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Akter the fame which the justly celebrated
Doctor Svntax has acquired, it was not to be
expected that such a transcendent genius would
confine the sphere of his observations and of his
future movements to the remote scenes that sur-
round his vicarage at Somerden in the vicinity of
the Lakes. To have restricted that expansive
mind to the contemplation of so barren a field,
though the water-drinking bards of the Lakes
have denominated it their poetical Elysium —
would have been to have locked up a precious
jewel in a casket, and to have excited the just
regrets of all who ardently desired to behold the
indefatigable Doctor again bustling in the midst
of society, and employing his inimitable pen and
pencil in delineating the manners and pursuits of
mankind. From a spot, therefore, so little pro-
ductive of incident, — where the study of nature
was confined to a few specimens in the persons
of rhyming minstrels, peasants, country-women,
and periodical valetudinarian visitants to the
borders of the Meres, Doctor Syntax was
earnestly solicited to iinmerge into the scenes
of the great world, and to exert the energies
of his mind in depicting the Pleasures and
Miseries of the Metropolis. Among the
most powerful incitements to this undertaking
which the Doctor experienced, were, it must be
confessed, the repeated suggestions of Mrs. Syn-
tax, who was herself desirous of figuring for a
time amidst the gaieties of the fashionable world.
With this desire of his spouse, so natural to the
panting bosoms of the country fair, the affection-
ate Doctor was induced at length to comply ;
and the public are here presented, along with the
adventures and observations of the celebrated
Syntax, with the additional and pleasing accom-
paniment of the presence, and it is to be hoped
no less entertaining remarks, of his unsophisti-
It appears that the Doctor had also another
motive for visiting the capital, having written a
Tragedy, which he was anxious to get represent-
ed on the London stage. The reception and
success which he experienced as a dramatic
author will be found detailed in the poem.
In conclusion, it is confidently hoped from the
favourable opinion that has already been ex-
pressed, that this new work of the celebrated
Doctor Syntax, will not be found inferior in any
respect, either in point of poetical merit, graphic
illustration, or beauty of printing, to the former
production of that amusing and esteemed author.
LIST OF PLATES.
Dr. Syntax and his Spouse, to face Vignette
— Setting off for London - Page 9
*- Arrival in Town ... 39
■- Robbed in St. Giles's - - 59
■ Behind the Scenes at the Opera 62
• At a Masquerade - . - - 90
— Reading his Play in the Green Room 120
'- In Hyde Park - - - 127
— At the Exhibition .- - - 148
■— Going to Richmond in the Steam Boat 165
— At Vauxhall - 186
— Shoots London Bridge, and pops
overboard - - - 193
«- At the London Institution - 207
At the House of Commons - 232
■ — At a Gaming House - - 238
■ In St. Paul's Church Yard, rain and
windy Day ... 250
— Viewing the Bank - - 253
• Presented at Court - - - 295
■ Witnessing the fate of his Play 318
IS there a mind to mirth so dead.
That ne'er delighted heard or read,
Of Doctor Syntax, learned sage,
The pride and glory of the age ;
Who bent on honour dar'd explore
Scenes that no parson saw before ;
With slender purse and labouring brains,
And, Heaven knows well, a world of pains,
When borne on Grizzle's weary back,
He trod of fame the dang'rous tract,
O'er fields with no kind verdure spread,
Mountains terrific, dark and dread,
Where still he found, with playful art,
A pathway to the human heart,
Developing great nature's plan
Superior to the schemes of man ;
For art and fashion shrink away —
From where Dame Nature's wanton play
2 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Calls beauty from confusion's mass,
And shows true taste in wisdom's glass,
For in the country's rugged bowers —
The bard crops academic flowers ;
The tow'ring hill and vaulted steep,
The lakes broad insulated deep ;
The trembling lines — the bold cascade,
Loud thund'ring down the solemn glade ;
The eagle's screams impressing awe
As o'er the crest of proud Skiddaw
Wrapt in dark clouds, by tempest driven
He spreads his wings, and soars to Heav'n-
From scenes like these old Syntax drew
A picture — all acknowledg'd new,
And even some declar'd a good
Well season'd dish for satire's food,
With genius wayward, mild and plastic,
And verse approaching — Hudibrastic.
He ne'er told plainly, any plain-trick,
All was original and eccentric :
All was his own, both high and low
English he was from top to toe,
And scorn'd to seek a foreign shore
Whilst Britain had a rood t'explore ;
Syntax has now to boast a name
Upon the rolls of modern fame ;
His fancy did not flag or tire
When he return'd to his own fire,
Escap'd from toils or perils dire.
Kind Fortune, lovely goddess, came, .
And gave him wealth, and peace, and fame ;
In snug retirement and at ease
Health play'd in zephyrs through the trees
That fenc'd the happy vicarage
Provided for the Christian sage,
Where even Mrs. Syntax' tongue
Th' alarum peal no longer rung,
And whether needfully or not,
Good Syntax' ale ran down his throat :
'Twas sweet in lovely Somerden,
To hear the clerk cry out Amen.
It was indeed a pleasant spot
In which the fates cast Syntax' lot,
Amply rewarding all his care,
For all that fancy seeks was there.
With raptur'd eye whoever scann'd
The wide spread lakes of Cumberland ;
Whoever threw th' enamour'd glance
O'er Keswick's bold and blue expanse,
Or rov'd where hermit peace abides
Amid the woods that deck it's sides,
Will guess the charms that smil'd around
This favour'd, this enchanted ground.
One ev'ning as with matron grace
Sweet Mrs. Syntax took her place
The fragrant tea-urn's font beside,
The Doctor with a traveller's pride,
Began in terms of classic lore
To run the darling story o'er,
As often he had done before,
Of his adventurous deeds, when forth
He boldly sallied to the North,
In quest of fame spurred on, slap dash,
To bring back something, to make cash,
4 DOCTOR SYNTAX
But most he lov'd, and aye would dwell,
On those adventures which befell
His Doctorship, when with full glee
He drank his wine, and sipp'd his tea.
And from that beverage rose obstropulous
To beat the rounds of the metropolis.
Thus on the man of learning ran,
Even from the day that he began
The memorable Tour, that Fame
With smiles has gloried to proclaim ;
Nor thought that those who heard the tale,,
Could let delighted fancy fail
To share in corresponding strains,
In all his pleasures, all his pains ;
Or that a wife is prone to claim
The privilege as well as name
Of spouse, and be allowed to share
In all her husband's joys and care.
And e'en at times the jerkins wear.
A cloud like that which often lowers
O'er happiest matrimonial bowers,
When joy's about to disappear,
Showing domestic thunder near,
Began, portentous sign, to grow
On Mrs. Syntax' darkening brow.
" My dear," she said, " you still incline,
" (By other feelings mov'd than mine)
" In solitary mood to roam,
" And slight your wife and native home.
" But if you lov'd me as you ought,
" And exercis'd attentive thought,
" And understood your duties clear,
" And what concerns your honour near,
" You had not left your wife behind, .[ - !
" And ventur'd forth like one that's blind,
" Upon the world to wander wide,
" Without a faithful friend and guide.
" If you but priz'd her watchful care,
" Who still is lovely, kind and fair ;
" You would not thus neglect your wife,
" Who ever lov'd you as her life ;
" And through the world with you would go,
" Partaker of your joy or woe.
" And now that we have wealth in store,
" 'Twere meet for her that you once more
" The world of fashion should revisit,
" For how can I that never sees it,
" With pompous Lady Lawnsleeves vie,
" In dress and airs and courtesy ?
" You are, I say, a man of merit,
" Then show at last a little spirit ;
" And be genteel, and live, in short,
" Like people of the better sort."
The Doctor heard this smart harangue
With ears that otherwise had rang
Responsively in every sense
To Mrs. Syntax' eloquence ;
And thus he ventured to reply :
" My dearest love ! you know that I,
" Since our connubial knot was tied,
" Ne'er one request of your's denied,
" And that I've striven by night and day
" As much, Heaven knows, as in me lay,
" To prove how dear I love my spouse,
" And how I love a quiet house ;
" And to convince you of this fact,
" I'll tell you, Lovey, how I've rack'd
D DOCTOR SYNTAX
" iVly brains to gratify your passion
" To figure in the world of fashion ;
" And at the same time add a laurel,
" To those which make the critics quarrel,
" Who think your husband's wand'ring ways
" Will with the laurel, crop the bays,
" Which Fame, in spite of all their sneers,
" Will cause to dangle round my ears :
" Whilst laurels from his wig are seen,
" Changing his red nose -tint to green.
" Now be assured, my dearest dear,
" That greater honour still is near,
" Mayhap some annual thousand pounds,
" May add fresh charms to Syntax' grounds :
" Favoured by power and hope elate,
" A mitre yet may deck my pate ;
" And, by the signs I see already
" Methinks thou'lt be a bishop's lady.' '
A bishop's lady : say'st thou, love,
I wish that true thy words may prove ;
But what new dreams, as false as vain,
Have turn'd so much thy foolish brain ?
I've wrote, I've wrote, (now seal your lips)
A tragedy that shall eclipse,
All that in the most brilliant age,
Adorn'd the Greek or Roman stage.
CEdipus fam'd in Grecian story
And Seneca shall sink before me.
A play, a murder-telling play,
And think you in blank verse to bray,
That bishoprics are swept along
By stupid melo-drame, or song ;
That lauding priestcraft on the stage
Will make you high-priest of the age ?
You raise my wonder and my pity, —
But let us go to London city.
" Agreed, agreed," the Doctor cried ;
" But how, my Dolly, shall we ride ?
" You know poor Grizzle's lame and old,
" And it would take a little gold,
" For us to travel like the great,
" And pay as well as sit in state."
I'm glad to see your wits are yet
Not gone so far, as to forget
That folks like us must frugal be,
And practice wise economy,
It's now not ungenteel to ride
In the stage coach, or e'en outside.
For me, I care not how I go,
If envying neighbours do not know.
Indeed it always makes me ail,
When by the rump I'm sued entail ;
You know, my dear, at distance far,
From all those who know what we are,
We may keep company with any
Provided we can save the penny. '
8 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Old Grizzle's back, I need not say,
Contriv'd a double debt to pay,
Is able yet, and nothing loath,
To Kendal town to bear us both.
We'll there take coach ; and thus you'll own
We'll rattle cheaply up to town.
" Well plann'd," quoth Syntax : " on my life,
" Thou art a wise and prudent wife ;
" You hit my fancy to a hair —
" Then for your journey straight prepare,
" My wig and tragedy are ready,
" My note book rul'd, we'll set off speedy,
" And if my lovely spouse content is,
" By morning we're ' non est inventus ;'
" We'll spin along, o'er stones and gravel,
" And quick as Johnny Gilpin travel,
" And gaily caper to the seat
" Of all that's elegant and great."
Off went the wife with smiling brow,
To dust her ancient furbelow,
And pack her caps, and stow her linen,
Rags which she ne'er committed sin in.
She neither scolded maid or man,
She was so pleas'd with her own plan.
The toil of preparation o'er
Small time had our fond pair to snore
In Morpheus' lap, for soon the ray
Of cheerful morn began to play
Around the Doctor's drowsy eyes,
Waking in haste and with surprize
His rib, whose voice in lofty sounds,
Instant through all the house resounds ;
A mighty stir was now begun
'Twas hurry, scurry, all, and run
From this and that thing to the other,
A rare and most confounding bother,
As ever wife on travel bent,
For pleasure or for punishment,
Delighted in a house to see
She lov'd, yet from it lov'd, to flee.
Old Grizzle was brought to the dooi*,
And loaded with a precious store
Of comforts, which the prudent lady
Sagaciously had always ready.
While she of these took special care,
The Doctor's thoughts engaged were
On things of greater moment stfll.
The darling theme on which his quill
Dilated had in raptur'd dream,
His future hope — his tragic theme,
This he deposits near his breast,
Where all his dearest wishes rest ;
These when the pair had ceas'd to pack,
They mounted were on Grizzle's back,
Syntax in double dowlas clad,
And Madam buckled to the pad.
Their village friends stood all around
Wondering and uttering pray'rs profound,
The parish clerk cried out Amen,
Whilst both cried, farewell Somerden.
10 DOCTOR SYNTAX
O hope is sweet, I oft have sung,
For smiling hope is ever young,
In youth, in age, we feel its power,
And still to pleasure's rosy bower
It flattering points, and fondly leads,
And crowns with wreaths the oldest heads
It cheers the seaman's dismal night ;
It puts the soldier's fears to flight ;
It soothes the lover's wild alarms,
Adds constancy to virtue's charms;
It melts the bosom icy cold ;
It dreams of love to maidens old
With renovating joy imparts,
And husbands gives to widow'd hearts ;
It pays the patriot's studious hour,
And wafts him to the seat of power ;
The poet feels its flame divine,
Lighting to Fame's immortal shrine.
It bids the tide of genius roll —
Triumphant o'er th' impassion'd soul :
It bursts the barriers of the grave ;
It lives to succour and to save ;
Ah ! hope, eternal bright and fair
Wafts fancy through the fields of air,
Descending— with seducing wile
With Doctor Syntax still to smile.
Even Mrs. Syntax felt its glow,
Warming her heart with gaudiest show,
Of courtly sights and honours new,
And triumphs proud and not a few;
When she return'd to give the ton
To parsons' wives and folks unknown ;
IN LONDON. 1 1
Pride, petty power, declar'd that she
Amply at length aveng'd should be,
On all who by superior polish
Had made her oft look very drollish.
As for our sage, the thoughts of fame
Almost made him forget his dame
Was closely wedded to his back,
With firmest hold ; though oft her clack y
Which always claim'd attentive ear,
Now made him feel that she was near.
He then essay'd some kind discourse,
Now to his wife, next to his horse ;
While the hard path slow pacing* o'er,
And sensible of what he bore ;
Poor Grizzle patient stumbled on
To Kendal's welcome bridge of stone,
Which having reach'd, and to unpack
The living lumber on his back,
The grinning oft-called hostler came,
The Doctor next announced his name,
And to avoid his wife's reproach,
Instant declar'd that by the coach
They both were going up to London,
If snug and warm seats could be found in
That blessed, cheap and quick conveyance ;
But solemn vow'd that in abeyance,
He could not stop ; and Mrs. Syntax
Re-echo'd that 'twould be a fine tax
On purse and patience, should delay
Thus intervene upon their way.
Thus stood the case, none could tell whether
The man and wife could go together,
Until the coach arrived ; meantime
The Doctor thought he'd spin a rhyme,
12 DOCTOK SYNTAX
Or the romantic confines trace
Of this delightful ancient place.
His rib, who felt a sharp chagrin,
He kindly handed to the inn ;
Then sauntered forth. The ground lie view'd,
Where once the ancient castle stood ;
A barrier good in feudal age,
Against the foes' invading rage.
It was a pleasant thing to look
Adown the Ken's meandering brook ;
Where hill o'er hill in verdant pride
Rose o'er the water's peopled side.
From pillar'd church to church-yard drear.,
He turns, but ah ! no object here
Delights the eye ; yet strange to say,
An object here his eyes survey,
That led amid th' unwholesome dews
Our sage his spectacles to use.
Like maniac, seated all alone
On the cold damp and graven stone,
Of one from sorrow call'd away,
A brother bard in wild array,
Whom fancy on appropriate ground,
With opiate wreaths and cypress crown'd ;
He saw and heard him thus rehearse,
The " singular, wild, and happy verse,"
Which pour'd at will from breast inspir'd.
The raptur'd public have admir'd.
JN LONDON. 13
®bt agjurg) par*,
It was an hour
That fill'd the soul with awe and wonderment ;
The moon-beams stream 'd between the dismal
And streak'd the ground with paley lustres.
They seem'd the spreadings of a brook o'erflow'd ,
And scatter'd into various scanty rills
That winded round each stony cover'd tomb.
I saw my shadow tremble on the wall,
A wall o'ergrown with ivy's pensive green ;
Dark and unwholesome, where the slimy snail
And crawling centipede made nightly bed.
There did I sit upon a sculptur'd stone,
The rank grass mix'd with every baneful weed,
Nettles and hemlocks, fungi, lank and chill,
With fleshy dampness, pressing round my limbs,
While toads aud lizards nestled in their shade.
It was a place fit for a sage to muse in,
Far from the world's tumultuous riot, far
From pride and folly, and the vain pretence
Of learning. Think Dot I retir'd from these
Disgusted, or in disappointment's hour
Sought refuge 'moog the dead. I pitied them,
And chose the scene of thought because Ilov'd it.
There did I sit ! The wind with fitful breeze
SuDg, through the trembling aspens' hollow
14 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Unvaried ; save where, in the interval
Of each returning blast, the plaintive owl
Sent forth a mournful cry.
There did I sit ! In musing melancholy,
My soul attendant to the solemn scene :
I mus'd upon the graves that gap'd around,
As yawning for their victims ;
In fancy, I unearth'd the coffin'd bones,
(The sexton's stature markt the depth of grave !)
I saw the lids unscrew'd — unwrapp'd the corpse
■ — O, what a sight was there ! —
— Indeed it was an hour
That fill'dthe soul with wonder, awe, and dread.
*j$ .-k* *!?• *&■ ^f ^
Wonder'd indeed our reverend sage,
To hear the poet rave and rage
In this strange mood — in such a place,
He guess'd, that if peculiar grace
Had not been by the Muse inspir'd,
Another spirit must have fir'd
His labouring brain. But soon he found
The man with cypress chaplets crown'd,
Was but a harmless poet's bye-blow,
Like many which both you and I know.
In verse all blank who sought renown,
Travelling like Syntax up to town ;
And here he sat in woeful case,
Waiting a humble outsiders place.
- Our Doctor had a friendly mind,
So with the stranger soon he join'd
IN LONDON. 15
In intimate discourse, till, lo !
The stage-coach horn began to blow,
Signal of haste ! at which dread sound
The weary throngs run crowding round
The guard and coachman hurry, scurry !
— Forth Mrs. Syntax in a flurry
Impetuous rush'd ; but found enrag'd,
The inside places all engag'd,
Save one, upon the foremost seat —
The very thing that stirr'd her heat,
And that, unluckier still ! I ween,
Were two fat grazier lumps between,
Of human flesh, that threaten'd felly,
Ere long to press into a jelly.
Whatever came (nor think it odd is)
Betwixt their gravitating bodies.
The Doctor car'd not for himself,
But sorrow'd much that even pelf
Could not a better place provide
For her who thus adorn 'd his side ;
But vain were all complaints, poor madam,
Like all the daughters of old Adam,
Though a redoubted Vicar's wife
Was forc'd to bear the rubs of life,
Squeezed in, and swollen with pride and spleen,
The fenborn graziers' sides between,
While to the crowded coach's top
The Doctor mounted, in the hope
That when to the next stage they came,
He should again rejoin his dame.
Wrapt in full many a winding fold
Of Kendal cloth, you might behold
16 DOCTOR SYNTAX
The reverend Sir, with knees screw'd in,
And great coat button'd to the chin 5
Wedg'd close as in the stocks, beside
A Quaker prim, and sailor's bride :
While like a jewel in a casket,
Sat Mr. Mystic in the basket,
Gravest of bards that haunt the lake,
Or church -yard for the Muse's sake ;
And now a humble sonnet flow'd
On all the objects on the road,
And now in rapt pindaric strain,
He pour'd the opium of his brain,
In the astonish'd ears of all,
Who heard his " wondrous" madrigal,
Sonnets that none could understand,
But they who live in Cumberland.
Nor were there wanting on the way
Fit subjects for the Muse's lay :
Gay prospects stretch'd and smiling round,
Valleys and hills and cultur'd ground,
And villas, the abode of taste,
Won from the wild and rugged waste.
As thus the well throng'd stage coach glides,
We might attend to the insides,
And tell how long, to misery doom'd,
Poor Mrs. Syntax sat and fum'd ;
Her neighbours huge between, right wroth,
And grinding in her turn them both.
In front, fram'd in unlucky size,
A dandy bonnet pokes her eyes,
Stretching like its vain fashion far,
Fantastic and peninsular,
IN LONDON. 17
From head of country milliner ;
While plac'd on either side of her,
Two bagmen in commercial dream
LolPd with indifference extreme,
We might endeavour to describe,
The looks, the grins, the sneer, the jibe,
The yawns, the incoherent sentence
Uttered in half conceiv'd repentance,
The sounds attention cannot rest on,
The unmeaning nod, the unanswer'd question ;
The frequent wonder why so slow,
A labouring coach up hill can go,
And why down hill their hearts to vex,
A coachman thus can risk their necks —
We might express, and try to hitch
Into our narrative distich ;
But this we will forbear, well knowing
Such dull routine is not worth showing ;
We'll pass the numerous mile- stones o'er,
As if we'd gone the road before.
Whoe'er with weary steps has trod,
And weary eyes the Northern road,
Will pardon if we think it long,
Nor strive to lengthen out our song,
With what upon that tedious way,
To each may happen every day. .
As on our hands we have much work,
We'll set our travellers down at York —
At the Black Swan to take a cup.
Of comfort warm, and also sup ;
For in her confines till next day,
The jaded pair resolv'd to stay,
18 DOCTOK SYNTAX
And there to soothe their fancied woes,
We'll leave them in a sweet repose.
Oh, Nature, spread thy mantle round
The sacred walks of classic ground ;
And in the dream that hovers o'er,
And bids the soul of Syntax soar
To other climes, to other skies,
Where fair Augusta's turrets rise,
Oh, spread thy fairy vision's screen,
In laurels of perennial green ;
Fling o'er the happy pair thy shade,
And bless the couch for genius made !
END OF CANTO FIRST.
IN LONDON. 19
Night is the sabbath of the soul,
Where genius reigns without control ;
And Syntax with his blooming wife,
In sleep forgot the cares of life.
At morn, when Mrs. Syntax woke,
Thus to her spouse she sweetly spoke :
" My objects I have often carried,
" Since the first day that we were married,
" Because I ever was inclin'd
" To rule your heart, not sway your mind ;
" A mind — whose glories are unfurl'd
" The pride and envy of the world.
" Since here we have resolv'd to stay
" And pass a Heavenly bridal day,
" I wish the day to duly keep,
" Nor spend it all in silent sleepy —
" But as it is a day of leisure,
" To pass it o'er in solemn pleasure, —
" To hear the Minster's sacred choir
" And catch the Scriptures' heav'nly fire,—
" And make my soul, sublimely glow,
" O'er all the sinful world below,
20 DOCTOR SYNTAX
" And listening to the organ's sound,
" Exalting soar above the ground ;
" To revel in those scenes sublime,
" Beyond the power of death and time ;
" And as I feel celestial flame
" Rush through my heart and warm my frame,
" I think I then should be inclin'd
" To shower my bounties on mankind ;
" And, when we leave the sacred walls,
" Attend to misery's piercing calls,
" And practice the good preacher's text,
" By visiting the pris'ners next.
" I'd like to see the Castle Jail,
" And listen to the captive's tale ;
" Some pence there is 'twixt you and I,
" To wipe the tear from misery's eye,
" If you agree I am most willing,
" To spend in charity my shilling,
" On some deserving hopeless debtor,
" Whose days have seemingly been better."
Syntax, accustom'd to knock under,
Now listen'd to his wife with wonder,
So much averse the charm to break,
That he was half afraid to speak ;
For though her words were nought but wind,
Yet, not being always soft and kind ;
And, as his lot had been to prove
The warmth of strife as well as love,
He fear'd the warmth of her address
Might lead to some less kind caress ;
And, if to many words it led,
She soon might take it in her head
IN LONDON. 21.
To give her " thoughts that breath'd," a turn,
That he might feel them " words that burn."
Let not the reader take amiss
A metaphor so bold as this,
Or make the author seek a better ; —
It fits exact even to a letter.
No longer does it prove a joke
To reckon women's words as smoke ;
Though words are wind, we must declare,
Words are inflammable as air ;
The airs assum'd by many a wife,
Are oft the cause of bitter strife !
And when poor Madam has the vapours,
These catch and blaze like phosph'rous tapers !
Clothing with smiles his funny face,
And full of clerical grimace,
The Doctor kindly thus replied,
" My dear, your wish I will not chide.
" The objects which you have defin'd, - '
" Do honour to your heart and mind ;
" And I will join in full accord,
" And follow, when you give the word."
Dressing and breakfast quick dispatch'd
The pair by Heaven so nicely match'd
Obedient to an inward call,
Sought the Cathedral's sacred wall ;
When seated in the solemn place
With humble mien and placid grace,
Good Madam, now, was on her mettle,
Her clashing moving-pow'rs to settle.
Her tongue had got a long vacation,
(To use her Doctor's illustration,)
22 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Save in responses, now and then,
Or when she join'd the loud amen.
But though the voice refus'd her will,
Her organs were in play — though still
While tongue is tied, by due decorum,
Glad eyes can roam o'er all before 'em ;
O ! what a range ! what fine display
Of nature and of art's array !
Of littleness and greatness join'd
In works of matter and of mind ;
The dome sublime, the motley crowd,
The warbling boys, the organ loud,
The Archbishop's throne, exalted high,
The crouching vergers crowding nigh,
The soldiers spruce, and ladies fair,
The alderman, and grand lord may'r
Obtain by turns, a hasty look
Much oftener than the godly book ;
Dispos'd, at times, to raise aloof
Her mind, up to the heav'nly roof,
Where all declares the mighty Hand
Which form'd the ocean and the land,
It would, by gravity, descend
Far meaner objects to attend,
While from the altar's emblems holy,
Her glance slides sly, and seeming slowly,
To peer at some vain beauty's shrine,
Whom coxcombs vainer deem'd divine ;
In vain the admirable skreen,
The aisle and transept placed between,
Presents its gothic work, to sue
For notice, 'mong the things in view,
A thing, carved out by Indian hands,
A thing she better understands,
IN LONDON. 23
A thing despis'd and scorn'd by man,
A fine carv'd stick of iv'ry fan,
The finest thing she thinks she'd seen —
A much more admirable screen —
A screen those roving eyes to hide,
Alternate .squinting to each side ;
And; while they seem on prayer to fix,
Are slily peeping through the. sticks.
Now, Mrs. Syntax long had brought
Her mind to this consoling thought,
That, she was wise and good enough —
And further learning was but stuff.
This she had prov'd in many an instance,
And kept the Doctor at a distance,
While struggling hard through wedded life,
In scenes of deep domestic strife ;
Where she display'd her lofty senses,
Superior to her rib's pretences,
As soon as he began to preach,
She left him other minds to teach :
Her's she kept carefully herself,
As misers keep their much lov'd pelf.
Determin'd with her life and soul
To break the shackles of controul.
Of course she was no gainful hearer,
Of any preacher who came near her ;
But, if of hearing she had lack,
She balanc'd that by power of clack.
The preacher's text from common use,
By consequence could now produce
In this good lady's well train'd mind,
Of reg'lar thoughts no other kind
24 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Than how to exercise, as best,
The sense with which she yet was blest,
The sense of seeing all around,
With observation most profound ;
And drawing, in this ample field,
The finest sketches it could yield,
Within the range of searching eyes,
With which, hereafter to surprise
The friends she left at Somerden,
When she should home return again, -
And there revive those scenes of pleasure,
By talking of them at her leisure ;
And leisurely, and deeply too,
She'd bring the stores of mind to view,
Astonish all the country round,
With knowledge dubious and profound.
How well employ'd her time was, then^
Would now employ as quick a pen,
The faintest notion to convey
Of her improvement of the day,
As were her organs of the sight,
Illuminated with delight ;
O'er all the interesting scene,
Vivacious, gentle, and serene.
Now she survey'd, with ravish'd eyes,
The solemn temple's spacious size,
Next brought them down to things minute,
And mus'd upon a shining boot.
The fluted columns gain a glance,
Then oft her eyes are turn'd askance,
To view the plaits of Yorkshire linen
Display'd in caps of country women ;
IN LONDON. 25
York's stately city, fam'd of yore,
For pride and regal vast uproar ;
Where Henry Bolingbroke was seen
To throw aside ambition's screen,
On glory's car exulting spring,
And hold the reins as England's King.
The windows rich, in burnish'd glass,
With tints so vivid that surpass
All the attempts of modern art,
Arrest the eye, and charm the heart,
With those bright eyes she often meets,
Arrang'd along th' opposing seats,
Which furnish her an odd suggestion,
On which she makes profound reflection,^
That modern belle, and ancient saint,
Look better for a little paint.
At length strikes up the organ loud,
Quick rises all the pious crowd,
At once like soldiers stand " at ease ;"
All then proceed — just as they please.
If ever, reader, thou hast seen
A streamlet which by chance had been
In its career awhile held fast
By obstacles which could not last,
Involving all things in a jumble,
When once the torrent comes to tumble,
Then only canst thou form a thought,
How Madam's words came rolling out ;
Proving like crowds when they are pent,
How fast they flow'd when they got vent.
'Twas well for her dear husband's ear,
That inn and dinner were so near,
26 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And that she was just then inclining
To stop her mouth, once more, by dining :
For so it happened, her good mouth
Was well disposed, by turns to both
Let mouthfuls of her words out-fly,
And take in also, a supply
Of other mouthfuls, of a sort
To give her frame its due support,
Nor let her body once suspect
Her fairer mind she would neglect :
But, be the occasion what it might,
It gave the Doctor great delight
That any cause could render slack
The springs of her confounding clack ;
And glad he was it had a stop,
E'en though by munching of a chop.
At dinner thus we'll leave the pair
To Heliogabalus's care,
Till Pegasus her breath obtains,
And verse again assumes the reins
Of power, to guide the steed along
With all the noble art of song.
While Satire mounts the car of joy,
Preceded by the laughing boy,
Who in his light and airy dream,
Hails Syntax as his favourite theme.
Tf Sancho when to rest compos'd,
Be highly prais'd, because dispos'd
In grateful memory to keep
" The man who first invented sleep,"
Of hearty thanks what greater measure
Must he owe, who enjoys the pleasure
IN LONDO\. 27
Of finding a luxurious table,
At which he is both free and able
To eat and drink, as he inclines,
Of savoury meats and generous wines —
To him, the way who found out, first,
Hunger to satisfy and thirst, —
And having genius these to find,
To more inventions had a mind, —
And, finding food, kept onward looking,
Till he discovered skilful cooking ;
O ! jolly genius of the feast !
Who first for man's use cook'd a beast !
How many, many thanks are thine,
From all who have the luck to dine
As alderman — on viands rare —
Not on a poet's scanty fare,
The bread and cheese of fell despair ;
When with an onion he's content,
To spin his rhyme, and keep his Lent,
And quench his thirst, beside his Muse
On pure, but cold Parnassian dews,
That chill the soul, but warm the brain,
And wake the lofty lyre again.
From dinner nice and strong brown nappy,
The Doctor and his wife rose happy ;
Giants refresh'd, behold them start,
To spend the day's remaining part,
And roam within the Castle's pale
Now turned into a country jail :
Where glory wav'd her ensign high,
Now rises misery's hopeless sigh.
Together link'd, these curious mortals
Enter'd the Castle's awful portals,
28 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And view'd the striking ample space,
Gracing th' interior of the place ;
And buildings, neat and snug, around
This fine parading, airing ground ;
So soon did madam's glad surprise
Burst forth at once from lips and eyes.
" Call this fine place a sorry jail — "
" How wrong !" cried she, " how false the tale J
u Complain of this ? 'Tis quite absurd
" To take complaints on people's word.
" If people knew what comfort meant,
" I think they here might be content ;
" But some folks would at heaven mutter,
" And quarrel with their bread and butter ;
" At living here if they are vex'd
ft I wonder where they would live next :
" As for myself, I do declare,
" I never breath'd a purer air ;
" Yet those the law calls confin'd debtors,
" Wish to live as becomes their betters."
The rattle stopt, a debtor's wife,
Possess'd of airs of higher life,
Shrouded by garb in humble style
Good madam's notice gain'd awhile ;
And telling her of children dear,
And husband laid on sorrow's bier,
Dependant on her humble means,
For bread she from affliction gleans ;
Regretting that it was not Monday,
And paying due respect to Sunday,
Said that on other days she could
Afford her bargains cheap and good ;
IN LONDON. 29
And spoke of all the various ware,
Expos'd as if it were a fair,
By needy hands of prisoners made,
To sell as articles of trade :
Of garters, stockings, lace and shoes,
Enough for fools to pick and chuse ;
With needles, pins, and tapes and thread,
To get themselves a little bread.
Our madam, who was not too nice,
Caught the suggestion, in a trice,
And thought this day as good as any,
For saving, if she could, a penny ;
Then told her suppliant, if she could
Afford : her bargains, cheap and good,
Though it was Sunday, she would try,
Just out of charity to buy.
These welcome words then soon produce
Things made for shew as well as use ;
With which the novice trader tries
To gratify our lady's eyes ;
While she, howe'er her sight was treated*
Was fearful lest she should be cheated,
And would at last, have nothing bought,
Had not fine caps her fancy caught.
These caps were relics of a store,
Which, henceforth, would exist no more,
With which a mother had supplied
Her daughter's toilette when a bride, —
And with these remnants thus to part,
Had almost broke this daughter's heart ;
But even by them to gain relief
She found a solace to her grief ;
30 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Though that came slow, and what was worse,
As scanty from a niggard's purse.
The bargain oft was off and on,
For madam said she must begone ;
But, go she could not, while both willing
To get the caps, and save the shilling ;
She call'd the suppliant hard, and then
Tears flow'd, as ink flows from my pen :
This gain'd the object in her view,
And sav'd her niggard shilling too.
Charm'd with her bargain, and herself,
For having sav'd some paltry pelf,
She turn'd with much complacence round,'
To one who pac'd the airing ground,
Who seem'd, as far as she could scan,
A gentle, and a well bred man :
As pur -blind folks oft-times mistake
For gentlemen, what tailors make
To hang coats on, within their shops,
So knaves and fools, and rogues and fops
Are oft, by half -wise folks caress'd
For gentlemen, because well dress'd.
This gentleman was duly suited,
In smart top coat, and smartly booted ;
And offer'd, with all due grimace,
To do the honours of the place.
He was there at his tailor's suit,
He said, because the clipping brute
Was disappointed of the payment,
Long promis'd of his paltry raiment ;
" While," added he, " he knew my case —
" I'd lost my all upon a race."
IN LONDON. 31
With pleasure, pride, and pity join'd,
Our madam soon made up her mind
This guide's politeness to accept,
Nor dar'd the Doctor to object ;
And as they progress'd in their walk,
Madam proceeded in her talk :
Sometimes she dwelt on foul mishaps
Sometimes descanted on her caps ;
Spoke of the bargain she had made
Not as a mean affair of trade,
But done with a much nobler end,
To shew herself the woman's friend ;
While our fine gentleman lamented
He had not, by his wink, prevented
Advantage taken most unduly,
Of what was charity most truly.
Proceeding in polite attention,
Our gentleman made proper mention
Of curious things in the Museum,
(Arid he'd take care that they should see 'em,)
Which in the gov'nor's lodge were kept,
And saying this in, quick, they stept,
And saw such, as 'tis doubtful whether,
The like were ever brought together,
Except to make the witches' spell,
Or fill the cabinets of Hell.
On one shelf rang'd the blood-stained knives,
Which men had used to kill their wives,
And — to make wives with husbands even,
The phials from which wives had given,
Potions to lay their men asleep, —
On the next shelf their stations keep ;
32 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Here, to excite due horrid wonder, ,
Pistols emloyed in murd'rous plunder
Were plac'd on proper peaceful stands,
Which, erst, were borne by robbers' hands ;
There implements of coining lay,
With all their arts in full display,
And other instruments of crimes,
Which culprits had, at sundry times,
Against them brought as evidences
Of various horrible offences.
Our curious pair, most sage observing,
These things were worthy of preserving,
Because they must produce impressions
Which tended to restrain trangressions ;
While their smart guide, with inward smile,
At their strange ignorance of guile,
And who, at races, oft was aiming
At lower trick than those of gaming,
Conceiving these vain simple folks
Fit objects for a gainful hoax ;
As here, with thoughts profound, they linger'd
He, being sharp, and nimble finger'd,
Jostled good Madam with a squeeze,
And drew away the caps with ease.
Unconscious of her grievous loss,
And void of all sensations cross,
Madam was strangely led to grieve
Because her beau guide now took leave ;
But soon dispell'd her rising sorrow
By thinking of her work to-morrow ;
And, to be fitly for't, prepar'd,
She straitway to the inn repair'd.
IN LONDON. 33
When there arriv'd, she quickly tries
To treat again her longing eyes,
But ah, 'twas gone, that precious lace
Which gave her pretty caps their grace.
Where can the poet language find
To express the agony of mind,
Which Mrs. Syntax felt, when lo !
She miss'd her caps ? — In bitter woe
She stood, the statue of despair
— Anguish, and never-dying care,
Till burst the agonies of grief,
And gave her soul a faint relief ;
And what vast floods such losses cost,
" They best can paint who feel 'em most. 1 '
To ease the lady's heart and head,
The Doctor took his spouse to bed ;
And on the pillow of repose
He hush'd to rest her anxious woes ;
Resolving with the lark to rise,
And fly where London's towers surprise,
These objects view'd, our pair next morn
Were summon'd by the high-flyer's horn,
Their places to resume once more,
Outside or inside as before.
Careful of her dear self, my lady
Was always eager, quick, and ready
Her own lov'd comfort to secure,
So of an inside place made sure ;
And flouncing down with aspect glowing
Told all she was to London going ;
No love had she, or wish or care,
For rural views however fair ;
34 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Of country sights and such like stuff,
She said she had at home enough ;
And as for airs, 'twas said she knew
Well, how to give herself a few,
Without exposing her gentility
To low and vulgar affability.
Unto his partner's wish contrary
The Doctor, though a dignitary,
Now chose for love of nature's face
On the coach -top his former place ;
Some say he wished to be aloof
From Madam's tongue, so took the roof,
And that he would on foot have trudg'd it,
Could he have 'scap'd her horrid budget ;
But we can say, who know him better,
'Twas all through love of Madam Nature.
He lov'd in picturesque delight
To dwell on every rural sight
And rural sound — even now he feels
The rattling of the coaches' wheels,
An inspiration pour along,
Like that which breathes in Blackmore's song-,*
He often thought of th' applause,
For following close the drama's laws,
Which he should gain when forth was brought,
The labour'd offspring of his thought ;
Which criticism well might say
Was both a fair and faultless play ;
In which each bold unerring rule
Of Aristotle's measur'd school,
* Pope said that Sir Richard Blackmore wrote to
the rumbling of his coach's wheels.
IN LO'NDOX. 35
So rigidly throughout were kept,,
That not one single act o'erstept
The bounds of tragical propriety,
Or modern views of old society.
The Doctor thought his fame would rise,.
Triumphant in a nation's eyes,
The smiles of all the fair would gain,
From sweet St. Giles to Drury Lane.
Thus on the coach in happy style,
Our Syntax did the hours beguile,
When closing down his mind's queer page,
A brace of lawyers, dark, and sage
He listen'd to and often took
Opinions from their learned book ;
But as they pass'd along the road,
(The statute scorn'd to make it broad,)
A rival coach came fast along :
The horses urged by Jehu's thong,
And when the coaches touch'd each other,
The Doctor nearly tumbled over,
" The shock's prophetic," cried our sage,
" To me upon a different stage ;"
— 'Tis good for those who often ride
To have the law upon their side,
Law's shoulder sav'd him from a fall,
Which would have genius ruin'd all-
Poor Mrs. Syntax all the while,
Was dozing on the leathern pile
Of well stuff'd coach, and in her nap,
Heard neither din or jostling rap,
Caring but little for her neighbours,
And dreaming of her husband's labours ;
36 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Before her, and in close vicinity,
Were specimens of rare virginity ;
Damsels who only took their places,
To jog with black legs to the l-aces.
To Doncaster they quickly drew,
Which all declar'd they fully knew.
You might derive from every sentence,
With jockey crowds their close acquaintance,,
Who ventur'd neck and crop to win
St. Ledger's stakes, or flats take in ;
They prov'd they'd studied on the course,
And knew a jockey from his horse :
And true our dame it much did please,
To hear them mention tithes and fees,
Not thinking them cant words of those
Who live on others' wants and woes :
She hail'd them as the friends of church ;
But blacklegs aye leave priests in lurch.
She prais'd their morals, and their mind,
But ignorance always leads the blind.
They set her down a simple dolly
And ridicul'd her pride and folly.
Leaving the scenes of riotous sport,
Where rogues and fashionables resort,
To those who often are pursuing,
Such costly courses to their ruin.
Our hasty travellers after dinner,
Left the St. Ledger's to the winner,
Reach'd in a trice old Stamford town,
And took a cordial at the Crown.
As the advancing sun's bright rays
Threw light upon our travellers' ways r
Wide over vales and mountains high
They wander'd with delighted eye,
The fam'd high flyer flies along
To Wansford, fam'd in doggrel song ;
The Doctor lifts his glassy eyes,
With something, nearly like surprise ;
For o'er the road a well-daub'd sign,
Bore underneath this brilliant line,
' Wansford in England." Syntax said,
' Coachee, what means this odd tirade ?"
' Why that," said coachee, " 's known to all
' The wise, the foolish, great and small ;
' So is the story of it too,
' Which I myself will swear is true."
' Oh, if you swear," the Doctor cried,
' Truth must be on your righteous side ;
c Even if your grandam told the tale.
