A1r

The
Hastiniad;


An
Heroic Poem.

In
Three Cantos.


London:
Printed for J. Debrett, opposite Burlington-House, Piccadilly.
1785M DCC LXXXV.

A1v
B1r 5


The
Hastiniad;


An
Heroic Poem.

Canto the First.

I.

From me, oh! far, Apollo, turn

The streams of Satyr’s venom’d urn;

Me who at courtly themes aspire,

Which ask not an indignant lyre.

II.

Let those who wealth and ease disclaim,

To win the empty bubble, Fame,

High wave the Nemesean rod,

And range the tracts Alcæus Alcæus, of Meteline, who denounced the vengeance of Heaven against the Betrayers
of their Country.
trod.

B III. Or B1v 6

III.

Or like those bards of later years,

Who tuned their lyres to British ears,

With drued rage on every crime,

Come thund’ring down in ruthless rhime.

IV.

But who that Fortune’s favour woos,

Would court, oh, Swift! thy cynic Muse?

Or, arm’d with Churchill’s rougher lash,

At vice with headlong fury dash?

V.

Some gentler sister of the Nine,

Indulgent to my pray’r incline,

And soflty o’er my lute diffuse

The balm of Flatt’ry’s genial dews.

VI.

In strains, like Gnatho’s, teach my song,

The pleasures which to wealth belong;

The conscious joys which heave the breast,

In braids of pearl and rubies drest:

VII.

The rapture-kindled blush that breaks,

Like morning purple, o’er the cheeks

Of some fair dame, when first she’s led

The courts of royalty to tread;

VIII. And B2r 7

VIII.

And vain of wealth, of favour vain,

With toss contempt’ous smiles disdain,

As pressing through the titled crowd

She flaunts, of new-blown honours proud.

IX.

But why, my Muse, with vagrant wing

Sweep’st thou this desultory string;

Why not, like other Bards, aspire,

Sublime to tune the Epic lyre?

X.

Behold bright subject for thy rhimes,

A Heroine hastes from Indian climes;

Like Dido, when her wealth she bore,

To found a throne on Africk’s shore.

XI.

’Tis Hastings! high in princely state;

Hastings pre-eminently great;

Who sweeps along the wat’ry plain,

With half an empire in her train.

XII.

Full from the East auspicious gales,

Exulting, swell her fluttering sails;

While Ocean groans beneath the weight

Of gold and iv’ry’s precious freight.

XIII. Oh! B2v 8

XIII.

Oh! spare the costly treasure, spare,

Ye Rulers of the billowey war,

The mighty plunder dearly bought,

By deeds beyond the reach of thought.

XIV.

Now on the beach with stately mein

The Dame descends, in port a Queen;

While in gay ranks on either side,

Her train of liv’ri’d guards divide.

XV.

A gilded chariot now receives

The great Sultana from the waves;

And rolls in splendid pomp along,

The pageant of a wond’ring throng.

XVI.

Next in long order, o’er the strand,

Slow pacing, move her tawny band;

Oppress’d with gifts in triumph spread,

The chairs of state, the iv’ry bed. Presents for her Majesty from Mrs. Hastings.

XVII.

Compar’d with which th’ beauteous throne

Where Isreal’s mighty Monarch shone,

Were but a rude essay of art,

So highly wrought each finish’d part!

XVIII. The C1r 9

XVIII.

The curtains rich with netted gold,

Devolve in many a floating fold;

Where glow in radiant tints sublime,

The blooms of India’s genial clime.

XIX.

Next in the splendid pageant shines, A present to his Majesty from Governor Hastings.

From Hindostan’s exhaustless mines

By theft purloin’d) that brilliant prize,
In order to prevent any misinterpretation of this sentence, it is necessary to remind
the reader, that the mines of Golconda belong to the Great Mogul, who reserves for
his own use all the diamonds which will not pass through a certain sieve; consequently
every gem of superior size must be purloined either by the miners, or the officers employed
to sift them.

Which with meridian Phœbus vies.

XX.

Bright on the sable foil it plays,

And flings around ten thousand rays,

Out-beaming far the gem of old,

By Pitt to Gallic Lewis sold.

XXI.

Wealth flowing Albion! who shall dare

Thy Isle with bankrupt States compare;

Whose subjects now can gifts supply,

Which once thy Monarch cou’d not buy?

C XXII. And C1v 10

XXII.

And now to grace the stately train,

Spurning the ground in stern disdain,

(For Monarch’s only form’d to stride)

Two Barbs
Presents to his Majesty from Governor Hastings.
are led in martial pride.

XXIII.

Not more renownd for matchless speed,

Those coursers of etherial breed,

By Rhesus to the thund’ring car,

Enyok’d to grace the Dardan war.

XXIV.

