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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
1 occurrence of Once more, O! ye Muses, from Pindus descend, And bid all the Graces your Footsteps attend, Who oft at Elections are wont to prolong
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1 occurrence of Once more, O! ye Muses, from Pindus descend, And bid all the Graces your Footsteps attend, Who oft at Elections are wont to prolong
[Clear Hits]



Quære peregrinum Vicinia rauca reclamat. horat. ep.



I am a decay'd macaroni,
My lodging's up three pair of stairs;
My cheeks are grown wondrously bony,
And grey, very grey, are my hairs:



My landlady eyes me severely,
And frowns when she opens the door:
My tailor behaves cavalierly—
And my coat will bear scouring no more:


Alas! what misfortunes attend
The man of a liberal mind!
How poor are his thanks at the end,
From base and ungrateful mankind!


My father, a stingy old rum,
His fortune by industry made,
And dying bequeath'd me a plum,
Which he meant I should double in trade:


Oh! how could he destine to trade
A man, of my figure and sense!
A man who so early display'd
Such a liberal taste for expence!



When I first came to years of discretion,
I took a round sum from the stocks,
Just to keep up a decent succession
Of race-horses, women, and cocks:


Good company always my aim,
Comme il faut were my cellars and table:
And freely I ask'd to the same
Ev'ry jockey that came to my stable;


No stripling of fortune I noted
With a passion for carding and dice,
But to him I my friendship devoted,
And gave him the best of advice:


“To look upon money as trash,
Not play like a pitiful elf,
But turn all his acres to cash,
And sport it as free as myself.”



And as faro was always my joy,
I set up a bank of my own,
Just to enter a hobbydehoy
And give him a smack of the ton:


In the morning I took him a hunting,
At dinner well-plied with champain,
At tea gave a lecture on punting;
At midnight, on throwing a main:


His friends too with bumpers I cheer'd,
And in truth should have deem'd it a sin
To have made, when a stranger appear'd,
Any scruple of taking him in.


As I always was kind, and soft-hearted,
I took a rich maiden to wife;
And though in a week we were parted,
I gave her a pension for life;



My free and humane disposition
(Thank heaven) I ever have shewn
To all in a helpless condition,
Whose fortunes I'd first made my own:


To --- with whom long ago,
My friendship in childhood begun,
I presented a handsome rouleau,
When his all I had luckily won:


My friends were much pleas'd with the action,
But charm'd when I open'd my door
To his wife, whom he lov'd to distraction,
But could not support any more.


The love of my country at last,
In a soul so exalted as mine,
All other fond passions surpast,
I long'd in the senate to shine:



With a liberal zeal I was fir'd
The good of the state to promote,
And nothing more truly desir'd
Than to make the best use of my vote:


I panted th' abuses to quash
That cast such a slur on the nation,
And resolv'd to dispose of my cash,
In buying a whole corporation:


I soon heard of one to be sold,
Such a bargain, I could not forego it,
With the freemen so cheap were enroll'd
A lawyer, a priest, and a poet.


I touch'd all the aldermen round,
And paid double price for the mayor;
But at length to my sorrow I found
They'd been sold long before I came there;



In vain for sarcastical song
Did my poet his talents display,
My lawyer th' election prolong,
And the parson get drunk ev'ry day:


To my very last farthing I treated,
And set the whole town in a flame:
And since I've so basely been cheated,
I'll publish the truth to their shame:


My rival aloft in his chair
Like a hero triumphantly rode,
My lawyer and priest at his ear,
My poet presenting an ode:


While unable to pay for their prog,
Their wine, their tobacco, and ale,
I was forc'd to sneak off like a dog
With a cannister tied to his tail:



Yet how can I patiently yield
Those palms I so justly might claim,
When I view such a plentiful field
For fair oratorical fame?


'Tis true, I'm a little decay'd,
My lungs rather husky of late,
Yet still could I throw in my aid,
To manage a party debate:


My legs (you observe it no doubt)
Partake of the general shock;
Yet I trust they might fairly hold out
Seven hours by Westminster clock,


But in vain have I studied the art
With abuse to bespatter the foe,
And shoot it like mud from a cart,
With the true Ciceronian flow:



My genius and spirit I feel
Depress'd by adversity's cup;
My merit, alas! and my zeal
For my country, hath eaten me up:


Yet spite of so fair a pretension,
Th' unfeeling, ill-judging Premier
Hath meanly denied me a pension—
Though I ask'd but a thousand a year.


Where then shall I fly from oppression,
Or where shall I seek an abode,
Unskill'd in a trade or profession—
Too feeble for taking the road!


I'll hasten, O! Bath, to thy springs,
Thy seats of the wealthy and gay,
Where the hungry are fed with good things,
And the rich are sent empty away:



With you, ye sweet streams of compassion,
My fortune I'll strive to repair,
Where so many people of fashion
Have money enough, and to spare:


And trust, as they give it so freely,
By private subscription to raise,
Enough to maintain me genteely,
And sport with, the rest of my days.