' An oath is certain to prevail ;
' I in the pulpit vouch, you know,
' For things three thousand years ago :
' My business is to say they're true,
' As in the present business, you
' May safely swear, nor dread perdition,
' For you are speaking from tradition."
' A hundred years ago, they say,
1 The people here were making hay,
' (For hay grew then as well as now,
' To feed the horse and eke the cow ;)
' Tir'd with his labour, sweet reposing
' Upon a hay-cock's scented bosom,
i A country booby tranquil lay
' Until the stream swept him away :
' A swelling flood from distant rains,
' Made the press'd river burst her veins,
38 DOCTOR SYNTAX
" And sweeping o'er the smiling fields
" Before her all resistless yields ;
" Haycock and man born from the ridge,
" Roll'd through the arch of Wansford bridge
" When starting at the people's cry,
" He bellow'd out, ' Oh, where am I ?'
" ' At Wansford,' bawl'd the folks amain ;
" ' Wansford in England, do you mean V
" Loud laugh'd the people one and all,
" But sav'd him from the tempest's squall,
" And dragg'd the sleepy wight once more
" In safety to his native shore."
The coachman's story much did please,
And set the Doctor quite at ease ;
Who gave his thanks with laughter hearty,
To the facetious friendly party,
Who thus made jocund hours run round,
As fast as coach wheels on the ground,
And occupied with jests like these,
They came to Stilton fam'd for cheese.
There on the essence of rich cream,
And tea well worth the poet's theme
They breakfasted, and rattled on,
By hedges trim to Huntingdon,
And Ware and Waltham's Abbey old,
Where Harold sleeps in hallow'd mould —
Harold, who was compell'd to yield,
His Saxon crown in Hastings' field,
To Norman Will, who after bore
The title of the Conqueror.
Thence on to Edmonton they came ;
Where Gilpin of immortal name,
IN LONDON. 39
Compell'd to make his awkward dash,
Gallopp'd in terror through the Wash.
But who their various thoughts can tell,
Quick rising as by magic spell,
And bursting on the astonish'd eyes,
The spires sublime of London rise,
High in mid air, sublime o'er all,
The sacred dome of great St. Paul
Appear'd, whilst Madam bawl'd, " I vow,
" It looks like Skiddaw's lofty brow,"
Quick the High Flyer turns again,
And rattles into Fetter Lane ;
Till at the sign of the White Horse,
They check their bold careering course.
Syntax descends in merry pin,
And hands his simp'ring lady in ;
And bade the waiters in a trice,
Get viands good and supper nice ;
For now they thought, as travellers do,
Of nought but roasted, boiled, or stew,
And beds well warm'd and comforts rare,
Which may tir'd nature's frame repair.
Escap'd from travel, toil — and pain —
Behold our pair in Fetter Lane ;
Each danger now securely past,
London receives them safe at last,
London — the Doctor's field of fame,
Where he will glean a deathless name.
Right glad were both to go to bed,
And each to rest a weary head :
But while she sweetly slept and sound,
No sleep for Doctor could be found ;
40 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Whene'er he tried to catch a wink,
His errand rous'd him, still, to think
And, thus, his time was pass'd, till morn
Was usher'd in, by twanging horn,
Announcing coaches setting out,
Each on its proper distant route.
Restless he rises, then and star'd-
At all the bustle of the yard ;
But all the bustle there, was nought,
Compar'd with that he found in thought ;
Nor could diverting turn afford
To thoughts so fix'd upon his Lord.
Vain pains the Doctor took, devising,
To fill up from the hour of rising,
To that of visiting his patron,
The tedious void ; till our shrewd matron,
Awaking fresh, and full of life
To do the duties of a wife,
And well brush up his outward man —
Commenc'd her bustling thrifty plan.
His new coat was but six months old,
And still, she said, as good as gold ;
And if it shone not with a gloss,
'Twas not of brushing for the loss.
His other garments, she declar'd,
Were excellent and fresh repair'd ;
And now for once, to make him spruce,
(Devoted to this special use,)
She had provided black silk hose,
To match his fine new London shoes ;
While, to crown all, his hat and wig,
Were fitly dress'd, to make him big.
IN LONDON. 41
Pleas'd with her work, she eyed him round,
Pleas'd with her looks, he pac'd the ground,
Till off she turn'd him, neat and trim,
That, as she said, " 'twas who but him ?"
Breakfast was next dispatch'd, in haste,
That time should not be spent in waste :
Away he goes, with hopes w T e!l stof'd,
In anxious mood to see my Lord.
When deep, in dark oblivion's shade,
By Time's o'erwhelming hand, is laid
Each little, trifling cause, whence springs
The fate of empires and of kings ;
The Muse, with weary steps must trace
The tricks where darkness clouds the place ;
And oft where fiction lights the rays,
Truth dreams, and points out happier ways :
Happier the bard, indulg'd by fate,
Who views the tale he must relate,
And paints the portrait of the hour
Bright with the beams of fancy's power ;
And as the theme invites to sing,
Can rack a rebel — or a king ;
Or wake to life, from long repose,
The varied scenes of human woes.
The gaily, picturing, laughing Muse
Oft sheds the balm of pity's dews,
Calls forth that spirit bold and strong,
Which roll'd the sister arts along,
And made each feeling of the soul
Rush to the breast — beyond controul,
With all the fire that Homer knew,
And all his national spirit too;
42 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Acting 1 , with grave or comic art,
Full many an odd fantastic part,
Such as our Doctor with surprise,
Now saw, where'er he turn'd his eyes,
In grand confusion crowding thick,
'Mid London's streets of mud and brick.
So brisk and proud the Doctor stalk'd
Along the streets, that, while he walk'd,
He often struck the stranger's sight,
As one whose head and heels were light.
— Ah ! little dream'd these gazing folks,
As thus they pass'd, and crack'd their jokes,
How pond'rous were that poor head's notions,
Which gave those heels their nimble motions ;
And little did that wig surprise,
Except for sneers in vulgar eyes,
Which cover'd that reflecting skull,
That only seem'd, but was not dull ;
And little then these scoffers thought
A thing that seem'd with foppery fraught,
Should thenceforth be preserv'd with care, ~1
Always blooming — fresh and fair, /"
Preserving Syntax' shape and air ; *
And booksellers — in every age
Display the portrait of the sage,
And picturesque — and proper too
Give both the man and wig their due ;
And artists deem it bounden duty,
To keep the wig in pristine beauty.
When safe arriv'd in Portland Place,
The Doctor, then, with slacken'd pace,
IN LONDON. 43
Adjusting well his fine cravat,
And next his new dress'd wig and hat,
Reach'd my Lord's door, without mishap,
And made it sound with treble rap.
The well-watch'd door soon opening wide,
Admits the Doctor's stately stride ;
And, soon, the menials of the hall
Survey his figure gaunt and tall,
And looking at him with contempt,
As one who came to make attempt
To gain a paltry book-subscription,
Like authors of a mean description,
Began to scrutinize his phiz,
As subject-matter for a quiz ;
While he, too, sage though simple creature,
Was glancing at each face and feature,
To, try, 'midst all the servants round,
An old one might, perchance, be found,
Whom he had had the chance to meet
At his great patron's country seat,
And who could make due intimation
Of Doctor Syntax' visitation,
In vain he rolls his anxious eyes,
With disappointment and surprise,
At all the footmen, spruce and pert,
Who seem'd dispos'd his pride to hurt ;
So d iff rent from the hearty greeting,
Which he was always sure of meeting,
Whene'er, in country scenes, he met
Either the little folks or great ;
So diff rent from the decent mien
Which he$ with calm delight, had seen
In his good Lord's old country hall,
Among the menials one and all,
44 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Then, just on purpose to regain
His wonted ease, he was right fain,
Ere he approach'd his patron's sight —
He'd set his wig and thoughts aright,
And both his heart and eyes to cheer,
By some one face of pertness clear,
'Twas politic to condescend
To ask for one domestic friend,
And thus the butler sought to call
To gain the good will of the hall.
Assuming, then, a little state,
As if accustom'd to the great,
His wish he ventur'd to announce,
And with due emphasis pronounce,
So as to have a right effect,
And thus obtain his due respect : —
" Is my good friend, the butler near ?
" Tell him that Doctor Syntax's here."
Soon as the celebrated name
Of such a favourite of fame
Was heard in form announced aloud,
Amid the tinsell'd list'ning crowd, —
How quick it work'd, like magic spell,
'Tis not in poet's power to tell ;
How quick it chang'd each quizzing fool,
Into a mean, admiring tool ;
How quick all sneer and proud neglect
Was rais'd to lively, warm respect !
Recovering from his deep surprise
Each starts, each looks with diff rent eyes,
And all alert, now, every one,
All, all, set off, who best could run,
IN LONDON. 45
To see if butler was at home,
And tell him that the Doctor's come.
Soon as the butler's ear had caught,
The welcome news, the jocund thought
Of that nocturnal introduction,
Which had produced the cellar-suction,
Rush'd on the butler's recollection,
With every apposite reflection,
Of mirth and glee, and weleome hearty,
Becoming both his place and party ;
No stale excuse, no long delay,
Obstructed then the butler's way ;
No etiquette, no formal bow,
Was either us'd, or thought of now ;
But joyfully and prompt he came
Soon as he heard the welcome name,
And by his cordial frankness show'd,
The warm regard that inward glow'd.
He caught the Doctor by the hand,
With aspect, smiling, soft and bland :
The Doctor, close return'd the squeeze,
Altho' his pride, it did not please ;
But Church to State must humble low,
Or it preferment will not know;
And he promotion — can afford
Who's " locum tenen&" of a Lord.
As to a regiment is a suttler,
So useful to a peer's a butler ;
He forms the ample savoury mess—
His master's dinner and his dress :
For servants out of livery now
Are mingled with the liveried crew,
46 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And butlers now acquire the plan
Of acting as my lord's " own man ;'*
This saves the master vast expence,
And gives the varlet power immense.
The Doctor ey'd the butler o'er,
Who clos'd in haste the massy door —
*' I know you always were my friend,
" And will remain so to the end —
" The end of all things," Syntax cried ;
" Won't be by you — or me. descried.
" The end of all which I want here
" Will soon to you — and I appear."
" Advance — advance," the butler said ;
" We're something of a similar trade:
" To blunder nonsense to my master/
" My interest to advance the faster ;
" You blunder nonsense to your bishop,
" And thus your table amply dish up."
" Why, zounds," said Syntax : " do you think,
" I only preach to eat and drink ?
" And have no heaven-inspir'd call
" To Him who guides and governs all."
" Two of a trade should ne'er dispute
" On clerical subjects, — I am mute ;
" We both by interest want to rise —
u On earth — neglectful of the skies.
" But Doctor, Doctor, ere you move
" To SEE THE LORD WHO REIGNS ABOVE,
" Come down with me into the cellar,
" Where often I'm a lowly dweller,
" A glass of port, some bread and cheese —
" Will set your spirits quite at ease,
IN LONDON. 47
" And make you fit to meet my Lord,
*' To whom you pleasure, aye, afford."
A glass of port made Syntax smile,
Free from sorrow, care, and guile ;
The butler, acting as a page,
Now to his Lordship led the sage.
By such regard sincere, and kind,
Regaining quietude of mind,
The Doctor was quite self-contented,
And well prepar'd to be presented ;
But little did my Lord expect,
To meet this token of respect ;
And his amazement and surprize,
Betray'd were plain, by both his eyes,
Though he by far was too well bred,
To shew them much by what he said.
Our Doctor soon his Lordship told,
It was not for the love of gold,
That he to London city came,
But from an ardent love of fame,
A hope that led him to presume,
He'd snatch, at once, the wreaths that bloom
Upon her highest fairest tree,
For he had wrote a Tragedy,
In which he boldly dar'd to throttle
His hero, as great Aristotle
Would have delighted to survey
In sad reality, or play.
He fondly hoped 'twas such a piece,
As would have pleased Athenian Greece,
48 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And sure he was, could he but get
Of players like, a proper set,
Who knew the scenes of ancient time,
And how to speak the true sublime,
Each scene, nay even each distich,
Would make a ruin'd playhouse rich.
His Lordship smil'd to hear our sage,
Dwell thus upon his favourite page ;
And now and then his head he shook,
As Syntax shewed the tragic book,
Wherein he dealt the doom of death,
To the poor beings of his breath,
And while he thus detail'd his object,
And warm'd, in progress, with his project,
And talked of interest, and plot
And unities, and God knows what,
Proceeding through each act and scene,
With many an episode between,
'Twas not even in politeness' power,
To keep concealed, for that long hour,
The strange surprise, and frequent smile,
Which the sage Doctor's want of guile
Fail'd not, in that time to excite,
While struggling hard to seem polite.
But, still, my Lord was truly kind,
For in his elevated mind,
Though conscious rank and power stood high,
He is dispos'd to cherish nigh,
So much of generous disposition,
To temper his high rais'd condition,
That, noble as he is by birth,
No being knowing him on earth
IN LONDON. 49
Can say through all his earthly span
He, as a lord, was still a man.
True he had failings ; but 'tis true,
Compassion still he kept in view,
And never suffer'd pride to part
The generous feelings of his heart.
With all his usual courteous air,
Acceding to the Doctor's prayer,
And mingling no unkind denial,
Howe'er he feared the public trial,
Most heartily and quickly granted
All the support the Doctor wanted.
His Lordship's taste peculiar lay,
In the right judgment of a play ;
His noble name to all the town,
Patron and crjtic was well known ;
The green-room bent his words to hear,
And authors trembled at his sneer ;
Nay, such his influence, grave or gay,
His very look had damn'd a play ;
My Lord was never one of those,
Who pompously turn up their nose
At modest worth, when with decorum
And dignity it stands before 'em :
He nobly now resolv'd to show,
How far he could for Syntax go.
And with most kind good humour said,
" Syntax, I'll shew you to the trade :"
The Doctor shew'd his church servility,
By praising all our chief nobility ;
Like head of Cerberus who guard
At theatres — as watch and ward ;
50 DOCTOE SYNTAX
He had an introduction too,
Which set him off in glorious cue ;
Thus opening to dramatic fame,
Road to the managers great name.
This precious passport to the house,
Our Doctor's hopes began to rouse ;
He bow'd with aspect mild and low,
To him from whom his heart's hopes flow ;
" In .duty bound I'll ever pray
" For you, my great Lord, every day."
His Lordship bow'd him from the room,
And Syntax smil'd in youthful bloom ;
Descending rapid to the door
He shook the butler's hand once more.
His soul with proud ambition burn'd,
When to his darling — he return'd :
Into the room he rush'd, as though
The butler caus'd his cheeks to glow ;
Soon Mrs. Syntax saw with hope
Something that gave her feelings scope :
" Why, Syntax, you are all in glee,
" Communicate your thoughts to me."
" I've got," said he, " a letter here,
" An introduction, never fear."
She scann'd it o'er, the Doctor kiss'd,
And clasp'd him round his limber waist.
" This tragedy will make our fortune,
" My Lord can raise or fall the curtain :
" And his auspicious, powerful sway,
" Will keep damnation from the play."
Good madam's heart now set at ease,
Was well dispos'd her spouse to please,
IN LONDON. 51
And make his comfort quite complete,
By placing him in lodgings neat,
Where they might live in decent mode,
While London town was their abode ;
And ask'd him as a kind of honour,
In this pursuit to wait upon her,
And favour her with proper aid,
While she walk'd forth in due parade.
END OF THE SECOND CANTO,
52 DOCTOR SYNTAX
O ! 'twas a goodly sight, I ween,
To witness the important scene
When Ma'am from Fetter Lane set out,
To enter on her bustling route ;
To see her swell with silk and pride,
With Doctor stalking by her side ;
As on complacently they go,
Up Holborn, and through Middle- Row,
And then display their finest airs,
In Bloomsbury and Bedford Squares,
And see them pass, with pace discreet,
Till they reach'd Marybone High Street.
'Twas there the lady had intended,
As she was kindly recommended,
To fix her station for a while,
Where she could live in proper style;
And ne'er were pains more anxious shewn,
To take good care of number one ;
So that it may be ta'en for granted,
She suited was with all she wanted.
— No hole or corner of the house,
Was left unview'd by her or spouse ;
IN LONDON. 53
All, from the cellar to the garret,
All, she contrived to search and ferret ;
And not content with common views,
Turn'd all she saw to thoughts of use.
How well she turn'd the hostess' chat,
From that to this, and this to that,
From kitchen, and from kitchen-stuff,
To where she bought that fine brown muff;
From one of Kitchener's old maps,
To some good place to buy cheap caps,
And every other useful thing,
To which she could her hostess bring,
'Tis not in poet's power of verse,
With honours fitting to rehearse.
Thus pleas'd at length themselves to find
Accommodated to their mind,
Our second Eschylus next day,
Having resolv'd to take his play
To the dispensing judge who sits,
Like Pluto, on play-writers' wits,
With spirits gay, and cock-a-hoop,
Long, long before the hour of soup,
He bade his tender wife adieu,
And boldly sallied forth anew ;
Thrice happy in the pleasing dream,
Of the reception which his theme
And he himself were sure to meet,
At the prime managerial seat
Of all theatrical affairs,
Where suppliant authors bend like players ;
When to the ruler of the boards,
He proudly should submit my Lord's
54 DOCTOR SYNTAX
High testimony of his merit,
And show the bright transcendent spirit
That breath'd throughout his matchless play.
Musing, it chanc'd he took his way
Through fam'd St. Giles's crowded scene,
Where many a curious act has been
Perform 'd, and many a striking piece,
Unrivall'd even by those of Greece,
I wot has raised sincere surprize,
By night and day in wondering eyes :
The children of the Saint that day,
Had mix'd in many a merry fray ;
For good St. Patrick's spirit lent
New vigour to his brother Saint,
While whiskey flow'd, and fiddlers play'd,
And mirth reign'd in the roofless shed ;
Full many a nymph and artful spark,
Peeping from forth their alleys dark,
Were seen, or might have been descried,
By those a little keener eyed
Than our good Doctor was, who now
On other objects bent his brow.
Our pious sage and true divine,
Who aye pursued a steady line,
Could ne'er behold a church or spire,
Without a feeling to admire
The venerable structures, where
Good things abound and sometimes prayer.
St. Giles's church now met his view,
And here within the fam'd purlieu,
He stopt to gaze and feed his sight,
With wondering and sincere delight,
Upon the edifice that stood,
Above the echoing sheds of wood ;
IN LONDON. 55
That now resounded to the glee
Of Paddy's numerous family.
As thus our sage with eyes upturn'd,
And breast with hallow'd love that burn'd,
The sacred pile and clock survey'd,
A modest unassuming maid,
With cheeks yet of the rosy hue,
RecalPd to mortal things his view,
And thus bespoke the revVend sire :
THE FAIR SUPPLIANT.
I see, good sir, what you admire,
Is not of this dark sinful world,
Where innocence is often hurl'd
To deepest misery and woe,
For reasons which we do not know :
But if your heart be kind and good,
To sympathize in pity's mood,
Aa I may guess, (pray pardon me,)
You are, as pastors ought to be,
O save a hapless maiden, save
A father, mother, from the grave,
Who languish in yon humble shed,
Without or food or wholesome bed,
And I their daughter dear, compell'd,
Though long by modesty withheld,
To venture forth thus to impart
The feelings of a sorrowing heart,
In hope this simple tale of pain,
Will interest the mind humane.
Now, though our Doctor was as pure,
As any of the cloth demure ;
56 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Nay, we might almost say as chaste,
As Rosinante, famous beast,
Yet had he still a heart and eye,
That felt a kindred sympathy,
For female beauty in distress,
And strove to make its sorrows less :
Thus, though his piety was known,
He was not altogether bone,
And feelingly he could discover,
As soon as any other lover,
A tight smart damsel's captivations,
Without the aid of illustrations,
From those who love the pleasing duties,
Of studying nature's living beauties ;
Else had he ne'er sigh'd forth his pain,
In Mrs. Syntax' tender chain.
My pretty maiden, dry that tear,
I grieve thy hapless tale to hear ;
My bounden duty is to spread,
Comfort around pale misery's head,
But happier should I be, my fair,
To give thee to a husband's care,
And render thee through future life,
An honest and a happy wife :
As Christian pastor I will go,
And try to soothe the pangs of woe ;
Rely on Him, who, my sweet dear,
From every eye, wipes every tear.
As thus our reverend Doctor went,
And sooth'd his " Fair false Penitent,"
IN LONDON. 57
You would have joy'd the smiles to see,
Which pass'd on every side with glee,
The jibes of youth, the sneers of age,
Pass'd copious on our reverend sage ;
Who neither knew or car'd what they,
Or all the world might of him say.
The wandering fair, whose panting breath,
Was mild, "but whose steps lead to death,"
Knew all they meant, for vicious all,
Were those who thus around them bawl ;
Unto the Doctor soon she prov'd,
The pain and joy of being lov'd :
To one sweet youth, alas ! she'd given
Her only virtue under heaven ;
With falsehood's guise, unmanly art,
He triumph'd, and had broke her heart :
In summer's sweetest, smiling morn,
He left her sunk in gloom forlorn.
Arriv'd at this fair maid's abode,
Syntax bent low his heavy load
Of brains and wig, and enter'd in,
But soon he felt the scent of gin.
Almost his smelling sense was gone,
He seem'd a statue made of stone :
A sturdy, reeling, drunken gang,
Of bullying rogues in vulgar slang,
A most unlooked for welcome gave,
To him as good, as he was grave ;
While his fair guide, with treacherous flight,
Soon vanish'd from his wondering sight.
Once enter'd on corruption's seat,
A powerful force bars all retreat ;
58 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And thus our Doctor, to his cost,
Now found, for almost hope was lost,
Midst such a crew, who round him press'd,
And hail'd with joy their reverend guest :
To consecrate their orgies base,
They tore from its exalted place,
That reverend wig, which now must pay,
The dues and forfeit of the day :
So saying instant in the flame,
Blaz'd up the Doctor's wig of fame,
And much the Muse regrets to say,
Even at this hour th' unrivall'd Play,
Meant to entrance a raptur'd world,
By impious hands had near been hurl'd
Into the dire consuming flame,
Whence rose in clouds the wig of fame,
While round and round on lightsome heel,
Our Doctor was compell'd to reel ;
Till by good luck he burst the door,
And ran pursued by loud uproar —
To where an open — hackney stage,
Secur'd him from the public rage.
The Doctor now drove off with smiles,
And curs'd the saint — we call St. Giles ;
Like Pallet from the Bastile 'scaping,
He left astonish'd crowds all gaping,
And homeward bade the coachman drive,
And thank'd his stars he was alive.
Though grievous was our Doctor's case,
As e'er befel a man of grace,
Yet from his haste to run, arose
A climax unto all his woes.
IN LONDON. 59
He now discover'rl with dismay
That he had lost his darling play ;
In the dire struggle to escape,
From that most real tragic scrape ;
For while their sticks rain'd showers of blows
Which dimm'd his eyes, and broke his nose;
Just as he'd gain'd once more a sight .
Of Mother Church his soul to light,
A pilferer who mark'd the page,
Stor'd in the pocket of the sage>
And its protruding edge mistook,
For some by far more precious book,
Contriv'd with most fraternal hug,
And cunning and convenient tug,
To rob the Doctor of his play,
And then to scamper safe away.
Now in disorder'd plight he enter'd,
The home where all his wishes center'd ;
And truly he with scarce a shirt on,
Who drew aside old Priam's curtain,
And told him gaping in amaze,
That half of Troy was in a blaze,
Look'd not more rueful than the sage,
Who had his lovely spouse t' engage,
The wrath of Mrs. Syntax' tongue,
That soon a pretty larum rung ;
Even in this strange and hapless plight,
He met his darling hope's delight.
She rag'd, she storm'd, and almost swore,
That he had willingly stept o'er
The bounds of virtue and decorum,
And mischief could not but come o'er him :
60 DOCTOR SYNTAX
" That fate he well deserv'd," she said,
" For list'ning to his ' pretty maid :'
" The jilt, if find her but she could,
" She'd tear her eyes out — that she would.
But what distress'd our Doctor most,
His tragedy, alas ! was lost.
He fear'd his footsteps to retrace,
And dar'd not seek the fatal place,
The scene of all his sad disgrace :
At length as wiser thoughts advis'd it,
He very gravely advertis'd it :
" Lost in a desperate affray,
" Appropriate scene, a tragic Play I
" Whoe'er to Doctor Syntax brings —
" This mixture of poetic things,
" Shall surely have that great reward
" Churchmen to laymen still afford,
" And as a passport unto heaven,
" His pray'rs will unto them be given."
Resolv'd the miscreants to enthral,
Who thus had robb'd him of his all ;
For all his hopes were on that play,
Which with his wig had pass'd away.
Lie there, Lord Chancellor Bacon said,
And threw the wig from off his head,
And Syntax thought — tho' late so big,
He'd lost his wisdom with his wig ;
And with this fact his mind imprest on,
At Mrs. Syntax's suggestion
To Bow-street he set forth to tell,
The dreadful loss which had befel :
With aspect mild and balded pate,
His case the Doctor did relate,
Unto the worthy magistrate,
IN LONDON. 61
Who listen'd to his piteous case,
With affectation's pert grimace.
A warrant Syntax crav'd with awe,
As strong as Habeas Corpus law,
While ev'ery limb of law who saw him,
Wonder'd, agape, what here could draw him,
And every constable loud roar'd,
" Here's Doctor Syntax — by the Lord,
" The soul of satire, mirth, and glee,
" Make way!" — the passage open'd free,
" My fame is known," the Doctor cried,
As low he bow'd on every side ;
And louder laugh'd each Bow-street prig ,
To see his sconce without a wig ;
Whilst Mrs. Syntax curtseying low,
Waddl'd, and sidl'd to, and fro,
Elated, that her husband's name,
Partook of London's bow-street fame :
" If he's known here — I can foretel.
" At court he'll soon be known as well,
" For 'tis a passport to such places,
" When you've at Bow -street shown your faces."
Thus said the lady, as they bow'd,
Before a special bench and crowd.
At length 'twas given to Vicary's care,
To ferret out the frail and fair,
And bring the ruffian gang to woe,
Who had abus'd our Doctor so.
To drive misfortune from his mind,
Our annotator on mankind,
Now thought he'd many a bon bouche find,
At that resort of fashion's throng.
Where Opera leads the dance and song,
62 DOCTOK SYNTAX
And Music tunes her sweetest lyre,
To warm the heart with magic fire,
And noble lords and titled dames,
Indulge their taste, indulge their flames,
With music brought from foreign climes,
Ah, more immortal than my rhymes.
To see this splendid gay resort,
Of fools of fashion and of court,
He sued with modest curious leer,
His noble friend the gallant peer,
Who deign'd his anxious wish to hear,
But kindly bade him recollect,
His late mischance, and not neglect,
With reverend strictness to sustain,
Alike his pockets, purse, and brain ;
For genius, with an empty purse,
Is little but — a mental curse.
By interest and cogent means,
Behold him now behind the scenes.
First, Terpsichore in airy maze,
Attracts his never-ceasing gaze,
Unfolds upon his rapturous sight
The sylphic graces of her flight ;
In vestments light as morning beams
That play around the glittering streams,
When through the heavens Aurora flings
The odour of her downy wings,
She gaily leads him through the throng,
Of tragic worth and comic song.
His patron turns his thoughts aside,
By pointing out his destin'd bride ;
For now by custom of the age
Lords choose their ladies from the stage ;
IN LONDON. 63
A nymph who's pleasing, gentle sight,
Bespoke the rapture of that night,
When wedded love — at last reposes,
In peace upon a bed of roses.
Her limbs, in graceful moulds display 'd,
Canova's matchless forms pourtray'd ;
Perfection breath'd, as on she mov'd,
But to be look'd at, and be lov'd.
Canova never could inspire,
That spark of heaven's Promethean fire,
Which lighten'd from her glowing eyes,
And seem'd the day-beams of the skies.
Their soft blue languor mildly rose,
Mercy and love there found repose ;
And o'er her bosom soft and fair,
Her auburn ringlets wav'd in air,
While pure, and white, as Alpine snows,
Her sweet and swelling bosom rose :
But oh, that bosom, was as warm
As her's — who first had power to charm.
Syntax, by faith and truth impress'd
Religiously the peer address'd,
And pointed out his happy state,
To matrimony — bound by fate.
His patron smil'd, then press'd his hand,
And hied to join the sportive band.
What wonders Syntax' features spoke,
As on his vision splendid broke ;
The vast arena of the place,
Devoted to gay pleasure's race !
There glittering stars and ribbons blue,
Bespoke the highly honour'd few,
G4 DOCTOR SYNTAX
While beauty in superb array,
Attir'd both elegant and gay,
Sublimely fill'd the sidelong rows,
With every flower that summer blows ;
The diamond tiara bright,
Gave added lustre to the light ;
The jewell'd circle that upholds
The pliant hair in graceful folds,
Or serves to wave the ostrich plume,
Majestic over youthful bloom;
To brilliant links ingenious strung,
That o'er the swelling bosom hung ;
The eastern ear-drop's cluster'd blaze,
Emerging in unnumbered rays ;
The bracelets of according charm,
That gird the neatly moulded arm ;
The valu'd gem that finger spann'd,
And sparkling deck'd the gentle hand ;
In harmonizing lustre shone,
And spangled beauty's magic zone.
The boxes shine in tinsell'd rows,
While classic subjects interpose ;
The fresco pencill'd— -all sublime
A twelvemonth mocks the power of time ;
While from above the chandelier,
In silv'ry radiance, bright and clear,
A central glory circling spreads,
Surpassing that which Cynthia sheds.
With rapture and delight our sage,
Next turn'd his eyes upon the stage ;
There spacious canvas, faithful gave,
The fluted columns' architrave,
IN LONDON. 65
That once o'erspread the Grecian walls,
And still the classic taste recalls ;
Th' Italian landscape — public street,
The closet copied close and neat :
The foaming sea — the vessel's wreck,
By light'ning riv'n her yawning deck,
That loosen'd bilges on the shore,
Or founders and is seen no more :
The thunder's awful, solemn sound,
Reverberating far around,
As with surprize the mind they fill,
Bespeak the able artists' skill.
Amazement on our Doctor hung,
Who turning found himself among
A race of deities gay plum'd,
Who, heedless of the rank assum'd,
Tho' meant to grace the upper sphere,
Indulgently below appear.
Here Cupid with his wings outspread,
Cries out for tarts and gingerbread ;
There, dandy-like, Adonis seen is,
Bent o'er the chair of some frail Venus ;
And Jupiter with beer supplied,
Lays his nectareous cup aside.
Syntax with scrutinizing eye,
Oft-times call'd up a pious sigh :
Voluptuous couches plac'd around,
Bright mirrors verging from the ground ;
The vintage rich of foreign climes,
All mark the luxury of the times ;
Here nymphs more wanton than the breeze,
By affectation strove to please ;
The supple joints commanding raise,
To various fancied artful ways ;
66 DOCTOR SYNTAX
In amorous dalliance many stray'd,
While others in the Green- Room laid,
Reclining on the soft settee,
With robes that barely veil'd the knee ;
Yet still there lack'd the ecstacy,
Deriv'd from woman's modesty.
Euterpe next her triumph chose,
And strains in Lydian measures rose ;
So sweetly soft, so rich and wild,
His every sense entranc'd ! beguil'd !
The dulcet swell, vibration shrill,
The lengthen'd cadence, dying still,
Conspir'd to elevate his soul,
And every other thought controul.
Elate with joy, in transport lost,
Awhile he stood, nor deem'd the cost
Superlative, be what it might,
That furnish'd so much pure delight ;
His common-place book forth he drew,
And noted down the thoughts that flew
In quick succession from his brain,
Prolific as the varied strain,
Which linger'd on his ravish'd ear,
Determin'd they should straight appear,
And all the pomp of learning bear :
In form critique his notions ran,
For he had gain'd from Logier's plan,
A rapid knowledge of the art
Of music in methodic part ;
The organ's symphony he'd join'd,
And sung in pray'r his grateful mind ;
Could also judge of Mozart's fame,
And all who bear a lofty name,
IN LONDON. 67
Amongst the sons of minstrelsy,
Who tune the soul to mirth and glee.
Our Doctor bent with list'ning ear,
The soul enchanting strains to hear,
That flow'd from each fair warbler's tongue,
On which the cognoscenti hung
With ravish'd sense, and lavish'd praise —
Reviving seem'd his youthful days.
Entranc'd while thus the Doctor stood,
In pleasing and attentive mood,
A youthful syren, form'd to please,
With love's soft tone, and sportive ease,
As if from Cyprian bowers she came,
A Venus — all — except her name,
To light the ever glowing flame.
Whilst every one admiring gaz'd,
This song in praise of love she rais'd.
THE SONG OF LOVE.
Oh, it is sweet to obey Love's power,
When passion's in the eye,
When pleasure reigns in beauty's bower
Undarken'd by a sigh.
Oh', Love speaks in the sunny smile
That lights the heart to joy;
Its magic charms
Wake fond alarms,
And every pulse employ.
Around the couch where Love is laid,
A smiling garland twines ;
And o'er his path with roses spread
The star of pleasure shines.
68 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Oh, honour's sweet to youthful breast,
When first its dazzling beams
Inspire his soul, and glory's crest
Upon his vision streams.
But where in life's the extacy,
Oh, what can match the bliss,
When love that beams in woman's eye,.
Is hallow'd by a kiss !
Oh, fair is morn, 'mid her drops of dew r
But sweet, and still more dear,
Is the love that lights the eye of blue,
When gemm'd with rapture's tear.
Oh, what is so bright as the tear of love,
From trembling eyes of blue ?
No seraph drop from the heavens above
E'er shone with a lovelier hue.
Then where is the heart,
That would linger apart,
From the pleasures that love has in store ;
When beauty's smile,
Can the heart beguile,
And angels themselves adore ?
As thus with more than syren strain,
The enchantress Pleasure's votive train,
With sweetest warblings charm'd the ear,
And sportive groups now there, now here,
The twisting, twining waltz pursue,
And limbs and petticoats up flew;
IN LONDON. 69
Awak'd to thought, our reverend sage
Pitied the morals of the age,
And all from Virtue's placid home,
That truant like were bent to roam*,
Where Pleasure lures to costly bowers,
With too infatuating powers :
He thought upon his own dear wife,
The mirror of connubial life ;
How vexed her watchful mind must be,
Debarr'd thus from his company ;
For since with wig and play he paid
So dearly for his pretty maid,
And stemm'd the battle a-la-Crib —
Within the hearing of his rib,
He scarce had dar'd from that sad day
To mention Opera or Play.
He felt his pockets o'er and o'er,
And found that all his precious store
Was yet within his purse contain'd ;
Then with a bow and smile well feign'd,
He left his friend, the amorous peer,
With the smart fille he lov'd so dear,
And bade adieu to all that go
On light fantastic heel or toe,
To Music's reign and Venus' bower,
And reach'd his house by midnight hour,
Where in enamour'd Morpheus' arms,
He found his own dear mistress' charms.
When Mrs. Syntax and the Sun
Op'd their bright eyes, she thus begun,
Observing that her spouse was taking
His wife, 'tween sleeping and awaking,
70 DOCTOR SYNTAX
For one of those bright nymphs he'd seen,
Stretch'd sweet behind the Opera screen.
" My dear, if you but knew th' alarms,
" I feel when you are from my arms
" Absent so long, I know not where,
" Mayhap with some inconstant fair,
" You would not leave your wife to moan,
" Late watching your return alone,
" As I last night was doom'd to do,
" Sitting till twelve o'clock for you —
" You would not, like some London rake,
" Thus day of night and night day make,
" Nor cause your wife the hours to number,
" In grief which all should give to slumber ;
" I hope last night you were pursuing,
" No road or game that leads to ruin."
Thus honest Syntax made reply,
" Be not afraid, my love, that I
" Will e'er again be caught in folly,
" Or slight my kind and faithful Dolly ;
" But, truth to tell, I did accord
" So far with fashion and my Lord,
" As at the Opera for a while,
" To listen and to lounge in style :
" I wish'd that time had but allow'd,
" My Dolly to have seen the crowd,
" And shewn her comely figure there,
" And heard each strange and foreign air ;
" But well I knew though not unkind,
" My Dolly has a moral mind,
" And rather, to myself I said,
" I'll take her to a Masquerade."
IN LONDON. 71
" A Masquerade," with joy inflam'd,
Pleas'd Mrs. Syntax quick exclaim'd,
" I vow I'd like to see those places,
" Where people go to hide their faces,
" And deck them, be they what they will,
" With visages more monstrous still :
" Syntax, you owe me now a treat,
" And Fentum shall the work complete,
" Fentum, that with his horrid band,
" Of monsters frightens all the Strand."
" Agreed," quoth Syntax, " the first night,
" A mask is held, we shall not slight
" The opportunity of seeing
" Each horrid, each fantastic being,
" That veils the human face divine,
" And trips it light at folly's shrine."
Thus Syntax calmly, without strife,
Sooth'd into peace his dreaded wife,
Till breakfast turn'd with influence kind,
To other things her teeth and mind.
While thus their toast and tea they swallow'd,
The Doctor looking rather squalid,
Whene'er with retrospective ray
His memory ran on his lost play,
And all the glories of success
That promis'd his desert to bless,
Just as a curse both deep and long
Was forming on his pious tongue,
Enter'd the lovely servant maid,
And straight before the Doctor laid,
Address'd to him, a packet large,
With an unconscionable charge
72 DOCTOR SYNTAX
That made poor Mrs. Syntax stare,
And ask what d — 1 he'd got there ;
She said 'twould make her suffering purse
For many weeks, nay months, the worse ;
And Betty said, besides, the hard,
111 looking fellow, claim'd reward,
Who brought the packet to the door,
And whom she thought she'd seen before
Set firmly in the pillory —
" The place where now his ears should be,"
Exclaim'd our agitated sage,
Near choak'd at once with joy and rage,
As the dear parcel he unroll'd,
And now again his eyes behold
The tragic page he so much priz'd,
Which he had lost and advertiz'd.
The very play which so much pains'
Had given to his troubled brains,
Was to his hands again restor'd,
And Syntax cried, " thanks to the Lord."
'* Thank whom you like," his wife exclaim'd,
With more than common rage inflam'd ;
" But I will give this thief direct,
" As good's a halter to his neck,
" The impudent and plundering villain,
" I'll give him not a single shilling."
With ireful haste she downward ran,
To wreak her vengeance on the man ;
But prudent he, so dire a fate,
Was not determin'd to await,
Soon as he heard the threat'ning noise,
Peal'd nearer from my lady's voice,
IN LONDON. 73
He instant gave them all the double,
But took one spoon to pay his trouble,
From side-board stole, while Betty's back
Was turn'd to mind her mistress' clack.
We will not vainly here declare
The triumph of our happy pair,
The pride that our good madam felt,
At the strict justice she had dealt,
In fright'ning off this son of guilt,
Or the far purer joy that beam'd
In Syntax' eyes to see redeem'd
His tragic muse, his matchless piece,
That was to shame the wits of Greece.
You would have thought, to see his looks,
He'd scap'd from Bedlam or Saint Luke's.
Some say, but that I think's a riddle,
He danc'd like David with his fiddle ;
When forth before the ark the king
Was both inspir'd to dance and sing.
The lion has his pert jackal,
So have great wits as well as small ;
Homer his critics wanted not,
And Virgil scarcely has a blot,
That critic pens have not display'd,
And learning's faults much larger made.
It therefore was to be expected,
That Syntax would not be neglected,
If the effusions of his pen,
Should meet the eyes of learned men ;
As on this odd pccasion they,
In the bright pages of his play,
By chance did fortunately fall,
Under the critics' useful gall ;
74 DOCTOR SYNTAX
For with his piece the Doctor found,
Like critics' brains, a strange compound,
Of observations like the trash,
On Shakespear heap'd for sake of cash ;
And oft to other works appended,
By which, heavenknows,they're littlemended.
Thus run the friendly peroration,
Which Doctor thought a flagellation :
H In vain, rash bard, you take in hand
" The verse you do not understand ;
" No work demands more time and pains,
" And none suck approbation gains,
" As that which with a moisten'd eye
" Instructs the vulgar how to cry,
" That wields sublime the butchering knife,
" And knows to take or spare a life,
" To wrest the dagger ere it kill,
" Or on the ground the poison spill,
" Lay dying beauty on its bier,
" Yet bid her live another year ;
" Tisten to one, with brains thus busy,
" You run upon the comic hussey,
" Who smiles as you your scenes indite,
" And turns your grief to laughter quite.
" Indeed, good Doctor, you're to blame
" For hazarding your well-won fame
" In stage effect and tragic scenes,
" In spouting verse and dressing queensj
" And pluming fellows up so gaily
" That ought to string at the Old Bailey.
" Of tragedy, so great the task,
" A sermon does less study ask,
IN LONDON. 75
<( For in the one the people mute,
" Must swallow all without dispute ;
" But where the spouting actors reel,
" Folks speakyouknow with hands and heel ;
" In vain with learned pride you boast,
" Of voyages to Latium's coast,
" And strict adherence to the rules,
" That govern'd the Grecian schools.
" The Muses in their ancient vest
" Were all but savages at best ;
" Learning is mad with ancient pride,
" That thinks eyes to the rest denied ;
" The world is not to be humbugg'd
" As 'twas of old, or tamely drugg'd
" To sleep or death by tragic ditties,
" Got up by fools or Sub-Committees ;
" John Bull loves farces ; try that line,
" 'Tis there your Pegasus will shine,
" If you but mount in trim array
" Amid the Hobbies of the day :
" Or Syntax in a melo-drame,
" Would set the raptur'd town in flame,
" And more convulse with merry fit
" The boxes, gallery, and pit,
" Than Mother Goose, or great Munchausen,
" Or any opera in fashion."
