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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1/On the Death of Mr. Fox

< The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)‎ | Poetry‎ | Volume 1

ON THE DEATH OF MR. FOX,[1]

THE FOLLOWING ILLIBERAL IMPROMPTU APPEARED IN THE "MORNING POST."

"Our Nation's foes lament on Fox's death,
But bless the hour, when Pitt resign'd his breath:
These feelings wide, let Sense and Truth unclue,
We give the palm, where Justice points its due."


TO WHICH THE AUTHOR OF THESE PIECES SENT THE FOLLOWING REPLY[2] FOR INSERTION IN THE "MORNING CHRONICLE."

Oh, factious viper! whose envenom'd tooth
Would mangle, still, the dead, perverting truth;[3]
What, though our "nation's foes" lament the fate,
With generous feeling, of the good and great;
Shall dastard tongues essay to blast the name[4]
Of him, whose meed exists in endless fame?
When Pitt expir'd in plenitude of power,
Though ill success obscur'd his dying hour,
Pity her dewy wings before him spread,
For noble spirits "war not with the dead:"
His friends in tears, a last sad requiem gave,
As all his errors slumber'd in the grave;[5]
He sunk, an Atlas bending 'neath the weight[6]
Of cares o'erwhelming our conflicting state.
When, lo! a Hercules, in Fox, appear'd,
Who for a time the ruin'd fabric rear'd:
He, too, is fall'n, who Britain's loss supplied,[7]
With him, our fast reviving hopes have died;
Not one great people, only, raise his urn,
All Europe's far-extended regions mourn.
"These feelings wide, let Sense and Truth unclue,
To give the palm where Justice points its due;"[8]
Yet, let not canker'd Calumny assail,[9]
Or round her statesman wind her gloomy veil.
Fox! o'er whose corse a mourning world must weep,
Whose dear remains in honour'd marble sleep;
For whom, at last, e'en hostile nations groan,
While friends and foes, alike, his talents own.—[10]
Fox! shall, in Britain's future annals, shine,
Nor e'en to Pitt, the patriot's palm resign;
Which Envy, wearing Candour's sacred mask,
For Pitt, and Pitt alone, has dar'd to ask.[11]

[Southwell, Oct., 1806.][12]


  1. [The stanza on the death of Fox appeared in the Morning Post, September 26, 1806.]
  2. The subjoined Reply.—[4to]
  3. Would mangle, still, the dead, in spite of truth.—[4to]
  4. Shall, therefore, dastard tongues assail the name
    Of him, whose virtues claim eternal fame?—[4to]
  5. And all his errors.—[4to]
  6. He died, an Atlas betiding 'neath the weight
    Of cares oppressing our unhappy state.
    But lo! another Hercules appeared.—[4to]
  7. He too is dead who still our England propp'd
    With him our fast reviving hopes have dropp'd.—[4to]
  8. And give the palm.—[4to]
  9. But let not canker'd Calumny assail
    And round.—[4to]
  10. And friends and foes.—[4to]
  11. —— would dare to ask.—[4to]
  12. [This MS. is preserved at Newstead.]