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The Poetical Works of the late Christopher Anstey

With Some Account of the Life and Writings of the Author, By his son, John Anstey

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I. [PART I.]

LETTER I. Miss Jenny W---d---r, to Lady Eliz. M---d---ss, at --- Castle, North.

A View from the Parades at Bath, with some Account of the Dramatis Personæ.

Sweet are yon' hills that crown this fertile vale!
Ye genial springs! Pierian waters, hail!
Hail, woods and lawns! Yes—oft I'll tread
Yon' pine-clad mountain's side,
Oft trace the gay enamell'd mead,
Where Avon rolls his pride.


Sure, next to fair Castalia's streams,
And Pindus' flow'ry path,
Apollo most the springs esteems,
And verdant meads of Bath.
The Muses haunt these hallow'd groves,
And here their vigils keep,
Here teach fond swains their hapless loves
In gentle strains to weep.
From water sprung, like flow'rs from dew,
What troops of bards appear!
The god of verse and physic too,
Inspires them twice a year.
Take then, my friend, the sprightly rhyme,
While you inglorious waste your prime,
At home in cruel durance pent,
On dull domestic cares intent,
Forbid, by parent's harsh decree,
To share the joys of Bath with me.


Ill-judging parent! blind to merit,
Thus to confine a nymph of spirit!
With all thy talents doom'd to fade
And wither in th' unconscious shade!
I vow, my dear, it moves my spleen,
Such frequent instances I've seen
Of fathers, cruel and unkind,
To all paternal duty blind.
What wretches do we meet with often,
Whose hearts no tenderness can soften!
Sure all good authors should expose
Such parents, both in verse and prose,
And nymphs inspire with resolution
Ne'er to submit to persecution.
This wholesome satire much enhances
The merit of our best romances.
And modern plays that I could mention,
With judgment fraught, and rare invention,
Are written with the same intention.
But, thank my stars! that worthy pair,
Who undertook a guardian's care,


My spirit never have confin'd!
(An instance of their gen'rous mind)
For Lady B---n---r---d, my aunt,
Herself propos'd this charming jaunt,
All from redundancy of care
For Sim, her fav'rite son and heir;
To him the joyous hours I owe
That Bath's enchanting scenes bestow;
Thanks to her book of choice receipts,
That pamper'd him with sav'ry meats;
Nor less that day deserves a blessing
She cramm'd his sister to excess in:
For now she sends both son and daughter
For crudities to drink the water.
And here they are, all bile and spleen,
The strangest fish that e'er were seen;
With Tabby Runt, their maid, poor creature,
The queerest animal in nature.
I'm certain none of Hogarth's sketches
E'er form'd a set of stranger wretches.
I own, my dear, it hurts my pride,
To see them blundering by my side;


My spirits flag, my life and fire
Is mortify'd au desespoir,
When Sim, unfashionable ninny,
In public calls me cousin Jenny;
And yet, to give the wight his due,
He has some share of humour too,
A comic vein of pedant learning
His conversation you'll discern in,
The oddest compound you can see
Of shrewdness and simplicity,
With natural strokes of aukward wit,
That oft, like Parthian arrows, hit;
For when he seems to dread the foe,
He always strikes the hardest blow;
And when you'd think he means to flatter,
His panegyrics turn to satire;
But then no creature you can find
Knows half so little of mankind,
Seems always blundering in the dark,
And always making some remark;
Remarks that so provoke one's laughter,
One can't imagine what he's after:


And sure you'll thank me for exciting
In Sim a wonderous itch for writing:
With all his serious grimace
To give descriptions of the place.
No doubt his mother will produce
His poetry for general use,
And if his bluntness does not fright you,
His observations must delight you;
For truly the good creature's mind
Is honest, generous, and kind:
If unprovok'd, will ne'er displease ye,
Or ever make one soul uneasy.—
I'll try to make his sister Prue
Take a small trip to Pindus too.
And Me the Nine shall all inspire
To tune for thee the warbling lyre:
For thee the Muse shall every day
Speed, by the post, her rapid way.
For thee, my friend, I'll oft explore
Deep treasures of romantic lore:


No wonder if I gods create,
As all good bards have done of late;
'Twill make my verse run smooth and even,
To call new deities from heaven:
Come then, thou goddess I adore!
But soft—my chairman's at the door,
The ball's begun—my friend, no more.
J--- W---d---r.
Bath, 1766.