The Doctor thought as authors do
Of critics who their works review,
And don't exactly coincide
'With the fond dictates of their pride,
That he who thus presum'd to speak
In most impertinent critique
76 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Of his immortal tragic lay,
Must be the sire of some^damn'd play,
Who for the want of fortune's smiles
Had taken refuge near St. Giles.
Far from discourag'd by his spleen,
Our Doctor proudly view'd each scene,
And after scanning them all o'er,
Resolv'd to try them as before,
At the prime seat of judgment, where
Sits in his dictatorial chair,
The easy well fed manager.
But first especial care he took,
That no base thief by hook or crook,
Should rob him of his play again,
And mar his heart's triumphant strain :
So firm with belts and cords around,
His work he to his body bound,
Like those who trade in precious ware,
The rogues in lace, or cunning fair,
Who thus expect to 'scape the duty, .
By privilege of rank or beauty ;
Or soldier, not to danger blind,
Who claps his cuirass behind,
Well studying, ere the day is done,
It may be valour's part to run.
Thus lac'd and fitted for the fray,
Forth sallied Syntax with his play,
Humming a chorus from his strain.
He took the road to Drury-Lane.
Safely he pass'd without a wound
Amid the beauties that surround
IN LONDON. 77
The pile which scenic muses prop
High over many a broker's shop,
And bower of courtezan, and Jew
Dealing in things not over new.
He reach'd the edifice sublime,
And enter'd — at rehearsal time,
His name announc'd — his name was great —
But still he had a while to wait —
The manager was greater still,
And Syntax had to wait his will,
Though bearing thus his great production
And a right noble introduction ;
Nay, our great genius had to stand
Obediently with hat in hand,
Until the whole dramatic corps
Their sev'ral parts recited o'er ;
While round the buzzing Green Room ran,
A rumour that the learned man
Had brought to the dramatic stage
A piece unequall'd by the age,
Wherein with splendour all its own,
The Syntax' genius brilliant shone.
Meantime it happen'd, luckier still,
To add to his theatric skill,
A Drama of whose beauties new,
Green Room report its trumpet blew,
Was just about to see the light,
And Doctor witness'd with delight
The way in which the embryo wonder
From actor's mouth obtain'd its thunder.
There in his chair of ease and state,
The manager, like Falstaff sate,
Surrounded by his famous squad,
Spouting blank verse as they were mad,
78 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Turn'd players for bread, and now preparing
To set the pit and gods a staring.
Here Brutus with his night-cap on,
Condemn'd to death his rebel son ;
There lies Lucretia, neither dead
Nor wedded to her lonely bed, ,
But full before th' enamour'd view
Laughing at Tarquin's want of cue.
While fretting stood th' immortal Bays,
Of these our most enlighten'd days,
To see the way the actors treated,
The speeches over which he'd sweated,
You would have smil'd to witness thei-e,
The writhings of each labouring player ;
Who curs'd the author's want of brains,
Lacking the necessary pains,
Because like tailor he had not
Ta'en measure of his mental coat,
And shap'd each scene and part refin'd,
To standard of the actor's mind ;
Likethose who dock'd of limbs and head,
Were fated on Procrustes' bed,
In torturing agony to feel,
The lopping of inhuman steel.
Our Doctor mark'd with dread and wonder,
Thus rhyme and reason torn asunder ;
Unknowing what the fate might be.
Of his own darling tragedy.
END OF THE THIRD CANTO.
What obstacles beset his way,
Who, fir'd by glory writes a play !
A play, beheld with joy or spite,
Which all can judge, and few can write.
Fame's other hundred doors stand ope
To patient Genius' towering hope,
But triple-headed Cerberus-guards,
Bar out the works of classic bards
From the few domes that bear the name,
Of inlets to dramatic fame,
While dwarfs in wit and Vandals rage,
And reptiles creep upon the stage.
Some reach with ease the bright abode,
By mounting in ethereal Ode,
Or on some huge long Epopee,
Or dying in an Elegy ;
Or Song that fills his hand with posies,
Gleaning the lilies and the roses.
One works his way with Satire's file,
With cat like claw and spiteful smile ;
Another smoothly skims away
Upon a blameless Pastoral lay ;
But he who dares with venturous hand
The Tragic war-horse to command,
QC : DOCTOR SYNTAX
Bestrides an animal uncivil,
May plunge him headlong to the d — 1 :
These truths we now proceed to tell,
Our learned author felt too well.
The business of rehearsal o'er,
And players " free to sin no more,"
Till night " her sable curtain drew,"
And gas-light show'd her ghosts anew,
Syntax, as with an air he bow'd,
His play and his credentials show'd,
To the great ruler of the stage,
Who scann'd the epistolary page,
And thus our learned sage address'd
" Your name, great Syntax, is impress'd,
" On fame's bright book, and here might stand
" Like some Colossus to command
" The admiration of the crowd
" Who hither come with clamour loud
" To fix the fate of plays and players ;
" But — I must tell you all my cares —
" In spite of all the pomp you see
" Of proud theatric majesty,
" Stalking amid this empty dome,
" Where taste and thousands used to come-,
" We subs, and even the mighty Sub,
" Must now our humble noses snub,
" (I grieve to tell, but it is true)
" To one who plays and dictates too.
" With your permission, Sir, your play,
" Before this actor I will lay ;
" As he is pleas'd, or flatt'ring cramm'd,
"' It may succeed, or, may be damn'd.
IN LONDON. 81
Our Doctor's eyes in wonder roll'd,
To hear the manager unfold,
How genius' wings were cramp'd, and plays
Were judg'd of in these modern days,
Alike the buskins and the socks,
Set in the tyrant-actor's stocks ;
And even immortal Shakespeare's page,
Delight and glory of the age,
Cut down, and alter'd, and design'd,
To suit a player's vulgar mind.
Indignant were the words that broke
From Syntax, as the sage thus spoke :
" What, is it thus, that from her height,
" Of raptur'd fancy's glorious flight,
" The muse must stoop, and take the law,
" From those who should her chariot draw ;
" Or on her high triumphant state,
" Like menial trumpeters should wait ?
" The empty instruments of sound,
" That with the voice of sense abound,
" Just as their mouths their thoughts convey
" Of other minds, more learn'd than they ;
" As organ pipes, though oft confin'd,
" Express the great composer's mind ?
" Time was, when Garrick rul'd the stage,
" A player might have scann'd the page,
" Of half-vers'd bard, or drama new,
" And haply understood it too ;
" But in these days, the player's head
" Resembles more a pipe of lead,
" Through which, in vain, the purer air
" Struggles with brains of awkward player,
" And sounds, if thus at all it passes,
" Not like the voice of men but asses ;
82 DOCTOR SYNTAX
" While he, who thinks his part he plays,
" To all the world but only brays.
" Would those who lov'd the true sublime,
" Great Eschylus of deathless rhyme,
" Terence or Sophocles, have borne,
" Thus to be fritter'd down, and shorn,
" To suit the strut, the start, the stare,
" And the pert mouthings of a player ?
" Dull and evaporate quite, had been
" The soul that fram'd each daring scene,
" Whose power yet bids the bosom move,
" To melting sympathy or love.
" Had those whom genius ne'er refin'd,
" To estimate the glowing mind,
" Sat in the judgment-seat of taste,
" And damn'd, with inconsiderate haste,
" By rage, or ignorance, inspir'd,
" What untold ages have admir'd,
" What gothic darkness in our age,
" Had with thick clouds obscur'd the stage !
" The muse had ceas'd her light to shed,
" Nor learning risen from the dead.
" And the poor plaudits of the hour,
" Or joys that rise from lucre's power,
" And not the lasting meed of fame,
" Been all our matchless Shakespeare's aim,
" Would that immortal bard have writ,
" So finely to a sixpenny pit.*
* In the time of Shakespeare, the prices of admis-
sion to the Theatres, was to the boxes, one shilling ;
to the pit, sixpence ; and to the gallery, two-pence.
IN LONDON. 83
" Or gallery, whose purchas'd boast
" Was humble two-pence, at the most ?
" How had Racine, Corneille, Voltaire,
" Lash'd into verse the coxcomb player,
" Who should have dar'd, in lack of wit,
" O'er them in judgment high, to sit ;
e< And thus exclude or strive to mend
" Works he's unfit to comprehend,
" Or only able to rehearse
" In his own mutilated verse ?
" But, Sir, I leave my piece for you
" In proper manner to review ;
" And hope you'll find it worth displaying,
" 'Bove many a piece that now is playing."
Thus, our great sage, to truth inclin'd,
Deliver'd both his piece and mind :
While the astonish'd manager
Began to think, with wondering stare,
That starting from his musty shelf
He saw Euripides himself,
And all the host of ancient sages
Rising from forth the dust of ages,
To fulminate against " the deep
" Damnation" of ignoble sleep ;
And blame the management that gave
Their beauties to the dusty grave,
Where rest in many a mouldering pile,
Those who could melt or prompt to smile,
Beside the damn'd of every age
That ne'er again shall see the stage,
The brains of authors that have gone
Down to the shades of Acheron,
84 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And never shall again rejoice
To hear the murmuring prompter's voice.
The ruler of the mimic scene
Ev'n thought that Syntax must have been
Bred in the school of Grecian lore, —
He had not seen his like before ;
And own'd his piece must be a play
Worthy of a more glorious day.
But though we now, degenerate quite,
Industriously devote the night
To triumphs of the scenic art,
And what should win the eye and heart,
The learned Syntax yet might reap
A lasting wreath from others' sleep ;
His tragedy he would inspect,
And carefully would not neglect,
If it should seem to suit them strictly,
To put it in rehearsal quickly.
Our Doctor, as you may conceive,
With this assurance took his leave.
And home l'eturn'd, to spouse, to say
How he'd dispos'd of his lov'd play :
The pit's applause, the gallery's cheers,
Already sounding in his ears,
And the gay garland that adorns,
Like a less pleasing crown of horns,
Poetic brows, with many a sprig,
Waving above his classic wig.
He told his kind connubial dear,
How near to fame, to fortune near,
He happily again was plac'd,
By his ability and taste,
IN LONDON. 85
And vow'd that should success but crown
His hopes, they'd come and live in town :
And like the heads of mother church,
Leave parish-followers in the lurch,
To find their way to benediction,
By some poor curate's kind direction.
In short, in some great splendid square,
They'd breathe more fashionable air ;
Give breakfasts to the wits that need them,
And like the great, as little heed them.
" And routs, and balls, and parties too,
" That play at pharo, and at loo ;"
Cried Mrs. Syntax, glad to find
Her spouse in fashionable mind.
" Syntax ! I wish that time was come,
" When we should sit no more hum-drum,
" At gloomy parsonage retir'd,
" Mid rocks and lakes, by none admir'd,
" But country folks who ne'er set eyes on,
" Enchanting fashion's bright horizon ;
" Who ne'er like us breath'd London air,
" Or heard Bow-bells, or saw a square :
u I long to tread the splendid maze
" Of the gay world, where rank displays
" Its power, its grandeur, and its grace,
" And mix in every brilliant place ;
" Let's show a proper disposition,
" Like other people of condition.
" Now, my dear Syntax, let me tell ye,
" In case your treacherous memory fail ye,
" You vow'd when last I was upbraiding,
" You'd take me soon a masquerading.
86 DOCTOR SYNTAX
" I claim, now that the moment come is,
" The strict performance of your promise ;
" I find, my dear, with much delight,
" A masque take places this very night,
" At the King's Theatre, you know,
" Where masques and opera singers go ;
" Think, Syntax ! think how great we'll be,
" What honour and what extacy,
" When flaunting there in gay parade,
" We frolic at the masquerade !
" Talking with easy, unsnubb'd looks,
" To lords and duchesses and dukes!"
A kind and loving wife's request,
Thus warm and tenderly express'd,
No heart like Syntax could deny.
Beating with expectation high,
He therefore instant gave consent,
Seeing how madam's mind was bent,
To this her warm desire, to see
The world of fashion, gay, and free,
Moving in the grotesque parade,
Of a strange, motley masquerade.
Tickets were out in hundreds round,
No difficulty could be found,
The matron said, with aspect proud,
For such as they to join the crowd ;
But seeing was not quite sufficient,
Our madam thought herself proficient,
In airs polite enough already,
To figure as a first-rate lady,
And even a character sustain,
For wit amid the sportive train.
IN LONDON. 87
A domino, or black or blue,
She thought was scarcely worth the view,
And gave no room for wit to play
Its sport in eloquent display :
She wish'd where'er 'twas in her reach,
To have the liberty of speech,
And thought with this advantage aiding,
She'd find out who were masquerading.
Besides, 'twas known she lov'd to tease,
Her tongue was seldom bent to please :
At least this often seem'd th' opinion
Of him, who felt her stern dominion.
The sage so learned in every kind
Of lore, could not be left behind
His wife in fancy or in spirit,
To manifest his various merit.
Beneath the visor of a mask,
What could he not declare or ask ?
What lessons of instruction teach,
To those who love not them that preach ?
A mask, convenient covering, hail ;
A shield to truth and virtue frail.
Some wear it as we use a friend ;
Some never doff it till the end :
So fraught with fallacy's the strife
Of the strange masquerade of life.
Revolving in his studious mind,
What character with learning join'd,
He should assume to awe the place,
With proper gravity of face,
And keep, should prying eyes be near,
His reverend reputation clear ;
88 DOCTOR SYNTAX
As churchmen bent on pleasure should,
And ladies, though they wear the hood ;
A lucky thought our sage's brain,
Began at length to entertain ;
Some might suppose, and some had said,
(At least good madam oft had paid,
This compliment to Syntax' head ;)
He was no conjuror in the ways,
The busy artful world displays,
The schemes, the shifts, the endless tricks,
Practis'd alert where mankind mix,
In the great scramble, noisy, vain,
That for the cheating phantom Gain.
Like the sly rogues who steal and hustle,
Whelms all in one tumultuous bustle.
To shew how much they err'd who took,
His character from his grave look,
Our Doctor vow'd that without fear,
He would a Conjuror appear,
And at the masquerade impart,
A sample of his wondrous art.
Thus fix'd the parts they should assume,
Sweet smiling joy began t' illume
The countenances of our pair,
Who now began to turn their care,
To " dressing for the character."
'Twas now that Mrs. Syntax show'd,
How much she knew and mark'd abroad,
How much she studied in all places,
The odd variety of faces,
And all the things one sauntering meets,
Claiming regard in London streets ;
IN LONDON. 89
And let no man or woman say,
As through the Strand they take their way,
Gazing on windows, or shop portals,
How many things are here that mortals
Require not in this needy life,
But made for folly or for strife !
Legs, noses, faces, may be wanted,
And all but brains for money granted.
She thought on Fentum's in a trice,
Where fashion pays gay folly's price,
In robes fantastical to seem,
Still more in ridicule's extreme,
And plastic art such features feigns,
As sportive nature even disdains.
To Fentum's then, our lady fair
Declar'd they instant should repair,
To suit their frolic fancies right,
And chuse their dresses for the night.
Think not, ye gay and beauteous belles,
The Muse a fibbing story tells :
Or that our lady's store of satin
The moths or poverty had let in ;
At Somerden she well could boast,
As rich a set to Syntax' cost,
Of white andtrimm'd,and pinks,and flowers,
As ever deck'd a parson's bowers ;
But though her wardrobe was not scant,
Are there not things that ladies want
When runs the gay and swimming head
On ball-room and on masquerade,
And fashion, deck'd in jewels fine,
Leads her gay votaries to her shrine,
90 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And waves her feather cinctured plume
O'er the light train and wreathed room ?
Fair was the bloom of madam's cheek,
You'd seen the tints of beauty break,
All in the red and rosy grain
Of chimney pot just after rain.
As health indulgent spirits lent,
She did not stand in need of paint ;
But still the necessary care
Of masque and kind man-milliner
Were requisite to tip her off,
Lest prying sneering fools should scoff.
Our Doctor's dress and apparatus
Were the more difficult hiatus :
A cap and gown, and magic wand,
And spells must be at his command ;
But these and more, he doubted not,
At Fentum's medley could be got.
A coach was call'd, a coach soon came,
And madam and our man of fame,
Enter'd, and gave the word to drive
I ween, where any man alive
Would lift his eyes in strange surprize
To see how folks themselves disguise,
Distorting every human feature,
As if they were asham'd of nature.
They reach'd the gay repository ,-
And found good Fentum in his glory ;
For by the crowd, the blaze, the fun,
You'd thought the racket was begun.
Like those who nought but trouble give,
Nor think that shop-keepers must live ;
IN LONDON. 91
With many questions, la's ! and bless us !
They tumbled o'er pom- Fentum's dresses,
Till they habiliments could find,
To suit their characters and mind.
At length our lady made her choice,
And spoke it with a pleasant voice,
Array'd like fashion's beauteous train,
She'd make her conquests o'er again.
In birth-day suit of good Queen Anne,
She'd boldly triumph over man.
The age of hoops she wisely chose,
Because there was, beneath her nose,
A pretty large rotundity,
Of grave and matronly profundity :
But still the belle she strove to ape
In flowing tassels and in crape.
The beauties of her own dear face
She kindly hid beneath the grace
Of a Diana, fair and chaste,
That, certes, had not such a waist,
Unless Endymion led the maid
At his wild moonlight masquerade.
As was the custom in those days
When transformations strange took place,
A dance that, like our maids in crape,
Soon after may have chang'd her shape.
This was the dress our figurante,
To Mister Fentum said she'd want,
And o'er her masque she chose a plume,
That would have done to sweep the room ;
You'd thought had you not seen her clearly,
She was a walking Ostrich nearly ;
92 DOCTOK SYNTAX
Next in his magical array,
Syntax the conjuror grave, yet gay,
In sport resign'd his hat and wig,
And stalking like Pomposo, big
With secrets that the stars impart,
To those who know the occult art ;
In robe of seemly sable then,
Behold the gravest far of men ;
With magic signs and powerful wand,
And imps and planets at command,
And on his head a cap or cowl,
On which sits perch'd a sapient owl.
At proper time, in garnish'd state,
That is, being fashionably late,
Though madam's heart was bounding high,
To shew her borrow'd finery ;
Our happy pair, as if in love,
To the Haymarket rapid drove ;
He a grave cunning conjuror grown,
And she a lady of the ton ;
" Room," cried the gazers, like to burst,
" For Doctor Zabulus the first."
The adept whom good St. Cyprian says,
Rivall'd the d — 1 in ancient days ;
He was indeed a wondrous wight,
And skill'd in Zoroastrian light ;
As sacred histories record,
He could for instance at a word,
Create a man out of the air,
By shaking wild his coal black hair ;
Could turn himself to sheep or goat,
Or, if you would, leap down your throat ;
IN LONDON. 93
Nay, on a time to please the crowd
Who gap'd and rail'd with clamour loud
At fair Silene,* frail as fair,
Who just to breathe a little air,
Leant from the castle window high,
Like Jezebel when bent to spy
The gathering storm that was a brewing,
And hurl'd her beauty to its ruin,
'Tis said this Doctor with his art,
Made the poor courtezan so smart,
Appear in her loose morning gown
At every window of the town :
And then, as from the castle wall,
As quick from every window fall.
But to attend our matchless pair,
Who now had reach'd the theatre.
The Zabulus of modern days,
Led in amidst the splendid blaze
Of chandeliers and beauteous eyes,
His own dear rib of comely size ;
* Heathen writers have ascribed the invention of magic
to Mercury. Some of the early Christians, who have
wrote on the subject, speak of Zabulus as the first magi-
cian; but this is only another name for Diabulus himself,
and is so used by St. Cyprian. Some give the invention
to Barnabas, a magician of Cyprus ; but who this Barna-
bas was, and in what time he lived, they have not shewn,
though they have taken much unnecessary pains to prove
he was not Barnabas the coadjutor of the Apostle St.
Paul. Our reverend Doctor seems to have held the more
extenuating opinion which many pious and learned
men had entertained in regard to the origin of art;
namely, its doctrines are derived from the angel who
accompanied Tobit, and revealed them to him on the
way. These doctrines they contend are contained in
94 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And " Doctor Zabulus and lady"
Resounded through the crowd already.
The music of the sweet Soiree
Was ringing forth its melody,
Tuning midst pleasure's rich perfume
The echoes of the concert room ;
Where Art op'd Taste's fair temples wide
In drawing-room's majestic pride,
And fairy grotipes prepared the ball
To crowds en masque fantastical.
If thou art of the happy set
Who know the rules of etiquette,
And hast by partial fortune's aid
At birth-day ball or masquerade
Beheld the crowds that throng the floor,
Skill'd in gay dissipation's lore,
And seen their heads, in odd compound,
And giddy circle, swimming round,
certain books written by Honorius, Albertus Magnus, Cy-
prian, and others. Tostatus thinks that Jezebel, who
enchanted Ahab, was the first who practised the art of
charming princes out of their natural senses; but Tosta-
tus may not have known the extent of female sorcery : if
Jezebel was the first that practised this treasonable and
hurtful art, it is unfortunate that she was not also the last.
The feat of tumbling down poor Silene from the window,
here alluded to, is told of Simon the magician, whom Philip
converted in Samaria. It states that a famous courtezan
of this name was looking out of a window of a certain
castle, and a great crowd had collected to gaze at her, he
caused her to appear at every window in the castle at one
and the same time, and to fall down from every one of
them. We mean no reflection on the ladies of the city
IN LONDON. 95
Strange, yet politely complaisant,
And fashionably ignorant,
You may conceive a slender notion
Of the gay revel and the motion
Which now to Syntax and his wife
Shew'd fashion's follies to the life. -
Wide was the range, and bright the show
Of sportive bands that lightly go
On happy foot and bounding toe.
The pit made level with the stage
Gave ample circle to engage
In minuet or country dance,
Or waltz, or gay quadrille from France,
Or stroll, or lounge to show condition
In staring, quizzing inquisition ;
While brilliant o'er the great Saloon
The light of joy like that of noon,
Strove to remove the gay disguise,
And guide their steps and ravish'd eyes.
Fashion's an ignis fataus jade,
Though a good friend to fools and trade ;
She, skill'd to win the female heart
With flatt'ring and resistless art,
Leads her gay votaries many a dance
O'er life's and folly's broad expanse :
The old, the young, the wise, the fool,
Obey her arbitrary rule ;
wherever it may be supposed to have taken place, by-
making the magician's power extend to causing the frail
fair one by way of punishment, to appear .at every win-
dow in the town, and to tumble down, streaming like a
theatrical waterfall from every one of them !
96 DOCTOR SYNTAX
From step to step she leads them on,
Till half are mad, or half undone.
A gallant youth had op'd the ball
With a young Eve that seem'd to call
The warm desires in every eye,
She moved so gay and gracefully,
And seem'd, so thin her robe's display,
In Paradisical array !
'Twas " who are they," from every madam,
" The youthful Eve and sportive Adam ?"
While envious whispers told their story
Not in the words of blameless glory,
Twas sprightly Fulvia who despises
The rigid ties that Hymen prizes,
And brave Sir John, whose triumphs lie
In the small space of lady's eye.
Next came among the jiggers gaily,
Lord Totterdown, who, people tell ye,
Just frolics 'mid the lovely throng
To catch the sweet breath of the young ;
Roving to meet, like some gay Paris,
The sweet helitus puellaris.
He moves, at seventy-two he moves,
Amid the Graces and the Loves,
To catch from blooming Hebe's breath,
A respite from relentless death !
Ah ! happy lord ! oh, peer belov'd !
An orange girl his suit approv'd,
From whom his tender soul inhales,
The breath of all Hesperia's vales,
Mix'd with perhaps, a slight drawback,
A little harmless coniac,
IN LONDON. 9T
That sometimes lends to cheeks and noses
What they would want without it, roses.
And now in light chausee they trip it —
Each goddess lays aside her tippit,
Pleas'd in the gambols to engage
And shake the snow from hoary age,
Nor cares for fashion's, custom's screen,
That bids alone the foot be seen :
So much you see, so much you know,
Fancy has no illusions now.
Our Doctor of the magic wand,
Blest with his feather'd queen's fair hand,
Sought not in amorous mood to prance
With even the fairest in the dance ;
But madam long'd, no danger heeding,
To shew her elevated breeding,
To prove to every courtly fair,
She was no interloper there.
She fondly thought that she had yet
A talent for a minuet ;
In short, she wish'd it to be seen
She was no vulgar warehouse queen.
But where was the intrepid beau
That through the dance with her would go ?
Bold sure would be the character
Would walk a minuet with her.
It chanc'd howe'er she caught the view
Of the fam'd good Lord Doodledo,
Who in his fashionable duty
Preferr'd rotundity of beauty.
The peer approach'd with air of quality,
And in his courtly prodigality,
98 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Bow'd to our lady of the ton,
As if he had her la'yship known,
While curt'sying low, our flutt'ring fair,
Acknowledg'd with triumphant air,
The honour to her beauty paid,
And forth my lord his fair one led
To walk, to swim the floor, to set
And figure in a minuet.
Our Doctor saw his rib advance
To mingle in the festive dance,
Without one pang of jealous fear
For her his bosom lov'd so dear.
He did not scorn a virtuous life,
Yet seek to find it in his wife,
Nor thought, like many a hect'ring bully,
Another's crimes his wreaths could sully.
If madam's fall was now decreed,
The stars must be in fault indeed.
Meantime the hoop'd and plumed fair
Who thus so little " caus'd his care,"
Stood up, and at the music's sound
Set off upon her airy round,
And gaily waddled through the dance,
As if her heels had come from France.
Full stately mov'd our favour'd fair
With arms that float upon the air,
Graceful as when a porpoise moves
Towards the finny fair he loves ;
O'er her warm cheek and bosom too
I ween, was spread a purple hue,
While as she won her easy way
Somewhat like rolling stack of hay,
. IN LONDON. 99
Where'er she mov'd, where'er she drew
The gaze on her and Doodledo,
A smile and titt'ring buz went round,
Which madam took for the blest sound
Of envy or of admiration
To see her happy, high flirtation,
With one of noble birth, and how
She taught them graceful airs to know.
But odd mischances will befal
Fair ladies even amidst the ball ;
And time has been nor wife nor maid,
Could tread the mazy masquerade,
Without the danger of some slips
More than are made by lady's lips.
While madam spread her elbows out,
And threw her petticoats about,
Shewing right truly that false steps
Are only made by demireps,
Some imp that lov'd to punish pride,
Which our great sorcerer had not tied,
With mischief fraught, had deign'd to stoop
To loose the stay of madam's hoop,
And down it fell, oh sad mischance,
Amidst the proud and stately dance,
And our gay lady of the ton
Tripp'd as full many else have done.
But as she fell she wisely threw
Her arms about poor Doodledo,
Who thus compelled to kiss her buckle
Most gallantly did downward truckle,
O ! 'twas a curious sight to see
Our tinsel Lord on'^bended knee,
Amid the gazing company,
100 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Paying - adorations kind and meet
To the fallen beauty at his feet,
Assisted by the female troop,
To manage ma'am's unwieldy hoop,
While wits employed their jokes upon her,
Scoffing Queen Anne's fair maid of hon our*
'Tis said that in such trying cases
It has occurr'd at other places,
That when a lady's slipp'd her shoe,
And a gay youth has striven to do
The beauteous dame a gracious service,
She has not always call'd on Jarvis,
But tripp'd into some neighbouring chamber
With heart and wishes pure as amber,
Just to adjust the faithless sandal
That gives such sqope to cruel scandal
Then join the festive crowd once more,
And look as charming as before.
When Julia made her slight faux pas,
And, spite of care and fashion's law,
The garter dropped, a bagatelle, ^
With haste retir'd the blushing belle, v
Pursued by gallant Colonel, y
Who eager to restore the boon,
Forsook the envying saloon,
Exclaiming with considerate care,
" I bar all squeaking, lady fair,"
Thinking to reap a precious store —
" You fool," cried Julia, " bar the door !"
Our lady of the hoop and feather,
Though fools enough began to gather
IN LONDON. 101
Around her, knew not thus the fas hion,
'Gainst tittering tongues to take precaution.
Soon as our studious, great magician,
Could comprehend her odd condition,
And get his wits from Saturn's distance,
He instant flew to her assistance,
And by his care and some potations,
Pour'd forth in magical libations,
She got restor'd, without one tumour,
To symmetry of form and humour.
The general masquerade begun,
Now comes the reign of wit and fun ;
Humour that paints the varying scene
With colours like a harlequin,
And dissipation, or that passion
Which in pure kindness we ca.ll fashion ;
That throws a mask upon the heart,
And charms with such capricious art ;
That to the gay and giddy fool,
Makes vice and ruin beautiful.
Here met, as in confusion's strife,
The various characters of life,
The manners of all nations shown,
Or vainly ap'd, except our own !
Kings without kingdoms, as the fashion
But lately was in many a nation,
And statesmen without state, or coin
But to enable them to dine.
There Public Ruins, drest in rags,
Displays his empty paper bags,
Beside old Secret Influence,
Who with uncourtly impudence,
102 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Bears o'er his cloak of legal black
A back stairs ladder on his back.
A barrister without a brief,
Strove in smart grins to hide his grief.
A modern Exquisite — a Dandy,
More fit to act a Highland Randy,
With limber waste and pantaloon
Enough to hold half the Saloon,
Enjoy'd, alas ! in poor Mad Tom,
His hour's importance stol'n from home,
Full well assur'd he could not err
In the poor witless character.
Here, a sad emblem of the town,
An alderman without a gown ; '
An orator from city council,
Could'nt tell the grains are in an ounce well.
A haymaker, that knows to make
Her hay by moon -light without rake,
Pairs with the t booby fresh to town,
Nor waits to reap till harvest's brown.
A Cantab without Latin, trying
To win his gipsey love by dying
In doggrel strains from Mother Shipton,
Or humbler page that few have dipp'd in.
A grinder here without his knife,
Keeps a sharp out look for his wife,
And here a crier to all the nation,
Proclaims a lovely reputation
Lost somewhere in a bit of sport
About St. James's or the Court ;
Whoe'er shall bring this pretty bubble
Shall have the beauty for his trouble.
A harlequin that cannot dance,
In boots in vain essays to prance ;
IN LONDON. 103
A Mercury in his go-cart wheeling,
That very soon shall seem a reeling ;
A Jew in christian garments deckt,
A methodist not of the elect ;
Blacklegs and jockies here are seen,
That at Newmarket ne'er have been,
Yet know to take the knowing in,
And pick their pidgeon to the skin.
Here Peter Pop, the pawnbroker,
Boldly sustains a character
For generous honesty and pity,
And here a Turner thrums this ditty :
Air — " A cobler there was."
A Turner I am, and from Tunbridge I come,
And the worst turn I've made is, in coming from
For no penny I've turn'd, since I came up to
So I'll still turn again, and soon tramp my way
Derry down, down, down, derry down.
No wonder my trade now, is not as 'twas wont,
And my nice furnish'd wares can't be turn'd to
For turn as I please, I find thousands of elves
Who are rivals to me — by all turning themselves.
Derry down, &c.
104 DOCTOR SYNTAX
With this whirligig scene sure my poor brains
will swim ;
For all things are turning, by magic or whim.
The darkest of nights is here turn'd into day,
So I'll go, while I see clear to turn the right
way. Deny down, &c.
Why should I stay here, to be idle and mourn
At the sight of odd fancies that other folks turn?
From what I see here, I see plain 'tis the go,
That if low can't turn high, then the high will
turn low. Derry down, &c,
In this masquerade place, where the rich folks
To shew off their characters think fit to meet,
They are turning their thoughts, just on purpose
If by chance they turn poor, how much meaner
they'd be. Derry down, &c.
Lords may well turn to lackeys, and doctors to
And great bank directors to Treasury hacks ;
For to fill any character, most people think
'Tis much harder to rise than it is for to sink.
Derry down, &c.
A placeman there, turn'd out of office, you see
What a crest-fallen upstart he now seems to be;
But if ever luck turns — to turn him in again —
This turning of fate would soon turn his poor
Derry down, &c.
IN LONDON. 105
A turn-coat you see there, whose colour ne'er
For his views were the same — on what side he
e'er rang'd ;
No turn he can take will affect him at all,
If his income but rise, though his character fall.
Derry down, &c.
The world and all things are thus turning
The outs are turn'd in, and the inns are turn'd
St. Stephen's turn'd honest, a wonderful thing,
And a downright republican praising the king.
Deny down, &c.
See lawyers turn'd peers, a poet turn'd clerk,
And ministers turn'd modest and bribe in the
Each man has his price, said Sir Robert, 'tis
For see, a staunch patriot is turn'd to a knight.
Derry down, &c.
But, turning as men are, the ladies, I find,
However they turn, they still keep the same
And, though they deny it as firm as they can,
There's not one of them all but would turn to a
Derry down, down, down, derry down.
106 DOCTOR SYNTAX
No more in lonely wood or meadow
Rinaldo-woos his dear Armida,
They meet, and sigh, and breathe aloud,
Their mutual vows amidst the crowd,
All as blind passion swells the gale
Through fashion's realms at random sail,
Or old or young, she still can see
No pleasure like variety.
'Tis this that seems of all most fair —
The matron keeps her maiden care ; —
Its triumphs mark — how many fools
Here scorn the dull and rigid rules
Which self-denying meek decorum
Would unrelentingly throw o'er them !
Husbands in vain defend their wives,
While the lie's given them by their lives.
Love lives in deserts — all we see
Is passion, pride, or coquetry.
See Rosalind, the young and fair,
Her face, her heart are every where,
Her whole delight to flirt, to blaze,
And proud of every booby's gaze ;
Dangle, who dies beneath her frown, .
Like half the lounging fools in town,
Become a poet for her sake,
For Love they say a bard can make,
Thus pours the moralizing strain,
But follows, sighs, and rhymes in vain.
IN LONDON. 107
Again a frown upon that brow !
What the devil ails thee now ?
Always pouting — always flying,
Little Cupid is a dying.
While the blooms of beauty last,
Though thy brow be overcast,
Yet may the crowd of flatterers move
Around thy throne and call it love.
But trust me, maiden, time will fly ;
Too soon will winter gloom the sky :
Too soon will strip thy roseate bow'rs,
And banish far thy laughing hours.
Then, vainly, will thy eye-balls roll
To speak the feelings of thy soul ;
The homage paid to youth alone
Will scorn an aged tyrant's, throne.
For when revolving years shall pass,
And draw Time's furrows in thy glass,
No slave' will then thy call obey,
But youthful beauties claim their sway.
These characters our pair survey'd,
And puzzled was our lady's head
To find the quality of each,
For even our Conjuror could not teach,
108 DOCTOR SYNTAX
The secrets hid beneath each mask ;
So madam soon began to ask
Her neighbours round for information.
About each female reputation,
Which here as fancy's whims prevail,
Frolick'd beneath the double veil,
Or spurn before admiring eyes,
As passion prompts, the thin disguise.
Detraction ready is at hand
The little story to expand,
Her memory bids each folly live,
Nor can forget nor can forgive.
Kind Lady Simper pleas'd to tell
How well she knew each flirting belle,
Thus in a sort of diatribe
Essay'd her lions to describe.
" False as Calista, there you see
" Melinda drinking flattery
" From Florio's tongue, Florio the vain,
" And meanest of the coxcomb train.
" The friendly couch and conscious grove
" Attest Melinda's faithless love,
" Though high her husband's merits shine
" With virtues of the noblest line.
" Corinna next attracts the view
u In garments of cameleon hue,
" For ever varying, ever new.
" Nor think that she alone loves dress,
" Though thus with pride and costliness
" She flaunts at every masque and ball,
" Courting the gaze, the sneer of all.
IN LONDON. 109
" Convenient taste ! may Bond-street flourish,
" And still the loves and graces nourish :
" A lover there Corinna gay
" Finds at her milliner's each day.
" Lucinda here has hither come,
" Because she found no joy at home,
" Though her kind loi-d in solitude
" Bewails her want of gratitude,
" And tranquil love and children fair,
" A heaven of bliss, invite her care.
" Flavia with looks that seem to mourn
" O'er fond affection's early urn,
" Or unrequited love, appears
" Not made of mirth and smiles, but tears.
" Has Flavia too been frail ? they say,
" Her husband looks another way.
" What can allay her keen remorse ?
" Nothing so like a quick divorce.
" Honoria comes, whom to prove chaste
" Heroes have joy'd their blood to waste.
" In vain their honourable wounds —
" A crim. con. and ten thousand pounds
" At once beyond dispute declare
" The honour of the spotless fair."
Good Mrs. Syntax lov'd eclat,
But rightly thought that fashion's law
Was rather lax when such transgressions
Appear'd to make such slight impressions ;
But those who own'd gay fashion's yoke,
How could they live like vulgar folk ?
And Lady Simper said the same,
Though thus she pour'd sharp envy's flame.
110 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Syntax, who pois'd his wizard rod,
Now with high emulation glow'd,
To shew with pious mystery
This giddy world its destiny ;
With satire keen strike folly mute,
And shew its selfish vain pursuit.
He wav'd, and made his astral sign,
And drew around his circular line ;
More fiercely o'er his crown and cowl
Arose erect stern wisdom's owl.
And now in gathering crowds they ran
Around the venerable man,
All panting, eager and elate
To learn the dark decrees of fate.
" A Conjuror fresh from Capricorn,"
They cried, " like him of Paderborn,
" A necromantic unbeliever,
" Born in a parson's gown and beaver."*
Our sage began now to expound
The fates of those assembled round.
Venus, he told Melinda's spouse,
Linger'd too long in pleasure's house,
And bade poor Florio beware
Of angry Mars's fatal square.
* According to the doctrine of Astrologers, Aries, Leo,
and Sagittarius make a man beloved ; Virgo, Taurus,
and Capricornus, make him religious ; Cancer, Scorpio,
and Pisces create falsehood ; whilst Gemini, Libra, and
Aquarius produce friendship ; the character of Saturn gives
strength ; Jupiter good fortune ; Mars victory, Sol, riches,
&c. The figure of an Ass engraved on a chrysolite (strange
to say) imparts the gift of prophesy and divination.
IN LONDON. Ill
To fair Corinna and Miss Prue,
The cap might suit if it was new,
But if so oft aside they threw it,
By Gemini, they yet would rue it.
He learnt from Libra and Aquarius,
From Leo, Aries, Sagittarius,
A strange conjunction had ta'en place,
In Flavia's and Lysander's case,
And if it should but come to pass
Upon his chrysolite the Ass,
(His chrysolite of jealous green)
Should mark where Flavia's steps have been,
And tear aside weak falsehood's veil,
His rage might rouse the Scorpion's tail.
He late from Salamanca came,
With wonders fraught and sounding name.
Not Heisterbacht or Sigisbert
Knew more of necromantic art :
Could prove by old Crespetus' rule
The learned Lilly was a fool.
He could, he said, with magic spell
Bring Truth from her enchanted well ;
And therefore bade each anxious fair,
Of falsehood's guileful ways beware.
He could like Ovid's witching band
Strip orchards bare without a hand*^
And if the crowds who hither mix
Knew not enough of juggling tricks,
* Carmine Icesa Ceres sterilem vanascit in herbam
Difficiunt leasi carmine fontis aquts
Ilicibus glandes cantataq ; vitibus uva
Decidit, et nullo poma movente fluant.
112 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Nay, it could gentlest bosoms move,
And bless you with a lady's love :
Frowns it can chace, lost charms restore,-
Not oil of flattery pleases more ;
It gives to those who plead or preach
The power of most persuasive speech,
And even has made in Parliament,
Dumb members soon most eloquent ;
Its power with things forgotten blends
The memory of former friends,
And in oblivion's cold abyss
Of deadly aqua lethaMs,
For reputations crack'd and batter'd,
A solder that could ne'er be shatter'd ;
Like quacks, for each disease had spells,
And caps for fools as well as bells.
Next, he'd distill'd from rarest flower
A wondrous drug of potent power
Arum palpabile, which could
Inspire the mean with noblest blood,
Open the gates to courts and favour,
And change a dustman or a shaver
Into a knight or even a peer ;
Make stone blind ministers see clear,
Could shut the most vociferous mouth
That e'er was open'd north or south ;
Its soothing influence in a hurry
Abates the patriotic fury —
The rabies patriotica,
That foams and threatens soon to lay
Poor Constitution in its grave,
The body politic to save ;
IN LONDON. 113
He would with more delight their view
Than gamesters or even blacklegs knew.
For each he had a charm to please,
And mend their mind and phantasies,
For coxcombs, modesty, for beauty,
The pleasures and the wreaths of duty ;
For knaves an honest occupation,
For churchmen pious toleration ;
For aldermen a feast he had,
(But devil's cookery's always bad)
Sometimes it haps there comes to vex ye
A most confounded apoplexy ;
Lays the foul fiend Remorse asleep,
As in the Treasury centre deep.
For this each soon express'd a want,
But this our Doctor could not grant,
Because, he said, and did not err,
Dame Fortune and the Minister
Dispens'd alone these blessings now,
And they must all their titles show,
In potent doses, deaf or dumb,
Of Oleum Sycophanticum.
Thus did our sage in long oration,
Attract the gaze and admiration
Of those who doat on quacks and cheats,
And see no gall beneath the sweets,
Till other objects tried their power,
And midnight brought the banquet hour.
