THE GOOSE: A POEM.
TO J―― B――,
As I have the honour to be a member of the ancient and
venerable Order of the Gormogons, I am obliged by the laws of the great
Chin Quaw-Ki-Po, Emperor of China, to read yearly some part of the
ancient records of that country.
I was performing my annual task when the extraordinary piece of justice in
the following poem fell under my perusal: the original is in prose; but
more reasons than one determined me to translate it into verse.
Your worship is too well known in these parts for any one to imagine I
could long hesitate in the choice of a patron.
The stupidity, peevishness, passion, and vanity of the Chinese justice,
will undoubtedly serve as foils to set off and illustrate your consumate
wisdom and prodigious virtues.
You may believe, Sir, 'twas with this regard I dedicated the poem to you;
every true Britain, who hears of your justice, candour, and humanity,
(especially to strangers) must be charm'd with your conduct; for had all
Britain such justices as your worship, we might sing, or say, with one
accord, our country is finely govern'd!
But tho' I give you your just praises, I am afraid I
offend your modesty.
I am sensible that harsh sounds cannot escape the
animadversions of critical ears: and for that reason have been often on
the point of changing the title of my poem from the Goose to the
Gander. But reflecting that the geese, who gave warning of the
enemy's approach, were called Servatores Romæ
I chose to retain my former title in honour of them, and such like
To you then, Sir, the Goose waddles for protection,
and begs leave to assure you that the present
Poet Laureat* shall never want a quill to celebrate your immortal
May your worship live as long here as you are an ornament to
the high station you are placed in: and when you remove out of this
country, may you be preferred to the Chair in the other, before
Æacus, Minos, or
Rhadamanthus, which is the sincere wish of
WEARY with homely
food, and toils of life,
With crying children, and a scolding wife,
A weaver is resolved to banish sorrow,
And live to-day, let what will come to-morrow:
For who the tiresome loom can always bear,
And not regale his stomach with good cheer?
With this intent he from his looms doth start,
And asks his pockets if they'll take his part?
And fortune favours, for they answer—Yes:
Which makes him skip, and thank his stars for this.
Then Sunday-coat he o'er his singlet* puts,
And in high spirits to the market struts;
Where geese and ducks, and chickens feast his eyes,
But only one fat goose poor Shuttle buys.
And now he thinks the happy moment come,
To triumph, thro' the streets, and bear the trophy home.
But who can guard against the turns of fate?
The wench he bought the goose of cries—a cheat!
From hence ensues a noisy doubtful strife,
Such as was never heard 'twixt man and wife;
The gaping crowd around in parties stand!
But, lo! old Granidoodle just at hand:
When now their anger boils to such a pitch,
That there was whore, and rogue, and dog, and bitch;
But words like these a poem may debase,
And only suit the hero of the case.
His Worship hearing, could no longer bear,
But cries aloud—"What noythe, what noytbe, iththere?
Ith for nought that I, the mighty I,
Do reprethent high Chinethe Majethty?
Or that in vain I wear the towhrd and thield?
My name ith, wath and will be ――"
Both trembled at his voice—but first the man,
Made a respectful bow, and thus began:
"Mayn't please your worship's honour and your glory
I will exactly tell you all the story;
This goose I bought for twelve pence, and paid down
In good and lawful money, half a crown:
But now a saucy slut my change refuses,
Demands more coin, and gives me gross abuses."
"What thay you woman; ith thith fulth or true,
Thith fellow cloth athert contharning you?"
"Mayn't please your sov'reign lord, the king's great justice,
In whom for goose or money, all my trust is;
I wish I ne'er may see my spouse, or house,
If ever I received of him a souse."
"But will you thwear thith ith the cache? if tho,
He shall to Bridewell for correctheon go."
"For God's sake hear me. Sir, the weaver cries,
I'll swear to every thing which she denies:
If I hadn't given her half a crown, than never
Let warp and weft be firmly join'd together.
"Wheat! huther, thirrah! he thwear, you thwear too:
If Tholomon wath here what cou'd he do?
The matter ith tho ninth upon my troth;
My mind inclinth me to confine you both:
I'll toth a piecth of money up, thatch fair.
Whitch thall decide the person that muth thwear:
But mark me well, the woman ith to choothe,
Or head, or tail, like chanthe to win or loothe."
No sooner said than done—both parties willing,
The Justice twirls aloft a splendid shilling;
While she (ah! Nature, Nature!) calls for tail,
And pity 'tis, poor soul, that she shou'd fail!
But chance decrees—up turn great Chin-Quaw Ki-Po,
Whose very name my belly sore doth gripe――oh――
His worship view'd with joy the royal head,
And thus in broken lisping accents said:
"By thith event we very plainly find
That juthtith will take plait, tho' thumtimeh blind:
And had not I by providenth been here,
You two had fought it out, like dog and bear;
Here, fellow—take the book—for chanth decreethe
You take the oath:—but pay me firtht my feethe.
From peril of the law you'll then be loothe;
Huththe, give him the chanth, and eke the goothe;
And thuttle, for the future, let me tell ye,
You must not pamper your ungodly belly;
Geeth, ducked, and caponth, are for huth thage catothe,
Be you content with thjannock and pottatothe."
His work thus finish'd, passing thro' the streets,
He tells the wondrous tale to all he meets;
And hugs himself for this rare action done,
Whilst all men stare, some laugh; still he goes on
"Plain itch a pike-thstaff 'tith, that I in pow'r,
Do king and country thervice ev'ry hour:
And to my utmotht do good orderth keep,
Both when I am awake, and when I thleep,
O two, three, four, nay, five, timth happy nathion,
When Magithrath have toutch a penerathion!
No trangreth now for bread thrall dare to roam,
But with their wiveth and children sthay at home:
Ath for philosopherth, I'll make them thqeek,
In spite of all their Latin, and their Greek,
Newton himself should here find no protecthion:
And all hith pupilth thall receive correcthion;
They're Papilth all, in different mathks, and we
Thou'd watch, like Arguth, dangerth to forethee,
The nathionth right on juthtieeth depend,
And tith our duty rorguth to apprehend.
Thus withe men alwayth act, and I thith day,
Have churcth and thstate pretherv'd, by quelling
thith thad fray."
woollen waistcoat undy'd.