LETTER II. Mr. Simkin B---n---r---d to Lady B---n---r---d, at--- Hall, North.

Mr. B---n---r---d's Reflections on his Arrival at Bath.—The Case of Himself and Company.—The Acquaintance he commences, &c. &c.

We all are a wonderful distance from home!
Two hundred and sixty long miles are we come!
And sure you'll rejoice, my dear mother, to hear
We are safely arriv'd at the sign of the Bear.
'Tis a plaguy long way!—but I ne'er can repine,
As my stomach is weak, and my spirits decline:
For the people say here,—be whatever your case,
You are sure to get well if you come to this place.—
Miss Jenny made fun, as she always is wont,
Of Prudence my sister, and Tabitha Runt;
And every moment she heard me complain,
Declar'd I was vapour'd, and laugh'd at my pain.


What tho' at Devizes I fed pretty hearty,
And made a good meal, like the rest of the party,
When I came here to Bath, not a bit could I eat,
Tho' the man at the Bear had provided a treat:
And so I went quite out of spirits to bed,
With wind in my stomach, and noise in my head.
As we all came for health (as a body may say)
I sent for the doctor the very next day,
And the doctor was pleas'd, tho' so short was the warning,
To come to our lodging betimes in the morning;
He look'd very thoughtful and grave, to be sure,
And I said to myself,—There's no hopes of a cure!
But I thought I should faint, when I saw him, dear mother,
Feel my pulse with one hand, with a watch in the other;
No token of death that is heard in the night
Could ever have put me so much in a fright;
Thinks I—'tis all over—my sentence is past,
And now he is counting how long I may last.—
Then he look'd at —, and his face grew so long,
I'm sure he thought something within me was wrong.—
He determin'd our cases, at length, (G—d preserve us!)
I'm bilious, I find, and the women are nervous;


Their systems relax'd, and all turn'd topsy-turvy,
With hypochondriacs, obstructions, and scurvy;
And these are distempers he must know the whole on,
For he talk'd of the peritoneum and colon,
Of phlegmatic humours oppressing the women,
From fœculent matter that swells the abdomen;
But the noise I have heard in my bowels like thunder,
Is a flatus, I find, in my left hypochonder.
So plenty of med'cines each day does he send
Post singulas liquidas sedes sumend'
Ad crepitus vesper & man' promovend'
In English to say, we must swallow a potion
For driving out wind after every motion;
The same to continue for three weeks at least,
Before we may venture the waters to taste.
Five times have I purg'd, yet I'm sorry to tell ye
I find the same gnawing and wind in my belly;
But, without any doubt, I shall find myself stronger,
When I've took the same physic a week or two longer
He gives little Tabby a great many doses,
For he says the poor creature has got a Chlorosis,


Or a ravenous Pica, so brought on the vapours
By swallowing stuff she had read in the papers;
And often I've marvell'd she spent so much money
In Water-dock Essence, and Balsam of Honey;
Such tinctures, elixirs, such pills have I seen,
I never could wonder her face was so green.
Yet he thinks he can very soon set her to right
With Testic' Equin' that she takes every night;
And when to her spirits and strength he has brought her,
He thinks she may venture to bathe in the water.
But Prudence is forc'd ev'ry day to ride out,
For he says she wants thoroughly jumbling about.
Now it happens in this very house is a lodger,
Whose name's Nicodemus, but some call him Roger,
And Roger's so kind as my sister to bump
On a pillion, as soon as she comes from the pump;
He's a pious good man, and an excellent scholar,
And I think it is certain no harm can befall her;
For Roger is constantly saying his prayers,
Or singing some spiritual hymn on the stairs.
But my cousin Miss Jenny's as fresh as a rose,
And the Captain attends her wherever she goes:


The Captain's a worthy good sort of a man,
For he calls in upon us whenever he can,
And often a dinner or supper he takes here,
And Jenny and he talk of Milton and Shakspeare:
For the life of me now I can't think of his name,
But we all got acquainted as soon as we came.
Don't wonder, dear mother, in verse I have writ,
For Jenny declares I've a good pretty wit;
She says that she frequently sends a few verses
To friends and acquaintance, and often rehearses:
Declares 'tis the fashion; and all the world knows
There's nothing so filthy, so vulgar as prose.
And I hope, as I write without any connection,
I shall make a great figure in Dodsley's Collection;
At least, when he chooses his book to increase,
I may take a small flight as a fugitive piece.—
But now, my dear mother, I'm quite at a stand,
So I rest your most dutiful son to command.
S--- B---n---r---d.
Bath, 1766.