How did our pair admire to see
The motley crowds and revelry,
114 DOCTOR SYNTAX
That now commenc'd their depredations?
On the inviting frail creations
Of pastry-cook's delusive art,
And what the cellar can impart !
Now happy they whose well chosen mask
Admits the tit bits or the flask ;
Or who, regardless of all eyes
Can spurn the troublesome disguise,
That makes the feast of mirth and beauty
Like plundering bandits at their booty.
Now jollity begins to roar,
That wisely silent sat before.
Must'ring for Bacchus's glorious fray,
Now shine the heroes on half pay ;
As if they were t' attack a dragon,
They drain and call th' auxiliar flaggon,
For how can they their foes oppose
Better than by a fiery nose ?
The lesser man to beat the bigger,
Must needs be a more potent swigger ;
And when we pay the honours due
To damsels fair and cruel too,
We find the grape's enliv'ning juice
At such coy times of sovereign use.
Therefore, for reasons such as these,
Or any others that you please,
The brave whose breasts and noses burn,
Began to triumph in their turn ;
While those who know in time to yield
Most prudently resign 'd the field,
Leaving the sport and the Champaign,
To Thais and her sprightly train.
IN LONDON. 11-5
Thus did our pair with mind serene
Resign the glories of the scene.
Divested of his conjuring art,
Syntax resumes his proper part,
And, dreading his dear wife's reproach,
With anxious haste procures a coach ;
Then safely through the motley group,
Conducts his lady and her hoop;
While languid with fatigue and pleasure,
She was right glad to gain some leisure
To ruminate the various matter
She'd witness'd 'midst the joyous clatter ;
Though, when in coach she fixed her seat,
She own'd that rest was now a treat,
For o'er her nerves insidious sleep,
She felt had now begun to creep ;
And loth as she was to avow
Submission to a friend or foe,
Confess'd tranquillity, at length,
Was wanted to recruit her strength ;
And when to Marybone they'd come,
Rejoic'd they'd got to quiet home.
END OF THE FOURTH CANTO,
116 DOCTOR SYNTAX
The bliss that flits in fashion's sky,
Is but a painted butterfly.
In pleasure's bright and sunny day
Smit with the lovely insect gay
That flutters in its varying dyes,
Th' enamour'd boy pursues the priae,
From daisied meads to fragrant bow'rs,
O'er Flora's blushing world of flow'rs ;
Now in the rose it veils its head,
Now riots in the violet's bed.
In cowslip close, amid the dell,
Or breast of some inviting bell,
Secure now seems the loit'ring fly,
But as his ardent hand draws nigh
On careful wing it rises high,
And shews its plumes and little wig
Upon the myrtle's loftiest sprig.
Sometimes, howe'er, in revelling hour,
It feels the fell destroyer's pow'r ;
By fairy imps that lurk beneath
The smiling flow'rs that lure to death,
Won at false pleasure's ball to sup,
And slumber in the poppy's cup.
IN LONDON. 117
Crush'd as the thoughtless spoiler's prize,
It dies, alas ! how quick it dies !
But Fame has everlasting treasures,
And fields that boast eternal pleasures.
Her radiant forms, though on the wing,
Are drest in hope's perpetual spring,
And ever without guileful art
A present paradise impart ;
Her pow'r can soften fortune's frown,
And spite of mis'ry give a crown.
Exhausted by the vast exertions,
Display'd in masquerade diversions,
Our wearied, philosophic, sage,
Retiring from the mimic stage,
Now yielded up to nature's hand
The wavings of his magic wand. —
As soon as on the pillow laid
Was his assiduous labouring head,
So soon did welcome, calm repose,
In tranquil frame his nerves compose ;
And balmy sleep, in six short hours,
Restor'd the tone of all his powers,
And train'd them fit, in due array,
For labours of the new-born day.
Of all the days of Syntax' life,
Save that on which he took his wife,
No day, to him, had with it brought
A time with great events more fraught ;
For this was the important day,
Big with the fate of — his dear play,
The day on which he was to learn
Th' impression which that grand concern
118 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Had made on those who, proud, decide
What fate poor authors must betide.
Whether his play met approbation,
And was to reach representation ;
Or, whether any prohibition
Was to, prevent its exhibition.
That day was open'd to his view,*
When, if his piece receiv'd its due,
'Twould be his business to rehearse,
With all due emphasis, his verse ;
The day on which he should infuse
A Grecian soul in English muse,
In which the Green Room would admire
His bursts of true heroic fire ,
And which would thenceforth fix his station,
High 'midst the poets of the nation.
How wondrous complaisant and kind,
To authors' works, is author's mind !
O ! that all readers could likewise,
Read authors' works with authors' eyes !
Relying on his proper merit,
No doubt had damp'd our sage's spirit ;
The ardour that had fir'd his breast
He thought by all would be con f est,
And fancied all, who caught the glow,
With zeal their plaudits would bestow.
With conscious powers and hopes elate,
Up Syntax rose to meet his fate ;
And masquerading all discarding —
His own high character regarding —
Boldly prepared himself, at once,
To seek the Oracle's response.
IN LONDON. 119
While Mrs. Dolly with delight
Reflecting on the by gone night,
Was, plainly, not a little fain
Some high-bred manners to retain,
Which she conceiv'd she had supported
In the great character she'd sported ;
And like a lofty lady, still,
Was pleased to act in dishabille,
And wish'd to let the day advance,
In lounging and feign'd non-chalance.
Not so our Doctor. Ardent man !
Prompt to attend the great divan,
With throbbing breast, th' appointed hour,
Found him exact at Play-house door.
The spell that's form'd in studious bow'f
Had work'd with all its usual pow'r ;
His merit now esteem'd profound,
He soon an easy passage found
To where upon his Green Room throne,
With honour's swelling breath full blown,
The mighty Manager he saw
To kings and queens dispensing law.
His mimic train were rang'd around,
Their brows with borrow'd laurels crown'd,
Eager, the king of actors said,
To hear great Syntax' story read ;
For he by the great Sub's command
The Doctor's tragedy had scann'd ;
And though it was not quite the rage
To prize the Greek or Roman stage,
He safely thought that he might say
That thousands had been thrown away,
Upon a far inferior play ;
120 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And those who judg'd as fancy lov'd,
Had many a meaner piece approv'd.
Delighted with the flatt'ring view
Of the dear scenes his fancy drew,
Our sage prepar'd with author's pride,
And proper and theatric stride,
To teach the histrionic train
To speak aright the tragic strain.
To hear his loud enunciation,
And see his strange gesticulation,
With legs and arms, at once outspread,
And hand oft clench'd to strike his head ;
To witness, now, his strut and vapour,
And next his start, and then his caper,
As if he meant, with airs grotesque,
To turn all acting to burlesque,
To witness these — and seem approving,
While all one's laughing nerves were moving,
Were too severe and hard a trial
For less than quaker's self-denial,
And might have mov'd e'en sterner faces,
Unless bomb-proof 'gainst all grimaces.
In gaping wonderment, amaz'd,
Each actor and each actress gaz'd,
To hear the learned sage rehearse
In proper phrase th' heroic verse,
As if great Roscius' self had risen
From death's uncomfortable prison
Relieved, (we love a verse sublime)
By the Insolvent Act of Time,
Like Hamlet or some bullying Hector,
To read the modern players a lecture.
IN LONDON. 121
"Twas thus the Roman spoke his piece,
And thus the Thespian wits of Greece,
What time the Muses in their glory,
Pour'd from the cart their moving story,
With sound and true theatric phiz
To poet's verse gave emphasis.
'Twas thus their matchless manners aping,
That Garrick set the crowds a gaping,
Who nought could rightly understand,
But the dread wavings of his hand;
And thus the Roscius of our time,
With grinding teeth and pause sublime,
And on the breast a sudden fell blow
And starting to the fiddlers' elbow,
From pit, and box, and gallery draws
Such echoing thunders of applause.
In short, our Doctor showed aright
He knew to act as well as write ;
And testified he could with ease
The pit and gallery critics please.
Next his deep plot, and tragic strain
Show'd many a midnight hero slain,
And battling field and tyrant's rage,
That fill'd with blood th' ensanguin'd stage ;
And maids that wept for lovers dead,
Till the whites of their eyes were red ;
Cowards that strut with bullying swagger,
And queens that exit with a dagger ;
His hero's fate, his heroine's tale,
O'er gentlest bosoms must prevail ;
For like each pair in moving story,
" She died for love, and he for glory."
122 DOCTOR SYNTAX
While for the taste of those choice spirits,
Who judge by eyes of drama's merits,
The critics of Blowbladder-lane,
Duke's-court, or the acuter train,
In flaunting robes that nightly sally,
From Petticoat's delightful Alley ;
He had a store of scenic shows,
That would enchant the backmost rows,
In beauty each a paragon ;
And ever and anon came on
War's ensigns floating in the air,
In glittering pride of golden glare ;
Trumpets and drums enough resound,
And drown each other jarring sound.
Here, presto ! shall the scene display,
In martial pomp a prime array,
Of elephants (no common hacks,)
With towering castles on their backs ;
A dance of monkies, Moors, or Mufties,
And all in modern play that stuflPd is,
Shall stoutly aid the Muse's cause,
And bring down thunders of applause :
And then to make the groundlings stare,
A burning town or massacre,
A Troy, another blazing Troy,
Falls 'mid a furious general joy,
And, Dido like, to close the story,
The hapless heroine burns before ye.
These all, as by decree of fate,
In one unrivall'd place were met,
By Aristotle's rules combin'd
And power of the poetic mind,
IN LONDON. , 123
To keep the unities entire,
And make the wondering crowds admire.
Thus having- read his story through,
And given the players a proper view
Of this his Tragic Epic, where
He had combin'd with matchless care
All that the modern taste approv'd,
With what the graver ancients lov'd ;
Our reverend and dramatic sage
Now clos'd at length th' eventful page,
And reap'd a soothing approbation,
In the pleas'd manager's expression,
Of joy at Doctor's power of writing,
And happier talent at reciting.
He thought our sage had won the dame,
Who covets either death or fame ;
That he the very taste had hit,
Of boxes, gallery, and pit ;
And that a tide of wealth must be
The offspring of his tragedy ;
Though certain critics in these days
Had impudently dar'd to raise
An inquisition over ink,
That folks should by one standard think,
And that true taste, like faith, should be,
Alone built on consistency.
The work, he candidly confess'd,
That pleas'd the most must be the best ;
And whether it was Mother Goose,
Giant or dwarf that fill'd the house,
Munchausen capering on his hobby,
Or tigers roaring in the lobby :
124 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Whether 'tis Opera that's squeaking,
And only tuneful nonsense speaking,
Where sing-song leads the chiefs to battle,
As angry children squall at rattle ;
Or Comedy that talks in pun,
Without a spark of wit or fun ;
Or Tragedy, turn'd Melodrame,
Threatens to set the house in flame ;
Whatever is the rage — the rage
Must be the business of the stage ;
For players must please, 'tis justly said,
To live, or die for want of bread.
Good Syntax was so well contented
His piece should soon be represented,
That much he griev'd his reverend function.
Would not admit the odd conjunction,
Or he with all an author's heart,
Would joyfully have borne apart,
In the performance of the piece,
Which was his glory to increase,
And thus to add, though some might snarl,
The Thespian to the poet's laurel ;
But prudence calm'd his anxious breast,
And vain ambition's wish repress'd.
His tongue, however, like happy man,
On Epilogue and Prologue ran,
Two pretty Misses that attend
The haughty lady to her end :
One to explain the reason why,
Poor madam chooses thus to die ;
And why, though she be maid or wife,
Five acts must be her sum of life ;
IN LONDON. 125
A novice that for favour pleads,
Like cloister'd nun with numbered beads ;
The other like a roving gipsy,
Laughing at grief as she were tipsy,
To chace afar the mournful train,
And joke you into joy again.
These, Doctor said, should be with pride,
By honourable hands supplied ;
Who keep for such theatric duties,
A sweet seraglio of such beauties.
Th' admiring master of the stage,
Assured our most delighted sage,
He now would think upon a day,
When this his most unrivall'd play,
Should, pleasing thought ! be fairly tried ;
And if by jealousy or pride,
Or raging in some deep carouse,
The acting pillar of the house
Should take it in his head to flout them,
They'd try for once to do without him.
Elate with hope and joy to think,
He thus was on the glorious brink
Of fame's most elevated station,
To reap a deathless reputation,
Our Doctor took, you may conceive,
A graceful and a grateful leave
Of all th' assembled Thespian crowd,
Who spoke of Syntax' praises loud ;
While he, unlike the tragic muse,
That loves to rove 'mid churchyard dews
With face most sadly melancholy,
Return'd with joyful step to Dolly,
126 DOCTOK SYNTAX
Like a kind husband to impart, *
His triumphs to that faithful heart.
When our blest favourite of fame
Reach'd the gay boudoir of his dame,
He found her languid airs of fashion
Were giving way to stronger passion ;
For now the careful rites of beauty,
The toilette's most important duty,
Were o'er, and Dolly's cheeks were spread
With vermeil tints, as rosy red
As any sweet carnation flow'r
That blows in Covent Garden bower ;
And Dolly's heart was panting greatly
To shew herself and manners stately,
Among the loungers of the Park,
And all that's notable remark,
Gay, fashionable, grave or silly,
In Bond-street or in Piccadilly ;
Mayhap while shopping like the quality
With careless air of prodigality,
While turning o'er each mercer's heap,
Pick up a bargain very cheap.
Just as her tongue began to scold,
Syntax with welcome pleasure told,
The prospects that began to shed
Their unborn glories round his head ;
For now he saw the day approach
When haply they might sport their coach,
And shine and glitter in the drive
As gay as any pair alive.
Next with attention due he listen'd
To madam's wish, while her eyes glisten'd,
IN LONDON. 127
To think she yet might roll along
In coach above the vulgar throng,
Envied, gaz'd at by all she meets,
In Rotten-row or London streets.
Thus with affection bland and kind,
Our Doctor sooth'd his lady's mind,
Then next attir'd in due array,
From Marybone they took their way ;
The world of fashion to explore,
And add two idle loungers more.
The day was fine, the parks were gay,
And brilliant was the rich display
Of coaches, cabriolets, landaus,
And beauteous dames in shining rows,
Drest to be seen, admir'd and lov'd,
Because kind fortune has approv'd ;
And troops of quizzing, vain equestrians,
And humbler minded, grave pedestrians,
Shunning awhile the air of town,
Amid the dust and grass so brown ;
Like cockney gay in Sunday dress,
Full of his rural happiness.
At length they reach'd the prospect fine,
That spreads around the Serpentine,
Its world of variegated charms,
And city breasts with ardour warms ;
When on its bordering walks of gravel,
They call to mind its fame so naval,
What time the fleets of Admiral Brown
In gallant style came bearing down,
128 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Dark'ning with smoke each tree and field,
And taught the Yanke.y praams to yield,
And poor John Bull, who loves the story,
Paid sweetly for his mimic glory.
Syntax, to whom such scenes were dear,
Cried out " the picturesque is here ;"
And madam, like the folks from City,
Thought that the swans were very pretty ;
And then her thoughts began to roam
To her beloved brood at home,
That did not merely swim and gabble
But added comforts to her table.
Onward enamour'd still they rove
To Kensington's delightful grove,
Where 'mid the bow'rs and trees that spread
Their canopy's endearing shade,
They rested like the happy pairs
That there forget awhile their cares,
Pleas'd 'mid the rural scenes to rove
And pen their loves in each alcove.
Here, each fair objeet scanning quick,
The lawn, and palace made of brick,
The pond's soft waterskip serene,
And royal taste in green-house seen ;
Our Doctor's eye paid adorations,
While Madam made her observations
On all she saw. But soon she tir'd
Where she herself was not admir'd ;
So mindful she had other matters
To claim her care than lawns and waters,
She urg'd our Doctor back to travel
O'er Hyde Park's cruel walk of gravel,
IN LONDON. 129
To Piccadilly's long expansion,
Compos'd of many a stately mansion.
There, recollecting things she wanted,
And, careful, taking it for granted,
They sell the cheapest who want trade,
She enter'd Burlington Arcade ;
Where new scenes of industrious care,
Salute our pleas'd and wondering pair ;
There a gay hive the gazer scans
Of fair and busy artizans,
The watchful anxious task who ply
Beneath the arching canopy.
There, for the brows of beauty made,
Bloom in the cool inviting shade
Roses unmoisten'd by the dew,
And garlands of unfading hue ;
There at each step fresh beauties rise
That won our lady's heart and eyes ;
Robes fine and cheap, and new and ready,
And fit, I ween, for any lady ;
There spreads the ivory figur'd fan,
To rule, to charm, and conquer man,
When sly behind that happy screen
The eyes' blue languish soft is seen ;
Here caps that wake each maiden's sighs,
And waving feathers of all dyes :
Hymen's blest rings and jewels rare,
Combs and cosmetics for the fair ;
Here meet in tempting show to .please ye,
And ladies, if you need, ajasy.
Our dame, who knew as well as any,
The way to buy and save a penny,
Ran through each gay Arcadian arbor,
From jeweller to humble barber :
130 DOCTOR SYNTAX
While Doctor, as a due ovation,
Penn'd this poetic salutation :
Flutt'ring spread thy purple pinions,
Cupid ! o'er this gay arcade ;
I, a slave in thy dominions,
Come to see how passes trade.
Mild Arcadians ! ever looking,
Anxious from your little shops ;
Sigh not though by hook or crook, in
Seldom wish'd for custom drops.
Here the sun's meridian lustre
Will not spoil your precious wares ;
Here perennial flow'rs may cluster —
All the tints that fashion bears.
Here the sportive Loves and Graces,
When proud Bond-street's glories fade,
Shall display their beauteous faces
In the bright and gay arcade.
Not a Cyprian goddess strolling
From the Park to Cranbourn fair,
But with eye in pleasure rolling,
Shall applaud the builder's care.
IN LONDON. 131
Long, too long, has Cupid wander'd
Idly, like a shepherd clown,
Where the purling stream meander'd
Far from fashion — far from town.
Time it is he now should think of
Industry 's imperious call,
What he now should eat and drink of,
Or if he shall live at all.
Heed not jealous rivals seeking
To obstruct your gay alcove ;
Pleasure, Envy's fetters breaking,
Still shall haunt your shelter'd grove.
Busy nymphs, and ever blooming,
Let not Bacchus here intrude, . i
He with witching scents perfuming,
Might Arcadia's sons delude.
If in scorn of law and duty
He should e'er invade your vale,
Him may each Arcadian beauty
Pierce with unrelenting nail.
Should the cruel man of taxes
Here assail for window lights,
Turn your gates upon their axis,
Here you boast superior rights.
Tell th' Exchequer's prowling minions,
Peeping through your close arcade,
These are privileg'd dominions,
For the loves and gas light made.
132 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Completed now, our lady's range
Even to the Western Exchange ;
She told the Doctor in a huff
There places were sold cheaper stuff;
They quickly therefore forth did sally
Through Lei'ster-square to Cranbourn-alleyo
Marvell'd our fair one much and loud,
As on she push'd amid the crowd,
To see the throng that haunt the square,
And wriggle through the alleys there ;
Much did she marvel to behold
King Charles upon his horse of gold,
And all that wakes to pleas'd surprize
In shops of splendid merchandize :
Trinkets, and gloves, and plate, and pastry,
Would fill a church or feed a vestry.
But chief her eye and mind's vagary
Fix'd on the endless millinery,
That tempting shines and lures afar,
Along the Alley's gay bazaar.
Now lighting up each pane of glass
Began to flare the streams of gas ;
Blest light ! that both illumes and warms,
And gives to bonnets double charms ;
That shews in bright and splendid glare,
The hitherto long hidden ware,
In regions pent where none could spy,
Except the pining owner's eye ;
Ignited essence ! Taught to beam
From lengthen'd pipes unsav'ry stream !
O ! that we could with equal ease
Thus burn all noxious principles !
IN LONDON. 133
I hail thee, as it is my duty,
For all the aids thou giv'st to beauty,
And for the torch thou hold'st to love,
When saunt'ring crowds at ev'ning rove,
Through marts where nymphs with smiling eye
Invite each passenger — to buy.
There, 'mid the glories of the place,
The caps and shawls and loads of lace,
Our fair at length contriv'd to get
A beauteous figur'd sarcenet
At her own price, for a display
She meditated the next day ;
For her unsatisfied ambition
Now soar'd to see the Exhibition ;
Like other folks who love t'impart
Their judgment on the works of art,
And think to pass, festine lente^
For connoisseurs and cognoscenti.
This, as their steps they homeward bent,
Ma'am told her spouse was her intent,
And hop'd that as a man of taste
He would not sure refuse to waste
An hour or two, or e'en a shilling,
In thus their mental pockets filling
With all the finest compositions '
Of the renown'd Academicians ;
And thus encourage British genius
And industry, which worth a guinea is.
Syntax, who lov'd his prudent wife
And the fine arts, as dear as life,
Rejoic'd to see his spouse's mind
Was taking now a turn refin'd,
134 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And thank'd her with no cold objection
For bringing to his recollection
The rich and yet untasted treat
At splendid Hall of Somerset ;
To-morrow then they should repair
To see the num'rous pictures there.
To-morrow came — we will not say
How dawn'd the morn or smil'd the day :
Suffice it was some time in May,
When nature's flow'rs and painters' blow,
Making a very pretty show.
Drest was our fair, her robes were new,
With pride she sought the public view,
And duly to the Doctor's mind
She now recall'd his promise kind,
To take her to the show of pictures,
Where they might lounge and make their stric-
Syntax was wrapt in pleasing dream,
Employ'd upon the muse's theme,
But left the Heliconian water
When madam's tongue began to clatter,
Alas! how oft that reckless tongue
Had put to flight the tuneful throng ;
The train of old though pretty misses,
That poets kept for private blisses.
Kind Syntax instant told his lady,
That he was willing and was ready,
To squire her to the appointed spot,
But his dear Dolly had forgot,
'Twas not the fashion at such places
For folks of note to shew theijr faces,
IN LONDON. 135
To think of seeing or being seen,
Tho' custom different may have been,
Till one could scarcely see at all,
And then to crowd, both great and small,
Loud rattling into every hall.
Like country fair, in longing fret,
Ma'am sigh'd to sport her sarcenet,
And thought 'twas strange for well drest ladies
To be compell'd like such a-bed is,
To waste their beauty and their bloom
All day within a London room,
When pleasure tempts their feet to roam
And leave the narrow joys of home ;
But still she thought and check'd her passion,
'Twas proper to obey the fashion.
At length when fashion's strong quotidian,
Some hours beyond the bright meridian,
Began to rage, and wheels 'gan rattle,
And sounded feet of Jehu's cattle,
And few that heard were at a loss
To know high tide at Charing-Cross ;
Our Doctor, to avoid reproach,
Procur'd likewise the pleasing coach,
Though hackney'd in the public service,
And hard and batter'd as old Jarvis.
It happ'd this day a double treat
Appear'd reserv'd our pair to greet,
For in the streets of this great city,
There's always something very pretty ;
And this was madam's true remark,
When starting, brisk as any lark,
136 DOCTOR SYNTAX
She read with joy in morning paper,
A programme of the splendid vapour,
The grand and courtly ceremony,
To please the eyes of honest Johnny,
And his Excellency the Shah,
Who comes to teach us Persian law,
Which royal and sublime display
Was to take place that very day.
With haste both Doctor and his spouse,
Bade Jarvis pass by Carlton-House,
That they might see the grand procession
That was t' astonish all the nation.
With speed they drove then by Pall Mall,
Where there has oft been many a swell,
And many more that yet may be
At cost of British industry.
The streets were full, the crowds were gaping,
And guards a fine parade were making,
And masters of the ceremonies,
Ambassadors, bed-chamber cronies,
And other folks that take your monies ;
Grooms, porters, and thief-takers too,
To pay 'Bui Hassan honours due.
O 'twas a goodly sight to see,
And Madam thought it witchery.
To witness all the splendid show
Of fine drest horses in a row,*
* This procession is memorable ; and the following
item in the account is worthy of notice as a specimen of
Eastern taste and splendour: "Eight horses, caparisoned
" after the fashion of Persia, in brocade trappings, gold
" and silver mounted bridles, led by royal and Persian
IN LONDON. 137
Aye ! horses flaunting in brocade,
Their very tails in lace array 'd.
Bridles of silver and of gold,
Things most delightful to behold,
When guineas are so scarce, and willing,
Industrious folks can't get a shilling !
Then there were all the precious things
From Persia's lord, which eastern kings
Might wear, and from them haply parted
With feelings rather tender-hearted.
A sweet and most inviting pageant,
Worthy the Shah's good friend the Regent ;
'Tis said there were two royal coachful,
But all to tell might be reproachful ;
Suffice to say, the welcome Khan,
Found here as splendid a divan,
Of ministers and courtly beauties
Attentive to the important duties
Of adding lustre to the throne,
And polishing the royal bone,
As glitt'ring shows, and slavish lords,
As even Persia's court affords.
But these true dignity conceals,
Nor e'er to vulgar eye reveals,
grooms." The gold enamelled boxes, strings of pearls,
carpets of Herat, and magnificent Cashmere shawls for
the beauties of the British Court, said to have been pre-
sented to the R on this occasion, though they would
doubtless shine andglitter in the verse, like " orientpearls
at random strung," might, to those who are uotinterested
in the gifts, be rather tedious in the enumeration : we
therefore leave them to him who shall prove the most
faithful of court historians.
138 DOCTOR SYNTAX
For minds and tempers low and vitiate
Can't properly such things appreciate,
And sometimes majesty is made
A little mightier by the shade.
Anxious did our fair lady's peepers,
Wondering like the renown'd seven sleepers,
When on the crowds they oped their eyes,
After a doze of centuries,
To see if aught of female beauty
In Persia's long array did duty,
To show the glory of that court
Where all the loves and graces sport,
But not a blue-ey'd fair Circassian
Would shew her person or the fashion ;
Though many a curious gossip ran
About the highly favour'd Khan,
And one belov'd and beauteous slave
Whom Persia's mighty sovereign gave
To decorate official bowers,
And charm the ling'ring idle hours.
Her, Doctor in poetic mood
Conceiv'd in haram's solitude,
Inditing such a love-lorn ditty,
As this, to move some reader's pity.
IN LONDON. 139
FROM THE FAIR CIRCASSIAN IN ENGLAND.
Za jjer Sober at Zexki,
THE CAPITAL OF CIRCASSIA.
From Britain's isle — from freedom's loveliest
Will dearer Zara hear a slave complain ?
Can Zara listen to Zophira's sighs,
Thus doomed by fate a helpless sacrifice,
To seem to stain her soul's warm plighted truth,
And give to doating age her bloom of youth ?
Zara, belov'd of maids, will spurn the strain,
Yet will Zophira's swelling heart complain.
In vain with pomp and pride of lawless joy
Would luxury this cankering care destroy ;
Not all the grandeur of imperial power,
From memory's tablet can efface the hour,
When forced from Terki's walls thy captive
Was made to swell a Persian tyrant's pride.
Though to another's happier arms decreed,
Yet conscious virtue disapproves the deed :
Still, still my bosom feels the nobler flame,
Still unreprov'd it owns thy gentler claim.
Ah ! why distinguished from the happier crowd,
To me the bliss of millions disallow'd ?
Why was I singled for a lustful prey,
When love and duty point a different way ?
110 DOCTOR SYNTAX
A private lot had made two bosoms blest,
And given to virtue peace, to conscience rest-
Seek not, ye daughters of Circassia's plain,
The gifts that make you slaves of guilt and
And spurn the power of gain, ungenerous sires,
Whose sordid breasts the demon passion firesi
To barter helpless innocence for gold,*
For never shall your eyes again behold,
The charms you thus, 'gainst bounteous Hea-
To ling'ring woe and slavery consign.
Unhappy they who till a burning soil,
Whom cruel arts of liberty despoil ;
But not alone the wretch thus forc'd to yield,
And dew with tears and blood th' oppressor's
Deserves compassion's sigh — the pitying aid,
That seeks the joys of liberty to spread ;
* The female children of the Circassians are gene-
rally bought by the Turks and Persians, who bring
them up for their seraglios. The women pass among
the Turks for very great beauties, their complexions
being extremely fine, and their figures handsome ; but
it is remarkable that the men are in general very ugly.
They are Tartars, of a middle stature, with coarse
black hair, and broad flat faces. The Turks are in
possession of Terki, the only city in Circassia, which
though a large country is unable to defend itself, and
is under the protection of Persia, Russia, and the
Turks, as circumstances determine, or the wishes of
the people lead them to seek aid ; but like other re*-
publics, it is generally the prey of the strongest of ife
■ . IN LONDON. 141
Not less the tears of sympathy belong,
To the luxurious Harem's captive throng,
Where beauty droops to passion's rage a slave,
And finds at once a prison and a grave.
Whate'er is great and gay around me shine,
And all the splendour of a court is mine ;
But still my spirit, anxious to be free,
Scorns the vain pomp of state, and flies to thee •
Flies to the scenes where oft our vows were
The bowers of roses and the palm tree's shade ;
Where hope so oft anticipated joy,
And plann'd of future years the sweet employ.
Too well can memory's aid those scenes renew,
That claim, though far away, the sad adieu :
No more for thee at evening's balmy hour,
I fondly linger in the rose's bower ;
No more for us in pleasure's happy vale,
Sings from her fragrant tree the nightingale ;
No more thy arms enamour'd round me twine,
And make the couch of love a scene divine ;
O'er me no more the palm tree's branches wave,
In foreign lands a stranger and a slave.
The hapless victim of enthralling guile,
Soon as his steps imprint Britannia's isle,
Feels the degrading fetters bind no more,
Free as the gales that sweep her happy shore :
Not so with her who breathes the plaintive lay,
Courts claim the privilege of tyrant sway ;
And poor Zophira mourns her freedom gone.
Even in the blaze of liberty's best throne.
142 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Yet not in lonely solitude I mourn,
The hours, the scenes, that never shall return,
Though loneliest solitude that speaks of thee,
Were dearer far than beauty's courts to me.
'Tis said, and well the pleasing truth I find,
Britannia's daughters bear a liberal mind :
When guardian eunuchs sheath th' obedient
To sooth the pride of Persia's haughty lord,
Zophira's splendid prison oft can boast,
The fairest forms that deck this happy coast ;
Come they with sympathizing, bland caress,
To give the pining victim happiness ?
With Europe's lore and piety combin'd
To shed a radiance o'er my bright'ning mind ?
To tell me soothing tales of love divine,
That, dearest Zara, may atone for thine ?
Ah, no ! with other views they come — to trace
Zophira's form and each Circassian grace ;
To gaze with idle and enquiring eyes,
On Luxury's slave and Passion's sacrifice j
To catch from her who vainly thus beguiles,
New ways to charm and more seductive wiles —
Alas ! Zophira knows no other art
Than nature taught to captivate the heart :
And all she sees who court the fatal spell,
Already know the guileful arts too well.
Too well they know to languish and to spread,
The wasted cheek anew with vermeil red.
But these are ways to wake the warm desires,
That fashion's revelling train alone requires,
And these Zophira leaves, superfluous, vain,
To slaves that drag a still more odious chain,
IN LONDON. 143
To courtly dowagers and marchionesses,
And princes whom such peerless beauty blesses.
Thrice happy land where Cashmere's roses
In spite of frowning age 'neath brows of snow,
And power itself, a slave to beauty grown,
Holds a gay court for pleasure's rites alone ;
But hapless she whose heart is far away
From bliss sincere 'mid joy's imperial sway :
In spite of Persia's lord and fortune's power,
It dwells with Zara still in Terki's bower.
Pass'd the vain pride and pomp of state,
Our happy pair, with hearts elate,
Set out upon their expedition,
To figure at the Exhibition.
Rattled the coach along the Strand,
And reach'd the pillar'd dome so grand,
That rears o'er father Thames's side
Its columns, once of royal pride,
Wonder of art, the house of stone,
Which though its outside black is grown,
Has, like a saint, an inside bright,
All growing with celestial light ;
The light that, with seraphic wings,
Mild genius sheds on mortal things,
Teaching, with pencil from the skies,
A thousand beauteous forms to rise,
That hold a most delightful strife,
And give to nature mimic life.
144 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Coaches on coaches crowded on
Along the gate-way's sounding stone,
And our good couple in a crack
Found hundreds pressing at their back.
Ma'am knew not scarcely what to do,
One soil'd her gown, or tore her shoe,
And others squeez'd her black and blue.
Out with your money or your ticket,
And you may pass the wooden wicket ;
But, if you would your fancy jog,
Buy, though 'tis dear, a Catalogue,
Dull as the speeches of quod libiters,
And then you'll see who are th' Exhibiters.
Our pair observ'd these due precautions,
Following attentive to the fashions
In all things, wheresoe'er they went,
As wisdom prudent council lent ;
And then they enter'd the great hall,
'Mid crowds of critics great and small,
From Portland-place to lanes of Wapping,
Each with a knowing face broad gaping —
On works of taste and years of care,
On labours beautiful and rare,
The toils of night and toils of day,
Which fame or time will ill repay ;
Yet thus on Genius's loftiest pride
Shall critics such as these decide !
Ah ! may not these our humble rhimes,
In present or in after times,
Depend upon such learn'd decisions
As you may hear at Exhibitions !
One wonders that such pains are taken
To paint a cow or piece of bacon,
IN LONDON. 115
When all such things are very common
Without such aid, to man and woman ;
Another, candid, vents the opinion,
That thus to labour on an onion,
Cabbage or turnip, or a carrot,
Is what some people well may stare at,
For 'twould be more deserving praise,
Useful, and easier too, to raise
The real things themselves for eating,
Than spend whole years in imitating.
Here dames whom paints and patches gai'nish,
Protest against the smell of varnish,
And wonder that the painter's liver
Exists among such scents for ever ; <
There with his spectacles on nose
Some pseudo critic anxious goes,
Calling the hangman stupid rogue ;
Another damns the catalogue,
When, for some peerless beauty staring,
He haply finds a rabbit warren,
Or lowly pig stuck in a stile
For landscape bright with Heaven's own smile.
All have their likings, though with taste
All may not be supremely blest ;
Some lov'd a miniature most dearly,
Because you saw the features clearly,
Or just because, (the thought's unkind)
Trifles delight the little mind ;
Some dwelt with rapture on the views,
Where fancy with profusion strews
A rarest medley o'er the land
Of charms from her bravura hand ; •• '•
146 DOCTOR SYNTAX
On the sky-maker's blues and reds
They fed their eyes or shook their heads ;
Adniir'd some clodpole's curly pate,
Or beauty of a " Turnpike gate ;"
And some now lov'd a church's door
That scarcely e'er were there before.
Soft pencillings from ladies' hand
Here spread their magic tints so bland,
In landscapes drawn from fairy land ;
There taste shines in the " Boulevard"*
And delicacy, though 'tis hard ;
And views, God help us ! sure I am
From very heart of " Rotterdam,"-)-
With frippery to turn our brain,
And charm us into Dutch again.
Much did our pair, and the most sulky,
Admire thy figures, comic Wilkie !
And doated on the " Penny Wedding,"
Where mirth from morn until the bedding,
Held happy revels, wild and frisky,
As in the land of Scottish whisky.
Here some with rude intrusive rattle
Cried, " what a glorious thing's a battle,"
And found of honour and of gore
A plenteous field in Marston Moor,%
* A very lively view of the Boulevards of Paris, by
Mrs. C. Long, lady of the paymaster-general of the
t By Calcott, a picture of great brilliancy.
t The battle of Marston Moor, near York, fought
in the year 1644, representing the leaders in both armies ;
IN LONDON. 147
Where, wak'd by art, o'er heaps of slain,
The battle rages fierce again,
Around the standard rear'd to bring
Conviction home to England's king ;
Where England's sons drew the bold sword
Against the power of England's lord,
And royal pride and royal power
Felt in dismay the avenging hour — ■
Confusion's route and ruin's rack
Are driven along the fatal track,
And Art, amid her scenes so gory,
Smiles o'er her conquer'd field in glory.
Our lady thought, howe'er, like some
Who have not drawn their taste from Rome,
Such pictures might be full of spirit,
And boast historic truth and merit,
But he or she must own, who scans,
They're fit but for republicans.
Our Doctor, meantime, was not dull
To find the grand and beautiful ;
Courting in painting as in rhyme,
The picturesque and the sublime.
Like others who have skill in paint
And only praise the President,
His soaring mind and eye Iov'd best
To trace the sacred lines of West,
Where fancy and the pencil, free ~\
From clogs of dull humanity, >
Dash into immortality ; J
an excellent picture, said to be taken from authentic
family portraits, and the best records of that dis-
astrous conflict; by Mr. A. Cooper, A. R. A.
148 DOCTOR SYNTAX
But lib'ral too, he could admire
The flights of mind, the tints of fire,
That with no fading lustre shed
A grace round other artists' head.
Dwelling on pure and holiest theme,
He raptur'd roves o'er " Jacob's Dream,"*
Where a celestial, happy train,
Ascend the bright aerial plane —
A flight to mortals seldom given —
A flight of steps that lead to Heaven !
Or takes a walk with that old coger,
Good Mr. Addison's « Sir Roger,"f
To church with his renown'd narrator
The witty, graceful, sweet Spectator.
That sword, cock'd hat, and flowing wig,
Of worthiest knight, may well look big ;
That gold lac'd coat of scarlet hue,
And stockings brown and red heel'd shoe,
Will seem for ever fresh and new.
How would our Doctor on that day
In pulpit love to preach and pray,
* By W. Allston, A. R. A. A fine poetical picture,
in which the ladder mentioned in the text in a figura-
tive view, is changed into three successive and immense
flights of broad steps ! The ascent from earth to Hea-
ven is, of course, a work of great labour !
t Sir Roger de Coverly going to church, accompa-
nied by the Spectator, and surrounded by his tenants.
(Spec. No. 112.) by C. R. Leslie, a young American
artist, of much genius in the class of real life.
IN LONDON. 149
And show his honourable guest
How he could hit Sir Roger's taste !
For Mrs. Syntax — like the dames
Who most admire the costly frames,
And pictures that the fancy move
To something that partakes of love,
She, with a roving eye, good madam,
Ran over all, from Eve and Adam,
In their primeval state of nudity
To every other naked oddity,
That shewed the accurate displays
And purity of the R. A.'s —
The pieces that have most effect,
A Ganymede on eagle's neck ;
Europa's beautiful seduction,*
And every other chaste production
From the rich treasures of mythology,
Without an effort at apology.
Here the chaste Dame and pretty Miss
Devour alike the " Stolen Kiss,"-)"
And Lady C. here shows her charms,
Her lovely bosom, neck, and arms,
With as enchanting prodigality
On canvas, shown to aid morality,
* By W. Hilton, an R. A.
t From Guarini's Pastor Fido, by the President
West, who exhibits also (mark the versatility of genius)
the Resurrection of our Saviour, Caesar reading the
History of Alexander's Exploits, and other historical
paintings, which have long been exhibited in the Pre-
150 DOCTOR SYNTAX
As fashionable elegance
Exhibits in her non chalance.*
Ah, ye fair students of the art,
That gently captivates the heart,
Let one who loves to see you blest,
The too seductive toil arrest ;
When, led by most mistaken rule,
By custom trained in folly's school,
Pride makes it, or the stronger fashion,
The top of female education,
To leave the worthier parts undone,
And study things you ought to shun.-f'
Fir'd with the admiration paid
By ev'ry tongue to beauty's shade,
And with, bold thought ! the high ambition
To hang in state in Exhibition,
* The portrait of ladies, and ladies' drawings, we
ought to scan very gently. They are all in general
" beautifully drawn and coloured ;" but the Doctor
justly remarked that there is in painting technical
modes of producing a harmonious surface for the eye,
as in poetry of producing a melodious versification for
the ear, which have become common-place matters,
and mere work of imitation in both arts.
t We cannot omit here censuring the egregious
folly of making the drawing-school so much a part of
female education, and the impropriety of mixing girls
with young men in drawing from the naked antiques ; as
is the practice at the British Museum : thereby wasting
a great part of their lives upon that which, in nine
cases out of ten, cannot be of any use to them.
IN LONDON. 151
The wife of Syntax, humble Dolly,
Now strongly felt the raging folly ;
And though for it she might be sermon'd
By those who dar'd, she now determin'd
To have her own dear self pourtray'd,
In colours gay, by painter's aid.
Lawrence would paint her to the life,
Could he but see great Syntax' wife,
But he's to Rome's proud city gone,
To paint the whore of Babylon.
Had modest Harry reigned now, *
Such things as these he'd ne'er allow.
But great Sir William's self would copy
Her beauty's rose, or rather poppy ;
And in a frame of massy gold
For wond'ring gazers to behold,
She thus, if price was not too high,
' Would show the world her quality.
One springing thought leads to another,
And every whimsy has a brother.
