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

A Public Breakfast.

Motives for the same.—A List of the Company.—A tender Scene.—An unfortunate Incident.

What blessings attend, my dear mother, all those
Who to crowds of admirers their persons expose!
Do the gods such a noble ambition inspire;
Or gods do we make of each ardent desire?
O generous passion! 'tis yours to afford
The splendid assembly, the plentiful board;
To thee do I owe such a breakfast this morn,
As I ne'er saw before since the hour I was born;
'Twas you made my Lord Ragamuffin come here,
Who they say has been lately created a Peer,
And to-day with extreme complaisance and respect ask'd
All the people at Bath to a general breakfast.


You've heard of my Lady Bunbutter, no doubt,
How she loves an assembly, fandango, or rout;
No lady in London is half so expert
At a snug private party her friends to divert;
But they say that, of late, she's grown sick of the town,
And often to Bath condescends to come down:
Her ladyship's fav'rite house is the Bear:
Her chariot, and servants, and horses are there:
My Lady declares that retiring is good;
As all with a separate maintenance should:
For when you have put out the conjugal fire,
'Tis time for all sensible folk to retire;
If Hymen no longer his fingers will scorch,
Little Cupid for others can whip in his torch,
So pert is he grown, since the custom began
To be married and parted as quick as you can.
Now my Lord had the honour of coming down post,
To pay his respects to so famous a toast;
In hopes he her Ladyship's favour might win,
By playing the part of a host at an inn.
I'm sure he's a person of great resolution,
Tho' delicate nerves, and a weak constitution;


For he carried us all to a place cross the river,
And vow'd that the rooms were too hot for his liver:
He said it would greatly our pleasure promote,
If we all for Spring-Gardens set out in a boat:
I never as yet could his reason explain,
Why we all sallied forth in the wind and the rain;
For sure, such confusion was never yet known;
Here a cap and a hat, there a cardinal blown:
While his Lordship, embroider'd and powder'd all o'er,
Was bowing, and handing the ladies a-shore:
How the misses did huddle and scuddle, and run:
One would think to be wet must be very good fun;
For by waggling their tails, they all seem'd to take pains
To moisten their pinions like ducks when it rains;
And 'twas pretty to see how, like birds of a feather,
The people of quality flock'd all together;
All pressing, addressing, caressing, and fond,
Just the same as those animals are in a pond:
You've read all their names in the news, I suppose,
But, for fear you have not, take the list as it goes:
There was Lady Greasewrister,
And Madam Van-Twister,
Her Ladyship's sister.


Lord Cram, and Lord Vulter,
Sir Brandish O'Culter,
With Marshal Carouzer,
And old Lady Mouzer,
And the great Hanoverian Baron Pansmowzer:
Besides many others, who all in the rain went,
On purpose to honour this great entertainment:
The company made a most brilliant appearance,
And ate bread and butter with great perseverance;
All the chocolate too, that my Lord set before 'em,
The ladies dispatch'd with the utmost decorum.
Soft musical numbers were heard all around,
The horns and the clarions echoing sound:
Sweet were the strains, as od'rous gales that blow
O'er fragrant banks, where pinks and roses grow.
The Peer was quite ravish'd, while close to his side
Sat Lady Bunbutter, in beautiful pride!
Oft turning his eyes, he with rapture survey'd
All the powerful charms she so nobly display'd.
As when at the feast of the great Alexander,
Timotheus, the musical son of Thersander,
Breath'd heavenly measures;


The prince was in pain,
And could not contain,
While Thais was sitting beside him;
But, before all his peers,
Was for shaking the spheres,
Such goods the kind gods did provide him.
Grew bolder and bolder,
And cock'd up his shoulder,
Like the son of great Jupiter Ammon,
Till at length quite opprest,
He sunk on her breast,
And lay there as dead as a salmon.
O had I a voice that was stronger than steel,
With twice fifty tongues to express what I feel,
And as many good mouths, yet I never could utter
All the speeches my Lord made to Lady Bunbutter!
So polite all the time, that he ne'er touch'd a bit,
While she ate up his rolls and applauded his wit:
For they tell me that men of true taste, when they treat,
Should talk a great deal, but they never should eat:
And if that be the fashion, I never will give
Any grand entertainment as long as I live:


For I'm of opinion 'tis proper to cheer
The stomach and bowels, as well as the ear.
Nor me did the charming concerto of Abel
Regale like the breakfast I saw on the table:
I freely will own I the muffins preferr'd
To all the genteel conversation I heard,
E'en tho' I'd the honour of sitting between
My Lady Stuff-damask and Peggy Moreen,
Who both flew to Bath in the nightly machine.
Cries Peggy, “This place is enchantingly pretty;
“We never can see such a thing in the city:
“You may spend all your life-time in Cateaton-street,
“And never so civil a gentleman meet;
“You may talk what you please; you may search London “through;
“You may go to Carlisle's, and to Almanac's too:
“And I'll give you my head if you find such a host,
“For coffee, tea, chocolate, butter, and toast:
“How he welcomes at once all the world and his wife,
“And how civil to folk he ne'er saw in his life!”—
“These horns, cries my Lady, so tickle one's ear,
“Lard! what would I give that Sir Simon was here!


“To the next public breakfast Sir Simon shall go,
“For I find here are folks one may venture to know:
“Sir Simon would gladly his Lordship attend,
“And my Lord would be pleas'd with so cheerful a friend.”
So when we had wasted more bread at a breakfast
Than the poor of our parish have ate for this week past,
I saw, all at once, a prodigious great throng
Come bustling, and rustling, and jostling along:
For his Lordship was pleas'd that the company now
To my Lady Bunbutter should curt'sey and bow:
And my Lady was pleas'd too, and seem'd vastly proud
At once to receive all the thanks of a crowd:
And when, like Chaldeans, we all had ador'd
This beautiful image set up by my Lord,
Some few insignificant folk went way,
Just to follow th' employments and calls of the day,
But those who knew better their time how to spend,
The fiddling and dancing all chose to attend.
Miss Clunch and Sir Toby perform'd a Cotillion,
Just the same as our Susan and Bob the postillion;
All the while her mamma was expressing her joy,
That her daughter the morning so well could employ.


—Now why should the Muse, my dear mother, relate
The misfortunes that fall to the lot of the great?
As homeward we came—'tis with sorrow you'll hear
What a dreadful disaster attended the Peer:
For whether some envious god had decreed
That a Naiad should long to ennoble her breed;
Or whether his Lordship was charm'd to behold
His face in the stream, like Narcissus of old;
In handing old Lady Bumfidget and daughter,
This obsequious Lord tumbled into the water;
But a nymph of the flood brought him safe to the boat,
And I left all the ladies a-cleaning his coat.
Thus the feast was concluded, as far as I hear,
To the great satisfaction of all that were there.
O may he give breakfasts as long as he stays,
For I ne'er ate a better in all born days.
In haste I conclude, &c. &c. &c.
S--- B---n---r---d.
Bath, 1766.