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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/419

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Like these, thy strength may sink, in ruin hurled,[1]
And Britain fall, the bulwark of the world.
But let me cease, and dread Cassandra's fate,
With warning ever scoffed at, till too late;
To themes less lofty still my lay confine,
And urge thy Bards to gain a name like thine.[2]1010

Then, hapless Britain! be thy rulers blest,
The senate's oracles, the people's jest!
Still hear thy motley orators dispense
The flowers of rhetoric, though not of sense,
While Canning's colleagues hate him for his wit,
And old dame Portland[3] fills the place of Pitt.

Yet once again, adieu! ere this the sail

That wafts me hence is shivering in the gale;
  1. Like these thy cliffs may sink in ruin hurled
    The last white ramparts of a falling world

    [British Bards MS.]

  2. [With this verse the satire originally ended.]
  3. A friend of mine being asked, why his Grace of Portland was likened to an old woman? replied, "he supposed it was because he was past bearing." (Even Homer was a punster—a solitary pun.)—[MS.] His Grace is now gathered to his grandmothers, where he sleeps as sound as ever; but even his sleep was better than his colleagues' waking. 1811. [William Henry Cavendish, third Duke of Portland (1738-1809), Prime Minister in 1807, on the downfall of the Ministry of "All the Talents," till his death in 1809, was, as the wits said, "a convenient block to hang Whigs on," but was not, even in his vigour, a man of much intellectual capacity. When Byron meditated a tour to India in 1808, Portland declined to write on his behalf to the Directors of the East India Company, and couched his refusal in terms which Byron fancied to be offensive.]