* It is well known that the resistance of Henry the
Eighth to the authority of the Pope, was occasioned
by the repugnance of his Holiness to allow Henry his
divorce ; from that period (after having been the ad-
vocate of the Pope against Martin Luther, which
obtained him the title of Defender of the Faith,) that
monarch became the bitterest enemy of the Holy Father,
questioning his right to interfere in the concerns of this
country : and hence we may date the revolution in eccle-
152 DOCTOR SYNTAX
As o'er the painted prospect spread
To catch the eye in way of trade,
A useful scheme — at once to tell you
The state of art and pictures' value ;
Our Madam's head, to shew her skill,
Went round and round, just like a mill,
She caught a view of Richmond-hill :*
A spot she oft heard prais'd for beauty,
And which she thought 'twas now her duty
To see, and like the Doctor's wife,
To represent it to the life ;
To talk of picturesque effect,
And all the scenes so gaily deckt
With wood and water, country villas,
And winding Thames's drooping willows,
She therefore made a memorandum
In her own mind, not quite at random,
Which she resolv'd, when coast was clear,
Should soon be rung in Doctor's ear.
Our Doctor's heart was pleas'd to see 3
The British pencil's industry,
The triumphs and the power of taste
From the faint effort, sketch'd in haste,
To finish'd picture, wrought with care,
High pric'd, and beautifully rare,
But wish'd to see the precious oil
Devoted more to public toil ;*f
* By Turner. A noble indication of the artist's talent
for local nature, which with sweetening and a little
more aerial tinting, would most certainly be one of
his finest prospects.
t All that has yet been done to commemorate the
IN LONDON. 153
Enough on things of humbler station,
In flatt'ring pride and affectation,
In minist'ring to ignoble sense,
Or aiding dreams of indolence,
The Arts that wake a generous flame,
Had bent the peerless pencil's aim.
How many claims, superior, ask
Performance of the nobler task !
How many glorious deeds demand
The labours of the painter's hand ! —
The deeds — the scenes that still inspire
In history's page, a virtuous fire,
That prompt to honourable toil,
From Spartan or Athenian soil !
What fields have shown in prosp'rous fight
The splendour of Britannia's might !
What scenes do Albion's land and sword,
To life securing Art afford !
The worth that died to save her state,
Her proudest halls should decorate.
Say, shall they glut th' oblivious grave,
Who perish'd freedom's land to save,
And not a patriot pencil give
The light that bids their spirit live ?
The worth that pants for public praise,
And strives a drooping state to raise,
splendid achievements of the British arms during the
late war, has been to send Sir Thomas Lawrence, horse
race speed, after the heads of the Holy Alliance, at
the moderate charge of 500 guineas each, to form
a gallery for the Prince Regent, beginning with the
Emperor Alexander and ending with the Pope ! !
154 DOCTOR SYNTAX
The train of images that roll
Heroic ardour o'er the soul ;
The scenes that Britain's zeal impart,
Should live in miracles of art.
Sated at length with seeing pictures,
And showing taste and making strictures
On marble statues and enamels
That hold the gentle mind in trammels ;
And Madam having noted well
The dress and air of ev'ry belle
Who came from country or from town,
To show her taste, or cap, or gown,
Our pair so critical and learn'd
By stomach's warning clock discern'd,
(Stomach that has more taste than all
The gaping crowd so critical,)
'Twas time to leave the gilded scenes
Where nought but painters' ever-greens
And laurels flourished, that to eat
Are found to be but sorry meat ;
This inward call should none neglect
Who study nature and effect ;
Who, feasting in no idle dream,
Love to inhale more savoury stream,
Than ever purl'd through greenwood shade,
Or painters, wretched cooks, pourtray'd ;
And who, to meet their hungry wishes,
Know well where stand the tempting dishes.
Unus'd to dine on wood or stone,
Our pair return'd to Marybone,
More solid matters to discuss
Than those 'bout which there's such a fuss,
IN LONDON'. 155
"Mong those who think they have a gout,
Smit with the mania of virtu,
Who, careless, haply e'en of starving,
Imagine nothing worth preserving,
But canvas blotted o'er with paint,
Or lumber from the garrets sent.
KND OF THE FIFTH CANTO.
156 DOCTOR SYNTAX
To mimic Art and Fashion's reign
We've pour'd the tributary strain ;
Travers'd each wild enchanted ground,
And at each altar bow'd profound ;
To Nature now we turn our song,
The lays to Science yet belong.
And here, our Canto to prelude,
The Epic muse in raptur'd mood
Devotes a portion of her lay
To her who charm'd her earliest day.
Mistress of all, good Mother Nature,
I really love thy ev'ry feature ;
Whether thou kindly deign'st to smile,
In mongrel or in mermaid style,
Defac'd with all the gewgaws pretty
That Art has borrow'd from the city,
To ornament thee, queen of dames !
Along the borders of the Thames,
From London Bridge's water mill
To Richmond's celebrated Hill ;
IN LONDON. 157
Or whether on some distant mountain
Oak crown'd, or by the crystal fountain
Where health and joy untainted spring,
And peace outspreads a halcyon wing ;
Where men, though poor, are happy seen,
And women do not burst with spleen ;
Thou lead'st a simple hermit's life,
And smile serene at human strife :
Whether thou rovest in sportive mood,
By borders of the gay green wood,
Whereon no ruin'd tradesmen dangle,
Or triest till eve the patient angle
Along the clear and winding river,
Where cockney drunk, or steam-boat never
Defil'd the lustre of the tide,
Or rose sublime the domes of pride.
I love to trace thee, Nature fair,
And shun like thee, the town-bred air ;
But this is talking idly now —
Fate has decreed, and I must bow
To her irrevocable fiat,
That muse's fancy must be quiet
On all such visionary topics,
Now almost distant as the tropics,
And stick to this important story,
And the more splendid scenes of glory
That spread their rich and shining pride
Along old father Thames's side ;
And make his streams, though rather muddy,
In truth a most delightful study.
'Tis said by those the truth have tried,
Women are never satisfied ;
158 DOCTOR SYNTAX
This our good Doctor found when Dolly,
In graceful, pensive melancholy,
Began, with future joy in view,
To run her memorandums through,
And in her peremptory way,
To wish, (as much, you know's, to say
That Doctor should that wish obey)
That they could dissipate the spleen
And variegate awhile the scene,
Now, by a little of pure nature,
And take, like every other creature
Who knows the effect of London air,
And seeks t' enjoy of health a share,
A trip to renovate the liver
From town, or up or down the river.
For her own self she saw no joy
In sailing in an ugly hoy
Among a crowd of vulgar people
Who ne'er were out of sight of steeple,
Or the high dome of great St. Paul,
Journeying to Woolwich or Blackwall,
Deptford was town by far too low,
And Greenwich, though a pretty show,
Was filled by nothing but old foggies,
Who scarce knew aught but what vile grog is,
And, for her honour or her breath,
She would not venture on the Heath,
Though hundreds took their pleasure there,
It had so bad a character.
In short, though things were cheaper down,
And she might even save a crown,
She'd rather give a double fee
Like those that love gentility,
IN LONDON. 159
To see the scenery, beauteous ever,
That upward decks the peaceful river.
Richmond's fine view she had not seen
Nor Royal Kew, nor Turnham Green ;
Nor Brentford, pride of Middlesex,
A prospect too you may annex,
Famous for more than keen elections, .
For filth and hogs and mud erections,
Which as great George's eyes ran over
He sighed " was like his own Hanover ;"*
Nor was it right they should stop short
Of seeing all at Hampton Court,
Where Wolsey lived in royal state,
And queen-beheading Henry Eight ;
'Twas said they might spend many moons
Viewing Raphael's fine cartoons,
And all the beauties of the place,
From William's maids and wives that grace
In painted show the princely wall,
To parks and gardens and canal.
But by a cheap and simple way
They now, she said, in one short day,
All these enjoyments might complete,
And have a gratifying treat,
By sailing upward with the stream
Borne by the wondrous power of steam,
To Richmond bridge, for shillings three,
And when each object they should see,
* It is said of George the Second, that in passing
through Brentford to Windsor, he used to direct his
coachman to drive slowly through that town, which it
seemed his Majesty loved to contemplate, "it was so
like his own Yanover."
160 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And have a dinner at the Garter,
And all projected pleasures after,
They might, if they preferred it, take
An evening stage for comfort's sake,
And homeward snugly ride to town,
For something about half-a-crown.
Thus spoke our fair her long oration
To take our sage by captivation,
As those who, bred in artful school,
Know the true way, and best, to rule
Is first to try the way to charm us
Before they dreadfully alarm us.
She spoke, and, as the poets say,
Nam'd for the journey the next day,
Though it was Sabbath, day of care
To parsons, if they relish prayer,
And cannot, like the well paid bishop,
Get some poor reverend drudge to dish up
Some spiritual food for those who keep
In town at mother church to sleep.
Our sage did not belong, good man !
To parish metropolitan,
But gently hinted that the Sunday
Should not be thus made a mere fun day,
And thought they should defer till Monday ;
For though, he said to Ma'am, none better
E'er lov'd the sciences and nature,
'Twould be in him but ill -befitting
To be observ'd in steam-boat sitting,
When he should be at holy Church.
Though others left her in the lurch.
To this objection our dear lady
Was not without an answer ready ;
IN LONDON. 161
She said that many of his cloth
Were not so very nice, or loth
To give themselves, or their dear spouses,
A little airing from their houses ;
Some -roll'd in coach in Hyde-park drive,
Not in a steam-boat fried alive,
Which, 'stead of being sin or glory,
Might be considered purgatory ;
Some spent the sabbath day in sport,
And even Bishops bow'd at Court,
When curates pray'd and fasted too ;
But they must now in London do
As others did, and really town,
On Sunday was a desert grown ;
i Besides, did he not want to study
The ways of crowds and every body ?
Had they not prov'd most ample gainers,
By nicely scanning human manners ?
And even Thames and Richmond Hill,
With all their charms would look but ill,
Without the spell that crowds of faces
Give to the very finest places.
Syntax was silenced, for the sage,
Knew what it was thus to engage
His wife's sophisticating rattle,
When she would have her way, or battle.
Ma'am wisely chose the supper hour.
For trying thus her arguing power ;
And 'twould not do to go to hammock,
With fit of anger in the stomach ;
So Doctor gave consent at last,
And both, soon locked in slumber fast,
162 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Forgot their by-gone cares and sorrow,
And cared not what might hap to-morrow.
The morn was fine ; or we should say,
In splendor rose the new-born day j
The day to many a Cockney dear,
That comes with promis'd rural cheer,
And rural sport, and sight of fields,
And all that London's suburb yields,
Of gay and soul-reviving spell,
And stercoraceous spectacle :
To charm the eyes, and set the tongue,
And cramped feet of the motley throng,
Quick moving to the earnest praise
Of what they've seen in other days;
And what John Bull and tidy wife,
Conceive of happy country life,
When forth in pride of ease they fare,
To catch the weekly breath of air,
In go-cart or in one horse chat,
Or humbly padding on the way,
Careful the wayward children tending,
And many a sage state maxim vending.
Ah me ! as pastoral poets say,
And thousands echo when the day,
Of rest and promised pleasure comes,
Wrapt up in clouds, in rain, or glooms,
And nought remains the hours to cheer,
But pipes, tobacco, and dull beer !
Ah me ! and miserable they,
In city thus compell'd to stay,
When o'er Augusta's peopled reign,
Thoughtless of pining maiden's pain,
IN LONDON. 163
In subterranean kitchen cooking,
Anxious to Sunday all week looking,
The weather demon spreads his wings,
And crowds of public miseries brings.
Ah ! may the sun on that blest day,
Ne'er veil the splendour of his ray :
May never gloom or drizzling shower,
O'er health and joy usurp the power,
Spreading ennui, the demon fell,
Or sad bespattering beau and belle,
When all should feel without controul,
A perfect holiday of soul —
Though city publicans should grumble,
And drunken Jehus cease to rumble.
But let us leave the task of prayer,
To those who Church's bounties share,
And bid the labours of the pen,
Attend upon the best of men,
And the most prudent loving wife,
That parson e'er knew in his life.
The day, we've said, was fair and bright,
And full of promise of delight,
When Doctor at the warning hint,
Of madam's tongue, as good's a dint
To memory's ear, gulped down his tea,
And, like a traveller bent on sea,
Attentive still to knowledge saving,
Provision made for stomachs craving,
By stuffing well with belly timber,
Those pockets that with spiritual lumber,
Were often filled, and graceful showed,
He knew to heaven another road,
164 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Than fashion's shirtless tribe pursue,
The men, sans tail, sans pockets too,
Sans cash, sans soul, to whom no sinner
Needs cling, in heaven or earth for dinner.
This done, and Mrs. Syntax drest
In travelling trim, with glowing breast,
And many a red and rosy streak,
New waken'd on her chubby cheek,
That vied with ruddiest flower of June,
The obedient Doctor led her soon,
To Thames's side, where boatmen ply,
With finger up and watchful eye,
And " boat !" " a boat's ?" incessant cry.
There, floating far along the stream,
Was seen the ship of smoke and steam,
Labouring upon the upward tide,
In painted bloom and gorgeous pride,
Tuning her liquid step and rattle,
Like soldiers when they go to battle,
To deaf ning music's mingled notes,
And sound of loud and joyous throats,
Thus onward the Vesuvian queen,
Floats, clouding Thames's wave serene,
With shades of Phlegethonian hue,
Pouring her tides as boiling too,
Till Doctor from his bounding wherry,
With madam, join'd the crowd so merry,
That on the deck of Vulcan's galley,
Indulg'd in many a pleasant sally.
In truth there was a goodly show,
Of beauties in full many a row,
With their attendant swaius enamour'd,
That all week long at trade had'hammer'd
IN LONDON. 165
But happy now, with sabbath cheer,
Love, and tobacco, steam, and beer,
They seem'd, though clouds of smoke o'ercast,
In pure Elysium wrapt at last.
Some on the benches stretch'd at ease,
With earnest nose woo'd the cool breeze,
Some eager sought the vessel's poop,
With heat and languor like to droop ;
While others venturous, chose to go,
Into the murkiest shades below,
Rather than sit, and in effect,
Thus to be fried alive on deck.
Our pair enjoy'd a soothing shade,
Under a friendly awning made,
By flag of party colour'd hue,
More black I ween than red or blue,
But Mrs. Syntax' sense olfactory
Was very often most refractory ;
It seem'd as if the smoke and pitch,
Had given her nose the sneezing itch,
And tears, that nought but nipping soot
Could draw, fell from her eyes to boot ;
While murmurs that to grief belong,
Not loud, but deep, employ'd her tongue :
In vain were shawls and flounces spread,
She scarce could see of what they're made,
And even delicious tittle-tattle,
Was drown'd amid the labouring rattle.
" This might be joy to cockney women,"
She said., " and such like river seamen ;
" But for herself, a parson's wife,
" She ne'er again would for her life,
" In horrid steam-boat sit her down.
" Though she should pay a double crown ;
166 DOCTOR SYNTAX
" She only wished that she was free,
" From smoke and strange machinery,
" And heat and smell, and noisy clatter,
" Polluting both the air and water."
As when a sybil to the sun,
What time the eclipse, dread sight's, begun,
Spies through her smok'd and stained glass
The darkling shadows as they pass ;
So with fix'd eye our reverend seer
Views through the sooty atmosphere
The scenes that deck the winding way
Of Thames in rich and green array ;
And thus through medium dim and dark
A thousand eyes delight to mark
The charms of nature and of art,
That beauty to the scene impart ;
And well may cockney maiden prize
Such sights as fill her longing eyes,
And Cockney lover like such charms,
For happy Steam both melts and warms.
Thus from Quebec to Montreal
The Yankey steam-boat long and tall,
Along the wide St. Laurence sails,
Fright'ning the Mohawks and the whales,
While in the vessel's ample hold
The motley crowds like hedge-hogs roll'd
In hammock slung with ropes of leather,
Pig snug and bundle all together.
Our sage who lov'd the picturesque,
Look'd on the scenes with mien grotesque,
IN LONDON. 167
That spite of clouds and steaming fry,
Spread their gay charms before the eye,
In boundless prodigality.
Scenes that had pleasure's sighs awoke,
If they could see them for the smoke,
And charms that well might claim the song,
Stretch'd in long line the banks along.
Her smooth shaven lawns gay Chelsea gave,
To deck the borders of the wave,
And spread a carpet for the brave ;
With charms that still the fancy rouse,
Shone through her trees sweet Sion House,
And Chiswick, mid her gay parterre,
And boats and mud, smil'd heavenly fair;
While, as they near and nearer drew,
Dawn'd on their rapt and partial view,
The gardens and the towers of Kew —
Majestic seat of royal pride,
That rears o'er Thames's verdant side,
Memorials of what sums are spent,
To give to royal breasts content.
Thy islands green with verdure veiled,
Sweet Islewokth ! were not unbeheld,
Though envious steam, as zephyrs blew,
Her dark clouds o'er thy beauties threw.
Here, as the fates that rule the fire,
And water and combustion dire,
Would have it for our pair's relief,
And others' equal share of grief,
The strong ambition to excel,
That forged the enginery of h — 1,
When old Appollyon in his ire,
First tried to set the waves on fire,
168 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Had kindled some destructive flames,
About the beard of Father Thames,
Had not the fire and water-mill,
Sudden by powerful check stood still,
As if the vomiter of smoke,
Its black and belching lungs had broke,
With crash resounding far below
To men and nereids threat'ning woe.
But woe was none, except to those
Who soil'd in mud their Sunday hose,
In rapid effort to get free
From ship of fearful enginery,
Treading the giddy, narrow plank,
To isle, with bending osiers dank,
Happy to reach old Thames's bank !
So when a stately ship takes fire
What terror and confusion dire,
Reign 'midst the wild and hurrying crew,
Though terra firma smiles in view !
But darker horrors fill the breast
When far amid the wat'ry waste,
The poor devoted sailor sees
The dread flame rise, and the cool breeze
That should have borne him to the shore,
But fan the horrid blaze the more !
With tott'ring step, and trembling limb,
Low bending to the water's brim,
Our lady trod the plank along,
And with the Doctor join'd the throng,
That wisely with pedestrian care
Journey 'd o'er walks and meadows fair,
IN LONDON. 169
To Richmond's celebrated Hill,
Their stomachs and their eyes to fill.
To him who with a soul sublime,
Has dared the Aonian mount to climb,
A rugged job as e'er had sinner
To earn at last a scurvy dinner,
Even Richmond-hill, so fam'd for " lasses"
More fair than even the great Parnassus',
Is not a very toilsome thing
To those whose nerves the spirit spring,
But Doctor Syntax and his wife,
Labor'd up hill as if for life,
Puffing and blowing as they grumbled,
And o'er the unfriendly granite stumbled ;
Our sage admiring as he went
The prospect rising with the ascent
And madam wond'ring what could tempt
The folks from common cares exempt,
Who love their ease, and need not spoil
Their sport to make the kettle boil,
Thus on high hills and sides of rivers,
To tire their joints and waste their livers ;
It would not be a pair of chickens,
Or any common finger lickings
Would make amends for this hard strain,
When once they should the Garter gain.
At length the summit they attain'd
And pausing there their breath regain'd,
Then from the hill's romantic brow
Gaz'd on the prospect stretch'd below.
A beauteous scene as e'er was spread,
In Tempe's vale of flower and shade,
170 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And radiance of indulgent sky,
To win the heart and charm the eye.
Italian groves ! Italian vales !
No more your wonted boast avails :
Thames spreads along his wealthy side,
A scene that mocks your empty pride ;
Here Opulence her fabrics rears,
And all a smiling aspect wears ;
Each fertile glade, each spot around,
With stately palaces are crown'd ;
Woods, orchards, villas, there are seen,
With varied charms to intervene.
While Thames along his winding bed,
Thro' many a mazy labyrinth led,
Sees wealth and beauty spread the sail,
To cheer and deck his lovely vale.
With raptur'd and poetic eyes,
And tongue that spoke his pleas'd surprize,
Syntax, who'd roam'd o'er lake and hill,
Now gaz'd as he would gaze his fill :
The beauties of his former Tour,
To those that now his eyes devour,
Compar'd, seem'd but a barren heath,
Unworthy of his pen or breath :
He now had found the Picturesque,
And by the labours of his desk,
He soon would shew to those who question ,
His power and Muse's bold suggestion ,
How much this visit to Parnassus,
All other rhyming tours surpasses,
Or any rival fool that makes,
An idle journey to the Lakes.
IN LONDON. 171
Superior now the theme he'd handle,
As Sol excels a farthing candle,
Or Venus with her bloom upon her,
Would seem beside a maid of honour ;
Or Hercules with gripe unhandy,
Would twist about a modern dandy.
" As o'er these scenes I cast my glance,
" I think some wizard of romance,
" Calls round him as he waves his wand,
" The gayest scenes of fairy-land,
" Where health and plenty frolic round,
" And beauty decks th' enchanted ground ;
" Scenes where the raptured muse could stray,
" And dream and loiter life away ;' '
He cried, and hovering Genii made
Votive response to all he said.
Even Mrs. Syntax, bent to make,
By solid round, or joint, or cake,
To nature without further jabber,
A reparation for her labour,
Confess'd the sight was altogether,
A pretty thing in summer weather,
And that she could enjoy the view,
Like other folks a month or two,
But she was not one of the gentry,
That lov'd on hill-top to keep sentry ;
When tempests rattled through the air,
And laid the gayest prospects bare.
Sated at length with nature's beauty,
And not unmindful of the duty,
Which Mrs. Syntax said they owed,
For climbing such a tiresome road , .
172 DOCTOR SYNTAX
These joys they now resolved to barter,
For others at the Star and Garter,
So, waxing rather lank and thin,
They enter'd next the stately inn ;
Where Doctor view'd again with rapture,
From window high the ample chapter
Spread out of nature's volume, teaching
Much more than all his gravest preaching,
And madam found before her spread,
A prospect that to those unfed,
She thought was better worth the heeding,
Fraught with the solid means of feeding.
Down therefore sat our happy pair,
And soon made havoc on the fare
That he who is no churlish starter,
May -find, per die, at Star and Garter,
It was no store of humble wallet,
That now could please my lady's palate ;
Well might the chicken rue the day,
That spitted, came in madam's way.
No flim-flams now, no thing of feather,
Or show of flummery altogether ;
Like that on which no wise man reckon'd,
When lagging comes in Course the Second,
Or frequent decks the table poor,
Of proud and vain Restaurateur,
Could with re-animated life,
Inspire our hungry sage and wife,
Who now employ'd a busy knife
On those far more substantial matters,
That please our English masticators,
And give John Bull the strength to thump,
All other nations in the lump,
IN LONDON. 173
And, as in western isles they do,
The right to preach and flog them too.
A bottle, and perhaps a pair,
Wash'd down this comfortable fare ;
And then, for spite of pleasure's call,
An hour of reckoning comes to all.
The bill came in — As when a ghost,
Rais'd from the depth of Stygian coast,
From draught and bolus very ill,
With his Apothecary's bill
In hand, the Doctor to dismay,
And point to Styx the shortest way —
As when the poor Apothecary,
With length'd visage, far from merry,
Sees the dread phantom enter in,
With the memorial of his sin ;
So our good Doctor and his wife,
Who ne'er hurt mortal in their life,
By aught but labours of the tongue,
If that in wife or priest be wrong,
Beheld with terror-struck surprise,
Uplifted hands, and staring eyes,
The unconscious waiter, and each charge,
Swelling the bill, so long and large,
Unhallowed sight ! I ween would make,
The stoutest heart and purse to quake.
" Zounds, do you take me for a bishop,"
Cried Syntax, " that such bills you dish up ?
" A sum like this, which here you charge me
" Would dine the bench and half the clergy."
And madam when her talking power,
Return'd to help her in this hour ;
174 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Indignant o'er each item ran,
And call'd poor Joe a shameless man, .
Thus like a publican and sinner,
To charge so monstrously for dinner ;
She knew where dangled Stars and Garters
Were high flown things and costly quarters ;
And from these proofs of courtly feature
The sooner they were gone the better.
The bill was paid, though most unwilling,
Our lady counting every shilling,
With fingers that her rage disposes
To scratch some cheeks and pull some noses ;
But Syntax sooth'd her with a smile,
Reminding, they had dined in style,
And they who bear the airs of quality.
Must not expect to find frugality.
Thus with a dinner and their bill,
They left the charms of Richmond Hill.
Though not in the best tune for sport,
They took the way by Hampton Court,
And there beheld 'mid Nature's trellises,
Of branching oak what splendid palaces,
Rise in deserted grandeur lone,
Where still might shine Britannia's throne,
While sums immense are thrown away,
To make fish towns, or brick walls gay,
And give to pamper'd royal pride,
A score of palaces beside ;
Though here 'tis said no place befitting,
Is found for royalty to sit in !
They saw where proud puflPd Wolsey sat.
And laid his cap and triple hat,
IN LONDON. 175
And Henry Eight, who lov'd the maids,
Plann'd mischief for their pretty heads ;*
They saw too there the beauteous bevy,
Of dames that grae'd king William's levee,
Deaf now, alas ! to pleasure's call
And rudely stuck against the wall,
Like wither'd witches wan and pale,
Or the old Cartoons of Raphael,
Good Mrs. Syntax ne'er profess'd,
To have a cognoscenti taste ;
She therefore found but little pleasure,
In gazing on this royal treasure ;
And thought that there must be some flaw
About the sculls of those who saw
Eternal beauty in the looks
Of painted porters and of cooks,
And fellows, that no body knows,
Often without their needful cloathes —
Set up on canvas or on paper,
As princes and as kings to vapour.
Like those she'd heard of plebeian blood,
That deck the walls of Holy Rood.
Finding they would be weary moons
Gaping on portraits and cartoons,
And empty domes and ruined walls,
And lonely parks and green canals,
She took the Doctor by the arm,
And tore him off from every charm
* The royal palace of Hampton Court was built by
Cardinal Wolsey, who gave it to Henry VIII. It is
decorated with the Cartoons of Raphael, and the por-
traits of all the beauties of the reign of William III.
176 DOCTOR SYNTAX
On which the mind of raptur'd sage,
Tracing the long historic page
Was like a druid fondly dwelling,
And with important precepts swelling.
With homeward step they trac'd the scene,
And got at length to Turnham Green,
Where, when they'd sipp'd a little brandy,
They took the stage to town so handy,
And roll'd along, so small the expense,
To verge of home for eighteen pence ;
Where, free to follow her own will,
Ma'am e'en forgot her Richmond bill.
END OF THE SIXTH CANTO.
IN LONDON. 177
Blest with eternal motion, they,
Who ne'er like Titus lost a day !
For if the clay is made the debtor,
The night is sure to pay the better !
Next day our weary pair reposed,
At home till day was nearly clos'd,
That is, they were not given to roam,
But were and felt themselves at home ;
Our lady, as with dames no wonder,
Schooling the maids invoice of thunder,
When they have nothing else to do,
And long arrears come in review ;
And Doctor in the Muse's study,
With brains and caput rather muddy,
Planning his next important work,
Not thinking e'en on knife and fork,
Till Mrs. Syntax' voice repining,
Proclaim'd the lingering hour of dining,
And down from lofty classic region,
Came learned sage to pick his pigeon.
178 DOCTOR SYNTAX
It chanced while this work of dissection
Was going on, and Ma'am's complexion
Began to brighten, as some faces,
Will take the colour of the graces,
When pleas'd, or socially unbent,
By dinner or a little paint ;
And Doctor soon began to find,
That there was something in the Wind ;
For like the great, our humble Dolly
Found that to banish melancholy,
If you can find no other way
To fright the gloomy hag away
'Tis better far to join the people
Who carry on their backs no steeple,
Than with no other grave excusement,
Just hang and drown for mere amusement.
Her tongue now glibly ran on all
The splendid glories of Vauxhall,
Galas, and glittering lights, and glees,
And ladies dancing among trees,
And all that gives to midnight there,
A charm beyond the day's full glare ;
A sight, in short, if needs must be,
She had not seen and wish'd to see.
Indulgent to each wish of madam,
Like old uxorious simple, Adam,
What time in Eden's gay Vauxhall,
So very Paradisical,
He gave to Eve consent to grapple
Forbidden fruit — the luckless apple,
That has entail'd, with doom unkind,
Such misery on all mankind.
IN LONDON. 179
Syntax with ready tongue express'd
Desire to ease his lady's breast,
And though, like Adam, he should fall,
To squire sweet Dolly to Vauxhall.
It chanc'd that eve, or rather night,
As was proclaim'd, a gala bright,
Was to illumine, as the phrase is,
This most delightful of all places.
And madam said, they'd better take,
A draught of something and a cake,
By way of supper in some arbour,
Where often loving couples harbour,
Within the garden's bound, where, happy,
The festive crowds enjoy the nappy,
Cramming by way of interlude,
A slice of any thing that's good,
Corn beef, or ham, or wing of pullet,
Down their pleas'd, unobstructing gullet,
Till morning, as Lord Byron says,
Deposes all the little rays^
That from the throne of lesser spark,
Tries to dispel the unkindly dark.
At proper time, we mean to say,
When others are about to lay
Their weary heads on slumber's breast,
To give to nature downy rest,
Our pair, like those who seek the treasure
Still promis'd by the phantom pleasure,
■ i ■■ - -■■■—■a i . — ■ - ... .1. ., i. ■
* ■ The eastern flame
Rose crimson, and deposed the stars.
180 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Took coach with many a buxom spinster,
And o'er the long bridge of Westminster,
Roll'd on, till Jarvis set them down,
At Vauxhall gate, and sought his crown.
This slowly paid, as you may judge,
From ma'am with something like a grudge,
And entrance fee, or easier ticket,
Laid on the ready palm or wicket,
Our pair with keen expectant eyes,
Prepar'd to meet a sweet surprize.
' Nor was their heart's anticipation,
Defrauded of its expectation.
If thou hast read in youthful days,
With sweet enchantment and amaze,
Of all the charms, the magic sights,
That glitter in Arabian Nights ;
The gardens that so fair expand,
At touch of necromancer's wand,
When with rapt awe and pleasure blended,
Aladdin for his lamp descended ;
And saw, as fancy still can see,
A thousand glories deck each tree,
Beauties that charm each youthful sight,
Shining amid the wreaths of light,
And pleasure's forms, and light feet glancing
Of Houris to the music dancing ;
Reader, if thy imagination,
Can conjure up this sweet creation,
And think of all the charm'd surprise
That bound the young enthusiast's eyes ;
When on the beauteous scene he enter'd,
Where all his raptur'd wishes centred,
IN LONDON. 181
Or if thou'lt but again imagine,
When on the prospect so engaging,
Thou first set wonder's dazzled eyes,
Thine own emotion and surprize,
Thou may'st conceive a slender notion,
Of our delighted pair's emotion,
When sudden burst upon their gaze,
From many a glittering walk, the blaze
Of bright and many colour'd rays,
That sparkled from a thousand lamps,
And spite of midnight's cheerless damps
Enchantment's fetters threw around,
O'er all the bright and fairy ground.
You might, as madam said, have seen,
In every walk to pick a pin,
Except where many a lounging spark,
Meets his soul's idol in the dark ;
And love that has no need of light
To guide his faithful steps aright,
Breathes the soft vow in beauty's ear,
That loves the tender tale to hear.
Awhile o'er pleasure's dazzling ground,
Like those that trace, in mill-horse round,
The giddy, gay arena, spread
For frolic's festive train to tread,
Our pair without a wish to stray,
Beyond their yet unblameless way,
Rov'd up and down, and round, observing,
All that were walking or were carving
The costly slice in box so snug,
And handling oft the silver jug;
Lovers perhaps their fair ones wooing,
By wax-light in the alcoves cooing,
182 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And lest their warmth should be mistaken,
Courting their loves with wine and bacon.
The music next engaged their care,
And much did our astonished pair,
Like other gazers list and stare,
To hear the notes so loud and bland,
Warbled from high orchestra's stand,
While crowds came rushing round pell m ell,
To catch the soft enchanting spell,
Gaping with mouths and eyes of wonder,
As if conven'd by voice of thunder ;
Like those who, without fee or ticket,
The natives of the wood and thicket,
Throng'd round old Orpheus and his fiddle,
When thus with music in the middle,
The skilful and old cat-gut scraper,
Made even the beasts and trees to caper ;
There, while with pleasure gaz'd the throng,
A syren with enchanting tongue,
On night's dull ear, if aught can be,
Dull where there is so much to see,
Pour'dto the listening crowd, this lay,
To chace the shades of care away.
What a happy place for lovers,
Is this charming scene, Vauxhall !
Smiling beauties, gallant rovers,
Here are suited one and all.
IN LONDON. 183
Here, while others press the pillow,
Lulled in dull oblivion's sleep,
Pleasure's lightsome steps we follow,
And her cheerful vigils keep.
From St. James, even to Wapping,
Here, ye Grandees, and ye Cits,
If ye are not fond of napping,
Ye may have the choice tit bits.
Law and Physic's sapient sages,
Leaving learning's arid field,
Here find sweeter, fairer pages,
Than their drier studies yield.
Here Divinity, perplext,
Seeking Wisdom's aid, no more —
Finds in Wine a pleasing text,
And his goddess may adore.
Lovers that attend on beauty !
Learn from Love obedient rules —
Pleasure is a sort of duty,
Husbands should not turn to mules.
Betty Blossom, sweet and pretty,
As a bar-maid bore the bell,
Tom the tailor in the city
Lov'd her — Tom look'd very well.
Lovely Betty was no heiress,
Though she was so very fair,
But she'd been my Lady Mayoress,
Had our Tom been but Lord Mayor.
184 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Betty, like a gay bewitcher
Once a week at Vauxhall shone,
And to please her, Tom the stitcher
Worked his fingers to the bone.
They were happy — they were married-
(Mark this truth, ye lovers all- — )
But their happiness miscarried, —
Tom no more went to Vauxhall.
Captain Dash to please was ready —
He at love and glory's call
Bore away the tailor's lady,
And now sports her at Vauxhall.
The vocal music ceas'd, the throng
Still fond, impatient rush along
To the Rotunda's painted hall,
Where, waving high at glory's call,
The glittering banners are unfurl'd
That spread protection o'er the world ; >
And where the train of pastoral Pan,
And emblems of fair Scotia's clan,
The soul reviving strains renew,
That shepherds from their wild pipes blew,
And still to valour and to glee,
Resound 'mid Scotland's scenery.
Scarce need we say how quick the hours
Flew by, amid these shining bow'rs,
And walks with peerless beauty bright,
And arches gemm'd with starry light r
IN LONDON. 185
While here our happy pair were roving,
For Dolly loved still to keep moving,
That she might show her face and air
To all the fashionables there ;
She lov'd to linger in the blaze
Of studded crowns, and lamps whose rays
Show'd off some painter's grand design,
By glare of such light very fine ;
While Doctor would have rather given
A mervedi to shun this heaven
Of happiness, to his dear wife,
And leave the scenes of giddy life,
To sit him down, like poor Jack Horner,
With the lone Hermit in the corner,
To pause by gleam of single taper,
On folly's inconsiderate vapour.
At length the bell with clanging sound,
To all the variegated round,
Proclaim'd the tight rope's vaulting hour,
And gleaming as from Hero's tower;
The blue light shed its glimmering ray,
To guide fair Sacqui on her way ;
A venturous way — where none need hope,
Unless acquainted with the rope,
To rival the adventurous fair,
At a gay caper in the air.
Like one of the light sylphic train,
She skims along the narrow plane,
Up the high rope's tremendous steep,
Her steady balance taught to keep,
Till mid a blaze of bursting light,
She gains the fearful giddy height,
186 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Then like the " king of France's men,"
Runs down the dread descent again,
While rockets gleam, and sticks come down
Upon the wondering gazers' crown,
And all admire who share the view,
What women's feet and limbs can do.
With walking and with gazing tired,
And hunger keen at last inspired, .}
Our pair sat down in box so neat,
To give themselves a little treat, J
We'll say their promised slice to eat.
Before them soon with prodigality
The wax lights shone to shew their quality.
While ma'am and Doctor longed to cram
Their anxious throats with solid ham.
Before them soon was laid a slice,
Which some might think was very nice,
But through whose thin transparent fold,
You might the distant stars behold,
And which to any hungry belly,
Was not much better than a jelly ;
Another, and another still,
Must feed the craving ivory mill,
And still to every keen performer,
" The last is welcome as the former."
Next came to please our lady's sight,
The wine in kettle silver bright ;
And much they both enjoyed to see,
Bacchus thus making rosy tea.
But what more tried their temper's mettle,
Was now the bill that was to settle,
For wax lights, ham, and beauteous kettle !
Soon as good madam saw the bill
She star'd and thought on Richmond hill,
ifi! n*t5' r, ?r, ««m»«j « «i« « ?f» s *
IN LONDON. 187
And would have lectur'd the poor waiter
If prudent Syntax would have let her,
As when she poured a copious flow
Of eloquence on Richmond Joe.
Alas, alas, that pleasant places
Should thus make long and dismal faces,
And care and misery's alloy
Should mingle thus with all our joy.
When bill was paid, for at Vauxhall
The travelling credit is but small,
And all the beauties of the night,
Looked rather odd by morning light,
Our sage and spouse with timely care,
By help of Jehu's other fare,
With many a nod, were home conveyed
And on the peaceful pillow laid.
END OF THE SEVENTH CANTO.
188 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Refresh'd our learned Doctor rose,
For he had found the sweet repose
That softens wearied nature's pain,
And gives the life-drop zest again.
Kind sleep had also lent its aid,
And thrown a sweet oblivious shade
O'er Mrs. Syntax, who reclined
Disturb'd no more by anxious mind.
Her nose indeed a requiem sung
To the past labours of her tongue ;
But this our Doctor well could brook,
For meek and placid was her look.
His fairest glories Sol had spread
To charm our slumberers from their bed.
At length the usual hour drew near
That welcom'd in their morning cheer.
With gentle force he sought to rouse
The sense quiescent of his spouse,
In playful accents smiling chid
As mov'd her eye's recumbent lid,
JN LONDON. 189
For rancour never wrung his breast,
And seldom was his visage dress'd
In other traits than those serene
Which to his sacerdotal mien
Imparted a benignant air
That spoke his mission and his care.
The breakfast done, our Doctor's mind
Revolved anew on human kind.
To learn, to study, and explore,
And thus enrich his mental store,
With all that lures in pleasure's field
And all antiquity could yield ;
He straight resolved the coming hour
Should be devoted to the Tower,
Which all must see, who come to town,
And all may search for — half a crown ;
Where Britain's power and ancient pride,
In gloomy silence still abide,
And rude mementos of the past
Pourtray the nature, form, and cast
Of times renown'd for chivalry,
Domestic feuds, and tyranny ;
And where the simple country scions
Delight to go to see the Lions :
Ah ! simple youths ! with looks abash'd,
Who wish not to be rudely splash'd,
Pray do not seek to see them washed,
For oft sea monsters that devour,
Lurk near the confines of the Tower.
Impress'd with this design, he plann'd
A boat should waft them from the Strand,
190 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Near where the bridge of Waterloo,
Delights the wond'ring gazer's view.
Conducted then by our relation
To the fam'd spot of embarkation
Behold -our pair upon the tide,
Directed by a skilful guide,
Whose oars the lucid surface lave,
That dipping cut the gentle wave,
Or pois'd in air delight the sight
With beaming drops of silv'ry light.
Fixed was their gaze where England's pride
In architectural pomp and stride
Surpasses all the world can shew,
Triumphant record of the blow
That humbled Gallia to the dust,
And all her daring projects crush'd ;
When from Napoleon's laurell'd head
The diadem imperial fled ;
Ah ! thought our sage, how just to raise
A lasting record of our praise,
How well conceived ! How useful too !
The splendid bridge of Waterloo !
Enraptur'd with the mighty plan,
From arch to arch his vision ran,
The doric column, balustrade,
The fabric horizontal laid
With sparkling granite that would seem
To mock the march of time supreme :
He mark'd the craft that buoyant rode,
Adown the tide that rapid flowed,
Or spurn'd the strong propelling flood,
And labouring brav'd the surf and scud ;
The buildings which the margin liil'd, . -
Where art and industry combin'd
IN LONDON. 191
To spread commercial blessings far,
And train the young aspiring tar
To scorn the perils of the sea,
Or guide the vessel's destiny ;
And nymphs who sought 'neath shady trees,
To catch the soft reviving breeze ;
Or ventur'd from the grassy land,
(Like guardian naiads of the Strand)
The gaily painted barks to gain,
That held each fond impassion'd swain ;
Revealing as they hasty skim,
The slender foot, and well shap'd limb,
And all that kindles with the sight
The rapturous thrill of soft delight.
The yielding boat her prow advanced,
And lightly o'er the waters glanc'd ;
And soon on Syntax' active sight
That beam'd with pleasure and delight,
The pond'rous iron structure rose,
That Southwark o'er the river throws :
Whose arches fill the mind with awe,
And universal praises draw ;
Dark Southwark's pride, and highest fame,
That only lacks Trafalgar's name.
Our Doctor's philosophic mind,
By nature and research design'd,
Delights with anxious care to trace
Improvement's graduated race ;
The rapid motion of the tide,
The water- works, and bridge beside,
That claim the city's special care,
And her familiar title bear.
192 DOCTOR SYNTAX
But soon the current swiftly drew,
To objects of a different hue ;
Our venturous pair with fear beheld,
The stream with angry force impell'd,
Terrific rushing through the way,
That claims the boatman's utmost sway ;
For death and danger lurk amid,
The rocks and piles in eddies hid,
Where London's clumsy structure rears,
The mould'ring wreck of former years.
Undaunted by the threat'ning view,
The guide resolv'd to venture through,
The narrow span-supporting ridge,
That marks the form of London bridge.
As arrow shot from Tartar's bow,
The wherry dips her pliant prow,
Now bending to her watery bed,
Now mounting high her pointed head.
