mother - Ancient Night -
And as each jarring monster-mass is past,
Fond recollect what once thou wast:
In manner due, beneath this sacred oak,
Hear, Spirit, hear! thy presence I invoke!

By a Monarch's heaven-struck fate;
By a disunited State;
By a generous Prince's wrongs;
By a Senate's war of tongues;
By a Premier's sullen pride
Louring on the changing tide;
By dread Thurlow's powers to awe -
Rhetoric, blasphemy and law;
By the turbulent ocean,
A Nation's commotion;
By the harlot-caresses
Of Borough addresses;
By days few and evil;
(Thy portion, poor devil!),
By Power, Wealth, and Show - the Gods by men adored;
By nameless Poverty their Hell abhorred;
By all they hope, by all they fear,
Hear! and Appear!

Stare not on me, thou ghostly Power,
Nor, grim with chain'd defiance, lour!
No Babel-structure would I build
Where, Order exil'd from his native sway,
Confusion might the Regent-sceptre wield,
While all would rule and none obey,
Go, to the world of Man relate
The story of thy sad, eventful fate;
And call presumptuous Hope to hear
And bid him check his blind career;
And tell the sore-prest sons of Care
Never, never to despair!

Paint Charles's speed on wings of fire,
The object of his fond desire,
Beyond his boldest hopes, at hand.
Paint all the triumph of the Portland Band
(Hark! how they lift the joy-exulting voice,
And how their num'rous creditors rejoice!);
But just as hopes to warm enjoyment rise,
Cry ' Convalescence!' and the vision flies.
Then next pourtray a dark'ning twilight gloom
Eclipsing sad a gay, rejoicing morn,
While proud Ambition to th' untimely tomb
By gnashing, grim, despairing fiends is borne!
Paint Ruin, in the shape of high Dundas
Gaping with giddy terror o'er the brow:
In vain he struggles, the Fates behind him press,
And clamorous Hell yawns for her prey below!
How fallen That, whose pride late scaled the skies!
And This, like Lucifer, no more to rise!
Again pronounce the powerful word:
See Day, triumphant from the night, restored!

Then know the truth, ye Sons of Men
(Thus ends thy moral tale:)
Your darkest terrors may be vain,
Your brightest hopes may fail!

 

 

Daughter of Chaos' doting years,
Nurse of ten thousand hopes and fears!
Whether your airy, unsubstantial shade
(The rights of sepulture {burial} now duly paid)
Spread abroad its hideous form
On the roaring civil storm,
Deafening din and warring rage
Factions wild with factions wage;
Or Underground
Deep-sunk, profound
Among the demons of the earth,
With groans that make
The mountains shake
You mourn your ill-starred blighted birth;
Or in the uncreated Void,
Where seeds of future being fight,
With lightened step you wander wide
To greet your mother - Ancient Night -
And as each jarring monster-mass is past,
Fondly recollect what once you were:
In manner due, beneath this sacred oak,
Hear, Spirit, hear! your presence I invoke!

By a Monarch's heaven-struck fate;
By a disunited State;
By a generous Prince's wrongs;
By a Senate's war of tongues;
By a Premier's sullen pride
Luring on the changing tide;
By dread Thurlow's powers to awe -
Rhetoric, blasphemy and law;
By the turbulent ocean,
A Nation's commotion;
By the harlot-caresses
Of Borough addresses;
By days few and evil;
(Your portion, poor devil!),
By Power, Wealth, and Show - the Gods by men adored;
By nameless Poverty their Hell abhorred;
By all they hope, by all they fear,
Hear! and Appear!

Stare not on me, you ghostly Power,
Nor, grim with chained defiance, lour (threatening)!
No Babel-structure would I build
Where, Order exiled from his native sway,
Confusion might the Regent-sceptre wield,
While all would rule and none obey,
Go, to the world of Man relate
The story of your sad, eventful fate;
And call presumptuous Hope to hear
And bid him check his blind career;
And tell the sore-pressed sons of Care
Never, never to despair!

Paint Charles's speed on wings of fire,
The object of his fond desire,
Beyond his boldest hopes, at hand.
Paint all the triumph of the Portland Band
(Hark! how they lift the joy-exulting voice,
And how their numerous creditors rejoice!);
But just as hopes to warm enjoyment rise,
Cry ' Convalescence!' and the vision flies.
Then next portray a darkening twilight gloom
Eclipsing sad a gay, rejoicing morning,
While proud Ambition to the untimely tomb
By gnashing, grim, despairing fiends is borne!
Paint Ruin, in the shape of high Dundas
Gaping with giddy terror over the brow:
In vain he struggles, the Fates behind him press,
And clamorous Hell yawns for her prey below!
How fallen That, whose pride late scaled the skies!
And This, like Lucifer, no more to rise!
Again pronounce the powerful word:
See Day, triumphant from the night, restored!

Then know the truth, you Sons of Men
(Thus ends your moral tale:)
Your darkest terrors may be vain,
Your brightest hopes may fail!

 

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