The Statesman’s Soliloquy

Reform! — the Statesman cries, ‘ye Powers forefend!
E’en from the word what horrors dire impend.
Reform! —   ah! shield me from its searching eyes,
Aid me ye schemes, ye arts, ye subtlest lies;
E’en now, methinks, I feel its baneful pow’r,
Rush o’er my soul and ev’ry dream devour.
Asleep, awake, the chilling sound torments,
And starting Fancy still fresh pangs invents.
Tortures like these attend its dreaded name,
And madness as they pierce my sick’ning frame;
But should the Vision rob’d with power appear,
What sad detection must our actions fear!
What waste, confusion, treachery and bribes!
What shoals of Placemen, and what pension’d Tribes
Will then, forlorn, no more sweet spoil partake,
But grieve their bondsmen are at last awake!
Avert the plague, ye Gods! or if your rage
Must careless burn, til cool reform assuage;— –
Defer it yet; alas! ‘tis yet too soon
To crop any budding fortunes in their noon;
Give me yet one Septennial more to reap,
One more Septennial let the People sleep!’
— He ceas’d and hurrying to Stephen’s Gate,
Finds still new cause to curse his pending fate.

By Libertior

Printed in the Sheffield Register No. 313,  31 May 1793 (currently held in Sheffield University Library Special Collections)

Click here to read a brief commentary on the poem.