LETTER III. Miss Jenny W---d---r, to Lady Eliz. M---d---ss, at --- Castle, North.

The Birth of Fashion, a Specimen of a modern Ode.

Sure there are charms by Heaven assign'd
To modish life alone;
A grace, an air, a taste refin'd,
To vulgar souls unknown.
Nature, my friend, profuse in vain,
May every gift impart;
If unimprov'd, they ne'er can gain
An empire o'er the heart.
Dress be our care in this gay scene
Of Pleasure's best abode:
Enchanting Dress! if well I ween,
Meet subject for an Ode.


Come then, nymph of various mien,
Votary true of Beauty's queen,
Whom the young and ag'd adore,
And thy different arts explore,
Fashion, come:—On me a-while
Deign, fantastic nymph, to smile.
Moria thee, in times of yore,
To the motley Proteus bore;
He, in bishop's robes array'd,
Went one night to masquerade,
Where thy simple mother stray'd:
She was clad like harmless quaker,
And was pleas'd my Lord should take her
By the waist, and kindly shake her;
And, with look demure, said she,
“Pray, my Lord,—do you know me?
He, with soothing, flattering arts,
Such as win all female hearts,
Much extoll'd her wit and beauty,
And declar'd it was his duty,


As she was a maid of honour,
To confer his blessing on her.
There, 'mid dress of various hue,
Crimson, yellow, green and blue,
All on furbelows and laces,
Slipt into her chaste embraces;
Then, like sainted rogue, cry'd he,
“Little quaker—you know me.”
Fill'd with thee she went to France,
Land renown'd for complaisance,
Vers'd in science debonair,
Bowing, dancing, dressing hair;
There she chose her habitation,
Fix'd thy place of education.
Nymph, at thy auspicious birth,
Hebe strew'd with flow'rs the earth;
Thee to welcome, all the Graces
Deck'd in ruffles, deck'd in laces,
With the God of Love attended,
And the Cyprian queen descended.


Now you trip it o'er the globe,
Clad in party-colour'd robe,
And, with all thy mother's sense,
Virtues of your sire dispense.
Goddess, if from hand like mine,
Aught be worthy of thy shrine,
Take the flow'ry wreath I twine.
Lead, oh! lead me by the hand,
Guide me with thy magic wand,
Whether deck'd in lace and ribbons,
Thou appear'st like Mrs. Gibbons,
Or the nymph of smiling look,
At Bath yclept Janetta Cook.
Bring, O bring thy essence-pot,
Amber, musk, and bergamot,
Eau de chipre, eau de luce,
Sans pareil and citron juice,
Nor thy band-box leave behind,
Fill'd with stores of every kind;
All th' enraptur'd bard supposes,
Who to Fancy odes composes;


All that Fancy's self has feign'd,
In a band-box is contain'd:
Painted lawns, and chequer'd shades,
Crape, that's worn by love-lorn maids,
Water'd tabbies, flower'd brocades;
Vi'lets, pinks, Italian posies,
Myrtles, jessamins, and roses,
Aprons, caps, and 'kerchiefs clean,
Straw-built hats, and bonnets green,
Catguts, gauzes, tippets, ruffs,
Fans, and hoods, and feather'd muffs,
Stomachers, and paris-nets,
Ear-rings, necklaces, aigrets,
Fringes, blonds, and mignionets;
Fine vermilion for the cheek,
Velvet patches à la grecque.
Come, but don't forget the gloves,
Which, with all the smiling loves,
Venus caught young Cupid picking
From the tender breast of chicken;
Little chicken, worthier far,
Than the birds of Juno's car,


Soft as Cytherea's dove,
Let thy skin my skin improve;
Thou by night shalt grace my arm,
And by day shalt teach to charm.
Then, O sweet goddess, bring with thee
Thy boon attendant Gaiety,
Laughter, Freedom, Mirth, and Ease,
And all the smiling deities;
Fancy, spreading painted sails,
Loves that fan with gentle gales.—
But hark!—methinks I hear a voice,
My organs all at once rejoice;
A voice that says, or seems to say,
“Sister, hasten, sister gay,
“Come to the pump-room—come away.”
J--- W---d---r.
Bath, 1766.

