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Colman, George / Broad Grins Comprising, With New Additional Tales in Verse, Those Formerly Publish'd Under the Title My Night-Gown and Slippers
BROAD GRINS;

BY

GEORGE COLMAN,

THE YOUNGER;


COMPRISING, WITH NEW ADDITIONAL

TALES IN VERSE,

THOSE FORMERLY PUBLISH'D UNDER THE TITLE

"MY NIGHT-GOWN AND SLIPPERS."


"DEME SUPERCILIO NUBEM."


THE EIGHTH EDITION.


LONDON:
H. G. BOHN, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
MDCCCXXXIX.




ADVERTISEMENT.


MY Booksellers inform'd me, lately, that several inquiries had been made
for _My Night-Gown and Slippers_,--but that every copy had been
sold;--they had been out of print these two years.--"Then publish them
again," said I, boldly,--(I print at my own risk)--and with an air of
triumph. Messrs. Cadell and Davies advise'd me to make additions.--"The
_Work_ is, really, too short," said Messrs. Cadell and Davies,--"I wish,
gentlemen," return'd I, "my readers were of your opinion."--"I protest,
Sir," said they, (and they asserted it, both together, with great
emphasis,) "you have but _Three Tales_."--I told them, carelessly, it
was enough for the greatest _Bashaw_, among modern poets, and wish'd
them a good morning. When a man, as Sterne observes, "can extricate
himself with an _equivoque_, in such an unequal match,"--(and two
booksellers to one poet are tremendous odds)--"he is not ill off;"--but
reflecting a little, as I went home, I began to think my pun was a vile
one,--and did not assist me, one jot, in my argument;--and, now I have
put it upon paper, it appears viler still;--it is execrable.--So, without
much further reasoning, I sat down to rhyming;--rhyming, as the reader
will see, in open defiance of _all reason_,--except the reasons of
Messrs. Cadell and Davies.--

Thus you have _My Night-Gown and Slippers_, with _Additions_, converted
to _Broad Grins_;--and 'tis well if they may not end in _Wide Yawns_ at
last! Should this be the case, gentle Reviewers, do not, ungratefully,
attempt to break my sleep, (_you will find it labour lost_) because I
have contributed to your's.

GEORGE COLMAN, the Younger.

_May, 1820._




CONTENTS


MY NIGHT-GOWN AND SLIPPERS
TOM, DICK, and WILL, were little known to Fame;--
THE WATER-FIENDS.
DICK ended:--TOM and WILL approve'd his strains;
THE NEWCASTLE APOTHECARY.
Ere WILL had done 'twas waxing wond'rous late;
LODGINGS FOR SINGLE GENTLEMEN.
THE KNIGHT AND THE FRIAR.
THE KNIGHT AND THE FRIAR, PART FIRST.
SIR THOMAS ERPINGHAM's SONNET ON HIS LADY.
THE KNIGHT AND THE FRIAR, PART THE SECOND.
Ye Criticks, and ye Hyper-Criticks!--who
THE ELDER BROTHER.




MY NIGHT-GOWN AND SLIPPERS

[Illustration]


TOM, DICK, and WILL, were little known to Fame;--
No matter;--
But to the Ale-house, oftentimes, they came,
To chatter.

It was the custom of these three
To sit up late;
And, o'er the embers of the Ale-house fire,
When steadier customers retire,
The choice _Triumviri_, d'ye see,
Held a debate.

Held a debate?--On politicks, no doubt.
Not so;--they care'd not who was in,
No, not a pin;--
Nor who was out.

All their discourse on modern Poets ran;
For in the Muses was their sole delight;--
They talk'd of such, and such, and such a man;
Of those who could, and those who could not write.

It cost them very little pains
To count the modern Poets, who had brains.
'Twas a small difficulty;--'twasn't any;
They were so few:
But to cast up the scores of men
Who wield a stump they call a pen,
Lord! they had much to do,--
They were so many!

Buoy'd on a sea of fancy, Genius rises,
And like the rare Leviathan surprises;
But the _small fry_ of scribblers!--tiny souls!
They wriggle thro' the mud in shoals.

It would have raise'd a smile to see the faces
They made, and the ridiculous grimaces,
At many an author, as they overhaul'd him.
They gave no quarter to a calf,
Blown up with puff, and paragraph;
But, if they found him bad, they maul'd him.

On modern Dramatists they fell,
Pounce, _vi et armis_--tooth and nail--pell mell.
They call'd them Carpenters, and Smugglers;
Filching their incidents from ancient hoards,
And knocking them together, like deal boards:
And Jugglers;
Who all the town's attention fix,
By making--Plays?--No, Sir, by making _tricks_.

The Versifiers--Heaven defend us!
They play'd the very devil with their rhymes.
They hope'd Apollo a new set would send us;
And then, invidiously enough,
Place'd modish verse, which they call'd stuff,
Against the writing of the elder times.

To say the truth, a modern versifier
Clap'd cheek by jowl
With Pope, with Dryden, and with Prior,
Would look most scurvily, upon my soul!

For Novels, should their critick hints succeed,
The Misses might fare better when they took 'em;
But it would fare extremely ill, indeed,
With gentle _Messieurs Lane_ and _Hookham_.

