PART FIRST Quick taste the brew, and shake his sapient head, And cry in acid voice: The ale is new! Brew old, you varlets ; cast this slop away I (Cheers.) But gravely, sir, I would conclude to-night, And, as a serious man on serious things, I now speak here. ... I pledge myself to this ; Unprecedented and magnificent As were our strivings in the previous war, Our efforts in the present shall transcend them, As men will learn* Such efforts are not sized By this light measuring-rule my critic here Whips from his pocket like a clerk-o'-works! . . . Tasking and toilsome war's details must be, And toilsome, too, must be their criticism,— Not in a moments stroke extemporized. The strange fatality that haunts the times Wherein our lot is cast, has no example. Times are they fraught with peril, trouble, gloom; We have to mark their lourings, and to face them. Sir, reading thus the full significance Of these big days, large though my lackings be, Can any hold of those who know my past That I, of all men, slight our safeguarding? No : by all honour no!—Were I convinced That such could be the mind of members here, My sorrowing thereat would doubly shade The shade on England now! So I do trust All in the House will take my tendered word. And credit my deliverance here to-night, That in this vital point of watch and ward Against the threatenings from yonder coast We stand prepared ; and under Providence Shall fend whatever hid or open stroke A foe may deal He sits down amid loud ministerial cheers, with symptoms of exhaustion.