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Wars > Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815)

Buonaparte and Talleyrand

(43) Buonaparte and Talleyrand




It is well known that Monsieur Talleyrand always objected
to the Invasion of England, as a mad Attempt, that must
end in the Destruction of the Invaders. Having been fa-
voured with a Note of a Conversation between him and the
Chief Consul on this Subject, I have attempted, for the En-
tertainment of my Countrymen, to put it into Rhyme.
                                                                                    A. S.


Talleyrand, what's the state of my great preparation,
To crush, at one stroke, this vile, insolent nation,
That baffles my projects, my vengeance derides,
Blasts all my proud hopes, checks my arrogant strides,
Boasts a press unrestrain'd, points its censure at me,
And while Frenchmen are slaves, still presumes to be free ?


In a month, Sire, or less, your magnanimous host,
Their standards shall fix on the rude British coast.


'Tis well—let the troops be kept hungry and bare,
To make them more keen—for that island's good fare.
Give them drafts up an London, instead of their pay,
And rouse them to ravish, burn, plunder, and slay.
Prepare too,—some draughts, for the sick and the lame ;
You know what I mean—

                            TAL.—As in Syria ?

                                                               BUON.—The same !
That England I hate, and its armies subdued,
The slaughter of Jaffa shall there be renew'd.
Not a wretch that presumes to oppose but shall feel
The flames of my fury, the force of my steel.
Their daughters and wives to my troops I consign ;
So shall vengeance, sweet vengeance deep-glutted, be mine.
Their children—

                    TAL.—What, massacre them, my dread Lord ?


Why not ? with me pity was never the word !
That island once conquer'd, the world is my own,
And its ruins shall furnish the base of my throne.


What a project ! how vast !— yet allow me one word ;
Sir ; the English are brave, and can wield well the sword.
In defence of their freedom, their King, and their soil,
Not a man but will dare the most perilous toil.
Should our troops but appear, they will rush to the field,
And will die on the spot to a man ere they yield.

In defence of their honor, their women will fight,
And their navy triumphant still sails in our sight.


Hush, hush, say no more, lest some listener should hear,
And our troops should be taught these fierce Britons to fear.
They are brave ; and my soldiers have felt it—what then ?
Our numbers are more—to their five, we are ten.
Say their sailors are skilful, oak-hearted, and true,
One army may fail, yet another may do.
And though thousands should fatten the sharks in the sea,
There are thousands remaining, to perish for me.
In a night or a fog we will silent steal over,
And surprize unexpected, the Castle of Dover.
Then to gull the poor dupes of that navy-bound land,
You have lies ready coin'd—'tis your trade, at command.
We will tell them, and swear it, our sole end and aim
Is to make them all equally rich—all the same.
I see by your smile you interpret my meaning,
That where'er my troops reap, they leave nothing for gleaning.
They soar at a palace, they swoop at a cot.
And plunder—not leaving one bone for the pot.
Now, Sir, to your duty, your business prepare,
Leave the rest to my genius, my fortune, my care.
                    [Exit Buonaparte, Talleyrand looking after him.


Your fortune, I fear, Sir, will play you a trick :—
Notwithstanding his vaunts, he is touch'd to the quick.
What folly ! what madness, this project inspires,
To conquer a nation, whom liberty fires.
E'en now from their shores, loudly echoed, I hear
The song of defiance appalling mine ear.
Their spirit once roused, what destruction awakes !
What vengeance, the wretched invaders o'ertakes.
Prophetic I plead, but my warning is vain,
Ambition still urges, and maddens his brain :
Fired with hopes of rich booty, his soldiers ail burn,

Printed for J. HATCHARD, Piecadilly, Price 6d. per dozen, by J. BRETTELL, Great Windmill Street.

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