"A Novel, now," says WILL, "is nothing more
Than an old castle,--and a creaking door,--
A distant hovel;--
Clanking of chains--a gallery--a light,--
Old armour--and a phantom all in white,--
And there's a Novel!"

[Illustration]

"Scourge me such catch-penny inditers
Out of the land," quoth WILL--rousing in passion--
"And fy upon the readers of such writers,
Who bring them into fashion!"

WILL rose in declamation. "'Tis the bane,"
Says he, "of youth;--'tis the perdition:
It fills a giddy female brain
With vice, romance, lust, terror, pain,--
With superstition.

"Were I Pastor in a boarding-school,
I'd quash such books _in toto_;--if I couldn't,
Let me but catch one Miss that broke my rule,
I'd flog her soundly; damme if I wouldn't."

WILLIAM, 'tis plain, was getting in a rage;
But, Thomas dryly said,--for he was cool--
"I think no gentleman would mend the age
By flogging Ladies at a Boarding-school."

DICK knock'd the ashes from his pipe,
And said, "Friend WILL,
You give the Novels a fair wipe;
But still,
While you, my friend, with passion run 'em down,
They're in the hands of all the town.

"The reason's plain," proceeded DICK,
"And simply thus--
Taste, over-glutted, grows deprave'd, and sick,
And needs a _stimulus_.

"Time was,--(when honest Fielding writ)--
Tales full of Nature, Character, and Wit,
Were reckon'd most delicious boil'd and roast:
But stomachs are so cloy'd with novel-feeding,
Folks get a vitiated taste in reading,
And want that strong provocative, a Ghost.

"Or, to come nearer,
And put the case a little clearer:--
Mind, just like bodies, suffer enervation,
By too much use;
And sink into a state of relaxation,
With long abuse.

"Now, a Romance, with reading Debauchees,
Rouses their torpid powers when Nature fails;
And all these Legendary Tales
Are, to a worn-out mind, Cantharides.

"But how to cure the evil?" you will say:
"My _Recipe_ is,--laughing it away.

"Lay bare the weak farrago of those men
Who fabricate such visionary schemes,
As if the night-mare rode upon their pen,
And trouble'd all their ink with hideous dreams.

"For instance--when a solemn Ghost stalks in,
And, thro' a mystick tale is busy,
Strip me the Gentleman into his skin--
What is he?

"Truly, ridiculous enough:
Mere trash;--and very childish stuff.

"Draw but a Ghost, or Fiend, _of low degree_,
And all the bubble's broken!--Let us see."


[Illustration]

THE WATER-FIENDS.

ON a wild Moor, all brown and bleak,
Where broods the heath-frequenting grouse,
There stood a tenement antique;
Lord Hoppergollop's country house.

Here Silence reign'd, with lips of glue,
And undisturb'd maintain'd her law;
Save when the Owl cry'd "whoo! whoo! whoo!"
Or the hoarse Crow croak'd "caw! caw! caw!"

Neglected mansion!--for, 'tis said,
Whene'er the snow came feathering down,
Four barbed steeds,--from the Bull's head,
Carried thy master up to town.

Weak Hoppergollop!--Lords may moan,
Who stake, in London, their estate,
On two, small, rattling, bits of bone;
On _little figure_, or on _great_.

Swift whirl the wheels.--He's gone.--A Rose
Remains behind, whose virgin look,
Unseen, must blush in wintry snows,
Sweet, beauteous blossom!----'twas the Cook!

A bolder far than my weak note,
Maid of the Moor! thy charms demand:
Eels might be proud to lose their coat,
If skinn'd by Molly Dumpling's hand.

Long had the fair one sat alone,
Had none remain'd save only she;--
She by herself had been--if one
Had not been left, for company.

'Twas a tall youth, whose cheek's clear hue,
Was tinge'd with health and manly toil;--
Cabbage he sow'd; and, when it grew,
He always cut it off, to boil.

Oft would he cry, "Delve, Delve the hole!
And prune the tree, and trim the root!
And stick the wig upon the pole,
To scare the sparrows from the fruit!"

A small, mute favourite, by day,
Follow'd his step; where'er he wheels
His barrow round the garden gay,
A bob-tail cur is at his heels.

Ah, man! the brute creation see!
Thy constancy oft needs the spur!
While lessons of fidelity
Are found in every bob-tail cur.

Hard toil'd the youth, so fresh and strong,
While Bobtail in his face would look,
And mark'd his master troll the song,--
"Sweet Molly Dumpling! Oh, thou Cook!"

For thus he sung:--while Cupid smile'd;--
Please'd that the Gard'ner own'd his dart,
Which prune'd his passions, running wild,
And grafted true-love on his heart.

Maid of the Moor! his love return!
True love ne'er tints the cheek with shame:
When Gard'ners' hearts, like hot-beds, burn,
A Cook may surely feed the flame.

Ah! not averse from love was she;
Tho' pure as Heaven's snowy flake;
Both love'd: and tho' a Gard'ner he,
He knew not what it was to _rake_.

