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When the party commences, all starch'd and all glum,
They talk of the weather, their corns, or sit mum:
They will tell you of ribbons, of cambric, of lace,
How cheap they were sold — and will tell you the place.
They discourse of their colds, and they hem and they cough,
And complain of their servants to pass the time off.
But TEA, that enlivener of wit and of soul,
More loquacious by far than the draughts of the bowl,
Soon loosens the tongue and enlivens the mind,
And enlightens their eyes to the faults of mankind.
It brings on the tapis their neighbour's defects,
The faults of their friends, or their wilful neglects;
Reminds them of many a good-natured tale
Of those who are stilish and those who are frail,
Till the sweet-temper’d dames are converted by tea,
Into character manglers — Gunaikophagi.
In harmless chit-chat an acquaintance they roast,
And serve up a friend, as they serve up a toast.
Some gentle faux pas, or some female mistake,
Is like sweetmeats delicious, or relish'd as cake :
A bit of broad scandal is like a dry crust,
It would stick in the throat, so they butter it first
With a little affected good-nature, and cry
Nobody regrets the thing deeper than I.
Ah ladies, and was it by heaven design’d,
That ye should be merciful, loving, and kind!
Did it form you like angels and send you below,
To prophesy peace - to bid charity flow?
And have you thus left your primeval estate,
And wander so widely - so strangely of late ?
Alas! the sad course I too plainly can see,
These evils have all come upon you through Tea.
Cursed weed, that can make your fair spirits resion
The character mild of their mission divine.
blot from their bosoms that tenderness true,
Which from female to female for ever is due.
Oh how nice is the texture, how fragile the frame
Of that delicate blossom, a female's fair fame.
'Tis the sensitive plant, it recoils from the breath.
And shrinks from the touch as if pregnant with death.
How often, how often, has innocence sigh’d,
Has beauty been reft of its honor, its pride,
Has virtue, though pure as an angel of light,
Been painted as dark as a demon of night;
All offer'd up victims-an auto de fé,
At the gloomy cabals, the dark orgies of tea.
If I, in the remnant that's left me of life,
Am to suffer the torments of slanderous strife,
Let me fall, I implore, in the slang-wanger's claw,
Where the evil is open, and subject to law;
Not nibbled and mumbled, and put to the rack,
By the sly undermining of tea party clack.
Condemn me, ye gods, to a newspaper roasting,
But spare me! oh spare me, a tea-table toasting !
Let me fall, Lilis open, and, and put
Two honest tradesmen meeting in the Strand,
One took the other, briskly, by the hand;
Hark ye, says he, 'tis an odd story this,
About the crows. — I don't know what it is,
Replied his friend. -No! I'm surprised at that,
Where I come from it is the common chat:
But you shall hear; an odd affair indeed,
And that it happen'd, they are all agreed :
Not to detain you from a thing so strange,
A gentleman that lives not far from 'change
This week, in short, as all the alley knows,
Taking a puke, has thrown up three black crows.
Impossible ! - Nay, but it's really true;
I have it from good hands, and so may you —
From whose, I pray ? so having named the man,
Straight to inquire his curious comrade ran.
Sir, did you tell — relating the affair —
Yes, sir, I did; and if it's worth your care,
Ask Mr. Such-a-one, he told it me;
But, by the bye, 'twas two black crows, not three.-
Resolved to trace so wondrous an event,
Quick, to the third, the virtuoso went.
Sir, and so forth — why yes; the thing is fact,
Though in regard to number not exact ;
It was not two black crows, 'twas only one,
The truth of that you may depend upon.
The gentleman himself told me the case —
Where may I find him ? - Why, in such a place.
Away goes he, and having found him out,
Sir, be so good as to resolve a doubt -
Then to his last informant he referr'd,
And begg'd to know, if true what he had heard :
Did you, sir, throw up a black crow? - Not I!-
Bless me, how people propagate a lie !
Black crows have been thrown up, three, two, and one,
And here I find all comes at last to none !
Did you say nothing of a crow at all ?
Crow – crow — perhaps I might, now I recall
The matter over. And pray, sir, what was 't? -
Why, I was horrid sick, and at the last,
I did throw up, and told my neighbour so,
Something that was as black, sir, as a crow.
VAT YOU PLEASE.
SOME years ago, when civil faction,
Raged like a fury through the fields of Gaul, And children, in the general distraction,
Were taught to curse as soon as they could squall ; When common sense in common folks was dead,
And murder showed a love of nationality,
And France, determined not to have a head,
Decapitated all the higher class
To put folks more on an equality;
When coronets were not worth half-a-crown,
And Liberty, in bonnet-rouge, might pass
For Mother Red-cap up at Camden town;
Full many a Frenchman then took wing,
Bidding soup-maigre an abrupt farewell,
And bither came pell-mell, Sans cash, sans clothes, and almost sans every thing.
Two Messieurs who about this time came over
Half-starved, but toujours gai,
(No weasels e’er were thinner,)
Trudged up to town from Dover,
Their slender store exhausted in the way,
Extremely puzzled how to get a dinner. From morn till noon, from noon till dewy eve,
Our Frenchmen wander'd on their expedition ;
Great was their need, and sorely did they grieve,
Stomach and pocket in the same condition !
At length, by mutual consent they parted,
And different ways on the same errand started.
This happen'd on a day most dear
To epicures, when gen’ral use
Sanctions the roasting of the sav'ry goose !
Towards night, one Frenchman, at a tavern near,
Stopp’d, and beheld the glorious cheer;
While greedily he snuff’d the luscious gale in
That from the kitchen-windows was exhaling;
He instant set to work his busy brain,
And snuff’d and long'd, and long'd and snuff'd again.
Necessity's the mother of invention,
(A proverb I've heard many mention,)
So now one moment saw his plan completed,
And our sly Frenchman at a table seated,
The ready waiter at his elbow stands -
“Sir, will you favour me with your commands, We've roast and boil'd, sir, choose you those or these.” “Sare, you are very good, sare ! Vat you please !”
Quick at the word,
Upon the table smokes the wish’d-for bird !
No time in talking did he waste,
But pounced pell-mell upon it;
Drumstick and merry-thought he pick’d in haste,
Exulting in the merry thought that won it! Pie follows goose, and after pie comes cheese :“ Stilton or Cheshire, sir ?” -“Ah, vat you please!”
And now our Frenchman having ta’en his fill,
Prepares to go, when — “Sir, your little bill."
“Ah, vat you're Bill! vell, Mr. Bill, good day!
Bon jour, good Villiam.” “No, sir, stay,
My name is Tom, sir — you've this bill to pay."
“Pay, pay, ma foi !
I call for nothing, sir, pardonnez moi !
You bring me vat you call your goose, your cheese,
You ask-a me to eat - I tell you, Vat you please !"
Down came the master, each explain’d the case,
The one with cursing, t'other with grimace;