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Item:  BSL - ODE TO WELLINGTON

 


BERRYHILL & STURGEON
NAPOLEONIC & PENINSULAR WAR ARCHIVES

 

A REMARKABLE ORIGINAL ODE TO WELLINGTON
by
Francis Emmanuel d’Oliveira
Professor of Poetry and Fellow of the Royal Society, Lisbon

Includes the original Draft in Portuguese


THIS IS A UNIQUE HANDWRITTEN POEM -
UNABASHEDLY GLORIFYING LORD WELLINGTON
HIS EXPLOITS, HIS HONOUR, HIS CLEMENCY

"On Bussaco’s hills the trumpet of Fame,
Among shouts, repeats Lord Wellington’s Name.
Talavera’s fields and Vimeiro’s too
Did admire his deeds, and as yet they do.
Albuhera’s victory, so well known,
To his scheme was due, as the Spaniards own
"

OF ALL THE PENINSULAR WAR MATERIAL WE HAVE HANDLED -
THIS STANDS OUT AS ONE OF THE MOST UNUSUAL PIECES -
A GRAND HOMAGE TO THE "GREAT HERO" WHICH WOULD SURELY ENHANCE
AND DISTINGUISH ANY COLLECTION OR EXHIBIT OF WELLINGTON EPHEMERA.
UNPUBLISHED AND HAND WRITTEN IN PORTUGESE & ENGLISH

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPTION AND COMMENTS BELOW

THIS DOCUMENT IS COVERED BY OUR WRITTEN, SIGNED AND SEALED
LIFETIME GUARANTEE OF AUTHENTICITY

         

Transcription:

To His Excellency
The Right Honourable Lord Viscount Wellington
General in Chief of the British Army in Portugal


Who art thou, young Maid, whose glistening face
Shows thee to be born of an heav’nly race?
Jupiter’s Off-spring, fair Clio, I know thee:
At my early youth thou cam’st down to me.
I was then so bold as to soar and lop
The e’ergreen laurels on the Pindus’s top.
Now at my old age, if I take this flight;
My pinions grow weak, an I falls downright.
But, since there again my steps thou wilst bring,
What Great Hero’s praises, tell me, must I sing?

On Bussaco’s hills the trumpet of Fame,
Among shouts, repeats Lord Wellington’s Name.
Talavera’s fields and Vimeiro’s too
Did admire his deeds, and as yet they do.
Albuhera’s victory, so well known,
To his scheme was due, as the Spaniards own.

Where am I! What scene of horror and cries!
From thundering mouths death, in smocke wrapt flies.
By the Hero’s steed, many foes are trod:
Is He but a Man? Or a Semigod?
Ev’ry where He runs in the warmth of fight:
No en’my’s so bold not to fear his sight.

 
Some, daring not to resist or stay,
Cast off their own guns, and do run away.
The strocke of his sword finds no resistance:
Vict’ry follows him as his troops advance.
Applying the spur to his courser’s flank,
He flies, as a lightning, from rank to rank.

How many French killed! How terrible blood shed!
All over the spot the green grass turns red.
Welt’ring in their blood, lifting up their eyes,
For mercy they call, with groaning and cries.
To those who implore his clemence He shows,
That both to conquer and pardon he knows.

“They are men, says He; no more enmity:
“Let the wrath of war give place to pity.
“As soon as vanquished men cease to be foes:
“So Great Cyrus thought, so Wellesley does.
“The wound’d French, I bid, from the ground be led,
“Where, like my men, they curs’d ill fed.
“Since their inhuman unmerciful chief
“Left them on the spot given up to grief.
“I will teach the French that an English does
“His own soldiers love, and pity his foes.”