Their manes like curling billows flow;

Their bitts with gold and diamonds glow;

By reins of platted silk restrain’d,

Which thrice the Tyrian vats had drain’d.

XXV.

Strong rise their necks in graceful bend;

Their fiery nostrils wide distend;

And snuffing ev’ry gale on high,

They neigh defiance thro’ the sky.

XXVI.

Next glitt’ring on a high rais’d car,

To catch th’admiring gaze from far,

The Dame’s regalia beams sublime,

Rich spoils of many a ransack’d clime.

XXVII. And C2r 11

XXVII.

And costly robes all broider’d round,

With pearls in farthest India found;

Or studded, glorious to the view,

With opals of each varying hue.

XXVIII.

Then pours profusely on the shore,

Lacks pil’d on lacks, a princely store;
Lacks of rupees.

Millions of wealth, the spoils or bribes

Of ravag’d India’s royal tribes.

XXIX.

Proud stubborn tribes, who dar’d withhold

Their long worn gems, their thrones of gold,

Till from the scourge of war to save

Their country, they their treasure gave.

XXX.

Oh, glorious Chiefs! what northern sphere

Shall e’er such gen’rous Kings revere

As you, with patriot love replete,

Who pour’d your stores at Hasting’s feet?

XXXI.

Hastings, to whose triumphant Bride,

Yet ling’ring near the billowey tide,

The Muse returns, all proud to wait

A duteous handmaid on her state;

XXXII. And C2v 12

XXXII.

And listen with exulting soul,

As o’er the beach her axles roll,

To hear those pealing
It is said Mrs. Hastings was honoured on her landing with a grand salute from the
batteries and ships in the harbour.
thunders meet,

Which Kings and Heroes only greet.

XXXIII.

And now, in marshal’d order led,

While slow the lab’ring sumpters tread,

A liv’ried train on sprightly steeds,

The Dame’s triumphal car precedes:

XXXIV.

And urge their speed, till white with foam,

They reach that far renowned Dome, The Inn at Newbury.

Where many a princely guest can tell,

They found a Palace, not Hotel.

XXXV.

Yet for the Dame ’tis all too vile,

(Hastings, though in a northern isle,

Must find, where’er she turns her eyes,

The splendor of the Indies rise.

XXXVI. In D1r 13

XXXVI.

In haste to grace her transient stay,

The busy slaves their freight display,

And from their posting waggons spread

Carpets more worthy of her tread.

XXXVII.

Then from the walls their arras tear,

And range in Eastern glory there,

Wrought hangings, dazzling to behold,

And sofas fring’d with waving gold:

XXXVIII.

Nor leave undeck’d the spacious board,

But high with costly viands stor’d;

Gay porc’line spread, from Nanking brought,

All high with gold and azure wrought.

XXXIX.

Then for the hasty banquet pour,

In chrystal urns, the sparkling store,

Rich tears of the Madeiran vine,

Twice mellow’d by the glowing Line.

XL.

At length the panting scouts proclaim

The near approaches of the Dame,

Whose rapid wheels impetuous bound,

So swift they scarcely print the ground.

D XLI. And D1v 14

XLI.

And now arriv’d, from each base eye

To guard the fair Divinity,

In files her swarthy Lackies stand,

And exile far the household band;

XLII.

Who tho’ till now round ev’ry guest,

Princely or regal, bowing prest,

Stand peeping thro’ the crouded bar,

To spy the gorgeous train from far.

XLIII.

To London thence her course she bends,

In splendor that with Crowns contends,

And gives to CScott’sINTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that surplus is unmatched.――t’s
Major C――tScott asserted, in the House of Commons last Sessions, that Governor
Hastings
was too poor to live in England on his fortune.
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that substJoin is unmatched. opprobrious tale

The lie, not even equivocal.

XLIV.

There high in favour see her blaze,

’Midst gems wou’d daunt an eagle’s gaze;

High tow’ring with Imperial mien,

In Britain’s court a sister Queen.

XLV. Next D2r 15

XLV.

Next in her glitt’ring Palace view,

Wealth that might barter half Peru,

In gay magnificence display’d,

For pomp of state, or beauty’s aid:

XLVI.

While to her crouded levy steer

Director, Nabob, Statesman, Peer;

In haste th’ illustrious Dame to greet,

And breathe their homage at her feet.

XLVII.

And now loud ratt’ling towards her gate,

The P—em—r’s chariot rolls in state;

While perch’d behind four liveried beaux,

The pride of full-blown power disclose.

XLVIII.

Alighted now, while fixt remain

In glittering files the turban’d train,

Two slaves of higher rank proceed,

In state the pompous guest to lead.

XLIX.

