Saturday, June 22, 2013


The Friend of Every Country But His Own

George Canning (1770-1827) and John Hookham Frere (1769-1846), "New Morality," Anti-Jacobin (July 9, 1798), lines 89-114:
First, stern Philanthropy:—not she, who dries
The orphan's tears, and wipes the widow's eyes;       90
Not she, who, sainted Charity her guide,
Of British bounty pours the annual tide:—
But French Philanthropy;—whose boundless mind
Glows with the general love of all mankind;—
Philanthropy,—beneath whose baneful sway       95
Each patriot passion sinks, and dies away.

Taught in her school to imbibe thy mawkish strain,
Condorcet, filter'd through the dregs of Paine,
Each pert adept disowns a Briton's part,
And plucks the name of England from his heart.       100

What shall a name, a word, a sound control
The aspiring thought, and cramp the expansive soul?
Shall one half-peopled Island's rocky round
A love, that glows for all Creation, bound?
And social charities contract the plan        105
Framed for thy Freedom, UNIVERSAL MAN?
—No—through the extended globe his feelings run
As broad and general as the unbounded sun!
No narrow bigot he;—his reason'd view
Thy interests, England, ranks with thine, Peru!       110
France at our doors, he sees no danger nigh,
But heaves for Turkey's woes the impartial sigh;
A steady Patriot of the World alone,
The Friend of every Country—but his own.
The rhyme "view ... Peru" in lines 109-110 reminds me of the opening couplet of Samuel Johnson's Vanity of Human Wishes:
Let Observation with extensive View,
Survey Mankind, from China to Peru...
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