The Goddess of Folly.


LETTER IV. Mr. Simkin B---n---r---d to Lady B---n---r---d, at --- Hall, North.

A Consultation of Physicians.

Dear mother, my time has been wretchedly spent,
With a gripe or a hickup wherever I went,
My stomach all swell'd, till I thought it would burst,
Sure never poor mortal with wind was so curst!
If ever I ate a good supper at night,
I dream'd of the devil, and wak'd in a fright:
And so, as I grew ev'ry day worse and worse,
The doctor advis'd me to send for a nurse,
And the nurse was so willing my health to restore,
She begg'd me to send for a few doctors more;
For when any difficult work's to be done,
Many heads can dispatch it much sooner than one;
And I find there are doctors enough at this place,
If you want to consult in a dangerous case!


So they all met together, and thus began talking:
“Good doctor, I'm your's—'tis a fine day for walking—
“Sad news in the papers—G-d knows who's to blame!
“The colonies seem to be all in a flame—
“This stamp act, no doubt, might be good for the crown,
“But I fear 'tis a pill that will never go down—
“What can Portugal mean?—Is she going to stir up
“Convulsions and heats in the bowels of Europe?
“'Twill be fatal if England relapses again,
“From the ill blood and humours of Bourbon and Spain.”
Says I, ‘My good doctors, I can't understand
‘Why the deuce ye take so many patients in hand;
‘Ye've a great deal of practice, as far as I find,
‘But since ye're come hither, do pray be so kind
‘To write me down something that's good for the wind.
‘No doubt ye are all of ye great politicians,
‘But at present my bowels have need of physicians:
‘Consider my case in the light it deserves,
‘And pity the state of my stomach and nerves.”—
But a tight little doctor began a dispute
About administrations, Newcastle and Bute,


Talk'd much of œconomy, much of profuseness.—
Says another—“This case, which at first was a loosness,
“Is become a Tenesmus, and all we can do
“Is to give him a gentle cathartic or two;
“First get off the phlegm that adheres to the Plicæ,
“Then throw in a med'cine that's pretty and spicy;—
“A peppermint draught,—or a—Come, let's be gone,
“We've another bad case to consider at one.”
So thus they brush'd off, each his cane at his nose,
When Jenny came in, who had heard all their prose;
“I'll teach them,” says she, “at their next consultation,
“To come and take fees for the good of the nation.”
I could not conceive what a devil she meant,
But she seiz'd all the stuff that the doctor had sent,
And out of the window she flung it down souse,
As the first politician went out of the house.
Decoctions and syrups around him all flew,
The pill, bolus, julep, and apozem too;
His wig had the luck a cathartic to meet,
And squash went the gallipot under his feet.


She said, 'twas a shame I should swallow such stuff,
When my bowels were weak, and the physic so rough;
Declar'd she was shock'd that so many should come
To be doctor'd to death such a distance from home,
At a place where they tell you that water alone
Can cure all distempers that ever were known.
But, what is the pleasantest part of the story,
She has order'd for dinner a piper and dory;
For to-day Captain Cormorant's coming to dine,
That worthy acquaintance of Jenny's and mine.
'Tis a shame to the army, that men of such spirit
Should never obtain the reward of their merit;
For the Captain's as gallant a man I'll be sworn,
And as honest a fellow as ever was born:
After so many hardships, and dangers incurr'd,
He himself thinks he ought to be better preferr'd,
And Roger, or what is his name? Nicodemus,
Appears full as kind, and as much to esteem us;
Our Prudence declares he's an excellent preacher,
And by night and by day he's so good as to teach her;
His doctrine so sound with such spirit he gives,
She ne'er can forget it as long as she lives.


I told you before, that he's often so kind
To go out a riding with Prudence behind,
So frequently dines here without any pressing,
And now to the fish he is giving his blessing;
And as that is the case, though I've taken a griper,
I'll venture to peck at the dory and piper.
And now my dear mother, &c. &c. &c.
S--- B---n---r---d.
Bath, 1766.


LETTER V. Mr. Simkin B---n---r---d to Lady B---n---r---d, at --- Hall, North.

Salutatiohs of Bath, and an Adventure of Mr. B---n---r---d's in consequence thereof.

