Of Old

Of old, as poets tell the tale
The knight went arm’d in coat of mail
And as to battle, forth he pac’d,
Like hog-in-armour snugly cas’d,
Though soundly thump’d and roughly shaken
His armour always sav’d his bacon.

Our modern ensign of the guards
The iron coat, and helm discards,
But that no knight may him surpass,
His lack of steel supplies in brass.

The mail at first in humble flight,
On one poor hack rode day & night;
At Damon’s silence, Delia wonder’d,
Nor guess’d both mail and steed had founder’d,
Weigh’d down with many a heavy line,
That hail’d the morn of Valentine.

So to relieve the anxious swain
From all he felt of am’rous pain,
They cramm’d the tender, moving lays
In pocket of a one-horse-chaise.

The mail then ris’n to higher state,
Assum’d “the livery of the great” —
And right he should; for in his hands,
From Sandgate’s or from Weymouth’s sands
He wafts the royal hero’s sighs
To Mrs Clark’s bewitching eyes,
In lines that to laughing senates prove,
The power of “dearest, dearest love;”
And shew that our great chieftain writes
With all the spirit that he fights —

 For this, like lightning as he goes
 His stunning horn unceasing blows,
 With royal guard the mail is grac’d —

Feb. 16. 1809