To the Last Will and Testament of
JAMES CLEGG, CONJUROR.
it known unto all men by these presents, THAT I
James Clegg, of Broad-lane within Castleton, in the
Parish of Rochdale, and County of Lancaster, Conjuror;
having made my Last Will and Testament, bearing date the 18th of February,
1749, do hereby codicil, confirm, and rectify my said Will; and if I die a
natural death, i.e. elude the gallows, and within two miles of
Shaw-Chapel, then I will that my Executors, John Collier and
Paul Greenwood, come to my house the day following, and with the
advice and assistance of James Worral, order my funeral, as
I. I will that they invite to my funeral sixty of
my friends, or best acquaintance, and also fiver fidlers; to be there
exactly at two o'clock.
II. That no woman be invited; no man that wears a
white cap, or apron, that no tobacco or snuff be there, to prevent my
III. That they provide sixty-two spie'd cakes,
value ten shillings, and twenty shillings worth of the best ale that is
within two miles; allowing the best ruby-nosepresent, Roger Taylor
and John Booth, to be judges.
IV. That if my next relations think a wooden-jump too chargeable,
then I will that my executors cause me to be drest in my
roast-meat-cloths, lay me on a bier, stangs, or the like; give all present
a sprig of rosemary, hollies, or gorses, and a cake: sprig rosemary, that
no tears be shed, but be merry for two hours.
V. Then all shall drink a gill-bumper, and the
fidlers play Britons Strike Home, whilst they are bringing me out,
and covering me. This shall be about five minutes before the
cavalcade begins; which shall move in the high road to Shaw-Chapel in the
following order, viz. The best fidler of the five shall lead the van, the
other four following after, two and two, playing The Conjurer goes Home,
in the aforesaid tune. Then the bier and attendants, none riding on
horseback but as Hudibras did to the stockes, i.e. face to
tail, except Mr. George Stanfield, of Sowerby, (which
privilege I allow him for reasons best known to myself.) Then the
Curate of Shaw-Chapel shall bring up the rear, dress'd in his
pontificalibus, and riding on an ass, the which, if he duly and honestly
perform, and also read the usual office, then my Executors shall nem
con. pay him twenty-one shillings.
VI. If the singers of Shaw meet me fifty yards
from the Chapel, and sing the anthem begining O Clap your Hands, &c.,
pay them five shillings.
VII. Next, I will that I be laid near the huge ruins of James
Woolfenden, late landlord of Shaw-Chapel; which done, pay the Sexton
half a crown.
VIII. Then let all go to the alehouse I most
frequented, and eat, drink, and be merry, till the shot amounts to thirty
shillings; the fidlers playing The Conjurer's gone Home, with other
tunes at discretion, to which I leave them: and then pay the fidlers two
shillings and sixpence each.
IX. If my next relations think it worth their
cost and pains to lay a stone over me, then I will that John Collier,
of Milnrow, cut the following epitaph on it.
Here Conjurer CLEGG
beneath this stone,
By his best friends was laid;
Weep, O ye fidlers, now he's gone,
Who lov'd the tweetling-trade!
Mourn all ye brewers of good ale,
Sellers of books and news;
But smile ye jolly priests, he's pale,
Who grudg'd your power, and dues.
FURTHER, As I have some qualities and worldly goods
not disposed of by my said last will, I do give and devise as follows;
that is to say, I give unto the Rochdale-parish Methodists all my
religion and books of freethinking, as believing they'll be useful and
very necessary emollients.
ITEM, I give unto any one of that whimsical sect, who
is sure the Devil is in him, my slice of the liver of Tobit's fish,
which my ancestors have kept pickled up above two thousand years; being
certain that a small slice fry'd will drive Belzebub himself,
either upwards or downwards, out of the closest made Methodist in his
ITEM, I give unto any three of the aforesaid
Methodists, who are positive that they have a church in their bellies, my
small set of squirrel-bells to hang in the steeple, being apprehensive
that a set of the size of Great Tom of Lincoln would prove
detrimental to a fabric of such an airy and tottering foundation.
ITEM, I give my forty-five minute sand-glass (on which
is painted Old Time sleeping) unto that clergyman living within three
miles of my house, who is most noted for preaching long-winded,
tautologizing sermons: provided he never turn it twice at one heat.
ITEM, I leave all my spring-traps, flying nets, and
all my other valuable utensils whatsoever, belonging to that new invented
and ingenious art of cuckow caching, unto my generous, honest, and
open-hearted friend, Mr. Benjamin Bunghole, late of Rochdale, being
thoroughly satisfy'd of his good inclination, and great capacity for the
proper use of them.
ITEM, I give unto one Timothy Bobbin,
wheresoever he may be found, a pamphlet entitled A View of the
Lancashire Dialect; being fully persuaded few others capable of
reading or making any sense of it.
ITEM, I give all my humility, good nature,
benevolence, and hospitality, with all my other good qualities whatsoever,
not before dispos'd of, unto that person in the parish of Rochdale
who can eat the most raw onions without crying.
LASTLY, I will that this Codicil be, and be adjudged
to be, part of my said Last Will and Testament, as fully as if the same
had been there inserted.
In witness whereof I have hereunto fix's my hand and seal,
this 24th day of May, in the year 1751.
LETTERS IN PROSE.
A NARRATIVE OF THE CASE BETWEEN THE QUEEN AT
THE BOOTH, AND THE AUTHOR.
TO T. P. ESQ.
Jan. 30th, 1752.
your favour of the 20th cur. I perceive you have heard of the furious
rupture that is lately broke out betwixt me and a certain lady, who is
sometimes called the Queen at the Booth, and at others the
Yorkshire Lawyeress; and seem fearful that it will be detrimental to
my family and interest, I thank you for your tender care; but, cheer up,
Sir, I'm not afraid of the law; for I have a particular friend that will
screen me from long and costly suits—I mean Poverty.
You desire me to send you a full account of what has past
between us. I shall oblige you in this, tho' it will be both
intricate and prolix; and as truth has always something of the agreeable
attending it, something I must own that I was the first aggressor: for it
arose from that strong tincture of Quixotism that you know reigns
predominant in me; though if I was inclin'd to phanaticism, I should give
it another name, and call it the spirit of reformation.