Cold blows the blast:--the night's obscure:
The mansion's crazy wainscots crack:
No star appear'd:--and all the Moor,
Like ev'ry other Moor,--was black.

Alone, pale, trembling, near the fire,
The lovely Molly Dumpling sat;
Much did she fear, and much admire
What Thomas Gard'ner could be at.

List'ning, her hand supports her chin;
But, ah! no foot is heard to stir:
He comes not, from the garden, in;
Nor he, nor little bobtail cur.

They cannot come, sweet maid! to thee;
Flesh, both of cur and man, is grass!
And what's impossible can't be;
And never, never, comes to pass!

She paces thro' the hall antique,
To call her Thomas from his toil;
Opes the huge door;--the hinges creak;
Because the hinges wanted oil.

Thrice, on the threshold of the hall,
She "Thomas!" cried, with many a sob;
And thrice on Bobtail did she call,
Exclaiming, sweetly,--"Bob! Bob! Bob!"

Vain maid! a Gard'ner's corpse, 'tis said,
In answers can but ill succeed;
And dogs that hear when they are dead,
Are very cunning Dogs indeed!

Back thro' the hall she bent her way;
All, all was solitude around!
The candle shed a feeble ray,----
Tho' a large mould of four to th' pound.

Full closely to the fire she drew;
Adown her cheek a salt tear stole;
When, lo! a coffin out there flew,
And in her apron burnt a hole!

Spiders their busy death-watch tick'd;
A certain sign that Fate will frown;
The clumsy kitchen clock, too, click'd,
A certain sign it was not down.

More strong and strong her terrors rose;--
Her shadow did the maid appal;--
She tremble'd at her lovely nose,--
It look'd so long against the wall.

Up to her chamber, damp and cold,
She climb'd Lord Hoppergollop's stair;--
Three stories high--long, dull, and old,--
As great Lords' stories often are.

All Nature now appear'd to pause:
And "o'er the one half world seem'd dead;"
No "curtain'd sleep" had she;----because
She had no curtains to her bed.

List'ning she lay;--with iron din,
The clock struck _Twelve_; the door flew wide;
When Thomas, grimly, glided in,
With little Bobtail by his side.

Tall, like the poplar, was his size,
Green, green his waistcoat was, as leeks;
Red, red as beet-root, were his eyes;
Pale, pale as turnips, were his cheeks!

Soon as the Spectre she espied,
The fear-struck damsel faintly said,
"What wou'd my Thomas?"--he replied,
"Oh! Molly Dumpling! I am dead.

"All in the flower of youth I fell,
Cut off with health's full blossom crown'd;
I was not ill--but in a well
I tumble'd backwards, and was drown'd.

"Four fathom deep thy love doth lie:
His faithful dog his fate doth share;
We're Fiends;--this is not he and I;
We are not _here_,--for we are _there_.

"Yes;--two foul Water-Fiends are we;
Maid of the Moor!--attend us now!
Thy hour's at hand;--we come for thee!"
The little Fiend-Cur said "bow wow!"

"To wind her in her cold, cold grave,
A Holland sheet a maiden likes;
A sheet of water thou shalt have;
Such sheets there are in Holland Dykes."

The Fiends approach; the Maid did shrink;
Swift thro' the night's foul air they spin;
They took her to the green well's brink,
And, with a souse, they plump'd her in.

So true the fair, so true the youth,
Maids, to this day, their story tell:
And hence the proverb rose, that Truth
Lies in the bottom of a well.


[Illustration]

DICK ended:--TOM and WILL approve'd his strains;
And thought his Legend made as good a figure
As naturalizing a dull German's brains,
Which beget issues in the Heliconian stews,
Upon a profligate _Tenth_ Muse,
In all the gloomy _impotence of vigour_.[1]

"'Twas now the very witching time of night,
When _Prosers_ yawn."--Discussion grew diffuse:
Argument's _carte and tierce_ were lost, outright:
And they fought loose.

Says WILL, quite carelessly,--"the other day,
As I was lying on my back,
In bed,
I took a fancy in my head;--
Some writings aren't so difficult as people say;--
They are _a knack_."

"What writings? whose?" says TOM--raking the cinders.
"Many," cried WILL:--"For instance,--PETER PINDAR'S."
"What! call you his a knack?"--"Yes;--mind his measure,
In _that_ lies half the _point_ that gives us pleasure."
"Pooh!--'tisn't that," DICK cried--
"_That_ has been tried,
Over and over:--Bless your souls!
'Tis seen in _Crazy Tales_, and twenty things beside:
His measure is as old as Poles."

"Granted," cries WILL: "I know I'm speaking treason:
For PETER,
With many a joke, and queer conceit, doth season
His metre:

"And this I'll say of PETER, to his face,
As 'twas, time past, of Vanbrugh writ--
PETER has often wanted _grace_,
But he has never wanted _wit_.

"Yet I will tell you a plain tale,
And see how far quaint measure will prevail:"


[Illustration]

THE NEWCASTLE APOTHECARY.

A MAN, in many a country town, we know,
Professes openly with death to wrestle;
Ent'ring the field against the grimly foe,
Arm'd with a mortar and a pestle.

