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

Serious Reflections of Mr. B---n---r---d.—His Bill of Expences.— The Distresses of the Family.—A Farewell to Bath.

Alas, my dear mother, our evil and good
By few is distinguish'd, by few understood!
How oft are we doom'd to repent at the end,
The events that our pleasantest prospects attend!
As Solon declar'd, in the last scene alone,
All the joys of our life, all our sorrows are known.
When first I came hither for vapours and wind,
To cure all distempers, and study mankind,
How little I dream'd of the tempest behind!
I never once thought what a furious blast,
What storms of distress would o'erwhelm me at last.
How wretched am I! what a fine declamation
Might be made on the subject of my situation!


I'm a fable!—an instance!—and serve to dispense
An example to all men of spirit and sense,
To all men of fashion, and all men of wealth,
Who come to this place to recover their health:
For my means are so small, and my bills are so large,
I ne'er can come home till you send a discharge.
Let the Muse speak the cause, if a Muse yet remain
To supply me with rhymes, and express all my pain.
Paid bells, and musicians,
Drugs, nurse, and physicians,
Balls, raffles, subscriptions, and chairs;
Wigs, gowns, skins, and trimming,
Good books for the women,
Plays, concerts, tea, negus, and prayers.
Paid the following schemes,
Of all who it seems
Make charity-bus'ness their care:
A gamester decay'd,
And a prudish old maid
By gaiety brought to despair:


A fidler of note,
Who, for lace on his coat,
To his taylor was much in arrears:
An author of merit,
Who wrote with such spirit
The pillory took off his ears.
A sum, my dear mother, far heavier yet,
Captain Cormorant won when I learn'd lansquenet;
Two hundred I paid him, and five am in debt.
For the five I had nothing to do but to write,
For the Captain was very well bred and polite,
And took, as he saw my expences were great,
My bond, to be paid on the Clodpole estate;
And asks nothing more while the money is lent,
Than interest paid him at twenty per cent.
But I'm shock'd to relate what distresses befall
Miss Jenny, my sister, and Tabby and all:
Miss Jenny, poor thing, from this Bath expedition,
Was in hopes very soon to have chang'd her condition:
But rumour has brought certain things to her ear,
Which I ne'er will believe, yet am sorry to hear


‘That the Captain, her lover, her dear Romeo,
‘Was banish'd the army a great while ago:
‘That his friends and his foes he alike can betray,
‘And picks up a scandalous living by play.’
But if e'er I could think that the Captain had cheated,
Or my dear cousin Jenny unworthily treated,
By all that is sacred I swear, for his pains
I'd cudgel him first, and then blow out his brains.
For the man I abhor like the devil, dear mother,
Who one thing conceals, and professes another.
O how shall we know the right way to pursue!—
Do the ills of mankind from religion accrue!—
Religion, design'd to relieve all our care,
Has brought my poor sister to grief and despair;
Now she talks of damnation, and screws up her face;
Then prates about Roger, and spiritual grace;
Her senses, alas! seem at once gone astray—
No pen can describe it, no letter convey.
But the man without sin, that Moravian Rabbi,
Has perfectly cur'd the Chlorosis of Tabby;


And, if right I can judge, from her shape and her face,
She soon may produce him an infant of grace.
Now they say that all people, in our situation,
Are very fine subjects for regeneration;
But I think, my dear mother, the best we can do,
Is to pack up our all, and return back to you.
Farewell then, ye streams,
Ye poetical themes!
Sweet fountains for curing the spleen!
I'm griev'd to the heart
Without cash to depart,
And quit this adorable scene!
Where gaming and grace
Each other embrace,
Dissipation and piety meet:—
May all, who've a notion
Of cards or devotion,
Make Bath their delightful retreat!
S--- B---n---r---d.
Bath, 1766.