from from Sir Proteus

By Thomas Love Peacock 1785–1866
 
I.
 
Ille Ego
 
Oh! list to me: for I’m about
   To catch the fire of Chaucer,
And spin in doleful measure out
   The tale of Johnny Raw, sir;
 
Who, bent upon a desperate plan
   To make the people stare,
Set off full speed for Hindoostan
   Upon Old Poulter’s mare.
 
Tramp! tramp! across the land he went;
   Splash! splash! across the sea;
And then he gave his bragging vent—
   “Pray who can ride like me?
 
“For I’m the man, who sallied forth
   To rout the classic forces,
And swore this mare was far more worth
   Than both fierce Hector’s horses.
 
“Old Homer from his throne I struck,
   To Virgil gave a punch,
And in the place of both I stuck
   The doughty Mother Bunch,
 
“To France I galloped on my roan,
   Whose mettle nought can quail;
There squatted on the tomb of Joan,
   And piped a dismal tale.
 
“A wild and wondrous stave I sung,
   To make my hearers weep:
But when I looked, and held my tongue,
   I found them fast asleep!
 
“Oh! then, a furious oath I swore,
   Some dire revenge to seek;
And conjured up, to make them roar,
   Stout Taffy and his leek.
 
“To Heaven and Hell I rode away,
   In spite of wind and weather:
Trumped up a diabolic lay;
   And cursed them all together.
 
“Now, Proteus! rise, thou changeful seer!
   To spirit up my mare:
In every shape but those appear,
   Which Taste and Nature wear.”

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Poet Thomas Love Peacock 1785–1866

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Activities, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Ballad

Biography

Thomas Love Peacock was an accomplished poet, essayist, opera critic, and satiric novelist. During his lifetime his works received the approbation of other writers (some of whom were Peacock’s friends and the targets of his satire), literary critics (many of whom were simply his targets), and a notoriously vocal reading public. Today, Peacock’s reputation rests almost exclusively on the merits of his seven novels, four of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Ballad

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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