Yet, some affirm, no enemies they are;
But meet just like prize-fighters, in a Fair,
Who first shake hands before they box,
Then give each other plaguy knocks,
With all the love and kindness of a brother:
So (many a suff'ring Patient saith)
Tho' the Apothecary fights with Death,
Still they're sworn friends to one another.

A member of this Ăsculapian line,
Lived at Newcastle upon Tyne:
No man could better gild a pill:
Or make a bill;
Or mix a draught, or bleed, or blister;
Or draw a tooth out of your head;
Or chatter scandal by your bed;
Or give a clyster.

Of occupations these were _quantum suff._:
Yet, still, he thought the list not long enough;
And therefore Midwifery he chose to pin to't.
This balance'd things:--for if he hurl'd
A few score mortals from the world,
He made amends by bringing others into't.

His fame full six miles round the country ran;
In short, in reputation he was _solus_:
All the old women call'd him "a fine man!"
His name was Bolus.

Benjamin Bolus, tho' in _trade_,
(Which oftentimes will Genius fetter)
Read works of fancy, it is said;
And cultivated the _Belles Lettres_.

And why should this be thought so odd?
Can't men have taste who cure a phthysic;
Of Poetry tho' Patron-God,
Apollo patronises physick.

Bolus love'd verse;--and took so much delight in't,
That his prescriptions he resolve'd to write in't.

No opportunity he e'er let pass
Of writing the directions, on his labels,
In dapper couplets,--like _Gay's Fables_;
Or, rather, like the lines in _Hudibras_.

Apothecary's verse!--and where's the treason?
'Tis simply honest dealing:--not a crime;--
When patients swallow physick without reason,
It is but fair to give a little rhyme.

He had a Patient lying at death's door,
Some three miles from the town,--it might be four;
To whom, one evening, Bolus sent an article,
In Pharmacy, that's call'd cathartical.

And, on the label of the stuff,
He wrote this verse;
Which, one would think, was clear enough,
And terse:--

"_When taken,
To be well shaken._"

Next morning, early, Bolus rose;
And to the Patient's house he goes;--
Upon his pad,
Who a vile trick of stumbling had:
It was, indeed, a very sorry hack;
But that's of course:
For what's expected from a horse
With an Apothecary on his back?

Bolus arrive'd; and gave a doubtful tap;--
Between a single and a double rap.--

Knocks of this kind
Are given by Gentlemen who teach to dance:
By Fiddlers, and by Opera-singers:
One loud, and then a little one behind;
As if the knocker fell, by chance,
Out of their fingers.

The Servant lets him in, with dismal face,
Long as a courtier's out of place--
Portending some disaster;
John's countenance as rueful look'd, and grim,
As if th' Apothecary had physick'd him,--
And not his master.

"Well, how's the Patient?" Bolus said:--
John shook his head.
"Indeed!--hum! ha!--that's very odd!
He took the draught?"--John gave a nod.
"Well,--how?--what then?--speak out, you dunce!"
"Why then"--says John--"we _shook_ him once."
"Shook him!--how?"--Bolus stammer'd out:
"We jolted him about."
"Zounds! Shake a Patient, man!--a shake won't do."
"No, Sir,--and so we gave him _two_."
"Two shakes! od's curse!
'Twould make the Patient worse."
"It did so, Sir!--and so a third we tried."
"Well, and what then?"--"then, Sir, my master died."


[Illustration]

Ere WILL had done 'twas waxing wond'rous late;
And reeling Bucks the streets began to scour;
While guardian Watchmen, with a tottering gait,
Cried every thing, quite clear, except the hour.

"Another pot," says TOM, "and then,
A Song;--and so good night, good Gentlemen!

"I've Lyricks, such as _Bons Vivants_ indite,
In which your bibbers of Champagne delight,--
The Poetaster, bawling them in clubs,
Obtains a miserably noted name;
And every noisy Bacchanalian dubs
The Singing-Writer with a bastard Fame."




[Illustration]

LODGINGS FOR SINGLE GENTLEMEN.


WHO has e'er been in London, that overgrown place,
Has seen "_Lodgings to Let_" stare him full in the face:
Some are good, and let dearly; while some, 'tis well known,
Are so dear, and so bad, they are best let alone.

WILL WADDLE, whose temper was studious and lonely,
Hire'd lodgings that took Single Gentlemen only;
But WILL was so fat he appear'd like a ton;--
Or like Two Single Gentlemen roll'd into One.

He enter'd his rooms, and to bed he retreated;
But, all the night long, he felt fever'd, and heated;
And, tho' heavy to weigh, as a score of fat sheep,
He was not, by any means, heavy to sleep.

Next night 'twas the same!--and the next;--and the next;
He perspire'd like an ox; he was nervous, and vex'd;
Week past after week; till, by weekly succession,
His weakly condition was past all expression.

In six months, his acquaintance began much to doubt him:
For his skin, "like a lady's loose gown," hung about him.
He sent for a Doctor; and cried, like a ninny,
"I have lost many pounds--make me well--there's a guinea."