No city, dear mother, this city excels,
In charming sweet sounds both of fiddles and bells;
I thought, like a fool, that they only would ring
For a wedding, or judge, or the birth of a king;
But I found 'twas for me, that the good-natur'd people
Rung so hard that I thought they would pull down the steeple;
So I took out my purse, as I hate to be shabby,
And paid all the men when they came from the abbey;
Yet some think it strange they should make such a riot
In a place where sick folk would be glad to be quiet;
But I hear 'tis the bus'ness of this corporation
To welcome in all the great men of the nation;


For you know there is nothing diverts or employs
The minds of great people like making a noise:
So with bells they contrive all as much as they can
To tell the arrival of any such man.
If a broker, or statesman, a gamester, or peer,
A nat'raliz'd Jew, or a bishop comes here,
Or an eminent trader in cheese should retire,
Just to think of the bus'ness the state may require,
With horns and with trumpets, with fiddles and drums,
They'll strive to divert him as soon as he comes;
'Tis amazing they find such a number of ways
Of employing his thoughts all the time that he stays!
If by chance the great man at his lodging alone is,
He may view from his window the colliers' ponies
On both the parades, where they tumble and kick,
To the great entertainment of those that are sick:
What a number of turnspits and builders he'll find
For relaxing his cares and unbending his mind,
While notes of sweet music contend with the cries
Of fine potted laver, fresh oysters, and pies!
And music's a thing I shall truly revere,
Since the city-musicians so tickled my ear:


For when we arriv'd here at Bath t'other day,
They came to our lodgings on purpose to play;
And I thought it was right as the music was come,
To foot it a little in Tabitha's room;
For practice makes perfect, as often I've read,
And to heels is of service as well as the head:
But the lodgers were shock'd such a noise we should make,
And the ladies declar'd that we kept them awake;
Lord Ringbone, who lay in the parlour below,
On account of the gout he had got in his toe,
Began on a sudden to curse and to swear:
I protest, my dear mother, 'twas shocking to hear
The oaths of that reprobate gouty old peer:
“All the devils in hell sure at once have concurr'd
“To make such a noise here as never was heard;
“Some blundering blockhead, while I am in bed,
“Treads as hard as a coach-horse just over my head;
“I cannot conceive what a plague he's about:
“Are the fiddlers come hither to make all this rout
“With their d---'d squeaking catgut, that's worse than the “gout?


“If the aldermen bad 'em come hither, I swear,
“I wish they were broiling in hell with the May'r;
“May flames be my portion if ever I give
“Those rascals one farthing as long as I live!”
So while they were playing their musical airs,
And I was just dancing the hay round the chairs,
He roar'd to his Frenchman to kick them down stairs.
The Frenchman came forth, with his outlandish lingo,
Just the same as a monkey, and made all the men go;
I could not make out what he said, not a word,
And his lordship declar'd I was very absurd.
Says I, ‘Master Ringbone, I've nothing to fear,
‘Tho’ you be a Lord, and your man a Mounseer,
‘For the May'r and the aldermen bad them come here:
‘— As absurd as I am,
‘I don't care a damn
‘For you, nor your valee de sham:
‘For a Lord, do you see,
‘Is nothing to me,
‘Any more than a flea;
‘And your Frenchman so eager,
‘With all his soup meagre,


‘Is no more than a mouse,
‘Or a bug, or a louse,
‘And I'll do as I please while I stay in the house:
‘For the B---n---r---d family all can afford
‘To part with their money as free as a Lord.’
So I thank'd the musicians, and gave them a guinea,
Tho' the ladies and gentlemen call'd me a ninny;
And I'll give them another the next time they play,
For men of good fortune encourage, they say,
All arts and all sciences too in their way;
So the men were so kind as to halloo and bawl,
“God bless you, Sir, thank you, good fortune befall
“Yourself, and the B---n---r---d family all.”
Excuse any more—for I very well know,
Both my subject and verse—is exceedingly low;
But if any great critic finds fault with my letter,
He has nothing to do but to send you a better.
And now, my dear mother, &c. &c. &c.
Bath, 1766. S--- B---n---r---d.


LETTER VI. Mr. Simkin B---n---r---d to Lady B---n---r---d, at --- Hall, North.

Mr. B---n---r---d gives a Description of the Bathing.

