The Conquest of the Spice Island

Mr Elliott


Speedily will be published, in one splendid volume in quarto, illustrated by views in the island of Java, and a plan of the Lives of Cornelia, which will be scientifically explained in the notes on the poem

The Conquest of the Spice Island

an heroic-patriotic poem

Dedicated to the Rt Hon. Lord Minto, Governor-General of India


Atticus Scriblerus, Votary of the Muses, Member of the Academy for Martial Music in Tothill Fields, Student of Military Science at the College in the Bird Cage Walk, Practicer of Ditto in the Parnassian Volunteers, Member of many other distinguished and learned bodies, and author of approved works in every department of literature.

“See spicy clouds from low Batavia rise
And Banda’s warehouses perfume the skies.”

This splendid national work, which as it will be seen was projected and commenced immediately after the arrival of the despatches announcing the Conquest of Java, but the progress of which has met with a long interruption from circumstances that need not now be intruded upon the public, will now appear as soon as the poet, the engraver, the elucidatory engineer, who favours the author with military notes, and the printer’s devil, can accomplish their respective labours and the price will be fixed, as soon as an accurate idea can be formed of the quantum of expense incurred in the preparing for the press.

In the meantime, to satisfy in some measure the impatience of the literary, the political, and the military world, Mr Scriblerus makes public the exordium of his already celebrated poem, with the Invocation to the Muse of Modern War

The Conquest of the Spice Island

Canto First

While in our ears the Tower Guns still roar,
While ring melodiously the Bells of Bow,
And newsmen still do wind the mellow horn;
Oh! let me lift on high the warlike trump,
And wake the clangors of the ratt’ling lyre,
To sing the achievements of the Last Gazette.

Oh thou, great Gen’ral Governor of the East
Who rul’st in mildness India’s warthy tribes,
But on the enemies of Britain’s weal
Perfidious French, and to-them-crouching Dutch,
Hurlest thy direful vengeance; list the song!

Yet how shall I, in numbers all too weak
Our eastern conqueror’s glories deeds display?
Mauritius, Banda-Bourbon-Java ta’en?
May the fell Upas stop my vital breath,
If I do know where to begin, where end — 
But hold — we will invoke the tuneful Muse,
To lick to symmetry the unformed song,
As mother bears do shape their tender cubs.

O thou, who sit’st sublime mid whirls of smoke
And at each cannon’s flash, exulting bendst
To mark the direful flight of shot or shell;
Or when the war-tube rings, and volleys roll,
And broadsword, bayonet and sabre clash,
To winding bugles, and quick-beating drums,
Tunest thy song amid the wild uproar;
Or when the whizzing rockets and Congreve’s night
Fly thro’ the air to burn some leaguered town
On kindling rocket stick direct’st thy flight,
Like broom-bestriding witch thro’ troubled skies.
O Muse of Modern Warfare, list the call!
Whether thou fliest o’er Hispania’s fields
To mark the deeds of Wellington; or sailst
Sublime o’er ocean’s waves to learn th’ exploits
Of Britain’s nautic sons; and bring them home
To swell each journal’s columns, and to feed
The patriotic wights who live on news;
Oh hither bend thy flight! descend and sing!
Sing by my mouth the rich Batavia’s fall!!!