The first time I saw her was at Dean Chapel, in the
parish of Huthersfield, where she immediately took my eye, and
raised my curiosity to know who and what she was: being (if I may so
speak) the very gallimaufry of a woman. She was dress'd as gay and
airy as a girl of sixteen; the Old Age stared full at me thro' every
wrinkle. In short, her out of the way figure and behaviour spoiled
my devotion, and rais'd my choler to that pitch that I could not be at
rest till I had given her a reprimand.
Service being over, I stepp'd into a little alehouse near the
chapel, and enquired of the landlord who the Bedlamite was, who was so old
and so very airy? He auswer'd with a sigh, she's my own aunt, but
you know I cannot help her dressing so awkwardly. Very dressing
true, says I, but will she come in here, think you? I'm not certain,
he reply'd, but very likely she may. So I sat down a few minutes,
but Madam not appearing, I went back into the chapel-yard amongst the
crowd; but she had given me the slip, and so escaped my resentment at that
time. However, I left strict orders with her nephew (who promised me
to tell her) to dress and behave more agreeable to her age; or otherwise,
if she persisted, she should hear from me in a more disagreeable manner.
This past on about a month, when I chanced to see her again
at Ripponden; and perceiving her ladyship was in no humour for
reforming, but rather more janty than ever: I took a resolution
(Quixote-like) to write a letter to her under a feigned name; and which,
tho' I kept to matter of fact, she pleases to call a libel, and by one
means or other she is become positive I am the author: but this opinion
might chiefly arise from my leaving the pragmatically order with her
Be this as it will, it is certain that the Tuesday following
she saddled her nag, and rode to Justice R――
for a warrant, to bring me to an account for that to which I was
determined to plead Not Guilty.
On her arrival there, and laying her complaint before the
Justice, he demanded whether she would swear the letter on me? N—o, but
'tis nobody else. Have you any evidence that will swear to this
man's writing it? N—o, but he was at the Black-Lion, in
Ripponden, where the letter was first found, and the very night before
I received it. In short, she could not swear positively, and
consequently no warrant was granted.
Things past on about a fortnight, when she received
intelligence that I was going immediately to leave Yorkshire. So she
resolv'd to pay me a visit at Mr. Hill's before my departure.
I happen'd to have the first glens of her ladyship as she came up the
court, with the bridle of her strong rosinante on her arm, and a young
woman (Phebe Dawson) attending her.
On rapping at the door, the old gentleman went out, and after
the usual salutations, she begun—I'm come to see, Sir, if you'll suffer
any of your servants to abuse me? No mistress, that I wou'd not do:
pray, have I any that does do so? Why have not you a servant they
call Collier? No, that I have not, reply'd the old gentleman.
But have you not some such a man about your house? Yes; he's in the
house; and I believe there is some little connection between my son R. and
him: but I have nothing to do with him. Very well, Sir, then I've
been wrong inform'd, and I will take it kindly if you'll tell him I'd fain
speak with him. Yes mistress, that I will do. On his telling
me that a lady desired to speak with me, I appeared surprised, tho' I
guess's what she was about well enough: however I went to the door, and
made her a complaisant bow, which her irritated stomach scorn'd to return.
As to her dress, &c. I shall refer to the notes on Hoantung's
letter: only observe that a blue riding-habit, hoop'd with silver lace, a
jockey's cap, and a pretty large black-silk patch on each side of her
mouth, made her cut a most grotesque figure.
After a full stare at each other, she asked me if my name was
Collier? Yes, Madam, said I, what's your pleasure with me?
Why, I want to know if you'll stand to what you've done? O yes, to
be sure Madam, said I; what is't? Why about this libel. Libel!
said I, I don't know what a libel is. I suppose you do; and I want
to know if you'll stand to it or not, for you writ it to be sure.
Indeed, Madam, your speech is all ridicule to me. But as I'm very
busy at present, if you'll go down to Ripponden, I'll follow as soon as I
can, and there get an explanation. That's what I want, she reply'd,
but pray tell me what house I must go to? To Carpenter's to be sure,
said I. And you'll follow me, says she? O don't doubt it;
Madam. So away she goes, and her witness along with her: but I kept
my distance, as wanting both time and inclination to follow her.
Messrs. Hills laughed at me for being honour's with this
unexpected visit from the Queen of the Booth, and thought I had met
with more than my match: all the gentry round being afraid to provoke or
contradict her: and wondered that I should have any thing to do with her,
as she would undoubtedly ruin me, tho' I was worth thousands. I told
them innocence did not know what fear was, and that I was not apprehensive
of any danger.
This affair happened on Friday; and the Sunday following I
left the Kebroyde pretty early for my journey into Lancashire: and on
going up to Soyland to bid adieu to my friends there, I found in the road,
behind an ash-tree, six papers, written all alike in a large print hand, a
copy of which follows:—
last from Rushworth stray'd,
Or was by Satan's Imps convey'd,
A Chesnut mare, with prick-up ears,
Bad eyes, teeth lost, advanc'd in years.
Had two light-colour'd feet before,
Her mouth was patch'd, and very sore.
A right whisk tail, and grissel mane,
A heavy head, and body plain;
A filly trotting by her side,
And both good blood as e'er was try'd
Who e'er can them to Pluto bring
Their owner, that grim sooty king:
Shall for their pains in this good job
Receive Ten Pounds, of
You cannot imagine, Sir, but that I must see the purport of
these papers, and what they were intended for: so I took care to have them
put up at Nipponden Ealand, Halifax, &c. on that day before noon; and they
causing much staring, and various surmisings in the country; some
pick-thank or other conveyed a copy of one of them to her ladyship: who,
on perusing it, readily father'd the brat upon me; and said to the
messenger, you have done me very great service; for now, I never doubt,
but I can catch the fox in his craftiness, and then I'll make him clear
all accounts, and pay you handsomely for your trouble.
What follows is chiefly from information, and I was told for
fact that that evening she kill'd the fatted calf, as it were, and feasted
some of her privy council, rejoicing that she had so fine a prospect of
gratifying her spleen, and attaining the summit of her wishes; and the
next morning she mounted her gelding, and, with the young filly, set off
for the Justice.