This morning, dear mother, as soon as 'twas light,
I was wak'd by a noise that astonish'd me quite;
For in Tabitha's chamber I heard such a clatter,
I could not conceive what the deuce was the matter;
And, wou'd you believe it, I went up and found her
In a blanket with two lusty fellows around her,
Who both seem'd a going to carry her off in
A little black box just the size of a coffin:
‘Pray tell me,’ says I, ‘what ye're doing of there?’
“Why, master, 'tis hard to be bilk'd of our fare,
“And so we were thrusting her into a chair;
“We don't see no reason for using us so,
“For she bad us come hither, and now she won't go:


“We've earn'd all the fare, for we both came and knock'd her
“Up as soon as 'twas light, by advice of the doctor;
“And this is a job that we often go a'ter,
“For ladies that choose to go into the water.”
‘But pray,’ says I, Tabitha, what is your drift
‘To be cover'd in flannel instead of a shift?
‘'Tis all by the doctor's advice, I suppose,
‘That nothing is left to be seen but your nose:
‘I think if you really intend to go in,
‘'Twould do you more good if you stript to the skin;
‘And if you've a mind for a frolick, i'fa'th,
‘I'll just step and see you jump into the bath.’
So they hoisted her down just as safe and as well
And as snug as a hodmandod rides in his shell:
I fain wou'd have gone to see Tabitha dip,
But they turn'd at a corner and gave me the slip,
Yet in searching about I had better success,
For I got to a place where the ladies undress:
Thinks I to myself, they are after some fun,
And I'll see what they're doing, as sure as a gun.
So I peep'd at the door, and I saw a great mat,
That cover'd the table, and got under that,


And laid myself down there as snug and as still,
(As a body may say) like a thief in a mill;
And of all the fine sights I have seen, my dear mother,
I never expect to behold such another:
How the ladies did giggle and set up their clacks,
All the while an old woman was rubbing their backs!
Oh 'twas pretty to see them all put on their flannels,
And then take the water, like so many spaniels;
And tho' all the while it grew hotter and hotter,
They swam, just as if they were hunting an otter.
'Twas a glorious sight to behold the fair sex
All wading with gentlemen up to their necks,
And view them so prettily tumble and sprawl
In a great smoking kettle as big as our hall:
And to-day, many persons of rank and condition
Were boil'd by command of an able physician:
Dean Spavin, Dean Mangey, and Doctor De'squirt,
Were all sent from Cambridge to rub off their dirt;
Judge Bane, and the worthy old Counsellor Pest,
Join'd issue at once, and went in with the rest;
And this they all said was exceedingly good
For strength'ning the spirits and mending the blood.


It pleas'd me to see how they all were inclin'd
To lengthen their lives for the good of mankind;
For I ne'er would believe that a bishop or judge
Can fancy old Satan may owe him a grudge;
Tho' some think the lawyer may choose to demur,
And the priest till another occasion defer;
And both to be better prepar'd for herea'ter,
Take a smack of the brimstone contain'd in the water.
But, what is surprizing, no mortal e'er view'd
Any one of the physical gentlemen stew'd;
Since the day that King Bladud first found out these bogs,
And thought them so good for himself and his hogs,
Not one of the faculty ever has try'd
These excellent waters to cure his own hide;
Tho' many a skilful and learned physician,
With candour, good sense, and profound erudition,
Obliges the world with the fruits of his brain,
Their nature and hidden effects to explain.
Thus Chiron advis'd Madam Thetis to take
And dip her poor child in the Stygian lake,


But the worthy old doctor was not such an elf
As ever to venture his carcase himself.
So Jason's good wife us'd to set on a pot,
And put in at once all the patients she got,
But thought it sufficient to give her direction,
Without being coddled to mend her complexion:
And I never have heard that she wrote any treatise
To tell what the virtue of water and heat is.
You cannot conceive what a number of ladies
Were wash'd in the water the same as our maid is:
Old Baron Vanteazer, a man of great wealth,
Brought his lady the Baroness here for her health;
The Baroness bathes, and she says that her case
Has been hit to a hair, and is mending apace:
And this is a point all the learned agree on,
The Baron has met with the fate of Acteon;
Who, while he peep'd into the bath, had the luck
To find himself suddenly chang'd to a buck.
Miss Scratchit went in, and the Countess of Scales,
Both ladies of very great fashion in Wales;
Then all on a sudden two persons of worth,
My Lady Pandora Macscurvy came forth,
With General Sulphur arriv'd from the North.