The Doctor look'd wise:--"a slow fever," he said:
Prescribe'd sudorificks,--and going to bed.
"Sudorificks in bed," exclaim'd WILL, "are humbugs!
I've enough of them there, without paying for drugs!"

WILL kick'd out the Doctor:--but, when ill indeed,
E'en dismissing the Doctor don't _always_ succeed;
So, calling his host--he said--"Sir, do you know,
I'm the fat Single Gentleman, six months ago?

"Look'e, landlord, I think," argued WILL, with a grin,
"That with honest intentions you first _took me in_:
But from the first night--and to say it I'm bold--
I have been so damn'd hot, that I'm sure I caught cold."

Quoth the landlord--"till now, I ne'er had a dispute;
I've let lodgings ten years;--I'm a Baker, to boot;
In airing your sheets, Sir, my wife is no sloven;
And your bed is immediately over my Oven."

"The Oven!!!" says WILL;--says the host, "why this passion?
In that excellent bed died three people of fashion.
Why so crusty, good Sir?"--"Zounds!" cries WILL, in a taking,
"Who wouldn't be crusty, with half a year's baking?"

WILL paid for his rooms;--cried the host, with a sneer,
"Well, I see you've been _going away_ half a year:"
"Friend, we can't well agree,--yet no quarrel"--WILL said;--
"But I'd rather not _perish_, while you _make your bread_."[2]

[Illustration]




[Illustration]

THE KNIGHT AND THE FRIAR.

PART FIRST.


IN our Fifth Harry's reign, when 'twas the fashion
To thump the French, poor creatures! to excess;--
Tho' Britons, now a days, shew more compassion,
And thump them, certainly, a great deal less;--

In Harry's reign, when flush'd Lancastrian roses
Of York's pale blossoms had usurp'd the right;[3]
As wine drives Nature out of drunkards' noses,
Till red, triumphantly, eclipses white;--
In Harry's reign--but let me to my song,
Or good king Harry's reign may seem too long.

SIR THOMAS ERPINGHAM, a gallant knight,
When this king Harry went to war, in France,
Girded a sword about his middle;
Resolving, very lustily, to fight,
And teach the Frenchmen how to dance,
Without a fiddle.

And wond'rous bold Sir Thomas prove'd in battle,
Performing prodigies, with spear and shield;
His valour, like a murrain among cattle,
Was reckon'd very fatal in the field.
Yet, tho' Sir Thomas had an iron fist,
He was, at heart, a mild Philanthropist.

Much did he grieve, when making Frenchmen die,
To any inconvenience to put 'em:
"It quite distress'd his feelings," he would cry,
"That he must cut their throats,"--and, then he cut 'em.

Thus, during many a Campaign,
He cut, and grieve'd, and cut, and came again;--
Pitying, and killing;--
Lamenting sorely for men's souls,
While pretty little eyelet holes,
Clean thro' their bodies he kept drilling:

Till palling on his Laurels, grown so thick,
(As boys pull blackberries, till they are sick,)
Homeward he bent his course, to wreath 'em;
And in his Castle, near fair Norwich town,
Glutted with glory, he sat down,
In perfect solitude, beneath 'em.

Now, sitting under Laurels, Heroes say,
Gives grace, and dignity--and so it may--
When men have done campaigning;
But, certainly, these gentlemen must own
That sitting under Laurels, quite alone,
Is much more dignified than entertaining.

Pious Ăneas, who, in his narration
Of his own prowess, felt so great a charm;--
(For, tho' he feign'd great grief in the relation,
He made the story longer than your arm;[4])

Pious Ăneas no more pleasure knew
Than did our Knight--who could he pious too--
In telling his exploits, and martial brawls:
But pious _Thomas_ had no Dido near him--
No Queen--King, Lord, nor Commoner to hear him--
So he was force'd to tell them to the walls:

And to his Castle walls, in solemn guise,
The knight, full often, did soliloquize:--

For "Walls have ears," Sir Thomas had been told;
Yet thought the tedious hours would seem much shorter,
If, now and then, a tale he could unfold
To ears of flesh and blood, not stone and mortar.

At length, his old _Castellum_ grew so dull,
That legions of Blue Devils seize'd the Knight;
Megrim invested his belaurell'd skull;
Spleen laid embargoes on his appetite;

Till, thro' the day-time, he was haunted, wholly,
By all the imps of "loathed Melancholy!"--
Heaven keep her, and her imps, for ever, from us!--
An Incubus,[5] whene'er he went to bed,
Sat on his stomach, like a lump of lead,
Making unseemly faces at Sir Thomas.

Plagues such as these might make a Parson swear;
Sir Thomas being but a Layman,
Swore, very roundly, _Ó la militaire_,
Or, rather, (from vexation) like a Drayman:

Damning his Walls, out of all line and level;
Sinking his drawbridges and moats;
Wishing that he were cutting throats--
And they were at the devil.

"What's to be done," Sir Thomas said one day,
"To drive _Ennui_ away?
How is the evil to be parried?
What can remind me of my former life?--
Those happy days I spent in noise and strife!"
The last word struck him;--"Zounds!" says he,
"a Wife!"--
And so he married.