And as each grand saloon they tread,

With Persian carpets richly spread;

With hangings deck’d whose costly pride,

Might well enrobe some royal bride:

L. While D2v 16

L.

While from their lofty domes descend,

Lustres that with the sun contend

In beaming glory; o’er the soul,

Of gazing P――t, what transports roll?

LI.

He views, exulting in the thought,

The wealth from plunder’d India brought;

And hopes some future day may yield,

To him the spoils of such a field.

LII.

At length thro’ many a chamber past,

The ante-room receives at last

Th’ illustrious guest; and op’ning spread

The doors which to the closet lead.

LIII.

No favour’d Prince, of whom we’re told

In tales Arabian Bards unfold,

When led by Fays at midnight hour

To view their Queen’s resplendent bower,

LIV.

More rapture shew’d, or more surprize,

Than sparkled in the Statesman’s eyes,

While now their glance at once explores,

The wealth of Ind’s impoverish’d shores

LV. A E1r 17

LV.

A while in fancy wrapt, he deems

The noon arriv’d, whose golden beams,

Thus on his glitt’ring gems shall play,

And meet from each a rival ray.

LVI.

Now Hastings rising from her throne,

(For sure like one the sofa shone)

All gracious deigns her form to bend,

And hail him as her husband’s friend;

LVII.

Then on a couch superbly graced

With tissued velvet as she placed

Th’ admiring youth, in strains sublime,

Rich as the flow of eastern rhime;

LVIII.

Or buskin’d heroines, when by rules

Declaiming of Stagiran schools,

The fair embassadress declares

Those greetings from her Lord she bears.

LIX.

Then smiling cries, “Oh, P—t! behold

Yon curtains deep-festoon’d with gold;

These costly slabs Lazulian vein’d,

On tails of burnish’d snakes sustain’d;

E LX. That E1v 18

LX.

That tap’stry by the needle wrought,

With wealth of ransom’d Monarchs bought;

These porc’lain jars whence sweets diffuse;

This chrystal urn which drops with dews,

LXI.

From roses in their prime distill’d;

These caskets rich, with treasure fill’d,

Pearls, corals, shells, from Ocean’s caves

Selected, or the Gangean waves.

LXII.

These (she exclaim’d, while high her breast,

The rapture heaving soul confest)

To thy auspic’ous influence due,

Must oft this grateful theme renew.

LXIII.

For, oh!(she cry’d, with lifted eyes,

And hands appealing to the skies)

What now had been my Warren’s fate;

What now his beggar’d widow’s state;

LXIV.

But that thy pow’r in Friendship’s cause,

The rage restrain’d of ruthless laws?

Those laws which none beneath the throne,

Could dare oppose save P—t alone.

LXV. Hostile E2r 19

LXV.

Hostile had’st thou, great Chief, arose,

Dread leader of inquiring foes,

E’en G—t had breath’d among their train

His golden arguments in vain.

LXVI.

And all this wealth by Hastings stor’d,

Been swift to Britain’s coffers pour’d;

Nor left one Jagier to sustain,

My lonely life’s afflicted wane.

LXVII.

And still full oft with fell controul,

Distracting terrors rack my soul,

Lest, transient as a meteor’s blaze,

Shou’d shine the splendor of my days:

LXVIII.

For rang’d full firm in phalanx stand,

With strength renew’d, yon veteran band,

To shake by fierce assaults again,

The basis of our Indian reign.

LXIX.

Again in fancy on mine ear,

Loud burst the thunders of their war,

And now, methinks, transfix’d with dread,

My Hastings to their bar is led.”

LXX. “Dispel E2v 20

LXX.

“Dispel those fears (great P—t resum’d)

First be the British throne intom’d,

Deep in the central rocks that pile,

The strong foundations of our Isle.

LXXI.

First shall the waves which lash our shore,

High o’er the loftiest mountains roar;

And of Britannia’s ancient fame,

Leave but the record of a name.

LXXII.

No:—though in F—x’s head-strong band,

The noblest sons of Britain stand,

From India’s unexhausted store,

We’ll draw the golden nerves of war;

LXXIII.

Till bound and trembling in our toil,

The patriot Hydra we incoil,

And crush those stubborn chiefs who tread

The paths wherein their fires have bled.

LXXIV.

Then shall their factious legions feel,

The force of Fortune’s adverse wheel;

While tax on tax their coffers drain,

Enriching those who forg’d their chain.

LXXV. Then 21

LXXV.

Then shall triumphant Hastings stand,

With pow’r, with honours at command;

Trampling the neck of each bold slave,

Who dares him to the ordeal brave.

LXXVI.

While thou, illustrious Dame, shalt shine,

Where e’er thy fancy may incline;

Alike rever’d if thou resort,

To Britain’s, or thine Indian Court.”

Eliza Ryves

End of the First Canto.