On her arrival she found his Worship had company; however,
being well acquainted with her, he came into the room where she was,
(which had a table standing in the middle) and several gentlemen followed
him. She then drew out the copy of the advertisement, and threw it
on the table: on which his Worship said, well Madam what's to do now?
Why, Sir, said she, you wou'd not grant me a warrant before for this
rascal, and now I have suffered a fresh abuse from him, as that paper will
prove, if you'll please to read it.
He takes the paper up (the gentlemen all staring at the queer
dress and behaviour of her ladyship) and reads:
On Friday last from Rushworth stray'd,
Or was by Satan's Imps conveyed,
A chestnut mare,――――
Why Madam have you lost a mare? N—o, n—o, please to read on:—It
means me, Sir.
A chesnut mare, with prick-up ears,
Bad eyes, teeth lost, advanc'd in years.
Had two light-coloured feet before,
This cannot have any reference to you,—sure you have not four feet!
I ask your pardon for that, Sir, and beg you'll go on, for
you'll find it means me and nobody else. Here the gentlemen broke
out into a laugh, which being over the Justice went on.
Had two light-coloured feet before,
Her mouth was patch'd, and very sore.
Here she hastily interrupting him, said, that's true and is a very good
proof that he means me; for at that very time I had a tetter-worm on each
side my mouth, covered with black silk; and he names the day too, Sir,
which was Friday. What stronger evidence can be either given or
desired? Here the Justice join'd the gentlemen in another merry fit;
and then his Worship asked her, And who writ and posted these
advertisements up do you say?
Why this rascal—this Collier—to be sure―
To be sure will not do, Madam—But did you or any other person
see him write or put them up? Or will you swear this is his hand?
N—o, n—o,—that is not his hand, for I have evidence here that
they were either printed or writ like print; and I can also prove that he
writes that hand better than any in the country; and that's another proof
that he writ and put them up, or ordered others to do it, which is all one
you know, Sir, in law.
But will you make oath that he writ or put them up?
I durst swear he did; but, alas! I did not see him.
Well, Madam, I perceive this man will slip us again; for
without a positive oath I cannot grant a warrant.
Here her ladyship, (with a heavy sigh) said, If justice, law
will not do, I must fee council (which I am told she actually did.)
But I'm so very uneasy that I cannot sleep, and I think this grand villain
will be the end of me.
When that happens, said one of the gentlemen, if you'll come
hither again, we'll try him for his life for committing murder; and to
make him pay the piper with a witness.
Ah! Sir, but this is no jesting matter, for all's gone when I
am gone, and that I fear will not be long for I hear this same ruiner of
my good name has actually got that same letter printed which I brought to
you—and if so, it is so scandalous, that taking all together, it will
break my heart; and you know, Sir, the dark side of a good character is
not quite spotless.
Very true, said his Worship, but I can see no remedy for you
in this case without good proof.
That's what I fear I must never have, said the old lady, who
turn'd her backside without any compliment, left the rhymes on the table,
and budg'd off; the whole being a pretty scene of diversion for those she
Thus, Sir, I have endeavour'd to satisfy your curiosity,
hoping you'll excuse the length of the narrative; and now I have only to
tell you that the letter she mention'd to the Justice is actually printed
(a copy of which I here enclose you) and which I sell for a friend.
Her ladyship has sent for several, and always by persons she thinks most
capable of pumping me. I always oblige her by sending them, but
still keep innocent, and quite ignorant of its production, otherwise you
might say—Good Lord have mercy upon
Your most obliged humble Servant,
HUNTUNG'S LETTER (a)
EMPRESS OF RUSSIA.
TRANSLATED FROM THE CHINESE (WITH EXPLANATORY
NOTES) BY LYCHANG THE MANDARIN.
To scourge a publick pest, the wise of old
Thought meritorious, tho' a bawd or scold;
I own this mongrel Owl-and-Crow is not
Half worth my powder or one grain of shot,
Yet as no person e'er could probe her heart,
No admonitions make her conscience start,
Let this true mirror shew her putrid mind,
And how her fame's to every sin inclin'd;
If she reform, 'tis well,—if not, I'm right;
To plague the plaguy, is refin'd delight!
WE Hoantung the Great,
Emperor of all the Emperors of the East, to our most, dazzling and serene
Sister, the Princess Eleeza, Empress of all Russia, send greeting.
WHEREAS our wisdom, like the beams of the great
luminary of the day, pierces into the remotest regions, and as all things
transacted between the Poles are under our immediate cognisance, by which
our Empire is become universal, and consequently checks the actions of
Sovereign Princes: We do now, by our aforesaid power, require that you, on
receipt hereof, forthwith retire to your sofa, and there contemplate how,
and by what means, you attain'd the palace of your residence (b)
and the Empire (c) which you so haughtily govern?
Why the Czar, (d) your first husband, was so
suddenly sent over the Archerontic-lake, and by whom? How the
present Cazar, your lawful spouse, came to be banished (e)?
What fury could induce you to trouble your neighbouring kingdoms and
states, (f) with one continued scene of war, rapine and
We say, reflect on these things, and consider with what
indulgence we have suffered you to rule with an high hand, ever since you
seized the imperial throne (g); which usurpation we
have wink'd at with impunity for the space of three hundred moons; not
doubting time, the offspring of eternity, and father of wisdom, would have
mitigated the severity of your reign: that the Czar would have been
re-called and restored to the sovereignty; that all your subjects, from
the boyar to the plebtan, might have reposed under their citron and
pomegranate-trees, eaten their autumnal fruits, and enjoyed the rights and
privileges with which the God FOHE, and his handmaid Nature, hath endowed
them. But seeing that time works not the expected effects, but that
you still drive the car of government with an outstretched arm, we are (as
it were) constrain'd to send this our awful and imperial injunction;
requiring and commanding, and we do hereby enjoin and command you, without
the least hesitation, to recall the Czar from banishment, and
restore him to the seat of empire; to the Boyars and Waywoods (h)
their respective powers and jurisdictions; and all your other subjects and
vassals to their liberties and privileges. That you consider the
unconstrained freedoms and well-known pleasures of your youth (i),
nay even since time fix'd his plough-share in your forehead; and be not
too curious with your piercing optics, and officious hands, in prying into
the sprightly pastimes and rustic amours of the softer sex within your
Further, We will that when you approach the mosques of the
Gods, particularly that of Worotin (l), that
your posture be decent, that you observe the religious ceremonies, and in
all respects demean yourself as a true worshipper of the God FOHE and his
prophet Confucius: that your deportment be grave as becomes the evening of
life: that your dress (especially the attire of your head and neck) (m)
be modest and free from those youthful airs you seem to delight in, and
are always the unerring index of a contaminated mind: that you appear no
more in publick with your locket, ear-rings, and other juvenile trinkets,
as you and all the world know them to be the wages of carnal and youthful
pleasures, and can never make you more agreeable than a spruce baboon.