With anxious look a gazing throng
Crowding the narrow bridge along,
From parapet surveyed the while
The venturous wherry shoot the pile.
Descending to the gulph profound
She cleared the starlings at a bound,
And would have glided light as feather
On ocean's breast in summer weather,
Into the smooth untroubled flood,
Had Doctor sat in tranquil mood,
But unaccustomed to such sinking,
With more than usual tremour, thinking
Into the bathos he was getting,
And that the vessel was upsetting,
IN LONDON. 193
He made a sudden stretch — a reach,
As to the fishes he would preach,
Hoping mayhap to catch a starling,
And closely hug it as his darling,
But'plump'd into the tide, like porpus,
Almost ere Dolly miss'd his corpus.
Then loud the shrieks from Dolly rose,
Dipping in Thames her own dear nose,
While crowds along the bridge repeat
Her shrieks, and cries of Doctor's fate
Resounded through all Billingsgate.
Thrice lucky they, when in the flood,
Whose caput seems as made of wood,
Or have lucky, to rely on,
As good a jacket as Amphion,
For Dolphins now, as far's we know.
Above the Bridges or below,
Instead of keeping folks from sinking,
Are only seen as signs for drinking.
No beauteous native of the tide
Offer'd our sage a friendly ride —
Where were ye, Tritons ! Nereids all !
Ye did not hear poor Syntax call —
Ah ! what could deafen or could spite ye ?
Hag as thou art, old Amphitrite !
For neither were ye, gipsies, playing
Near London Bridge, or idly straying
Along the banks of Thames's river
Where barges fish or coals deliver-
But left the sage, a son of glory,
To be picked up like John a Dory,
By boatmen's hands, in dripping state,
And carried into Billingsgate ;
194 DOCTOK SYNTAX
There at the Dolphin and the Whale
That spout for ever cheerful ale,
To dry like haddock at the fire
And drink strong cordials, and perspire,
Till half the little flesh he boasted
Was from his bones most kindly roasted,
And Mrs. Syntax came, so tender,
To be his comfort and defender.
What's good for one that's dripping wet ?
A suit that's dry, or a warm sweat.
What's fit for stomach that is cold ?
A glass of wine, or Stingo old.
What does a hungry man delight in ?
A piping beef-steak or a whiting.*
For wigless, hatless mortal, what ?
A wig that's new, and likewise, hat .
" What is good for bootless bene" ?-f
What but a pair of boots, I ween.
Thus Doctor having been restored,
From chance of falling overboard ,
Glad it was still within his power,
Again set forward to the Tower.
But wisely now resolved to keep,
On firmer footing than the deep,
Convinced that man's no alligator, •
He vowed to trust no more the water.
Next Syntax view'd the Custom's pile,
That ornaments ourfavour'd isle;
* Vide the Billingsgate dictionary,
IN LONDON. 195
Where, from all regions, commerce showers,
The quota of her golden hours ;
Whose lofty front and branching wings,
To Doctor's laden mem'ry brings,
The choice descriptions he had read,
When Greece by nurturing science led,
Display'd her love of arts and skill,
And woo'd the muses, to instill
Refinement through the vulgar throng,
And charm the world with classic song.
'Twas then that Architecture rose,
Triumphant o'er domestic woes,
And heedless of the mortal strife,
That drank in human blood and life.
The cause of kings — an empty name,
Ambition's offspring — martial fame !
Superior to such deadly bane,
She rear'd the costly dome and fane ;
In majesty and grandeur threw,
Her wonder working arts anew,
And to succeeding ages gave,
The finish'd column's architrave,
And all that claims the sculptor's arts,
And grace and dignity imparts.
Delighted with the view to find,
So much accorded with his mind,
He scarcely saw the busy throng,
The motley group that pass'd along.
Intently fix'd on hope of gain,
The sweet reward of toiling pain :
Till rudely mov'd, for in the way,
His lingering step unconscious lay.
At length commingling with the crowd,
Which ingress sought, aud worth allow'd,
196 DOCTOR SYNTAX
He paced the Long Room's ample floor
Admir'd its attitude and store,
Of every service that combine,
To shew its purpose and design.
And now the fine and beauteous day,
Advancing warn'd him of delay ;
His footsteps bent towards the Tower,
That first had claim'd th' attentive hour y
Landmark of ancient strength that stands,
And London's eastward scite commands ;
Whose lofty turrets, soaring high,
Attract afar the wondering eye ;
Ope wide your portals ! for a sage,
The boast and glory of his age,
Now comes in all the pomp of lore,
To scrutinize, remark, explore,
Whate'er his ardent mind may deem,-
Deserving critical esteem.
At length the Tower before him rears,
Her fabric of departed years,
Primeval with the earliest date
That gave importance to the state.
The yawning moat, the bastions strong,
The cannon rang'd in line along,
The walls' stupendous front and form,
And posterns which defy the storm
Of martial force or rabble mix'd ;
The Spur gate high, an outwork fix'd
To guard against assault, surprize,
In all their varied shapes arise,
While from behind the lofty spire,
And regal vane, where rooks aspire,
To raise a royal progeny;
And like the modern destiny
Of Britain's princes of renown,
Secure succession to the crown ;
The gloomy battlements which throw?
A murky shade on all below,
The Observatory placed on high,
And Drawbridge pointing to the sky,
In unison engross the scene,
And shew its warlike strength and mien.
The barrier pass'd and ingress found,
In endless order rise around,
New objects for our sage's note,
In after page to shew or quote.
The huge portcullis firmly chain'd,
His first remark and wonder gain'd ;
The sentinel and warder too,
Attract his scrutinizing view :
The last submissive points the way,
That leads to each long sought display ;
But first must Syntax' scanty purse,
The state and servant reimburse.
The penance Syntax heeded not,
Though much beyond the thrifty groat,
But madam blam'd in terms diffuse,
The venal, strange, and sad abuse,
That public men should meanly claim,
An impost on their country's fame,
And thus an obstacle upraise,
To needy worth, forbid to gaze
Upon the nation's works of art,
That shew her greatness, and impart
A thirst for glory and renown,
The fulcrum that upholds the crown,
198 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Advancing next, the Traitor's gate*
Unfolds in low and murky state,
The careful pass that once convey'd,
And 'neath the axe remorseless laid,
The daring form that spurn'd to show,
Respect for rank or power below ;
Or Patriot who by ardour driv'n,
Would save the state, or rise to Heav'n ; —
The gate misnamed, through which before
Went Sidney, Russell, Raleigh, More,
Who struggling in their country's cause,
Upheld her liberty and laws,
And on the scaffold firmly stood,
To seal the effort with their blood.
The Bloody Tower's dismaying walls,
To Syntax' active thought recalls
Ambitious Glo'ster's frightful deed,
That youth and innocence decreed
To perish, at the midnight hour,
Beneath the ruthless ruffian's power.
The Armouries next engaged his care,
Where all that's ancient, costly, rare,
And curious in the art of killing,
May be examined for a shilling.
The trophies won from haughty Spain
Minute and long attention gain ;
The blessings for our isle intended
When to the yoke our necks were bended
Of fell remorseless Inquisition,
Relentless fiend of dark perdition,
That takes in human pangs delight,
And gives the soul to endless night.
* Alias, the water-gate.
IN LONDON. 199
The thumb screws and the dread cravat
That horrid hands have fitted pat
To agonising wretch, who smarts
'Neath Superstition's cruel arts,
Because, perhaps, he will not own
That wine and bread are blood and bone ;
Or that a very brilliant flight
Of angels on a summer night
Did from Jerusalem kindly carry
The famous house of Lady Mary ;
Or haply, 'cause he could not pay
To have his errors wash'd away,
By a most wonderful solution,
That cunning priests call absolution,
And which they say fits greatest sinners,
With saints to take celestial dinners.
To show the great Armada's fate
Fits not the muse's present state,
Her object is but to declare
What most engrossed our Doctor's care.
The vice upon his thumb applied
The strain and pressure feebly tried,
Convinc'd him of the painful throes
Resulting from its galling close.
The steel cravat he fain would try
Upon a dandy lounging nigh,
But other subjects claim'd his care
Than those who bask in fashion's glare.
The Queen, whose love the people had
In panoply majestic clad ;
The dreadful axe that drank the life
Of Harry Tudor's lovely wife
The fair Anne Boleyn, held by fame
A noble, and a virtuous dame,
200 DOCTOR SYNTAX
The sacrifice to kingly lust
In memory upheld accurst,
Excite his wonderment and praise,
And further urge his prying gaze
As passing on the range to see
Of mounted kings arm'd cap-a-pee ;
The Ordnance office to the right
(A stately pile) engross'd his sight,
The anxious clerks the windows lin'd
To mark the sagest of mankind
For they had heard of Syntax's name
His pious worth and matchless fame.
He mark'd too where the beauteous Grey*
In dark and lonely prison lay,
Where still her hand upon the walls
Her hapless name and fate recalls,
Torn from the scenes she loved so well,
To deck a throne and press a cell ;
Crown'd but to die, and ah ! that death,
To sink the dreadful axe beneath,
While to add horrors to her fate
Her husband's corse in bleeding state,
Is borne along within her view,
Headless, like phantoms that pursue
With past delight and present sorrow,
The wretch that shall not see the morrow.
* Lady Jane Grey. She was beheaded on the green
in front of the chapel in the Tower. In her way to the
scaffold, she passed the bloody corpse of her husband
Guilford Dudley, (not the Earl of Guilford, as the
Rev. Mr. Dibdin, Lord Spencer's librarian, will have it
in his expensive Bibliographical Decameron, but) the
fourth son of the Duke of Northumberland. Lord
Spencer has a fine, and the only, original picture of her,
painted by Lucas de Heere, the year before her execu-
tion, while with her father and mother at Brodegate in
Leicestershire. Her hand-writing is still visible on the
walls of her prison.
IN LONDON. 201
The prison where fair Lady Jane
Pour'd lonely forth her plaints in vain,
Now, mark how time in change abounds,
Resounds full oft with other sounds,
Than those in sorrowing strain that part
From a deserted female heart —
Here now far merrier minds do duty
To England's pride and much lov'd beauty.
The scite of this fair dame's awards
Is now the mess-room of the guards,
Where England's beef is made to feel
The power of sharp and valiant steel,
And those who wealth and fame inherit
In quarters snug tip off the claret.
The Jewel Office too, where shine
The costly treasures of the mine,
That Britain's splendid state adorn,
And gild her sovereign's royal horn,
Our pair with curious eyes beheld ;
— Saw where a maniac once, impell'd
Like many a one of more renown,
Strove to obtain the envied crown.
The ornaments of splendid worth
Preserv'd for pomp and kingly birth,
They marked, and though the things were bright,
Were not much better for the sight.
Along the rooms by muskets lin'd
And other arms ingenious twin'd
Into a thousand fancied shapes,
Which here the witch of Endor apes,
They paced to see the means of war
And many a fray and bloody jar —
202 DOCTOR SYNTAX
The instruments and various ways
Which men invent to end their days.
Here the fell Hydra's scaly vest,
And there Medusa's snaky crest
Attract in turn our sage's eye,
And gain approving scrutiny.
They saw, now quiet as a lamb,
The mighty sword of Davy Gam,
Who boldly did its blade entrench
In sculls of the audacious French,
Fighting amid the bloody fray
Of Agincourt's illustrious day.#
Next through the crowd of warlike kings
They rove, whose splendid pageant brings
A visioned race with deeds that shine
From earliest age to Brunswick's line.
They pass before the memory's eye
Like Banquo's ghastly pageantry,
Stretching along the extensive room,
To crack of joists instead of doom.
These objects viewed as we have said,
And proper observations made,
By Doctor, who was rather fond
Of using terms somewhat beyond
His darling Dolly's comprehension,
Of which we need not here make mention,
For he was a philosopher,
And Madam — we'll gloss over her, —
* The exploits of " Davy Gam, Esq." are alluded
to by Shakespeare in his Henry V. ; but Hume, who
loves to deal in generalities, passes over them without
IN LONDON. 203
Our pair who now were rather sated
Of seeing things long celebrated,
Like patriot loosed from gripe of power,
Now turned their backs upon the Tower,
And having just by way of hint
Had a few glances at the Mint,
Where Britain pays for coining guineas
Not one of which now ever seen is,
And Matt, the master, pockets clear
For nought, twelve thousand pounds a year,
And a poor vain Italian clown,
Has stamped his name to Britain's crown,
Our couple now who still could boast,
Like angel on a desert coast,
A splendid shilling lingering in
The fold of purse now rather thin,
To lumbering hackney now betook them,
And though it rather rudely shook them,
Through rags and Jews and streets, where float
Full many a cap and petticoat,
Pursu'd at length their homeward road
And reach'd their fashionable abode.
END OF THE EIGHTH CANTO.
204 DOCTOR SYNTAX
To Science now we turn our gaze
And give a portion of our lays
To her who sheds a cheering light
To guide frail Nature's steps aright ;
And to the highly favour'd few
Who bring those treasures to the view
Of which fair Science keeps the keys
And oft unlocks by slow degrees-
Delightful mother of all knowledge,
More than is even taught at college,
Thy paths are rather tangled oft,
And puzzling to the head that's soft,
And many a brain's bewilder'd been
Thy various gleams and toils between,
And many a candidate for fame,
Has own'd the influence of thy name,
Though haply he had little store
Of thy most valuable lore,
Yet art thou a benignant friend,*
A guide to succour and defend,
IN LONDON. 205
The human race, who without thee
A hapless, motley crowd would be.
The visit which our Doctor next,
Still sticking to his prying text,
Intent through every thing to pore
And gather rare and useful lore,
Was to the London Institution,
Where learning lives by contribution.
Though oft, too oft, our man so holy
Was doomed to hear from tongue of Dolly
Full many a lecture, we may tell,
Keen, and delivered very well,
Yet still he wished some learned oration
To hear from those who fill the station
Of grave instructors, doctors wise,
Who speak as if all learning lies
Within the compass of their skull
They seem so confident and full,
And who perform the offices
Of high priests to the sciences.
Thus with a mind bent to explore
And art and science to adore,
Syntax expressed his resolution
Of visiting the Institution,
To spouse, who loved to shew her face
At every gay and public place,
And who like other ladies fair,
Made it her most especial care
To see and hear with pleased attention
Whate'er surpassed her comprehension,
For ladies now will e'en command
Things that they do not understand.
206 DOCTOR SYNTAX
JNo wonder then the fair ones learn
To lecture warmly in their turn,
When taught to beat their horrid cross drum
By the Gamaliels of the rostrum.
Pleased was our lady to attend
The Doctor, thus their ears to lend
To the renowned, enlightened oracle
Who oft descants so oratorical
On chemistry and all the arts,
That shew you the component parts
Of whatsoe'er in earth or air
Employs the mind's enquiring care,
And how ingredients are compounded,
And likewise how they are confounded. \
Ma'am thought no study could be better
For house-wives, who in frugal fetter,
Are forced to mix all kind of matter,
To make a decent shew at table
And stop complaint and hungry gabble ;
Those virtuous wives whose minds are far
From raising an intestine war^=
In husbands' or in children's belly
By cordial draught or tart or jelly ;
And hoping thus to gather store
Of such profound domestic lore,
From lecture at the Institution
To keep and mend the constitution,
* The stomach cramm'd from every dish,
A tomb of boiled and roast, and flesh and fish,
Where bile, and wind, and phlegm, and acid jar
And all the man is one intestine war.
Pope's Imitation of Homer, B. 2. Satire %.
IN LONDON. 207
She said she longed already for
The art of bottle conjuror ;
And Syntax and his rib so nice
Set out for Moorfields in a trice.
A goodly company they found
The lecturer assembled round,
Philosophers bred in the city
And wives and misses in committee,
Listening to the great doctor's story
Who now held forth in all his glory,
Like quack amid his laboratory,
Putting full many a harmless phial
And spirit to a fiery trial.
Our happy couple took their place
With a becoming modest grace,
While from his rostrum the expounder
With aspect sage, and still profounder*
Remark on all that nature yields
Amazed the wisest in Moorfields.
Like Saturn, oft not over clear,
In his own cloudy atmosphere,
With phial now — and now with stick
He bade defiance to old Nick,"}'
* Sinking from thought to thought, a vast profound —
Plunged for his sense, but found no bottom there.
•f Rosy and reverend, though without a gown,
Bland and familiar to the throne he came. Ib.
Out he held his stick.
Threatening to send old Ocean to Old Nick."
208 DOCTOR SYNTAX
He told them how the world was made ~\
As if he'd regularly been bred >
To the old planet making trade ; J
And show'd them how without complaints
The atoms and the elements
Contrive to keep on terms together
Through all variety of weather ;
How ooean's waves recoil, how fire
Not over modest, will retire
From water, which leads one to think
'Tis what it does not like to drink.
Then he'd varieties of gasses
Which no philosopher surpasses
Some that produced most strange effects
Upon the nerves of either sex
One that if you but take a' dose*
A sweet delirium bestows
To dullest alderman gives wit
And to despair a laughing fit ;
Some that were much disliked by cats
And others good for killing rats
If you could get them but to take
A draught from the curst brimstone lake ;
He had most wonderful potations
And strong preventive fumigations/f'
* Nitrous Oxyd, or laughing gas.
* Yeast and porter have been recommended by some
physicians as effective in the cure of fever. A celebrated
lecturing doctor, has publicly stated that a penny-worth
of salt, and a penny-worth of vitriol, (the doctor means
oil of vitriol, or sulphuric acid) would always operate
as a preventive against fever by being applied as a fumi-
gation. A little nitre and a little sulphur answer the
IN LONDON. 209
Drawn from profound and " yeasty deep"
Would all disease at distance keep,
And drive old Febris from the frame
If with his shaking fits he came.
How oxygen and hydrogen
Kindly make water o'er again ;
And how like him if you are wise
You may each substance analyze
Before you venture to apply it
To hungry appetite in diet,
He taught them by experiment,
Though some might think this time mis-spent.
He showed how ladies, too, with ease
Could give themselves what airs they plesea,
Without the aid of fan or fortune,
If they could only but make certain
Of the arcana he was showing
Which would long keep their lungs agoing,
For oft the stomach they would find
Was like a bag-pipe full of wind,
And growled and grumbled like a hag
The more you pressed upon the bag ;
They need not care for handsome fellows
To blow of life the anxious bellows,
For without aid of plaguey men
They might subsist on oxygen :
He called then for a bottle of air
With as much sang froid, I declare
As when I am dispos'd to dine
I call for my Falemian wine,
But very few would taste his stuff,
The belles seem'd to have airs enough
210 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Already, and though learned men
May live on windy oxygen,
Those who are used to good roast beef
Prefer more permanent relief.
The Doctors servant therefore got
The contents of the aerial pot,
A light and rarifying fare
Adapted well to keep him spare.
To prove how far his wondrous gas
Did all medicaments surpass
By doctors used in art of healing,
And for restoring proper feeling,
He said he would now if they please
Explain some of its properties
On those who laboured with complaints ;
Even sinners it would turn to saints,
And if their wickedness was over,
Like patients cured, they would recover !
Miss Betty Blowsy had a bump
Upon her back in form of hump
It was not true 'twas on her rump.
This bump so threw her in the lurch
She could not go to fair or church,
And was of looks so much afraid,
She scarcely could hold up her head,
Though ladies now, like walking stack,
Shew all a hump upon their back
The better haply to conceal
What 'tis not proper to reveal.
Be this howe'er as it may prove
To those who humps and hunch-backs love
He happy was thus to declare
That by a bottle of his air,
IN LONDON. 211
Miss Betty's hump soon disappear'd ;
The fair was from incumbrance clear'd ;
This wondrous cure they all could tell,
And therefore Bet. was very well*
It chanced a grave hoi'se doctor too,
Who this same Betty Blowsy knew,
Was troubled oft with spasms and gripes
Making strange war among his tripes ;
To quiet this internal ferment
Which threatened premature interment
He took a bottle of this gas
Which proved the farrier was no ass,
And from the moment that he took it
The poor horse doctor better looked ;
The oxygen had not miscarried
For he and Betty soon were married.
Some wits might smile, but he must say
Speaking as those Who know the way,
Great nature's secrets to discover
And glance her fertile wonders over,
'Twould be a most desired invention,
Deserving commendable mention,
And likewise to the state and nation
A profitable speculation,
To bottle up at proper times
The healthful airs of various climes,
Which some benevolent peripatetic
Might do, and under seal hermetic,
So watchful Bruin forms with plastic care
Each growing lump, and licks it to a bear.
212 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Bring them to this or other states
Where baneful air disease creates,
And thus let those who need such breath,
Keep off th' approach of grisly death.
In some snug box, like cit's retreat,
A mile from town, and very neat,
Or cell as close as warm bee-hive,
The invalid might keep alive,
By help of bottle after bottle
Though death be threatening him to throttle ;
Or you might now and then let in
By aid of friendly tube and pin
In gentle stream to his warm nest
The very air that he loves best.
Or, said the learned and lecturing sage,
What glory 'twould be to this age
Of vast improvement and all kind
Of knowledge which we call refin'd
And strange experiments to boot,
Were some of those great firms who shoot
Their gas pipes underneath the soil
To carry light for many a mile,
Pipes for pure ether to expand
To whatsoever distant land
Could boast the purest healthiest breezes
And kindly bring them home to ease us.
Ah ! then what luxury it would be
Gently to suck in with your tea
Such sweet congenial airs as fann'd
The fragrant plant in native land !
What joy in snow climes to inhale
The bland breath of fair Persia's vale!
What joy to sit and borrow here
The breath of western hemisphere !
IN LONDON. 213
How sweet to wand'rers from the groves,
Where pleasure still with freedom roves,
To raptured sense again to bring
The gales that waft the orange spring !
This would be worth the schemer's care,
But all these projects are but air.
Next with Galvanic apparatus
He'd undertake even to inflate us,
Though life's last spark was at the door
And make us lively as before.
By help of his electric art
Strange feelings too he could impart,
Strange sights and scenes could place before 'em
They scarce would venture to explore 'em
Imprimis, would they have a dance
Of poor dead frogs, as good as France
E'er showed on gridiron or in mire
Leaping at touch of thrilling wire,
Or his glass battery he would put on
And galvanize a leg of mutton,
Could make a dead bull's head to roar,
As loud as e'er it did before,
Nay, were it not for people's talking
He'd set all Warwick-lane a walking,
And make the butchers run as hunted
By gory forms of legs well stunted.
Delightful Galvanism ! he cried
Restored by thee, even rogues who died
Upon the gallows, have again
Play'd o'er their, thievish tricks amain
And spite of gibbets and Old Bailey
Kept up the game of life so gaily.
214 DOCTOR SYNTAX
A secret greater still he next
Made the fit subject of his text,
A secret which each fair to hear
Instant pricked up an anxious ear ;
Howe'er, it proved, his strange relation
Concerned no female reputation,
But to the church (" God bless the mark,"
The well paid parsons and the clerk)
The Doctor's secret was directed,
And therefore should be much respected,
He had devised a glorious plan
By which the church and mind of man
Would be considerably enlightened,
If people would not but be frightened.
His light he said would far surpass
All got from vile coke making gas,
Or any of the strange new lights
Which give the bishops such sad frights,
Then with a phosphorus match in hand
And lighted flame he took his stand,
With look more pious than before
And scanning the high chimneys o'er,
To show the object of his plan
On fabric Metropolitan,
He said he would with such a spark
Leave all the gas-lights in the dark,
And light up to its topmost walls
The splendid dome of great St. Paul's,
And show a bright and beauteous flame
Which should but differ in the name
From Sol, when he is pleased to shine
And would not this be very fine ?
IN LONDON. 215
The church 'stood much in need of light,
And pious aid of talents bright,
And Syntax thought the lecturer
In this was not so apt to err,
While Dolly whisper'd rather loud
To meet the ears of all the crowd,
What pity 'tis the royal head
Of church and state, whose pious aid
To mortals groping here, is given
To show them the right way to heaven,
Does not direct old Canterbury
To move with more than usual hurry
And put this scheme in execution
Though 'twere by tax or contribution,
That all the churches may be made
To shine with true phosphoric aid ;
And when it may be got by purchase,
Why should not light shine in the churches?
He show'd too how phosphoric matter
Within the water burns the better,
And did not doubt to live to tell
When folks without a diving bell
Should pay a visit to the fishes
And carefully select their dishes
By candle light, or take some frail
Unthinking mermaid by the tail
While in her coral cave reclining,
Or on some hapless sailor dining.
He too could prove strange things indeed
Which some might doubt to hear or read ;
For instance, he took up the light
Which they supposed burnt very bright,
215 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And told them that which he did handle
Look'd much indeed like burning candle,
But for an instant to suppose,
That that which now so vivid glows,
Was the poor candle burning bright
Would argue an imperfect sight :
For candles thus to burn before ye,
He said was an old woman's story,
Then out he blew the friendly taper
And lighted it again by vapour,
And burnt a paper o'er again
To make the matter very plain,
That candles do not give a ray,
Though they may somehow melt away,
And honest folks for light must pay.
Nay he could prove by force of flame,
Charcoal and diamonds were the same,
Though charcoal- venders in the sack,
Send only diamonds that are black,
And how Sir Humphrey's lamp with any one,
Would burn in Hell or Herculaneum ;
He likewise should convince them yet,
That heat was cold, and cold a sweat,
And sure he was that he could tell
All their disorders by the smell. ^
* The lecturer unfortunately is not original in this :
it is affirmed of St. Hilarian, that " he was so full of
the holy spirit, as to be able to discover by the smell
of the bodies, and the cloaths of men, or of any thing
else which they had touched, to what particular demon
(disease,) or to what particular vice they were subject."
See Middleton on Miracles. How much superior was
St. Hilarian to the doctors and reverend sages of our
days, in point of nose!
IN LONDON. 217
What revolutions this supposes
When cures should be performed by noses,
And doctors wise as priests should tell
If we are going to heaven or hell !
He show'd them too as if in banter
How best to shiver a decanter,
Though some who do not know the science
At this might bid the sage defiance.
At least our famous lady Dolly
Thought that her country servant Molly,
Tho' often scolded for her folly,
Could do as well that foolish trick
Without the aid of stuff or stick ;
But the great art was, it is plain,
To make things broken whole again.
To end his grave and learn'd discourse
And give his truths their proper force,
He would a simple feat exhibit,
Not a rogue rescued from the gibbet,
By art Galvanic to astound them,
Or bring a herd of bullocks round them,
Without their legs to move their laughter
Or roar out vengeance for their slaughter ;
Or power of detonating powder
To crack and dance and roar still louder,
But how his gas, as they should see,
Would with some sulphurates agree,
Acids, or oils, or alkali.
With that a bottle up he took
And casting round a sapient look,
Exclaim'd, " behold this simple vial
Which now I hold for curious trial,
218 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Soon shall it shew a wondrous sight,
Quick, presto ! — now it is alight, —
But as their wonderment increases
It burst into a thousand pieces,
Scattering dread havock through the room,
Dismay and a most horrid fume,
Which took the assembly by the nose
And sadly soil'd the ladies clothes.
Wild uproar now prevailed, and out
The fair ones ran in trembling route,
Screaming as if the gory train,
That dye the haunts of Warwick-lane,
Restor'd to life from cruel slaughter
With hurried speed were following after.
Ill luck too, that creates such frowns,
And plays sad tricks with ladies' gowns,
Would have it that our fair had on
Her sarcenet, to give the ton
To city dames, or such new comer
As might delight to copy from her.
That sarcenet, shaped so very clever,
By acids now was soiled for ever,
And madam, spotted black and blue,
As from the assembly they withdrew,
Curst lecturer and his acids too.
Thus learning, as our Doctor said
Is not of pleasure always made,
And often in its acquisition
We're sadly cross'd in our ambition ;
Like peeping Tom, we oft must pay,
For seeking fully to survey
Such mysteries of madam Nature
As she would hide from every creature.
IN LONDOX.- 219
Chemists ere now by accident
Pursuing some experiment,
Have had their shops blown 'bout their ears
And paid a visit to the spheres
Somewhat before they thought to mount
In air balloon the stars to count,
Like Madam Blanchard, when to see
The clouds, she set off a-Paris,
And then with downward knock so hard
Come bounce upon the Boulevard ;
Or like the libertine Don Juan
Who lov'd sweet innocence to ruin —
He whom we've seen in play and rhime
" Sent to the d — 1 before his time,"
For practicing a trifling vice
Which lords can do and eulogize.
Or, could we name him with such gentry,
Think too of hapless Pliny's entry
Into the fiery womb of Etna,
Where the poor sage may yet be getting a
Confounded roasting for his looking
Into the place where d — Is were cooking ;
And thus it is we're roasted ever,
By teazing wits or by the liver,
When on the search of fame we enter
And break our natural indenture
With ignorance and common rules,
And seek to pass beyond the schools.
E'en I, you see, my dearest Dolly,
Am an example of this folly,
For spite of hope's inspiring power
And fame that woos to classic bower,
I see the curst mephitic gasses
Still circling round the great Parnassus,
220 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Still is the triumph of my play,
Deferred until a distant day,
And all we can, my lovely Dolly,
Is to beguile our melancholy
With the strange sights that London yields
Until we reap more classic fields,
And when I gain my laurel crown,
Thou shalt not want a finer gown ;
Not e'en Melpomene the fair
With Dolly Syntax shall compare.
END OF THE NINTH CANTO,
IN LONDON. 221
NOTE TO CANTO IX.
A scientific discourse was recently delivered at
H y, by a celebrated lecturing doctor, in which
ideas somewhat similar to those in the foregoing
Canto were very gravely inculcated. Miss Lack-
wit, a young lady who has the honour of styling
Mrs. Syntax her aunt, and who with the rest of
the young ladies attending the boarding school at
that place, were present at the lecture, thus communi-
cates to Mrs. Syntax some of the particulars of the
edifying discourse : the doctor, it seems, acted on this
occasion as his own door-keeper !
For lectures to pay, what a whimsical fate 'tis
When from you I've so many, and all of them gratis!
But we all went to hear the great Doctor unfold
The plan of the body, and '* how we take cold."
How charming it was as our school went up stairs !
We march'd like a regiment, by fours and by pairs.
When we got to the top the great Doctor was there
As grave as a methodist groaning a prayer,
With his arms wide extended from pillar to post*
That none might get in without paying the cost,
For he fear'd, as he said, that the door-keeper cheats,
And that " some he makes pay," but that " others he treats."
To show you his figure at once by my skill,
He look'd like the gallows that stands on our hill.
* Middleton on Miracles, and St. Jerome in his Life
of St. Hilarian, have a curious story of this monk driv-
ing the devil out of a Bactrian camel, in which most
praiseworthy act we are told
" He stood firm with his arms suetch'd out."
222 DOCTOR SYNTAX
When all were arrang'd as the Doctor had plann'd
He mounted his stage with a stick in his hand,
And then with what firmness he held out his stick
As if to wage war with Old Care or Old Nick.
He said he'd determined, that give him but leave,
He would number the ribs of old Adam or Eve,
That with pictures, and bones, and a stick and all that
He would point out the ribs of a rabbit or cat.
Nay, did we but deign to attend he would try
To shew that a telescope might be an eye ;
And he said it was clear by experiment true
That the flame did not burn, and the sky was not blue.
To prove that he knew how we all are composed
And that it was truth which he thus now disclosed
He exclaim'd, " here I stand, an example of knowledge
" I'm an A double S and the son of a college ;
" Who is there that knows not my labours and name?
" I shall fill the posterior trumpet of fame,*
" My glory's so spread that no wonder you'll rank it
" With that famous squire who was toss'd in a blanket ;
" I'm not come here to prove that a lobster's a flea,
" So I tell you you'll gain nought but knowledge from me,
" Here I stand — on my right lo ! a skeleton shines
" On my left I have various little designs,
•' The teeth and the hands and the feet to display
" All drawn to the life and as clear as the day,
" For ladies you know if the bones I should handle
" And show them all round, I should need a fresh candle.
" Now ladies ! see here," and he points to the skull,
" To begin — I'll suppose that you're all of you dull,
" Ere I've closed you shall learn from this lecture alone
" To distinguish a jack-ass's head from my own !
" Now you all must perceive two remarkable places
" In front of the scull, which enliven our faces —
* And now had Fame's posterior trumpet blown,
And all the nations summoned to the throne.
IN LONDON. 223
" They're the sockets for eyes, and as various their hues
" As the rainbowy shades that we see upon dews.
" There a muscle is placed so as best to obtain
" The end that's desired at the base of the brain;
" A little above the olfactory nerves
" The nose for its properest office preserves ;
" And the hearing;" but really 1 thought it a hum,
Why, he said that you hear by the sound of a drum !
In plain English, this news I endeavour'd to lump it,
For I know that some hear by the help of a trumpet.
But the doctor went on — " On the nose you may see
" Two holes near the eyes, they're apparent to me ;
" These holes are the means (so the doctor supposes)
" That in crying some tears tumble out of the noses
And now 1 can feel them come out of my snout
Like so many porpoises rolling about,
When I think on the parsonage, rising to view,
And the sweets I've enjoyed with the doctor and you.
Of the tongue, he observed with papillae beset
It communicates taste if they're constantly wet ;
So the nose of a dog, if he wets it but well
And keeps it quite cool, is in capital smell.
The feeling he told us inhabits the whole,
From the end of the fingers quite down to the sole ;
Thus the web of the spider explains the design
For he lives in the length of each separate line
Still stranger, he said, I remember, the heart
Was a double concern, — here my own gave a start.
I wish I had asked to what place they had gone
Who like some modish people declare they have none;
This must equal one more of his wonderful tales
That we have of whole half ribs two more than the males.
If the men have of ribs and of hearts such small store,
I think that we females should have many more.
Then he told us 'gainst cold to appease our alarm.
" If you walk quick enough you are sure to-get warm."
Not to tell you all round how they do in the city,
To catch cold and money would be a great pity ;
224 DOCTOR SYNTAX
In search of the cash they are ever, you know,
And they now run above and they now run below,
From cellar to parlour so frequent they skip
That they get a sciatic — that's cold in the hip;
But if people would value their health as they should,
They would keep themselves always in temperate blood.
But indeed, my dear aunt, all the rest that he said
In this act of his lecture, on body and head.
The lady who took notes in short-hand denies me
To copy out more, and it does not surprise me,
For you know when I want you to part with the pelf
Like that lady, you keep all the notes to yourself.
IN LONDON. 225
Daughter of Jove ! immortal Muse !
Thou who hast kindly deign'd to infuse
A portion of thy heavenly fire
Into my breast and humble lyre,.
Or if you'll have it, hurdy gurdy,
(T like a verse that's stout and sturdy,
Though rather homely in its way,
And not like modern poet's lay ;)
Inspirer of my epic song,
I fear we have delay'd too long
To pay respect in our relation
To the great theme of legislation ;
That theme which now with labouring pain
Engages each parturient brain ;
And as of old from Cuckold's horn
The sapient goddesses were born,
Each head sends forth, as Jove's once sent,
A monster or a government.
Let us attend with Syntax' eyes
And see how laws and systems rise,
226 DOCTOR SYNTAX
How people's wants are by their betters
Measur'd, and how by proper fetters
They are confin'd, and all such matters
How states are rul'd — how men give vent
To their great minds in parliament :
How taxes are proposed, and how
They into frightful burthens grow,
And with what fury, like the storms,
The ministers oppose reforms,
Sending by wholesale to perdition
All ranks that offer opposition
To will supreme of powers that be
And dare to preach economy
To those who hold the public treasure
And treat the nation at their pleasure.
The sage whom thus we celebrate
Was bound to pray for Church and State ;
And piously his prayers he mutter'd,
For on that side his bread was butter'd.
Like others too in orders holy,
He upwards look'd to please his Dolly,
To that blest bench where in their glory
The bishops cry memento mori,
Rosy and rubicond and jolly
As our renown'd and blooming Dolly,
Fed on no skim-milk, cream or honey,
But busy counting tithes and money,
Housing their grapes with hand so civil
Because, they say, the days are evil.
Syntax was bound, as we acknowledge,
To aid with prayers and all his knowledge,
The side that Holy Mother takes
To keep her store of wine and cakes,
IN LONDO.V. 227
And when the minister was falling
To exercise his pious calling,
In crying out to every stranger,
Like those that live at hack and manger,
" The Church and State are both in danger :"
Yet much our good and holy man,
Who was no fiery partizan,
Desir'd for once his nose to mix
Among the smoke of politics,
And, now he could without a hoax,
Peep into old Pandora's box,
And try to find amid the fret,
If hope was at the bottom yet
Of Britain's woes, he now determined
To spy a little of the ferment,
That when some mighty question calls
Reigns nightly in St. Stephen's walls.
He therefore took the first occasion
To make a sort of slight invasion
On Dolly's meek and placid mind,
By telling her in accents kind,
He must for once leave her behind ;
For like the Spirituals in lawn
He now was by ambition drawn
To shine awhile in temporal places
And show his phiz among their graces,
In short— and here he smooth'd his words,
He now was going to the Lords —
And if he could by half-a-crown
Smooth the Cerberian look and frown,
Of guardian door-keepers who stand
With portals shut and open hand
228 DOCTOR SYNTAX
The Commons great assembly too
He would from gallery review.
'Tis sometimes felt as sort of curse
That wives delight to keep the purse,
But for the honour of the gown
Our fair one pulled out half-a-crown,
And said for once she'd not he hard,
But stay at home and play a card
With her obliging good landlady
Who for such tasks was always ready,
And ever had, her friends to amuse,
A tale of scandal and the news.
At hour of public business then
Our most renown'd and learn'd of men
Set out like senator so great %
Or prouder minister of state,
For that dark old mis-shapen pile
The boast of Britain's favour'd isle,
Where with warm zeal her statesmen mix
In jar of wrangling politics.
That source of Britain's weal or woe
Freedom's best shield or deadlie st foe,
Europe's support or overthrow ;
Where eloquence with moral thunder,
Makes knaves and puny wits knock under,
Shakes proud corruption on its throne,
And makes th' applauding world its own ;
Then imitates the servile tribe,
Shows its own shame and takes a bribe,
Shines like a Chatham or a Fox,
Then plays to truth a scurvy hoax
IN LONDON. 229
Like Burke, and pockets the disgrace,
Laughing the nation in the face.
That scene he reached, where the best logic
Is that which carries best the project,
And he is prime we may suppose
Who can command the ayes and noes ;
Prolific scene ! whence issue forth
Mandates that desolate the earth,
That spread the smiles of peace afar
Or wake the fiends and flames of war
Here met, as in the grave, we see
Of life the strange epitome ;
The difference is — the distance small
^Between the Abbey and the Hall —
How little now does Fox or Burke
Care for a Frenchman or a Turk ;
And though to prop their honours still
Majorities are at their will,
Pensions and places, sinecures,
And all that England's back endures,
Yet there is one won't care a flea
For C g or for C h.
With such reflections in his mind
On fleeting honours of mankind,
Syntax, himself in fame not small,
Entered erect Westminster Hall
Where oft, if aught could triumph o'er him, -
Full many a sage has gone before him,
With statelier wig, in fur and gown,
To press the public woolsack down,
And when the season came in view
To help to shear the poor sheep too ;
230 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Where still the legal shears are seen
To clip whatever comes between,
And lawyers' tongues, that ne'er are still,
Run like the clatter of a mill.
The numerous courts of endless law
As on he passed our Doctor saw,
But did not once wish to get in —
They looked so like the realms of sin.
So up the antique stairs he skipt
And through the lobbies lightly tript
Into the peers' illustrious house
Where plebeian creeps like fearful mouse,
And as the house could not afford
A seat to aught beneath a lord,
Doffing his good three cornered hat
Like Turk, he humbly laid him squat
Behind the bar upon the mat ;
For 'tis required in places high
That commoners should stand or lie,
And this they say is dignity.
He mark'd the chair — yclept a throne
Where Heaven's vicegerent sits alone
And sanction o-ives to all the acts
That heavily the people tax,
While the re-echoing clerk and quill
In Norman French proclaim his will.
Arranged he saw on either hand
The noble peers of England's land
On weighty subjects now debating
And now on bench familiar prating,
Now listening to the dread relations
Of horrid green-bag informations,
Now gravely throwing by the scores
Some poor petitions out of doors,
IN LONDON. 231
While to the bar with many a how
To listen to the house below
The good old chancellor came trotting
With seal in hand their wishes noting.
Next to the house more famed for speeches,
Where eloquence its climax reaches
When posts and pensions are in view
And jobs are to be carried through,
Our curious sage explored his way,
Or rather we should plainly say
To that antique and narrow crib
Where squeezed has been full many a rib,
Styled gallery of the House of Commons,
Where one would need the ribs of Romans.
Having sooth'd Cerberus with his sop
Syntax his nose got leave to pop
Into the senatorial " room,"
Enveloped in an awful gloom,
Of Gothic pomp and grandeur, where
He scarce could see the speaker's chair
Far less his wig or person view
Though some like Melville could see two-A-
Here then upon the gallery's brink
While printers squeezed him black as ink
* Melville and Pitt, who super vinum,
Oft sat. and chuckled o'er their tricks,
Till there was little sense between 'ein,
Then went to talk of politics :
For the great house forsook their liquor,
But being drunk as Davy's sow,
Says Pitt, " I cannot sec the Speaker,"
Says Melville, " why, I can see two."
232 fDOCTOR SYNTAX
Syntax looked on the vast profound,
And heard at length the welcome sound
Of orator in accents big
Address the man in the great wig :^=
" Hem ! Mr. Speaker ! sir, I move
" That order be preserved above ;"
(" Order there, in the gallery order !")