So Tabby, you see, had the honour of washing
With folks of distinction, and very high fashion;
But in spite of good company, poor little soul,
She shook both her ears like a mouse in a bowl.
Ods-bobs! how delighted I was unawares
With the fiddles I heard in the room above stairs;
For music is wholesome, the doctors all think,
For ladies that bathe, and for ladies that drink;
And that's the opinion of Robin our driver,
Who whistles his nags while they stand at the river:
They say it is right that for every glass
A tune you should take, that the water may pass,
So while little Tabby was washing her rump,
The ladies kept drinking it out of a pump.
I've a deal more to say, but am loth to intrude
On your time, my dear mother, so now I'll conclude.
S--- B---n---r---d.
Bath, 1766.

Vide Old Bath Guide.


LETTER VII. Mr. Simkin B---n---r---d to Lady B---n---r---d, at --- Castle, North.

A Panegyric on Bath, and a Moravian Hymn.

Of all the gay places the world can afford,
By gentle and simple for pastime ador'd,
Fine balls, and fine concerts, fine buildings, and springs,
Fine walks, and fine views, and a thousand fine things,
(Not to mention the sweet situation and air)
What place, my dear mother, with Bath can compare?
Let Bristol for commerce and dirt be renown'd,
At Sals'bury pen-knives and scissars be ground;
The towns of Devizes, of Bradford and Frome,
May boast that they better can manage the loom;
I believe that they may;—but the world to refine,
In manners, in dress, in politeness to shine,
O Bath! let the art, let the glory be thine.


I'm sure that I've travell'd our country all o'er,
And ne'er was so civilly treated before;
Would you think, my dear mother, (without the least hint
That we all should be glad of appearing in print)
The news-writers here were so kind as to give all
The world an account of our happy arrival?—
You scarce can imagine what numbers I've met,
(Tho' to me they are perfectly strangers as yet)
Who all with address and civility came,
And seem'd vastly proud of subscribing our name.
Young Timothy Canvass is charm'd with the place,
Who, I hear, is come hither, his fibres to brace;
Poor man! at th' election he threw, t'other day,
All his victuals, and liquor, and money away;
And some people think with such haste he began,
That soon he the constable greatly outran,
And is qualify'd now for a parliament-man:
Goes every day to the coffee-house, where
The wits and the great politicians repair;
Harangues on the funds and the state of the nation,
And plans a good speech for an administration,


In hopes of a place which he thinks he deserves,
As the love of his country has ruined his nerves.—
Our neighbour, Sir Easterlin Widgeon, has swore
He ne'er will return to his bogs any more;
The Thicksculls are settled; we've had invitations
With a great many more on the score of relations:
The Loungers are come too.—Old Stucco has just sent
His plan for a house to be built in the Crescent;
'Twill soon be complete, and they say all their work
Is as strong as St. Paul's, or the minster at York.
Don't you think 'twould be better to lease our estate,
And buy a good house here before 'tis too late?
You never can go, my dear mother, where you
So much have to see, and so little to do.
I write this in haste, for the Captain is come,
And so kind as to go with us all to the Room;
But be sure by the very next post you shall hear
Of all I've the pleasure of meeting with there:
For I scribble my verse with a great deal of ease,
And can send you a letter whenever I please:


And while at this place I've the honour to stay,
I think I can never want something to say.
But now, my dear mother, &c. &c. &c.
S--- B---n---r---d.
Bath, 1766.


I'm sorry to find at the city of Bath,
Many folks are uneasy concerning their faith:
Nicodemus, the preacher, strives all he can do
To quiet the conscience of good sister Prue;
But Tabby from scruples of mind is releas'd
Since she met with a learned Moravian priest,
Who says, There is neither transgression nor sin;
A doctrine that brings many customers in.
She thinks this the prettiest ode upon earth,
Which he made on his infant that dy'd in the birth.



Chicken blessed
And caressed,
Little bee on Jesu's breast!
From the hurry
And the flurry
Of the earth thou'rt now at rest.

The learned Moravian has pirated this Ode from Count Zinzendorf's Book of Hymns. Vid. H. 33.


LETTER VIII. Mr. Simkin B---n---r---d to Lady B---n---r---d, at --- Hall, North.

Mr. B---n---r---d goes to the Rooms. His Opinion of Gaming.