Lastly, It is our royal will and pleasure, that you make a
full and general restitution; allow your vassals and slaves all due and
accustomed measures (n); encourage honesty, and not
study to pervert truth and justice (o); heal all
intestine divisions, extirpate perjury, banish false witnesses (p),
eradicate strife, cultivate peace, and let the dead sleep in their graves
(q). Thus we take our leave, expecting all due
obedience to this our royal and sacred mandate, at the direful peril of
our tremendous indignation.—For such our will and pleasure.
Given at our seraglio, in our imperial city of Twang Chew,
this l4th day of the 999th moon of our happy exaltation.
Reader stop here—behold what death can do,
He's torn the gew-gaws from Queen Bess's brow;
And made one stone her Majesty suffice,
Who living did from many pairs arise.
The original was left about Michaelmas, 1751, at a public-house in
Ripponden, by a tall swarthy person, in a long surtout, turban, and
whiskers: a broad scimeter hanging on a button, and his whole air and
countenance so fierce, that none durst say, from whence comes thou? so he
walk'd off undiscovered.
(b) The estate on which she resides.
(c) This by the soundest critics is
always taken for the Township of Rushworth, in the parish of Halifax.
(d) In a letter from the dusky
regions, 'twas hinted, she push'd him into old CHARON'S
boat, to whom she paid double fare to waft him over.
(e) Her present husband, whom she
banish'd by mere dint of dagger, for one morning, after a hot dispute
about the mushroome sect the Methodists, he found that weapon on a chair
by her bed side; and after several expostulations (she not being able to
satisfy him as to the use of it) he very prudently fled.
(f) Some distant as well as
neighbouring townships, which she continually vexes with litigious suits,
about filiations, settlements, &c.
(g) The government of the township;
she being a kind of perpetual constable, overseer of the poor, highways,
(h) The officers of the township
(i) Here is a large field for
reflection! but I hope the reader will excuse it, if the curtain be drawn
over this part of her character, which may be unfolded on some other
occasion, if after seeing herself in this glass she prove incorrigable.
(k) This alludes to her well-known
practice of groping the bubbies, bellies, &c. of young girls within her
territories, when 'tis whisper'd A MAIDENHEAD IS LOST. After close
examination, if she finds the unfortunate pregnant, she forces her to
discover her paramour; on whom her Highness seizes (under the sanction of
a warrant) with as much fierceness as the eagle her prey.
(l) The chapel of Ripponden; where
when she comes to shew her hunting dress, baubles, and Bedlamitish attire,
she stands waining in the isle, scorning to come in a pew, because she was
not suffered to have her lang-settle, or old form in its place, when, on
rebuilding the chapel, it was seated after a uniform and beautiful manner;
and even attempted to force an audience of the Right Reverend the Bishop
of Gloucester, to give this as a sufficient reason why the chapel ought
not to be consecrated.
(m) In this she affects the most
girlish airs: tho' her mouse-colour'd griffel hair scorns to bend, or lie
in ringlets, but keeps its most ancient posture, which is that of a――sow's
(n) This our learned Mandarin
confesses to be very obscure, and may have several constructions, but
inclines to believe it hints at a certain antique pot, or cup, with a
piece two inches deep out of its top; having been long and too well known
to poor taylors, and other labouring persons.
(o) Being ever ready and studying to
torment her husband (as well as others) she this year sent her emissary to
the labour of her own niece, to persuade her to father her bastard child
on him; following immediately herself, and finding her persuasions
ineffectual, she herself first used smooth and flattering terms, then
beich'd out deep imprecations to gain the point; but finding the girl
resolved to father it right, she sent for the constable to force, or
intimidate her to do it; but Mother Midnight being a woman of sense and
spirit, told him he was out of his elements, and if he entered within her
jurisdictions, she would try whether his scull or the tangs were harder
metal; so he wisely desisted.
(p) As an old lioness is attended by
her jackal, so her shrivelled Grimness has always in her train one Phebe
Dawson or some other, who can swear the truth, the whole truth, and――more.
(q) She charged her husband with being
false to her bed before marriage; and would needs have a young woman taken
out of her grave, who had been buried upwards of three months; pretending
a suspicion she was with child by him; and actually got the Coroner and
jury to the place for this purpose; but in this article she was prudently
PRICK-SHAW WITCH BLOWN UP:
THE CONJUROR OUT-CONJURD.
TO T. P., ESQ.
IT was a little before the last Easter that a
mixture of malice and envy between a brace of booksellers, produced two
auctions at the same time at Rochdale; where one of the evenings I, with
other bookish fellows of my acquaintance, resolved to stay for a little
refreshment after the show was over.
It happen'd that among others, there drew in his chair, an
ancient man with one eye, a slonch'd bat, and very meagre countenance.
Some of the company (as usual) on coming out of the auction room,
complained of the coldness of the weather. Single-peeper answer'd, "Cowd
it is, an ittle naw awtor theese six days." I asked him how he could
tell that? "Ho, weel enough (said he) becose of moon's oth' cusp oth'
thrid heawse to neet at ten o'clock." Humph, said I, you understand
astrology, I perceive. "Eigh, (reply'd Blinkard) Ive studit it e'er
sin ir fifteen yer owd." Why then you can calculate nativities, tell
fortunes, and find lost or stolen goods? "Eigh, eigh, (said he) ive
practic'd thoose things oboon forty yor, on winnow turn my back o nobody."
I seeing his self-sufficiency, and that he was a kind of a
mungrel between fool and knave, star'd at him with open mouth, as in great
surprise and admiration. Ah Lord! (said I) I've often heard of such
folk, but never saw any before; why, then you're a sort of a conjuror?
