Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Insurrection of the Papers

'April 26.[1826] ...There is an operation called putting to rights—Scotticè, redding up—which puts me into a fever. I always leave any attempt at it half executed, and so am worse off than before, and have only embroiled the fray. Then my long back aches with stooping into the low drawers of old cabinets, and my neck is strained with staring up to their attics. Then you are sure never to get the thing you want. I am certain they creep about and hide themselves. Tom Moore gave us the insurrection of the papers. That was open war, but this is a system of privy plot and conspiracy, by which those you seek creep out of the way, and those you are not wanting perk themselves in your face again and again, until at last you throw them into some corner in a passion, and then they are the objects of research in their turn...'
We all experience these moments where there's too much clutter in our lives, as Scott's journal entry of April 26, 1826 discusses.  Perhaps a print out of Thomas Moore's poem "Insurrection of the Papers - a Dream" might help.

A DREAM.

"It would be impossible for his Royal Highness to disengage his person from the accumulating pile of papers that encompassed it." --Lord CASTLEREAGH'S _Speech upon Colonel M Mahon's Appointment, April 14, 1812_.

Last night I tost and turned in bed,
But could not sleep--at length I said,
"I'll think of Viscount Castlereagh,
"And of his speeches--that's the way."
And so it was, for instantly
I slept as sound as sound could be.
And then I dreamt--so dread a dream!
Fuseli has no such theme;
Lewis never wrote or borrowed
Any horror half so horrid!


Methought the Prince in whiskered state
Before me at his breakfast sate;
On one side lay unread Petitions,
On t'other, Hints from five Physicians!
Here tradesmen's bills,--official papers,
Notes from my Lady, drams for vapors
There plans of Saddles, tea and toast.
Death-warrants and The Morning Post.


When lo! the Papers, one and all.
As if at some magician's call.
Began to flutter of themselves
From desk and table, floor and shelves,
And, cutting each some different capers,
Advanced, oh jacobinic papers!
As tho' they said, "Our sole design is
"To suffocate his Royal Highness!"
The Leader of this vile sedition
Was a huge Catholic Petition,
With grievances so full and heavy,
It threatened worst of all the bevy;
Then Common-Hall Addresses came
In swaggering sheets and took their aim
Right at the Regent's well-drest head,
As if determined to be read.
Next Tradesmen's bills began to fly,
And Tradesmen's bills, we know, mount high;
Nay even Death-warrants thought they'd best
Be lively too and join the rest.


But, oh the basest of defections!
His letter about "predilections"!--
His own dear letter, void of grace,
Now flew up in its parent's face!
Shocked with this breach of filial duty,
He just could murmur "et Tu Brute?"
Then sunk, subdued upon the floor
At Fox's bust, to rise no more!


I waked--and prayed, with lifted hand,
"Oh! never may this Dream prove true;
"Tho' paper overwhelms the land,
"Let it not crush the Sovereign, too!"

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