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The Ghost of Chatham; A Vision Dedicated to the House of Peers

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A VISION. A vision came! It was not in the hourOf sleep; but when the unresisted powerOf magic Fancy, threw, with full control,Her half prophetic mantle o’er the soul.The place was thron’d like Britain’s royal halls,And her proud navy deck’d the tap’stried walls.Statesmen and heroes grac’d the pictur’d scene;Fathers who were what since their sons have been;And some whose laurell’d brows might glow with shame,Of sons with nought of their’s besides the name.In this august abode the loud debateSeem’d hush’d, and prince and peer in silence sate;E’en G—ff—d’s brazen descant seem’d to fail,And gasping C—pley gazed on L—d—rd—le;Panting, they loll’d their contumelious tongues,And suck’d Italian juice to clear their lungs.Y—k mus’d on armies; yet, with doubtful trust,Wish’d he were certain, or the cause were just:The eye of Cl—r—nce fiercely rang’d the floor,But soften’d as it fell on D—n—ghm—re;While L—v—rp—l, who inly seem’d to fearFor place and power, his fellows strove to cheerWith sickly smile; and courtier lords obscene,Temper’d new filth, to daub their libell’d Queen. Sudden amid the peers whom England hailsHer nobles—men who fail but when SHE fails,The vision rose. It was a rev’rend formOf aged dignity: its eye was warmWith kindlings of a spirit that of oldMade those walls tremble through its earthly mould.Now a mild glory round its presence play’d,And ’spoke from heav’nly courts the awful shade.Its brow wore high reproof; the lifted armWas stretch’d for pleading; and there was a charmOf coming eloquence, as firm it stood,Like one whose rank was with the great and good;And well that rank was own’d, when Erskine cried,“’Tis England’s Chatham!”—“Chatham!” all replied. Like the dead stillness of the summer air,When pregnant clouds of shrouded fire are there,They sat:—and like the voice of thunder brokeThe rolling periods, as the vision spoke.“Is this,” he cried, “the consecrated floor,Where England’s peerage stood, as known of yore,Jealous of honour, zealous for the laws;Justice their sword, and England’s weal their cause?Are these the walls whose echoes then return’dNo words that chasten’d gallantry had spurn’d?Is this the throne whose last loved tenant view’dHis people’s morals as the monarch’s good?Display’d beneath the sov’reign diadem,Domestic virtue, Britain’s dearest gem;And bade Example to his court proclaimWhat taught, unpractis’d, is the teacher’s shame?Ah no! that throne is chang’d; this gew-gaw thingBefits a raree-shew, not England’s King!And can it be that Brunswick’s cherish’d heirWill also change the laws which plac’d him there?Forget the Stuart’s fate, the Brunswick’s oath;Yet make his sorrowing subjects dwell on both?Forbid it, Heaven! Far other thoughts he knew,When yet his talents with his graces grew;When Genius, Beauty, in his circle ran,Admired the prince, and half adored the man....