Here he smil'd, and answer'd, "Eigh, I'm oft cow'ds so; and sometimes
Prickshaw-Witch! good Lord bless us! said I, trembling—I've a
little girl of about six months old, whose fortune I would gladly know,
but for the sin of applying to such persons about it. "Sin! now, now, its
no sin at aw; its naw like logic, or th' black art, but as harmless as any
art ith ward. Very well, (quoth I,) if it be so, what must I give you to
calculate my girl's nativity? "Ho—I con doot at ony price, between one
shilling and twenty." Nay, if that be the case, I'll have the best, tho'
it cost me five pounds.
Thus the bargain was made, and I was to meet him the Tuesday following,
and the party that did not appear was to forfeit a dozen of ale. Then,
after a short fit of studying and staring on the ground, he requested that
what would have known concerning my daughter might be given him in writing;
and, in particular, the exact time of her birth; and I being a little on
the slack-rope, resolv'd to humour him, and immediately trump'd up the
October th' tenth my girl was born,
Ten minutes after four i'th' morn;
Brown hair, and eyes of fair complexion,
And all her limbs of good connexion.
I want to know her term of life?
If competency, without strife?
Her husband, whether good or bad?
Her first child, whether lass or lad?
These things are wanted to be known,
And you'll be paid whene'er they're shown.
I gave him the paper, and, after perusing it, he said, "I con mey rhymes,
bo' now thus fast." So, after a while, the shot was paid and we parted.
When the day of our meeting was come I had forgot my engagement, and
consequently neglected to meet the Conjuror. So the Friday following he
came to my house (when I happen'd to be in Yorkshire) and without
knocking, or speaking one word, burst open the door, runs to my wife,
takes the child out of her arms, and at the window examines its eyes,
hair, &c. the better to peep into futurity. So that my wife, who knew
nothing of the matter, took him for a madman. Then he ask'd her for a pen,
ink, and paper, and left me some worse than namby-pamby rhymers of the
little child, and a strict order to meet him the Tuesday following,
otherwise it would be to my cost, i.e. he would all-to-be-conjure me. This so rais'd my spirits, that it put me on contriving a way to be
revenged on him, and fir'd me with a resolution to meet him, whoever paid
Accordingly, I went to Rochdale a day before the time appointed, to find a
proper room, and a partner or two to assist me in the plot which I had
laid to countermine this modern Faustus.
Having light of a ground-room, and a couple of comrades to my mind, I
bought a pound of gunpowder, and try'd how much would blow up a chair, the
better to guess what quantity would lift a Conjurer. Then we took up a
piece of board from the chamber-floor, and under the hole placed a shelf,
where a large quantity of well-mix'd t—d and p—ss might stand, to be poured
on his head, just when the gunpowder took fire, to prevent his burning:
and spent the evening merrily enough, in hopes of paying old Merlin well
for his study and pains the day following.
The time being come, my worship was the first that appeared at the place
of rendezvous. I found the landlord had discover'd the whole plot to his
wife, and that she would not allow of the stinking compound, (because the
tragicomedy was to be acted in her bed-room) but as much water as we
pleased. So I was forced to be content with a double quantity of water,
which was plac'd on the shelf over the Conjuror's chair, and the powder
under it, with a train running from thence to the fire end, where I plac'd
a man as if drunk and asleep, with a stick in his hand, ready to put fire
to the train; and the landlord above, as ready to empty the pale on his
head when he saw the gunpowder take fire; the word of command being, "O
the wonderful art of astrology!"
All things being ready, I sat about an hour very impatiently, and began to
suspect the Conjuror had smelt a rat; when, to my great satisfaction, old
Faustus appear'd. I rose up with joy in my face, asked his pardon for not
meeting him as before appointed, and led him into the room.
As I had order'd all the chairs out of the room but two, I, sans ceremonie,
sat down in one, and the other of consequence fell to the Conjuror's
share, with a table betwixt us. Then I enquired if be had fulfilled my
desire about my daughter's nativity? He answer'd in the affirmative, and
immediately produc'd a paper-book of sixteen pages, writ closely,
containing the passages of my girl's future life, a table of the twelve
houses, and a speculum tolerably drawn. I took hold of it with as much
seeming veneration as if it had been a Sibyllien oracle, and began to
peruse it: sometimes stopping as tho' I was overwhelmed with thought and
deep admiration; and sometimes groaning in the spirit, like a full-blown
Quaker, which I saw tickled the Conjuror's vanity, and made him expect to
be doubly paid for his profound ingenuity.
After I had perus'd about one half of it, I rose up, and, with the book in
my hand, walk's soberly towards the door (having a particular antipathy to
gunpowder) and cry'd out, "O the wonderful, &c.," at which the sleepy man
tickled the train, and run out, which immediately fir'd the grand
magazine; this was met in the nick of time by the water, which I heard,
but neither could see that or the Conjuror, all the rooms in the house
being full of smoak in a moment.
When old Spyrophel came out of the compound cloud of fire, smoak, and
water, he found me in the passage with my wig and hat on the floor, as if
frightened out of my wits, and in a violent passion I pretended to strike
him with my hasle-stick, but hit the wall; gave him curse or two for
putting the conjuration-tricks upon me, and then made off with the old
knave's notes, and left him the shot to pay. We all met in an appointed
room, where I'll leave you to guess, Sir, at our mirth, that the plot had
met with the desired success.
After a while I enquir'd of the landlady what was become of the
fortune-teller? She answer'd, he walk'd half a dozen times across the
floor, brushing his coat, and then ask'd for me? She answer'd, that I went
off in a great passion, but had not seen me since. "Well (sai he) bo if
he knew aw, he'd be meety woode of teyn abus'd me o thiss'n: and then was
for marching off. Hold, hold, says the landlady, as you have frightened
all my guests away, I'm resolv'd you shall pay the shot. "Od, but that's
hard too too; bo I neer deawt Mr. Collier-'ll pay'th shot." I'll neither
trust Collier, tinker, nor cobler; pay me for my ale. So he was obliged to
satisfy her, and after a few hums and houghs he budg'd his way.
Since that time I neither saw nor heard from him before the last Friday,
when I received the following letter:—
This comes to acquaint you, that if you do not pay me for the calculating
your daughter's nativity, I will make use of the law to get it, and then
you may expect to pay dear for your pastime; for I do not find that ever
you intend to pay me, for you have had time sufficient to pay me already
the small sum of five shillings.
