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

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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;

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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,

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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:

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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.