Down goes the motion by recorder.
" This honourable house, sir, has
" Against disorder standing laws,
" And whilst I hold the envied station
" To represent the British nation,
" Or whilst I have a leg to stand on,
" This mighty cause I'll not abandon."
Cheers from the ministerial side,
And down sits Dick, the great, with pride.
Next rises one whose great ambition
Is to present a long petition —
" Start not, good Mr. Speaker, at
" The long and fearful length of what
" I am about to lay before
" This house as bound in duty, for
" It is no insolent demand
" For a reform throughout the land
" Or for reduction in the expences
" Of state, from folks out of their senses,
" Nor is it for the preservation
" Of the dear rights of this great nation,
" But, Mr. Speaker, and the house,
" I scorn, Sir, to bring out a mouse,
* Honest Jack Fuller's description of the Speaker-
" the little man in the big wig."
IN LONDON. 233
" This long 1 petition pleads the case
" Of an abused prolific race
" Which this illustrious land inhabits,
" I mean, sir, the great rights of rabbits !''
The patriot ceased, while some cried w hear,
" Odd rabbit it — it's wondrous queer."
Then followed an important motion
Of which I've got but a slight notion ;
It seemed a mixture of all matters
'Bout which each side so often clatters,
To curb the people's wild relaxes
And make them quietly bear taxes,
To labour in their proper station,
And swallow bible education ;
The slave trade and its distant horrors,
But more on the immediate terrors
From whites, and lest they should extirp us
We should suspend the Habeas Corpus,
For starving stomachs will rebel
, Unless you feed or bind them well.
Much did good Syntax and the rest
Admire the statesman next who prest
With attitudinizing air
To claim the attention of the chair,
And beat as much as he was able
The books and parchments on the table.
'Tvvas Britain's greatest statesman, who
Brought all his treaties to review,
To shew how well (not unrewarded)
Her trade and interests he had guarded,
"Twould be, he said, unlike this nation,
Generous beyond specification,
234 DOCTOR SYNTAX
To keep whatever she'd obtain'd
From an ally who was her friend,
He therefore nobly had restored
All that was conquered by our sword
And did not doubt our drooping trade,
Would by such policy be made
To prosper, and the British name
Acquire still more immortal fame.
'Tis true those great and firm allies
Whom we thus treat and subsidize
Were not so bowed down by a weight
Of taxes and of endless debt,
And might by rivalry out-do
Our trade, but then great Waterloo
Must make the continent respect us,
And Louis never would neglect us.
The learned gentleman behind,
Who spoke before should keep in mind,
That fundamental features were,
Not always at first sight quite fair,
But he would still straight forward go,
In spite of all the cries of No ;
Then the Right Honourable turned,
And then, at length, the house adjourned.
END OF THE TENTH CANTO,
IN LONDON. 235
The hour was late, or rather morning
When our good Doctor was returning,
For now the business of the state,
Like sinner's vows, is somewhat late,
And so in all states and all nations
Are salutary reformations ;
But the great guardian powers that keep
The watch of nations never sleep,
Though one would think it rather hard
To keep for aye such watch and ward.
The stimulus of strong ambition,
Howe'er on every condition
Is such that now with patriot zeal,
All ranks would wake for England's weal
'Till like the great ones, some snug trap in,
You find them 'mid cheese-parings napping.
Time's speaker had applied his throat
To give a short and fearful note,
Scatt'ring the ayes and noes, and telling
The drowsy crowd to seek their dwelling ;
236 DOCTOR SYNTAX
When as we've said, our learned man
At length his homeward march began,
And nought but charms of Dolly kind
Was running in his anxious mind.
It pleas'd, however, the watchful god
Who in his watery abode,
For Jehu a kind out-look keeps,
And patronizes all the whips,
About that most eventful hour
To tumble down a plenteous shower.
Setting each hackney wheel in motion,
And sweeping down as with an ocean,
Along the streets and sewers each thing
That stinks in London's fruitful spring,
Offal of butchers' market, rotting,
Vernals from Covent Garden floating,
And, spared by mudlark, lifeless cats,
And oyster-shells and stinking sprats —
All these now met in odd confusion
And added to the sad ablution
Which Doctor got as on he went
Their sweet and congregated scent,
For not one of the thousand hacks,
Driving along with eager thwacks,
And who, when you don't want them, ever,
Like cozening jilts, are courting favour, —
Not one of all the scoundrel tribe
Would hear our sage or take his bribe,
And Syntax thus to find his way
Through rain, or in some alley stay,
Was left, but reach'd at length Pall Mall,
Sure there to find in warm hotel
A refuge from the shower, and good
Juice of the grape to cheer the blood.
IN LONDON. 237
A stately dome with splendid blaze
And portals ope, attracts his gaze;
With eager step in Syntax goes
And to the hurrying waiter shows
A full as keen and knowing nose
As any of the lounging crowd
That throng the place and bawl aloud ;
It was not long howe'er before
Our sage found by the noise and roar
That stead of a superb hotel,
He'd enter 'd what they call a hell,
Fit name, I ween, for such a place,
Where there is little sign of grace ;
Houses where oft full many a one
By desperate gambling is undone,
And where the fellest harpies wait,
With claws as keen as Ocypete,*
Of property or an estate
The best conveyancers that ever
You met, they are so very clever ;
And where by chance and under cover,
Full many a property's made over
The gambling board to swindling troops,
Of scoundrels, by their foolish dupes.
Though view'd by some, our sage could feel
As if he'd been an alguazil,
Sent from the den of Inquisition
To learn the secrets of perdition,
Or emissary peeping there
From Bow Street office or Queen Square,
* The name of one of the Harpies.
238 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Syntax at once contriv'd a way
All such suspicions to allay, —
His hat so clerical in shape
Could easily the fashion ape,
So as the dandies do when warm
He whipt it underneath his arm,
Folded, as if for instant sport
He'd come from Almack's or the Court,
And eager this new scene to view
Took up the cant, and even a cue.
Tho' parsons this should seldom do.
Admitted to the strange sanctorum,
Where, billiards, cards, or dice before 'em,
The votaries and the victims too
Of gaming still their fates pursue,
Our sage beheld with inward wonder
The odd and motley scene of plunder,
Which oft by spendthrifts may be seen
Snug carrying on behind the screen,
Though the police to spoil their games is
Oft scouring Pall Mall and St. James's.
The turns of chance — the revolutions
Of fortune's wheel, whose retributions
Full oft vindictive punishment
To breast of guilty victim sent,
He mark'd, but scarce could silence keep
To hear the curses loud and deep
That burst from the unthinking train
When fortune stript them of their gain ;
Or when some hapless ruin'd pigeon
'Gainst whom the knaves have carried siege on,
Sees all his expectations crost
And wealth and peace for ever lost —
IN LONDON. 239
Lost in some wild and wanton stake,
But now at last become awake,
To the infatuating rage
That madly led him to engage
With villains in the horrid Babel
Of profligacy's gaming table.
At such " d — n'd, dear distracting places,"
Those who contrive to shew their faces,
And pay subscriptions or keep credit
With cash in hand, or those who need it,
The thirsty slave of fortune may
Drink sorrow dead drunk without pay,
Or by repeated glass or bowl
Fit for dark deeds his brooding soul.
It chanc'd while thus our sage look'd on
Watching each look, hearing each groan,
Though gold in heaps was spread before 'em,
He mark'd one of the anxious quorum,
Who late had thousands, sit him down
Not worth now e'en a single crown.
The wine, the punch, the friendly cup
To keep the flagging spirits up,
Were ever near — and o'er and o'er
He drank them out and call'd for more —
" All, all is lost — so here we go" —
He cried, — " come, keep me going, Joe,"
And Joe while he the glass was taking
Was still the other bumper making,
And ever with distraction wild
He turned where his lost gold was piled,
And wished, and muttered curse profound,
That instant darkness might surround
240 DOCTOR SYNTAX
The scene and sights so hateful grown,
That he might grapple for his own.
Then starting phrensied from his seat
The mighty ruin to complete,
With well directed sweep of stick
He plunged each light in darkness quick
And then, more desperate than before,
All hell was raging in uproar :
Confusion reigned throughout their ranks
Making sad havock 'mong the banks,
Some were employed each other licking
Others were busy pocket picking,
And waiters fast were stowing all
The cards and dice and every ball
In artful chinks behind the wall,
While every wire with quick vibrations
Its telegraph communications,
Was from the door to garret making,
Like magic, due precaution taking
Against inquisitors' intrusion,
For by machinery Rosicrutian,
Each gambling house is thus protected,
And cut and seamed as if dissected.
Poor Syntax, lost amid the strife,
Now almost trembled for his life ;
His way unable to remark,
He laid about him in the dark,
For man will do this in defence
Though made of perfect innocence
And loudly join'd in the uproar,
Until at length he found the door,
And down the stair he tumbled flat,
Minus his much loved wig and hat.
IN LONDON. • . 241
Whoe'er has read with admiration
The " wild and wonderful" narration
Of Orpheus going for his wife
To Pandemonium's scene of strife,
Where, it is said, (let wives beware,)
Go even the beautiful and fair,
To live with Pluto, King of Hell,
Unless they love their husbands well,
And husbands like their spouses so,
That they for them to Hell would go ;
Whoe'er we say has read how Orpheus
Scorning to sleep alone like Morpheus,
Descended to Hell's very middle
And by the habeas of his fiddle,
Brought up to earth the lovely corpus
Of his Eurydice, like porpus,
Or Venus bobbing from the water,
To raise again a noisy clatter,
Will haply guess or may conceive
What our description scarce can give,
The struggles dire, the toil and labour,
Of Syntax who possessed no tabor,
No fiddle or the best of lutes
To charm to peace the sordid brutes,
Whose furious rage and fiend-like yell
Resounded through tho gambling hell, —
The struggles dire of our good sage
To leave this most infernal cage,
And get to her who wanted not
His aid to meliorate her lot —
The wife he loved and longed to see —
Dolly, the true Eurydice.
And well it was — yes, it was well,
Even for the inmates of that hell,
242 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Who did our Doctor so maltreat,
That Dolly knew not of that feat,
Or his Eurydice with glory
Would quickly have reversed the story,
And with the music of her tongue,
Beat up the quarters of the throng
Of dicing knaves, and made them quake
As if reduced to their last stake,
Or all the dreadful Bow-street minions
Had rush'd into the d — l's dominions.
But luckily without such succour,
Tho' rather in a sort of pucker,
Our sage as we before have sung,
While loud his sapient noddle rung
With hard knocks, like a parish bell,
When a new clapper beats it well,
At length got to the welcome door,
And using prudent Nature's lore,
Which oft consists in quickly plying
The legs, when one's not used to flying,
Bade rather hastily adieu
To gambling hells and all their crew,
And by the aid of friendly watch
Who take, too, oft what they can catch,
Got for a shilling, spite of folly,
To Marybone and lovely Dolly,
And laid him down that fair beside,
Who kindly turned not once to chide ;
The reason was to Doctor plain,
Her tongue was bound in slumber's chain ;
And Syntax almost wished that sleep
Would bind it o'er the peace to keep,
IN LONDON. 243
For the remainder of his life,
Though much he loved his lawful wife.
When Mrs. Syntax woke and found
Her husband's head with napkin bound,
And saw the signs of a contusion
Which he had got in the confusion,
Or in his manner of descending
The stairs that seemed to have no ending,
She rubb'd her eyes and screamed outright
And woke the Doctor in a fright,
Who, though his head was rather queer,
Soon soothed and pacified his dear,
By telling her his odd adventure
Of being forced a hell to enter,
And of his being thrown with pain
Like helpless Jonah forth again.
" A hell !" quoth Mrs. Syntax, " sure
" You speak in parables obscure —
" I never in my life heard tell
" Of parson being sent to hell —
" If such the end of their good lives,
" I tremble sadly for their wives —
" But have you not been in a dream,
" Whose frightful images still seem
" To haunt your fancy, like John Bunyan's
" Poor travelling pilgrim, whose opinions
" Led the poor wanderer to imagine
" He still was bent where fiends were raging.
" But recollect, my dear, you went
" Last night to see the Parliament —
" You do not mean, for it would be
" A treasonable simile,
244 DOCTOR SYNTAX
" To liken, sure, the house of speeches
" To places where no quiet reaches,
" And where, 'tis truly said you know,
" None but corruptest sinners go."
Our sage at this interpretation
Of his most wonderful narration,.
Could not forbear a smile, and said r
His Dolly need not be afraid
Of his e'er throwing imputation
On the great council of the nation —
As parson looking for a mitre
He'd as soon swallow draught of nitre,
As entertain the vile ambition
To shine in records of sedition ;
And then again with patience due
He ran his night's adventures through.
Explaining more than we can tell V . J '
The secrets of a gambling hell,
Till honest, unsuspecting Dolly
At length conceived the matter wholly*
And lifted up her hands to say
What fools they are that trust to play.
iiat oi\i teoJ
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END OF THE ELEVENTH CANTO.
bats : vkw Imb •
IN LONDON. 245
'Tis fortunate that when a head
Not altogether made of lead,
But such as Heaven had given to Syntax,
Meets with hard matter, knocks, and fine cracks.,
If destiny but spares the brains,
The store of learning still remains,
And, tho' 'tis jumbled, by good luck it
Don't leave the head like empty bucket.
When Syntax by good Madamjs care, •
Had lost the marks of that curst stair,
Down which we've said he rudely fell,
In gambling regions of Pall Mall ;
He next resolved an hour to pass
Among the bustling busy mass
That crowd the City's active scenes
To raise the needful ways and means,
And daily visit the Exchange,
To hear or circulate something strange.
Syntax, no votary of gain,
Was only anxious to obtain
246 DOCTOR SYNTAX
,Some information about trade
Because he oft had heard it said
That Stock and Paper both were Cash
And also, that they were but trash
Which were upheld and kept afloat
Mechanically as a boat
With all her hands employed to guide
And make her sail against the tide.
To have the facts completely proved
And all his wavering doubts removed
If cash and paper are the same
Or public stock an empty name,
And what to Ma'am was dearer still,
To see the nation's paper mill,
The Bank, and wonderful Cornhill,
Where neither corn nor hill are seen,
But lottery puffers intervene,
And jobbers and a lounging train
Of bears and bulls pursue their gain,
The Doctor and his spouse set out,
Resolved to take the straightest route
Which Mrs. Syntax said she heard
Was through the great St. Paul's church-yard,
" Where," she exclaimed, H I hope to meet
" No spectre in his winding sheet
" Nor aught unpleasant to the sight,
" Altho' it be in full day-light ;
" For well, my dear, you recollect
" The terrible and strange effect,
" Produc'd on me by being scar'd
ff In coming through our own church-yard
" That evening when I chanc'd to pass
" Close by the beadle's harmless ass
IN LONDON. 247
" Which by mistake had been left out
" To wander like a ghost about —
" I therefore trust we shall not see
" What may affright or you or me,
" Yet still I think they wanted grace,
" To make a road thro' such a place."
At this the sage began to smile
And told his dear no harm or guile
Could near her come, for she would meet,
Thousands of folks in every street,
But Mrs. Syntax still averr'd
That going near to the interr'd
Was not to her a pleasant duty
For death was a great foe to beauty ;
And to excite a dead man's groans
By walking rudely o'er his bones
She never would, 'twas sacrilege,
And not in human privilege.
At last the Doctor said, " my dear,
" You need not have the smallest fear,
" Tho' certainly it is a pity
" That any road into the city
". Should be through consecrated ground,
" But then no other could be found,
" And of a thing there's no abuse
" When it's applied to proper use."
ii od ii
Ere the good Doctor could say more
Poor Mrs. Syntax gave a roar,
As he had never heard before. ]
This frighten'd him to such degree
That he could neither hear nor see ;
He therefore stood for some time still
To know if ma'am was taken ill,
248 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And finding it was not the cage,
Began to look about the place
For madam's cause of fright, when full
Within his view a raging bull
Came driving on from Smithfield foaming,
Along the crowded streets wild roaming,
Oft making most uncivil pops
Into the brittle china shops.
With stick uplifted Doctor stood
Bravely resolved to shed his blood
Against his horned foe in scorn
For her who ne'er gave him a horn,
But luckily a brewer's dray
Forced Johnny Bull another way,
Which made the Doctor to exclaim
" Praised be the Lord and blest his name
" That we are yet possess'd of life,
" And that we are still man and wife,
" For what would be my lot if thou
" Wert taken from my side just now,
li I neither should have strength nor will
" To leave this spot on Ludgate Hill."
Here Mrs. Syntax heav'd a sigh,
And said, " I have no wish to die
" For I am happy and content
" And have no wish to be a saint,
" But now I recollect, my dear,
" That we some time before were here ;
" Did we not see that building there,
" With these great men and large broad stair
" Surrounded by these rails and walls."
That, says the Doctor, " is Saint Paul's,
" Which I believe you have not seen
" Because I know we have not been
IN LONDON. 249
" In this part of the town before,
" But certainly no place is more
" Deserving of such high respect,
" Nor calculated to affect
" The mind with wonder and surprize
" To see the beauty and the size
" Of that sublime and sacred place
" Which occupies so large a space
" And shows the skill and art of men
" But chiefly of the famous Wren,*
" The architect, who rear'd and plann'd
" This noble structure which will stand
" I hope for many after ages
" A holy temple for such sages
" As shine like burning lights and torches
" In our cathedrals and churches.
" But for myself, though a divine
" It is impossible to shine
" Being so distant from the light
" That I am nearly out of sight,
" Except it be when on a Tour
" Or in my parish 'mong the poor.
" Howe'er a Deanery or See
" May yet be still conferr'd on me,
" And Syntax' name among the courteous
" May blaze like Sacheverel or Porteus.
" But come let us go on, my dear,
" For I will stand no longer here,
" Because I now begin to find
" The force and fury of the wind ;
* Sir Christopher Wren.
250 DOCTOR SYNTAX
." Besides it now begins to rain"-^-
Says Mrs. Syntax, " that is plain,
" And I am very much afraid
" That we shall be sometime delay'd
" Because I fear that we must stop
" And try to get into a shop."
To this the Doctor would not bend
But with the wind strove to contend
Which turn r d th' umbrella inside out
And whirl'd the Doctor round about ;
His hat and wig too went adrift
With Madam's parasol, like skift
Flying before the unruly gale,
Blanching each cheek with deadly pale.
Her shawl and cap were like to follow
Which made her sadly scream and hollow,
And much she laboured with invention
Still to prevent the right ascension
Of what was very much inclin'd
To obey the impulse of the wind ;
But all the efforts she could try
Could not divert the uncivil eye
Of those young fellows who delight
To stand and gaze at any sight,
Especially the shape and dress
Of any lady in distress.
At last she met with kind assistance,
And conquer'd Boreas by resistance.
Each piece of dress was then brought back
To where it was before th' attack,
IN LONDON. 251
And thus by care and fighting hard
Our lady clear'd Saint Paul's church-yard,
But Doctor Syntax could not stop.
He was so light and had such scope
That nothing but a. wall or pier
Could be opposed to his career ;
At last by accident or chance,
The flying Doctor stopt at once,
And then exclaim'd, " God save my wife,
" I hope she has not lost her life
" For I have run a race for mine
•" Without intention or design."
Here Mrs. Syntax came in view
And cried, " dear Doctor, is that you ?
" See, I have brought the things you lost,
" When you were running like the post
*' That brings the letters and the mail.
" Or like a ship when in full sail.
'/ How could you run at such a rate
" And leave me there in such a state ?
" Yet I am very glad to see
" That you are safe as well as me,
" For I suspected When I *heard
" We had to pass through a church-yard
" That something bad or very strange
" Would give us trouble, or derange
" The plan we had in agitation
" To see the treasure of the nation.
" But had I known what I should meet
" I would have gone by Newgate-street."
" Come,'' says the Doctor, " do not chide
" For we have now got to Cheapside.
252 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Says Mrs. Syntax, " then I'll try
" If things are cheap, I want to buy
" A piece of silk and Brussels' lace
" To line and ornament the face
" Of my old bonnet and straw hat
" Which have for many years lain flat.''
Here Syntax was obliged to stop
Till she call'd at a mercer's shop
To try if things were cheap or dear,
For she supposed that all things here
Must surely be charged very low
Or else the name's not apropos,
But 'stead of being rather lower
The price of every thing was more.
Ma'am therefore, in a sort of dudgeon
Pronounced the mercer a curmudgeon ;
Then onward to the Poultry press'd
In hopes to find, dressed or undressed,
A precious morsel, duck or pigeon,
Or wild fowl rare, partridge, or widgeon,
Or any thing that could be got
To please the taste, or fill the pot.
Soon as her ladyship got there
She eagerly began to stare
Expecting that at every house
There would be woodcocks, snipes, and grouse
Exposed on benches to be seen
By those whose appetites are keen ;
But what was her surprise to find
That not a creature of the kind,
IN LONDON. 253
Nor woodcock, pigeon, fowl or feather
In all the Poultry together
Could she discover or come at
Except the plumes in ladies' hat,
This she declar'd was very strange
And that there ought to be a change
Made in the manners and professions
Of those that occupied such stations,
Or else the names are mere deception
Which cannot long escape detection.
" But come, my dear," the Doctor cries,
" Here is the Bank, see what a size !
" If I could only find a door
" The place I'd speedily explore ;
" I'll visit every room and closet
" If I meet nothing to oppose it."
The door they find, and in they enter,
And soon are in the very centre
Of the vast crowd in the rotunda,
Which on each holiday or Sunday
Is kept as close as any drum,
And silent from the usual hum.
Here then our party stand and gaze,
And look around for Henry Hase,
" For," says the Doctor, " if I can,
'* I must behold this noted man."
And here the Doctor took a station
To see what was the occupation
Of such great numbers as were there,
For it looked almost like a fair,
254 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And Mrs. Syntax said she thought
That something must be sold or bought,
For she observed no one alone,
And that they all laid something on
A bench which served them as table, ,., %
But she confess d she was not able ,.
To learn their meaning or intent
Tho' she could hear the word per cent.
" Then," said the Doctor, " I know well
" That people here both buy and sell
" By hundreds, and to great extent,
" And, therefore, I am fully bent
" On having some more information."
At this, he went, with animation
To ask what they were doing there,.
And learn'd that they were to transfer
Or change, some stock from hand to hand
In consequence of a demand.
" What !" says the Doctor, " is that all
" The business done in this great hall
" In which I see so much commotion
" That it is like a troubled ocean —
" I thought that none but men of rank
" Or else Directors of the Bank
" Could use such freedom in this place,
" As I discover is the case.
" Surely the end for which they met
" Is not to buy or yet sell debt ?
" Where promissory notes and bills
" Are numerous as druggists' pills,
" And I have often heard it said
" As easy and as quickly made ;
IN LONDON. 255
" But now, my dear, come let us try
" To see this manufactory,
" For though I am now pretty old
" I never saw rags turn'd to gold.
" Although the practice now it seems
" Is such that all the country teems
" With nought but paper made of rags,
" And this must fill our money bags
" Instead of the good sterling gold
" Which we shall never more behold
" Unless for it we take a dance
" To Holland, Germany, or France.
" And then the process is so quick
" That 'tis performed like slight hand trick
" Of conjuror, before one knows
" How the thing either comes or goes."
Here next our party looked around
If any passage could be found
By which they best might gain a sight
Of what so seldom sees the light,
The boasted loads of precious ore
'Tis said the Bank has piled in store,
For though they were not firm believers,
They strongly hated all deceivers ;
And once resolved to be so bold
As see the bullion and the gold
Which they had heard was4o be seen
By those who said that they had been
Among the guineas, crowns and bars,
Preserv'd as trophies gain'd in wars ; .
256 DOCTOR SYNTAX
But Doctor Syntax and his wife
Were ne'er so puzzled in their life
On week-day long or preaching Sunday,
To find the way from the rotunda
Where they had hoped to have the pleasure
Of seeing all the precious treasure.
At last the Doctor said, * my dear
" Let us examine what is here."
But after walking up and down
He could not see a single crown,
Except a few which carried hair
And were so impudent as stare
At the good Doctor and his lady
Who thus appear'd prepared and ready
To undertake some operation
For most minute examination ;
But there was nothing to admire,
Which caused our party to retire
And try another way to find
What uppermost was in their mind.
Pausing again, they next stood still
To read a long and printed bill,
Supposing that it would convey
Some information of the way
Towards the specie and the treasure
Where they expected so much pleasure.
But it contain'd no information,
About the place of destination
Which made the Doctor to remark
That they were wandering in the dark.
IN LONDON. 257
" But let us go right round about,"
He said, " I've not the smallest doubt
" That we shall see the whole extent
" And eveiy farthing not yet lent."
When thus the Doctor had express'd
His resolution not to rest
Till he had entered every door
As well behind him as before
They both set off full speed t' explore
The passage by another door,
But all their efforts to behold
The vaunted hoards of shining gold,
Were vain — had madam been a scullion
She could not less have seen the bullion,
" Therefore, my dear," says she, " let's go
" Either straight forward or below,
" For I suppose there is no more
" Rooms or apartments on this floor,
" And as I think where we have been,
" We've nothing grand or wondrous seen
" We need not go into per cent
" Because I am sure they there pay rent,
" And things are screw'd to such a height
" That they could not be worth the sight.
" I have not now the smallest doubt
" But all those with a board put out
" Above the door, upon the wall
" Are rooms to let both great and small."
Though Mrs. Syntax' observation
Delivered was with animation,
Yet still the Doctor kept in view
The plan which he meant to pursue
258 DOCTOR SYNTAX
To take if she would not prevent
A survey of the whole extent,
For after walking round the square
And every office that was there
They next got where the Tellers stand
Who pass the money through the hand
With such rapidity of motion,
That it outstrips the quickest notion ;
At this the Doctor was anmz'd
And Mrs. Syntax stood and gaz'd,
Till Syntax said, " come forward here,"
Then she approached so very near
To see the weighing of the gold
That she was soon politely told
That none but dealers or directors
Were there considered as inspectors ;
But madam did not yet retire,
Because the pleasure and desire
To see this traffic was so great
That she was still disposed to wait
And view this pleasant operation
Of alchemy or transmutation,
Which by the motion of the hand
And powerful order or command
She saw vile rags so quickly chang'd
To gold and silver, all arrang'd
In regular order, rank and file,
And then collected in a pile ;
Ma'am then was taken from her station
By Doctor who now made oration
Upon the value to the nation
IN LONDON. 259
Of Banks and Marts of such extent
Where so much cash was made and lent,
Then left the place, design'd to view
The Stock Exchange and Lloyds' book too,
And next to visit all the walks,
To see the dress and hear the talks
Of those that sit, or stand, or range
Around that busy scene the Exchange ;
But madam said she would remain
Till Doctor should return again
From viewing all the bulls and bears
And every animal that fares
Upon the common public stock
Which would evaporate like smoke
Should any sudden alteration
Assail the income of the nation.
When Doctor Syntax cross'd the way
It chanced to be an idle day,
But still a sample of the stock
Were playing in a motley flock,
And though the alley was not full
He met by accident a bull,*
# A practice exists among persons, who often pos-.
sess no property in the funds, to contract for the sale
of certain portions of stock against a future day at a
stated price. If the price of that stock should be
different from the price agreed upon when the day-
arrives, they only pay or receive the difference be-
tween those prices.
Although this practice is contrary to law, yet it is
260 DOCTOR SYNTAX
That nearly toss'd him in the air,
And then he lighted on a bear
That forc'd him back upon a broker
Who shook the Doctor like a knocker ;
This made his hat and wig both fly
To such a distance and so high -
That they came down with dreadful force
And struck against a heavy horse*
Which made the animal turn quick
And carry off the Doctor's stick
That struck a lame duck trying towaddlef
From alley dark to have a paddle
Within the Serpentine or Thames
To put an end to all his schemes ; d-pttm
The Doctor also got a kick
In trying to preserve his stick,o;m;c
But this was only on the heel
And did no more than make him reel J
Although it made him more afraid
Than any trick the beasts had played,
carried on to great extent. In the language of Ex-
change Alley the buyer in such cases is called a bull,
and the seller a bear.
* When subscribers to any loan pay up the whole
sum at the time of the first payment, the receipts for
such payments in full, are sometimes called heavy horse ;
and the receipts for partial payments light horse.
t An unfortunate dealer in stock, who becomes
bankrupt, is termed a lame duck, and his retreat is
called waddling out of the alley.
IN LONDON. 261
For he conceived in the next round
He might be levelled with the ground,
Or that some member of the flock
Would by some means reduce his stock
Which had already got a fall
By combination and cabal,
For he was minus three per cent.
Before he utter'd a complaint,
Or showed the smallest inclination
To hazard any speculation,
For having seen these bulls and bears •
Thus make so many quick transfers
Of personal and real stock
He thought that it was all mere mock,
And that the brokers and the bulls
Had all agreed to make such pulls
Upon the stock he still possess'd
That they would not allow him rest ;
Howe'er they soon were driven by force
Away by help of some light horse
Which now came on to his assistance
And thus prevented all resistance.
But on receiving back the scrip
One of the horsemen with his whip
By chance came round the Doctor's ears
Which very much increas'd his fears
That these light horse that just had come
Were not to raise his omnium,
But that they meant to play some trick ;
Yet his instalments came so quick,
We mean his hat, and wig, and stick, *
262 DOCTOR SYNTAX
That he began to look around
Where they could be so quickly found,
And then at last became convinc'd
That the gall'd jade had only winc'd ;
Yet Syntax was not well content
Upon the whole, at the event
He'd met 'mong dealers in per cent.
For where he thought to be amus'd
He'd only sadly been abus'd,
And lest the beasts again should rally
He now resolved to leave the alley.
He rather, therefore, melancholy
Retrac'd his way straight back to Dolly,
And told her the adventure strange
He'd met upon the Stock Exchange ;
Her patience had begun to tire,
But now she redden'd with fresh ire
To hear how Doctor had been treated
'Mong bulls and bears so rudely baited
And call'd them all a set of brutes
Whose name with their profession suits.
But let us leave the bulls and bears
To their pursuits, their tricks and cares,
That we may take a wider range
And see whate'er is new or strange
Upon that bustling scene th' Exchange,
And now it happen'd just to be
About the very hour of three,
When the great murmur is begun
Of wealth and trade, and rumours run,
IN LONDON. 263
Making the funds with sudden bang
Fly up and down in Alley slang,
And every bull and duck and drake
And all the alley croakers quake.
By this time met, there might be seen
A crowd of faces looking keen
For others that they wished to find,
Who possibly were not inclined
To come within the sphere of view
In case they should hear nothing new,
And others wish'd to meet some friend
That they were certain would attend
Although it might be rather late
Before he met him at the gate.
In close confab, here you might view
The turban'd Turk and bearded Jew,
Slave dealers in the land of freedom,
Like bravoes, seeking those that need 'em ;
Broad bottomed Dutchmen seeking gain,
Grimacing crowds from France and Spain
Travellers from either Ind, Armenians
Tracing and gleaning all dominions,
Cits that are worth a double plum
Seeking the other paltry sum ;
Yankies that take their neighbours in,
All jabbering 'mid the venal din.
Then here the objects are so strange
That no place can compare with 'Change.
The crowds that meet from every place
With all the hues and forms of face
264 DOCTOR SYNTAX
That nature or that news can make
When property is plac'd at stake ;
The dresses and the outlandish talks
Seen too and heard upon the walks,
Besides the bills, the boards, and puffs
That state the price of pills and snuffs
And the placards around the walls
Make 'Change more curious than the Malls.
'Tis known that all, both rich and poor
Around the Exchange may take a tour,
And if they wish, or should think fit
They have it in their power to sit.
This by the Doctor was perceived
And even by it a part reliev'd,
For he required a little rest
After being so roughly dress'd
By the rude shavers in the alley
Where it is often rather squally.
But madam had no inclination
To lose aught by procrastination.
She wished directly to proceed
Around the place, and then to read
Some of the strange placards and boards
That this commercial place affords.
As Syntax always was inclined
To look at things of every kind
He did not long remain at rest
But soon got up and then expressed
His happiness to hear and see
Such symptoms of prosperity.
As soon as Doctor left his seat
Ma'am plied again her busy feet ;
Pleased to remark and idly stare
At every thing within the square,
And " bless me," oft she cries aloud,
■" I never witness'd such a crowd
" Of gentlemen:, in all my life,
" And not a lady or a wife
" Among them all, but what strange creatures
<e Are these with black and ugly features ;
" They seem to have upon their backs
" A long white sheet, or bags, or sacks,
" That nearly trail upon the street ;
*' I thought them women come to meet
u Their husbands, or some other friends,
" That hither come for various ends ;
" Are these poor seamen from the wars
" Or persons that you call Lascars ?"
Thus ma'am described in long oration
The costume of the Turkish nation,
Till Doctor told her these were Turks
With whom the unchristian spirit lurks.
To see the sights and hear the gabble
Of Britain's great commercial Babel,
Could not be done in one short hour,
And Syntax meant to quit at four ;
He therefore went to have a look
At the extraordinary book
In Lloyd's, which he had nearly missed,
And oft heard talked of by the List>
26G DOCTOR SYNTAX
That furnishes such information
Of vessels and their destination,
With observations and remarks
On all the ships, the brigs, and barks,
That carry Britain's trade abroad,
O'er all the boundless watery road.
As Doctor started thus to go
He told his spouse to stop below,
For she must know none of the fair
Were e'er allowed to go up stair,
But he should not detain her long
Except the Captains' room was throng.
Then quick our venerable man
Along the allied staircase ran,
Prepared to see the pondrous volume
And to inspect each curious column,
But there, unable to explore,
The passage, he mistook the d oor,
And got among the underwriters
Who look'd as busy as prize-fighters.
Scarce had the Doctor reach'd the fire
When he was ordered to retire
Because he had no business there,
Not being a contributor.
At this he was not well content
And left the room, but as he went
Right opposite he saw a door
Which he went into as before,
And there discover'd on a table
The wondrous page, but was not able
Either to read or understand,
It look'd so like the scribbling hand
IN LONDON. 267
That on the wall, as Scripture says,
Was written in such wondrous ways.
Syntax, in books so wondrous sage,-
Now therefore left this curious page,
And quick returned to seek for Dolly,
Who tired of waiting chid his folly,
And hurried off her patient spouse
Towards the stately Mansion House,
Where London's Mayors presiding sit
And show their wisdom and their wit
Jn sending vagabonds to jail,
And teaching law to ladies frail ;
And where, too, London's hospitality
Is shown in annual prodigality.
Our prying pair just took a peep
Into the court to hear the deep
And learned doctrines there laid down
To awe the gentry of the town,
And kindly were awhile admitted
To see the starving rogues committed !
They had by favour too a small
Peep into the Egyptian Hall,
Where gobbling reigns on solemn days.
And Doctor said, instead of praise,
He nought could see from Egypt rare,
Except Egyptian darkness there.
Thus through the City having gone
Our pair returned to Marybone.
END OF THE TWELFTH CANTO.
268 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Strange are the sights that London yields,
The most prolific of all fields
For gratifying curious eyes,
And making even green-horns wise*
Strange too the adventures that one meets
Sometimes in rambling through the streets.
For here, as on peculiar ground,
The oddest characters are found,
Of all conditions, ranks, degrees,
Following their several bents with ease j
And almost every corner, lane,
And alley dark, is justly vain
Of some much celebrated place,
Though always not the haunt of grace.
As if o'er classic regions led
The traveller finds beneath his tread
The ashes of illustrious dead,
And starts to think that now he stands
Amid the boast of far famed lands,
And that his eyes perhaps survey
What thousands in their passing day
IN LONDON. 269
Have wished to see and have not seen,
Though curious even as Sheba's queen ;
So oft the stranger rambling through
London's vast scene its sights to view,
And trace the manners of the throng
Who fill its bounds or pass along,
Finds with surprise where'er he goes
Some place that fame or fancy chose
For most remarkable events
Or giving pleasurable bents
To whim, or whatsoe'er's the rage
And striking features of the age.
Our Doctor was himself a child
Of Fancy, and lov"d places wild,
Like any poet of the lakes
Who 'mid the rocks his pleasure takes,
And knew no more of cant or slang
Than silly maids who drown or hang
For love, because perhaps their fancy
Takes up with Susan, Bet, or Nancy ; .
But he had often heard of those
Who as the cant and fashion goes
Are styled to glorify their lives
Lads of the Fancy and the Fives.
The wishes of our learned man
Therefore most naturally ran
On seeing those who thus to lead
The fancy even will freely bleed.
It chanc'd one day as sauntering round
St. Martin's consecrated ground,
270 DOCTOR SYNTAX
To mark the vast improvements making
Where there indeed was need of raking,
Though lurking there, I ween, still dwell
Full many a rogue and wild rakehell,
The hero of this faithful page
Paus'd to survey with aspect sage
The various signs and invitations
That claim'd awhile his meditations ;
In labyrinthine streets where mix'd
In medley strange, you see betwixt
Coals and potatoes, bread and butter,
And things I almost fear to utter,
Matches and eggs, and nice spruce beer,
And on the wall inviting near
Strange ! "women's things dyed black " appear.
As thus our sage his observation
Threw careful round his studious station
He heard a loud exulting shout
As from some motley rabble rout,
Issuing from corner strange and dark,
Which made our listening sire remark
There must be something which his mind
Searching the ways of human kind,
Might there deem worth a sage's seeing
Tho' not with polished tastes agreeing.
The crowds that still came pouring down
From every quarter of the town,
From each famed spot that heroes yields,
St. Giles, Duck-lane, and Tothillfields,
To the more courtly haunts of whiskers,
Must achioed lords and dashing friskers,
IN LONDON. 271
That crowded in, convincing, showed
He was not far from some abode
Where people thus of each degree
Expected curious sights to see.
Then closer scanning the resort
He found it was that scene of sport
And fistic glory, the Fives Court.
No Christian soul, no heart humane,
Could more abhor the fighting train,
And all the arts and trade of strife
That oft endanger human life,
Than Syntax, who beside his calling,
Had a most strong dislike to mauling,
And thought that those who love such ravages
Were not superior to the savages,
Yet still he had an inclination
To see their haunt and occupation.
So without further self debating,
How tongue of slander might be prating,
Should a bright honour of the church
Be seen within th' unholy porch,
Though even, in worldly rank, his betters,
Favourites of princes and their graces,
Are oft attendants at such places,
The Doctor joined the crowd and ventured
To thrust his nose where others entered ;
But found even here he could not see
Nature's worst scenes without a fee.
This duly paid, though some scarce heeded it,
To one who looked as if he needed it,
272 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Syntax passed to the strange sanctorum,
Where he beheld arranged -before him,
A wooden stage behind a bar,
And bruisers ready for a spar,
With arms outstretched and hideous frown
For sport to knock each other down.
A dark and dismal place it seemed
Where sun-light scarcely ever beamed.
High were the walls and black as jet,
Most prison like, and such a set
Were in that murky precinct met
As our good Doctor never saw,
Except those rescued from the law ;
Yet these were under patronage
Of the great nobles of the age,
And hand in hand you here might see
Each noble with his protege
From Saffron-hill or vile Duck-lane,
Of such acquaintance very vain !
The scene did Syntax strongly strike —
He thought that like still draws to like,
Though rank and riches, and condition,
Combine to change mankind's ambition.
But the gladiators in view,
And the poised arm, and sharp set-to,
Which now attracted the attention
Of Syntax and the group we mention,
The parry quick, the fib, the close ,
The rally and the knock down blows,
Right handed facers, laying flat
The hapless nose like opera hat,
IN LONDON. 273
The claret spouting like a tap,
And peepers closed by sudden rap,
Made Doctor stare with look surprising,
And quickly changed his moralizing
To the most culpable degree
Of folly and barbarity,
Which now has made the science fistic
A sort of trait characteristic
Of this our age and polished nation
Which claims the praise of reformation.
Disgusted with the sights in view
Though all were lauding the set-to,
Our Doctor left this famed resort
Of bruisers and the sprigs of Court,
And with reflections far more holy,
Went slowly home to chat with Dolly.
4JNU OF THE THIRTEENTH CANTO.
274 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Whoe'er from country town remote
And rural vale's sequestered spot
Longing to see the world, has come
To mix in London's busy hum,
And lounge awhile, to gape and stare
At all the wonders that are there,
Will readily admit that all
The strange collection, great and small,
That claim as stranger passes by
The wonder of the gazing eye,
Can't be surveyed in day or week,
Or even a month, the truth to speak,
Though one had all the eyes of Argus,
They lay so many strong embargoes
Upon the legs and sense of seeing
Of each investigating being,
And often, what is felt much worse,
They lay a tax upon the purse,
As hard to bear by some conditions
As Castlereagh's dread impositions.
IN LONDON. 276
Our pair who felt the attractive power,
Still lingered in Augusta's bower,
Though prudent ma'am was often grudging
Th'expence of living and of lodging,
For Syntax had to bear, tho' hard,
The lot of many an anxious bard,
The unpitying, cruel, long delay
Of his best hopes, his darling play,
Which without either rhime or reason
Was running fast to the next season,
But not as author wants to run,
Not blazing like another sun,
But like the moon or unseen planet,
Behind a cloud, with none to scan it,
Though flattered that each night its splendour
Would make the critic tribe surrender
The gall they carry in their gullet
And be as tame as a choaked pullet.
