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

Taste and Spirit.—Mr. B---n---r---d commences a Beau Garçon.

So lively, so gay, my dear mother, I'm grown,
I long to do something to make myself known;
For persons of taste and true spirit, I find,
Are fond of attracting the eyes of mankind:
What numbers one sees, who, for that very reason,
Come to make such a figure at Bath ev'ry season!
'Tis this that provokes Mrs. Shenkin Ap-Leek
To dine at the ord'nary twice in a week,
Tho' at home she might eat a good dinner in comfort,
Nor pay such a cursed extravagant sum for't:
But then her acquaintance would never have known
Mrs. Shenkin Ap-Leek had acquir'd the bon ton;
Ne'er shewn how in taste the Ap-Leeks can excel
The Dutchess of Truffles, and Lady Morell:


Had ne'er been ador'd by Sir Pye Macaroni,
And Count Vermicelli, his intimate crony;
Both men of such taste, their opinions are taken
From an ortolan down to a rasher of bacon.
What makes Kitty Spicer, and little Miss Sago,
To auctions and milliners shops ev'ry day go?
What makes them to vie with each other and quarrel
Which spends the most money for splendid apparel?
Why, Spirit—to shew they have much better sense
Than their fathers, who rais'd it by shillings and pence.
What sends Peter Tewksbury every night
To the play with such infinite joy and delight?
Why, Peter's a critic, with true Attic salt,
Can damn the performers, can hiss, and find fault,
And tell when we ought to express approbation,
By thumping, and clapping, and vociferation;
So he gains our attention, and all must admire
Young Tewksbury's judgment, his spirit and fire,
But Jack Dilettante despises the play'rs,
To concerts and musical parties repairs,


With benefit tickets his pockets he fills,
Like a mountebank doctor distributes his bills;
And thus his importance and interest shews,
By conferring his favours wherever he goes;
He's extremely polite both to me and my cousin,
For he often desires us to take off a dozen;
He has taste, without doubt, and a delicate ear,
No vile oratorios ever could bear;
But talks of the op'ras and his Signiora,
Cries bravo, benissimo, bravo, encora!
And oft is so kind as to thrust in a note
While old Lady Cuckow is straining her throat,
Or little Miss Wren, who's an excellent singer;
Then he points to the notes, with a ring on his finger;
And shews her the crotchet, the quaver, and bar,
All the time that she warbles and plays the guitar;
Yet, I think, though she's at it from morning 'till noon,
Her queer little thingumbob's never in tune.
Thank Heaven! of late, my dear mother, my face is
Not a little regarded at all public places;


For I ride in a chair, with my hands in a muff,
And have bought a silk coat, and embroider'd the cuff;
But the weather was cold, and the coat it was thin,
So the taylor advis'd me to line it with skin:
But what with my Nivernois' hat can compare,
Bag-wig, and lac'd ruffles, and black solitaire?
And what can a man of true fashion denote,
Like an ell of good ribbon tied under the throat?
My buckles and box are in exquisite taste,
The one is of paper, the other of paste:
And sure no Camayeu was ever yet seen
Like that which I purchas'd at Wicksted's machine:
My stockings of silk are just come from the hosier,
For to-night I'm to dance with the charming Miss Tozier:
So I'd have them to know, when I go to the ball,
I shall shew as much taste as the best of them all:
For a man of great fashion was heard to declare
He never beheld so engaging an air,
And swears all the world must my judgment confess,
My solidity, sense, understanding in dress;
My manners so form'd, and my wig so well curl'd,
I look like a man of the very first world:


But my person and figure you'll best understand
From the picture I've sent, by an eminent hand:
Shew it young Lady Betty, by way of endearance,
And to give her a spice of my mien and appearance.
Excuse any more, I'm in haste to depart,
For a dance is the thing that I love at my heart,
So now, my dear mother, &c. &c. &c.
S--- B---n---r---d.
Bath, 1766.