Note. If you neglect to pay me, I will send the Catchpoles in a few days,
Your abused Servant,
Nov. 15, 1752.
The day following the receipt of the above, a whim came into my head to
answer it in rhyme, directed,
To Mr. GEORGE CLEGG, Conjurer-General would be, of the County Palantine of
Lancaster, at his nocturnal Study at Smalshaw.
From you, George Clegg, or Prickshaw-Witch,
Or Doctor Faustus, choose you which:
It matters not:—but I've a note
By one of you three lately wrote,
Which intimates, that 'tis a crime
With Conjurers to pass the time.
Besides, it makes this queer demand,
That I must pay into your hand
A crown of English money straight,
Or Catchpoles soon must on me wait.
But hold, friend George, not quite so fast,
You'll go as far with lesser haste;
I promis'd payment, that is certain,
If you would tell my daughter's fortune;
But that 'tis done, I flat deny,
Since one half gives the rest the lye.
Nor was it sterling coin I meant,
That being far from my intent,
But such as you received have,
And should be paid to every knave,
Who roguishly wou'd thus dispense
With reason, and all common sense,
And whilst their own they do not know—,
Pretend another's fate to shew;
Which was the case, or I'm deceiv'd,
When you 'twixt fire and water liv'd.
Again, consider, it's not hard,
After my wig and cloaths were marr'd
With fire and smoak, then as you conjur'd,
That I must pay for being injur'd.
Nay, rather, you deserve a drub,
For raising up old Belzebub,
Who every one did almost choak
With stinking brimstone, fire, and smoak
Which threw us into such a fright,
Two p—ss'd, and three or four did sh—e.
But now, good Faustus, tell me true,
How comes five shillings thus your due?
Was it for coming to my dwelling,
To cheat me with your fortune-telling?
As you've done many honest spouses,
By selling them your starry-houses,
Your oppositions quartiles, trines,
Your fiery and aquatic signs;
Your speculums, and nodes i'th' skies,
Cusps, aspects, and ten thousand lies.
And don't you in your conscience think,
Instead of fingering my chink,
That you deserve, in high degree,
To mount on Rochdale's pillory?
Which is the only place that cools
That heat of astrologic fools;
And turns sometimes a cheat like you,
Into a liege-man, good and true;
But now, because I've shown you mercy,
You fall upon me arsy-versy?
No, no, good Faustus, 'twill not do,
My tooth as soon as coin for you:
And hope that this, my flat denial,
Will quickly bring it to a trial;
When I don't doubt to make you pay
For all your rogu'ries in this way:
A cat with nine-tails, wooden stocks,
And pillories, are for such folks;
And sure there are some laws i'th nation
In force against your conjuration
Or, what deserves more ample scourging,
Your cheating folk, with lies and forging.
So if you squeak but in the gizzard,
You're try'd by the' name of Prickshaw-Wizard.
From your affronted Master,
PILGARLIC THE GREAT.
This, Sir, is the truth of the story, to the date hereof; and should he
play the madman to that degree as to make a Quarter Sessions job of it, I
hope you will take it in a favourable light, and stand my friend: but I
rather think he intends the common law, as I hear of a certainty that he
has been to an attorney of my acquaintance, who had sense enough to laugh
at his simplicity, and honesty enough to decline being employed against me
in this case. What the issue will be I know not; but if the Bedlamite be
as determined to sue as I am to defend, there will be smoaking between the
Your most, &c.
TO MR. JOHN SEPHTON,
BREWER-GENERAL, IN LIVERPOOL.
Milnrow, Jan. 11th, 1760.
AS most of the roast-beef, goose, and
mined-pies, tarts and custards are devour'd in my neighbourhood? I have
now time to reflect on, and perform the promise I made you, of sending you
some Lancashire Dialect, and a few of Hoantung's Letters to
the Empress of Russia, all of which (could I have my wish) should not be
thrown by for some two or three years on some useless shelf, a corner, or
hole in a garret, hid from the sight of mortals by curtains of cobwebs,
but turn'd into cash in a few months, to be ready against the next time I
come to Liverpool. In short, vouchsafe to think on these two lines,
Some write for pleasure, some for spite,
But want of money makes me write.
Which, tho' they are but Heathen rhymes are as true as the Gospel.
But now I think on it, I ought to ask pardon for this useless hint to one
whose good-nature has been so conspicuous in this way; for in the few days
I was with you in Liverpool I sold fifty-two Bandybewits, for which I
thank you, Mr. Eyes, and a few more of my friends.
When I reflect on, and compare the humours I observ'd in your
populous town, with a few others I have lately been in, I cannot but think
that all cities and towns are subject to youth and old age; have their
constitutions, dispositions, beauties, failings, whims, and fancies, like
us two-legg'd mortals; for instance:
The City of York seems to think as well of itself as a
true-born Welchman; or, if you please, the House of Austria, (who each of
them can deduce their origin from the time of Numa Pompilious) and at
present walks like a plain drest nobleman of a royal house, and very
extensive revenues: who lives splendidly and in affluence, without
desiring to increase, or so imprudent to diminish, his paternal estate.
Leeds is a cunning, but wealthy, thriving farmer.
Its merchants hunt worldly wealth as eager as dogs pursue the hare; they
have, in general, the pride and haughtiness of Spanish Dons, mix'd with
the meanness of Dutch spirits; the strong desire they have of yellow dirt,
transforms them into galley-slaves, and their servants are doubly so; the
first being fastened with golden, but the latter with iron chains.
Halifax is a mongrel, begot by a Leeds merchant and a
Lancashire woman, and nursed by a Dutch frow. They are eager in
pursuing gain, but not so assiduous as to forget pleasure: and every day
at noon think it no scandal to lay aside business to eat beef and pudding.
Rochdale is like a growing haberdasher or master
hatter, black and greasy with getting a little pelf: whose inhabitants
(like Leeds and Halifax) are great lovers of wooll and butter: not
immediately to eat, but to fatten them in prospect. They don't study
to oppress their dependents, as knowing it to be impossible; for their
servants sometimes work hard, drink hard, and (being resolved to be
independent) play when they please.
