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Knew how to preach old sermons next,
Vamp'd in the preface and the text;
At christenings well could act his part,
And had the service all by heart;
Wish'd women might have children fast,
And thought whose sow had farrow'd last;
Against dissenters would repine,
And stood up firm for "right divine;"
Found his head filled with many a system:
But classic authors, he ne'er miss'd 'em.
Thus having furbish'd up a parson,
Dame Baucis next they play'd their farce on.
Instead of homespun coifs, were seen
Good pinners edged with colberteen;
Her petticoat, transform'd apace,
Became black satin, flounced with lace.
'Plain goody" would no longer down,
'Twas madam," in her grogram gown.
Philemon was in great surprise,
And hardly could believe his eyes,
Amazed to see her look so prim,
And she admired as much at him.
Thus happy in their change of life
Were several years this man and wife;
When on a day, which proved their last,
Discoursing o'er old stories past,
They went by chance, amid their talk,
To the church-yard to take a walk;
When Baucis hastily cried out-
"My dear, I see your forehead sprout!"
Sprout!" quoth the man; "what's this you tell us?
I hope you don't believe me jealous!
But yet, methinks, I feel it true,
And really yours is budding too
Nay, - now I cannot stir my foot;
It feels as if 'twere taking root."
Description would but tire my Muse;
In short they both were turn'd to yews.
Old goodman Dobson of the green
Remembers he the trees has seen;
He'll talk of them from noon till night,
And goes with folks to show the sight;
On Sundays, after evening prayer,
He gathers all the parish there;
Points out the place of either yew,
Here Baucis, there Philemon, grew:
Till once a parson of our town,
To mend his barn cut Baucis down;
At which, 'tis hard to be believed
How much the other tree was grieved,
Grew scrubbed, died a-top, was stunted,
So the next parson stubb'd and burnt it.
A GRUB-STREET ELEGY.
ON THE SUPPOSED DEATH OF PARTRIDGE, THE ALMANAC-MAKER. 1708
WELL; 'tis as Bickerstaff has guess'd,
Though we all took it for a jest:
Partridge is dead! nay more, he died
Ere he could prove the good 'squire lied.
Strange an astrologer should die
Without one wonder in the sky;
Not one of all his crony stars
To pay their duty at his hearse!
No meteor, no eclipse appear'd!
No comet with a flaming beard!
The sun has rose and gone to bed,
Just as if Partridge were not dead;
Nor hid himself behind the moon
To make a dreadful night at noon.
He at fit periods walks through Aries,
Howe'er our earthly motion varies;
And twice a-year he'll cut th' equator,
As if there had been no such matter.
Some wits have wonder'd what analogy
There is 'twixt cobbling and astrology;
How Partridge made his optics rise
From a shoe-sole to reach the skies.
A list the cobbler's temples ties,
To keep the hair out of his eyes:
From whence 'tis plain the diadem
That princes wear derives from them;
And therefore crowns are now-a-days
Adorn'd with golden stars and rays;
Which plainly shows the near alliance
'Twixt cobbling and the planets' science.
Besides, that slow-paced sign Bootes,
As 'tis miscall'd we know not who 'tis ;
But Partridge ended all disputes;
He knew his trade and call'd it Boots!?
The horned moon, which heretofore
Upon their shoes the Romans wore,
Whose wideness kept their toes from corns,
And whence we claim our shoeing-horns,
Shows how the art of cobbling bears
A near resemblance to the spheres.
A scrap of parchment hung by geometry,
(A great refiner in barometry)
Can, like the stars, foretell the weather;
And what is parchment else but leather?
Which an astrologer might use
Either for almanacs or shoes.
Thus Partridge, by his wit and parts,
At once did practise both these arts;
And as the boding owl (or rather
The bat, because her wings are leather)
Steals from her private cell by night,
And flies about the candle-light;
So learned Partridge could as well
Creep in the dark from leathern cell,
And in his fancy fly as far
To peep upon a twinkling star.
Besides, he could confound the spheres,
And set the planets by the ears;
To show his skill he Mars could join
To Venus, in aspect malign;
Then call in Mercury for aid,
And cure the wounds that Venus made.
Great scholars have in Lucian read,
When Philip king of Greece was dead,
His soul and spirit did divide,
And each part took a different side:
One rose a star; the other fell
Beneath, and mended shoes in hell.
Thus Partridge still shines in each art, The cobbling and star-gazing part, And is install'd as good a star As any of the Cæsars are.
Triumphant star! some pity show On cobblers militant below,
Whom roguish boys, in stormy nights,
Torment by p-g out their lights,
Or through a chink convey their smoke,
Enclosed artificers to choke.
