Holograph copy of poem (signed 'R. M.') by Richard Mant, beginning 'Bow, Britons, Bow the haughty head' ['War Song'], written out for Anna Maria, wife of George Parker, Vicar of Bampton, and like Mant a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.

Richard Mant (1776-1848), Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore [Anna Maria [née Parker], wife of George Richards (1767-1837), Vicar of Bampton; Oriel College, Oxford]
Publication details: 
Oriel College, Oxford. 15 June 1803.
SKU: 12626

3pp., 4to. On bifolium. Very good, on lightly-aged paper, with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to reverse of second leaf, which is addressed, with half of a black wax seal, 'For | Mrs. Richards | Bampton.' This copy was made within a month of the composition of the poem, for the wife of a fellow Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. The recto of the second leaf carries the following note by Mant: 'with Mr. Mant's best compliments to Mrs. Richards. | Oriel Coll. June 15th. 1803.' Beneath this, in a contemporary hand (presumably that of Mrs Parker): 'Afterwards Bishop of Down & Connor'. Beneath the poem, at the foot of the second leaf, Mant has also written: 'R. M. | May, 1803.' A fair copy, written out in a neat hand, of a poem 50 lines long, divided into four stanzas (12, 12, 14, 12). The influence of Thomas Gray is strongly apparent, the poem beginning: 'Bow, Britons, bow the haughty head; | Bend, Britons, bend the stubborn knee; | Own your ancient virtue fled, | And know not that ye once were free.' The poem concludes: '[...] Britons still may claim | The honours of the British name, | Can fearless still maintain their stand | On British, as on Syrian land, | Still rise superior to the Sons of Chance, | Still singlehanded crush the pride of France!' The poem appears to have been first published in the 1803 in the Poetical Register, under the title: 'War Song. Written in May, 1803, on the Publication of the Negociation [sic] Papers. By the Rev. R. Mant, A.M. Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.' In the same year it was republished in the Scots Magazine. In 1806 it was published by Mant in his 'Poems' as 'War-Song, Written in May 1803, On the publication of the negotiation papers', with an explanatory note beginning: 'Another indignity was offered to this country in the communication of the First Consul of France to the Legislative body. In this communication he presumes to affirm, in the character of chief Magistrate of that country, "That Great Britain cannot singly contend against the Power of France [...]"' In 1806 the poem was reprinted in the Naval Chronicle. As an indication of the poem's popularity, there was an undated publication of the poem as a broadside under the title 'Bonaparte Answered', 'Printed for J. Ginger, 169, Piccadilly'.