Earl of Peterborough
Mordanto fills the trump of fame, The Christian world his deeds proclaim, And prints are crowded with his name.
In journeys he outrides the post, Sits up till midnight with his host, Talks politics, and gives the toast.
Knows every prince in Europe's face, Flies like a squib from place to place, And travels not, but runs a race.
From Paris gazette a-la-main, This day arriv'd, without his train, Mordanto in a week from Spain.
A messenger comes all a-reek Mordanto at Madrid to seek; He left the town above a week.
Next day the post-boy winds his horn, And rides through Dover in the morn: Mordanto's landed from Leghorn.
Mordanto gallops on alone, The roads are with his followers strewn, This breaks a girth, and that a bone;
His body active as his mind, Returning sound in limb and wind, Except some leather lost behind.
A skeleton in outward figure, His meagre corps, though full of vigour, Would halt behind him, were it bigger.
So wonderful his expedition, When you have not the least suspicion, He's with you like an apparition.
Shines in all climates like a star; In senates bold, and fierce in war; A land commander, and a tar:
Heroic actions early bred in, Ne'er to be match'd in modern reading, But by his namesake, Charles of Sweden.
[Footnote 1: Who in the year 1705 took Barcelona, and in the winter following with only 280 horse and 900 foot enterprized and accomplished the conquest of Valentia.--Pope.
"--he whose lightning pierc'd th'Iberian lines, Now forms my quincunx, and now ranks my vines, Or tames the genius of the stubborn plain Almost as quickly as he conquer'd Spain."POPE, Imitations of Horace, ii, Sat. 1.
Lord Peterborough seems to have been equally famous for his skill in cookery. See note to above Satire, Pope's Works, edit. Elwin and Courthope, iii, 298.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 2: See Voltaire's "History of Charles the Twelfth of Sweden."
"He left the name at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral or adorn a tale." JOHNSON, Vanity of Human Wishes.]
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