Muse! regulate your pace;--
Restrain, awhile, your frisking, and your giggling!
Here is a stately Lady in the case:
We mustn't, now, be fidgetting, and niggling.

O God of Love! Urchin of spite, and play!
Deserter, oft, from saffron Hymen's quarters;
His torch bedimming, as thou runn'st away,
Till half his Votaries become his Martyrs!

Sly, wandering God! whose frolick arrows pass
Thro' hearts of Potentates, and Prentice-boys;
Who mark'st with Milkmaids' forms, the tell-tale grass,
And make'st the fruitful Prude repent her joys!

Drop me one feather, from thy wanton wing,
Young God of dimples! in thy roguish flight;
And let thy Poet catch it, now, to sing
The beauty of the Dame who won the Knight!

Her beauty!--but Sir Thomas's own Sonnet
Beats all that I can say upon it.


[Illustration]

SIR THOMAS ERPINGHAM's[6] SONNET _ON HIS LADY_.

1

SUCH _star-like_ lustre lights her _Eyes_,
They must have darted from a _Sphere_,
Our duller _System_ to surprise,
Outshining all the _Planets_ here;
And, having wander'd from their wonted place,
Fix in the wond'rous _Heaven_ of her _Face_.


2

The modest _Rose_, whose blushes speak
The ardent kisses of the Sun,
Off'ring a tribute to her _Cheek_,
Droops, to perceive its _Tint_ outdone;
Then withering with envy and despair,
Dies on her _Lips_, and leaves its _Fragrance_ there.


3

Ringlets, that to her _Breast_ descend,
_Increase_ the beauties they _invade_;
Thus branches in luxuriance bend,
To grace the _lovely Hills_ they shade;
And thus the glowing _Climate_ did entice
Tendrils to curl, unprune'd, o'er _Paradise_.

* * * * *

Sir Thomas having close'd his love-sick strain,
Come, buxom Muse! and let us frisk again!

Close to a Chapel, near the Castle-gates,
Dwelt certain stickers in the Devil's skirts;
Who, with prodigious fervour, shave their pates,
And shew a most religious scorn for shirts.

Their House's sole Endowment was our Knight's:--
Thither an Abbot, and twelve Friars, retreating,
Conquer'd (sage, pious men!) their appetites
With that infallible specifick--eating.

'Twould seem, since tenanted by holy Friars,
That Peace and Harmony reign'd here eternally;--
Whoever told you so were cursed liars;--
The holy Friars quarrell'd most infernally.

Not a day past
Without some schism among these heavenly lodgers;
But none of their dissensions seem'd to last
So long as Friar John's and Friar Roger's.

I have been very accurate in my researches,
And find this Convent (truce with _whys_ and _hows_)
Kept in a constant ferment with the _rows_
Of these two quarrelsome fat sons of Churches.

But when Sir Thomas went to his devotions,
Proceeding thro' their Cloister with his Bride,
You never could have dream'd of their commotions,
The stiff-rump'd rascals look'd so sanctified:

And it became the custom of the Knight
To go to matins every day;
He jogg'd his Bride, as soon as it was light,
Crying, "my dear, 'tis time for us to pray."--

This custom he establish'd, very soon,
After his honey-moon.

Wives of this age might think his zeal surprising;
But much his pious lady did it please,
To see her Husband, every morning, rising,
And going, instantly, upon his knees.

Never, I ween,
In any person's recollection,
Was such a couple seen,
For genuflection!

Making as great a drudgery of prayer
As humble Curates are oblige'd to do,--
Whose labour, wo the while! scarce buys them cassocks;
And, every morning, whether foul or fair,
Sir Thomas and the Dame were in their pew,
Craw-thumping, upon hassocks.

It could not otherwise befall
(Sir Thomas, and his Wife, this course pursuing,)
But that the Lady, affable to all,
Should greet the Friars, on her way
To matins, as she met them, every day,
_Good morninging_, and _how d'ye doing_:

Now nodding to this Friar, now to that,
As thro' the Cloister she was wont to trip;
Stopping, sometimes, to have a little chat,
On casual topicks, with the holy brothers;--
So condescending was her Ladyship,
To Roger, John, and all the others.

All this was natural enough
To any female of urbanity;--
But holy men are made of as frail stuff
As all the lighter sons of Vanity!--

And these her Ladyship's chaste condescensions,
In Friar John bred damnable desire;
Heterodox, unclean intentions;--
Abominable in a Friar!

Whene'er she greeted him, his gills grew red,
While she was quite unconscious of the matter;--
But he, the beast! was casting sheeps-eyes at her,
Out of his bullock-head.

That coxcombs _were_ and _are_, I need not give,
Nor take the trouble, now, to prove;
Nor that those dead, like many, now, who live,
Have thought a Lady's condescension, love.

This happen'd with fat Friar John!--
Monastick Coxcomb! amorous, and gummy;
Fill'd with conceit up to his very brim!--
He thought his guts and garbage doated on,
By a fair Dame, whose Husband was to _him_
Hyperion to a mummy.

Burning with flames the Lady never knew,
Hotter and heavier than toasted cheese,
He sent her a much warmer _billet-doux_
Than Abelard e'er writ to Elo´se.

