Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PITT'S BON-MOT, by HORACE SMITH

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PITT'S BON-MOT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Though william pitt (nick-named the tory
Last Line: "except in case of an invasion!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): England; Fame; English; Reputation

THOUGH William Pitt (nick-named the Tory
In Morris's facetious story,)
Retains the honours of his name
As a Debates-man,
Who in the House of Commons, "ore
Rotundo," cried up England's glory,
Yet as a statesman,
Or as a financier, his fame
May be compared to his own sinking fund,
Which, if not quite extinct, is moribund.

Seeing this heaven-born minister's renown
In his political capacity,
Thus tumbling down,
An instance of his smart dicacity,
Ought in justice to be stated,
In order that the reader may bestow
Due praise on the defunct for a bon-mot,
The only one he ever perpetrated.

When the French threatened in flat-bottomed boats
To come and cut our throats,
Pitt -- then Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports -- held
A meeting in the town of Dover,
To settle, should the French come over,
How they might best and soonest be repell'd;
Which said assemblage, being fierce and loyal,
Declared that England might discard her fears,
For they themselves would promise to destroy all
The French, if they might form a corps, the Mayor
To be commander, and the whole to bear
The name of Royal Dover Volunteers.

The Premier, when the cheering ceased,
Smiled, for he knew the dictum true,
That greatest boasters do the least,
And whispered to himself -- "The Dover traders
Are most insufferable gasconaders;
If any folks deserve an innuendo,
By way of a rebuke, I'm sure these men do."
However no remark was made,
Until the secretary reading o'er
The rules and regulations of the corps,
Broke off, and to the chairman said,
"Sir, I respectfully submit
That it were well on this occasion,
Among our standing rules and laws,
To insert the customary clause,
Not to serve out of England." -- "Yes," said Pitt,
"Except in case of an invasion!"

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