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

A Journal.

To humbler strains, ye Nine, descend,
And greet my poor sequester'd friend.
Not odes, with rapid eagle flight,
That soar above all human sight,
Not Fancy's fair and fertile field,
To all the same delight can yield.
But come, Calliope, and say
How pleasure wastes the various day:


Whether thou art wont to rove
By Parade, or Orange Grove,
Or to breathe a purer air
In the Circus or the Square;
Wheresoever be thy path,
Tell, O tell the joys of Bath.
Ev'ry morning, ev'ry night,
Gayest scenes of fresh delight;
When Aurora sheds her beams,
Wak'd from soft Elysian dreams,
Music calls me to the spring,
Which can health and spirits bring:
There Hygeia, goddess, pours
Blessings from her various stores;
Let me to her altars haste,
Tho' I ne'er the waters taste,
Near the pump to take my stand,
With a nosegay in my hand,
And to hear the Captain say,
“How d'ye do, dear Miss, to-day?”


The Captain;—Now you'll say, my dear,
Methinks I long his name to hear:—
Why then—but don't you tell my aunt,
The Captain's name is Cormorant:
But hereafter you must know,
I shall call him Romeo,
And your friend, dear lady Bet,
Jenny no more, but Juliet.
O ye guardian spirits fair,
All who make true love your care,
May I oft my Romeo meet,
Oft enjoy his converse sweet;
I alone his thoughts employ,
Through each various scene of joy!
Lo! where all the jocund throng
From the pump-room hastes along,
To the breakfast all invited
By Sir Toby lately knighted.
See with joy my Romeo comes!
He conducts me to the Rooms;


There he whispers, not unseen,
Tender tales behind the screen;
While his eyes are fix'd on mine
See each nymph with envy pine,
And, with looks of forc'd disdain,
Smile contempt, but sigh in vain!
O the charming party's made!
Some to walk the south Parade,
Some to Lincomb's shady groves,
Or to Simpson's proud alcoves;
Some for chapel trip away,
Then take places for the play;
Or we walk about in pattens,
Buying gauzes, cheap'ning sattins:
Or to Painter's we repair,
Meet Sir Peregrine Hatchet there,
Pleas'd the artist's skill to trace
In his dear Miss Gorgon's face:
Happy pair! who fix'd as fate
For the sweet connubial state,
Smile in canvass tête-à-tête.


If the weather, cold and chill,
Calls us all to Mr. Gill,
Romeo hands to me the jelly,
Or the soup of vermicelli:
If at Toyshop I step in,
He presents a diamond pin;
Sweetest token I can wear,
Which at once may grace my hair,
And in witness of my flame,
Teach the glass to bear his name:
See him turn each trinket over,
If for me he can discover
Aught his passion to reveal,
Emblematic ring or seal,
Cupid whetting pointed darts,
For a pair of tender hearts;
Hymen lighting sacred fires,
Types of chaste and fond desires.
Thus enjoy we ev'ry blessing,
Till the toilet calls to dressing;
Where's my garnet, cap, and sprig?
Send for Singe to dress my wig:


Bring my silver'd mazarine,
Sweetest gown that e'er was seen:
Tabitha, put on my ruff:
Where's my dear delightful muff?
Muff, my faithful Romeo's present!
Tippet too from tail of pheasant!
Muff from downy breast of swan!
O the dear enchanting man!
Muff that makes me think how Jove
Flew to Leda from above—
Muff that—Tabby, see who rapt then.
“Madam, Madam, 'tis the Captain!”
Sure his voice I hear below,
'Tis, it is my Romeo!
Shape and gait, and careless air,
Diamond ring, and solitaire,
Birth and fashion all declare.
How his eyes, that gently roll,
Speak the language of his soul!
See the dimple on his cheek,
See him smile and sweetly speak;


“Lovely nymph, at your command,
“I have something in my hand,
“Which I hope you'll not refuse,
“'Twill us both at night amuse:
“What tho' Lady Whisker crave it,
“And Miss Badger longs to have it,
“'Tis, by Jupiter I swear,
“'Tis for you alone, my dear:
“See this ticket, gentle maid,
“At your feet an offering laid:
“Thee the loves and graces call
“To a little private ball:
“And to play I bid adieu,
“Hazard, lansquenet, and loo,
“Fairest nymph, to dance with you.”
—I with joy accept his ticket,
And upon my bosom stick it:
Well I know how Romeo dances,
With what air he first advances,
With what grace his gloves he draws on,
Claps, and calls up Nancy Dawson;


Me thro' ev'ry dance conducting,
And the music oft instructing;
See him tap, the time to shew,
With his light fantastic toe;
Skill'd in ev'ry art to please,
From the fan to waft the breeze,
Or his bottle to produce,
Fill'd with pungent Eau de Luce.
Wonder not, my friend, I go
To the ball with Romeo.
Such delights if thou canst give,
Bath, at thee I choose to live.
J--- W---d---r.
Bath, 1766.



Inclos'd you'll find some lines, my dear,
Made by a hungry poet here,
A happy bard, who rhymes and eats,
And lives by uttering quaint conceits;
Yet thinks to him alone belong
The laurels due to modern song.



Written at Mr. Gill's, an eminent Cook at Bath.

Ου προς παντος εστιν αρτυσαι καλως.
Frag. Vet. Poet.

Ye bards who sing the hero's praise,
Or lass's of the mill,
A loftier theme invites your lays,
Come tune your lyres to Gill.
Of all the cooks the world can boast,
However great their skill,
To bake, or fry, to boil, or roast,
There's none like Master Gill.
Sweet rhyming troop, no longer stoop
To drink Castalia's rill,
Whene'er ye droop, O taste the soup
That's made by Master Gill.


O taste this soup, for which the fair,
When hungry, cold, and chill,
Forsake the Circus and the Square
To eat with Master Gill.
'Tis this that makes my Chloe's lips
Ambrosial sweets distil;
For leeks and cabbage oft she sips
In soup that's made by Gill.
Immortal bards view here your wit,
The labours of your quill,
To singe the fowl upon the spit
Condemn'd by Master Gill.
My humble verse that fate will meet,
Nor shall I take it ill;
But grant, ye gods! that I may eat
That fowl when drest by Gill.
These are your true poetic fires
That drest this sav'ry grill;
E'en while I eat the muse inspires,
And tunes my voice to Gill.


When C--- strikes the vocal lyre,
Sweet Lydian measures thrill;
But I the gridir'n more admire,
When tun'd by Master Gill.
“Come take my sage of ancient use,”
Cries learned Doctor H---ll:
“But what's the sage without the goose?”
Replies my Master Gill.
He who would fortify his mind,
His belly first should fill;
Roast beef 'gainst terrors best you'll find;
The Greeks knew this,” says Gill.
Your spirits and your blood to stir,
Old Galen gives a pill;
But I the forc'd-meat ball prefer,
Prepar'd by Master Gill.
While he so well can broil and bake,
I'll promise and fulfil,
No other physic e'er to take
Than what's prescrib'd by Gill.


Your bard has liv'd at Bath so long,
He dreads to see your bill—
Instead of cash accept this song,
My worthy Master Gill.