« PreviousContinue »
Such pranks they play! these masters of the world, Till from their heights by death o'ermastering, hurl'd, Then for a day,-but charity let fall
The curtain, Heaven knows we are sinners all.
What now avails, Potemkin, thy o'ergrown
Again the North urged o'er the land her brood
Great Catherine, greater Frederick, if great
Had they but interposed, with strength renew'd Freedom had started up, her foes subdued,
Girt with a moral power had driven back, Quailing beneath her frown, the ravenous pack.
Sarmatia fell with all her chivalry;
Had but from France the fiat gone, Be free-
Ready as wills their Despot-Lord for ill,
Most to be dreaded when they seem to yield,
Of moderation that their acts disown,
With arts deceptive they confound the weak,
Russia, the very wrongs she deprecates,
So cunning is her policy, creates ;
Protectress of the Sultan, how protect?
As knaves an heir whom Guardians lax neglect ;
A debt for what, 'gainst Mehmet Russian aid!
Till o'er Stamboul her shout of triumph swells,
NOTES TO "POLAND."
P. 171, 1. 1.
Luxury, with her paralysing mace, &c.
"Mais si nous jetons les yeux sur cette assemblée, nous verrons avec étonnement que malgré trente années de mauvais choix, malgré cette longue et trompeuse tranquillité qui avait laissé dans toutes les grandes charges des hommes vieillis dans le luxe et dans toutes les commodités de la vie, la Pologne avait encore un sénat : tant la liberté, même dans ses abus, peut encore former de grandes âmes, tant elle soutient encore long-temps les hommes contre le manège des cours, contre tous les maux du luxe, et de la corruption des mœurs!
"Heureuse cette république si la crainte des armes étrangères avait pu, au milieu de ses divisions, y devenir, comme chez les anciens Romains, le noeud de la concorde intérieure."-Histoire de l'Anarchie de Pologne, par Rulhière, tome ii. p. 43.
P. 172, 1. 1.
"Be on my head the blood of Poland, mine
The blame," exclaim'd the frontless Catherine.
On the subject of the projected partition of Poland it appears that Frederick, in his correspondence with Catherine, urged, perhaps sincerely, his apprehension of general censure.
Catherine answered, “I take all the blame upon myself." "Catherine," as the Edinburgh Reviewer observes, was the great criminal. She had for eight years oppressed, betrayed, and ravaged Poland-imposed a king on that country-prevented all reformation of the government--fomented divisions among the nobility—and, in oue word, created and maintained that anarchy which she at length used
as a pretence for dismemberment. Her vast empire needed no accession of territory for defence, or, it might have been hoped, even for ambition. Yet by her insatiable avidity for new conquest from Turkey, she produced the pretended necessity for the partition. In order to prevent her from acquiring the Crimea, Moldavia, and Wallachia, the courts of Vienna and Berlin agreed to allow her to commit an equivalent robbery on Poland, on condition that each of them should rob the same country to the same amount; thus preserving the balance of power by an agreement that their booty should be equal, and preventing Russia from disproportionate aggrandizement by seizing on the provinces of a state with which they were all three in peace and amity, and whose territories they were bound by treaties, and pledged by recent declarations, to maintain inviolate."
P. 172, 1. 9.
Ambitioning, though mantled in the robe
Of moderation, to subdue the globe.
"The Empress not only solemnly promises her new subjects the free and public exercise of their religion, and security in their property; but also declares that looking upon them now as her dear children, she renders them all in general and without exception equal sharers in all the rights, liberties, and prerogatives which her ancient subjects enjoy. In return for all these graces and benefits, it is only expected that they will render themselves worthy of them by a sincere love of their new country, and an inviolable attachment to so maynanimous a sovereign.”—Annual Register for 1772, vol. xv. p. 36.
Quelle gloire," exclaims the eloquent Rulhière, “cette princesse eût réellement acquise, si, faisant en effet ce qu'elle paraissait faire, elle eût protégé chez une nation voisine et amie, une nouvelle législation devenue nécessaire, et n'eût point mêlé à cette belle idée tontes les contradictions qui la détruisent?
Quel avantage elle aurait pu acquérir pour elle-même, si, bienfaitrice de cette nation toujours fidèle dans ses traités, elle se la fût attachée par reconnaissance, sans menacer ces infortunés républicains d'un joug qu'ils repoussaient avec effroi, et qu'elle leur faisait sentir