Ode On The Death Of Mr. Pelham

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"Let Others Hail The Rising Sun"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Henry Pelham (1696-1754) was a long-time supporter of the Whig Party under Sir Robert Walpole and served as prime minister of England from 1743 until his death. He was a particularly astute businessman and instituted a number of major financial reforms affecting the government of England. While he did not have a strong and forceful personality, he was an influential speaker and a skilled parliamentarian who was able to maintain peace in the British cabinet and to restrain the contending forces within it. The King relied heavily on Pelham, and at the latter's death is reported to have said, "Now I shall have no more peace." Upon Pelham's death, David Garrick, the famous British actor and playwright, composed his ode in praise of Pelham. In the poem Garrick expresses his concern that corruption in government may increase now that Pelham is gone. In the final stanza, the poet asks all Englishmen to work together for "Britain's weal" and concludes: "For this great end let all combine,/ Let virtue link each fair design,/ And PELHAM live in you." The poem begins with the image of Pelham as the sun:

Let others hail the rising sun,
I bow to that whose course is run,
Which sets in endless night;
Whose rays benignant bless'd this isle,
Made peaceful nature round us smile
With calm, but chearful light.