Song of the British Bard. A Parody on Byron's Song of the Greek Bard in Don Juan
Published: 27 April 1831
Publication type: Newspaper/Periodical
No full copy of this poem is available.
Archive/Library: National Library of Scotland
Classmark(s): Mf. N. 3
In a preceding note, we are told that this poem was 'Written on receiving intelligence of the late unfavourable division on the Reform Bill, and before it was known to a certainty that Parliament would be dissolved'. The poem uses Byron's 'The Isles of Greece' to satirise 'The land of geese' - Britain or England, where 'Oligarchs can rob in peace' and where 'rotten burghs sprung'. There is then an attack on England from the evidently Scottish speaker. Hume is celebrated as one who has 'unveil'd Corruption's hideous face'. The poem hopes that a majority can be achieved for Reform in the House of Lords, and it attacks the Lords for looking down on the people as 'swine', a reference to Edmund Burke's 'swinish multitude'. There are also several comments on excessive taxation. Towards the end of the poem, the speaker addresses (real or imagined) critiques that Scotland cannot be trusted to deliver freedom: the speaker responds that 'Scottish rung, or Irish stick, / Would break your skulls however thick'. The poem is an interesting (and rare) example of Anglo-Scottish tensions surrounding the reform bill. A note is included with this poem: 'Edinburgh, April 22, 1831', presumably where and when the poem was written.