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