Thus Wellesley speaks: no sooner He did,
His soldiers perform’d with the greatest speed.
What shameful lesson to thee, hard Massen!
Who abandoned so thy own dying men.
Yes, Wellesley, yes, in thy deeds … in Thee
Not only a Great Man, a Great Hero I see.
I find in Thee now-a-days to revive
Th’ old Roman Chieves who their arm’s did drive.
Julius Cesar’s skill, Manlius’s watchfulness
Fabrice’s and Curius’s disinterest’dness.
Pompey’s freedom-love, Scipio’s mind’s presence
Marcellus’s boldness, and Fabius’s prudence.

My Muse was going to carrion her song;
But the modest Hero bid her hold her tongue.

By His Excellency’s
Most Humble and most Respectful Servant

Francis Emmanuel d’Oliveira

This poem has additional notes in another hand which identify the original author as a Professor of Poetry and a Fellow of the Royal Society, Lisbon. As this was amongst Sir Charles Stuart's archives it is our opinion that the author was forwarding this draft to Stuart for his comments and approval, possibly his translation into English. We do not know if a formal copy was ever presented to the Duke, or if this has ever been published. It is certainly a paean to the Great Man with classical allusions (Greek and Roman) aplenty. The following stanza was added by the reviewer

 His horse it gallops over the ruts
When He sticks his spur into his guts

Clearly this reviewer, who we have not yet identified, but was not Sir Charles, lacked the cadence, nuance and classical patina of the original poet.

Document Specifications:  A very fine set of documents and undated but likely late August or early October 1811 based upon the battles referred to therein. English Version is a folded document measuring 11¾" tall x 8" wide (300mm x 210mm) - on one bi-folium sheet (forming the four pages) of medium cream stock, batonne laid paper, with two ornate heraldic crests that we have not seen before. Writing on three pages as shown, one page blank. This is a beautiful, handwritten original poem dedicated to the Duke of Wellington. It has unfortunately been added to by the reviewer which distracts from the handsome presentation, but without which we might not have known more about the author.

The Portuguese Draft consists of three leaves written front and back to make six pages. Pages 1-2 are on a single sheet measuring 8¼" tall x 5" wide (210mm x 150mm) of medium cream stock, batonne laid paper, with a partial ornate heraldic crest that we have not seen before - Pages 3-6 are on a sheet measuring 11¾" tall x 8" wide (300mm x 210mm) bi-folium to form the four pages measuring 8¼" tall x 5" wide (210mm x 150mm) of medium cream stock, batonne laid paper, with an ornate "Z" within a wreathe and the letters staggered "G" and "B" that we have not seen before. Writing on all four of these pages as shown.

 It was contained in the Sir Charles Stuart Correspondence, its provenance is sound and was likely sent to Stuart as a courtesy, translation or review copy. Based upon its location in the archive and the content of the poem, we believe it dates from late August to early October 1811 as Wellington had finally thrashed Massena and had not yet taken the initiative in early 1812 to retake Ciudad Rodrigo. An exceptional piece of Wellington ephemera and not ever before offered.

From the Sir Charles Stuart, Lord Rothesay, Correspondence. Stuart was His Britannic Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal during the greater part of the Peninsular War (10 January 1810 to 26 May 1814). He was not technically the Ambassador to Portugal. The Royal House of Braganza had removed itself to the Brazils earlier in the War and hence the "official capital" and the concurrent British "Ambassador" Strangford were located in Rio de Janiero. Stuart was a personal friend and confidante of the Duke of Wellington and Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson. During his tenure in Lisbon he was also a member of the ruling Portuguese Regency (the only British Subject in the war ever permitted to hold an official position in a foreign government while also representing Britain). He later was ambassador to: the Netherlands, France (twice), the Brazils and Russia. The most important foreign diplomat of the Peninsular War; his archive of diplomatic, military and intelligence despatches are second only to Wellington's Dispatches.

 

     

     
6 PAGES
Portuguese Draft of Ode to Wellington


Page 1


Page 2


Page
3

Offered by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd.
Member: APS, BNAPS, CCNY, ICSC, DMSC & SPHS
 End of Item - BSL - ODE TO WELLINGTON