Elizabeth Ryves, Poems on Several Occasions. London: Printed for the author and sold by J. Dodsley, 1777.  72-78.



Ye subjects of Britain, attend to my song;
For, to you both the Muse and her numbers belong:
No courtier, no hireling, no pensioner she;
By int’rest unsway’d, and from prejudice free.


A subject I chuse for the theme of my lays,
Well known to this realm in Elizabeth’s days;
That period of glory, that age of renown,
When a female supported the rights of the crown.


A Cabal there was form’d by the foes of the state,
Who like ----- and ------ could in senate debate:
Foreign gold lin’d their pockets, and bulls from the Pope
Remov’d all restraint, and gave conscience full scope.


With manners and morals adapted to please,
They flow’d with opinions, as waves with the breeze;
For Rome grants indulgence for aiding her cause,
And, to favour her int’rest, relaxes her laws.


Well vers’d in dissembling, ’midst Jesuits bred,
And deep in each lecture of Machiavel read;
With a latitude Truth must for ever detest,
They censur’d the tenets their hearts still profess’d;


And loudly exclaim’d, that the nation again
Wou’d sink to the level of Mary’s weak reign;
For that Burleigh, and those at the head of affairs,
From the cries of her people, had turn’d the Queen’s ears:


That a debt justly due to the Spaniards (they said)
Thro’ the basest mismanagement, still lay unpaid:
That Iberia was arming her right to demand,
And had mann’d a huge fleet, which no pow’r cou’d withstand:


That myriads of treasure, and oceans of gore,
Was the int’rest we soon with the loan must restore;
And that nought cou’d avert it, or ward off the blow,
But the Ministry’s ruin and swift overthrow.


Thus, with idle chimeras the people amus’d,
Their judgment perverted, their reason abus’d,
Obnoxious alike ev’ry statesman appear’d:
They were censur’d, revil’d, and condemn’d tho’ unheard.


For Prejudice suffers not Justice to sway;
Caprice is the law that her subjects obey;
And the culprit is either accus’d or commended,
Not for what he has done, but what party offended.


This point once attain’d, and the popular name
Of Patriot assum’d, to establish their fame,
They laugh’d at those gudgeons who swallow’d the bait,
And plann’d (in its guardians) the fall of the state.


For they knew them so firm, so attach’d to the laws,
To religion, to truth, and Elizabeth’s cause,
That, ere they cou’d give these a final o’erthrow,
They first at their bosoms must level the blow.


So away to Whitehall they determin’d to hie them,
And see if her Majesty dar’d to deny them,
When they shou’d demand the immediate disgrace
Of friends, fav’rites, ministers--all those in place.


Arriv’d at the palace, they soon gain’d admission,
As due to their rank, not their vaunted commission;
And boldly advanc’d to the foot of the throne,
Pretended abuses and wrongs to make known.


The Queen, with a placid but resolute eye,
Prepar’d for a kind or an angry reply,
As their stile might deserve; most attentively heard them,
And shew’d that she neither neglected nor fear’d them.


With eloquence fram’d, their deep arts to disguise,
To fascinate reason by sudden surprize,
To lull the sound judgment to drowsy repose,
And win and insinuate still as it flows;


They talk’d of abuses, of rights unprotected,
Of the wrongs we endur’d, and of those we expected;
And, swell’d with importance, began to arraign
A conduct too partial, which made them complain.


Said, our freedom hung pois’d in a wavering scale;
That the opposite balance must shortly prevail:
For they knew by that charm they shou’d strengthen the spell,
Which alone cou’d the schemes they concerted conceal.


But the Queen’s penetration detected the snare;
No soft flowing words cou’d impose on her ear:
Yet, wisely dissembling, she mildly desir’d
They’d freely declare all her people requir’d.


Encourag’d by this, opportunely they thought
The ministry’s fall might be easily wrought;
And began to complain of their overgrown pow’r,
Which our freedom, our wealth, and our laws wou’d devour.


Said, their measures were wrong, and their administration
Obnoxious alike to all ranks in the nation;
Their disgrace they must therefore most humbly advise,
Lest the chiefs should revolt and the populace rise.


Unmov’d by the menace, Elizabeth frown’d
So sternly, as might the most daring confound;
And, enrag’d at their pride, struck the globe with her hand,
That ensign of honour and regal command.


"By the God that I worship (if rightly I ween)
"They’re my friends, and I’ve prov’d them," reply’d the fair Queen;
"As such I regard them, as such I’ll defend;
"So desist from complaining, and to me attend.


"As long as the scepter of Britain I sway,
"I’ll rule like a Queen, and ye all shall obey:
"No laws I’ll infringe, and no insolent Peer
"Shall presume to intrude on the Royal barrier.


"My servants I’ll chuse, and my friends I’ll reward;
"To the good of my subjects shew proper regard:
"But when traitors the peace of my crown would destroy,
"Let Justice the sword of correction employ.


Repuls’d and abash’d, from the throne they retir’d,
And ne’er, from that moment, ’gainst statesmen conspir’d,
Whose wisdom and virtue secur’d them esteem,
And still furnish the Muse with a favourite theme.


Success crown’d the measures they wisely pursu’d;
Our friendship was courted, our treaties renew’d,
Our commerce extended; while peace reign’d at home,
And Britain shook off the last shackle of Rome.

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