From the earliest ages, dear mother, till now,
All statesmen and great politicians allow
That nothing advances the good of a nation,
Like giving all money a free circulation:
This question from members of parliament draws
Many speeches that meet universal applause;
And if ever, dear mother, I live to be one,
I'll speak on this subject as sure as a gun:
For Bath will I speak, and I'll make an oration
Shall obtain me the freedom of this corporation;
I have no kind of doubt but the Speaker will beg
All the members to hear when I set out my leg.
“Circulation of cash—circulation decay'd—
“Is at once the destruction and ruin of trade;


“Circulation—I say—circulation it is,
“Gives life to commercial countries like this:”
What thanks to the city of Bath then are due
From all who this patriot maxim pursue!
For in no place whatever that national good
Is practis'd so well, and so well understood.
What infinite merit and praise does she claim in
Her ways and her means for promoting of gaming!
And gaming, no doubt, is of infinite use
That same circulation of cash to produce.
What true public-spirited people are here,
Who for that very purpose come every year!
All eminent men, who no trade ever knew
But gaming, the only good trade to pursue:
All other professions are subject to fail,
But gaming's a bus'ness will ever prevail;
Besides, 'tis the only good way to commence
An acquaintance with all men of spirit and sense;
We may grub on without it thro' life, I suppose,
But then 'tis with people—that nobody knows.
We ne'er can expect to be rich, wise, or great,
Or look'd upon fit for employments of state:


'Tis your men of fine heads, and of nice calculations,
That afford so much service to administrations,
Who by frequent experience know how to devise
The speediest methods of raising supplies:
'Tis such men as these, men of honour and worth,
That challenge respect from all persons of birth;
And is it not right they should all be carest,
When they're all so polite, and so very well drest,
When they circulate freely the money they've won,
And wear a lac'd coat, tho' their fathers wore none?
Our trade is encourag'd as much, if not more,
By the tender soft sex I shall ever adore;
But their husbands, those brutes, have been known to complain,
And swear they will never set foot here again.—
Ye wretches ingrate! to find fault with your wives,
The comfort, the solace, and joy of your lives;
Oh! that women, whose price is so far above rubies,
Should fall to the lot of such ignorant boobies!
Does n't Solomon speak of such women with rapture,
In verse his eleventh and thirty-first chapter?


And surely that wise king of Israel knew
What belong'd to a woman much better than you!
He says, “if you find out a virtuous wife,
“She will do a man good all the days of her life;
“She deals like a merchant, she sitteth up late.”
And you'll find it is written in verse twenty-eight,
“Her husband is sure to be known at the gate.
“He never hath need or occasion for spoil,
“When his wife is much better employ'd all the while;
“She seeketh fine wool, and fine linen she buys,
“And is clothed in purple and scarlet likewise.”
Now pray don't your wives do the very same thing,
And follow th' advice of that worthy old king?
Do they spare for expences themselves in adorning?
Don't they go about buying fine things all the morning?
And at cards all the night take the trouble to play,
To get back the money they spent in the day?
And sure there's no sort of occasion to shew
Ye are known at the gate, or wherever ye go.
Pray are not your ladies at Bath better plac'd
Than the wife of a king, who herself so disgrac'd,
And at Ithaca liv'd in such very bad taste?


Poor soul! while her husband thought proper to leave her,
She slav'd all the day like a Spitalfields weaver,
And then like a fool, when her web was half spun,
Pull'd to pieces at night all the work she had done:
But these to their husbands more profit can yield,
And are much like a lily that grows in the field;
They toil not indeed, nor indeed do they spin,
Yet they never are idle when once they begin,
But are very intent on increasing their store,
And always keep shuffling and cutting for more:
Industrious creatures! that make it a rule
To secure half the fish, while they manage the pool;
So they win, to be sure; but I very much wonder
Why they put so much money the candlestick under;
For up comes a man on a sudden, slap-dash,
Snuffs the candles and carries away all the cash:
And as nobody troubles their heads any more,
I'm in very great hopes that it goes to the poor.—
Methinks I should like to excel in a trade
By which such a number their fortunes have made.
I've heard of a wise, philosophical Jew,
That shuffles the cards in a manner that's new;


One Jonas, I think:—And could wish for the future
To have that illustrious sage for my tutor;
And the Captain, whose kindness I ne'er can forget,
Will teach me a game that he calls Lansquenet,
So I soon shall acquaint you what money I've won;
In the mean time I rest your most dutiful son,
S--- B---n---r---d.
Bath, 1766.