But whether Friar John's fat shape and face,
Tho' pleading both together,
Were sorry advocates, in such a case;--
Or, whether
He marr'd his hopes, by suffering his pen
With too much fervour to display 'em;--
As very tender Nurses, now and then,
Cuddle their Children, till they overlay 'em;--

'Twas plain, his pray'r to decorate the brows
Of good Sir Thomas was so far from granted,
That the Dame went, directly, to her spouse,
And told him what the filthy Friar wanted.

Think, Reader, think! if thou hast ta'en, for life,
A partner to thy bed, for worse or better,
Think what Sir Thomas felt, when his chaste wife
Brandish'd, before his eyes, the Friar's letter!

[Illustration]

He felt, Sir,--Zounds!--
Yes, Zounds! I say, Sir,--for it makes me swear--
More torture than he suffer'd from the wounds
He got among the French, in France;--
Not that I take upon me to advance
The knight was ever wounded there.

Think gravely, Sir, I pray:--fancy the Knight--
('Tis quite a Picture)--with his heart's delight!
Fancy you see his virtuous Lady stand,
Holding the Friar's foulness in her hand!--

How should Sir Thomas, Sir, behave?
Why bounce, and sputter, surely, like a squib:--
You would have done the same, Sir, if a knave,
A frouzy Friar, meddle'd with your Rib.

His bosom almost burst with ire
Against the Friar;

Rage gave his face an apoplectick hue;
His cheeks turn'd purple, and his nose turn'd blue;
He swore with this mock Saint he'd soon be even;--
He'd have him flay'd, like Saint Bartholomew;--
And, now again, he'd have him stone'd, like Stephen.

But, "_Ira furor brevis est_,"
As Horace, quaintly, has express'd;--

Therefore the Knight, finding his foam and froth
Work thro' the bung-hole of his mouth, like beer,
Pull'd out the vent-peg of his wrath,
To let the stream of his revenge run clear:

Debating, with himself, what mode might suit him,
To trounce the rogue who wanted to cornute him.

First, an attack against his Foe he plann'd,
Learn'd in the Field, where late he fought so felly;
That is--to march up, bravely, sword in hand,
And run the Friar thro' his holy belly.

At last, his better judgment did declare--
Seeing his honour would as little shine
By sticking Friars, as by killing swine--
To circumvent him, by a _ruse de guerre_:

And, as the project ripen'd in his head,
Thus to his virtuous Wife he said:

"Now sit thee down, my Lady bright!
And list thy Lord's desire;
An assignation thou shalt write,
Beshrew me! to the Friar.

"Aread him, at the midnight hour,
In silent sort to go,
And bide thy coming, in the Bower--
For there do Crabsticks grow.

"He shall not tarry long;--for why?
When _Twelve_ have striking done,
Then, by the God of Gardens![7] I
Will cudgel him till _One_."

The Lady wrote just what Sir Thomas told her;
For, it is no less strange than true,
That Wives did, once, what Husbands bid them do;--
Lord! how this World improves, as we grow older!

She name'd the midnight hour;--
Telling the Friar to repair
To the sweet, secret Bower;--
But not a word of any crabsticks there.

Thus have I seen a liquorish, black rat,
Lure'd by the Cook, to sniff, and smell her bacon;
And, when he's eager for a bit of fat,
Down goes a trap upon him, and he's taken.

A tiny Page,--for, formerly, a boy
Was a mere dunce who did not understand
The doctrines of Sir Pandarus, of Troy,--
Slipp'd the Dame's note into the Friar's hand,
As he was walking in the cloister;
And, then, slipp'd off,--as silent as an oyster.

The Friar read;--the Friar chuckle'd:--
For, now the Farce's unities were right:
_Videlicet_--The Argument, a Cuckold;
The Scene, a Bow'r; Time, Twelve o'clock, at night.

Blithe was fat John!--and, dreading no mishap,
Stole, at the hour appointed, to the _trap_;
But, so perfume'd, so musk'd, for the occasion,--
His _tribute_ to the nose so like _invasion_,--
You would have sworn, to smell him, 'twas no rat,
But a dead, putrified, old civet-cat.

He reach'd the spot, anticipating blisses,
Soft murmurs, melting sighs, and burning kisses,
Trances of joy, and mingling of the souls;
When, whack! Sir Thomas hit him on the joles.

Now, on his head it came, now on his face,
His neck, and shoulders, arms, legs, breast, and back;
In short, on almost every place
We read of in the Almanack.

Blows rattle'd on him thick as hail;
Making him rue the day that he was born;--
Sir Thomas plied his cudgel like a flail,
And thrash'd as if he had been thrashing corn.

At length, a thump,--(painful the facts, alas!
Truth urges us Historians to relate!)--
Took Friar John so smart athwart the pate,
It acted like a perfect _coup de grace_.

Whether it was a random shot,
Or aim'd maliciously,--tho' Fame says _not_--
Certain his soul (the Knight so crack'd his crown)
Fled from his body; but which way it went,
Or whether Friars' souls fly up, or down,
Remains a matter of nice argument.