Manchester is like a—a—I don't know what:—
hold;—why, 'tis like a lucky London merchant, who by the assiduous care
and pains of himself, and his servants round him, has made his fortune,
purchased a large estate in the country, keeps his coach and six, enjoys
more affluence, ease, and pleasure, than ever his forefathers dream'd of;
which is demonstrated by his healthful constitution, his prominent belly,
his rosy cheeks, and blooming countenance, and has ambition enough to aim
at being the monarch (and perhaps deservedly) of the whole county.
But as your town and Manchester appear to me to be as like one another as
two King-George-halfpennies, or a Wa—lpole and a Pu—ltney; and as one cap
will fit both their heads, I'll refer its further character till I come to
your favourite town, Liverpool.
Warrington within this thirty years has grown a busy
tradesman; who by a lucky bit or two, in tow and copper, has got new life
and vigour, and with an equal quantity of hope and resolution, dreams of
being a great man.
Chester seems to resemble an ancient Lord, of an old
but mongrel descent, got between a naked Briton and an encroaching Sasson
(or Saxon); has so much of the antique blood in his veins, that he's
resolv'd his servants shall still be one-third Welch and two-thirds
English. He's proud of, and boasts his pedigree from the old
Aborigines. Lives in great magnificence; scorns to make any
alterations, or additions, in his Great Great-Grandfather's leather
breeches, his trusty armour, or his old mansion-house; but is quite
content with the old fashions, and his large and ancient patrimony.
As for Liverpool, I'm at a loss for an hieroglyphic, or a
comparison for it. Hold,――let me
consider――ho, 'tis like a healthful bee
hive, in a hot summer's day, where all the community (except a few humming
drones) mind each their proper business.――No――this
will not do;—for bees fly from bitter ale and the fumes of tobacco.
Then 'tis like a broad-ars'd Mynheer, who by bartering, buying, and
selling, is resolved to get money in this world, tho' he goes plump to the
bottom of the sea, or even to the devil for it when he dies.
No,—this last part does not tally neither.—Well, then, 'tis like a
gamester, who is resoly'd to be a knight, or a knitter of caps. This
is the best draught of the three, but a little unlike the original still.
And now, I own, I am quite gravelled, and am forced to be a little
serious; for Liverpool, and its twin-brother, Manchester, are certainly
agreeable, merry, and brisk towns. The people, in general, appear to
be actuated by sensible, generous, and good-natured spirits: yet for all
this, I could as well live in Mount Strombulo when in a fit of the ague,
or in a passion, as in such slow-moving clouds of tobacco smoke, as are
puffed out in the public rooms in Liverpool and Manchester.
Two days ago I put on my old black coat, which I lately wore
with you eight or ten days, but I soon whipp'd it off again, for it is
more strongly fumigated, and stinks worse, than an over-smoak'd red
herring: and I believe I must either send it to the fulling mill (as our
folks do p—ss'd and sh—n blankets) or pickle it a few months in mint and
lavender water, before it will be in any tolerable season. But tho'
it is so disagreeable to me, yet smoke to a true Liverpolian seems a fifth
element, and that he could no more live out of it than a frog out of ditch
water in a warm April.
By the time you have got thus far, 'tis very probable you'll
think two things: first, that this epistle is too prolix; and that I write
like nobody else. I plead guilty to both indictments; and to prevent
you thinking me incorrigible, I conclude, with assuring you,
I am, &c.
TO T. P., ESQ.:
WITH HOWELL'S LETTERS.
I here send you Howell's Letters, which I intended to
have sent the last week: but being in the middle of their perusal, and its
guts is as full as any fat landlady's in the parish. And as to the
bellows, I have just, now contrived a way to make them puff and blow of
themselves as easily and naturally as a phthisical pair of lungs in going
up the church steps in a frosty morning. So much for my
These proposals of mine, I presume, you'll think very
advantageous to our parish, and I hope others will think so too; for which
reason I do not in the least doubt but they will be most eagerly embraced,
especially by our little monarchs, who rule with a high hand, nay even
with a stroke down the face, a nod, or a look; and always are thrifty, in
proportion to the smallness of their families, and largeness of their bags
and estates. However, I propose no more than shall be duly and
honestly performed, by
Sir, Your most, &c.
LETTERS IN RHYME.
TO RICHARD TOWNLEY, ESQ.
'Twas Thursday last, when I, John Goosequill
Went for some odds-and-ends to Rochdale,
With charge to buy some beef and mutton,
But these, alas! were quite forgotten:
For lighting on some friends, I sat
An hour (my wife says two) too late.
However, chance threw in my way
Some Dutton-cockles, fresh as May,
Which well I knew would please wife's palate
Better than any lamb and sallet.
Quite free from care, I spent the hours,
Till Time bawled out, to horse, to horse;
'Twas then the wallet press'd my shoulder,
And on I march'd, no Hussar bolder.
When I got home (I hate to tell it)
I fell to emptying of my wallet
Of candles, soap, and such like stuff,
Of which wed folks have ne'er enough:
But left the cockles still at bottom,
(Bought to keep quietness when I got home);
Then poured some water out of jug,
Mix'd with some salt, into a mug,
And turn'd the end of wallet up,
For fish (like other folks) would sup.
'Tis true, their crackling, empty sound,
Chim'd ill with cockles full and round:
But, far from smelling any rat,
I took up this and look's at that,
But all were empty――then I curst
Bill Porky, as of knaves the worst,
For selling nuts but ne'er a kernel,
And wish's him with the D――l
Now searching on quite to the bottom,
I found some stones;—thought I, ah, rot 'em!
Poor Bill Porky's honester
Than th' best of my companions are;
Unless the fish could, all at once,
Slip from their shells, and turn to stones.
A while I stood considering
The plaguy oddness of the thing;
Grop'd at my eyes, lest it should prove
A dream――but felt my eye-lids move:
I studied how I might come off,
Without Moll's frowning, or her laugh;
Thought I, my Rib will think I joke her,
And brought home shells just to provoke her;
Or frowning tell me some mad tale,
Of minding nothing but good ale.
Then, sighing, raised my maudlin-head,
Reel'd up the stairs—and went to bed.
No sooner up, but there's a query,
Put by my loving wife: hight, Mary,
What meat I'd bought?――Why――nothing
But pebble stones—and cockle-shells.