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Lord Byron on Castlereagh

Byron and Shelley made vicious attacks on Lord Castlereagh, who was Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons in Lord Liverpool's ministry. Castlereagh held these offices between 1812 and his suicide in 1822.

Epigram

Oh, Castlereagh! thou art a patriot now;
Cato died for his country, so didst thou:
He perished rather than see Rome enslaved,
Thou cuttest thy throat that England might be saved!
So Castlereagh has cut his throat! - the worst
of this is, that his own was not the first.
So he has cut his throat at last! He? Who?
The man who cut his country's long ago.

*****

Cold-blooded, smooth-faced, placid miscreant
Dabbling its sleek young hands in Erin's gore,
And thus for wider carnage taught to pant,
Transferred to gorge upon a sister shore
The vulgarest tool that Tyranny could want,
With just enough of talent, and no more,
To lengthen fetters by another fixed,
And offer poison long already mixed.

The 'Dedication' to Don Juan

*****

Posterity will ne'er survey
a Nobler grave than this:
Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:
Stop, traveller, and p----- !


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Last modified 12 January, 2016

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