Points so abstruse I dare not dwell upon;
Enough, for me, his body is not gone;

For I have business, still, in my narration,
With the fat carcass of this holy porpus;
And Death, tho' sharp in his Administration,
Never suspended such an _Habeas Corpus_.


END OF PART I.


[Illustration]

THE KNIGHT AND THE FRIAR.

PART THE SECOND.

READER! if you have Genius, you'll discover,
Do what you will to keep it cool,
It, now and then, in spite of you, boils over,
Upon a fool.

Haven't you (lucky man if _not_) been vex'd,
Worn, fretted, and perplex'd,
By a pert, busy, would-be-clever knave,
A forward, empty, self-sufficient slave?

And haven't you, all christian patience gone,
At last, put down the puppy with your wit;--
On whom it seem'd, tho' you had Mines of it,
Extravagance to spend a jest upon?--

And haven't you, (I'm sure you have, my friend!)
When you have laid the puppy low,--
All little pique, and malice, at an end,--
Been sorry for the blow?
And said, (if witty, so would say your Bard,)
"Damn it! I hit that meddling fool too hard?"

Thus did the brave Sir Thomas say;--
Whose Genius didn't much disturb his pate:
It rather, in his bones, and muscles, lay,--
Like many other men's of good estate:

Thus did Sir Thomas say;--and well he might,
When pity to resentment did succeed;
For, certainly, (tho' not with _wit_) the Knight
Had hit the Friar very hard, indeed!
And heads, nineteen in twenty, 'tis confest,
Can feel a crab-stick sooner than a jest.

There was, in the Knight's family, a man
Cast in the roughest mould Dame Nature boasts;
With shoulders wider than a dripping pan,
And legs as thick, about the calves, as posts.

All the domesticks, viewing, in this hulk,
So large a specimen of Nature's whims,
With kitchen wit, allusive to his bulk,
Had christen'd him the Duke of Limbs.

Thro'out the Castle, every whipper-snapper
Was canvassing the merits of this strapper:
Most of the Men voted his size alarming;
But all the Maids, _nem. con._ declare'd it charming!

This wight possess'd a quality most rare;--
I tremble when I mention it, I swear!
Lest pretty Ladies question my veracity:
'Twas--when he had a secret in his care,
To keep it, with the greatest pertinacity.

Pour but a secret in him, and 'twould glue him
Like rosin, on a well-cork'd bottle's snout;
Had twenty devils come with cork-screws to him,
They never could have screw'd the secret out.

Now, when Sir Thomas, in the dark, alone,
Had kill'd a Friar, weighing twenty stone,
Whose carcass must be hid, before the dawn,
Judging he might as hopelessly desire
To move a Convent as the Friar,
He thought on this man's secresy, and brawn;--
And, like a swallow, o'er the lawn he skims,
Up to the Cock-loft of the Duke of Limbs:

Where Somnus, son of Nox, the humble copy
Of his own daughter Mors,[8] had made assault
On the Duke's eye-lids,--not with juice of poppy,
But potent draughts, distill'd from hops and malt.

Certainly, nothing operates much quicker
Against two persons' secret dialogues,
Than one of them being asleep, in liquor,
Snoring like twenty thousand hogs.

Yet circumstance did, presently, require
The Knight to tell his tale;
And to instruct his Man, knock'd down with ale,
That he (Sir Thomas) had knock'd down a Friar.

How wake a man, in such a case?
Sir, the best method--I have tried a score--
Is, when his nose is playing thoro' bass,
To pull it, till you make him roar.

A Sleeper's nose is made on the same plan
As the small wire 'twixt a Doll's wooden thighs;
For pull the nose, or wire, the Doll, or Man,
Will open, in a minute, both their eyes.

This mode Sir Thomas took,--and, in a trice,
Grasp'd, with his thumb and finger, like a vice,
That feature which the human face embosses,
And pull'd the Duke of Limbs by the proboscis.

The Man awoke, and goggle'd on his master;--
He saw his Master goggling upon him;--
Fresh from concluding, on a Friar's nob,
What Coroners would call an awkward job,
He glare'd, all horror-struck and grim,--
Paler than Paris-plaister!

His hair stuck up, like bristles on a pig;--
So Garrick look'd, when he perform'd Macbeth;
Who, ere he entered, after Duncan's death,
Rumple'd his wig.

The Knight cried, "Follow me!"--with strange grimaces;
The Man arose,--
And began "sacrificing to the Graces,"[9]
By putting on his clothes;

But he reverse'd, in making himself smart,
A Scotchman's toilet, altogether:
And merely clapp'd a cover on that part
The Highlanders expose to wind and weather.

They reach'd the bower where the Friar lay;
When, to his Man,
The Knight began,
In doleful accents, thus to say:

"Here a fat Friar lies, kill'd with a mauling,
For coming, in the dark, a-caterwauling;
Whom I (O cursed spite!) did lay so!"
Thus, solemnly, Sir Thomas spake, and sigh'd;--
To whom the Duke of Limbs replied--
"Odrabbit it!



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Main -> Colman, George -> Broad Grins Comprising, With New Additional Tales in Verse, Those Formerly Publish'd Under the Title My Night-Gown and Slippers