An Heroic Epistle to the Right Honourable, the Lord Craven






On his delivering the following SENTENCE at the COUNTY MEETING

at ABINGDON, on TUESDAY November 7, 1775.


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"_Room for my LORD! Virtue stand by and bow._"


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Printed for JOHN WHEEBLE, No. 22, Fleet-Street.






Too long have Britain's sons with proud disdain Survey'd the gay Patrician's titled train, Their various merit scann'd with eye severe, Nor learn'd to know the peasant from the peer: At length the Gothic ignorance is o'er, And vulgar brows shall scowl on LORDS no more; Commons shall shrink at each ennobled nod, And ev'ry lordling shine a demigod: By CRAVEN taught, the humbler herd shall know, How high the Peerage, and themselves how low. Illustrious Chief, your eloquence divine Shall raise the whole right honourable line; All shall with joy your bright example view, And love the tribe that boasts a son like you; While Liberty shall lead you to her throne With jocund hand, and claim you for her own.

When warm in youth, on Isis' learned shore, You early listen'd to her sacred lore; Abhorr'd the dull confinement of the schools, Contemn'd their statutes, and despis'd their rules. Ev'n when to burst their bonds your ardor fail'd, And law, tyrannic law, at last prevail'd, Tho' forc'd a while to bend beneath the yoke, Its weight your dauntless spirit never broke, Still rankled in your breast the fatal wound, Tho' years had o'er it roll'd their circling round, On [A]SCROPE, tho' late, you rear'd your threat'ning arm, And shew'd the will without the pow'r to harm.

With Freedom's warmth, tho' thus your bosom glow'd, From no licentious heat the ardour flow'd When peaceful leaders rul'd with gentle sway, Still were you first their mandates to obey; Tho' Proctors, arm'd with all th' insulting pride Of legal pow'r, your daring soul defy'd, Yet to the ruler of the festive band You bow'd, nor scorn'd the toast-master's command; Obedient drank each penal draft of wine, And only fear'd a salt and water fine.

So burn'd your youthful heart with Freedom's flame, Such the fair dawning of your future fame; But when by time matur'd, the Peerage spread Its dazzling lustre round your honor'd head, The sacred fire that warm'd before your breast, Blaz'd boldly forth to all mankind confess'd, Immortal Liberty with blooming charms, Woo'd you so strongly to her heavenly arms, So fierce your passion, that you could not bear Another vot'ry should her favors share; For still your heart Othello's plan approves, Nor keeps a corner in the thing it loves For others uses; those who madly brave Attack the rights you have, or think you have, Shall weep their rashness, that in luckless hour, Oppos'd th' omnipotence of lordly pow'r. When SEYMOUR insolently dar'd invade, Manors by your possession sacred made, From feasts you deign'd to grace, you wip'd his name, And gave him o'er to infamy and shame: And when, tho' late, he made a bold appeal To arms, from frowning Peers and fawning zeal, And dar'd attempt with sacrilegious sword, To offer equal combat to a LORD, Sudden your noble limbs your coursers bore, From Berkshire's hills to Avon's distant shore: And eager to preserve from foul disgrace, Th' unsullied honors of a noble race, Rather than have it said you meanly stood To stain your faulchion with Plebeian blood, You yielded bravely to a harsher fate, And made submissions to the man you hate. To save their dignity from scandal's breath, Thousands have fearless fac'd approaching death; Your dauntless action merits more applause, Who courted infamy in honor's cause.

Proceed! proceed! and still our wond'ring eyes With deeds magnanimous like these surprize, And lest some wretch, phlegmatic, dull, and cold, Without applause such actions should behold, Aloud to list'ning crowds your worth proclaim, Yourself the herald of your deathless fame. To spacious Berks your dignity avow, From Buscot's meads, to Windsor's lofty brow, Till LOVEDEN's daring insolence is o'er, And POWNEY cross your fav'rite schemes no more; Your sacred game, till lawless SEYMOUR spare, Nor hot-brain'd PYE another challenge bear. Shall humble Squires presume, by act or word, T' oppose the wishes of a mighty LORD; On high affairs attempt to give their voice, Or in elections e'er avow their choice; Pour in your rabble to each factious town, And Freedom's sounds, by shouting numbers drown, Till Thames' unpeopled waves by READING glide, Without one bargeman left to chear the tide; And NEWBURY's desart streets lament in vain, Their servile inmates gone to swell your train. Stout FERDINANDO, your obsequious slave, Once a rude ruffian, now a pliant knave, With Stentor's voice shall swell your pageant pride, And boldly thunder nonsense on your side: The gentle Colonel, simpering SELLWOOD too, His face with port and patriot-ardor blue, With vacant eye shall view your great intent, Shall scratch his empty head, and smile assent. There too my muse, with rough, tho' honest song, Shall chant your virtues to the admiring throng, Display your various worth in humble lays, And teach the gaping rabble how to praise, Re-echo to their ears your fav'rite word, And shew respect should always wait MY LORD. Perhaps, (indulge your Poet's fairy dream), Perhaps my verse adorn'd by such a theme, May in some bark, our navy sail t' explore, Be safely wafted to the Atlantic shore: How will those pious Chiefs delight to hear The kindred virtues of a British Peer? How will thy deeds enchant, with gentle sway, The Patriot sons of Massachuset's Bay? For all your ardor fires the illustrious train, In Council bold, but bashful on the plain: How will their grateful bosoms love the verse, Whose honest lines such great exploits rehearse? I see their hands prepare the verdant bough, I feel their laurel wreaths surround my brow; While that long-honour'd strain, whose magic charms So oft has called the gallant race to arms, Shall now at length give place to newer lays, And Yanky-doodle yield to CRAVEN'S praise.