With pleasure thus and sometimes care
Went time, till came Bart'lemy Fair,
Which Mrs. Syntax vowed sincerely
She'd see, tho' it should cost her dearly.
When madam took it in her head
To stick to any thing she said,
As was with her a practice common,
And is the case with many a woman,
It was in vain for her good man
To try to turn aside her plan,
Or alter in the least degree
Her mind's unchangeable decree,
276 DOCTOR SYNTAX
That like the Medes' and Persians' law-
No alteration ever saw,
Or will admit ; so strong the will
Of womankind, and such their skill
That though for ever disobedient
They win us by some new expedient
To give consent to tyrant rule
That makes the wisest man a fool,
And by a bondage largely stor'd
With more than freedom can afford,
By love's inexorable decree
Annihilates our liberty.
Thus fared it with our sage and wife,.
Whenever rose a cause of strife
For madam, though the weaker vessel.
Was not accustomed e'er to press ill ;
Her most Elizabethan mind
To reign o'er Syntax seemed design'd,
And he like loyal subject bowed
And kiss'd the sceptre and the rod,
For love in him, the love of peace,
Which woman's tongue will oft increase'
Taught him that it was wiser, better,
To strive to obey than break the fetter,.
And not like adverse pigs in string,
A host of greater miseries bring,
Upon the neck round which the yoke
Of Hymen's fixed, ne'er to be broke.
So Doctor, used to madam's sway,
Allowed her still to have her way,
IN LONDON. 277
And after preparation due,
They both set out the Fai r to view.
Following the crowds, the way they got
To Smithfield's celebrated spot
Where fires have blazed, and for the sake
Of faith, at superstition's stake,
Martyrs have died, to glut the rage
Of bigots who disgraced the age ;
Blest change ! where now at market prices
Are made more blameless sacrifices,
To please with many a bellyfull,
The appetites of Johnny Bull.
There many a milk-white heifer stands*,
And sheep that crop the flow'ry lands,
And calves — pray reader do not smile,
At this our classic Georgian style,
For calves there are, digram vitulo,
Who in the train of grandeur follow;
And there the semblance of good John
Of England, who upholds the throne, _
The glory of the herd, full many
A Bull, as fait and fat as any
Was ever offer'd on the shrine
Of heathen old for Gods to dine,
On market days you may espy
Muster'd, as if with piety,
The priest-like butchers were to lay
(The men who do not often pray)
With sacrificial steel and halter
A hecatomb upon the altar
Of some propitious god that takes
A bribe of mutton and beef steaks ;
278 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Where too, with pomp of annual show,
Riot and mirth, and copious flow
Of gin, and many a little go,
Tumblers and swings, and dancing bears,
And stands of gingerbread and pears,
That best of Saints, Bartholemew,
Leads in vast crowds his sportive crew,
With always something strange and new,
To please the happy cockney train
And pamper even the aldermen.*
When Mrs. Syntax saw the crowd
That filled the place with clamour loud,
And mingling with them felt the motion,
Of human beings like the ocean
Rolling along from side to side,
And now upheaving like the tide
When in its wide tremendous throat
It swallows some poor hapless boat,
With fear impressed our loving pair
Began to faulter and to stare
And wonder how they thus came there.
Some short relief howe'er they found
When launched upon the open ground,
Like bark from narrow creek set free
To roam at large in boundless sea.
* Bartholomew Fair is held by charter, and though
many attempts have been made to abolish it, the im-
mense revenue it annually brings to the City of London
will always be a sufficient guarantee for the continu-
ance of this sanctioned mart of vice, riot, and profligacy.
IN LONDON. 279
Here then they stood like many more
To gaze the ample prospect o'er
Of most inviting raree shows
Displayed in long and goodly rows,
And mark on every painted screen
The numerous wonders to be seen
Within ; the figures on the stages
That would compel the greatest sages
To laughter, visum teneates f
For there, good sirs, you may laugh gratis ;
The nymphs in buskined pomp, with faces
As like the red and rosy graces,
As paint can make them, paint laid thick
As with a broom or even a stick ;
And then as many harlequins
With legs like posts and ghastly grins,
As if the hapless wretch in dolour
Was grinning through a horse's collar;
These all in gay confusion meeting
To airy sound of music beating,
" Now advancing, now retreating,"
Now taking others by the nose,
Now quaffing Hodges' gin so heating,
Now tripping madam Punch's clothes,
Giants sublime and giantesses,
Not over cumbered by their dresses
Fire eaters that the flame ne'er wounds,
And man that weighs five hundred pounds,
Dwarfs, monkeys, and phantasmagoria,
Raised from the d — l's dark emporia,
280 DOCTOR SYNTAX
These all, we say, their power combined
To please the idle gazer's mind,
And draw from purse howe'er unwilling
The slender sixpence or the shilling.
Next many a monstrous beast and birth
As ever terrified the earth,
Or sprung from mercenary conception
Of fertile artists in deception,
Attracts attention and affrights
With hideous howl and dreadful sights.
Here in his cage, not boundless wood ,
Some starving lion roars for food,
Some tiger from the Strand or badger
Decides some clown.or cockney's wager ;
A serpent there, Boa Constrictor,
Employs full many a grave conjecture,
Though in his wandering course old Boa
Has travelled from Japan to Goa,
And from Bengal to Europe o'er
Exhibiting his tail and power,
Assuming all the nomenclature
That suits his snaky, serpent nature.
Where the air rings with laughter loud
A sly buffoon allures the crowd ;
Drawn by the magic of his face
And mirth and wit, they throng the place
There humble scenes to all present
Men's follies in their wide extent,
The triumph gay, the battle's rage,
The feast and pastimes, crowd the stage,
IN LONDON. 281
While, like a giant, o'er the whole
Stalks with huge paunch the wondrous droll,
Whose belly large, and unconfined,
Is balanced by a hump behind.
Our pair beheld awhile the train,
So fondly of their gambols vain,
Then Mrs. Syntax aptly said
The Doctor should encourage trade
By seeing what there was behind
The curtain to engage the mind ;
The expence was scarcely worth the mention
Tho' 'twere unworthy of attention.
She wisely thought they therefore should,
Now they were there, see all they could :
She cared not for the puppet-show
But much she wished to see and know
The giantess who without art
Acted so faultlessly her part,
That like an Amazonian fair,
She could upon her bosom bear
A ponderous weight, much heavier than
The pressure of fat alderman,
Or he whose body without fun
Amounted just to half a tun.
As ma'am upon this sight was bent,
She and the Doctor inward went,
And there were mingled in a trice
With company not over nice,
Which made our fair turn up her nose
And wonder that at twopenny shows
They have not boxes as at theatres
To separate folks genteel from creatures
282 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Who have, she said, no better breeding
Than hogs that in the stye are feeding,
And though your elbows make resistance
They will not keep their proper distance.
Behind the blanket wedged and crammed,
By vile tobacco smokers jammed,
Syntax and his illustrious lady,
Stood till the giantess was ready
And till their patience had a trial
Would tire the strongest self-denial.
When the kind keeper of the fair
Who thus in secret " caused their care,"
Still, on the other penny bent,
Had filled his pockets and his tent,
And by the crowd and exhalation
The place approached to suffocation,
Favoured at length by time and fortune,
Uprose the dirty tatter'd curtain,
And to the astonished eye display'd
An Amazonian fair, but made
Of wax, of virgin wax 'twas said*;
A thrifty fair, that by God's blessing,
Stood not in need of endless dressing,
Such as you see with shoulders broad,
In barber's window a -la-mode,
With top-knots high and bosom bare
To emblem forth the modern fair,
And make the lounging puppies stare.
Our lady gaped in mute surprise
And scarcely could believe her eyes ;
IN LONDON. 283
If that was all was to be seen
She would not give a single pin
To see a foolish waxen figure
Tho' it was twenty times much bigger.
As for the rascal of a showman,
Thus to put forth a waxen Woman ,
For giantess of flesh and blood,
The cheating, vile, rapscallion should
Be sent to prison of th' Old Bailey
And kept on bread and water daily.
The crowd exclaimed, " a cheat ! a cheat !"
And Lady Wax was forced to beat,
A most precipitate retreat.
But this we sadly grieve to say,
Was not the whole of this strange play :
It happened by an odd fatality,
As things will oft do in reality
A carpenter who by disaster
Was passing o'er the slippery plaster*
Of neighbouring house, that jutting bent
It's eves o'er giantess's tent,
Came tumbling down with sudden drop
Upon the waxen lady's top,
And through the canvass made his way
Without " sirs, by your leave" or pay,
Creating a most strange confusion
And giving some a hard contusion ;
With indignation the kind keeper
Of lady giantess, the sleeper,
* This circumstance actually happened at the late
284 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Fell on the carpenter with rage,
And would have acted on the stage
A tragic scene, but was himself
Soon pummelled for his love of pelf.
Till he could scarcely see the way.
To turn him in the vengeful fray.
Meanwhile our Doctor and his wife
Contriv'd to 'scape this scene of strife,
And to a place of safety got,
With many a hole in Doctor's coat,
And on good madam's many a spot.
But worse misfortune still they found
Had yet befallen them on that ground-
Their pockets in the rabble rout
Were dextrously turned inside out,
And all that they contained abstracted
While the 'bove tragedy was acted,.
And not a shilling left to pay
A coach upon their homeward way.
END OF THE FOURTEENTH CANTO.
IN LONDON. 285
A bolder, yet a bolder strain
Sing, brightest of the Muses' train,
Thou who hast fondly chosen to follow
Syntax, the favourite of Apollo ;
A higher, yet a higher view,
Dare, Epio Mistress ! to pursue,
Ambition and the pride of Court
Invite thy footsteps to resort
Even to the palaces of princes
Where every thing you see evinces
That some with silver spoon are born
While others' mouths must bear the horn ;
And that it is a pretty thing
To be a Regent or a King.
They, though their subjects feel privation
Even to the climax of starvation,
Ne'er feel the pangs of want that spread
Distraction through the lowly shed ;
But roll like our illustrious R 1
'Midst luxury and the gayest pageant.
286 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Who has not felt desire to see
The sacred face of majesty 1
Who has not heaved the ambitious sigh,
When glittering coach was rattling by
To Carlton House or old Saint James's,
(Which now no haunt of beauteous dames is,)
To mingle with the happy throng
That to the levee roll'd along ?
Who has not wished to be presented
And by a sovereign complimented,
On aught that strikes the royal noddle,
Happy as through the crowd they toddle
With a most gracious smile t 'enrich them,
And all their after days bewitch them, —
In that fallacious honour reading
A host of future glories breeding ?
We need not say if one there be
Who from such courtly wish is free,
That Mrs. Syntax was not she.
Our lady had a strong ambition
To shine 'mong people of condition,
But Fate's inexorable rigour
Would not allow to sport her figure
At Court, and show her rosy bloom
And manners in the Drawing Room.
But Syntax might, she made averment,
Find that a straight road to preferment ,
And much she wondered that the glory
Of classic page and modern story
Had not already honored been
By being at the Levee seen,
IN LONDON. 287
And had his name and public worth
In print diurnal blazoned forth,
Among the list of presentations
For holding honourable stations,
And sometimes — for Heaven knows what merit,
Except the fortune they inherit.
She thought he might by help of some
Most splendid work or pond'rous tome,
Or by some flattery well timed,
Loyal, and elegantly rhymed,
Obtain a bishopric, perchance,
As well as those who ever dance
Attendance at the heels of Court
And furnish books, and sometimes sport
To princes who like pleasure better
Then either sermons or belle lettre.
Syntax could talk like those who preach
Of things beyond our mortal reach,
Of the vain pride of man, and Courts
That are to vanity resorts,
And often profligacy's samples
Instead of virtuous examples,
And stimulants to noble deeds
From which a pure renown proceeds,
Yet even our reverend sage could not
From his imagination blot
The honour that adorns a name
When in the courtly rank of fame ;
And when 'tis said you've kiss'd the hand
Of the great Lama of the land.
288 DOCTOR SYNTAX
It chanced to be a levee day
When our good couple thus gave way
To thoughts ambitious, that will start
Even in the best and humblest heart.
Madam beheld the preparation
Made for the envied presentation
By some of her high favour'd friends
To whom Dame Fortune honours sends,
As if there were no other people
Connected with the church or steeple
Deserving of a gracious smile,
Or fitted to adorn the aisle
With mitred crown upon their head,
Or with a star or title spread
Respect for worth and dignity
And royalty's benignity.
Our fair, we say, beheld th' approach
Of all these triumphs, and each coach
That gaily rattled o'er the stone
Of fashionable Marybone,
With such a gaze and wistful thinking
As envious Satan look'd o'er Lincoln ;
She little thought, nor could divine,
What glories in resplendent line,
Were just about to fall upon her
And cover Syntax' head with honour;
How inky dark 's futurity !
No wonder Madam could not see
Into the chapter of events
When there is something that prevents
IN LONDON. 289
Even men of learning from foreseeing
What's just at hand to every being ;
And when the memories of the wise
That are a sort of mental spies,
Traitors become, and cannot keep
From the forgetfulness of sleep.
Even Syntax knew not of the glory
That now was to illume his story,
Though this he found was now the day
When he had promis'd late to pay
A visit, which he had forgot,
With a most pondrous Polyglot,
To Bishop Doublechin, who loves
To patronize what taste approves;
We mean that sort of taste which treats
In learned tongues of what one eats,
And of the very best of dishes,
Of rarest wines, and meats, and fishes ;
Of what the Romans had for dinner,
Or supper'd some old heathen sinner.
A knock and message now reminded
Our sage, whose mem'ry had been blinded,
Of this his promise and his duty
Which he to Dolly, darling beauty,
Communicated straight, and said
It was the fault of his poor head
That he had not inform'd his dear
This great engagement was so near :
He now, no longer things to hush up,
Must see the venerable Bishop
Who was he well knew to resort
That day like all the great to Court.
§90 DOCTOR SYNTAX
This Mrs. Syntax heard with look
That spoke as well as any book,
The soft reproaches of her heart
Because the sage did not impart
^AU, that concern'd their mutual weal
To her who was so formed to feel ;
Particularly such great matters
As their acquaintance with their betters,
Which now, she said with seeming love,
It was their duty to improve.
Good Bishop Doublechin she knew
Had always something nice in view,
And was moreover high in grace
At Court, where oft he show'd his face,
And knew the manners of the place.
Full oft, before he was a bishop,
He'd prais'd the things that she could dish up,
Her calves' head soup, made with such pains,
That show'd in her no want of brains,
And dumplings, currant wine, and jelly,
Fit even for an Archbishop's belly.
She doubted not the worthy prelate
On slight suggestion would not fail at
The gracious source of all preferment,
If Syntax was but thus determined,
To introduce and to show forth
The luminary of the North ;
And who would not, she wish'd to know,
Such an inviting chance forego
Of being placed at once so high , ,
Before the wondering public eye ?
IN LONDOV. 291
If Syntax lost such opportunity
She'd grieve to think upon their unity.
With such suggestions in his ear
The illustrious Doctor left his dear,
First having dress'd him in array
Fitting the purpose of the day,
And then straight forward took his way
To that great enemy of sin
The rotund, rubied Doublechin,
Whose nose with inward flame is bright
And to the world's " a burning light,"
Whereby they may even in the dark
Pursue of grace the glorious spark.
When our good Doctor made his call
He found his Lordship Spiritual
Prepared to make his grave congee
Before the throne of majesty,
And smoothing down his chin so double
Sav'd Syntax' modesty the trouble
Of venturing on Ma'am's suggestion,
By putting to our sage the question
If he would like to be presented
And with the manners made acquainted
Of courts and levees, where so many
Are striving honour to obtain ay.
He thought he might for learning's sake
Upon himself the duty take
Of introducing to the throne
A character, so justly known.
Syntax, whose mind was roused to action,
Could not disguise the satisfaction
292 DOCTOR SYNTAX
That he should feel and proudly own
Thus with his grace to approach the throne,
And knowing well the pride and pleasure
That it would give beyond all measure
To her who bore a part in all
His joys and sorrows great and small ;
He therefore told the worthy prelate
Who seemed in friendship such a zealot,
How much he honoured was by mention
Of such obliging condescension.
It was a favour which no Vicar,
Doctor, or bard, except in liquor,
Could e'er refuse — he'd gladly go
At humble distance just to show
His loyalty, and make his bow.
His grace was highly pleased to see
And praised the Doctor's modesty,
But said it might perhaps be better
For our good sage to take some matter
To lay upon the royal shrine,
Some volume bound superbly fine,
A tour, a play, or even a sermon,
Tho' that was hated now like vermin
Within the precincts of a court,
Or if he could the weight support
Of that huge Polyglot, which he
Had given as large a glossary,
He might claim honour for the toil
And haply get an envied smile ;
A pond'rous work like that would now
Assist him much to make his bow,
IN LONDON. 293
And show to all who were discerning
The great extent of Syntax' learning. '
This truth our sage disputed not,
Then up he took the Polyglot,
And straight prepared a short oration
For its most solemn presentation.
Now in the carriage of his grace
See Doctor Syntax take his place
Beside that ornament so great
And pillar of the church and state,
The Janus faced and spiritual Lord
Who loves so well the temporal board;
And well the contrast might excite
A smile to mark each rev'rend wight ;
Syntax with chops so lank and thin
Placed cheek by jowl with Doublechin !
And wrapt in pleasurable thought,
Hugging the pondrous Polygot.
In state they rolled, and as they rode
Syntax with pious wishes glowed
That he too were a father in God !
Through many a gaping crowd they passed
And got to Carlton House at last
Where the white wands now ushered in
My lord the Bishop Doublechin,
And Doctor Syntax, the illustrious
Son of the muse, and most industrious
Collector of the picturesque
United now with the grotesque,
294 DOCTOR SYNTAX
For in his arras he still had got
That pondrous load the Polyglot.
His name so famed, pronounced aloud,
Was heard by all the courtly crowd,
And drew the wondering gaze of all
Who stood and gaped within the hall,
Waiting on legs as tired I ween,
(Such is the happy courtly scene)
As if they'd gone a hundred miles, —
To catch the wish'd for royal smiles.
The crowd of patient hangers on
And those who thus surround the throne
To worship like the blear-eyed Magi
Till they are blind, scarce let our sage see
Aught of the noble residence,
So famed for its magnificence,
Where Britain's Regent holds his court,
When there's no other pleasing sport,
About the Kremlin or Pavilion
Or in an Isle of Wight cotillion ;
But still our Doctor as he passed
A searching glance around him cast
On the saloons and decorations
Showing the splendour of the nations
O'er which our most illustrious Regent
Exalts his sway and royal pageant ;
The specimens of painting rare,
And arms, that arms are wanted there !
Pil'd on all sides, from Heaven knows where.
IN LONDON. 295
At length into the presence chamber
They usher'd were, where many a member
Of church and state stood round the throne
On which our royal Regent shone
Like eastern''Lama or Kien Long
Worshipped by all the adoring throng,
Who bent the knee and happy were
To get a smile or royal stare.
It would have made Heraclitus
Himself have smiled to see the fuss
That quick took place among the throng
When Doctor Syntax came along,
Bearing his mountain of research
With that bright honour of the church
His friend the Bishop Doublechin,
Who led the learned Doctor in,
And to the image of all glory
Presented him so famed in story,
Syntax, the learn'd, renown'd, and sage,
The honour of the present age,
With whose rare talent for expounding
The great metropolis was resounding
Witness his Tour o'er every spot,
And that most pondrous Polyglot —
Here Syntax, bowing to the ground
With his huge load, and look profound,
Laid down the Polyglot upon
The footstep of the glittering throne,
And would have prefaced his oblation
By a most eloquent oration,
Had not the royal patron seen
The labouring speech in Syntax' mien,
296 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And stopt most graciously his tongue
By telling Doctor it was long
Since he had known his worth and fame,
And that when next to Court he came
Nor he nor his huge Polyglot,
He might rely, should be forgot.
Syntax, delighted thus to hear
His fame had reached the royal ear,
And grateful for the smile so precious,
And marks of royal favour gracious,
Conferred upon him, bent his back
As if with honour it would crack ;
Till his good friend the bishop hinted
That time by etiquette was stinted
In such a place, and that he now
Should lowly make his farewell bow,
And thus retire, for he might see
The looks and words of majesty
Were now to other folks addressed
Who like a current forward press'd ;
Dimpling, and eager to reflect
The smile of such supreme effect
That not a beauty at a ball,
Envied and courted, praised by all,
Did e'er to simple lover's heart
Such joy or jealousies impart :
Some got a whole length smile, and some
Got looks they thought were rather glum
Others, arrived at higher bliss,
Had e'en the royal hand to kiss.
IN LONDON,. 2S7
While some like Syntax bent so low
They would have kissed — the royal toe.
The levee o'er, Syntax elate
Proud as a minister of state
Retiring from the council board
With his kind friend, the reverend lord,
Withdrew from court — our sage to dine
With Doublechin, and drink some wine
Which the good bishop said he could
Commend as being sterling good,
And fit the stomach to recruit
Through which the wind began to shoot.
A sumptuous feast we need not say,
Upon the bishop's table lay
And our most venerable pair
Soon made sad havoc 'mong the fare.
We will not tell, as long they'd fasted,
How long the inviting dinner lasted,
Nor will we take the privilege
For it would smell of sacrilege, .
To say how many bottles flowed
To warm their pious, holy blood ;
Enough to add, sufficient went
The Bishop's sacred nose to paint
And send our Doctor rather jolly
At proper time home to his Dolly,
To tell her, if he could, the honour
Had fallen that day through him upon her,
298 DOCTOR SYNTAX
By his most happy presentation
To the great ruler of the nation ;
And last, he well might say not least,
The pleasure of the Bishop's feast,
And all the glories past revealing
Which thus had homeward sent him reeling.
END OF THE FIFTEENTH CANTO.
IN LONDON. 299
How Doctor pacified his Dolly
For being over-night so jolly,
We will not venture to impart,
'Tis certain that our lady's heart
Felt in the morning very gay
To hear our sage had found the way
To Court, and been among the great
Who shine the glories of the state.
To be presented was indeed
An honour high, and then to read
His name displayed among the throng
Who to the favoured list belong,
Gave her still more a flattering notion
Of Doctor's fame and sure promotion.
A Bishopric, she now was certain,
Must be her honour'd spouse's fortune,
And Lady Lawnsleeves now would see
That Dolly would her equal be.
300 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Our pair now held a consultation
To take into consideration
What other objects yet remained
And what this capital contained
Which was deserving of inspection
But had escaped their recollection.
At last, says Syntax, " We have been
" Where every thing is to be seen
" That can be said to claim attention,
" But yet, my dear, if you can mention
u An edifice or public place
" Where you would wish to show your face
" I'm ever ready to attend ye,
" And with my arm even to defend ye."
Here Mrs. Syntax said she heard
There was a place that had a guard
Styled the Museum, full of things
As strange as any traveller brings
From Afric's shore or Owhyhee,
Which every party went to see,
And could remain from ten to three.
The wonders of that great Museum
She long had much desired to see 'em,
Because they would mot need to pay
As at a theatre or a play,
And therefore she should wish to go
To see the place an hour or so ;
For she was told such things were there
That Smithfield nor Bartholemew Fair
Could boast of objects half so various ;
Besides it was not so precarious,
IN LONDON. 301
For persons there are more genteel
Than to investigate or feel
What people carried in their pockets,
And then set off as quick as rockets
With every thing that they contain, >
Ah J never to return again,
Like the vile wretches that will dare
To bruise and rob you at a fair.
At this the Doctor said he knew
That what she said was very true ;
They ought not to delay th' inspection
Of that grand national collection,
And though there might be bulls and bears
Yet they would be as shy as hares
Because they neither roar nor range
Like those upon the Stock Exchange ;
He therefore would conduct here there
For it was close by Russel Square
Through which they twice had passed before
And saw the soldiers at the door.
With this intention off they set
And very soon came to the gate,
Whjch Syntax quickly opens wide
To let his wife walk by his side.
He then with pleasure looked around
On all the clean and circled ground,
And when he saw the marble columns
He said that these great stones spoke volumes ;
But Mrs. Syntax said that she
Could not find out how that could be,
302 DOCTOR SYNTAX
For there was nothing but the size
And broken joints that struck her eyes ;
No word or sentence could be seen
To make it known what they had been,
Nor from what country of the world
Such monstrous stones were brought or hurled.
This Syntax said he would explain
To spouse when they got home again,
And then he walk'd into the hall
Where madam bounded like a ball
Among the crowd that was conven'd
For fear of being hid or screen'd ;
But Syntax did not need to try
One single art to catch the eye
Of those assembled in the hall,
For every one both great and small
Came round the Doctor all at once
As if he had designed to dance.
But when he walked towards the table
To write his name, he was not able,
The people pressed so close to see
Our Doctor of celebrity.
At last a little space was got
And " Doctor Syntax" being wrote,
His name and titles read aloud
So much amazed the anxious crowd
That some proposed to go in pairs
And bear him on their heads up stairs,
But those that stood and kept the door
Said that was never done before,
And that it could not be allow'd,
To which the Doctor only bow'd ;
IS LONDON. 303
Then walk'd up stairs the common way
With an intention to survey
The works of nature and of art
Which have been brought from every part
That man has ever yet explor'd,
Or has been conquered by the sword,
From Otaheite to Labradore,
And altogether make a store
Which connoisseur nor virtuoso
From Copenhagen to Tortosa
Could reconnoitre in a year,
Altho' his eyes were quite as clear
And also in as great perfection
As any cat's before dissection.
But as our party just went there
To look at things as at a fair
They had not time to criticise
The length of tail or kind of eyes
Of every beast in the collection,
Nor yet bestow a close inspection
On what was curious or rare ;
But after they got up the stair
Their eyes were rivetted like nails
Upon the teeth, the tongues, and tails
Of those wild animals that stand
As if united in a band
To guard the entrance to the rooms
Which hold the cloaks, the coats, and plumes
The rattles, whistles, and canoes,
That none but savages can use.
Then, after looking at this guard
Commanded by a cameleopard,
304 DOCTOR SYNTAX
They walk'd straight forward to the cases
That held the savage wooden faces
With all the dresses, clubs, and toys
Used by the women, men, and boys
In Otaheite, Owhy-hee,
And islands of the great South Sea,
Which Captain Cook and Joseph Banks
Placed here for nothing else but thanks.
When Mrs. Syntax saw this store
And all the tables on the floor
Containing lots of stones and metals
She look'd all round for pots and kettles,
Supposing that there was a sale
For vending hardware by retail,
But Syntax quickly put her right
And told her not to use her sight
Without some just consideration,
For all belong'd to this great nation,
And was kept there for public view,
At great expence and trouble too.
He then went forward to explore
The next great rooms upon the floor
Which Dolly said she thought as strange
As the long shop at Ex'ter Change,
But then the passages and cases
As well as number of the faces
Greatly exceeded what were there
Although it was a thoroughfare.
They then began to walk around
To view the stones that had been found
IN LONDON. 305
Red hot, and smoking from the moon,
Without the aid of a balloon ;
But though they have been sent so far
She said a diamond, or a bar
Of gold, or even a fowl or pheasant,
Would have been a much better present
Than stones so rudely tumbled down
They might have broke some people's crown.
Our sage meanwhile walk'd to the centre
To view the work of some great painter
Who has upon the ceiling spread
A banquet of the illustrious dead,
Where you may see the whole mythology
Hung up aloft without apology.
But Syntax was no connoisseur
And only wanted to be sure
That he had seen and pored o'er all
Before they quitted the great hall,
To go and see the crabs and fishes
Which Dolly said would make good dishes
If they had been but fresh and nice,
And then well dress'd with salt and spice.
But when she heard they'd lain in state
For years, she said it is too late
To think of using them for food
Because they cannot now be good.
Howe'er, to save a flow of words
The Doctor mov'd towards the birds
Which he inspected with great care,
And then considered how the air
Which is so light could keep afloat
Those creatures that could beat a boat
In speed, and over lake and sea
Untired, to distant countries flee.
306 DOCTOK SYNTAX
But Mrs. Syntax only thought
Where such fine feathers could be bought,
For she declared their wings and tails
Or what the Doctor call'd their sails
Were grander than she yet had seen
In any shop where she had been.
" Come now, my dear," the Doctor says,
" We have to see the Portland Vase
" And many other works of art ;
" Let us then from this room depart
" For we have seen so much of nature
" That the proportion and the stature
" Of animals of every kind
" Must be imprinted on our mind."
They then went up among the vases
And other lumber that amazes
All those that ever saw the store
Collected on the second floor.
They gazed awhile at what our fair
Was pleased to call the crockery ware,
And then went down stairs to the place
Where there was many a marble face
Of man, horse, woman, dog and demon
And bodies without legs, like seamen
Who have been dipt, and wing'd in battle
And also heads and tails of cattle
That would astonish and surprize
By their odd figures and their size
The wisest connoisseur in statues,
And even perhaps a whole Senatus.
Here Syntax said, as well as Dolly,
There could not be a greater folly
Than squandering cash for such a number
Of legs, and arms, and useless lumber ;
IN L0NB0N. 307
They therefore left each broken bust
Like many more, in great disgust.
They met and gazed on their return
At many an old and useless urn,
And were awhile the pleased spectators
Of mummies and fierce gladiators,
And as they now had seen the whole,
Even the wild dogs from the North Pole,
They left the national Museum
And home returned to sing Te Deum.
END OF THE SIXTEENTH CANTO.
308 DOCTOR SYNTAX
At length the day, momentous, came
Decreed to raise our Doctor's fame
To summit of dramatic glory
By means of his great tragic story,
Or by damnation's fatal power
To blast the toil of learning's hour,
And to the musty shelf consign
Full many a sadly laboured line.
Eventful crisis for the bard
Whose means are like his labours hard !
Who strives throughout the live-long day
To catch but one immortal ray,
Or ponders o'er the glimmering light
(Would that his brains were half as bright)
Expectant of the Muse's smiles
Who loiters, heedless of his wiles ;
But far more painful is the state
Of him whom fame has rendered great,
And who, that glory to sustain,
Must shew a weightier load of brain ;
He who with fancied skill has wrought
A master-piece of costly thought
IN LONDON. 309
That shows a brighter crop of bays
Than ever graced a poet's lays,
To find the dread ordeal nigh
That is again his skill to try,
Proclaim'd in some diurnal print
By inuendo or broad hint,
To rouse the keen enquiring sense
And swell the day's intelligence,
So stood our learned Doctor now,
The laurel nodding o'er his brow,
For now the pleasing intimation
Of the long wished representation
Of his unrivall'd piece was brought
And filled his mind with anxious thought ;
For Fancy with her magic sway
That loves such sportive tricks to play,
Had from Elysian sources drawn
The choicest tints of fortune's dawn ;
She bade the fair illusion rise
That crown'd with fame his enterprize ;
Propitious sung of halcyon days
And deck'd him with the choicest bays.
But while he thus confess'd her reign,
And wooed her o'er and o'er again
To strew life's path with sweetest flowers,
And give to joy his future hours,
Perplexing doubt would intervene
And rudely change the glowing scene.
To see one's work neglected lay
Is but the sorrow of a day ;
To read the quaint reviewer's line
Who scarcely can its faults define,
Excites but little pain or grief,
But where, alas J is found relief
310 DOCTOR SYNTAX
When censure universal falls,
And loud damnation shakes the walls ?
'Tis thus with those who would essay
To reap reward by scenic play ;
Who venture to address the mind
In language pure and scenes refined ;
Picturing the mazy field of man
To shew his thoughts — his passions scan,
Who aim to mark the lofty course
That gives sublimity its force,
Or bend to breathe the lighter strain,
And more familiar truths explain.
The last rehearsal had arrived,
And Syntax' wakeful mind contrived
Behind the scenes to claim a place
Where in the evening he might trace
The business of the Thespian crew,
And gain unseen a perfect view
Of those convened to criticise
His muse's darling enterprize.
For he was candid to confess
That much depended on the press,
And though unknown to those who might
Remarks upon his work indite,
Yet still, without Lavater's creed,
He could the sapient purpose read
Of those with ready pen who sit
Like Aristarchus in the pit,
And watch an author or an actor
As cat eyes mouse — just to dissect her.
Yet not less anxious was our sage
More general objects to engage :
IN LONDON. 311
The audience too, he wisely plann'd
His vision should throughout command,
And ever heedful not to rouse
The anger of his faithful spouse
Who longed to tread old Drury's maze
And on the various wonders gaze,
He kindly sought the manager
Accommodation to confer
Upon his Dolly, that she might
Be a spectator of the sight,
And all her Doctor's glory see,
His triumph and celebrity.
To Syntax' agitated breast
By hope and fear alike possessed
Each lingering minute seemed an age
Till he was figuring on the stage.
At early hour fam'd Drury's scite
Became the beacon for the night,
And crowds succeeding crowds advanced
While those around the doors — entranced
Reck'd nothing of their tedious stay
But talk'd of Syntax and his play.
Fresh numbers every moment came,
A proof of Syntax' matchless fame.
Each avenue sent back ere long
A wide extended anxious throng ;
The fruit-stalls too were swept away
And oranges and apples lay
With polished nuts and many a sweet
Unseemly scattered in the street.
Here ladies fainting sought the air,
While many a fond devoted pair
312 DOCTOR SYNTAX
The 'vantage seized for youthful play
And kissed and toyed the time away,
Close wedged the pocket soon deplored
The loss its owner's care had stored ;
The handkerchiefs with spicy gales
Perfumed — the snuff-box that prevails
In every circle now where Paris
Fribourg, Rappee, or Dutch the care is,
Quick vanished, and rich triumphs gave
To the expert light-fingered knave.
At length the massive bolts were heard
Which ingress had till now debarred.
Delightful sound to those, I ween,
Who foremost formed the motley scene.
To paint the conflict that arose
The menaces — the sturdy blows,
The screams, the cries that rent the air,
The dreadful rush when every care
On self devolved, we'll not essay, —
They best such objects can pourtray
Whose sides and elbows can tell how
They bruise at a theatric row.
By simultaneous motion borne
And vests and clothes unseemly torn,
The crowd at length the vortex gained
Where pleased the Muses long have reigned,
And taught with smiles or precepts sage
Their ethic lessons to the age,
To wake the idler to a sense
Of folly's weak and vain pretence
Where Guilt uprears her snaky crest,
Or wears Contrition's sainted vest ;
IN LONDON. 313
Where godlike Virtue spreads her charms,
Or with resistless force disarms
The deadly passions that essay
To please, to flatter, and betray ;
Nor could the pantomimic art
A transformation e'er impart
With that celerity that flung
The various rows and seats among
The host of occupants that came
Attracted by great Syntax' name.
The pit and galleries behind,
The spacious boxes 4oo were lined,
While those excluded, overflowed
The rival house, or homeward strode
Their sad vexation to assuage
By social chat or lively page.
The tragic carpet down was laid,
The lights in unison displayed
A soft effulgence, like the beams
Of Luna on the twilight streams.
At length in folds majestic rose
The sombre curtain to disclose
The chosen actor, who advanced
And expectation more enhanced
In verse respectful, terse, and smooth
The critic's lurking gall to soothe
Of ancient days the Prologue spoke,
Of Greece and Rome ere yet the yoke
Of tyranny subdued each race,
When lore was pride and pride was grace ;
When lofty Science envied reigned
And bright rewards and honour gained ;
314 DOCTOR SYNTAX
And when the Muse her classic page
Unfolded on the instructive stage,
Fraught with such lore as once again
Our sage essayed in tragic strain.
On author's hopes and fears and pains
And patriotic waste of brains.
It also dwelt, till all the gods
Showed symptoms in their high abodes
That even the higher powers may grow
Wearied of prologues from below.
This prelude o'er— the play began,
And through the house in whispers ran
Expressions of the mind's delight
At entering on the novel sight.
The scene described a mighty plain
Strewed with the bodies of the slain,
Where Sparta's soldiers prostrate lay
The victims of a tyrant's sway
Who envious of the Grecian name
Had sought to crush her rising fame.
The swelling plot then strove to unfold
How Xerxes famed in page of old
Led on his myriads of slaves
To find dishonourable graves,
Where brave Leonidas the free
Guarded his dear Thermopylae,
And in the midst of slaughter found
The path of glory, while around
His brave companions strewed the ground
Showed too how Athens, seat of fame,
Of arts and sciences, became
The conquest in despiteful hour
Of Persia's rude and savage power —
IN LONDON. 315
It gave the high wrought line and verse
Occasion often to rehearse
The glorious deeds and thirst of praise
That nurtured Greece's better days.
Connubial constancy, a theme
Though somewhat out of due esteem,
His care had planned to elevate
The sacred bond of married state.
The tale next showed in moving scene
The fate of Lacedemon's queen,
Tho' history seems to have forgot
The fair Lacedemonian's lot.
The patriot queen, forth rushing wild,
Beside the hecatomb thrice piled
Of Sparta's sons, sought and caressed
To her wild agonizing breast
Her husband's corse — her only care
Amidst her sad and wild despair.
With virtuous pride that life contemn'd
And death preferr'd than breathe condemned
The slave to Xerxes' lawless power,
And captive to his softer hour,
The dagger's point she fearless press'd,
And dying sought eternal rest.
Then came the dread catastrophe,
Of blazing fleets upon the sea,
Event terrific to relate
When Salamis beheld the fate
Of hostile squadrons stretching wide
And warring on the ocean's tide,
As when each dark embattled line
Met on the ensanguin'd Serpentine.
Themistocles the conflict plann'd,
And Xerxes from the neighbouring land
316 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Consistent with historic lay,
Was shewn a witness of the fray —
The battle raging lingered long,
The Persian ships, a splendid throng,
Advancing press'd on every side,
And each succeeding loss supplied ;
At length the Grecian naval skill
Prepared to combat every ill.
Superior in manoeuvre threw
Confusion 'midst the hostile crew —
The Persians fled in sad dismay
Which gave conclusion to the play.
Such were the scenes that Syntax drew
To charm awhile the public view
And fire with glory's ardent flame
The youthful breast that pants for fame ;
Nor had his muse forgot the chorus
The Grecian sisters bring before us,
The Strophe, Antf-Strophe, Ode,
Epode, and lengthened Palinode,
To form a garland for his muse,
Nor deemed he could be too diffuse :
Ah ! fatal error, that like hope
Runs madly out a length of rope,
And thinks to gain the point by sail
That drives and scuds before the gale.
But wrecks the hapless author's fame
And in oblivion sinks his name.
The rest was formed for that delight
Which captivates the youthful sight,
Processions gorgeously arrayed
That glittering banners far displayed
IN LONDON. 317
While elephants arranged among
The martial group and splendid throng,
Slow moving 'neath the castle's weight
Or costly canopy of state,
Conveyed a picture all might see
Of Eastern pomp and pageantry,
Such as our play-wrights now suppose
Must lead the public by the nose
By the seduction of their eyes
Into most gross monstrosities :
It seemed as though an angry flood
Whose heaving billows spouted blood,
Had occupied the Drama's place
And swallowed every softer grace.
Th' attentive audience, patient saw
The want of all dramatic law
In Doctor's piece, while with surprize
He scarce could credit his own eyes
And list'ning ears, that thus his muse
So rich in thought, sublime, diffuse ;
So ably versed in classic lore
Should not excite th' applausive roar ;
Yet still he thought the Poet's bay
Would grace the climax of his play
And compensate the cold delay.
Deceitful flattery ! short thy reign,
At once our blessing and our bane,
As Syntax found, for e'er his lay
Its fair conclusion could display
Alarming indications ran
From side to side, from front to van,
A gradual shower of hisses rose
That filled his mind with anxious woes,
318 DOCTOR SYNTAX
Succeeding next, a deaf ning cry
Adverse to every sympathy
Resounded on our poet's ear
And added strength to every fear,
Louder and louder yet the yell
Discordant spoke the purpose fell,
In accents none could misapply,
And just description may defy ;
In wild distraction Syntax gazed,
Confounded — petrified — amazed.
'Twas clear, unless some check was plann'd,
Complete damnation was at hand,
When lo ! the manager appear'd,
And hinting what he more than feared,
Suggested Syntax would essay
To crave a hearing for his play.
Obedient to the wish, our sage
Rush'd from the wings upon the stage.
Let Prospero his vigils keep,
Call spirits from " the vasty deep,"
Invoke obedience to his fate,
And storms and tempests regulate —
His power could scarcely more disclose
Than that which now on Syntax rose ;
His presence instantly subdued
The noise and tumult, while he sued
A breathless silence through the place
Gave token of returning grace,
At least our Syntax so divined
Who by himself adjudged mankind.
His supplication was not long,
'Twas well received, but soon among
The vast assemblage murmurs rose,
The pannels next re-echoed blows,
IN LONDON. 319
The lights were Ihreaten'd, and the roar
Exceeded that which reigned before.
Our Doctor now with rage and pain
On finding " chaos come again,"
Retired like Fabius from the field,
Reviling the bad taste that spoiled
His play ; and went where lovely Dolly,
Most ruefully, most melancholy,
Sat sweating all the while, as she
Had wrote the dreadful tragedy ;
To Dolly seemed our Doctor's look
The title of a tragic book,
While Dolly's tongue for once was lost
Amid the noise of clamorous host.
With tenderest care, like fallen Adam,
Good Syntax took the arm of madam,
And from the scene of his lost play
They took their solitary way,
Our Eve declaring in her sorrow
That she'd set off from town to-morrow,
And seek for happiness again
In the calm shades of Sommerden.
W. Shackell, Printer, Jobuson's-court, Fleet-street, London,