Though, high exalted in thy sphere,
May'st follow still thy calling there.
To thee the Bull would lend his hide,
By Phoebus newly tann'd and dried;
For thee they Argo's hulk will tax,
And scrape her pitchy sides for wax;
Then Ariadne kindly lends
Her braided hair to make the ends;
The points of Sagittarius's dart
Turns to an awl by heavenly art;
And Vulcan, wheddled by his wife,
Will forge for thee a paring-knife.
For want of room by Virgo's side,
She'll strain a point, and sit astride,
To take thee kindly in between ;
And then the signs will be thirteen.
HERE, five feet deep, lies on his back
A cobbler, starmonger, and quack;
Who to the stars, in pure good-will,
Does to his best look upward still.
Weep, all you customers that use
His pills, his almanacs, or shoes;
And you that did your fortunes seek,
Step to his grave but once a-week;
This earth, which bears his body's print,
You'll find has so much virtue in't,
That I durst pawn my ears, 'twill tell
Whate'er concerns you full as well,
In physic, stolen goods, or love,
As he himself could, when above.
MERLIN'S PROPHECY. 1709.
SEVEN and ten, addyd to nine,
Of Fraunce her woe this is the sygne,
Tamys rivere twys y-frozen,
Walke sans wetyng shoes ne hozen.
Then comyth foorthe, ich understonde,
From towne of stoffe to fattyn londe,
An hardie chyftan,' woe the morne,
To Fraunce, that evere he was born.
Then shall the fyshe 2 beweyle his bosse:
Nor shall grin Berrys make up the losse.
Young Symnele shall again miscarrye;
And Norway's pryd again shall marrye.
And from the tree where blosums feele,
Ripe fruit shall come, and all is wele.
Reaums shall daunce honde in honde,
And it shall be merrye in olde Inglonde;
Then old Inglonde shall be no more,
And no man shall be sorie therefore.
Geryon shall have three hedes agayne,
Till Hapsburge makyth them but twayne.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE MORNING.
Written in April, 1709; and first printed in the Tatler.
Now hardly here and there a hackney coach
Appearing, show'd the ruddy morn's approach.
Now Betty from her master's bed had flown,
And softly stole to discompose her own;
The slip-shod 'prentice from his master's door
Had pared the dirt and sprinkled round the floor.
Now Moll had whirl'd her mop with dext'rous airs,
Prepared to scrub the entry and the stairs.
2 The Dauphin.
* Queen Anne.
Duke of Marlborough.
The young pretender.
A king of Spain, slain by Hercules.
3 Duke of Berry.
By the Union.
The youth with broomy stumps began to trace
The kennel's edge, where wheels had worn the place.
The small-coal man was heard with cadence deep,
Till drown'd in shriller notes of chimney-sweep:
Duns at his lordship's gate began to meet;
And brickdust Moll had scream'd through half the street.
The turnkey now his flock returning sees,
Duly let out a-nights to steal for fees:
The watchful bailiffs take their silent stands,
And schoolboys lag with satchels in their hands.
A DESCRIPTION OF A CITY SHOWER.
In imitation of Virgil's Georgies.
Written in October, 1710; and first printed in the Tatler.
CAREFUL observers may fortell the hour
(By sure prognostics) when to dread a shower.
While raid depends, the pensive cat gives o'er
Her frolics and pursues her tail no more.
Returning home at night, you'll find the sink
Strike your offended sense with double stink.
If you be wise, then go not far to dine:
You'll spend in coach-hire more than save in wine;
A coming shower your shooting corns presage,
Old aches will throb, your hollow tooth will rage;
Sauntering in coffee-house is Dulman seen;
He damns the climate and complains of spleen.
Meanwhile the south, rising with dabbled wings,
A sable cloud athwart the welkin flings,
That swill'd more liquor than it could contain.
And, like a drunkard, gives it up again.
Brisk Susan whips her linen from the rope,
While the first drizzling shower is borne aslope;
Such is that sprinkling which some careless quean
Flirts on you from her mop, but not so clean:
You fly, invoke the gods; then turning, stop
To rail; she singing, still whirls on her mop.
Not yet the dust had shunn'd the unequal strife,
But, aided by the wind, fought still for life,
And wafted with its foe by violent gust,
'Twas doubtful which was rain and which was dust.
Ah! where must needy poet seek for aid,
When dust and rain at once his coat invade?
Sole coat! where dust cemented by the rain,
Erects the nap, and leaves a cloudy stain!
Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down,
Threatening with deluge this devoted town.
To shops in crowds the daggled females fly,
Pretend to cheapen goods, but nothing buy.
The Templar spruce, while every spout's abroach,
Stays till 'tis fair, yet seems to call a coach.