Study Guide

The Vanity of Human Wishes Stanza 9

By Samuel Johnson

Stanza 9

Lines 91-98

But will not Britain hear the last appeal,
Sign her foes' doom, or guard her fav'rites' zeal?
Through Freedom's sons no more remonstrance rings,
Degrading nobles, and controlling kings;
Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats,
And ask no questions, but the price of votes;
With weekly libels and septennial ale,
Their wish is full to riot and to rail.

  • Here the speaker asks a question: won't Britain (personified here) listen to his (the speaker's) appeal and destroy her enemies, all of those fake, power hungry people? Or will she guard her corrupt "fav'rites"?
  • The speaker says that those who supposedly defend freedom no longer speak out against corrupt nobles and kings. Britain's weak-willed people keep silent, and don't ask any questions except what the price of a vote is.Ā 
  • On a weekly basis, the British people make false statements and drink. Their only wish is to start riots and to cause trouble. Our speaker is not a fan.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...