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Bent on some mortgage (to avoid reproach) Columns with plain magnificence appear,
Increasing crowds the flying game pursue.
When Winter reign'd in bleak Britannia's air ;
Pensive reclines upon his useless oar;
And wander roads unstable, not their own;
Wheels o'er the harden'd waters smoothly glide, Nor flush with shame the passing virgin's cheek. And rase with whiten'd tracks the slippery tide; Yet let me not descend to trivial song,
Here the fat cook piles high the blazing fire, Nor vulgar circumstance my verse prolong. And scarce the spit can turn the steer entire ; Why should I teach the maid, when torrents pour, Booths sudden hide the Thames, long streets appear, Her head to shelter from the sudden shower? And numerous games proclaim the crowded fair. Nature will best her ready hand inform,
So, when a general bids the martial train With her spread petticoat to fence the storm. Spread their encampment o'er the spacious plain; Does not each walker know the warning sign, Thick rising tents a canvas city build, When wisps of straw depend upon the twine And the loud dice resound through all the field. Cross the close street, that then the paver's art 'Twas here the matron found a doleful fate : Renews the ways, denied to coach and cart? Let elegiac lay the woe relate, Who knows not that the coachman lashing by Soft as the breath of distant flutes, at hours Oft with his flourish cuts the heedless eye; When silent evening closes up the flowers ; And when he takes his stand, to wait a fare, Lulling as falling water's hollow noise; His horses' foreheads shun the Winter's air? Indulging grief, like Philomela's voice. Nor will I roam where Summer's sultry rays Doll every day had walk'd these treacherous Parch the dry ground, and spread with dust the
roads ; ways;
Her neck grew warpt beneath autumnal loads With whirling gusts the rapid atoms rise,
of various fruit: she now a basket bore; Smoke o'er the pavement, and involve the skies. That head, alas! shall basket bear no more.
Winter my theme confines; whose nitry wind Each booth she frequent past, in quest of gain, Shall crust the slabby mire, and kennels bind; And boys with pleasure heard her shrilling strain. She bids the snow descend in flaky sheets, Ah, Doll! all mortals must resign their breath, And in her hoary mantle clothe the streets. And industry itself submit to death! Let not the virgin tread these slippery roads, The cracking crystal yields; she sinks, she dies, The gathering fleece the hollow patten loads ; Her head, chopt off, from her lost shoulders flies; But if thy footsteps slide with clotted frost, Pippins she cried; but death her voice confounds, Strike off the breaking balls against the post. And pip-pip-pip along the ice resounds. On silent wheels the passing coaches roll;
So, when the Thracian furies Orpheus tore, Oft look behind, and ward the threatening pole.
And left his bleeding trunk deform'd with gore, In harden'd orbs the school-boy moulds the snow,
His sever'd head floats down the silver tide, To mark the coachman with a dextrous throw. His yet warm tongue for his lost consort cried ; Why do ye, boys, the kennel's surface spread, Euridice with quivering voice he mourn'd, To tempt with faithless path the matron's tread? And Heber's banks Euridice return'd. How can you laugh to sce the damsel spurn, But now the western gale the flood unbinds, Sink in your frauds, and her green stocking mourn ? And blackening clouds move on with warmer winds; At White's the harness'd chairman idly stands, The wooden town its frail foundation leaves, And swings around his waist his tingling hands;
And Thames' full urn rolls down his plenteous The sempstress speeds to Change with red-tipt nose;
waves ; The Belgian stove beneath her footstool glows; From every penthouse streams the fleeting snow, In half-whipt muslin needles useless lie,
And with dissolving frost the pavements flow. And shuttle-cocks across the counter fly, [prove, Experienc'd men, inur’d to city ways, These sports warm harmless; why then will ye Need not the calendar to count their days. Deluded maids, the dangerous flame of love ? When through the town, with slow and solemn air
Where Covent-garden's famous temple stands, Led by the nostril, walks the muzzled bear; That boasts the work of Jones' immortal hands; Behind him moves, majestically dull,
The pride of Hockley-hole, the surly bull. * A cheat commonly practised in the streets with three Learn hence the periods of the week to name, thimbles and a little ball.
Mondays and Thursdays are the days of game.
When fishy stalls with double store are laid; The golden-bellied carp, the broad-finn'd maid, Red-speckled trouts, the salmon's silver jowl, The jointed lobster, and unscaly sole, And luscious 'scallops to allure the tastes Of rigid zealots to delicious fasts; Wednesdays and Fridays, you'll observe from hence, Days when our sires were doom'd to abstinence.
When dirty waters from balconies drop, And dext'rous damsels twirl the sprinkling mop, And cleanse the spatter'd sash, and scrub the stairs, Know Saturday's conclusive morn appears.
Successive cries the seasons' change declare, And mark the monthly progress of the year. Hark! how the streets with treble voices ring, To sell the bounteous product of the Spring! Sweet-smelling flowers, and elder's early bud, With nettle's tender shoots, to cleanse the blood; And, when June's thunder cools the sultry skies, E'en Sundays are profan'd by mack'rel cries.
Walnuts the fruiterer's hand in Autumn stain, Blue plums and juicy pears augment his gain : Next oranges the longing boys entice, To trust their copper fortunes to the dice.
When rosemary, and bays, the poet's crown, Are bawl'd, in frequent cries, through all the town, Then judge the festival of Christmas near, Christmas, the joyous period of the year. Now with bright holly all your temples strow, With laurel green, and sacred misletoe. Now, heaven born Charity! thy blessings shed; Bid meagre Want uprear her sickly head; Bid shivering limbs be warm; let Plenty's bowl In humble roofs make glad the needy soul! See, see! the heaven-born maid her blessing shed; Lo, meagre Want uprears her sickly head; Cloth'd are the naked, and the needy glad, While selfish Avarice alone is sad.
Proud coaches pass, regardless of the moan Of infant orphans, and the widow's groan; While Charity still moves the walker's mind, His liberal purse relieves the lame and blind. Judiciously thy half-pence are bestow'd, Where the laborious beggar sweeps the road. Whate'er you give, give ever at demand, Nor let old age long stretch his palsied hand. Those who give late are importun'd each day, And still are teas'd, because they still delay. If e'er the miser durst his farthings spare, He thinly spreads them through the public square, Where, all beside the rail, rang'd beggars lie, And from each other catch the doleful cry; With Heaven, for two-pence, cheaply wipes his score, Lifts up his eyes, and hastes to beggar more.
Where the brass-knocker, wrapt in flannel band, Forbids the thunder of the footman's hand; Th' upholder, rueful harbinger of Death, Waits with impatience for the dying breath; As vultures o'er the camp, with hovering flight, Snuff up the future carnage of the fight. Here canst thou pass, unmindful of a prayer, That Heaven in mercy may thy brother spare?
Come, Fortescue, sincere, experienc'd friend, Thy briefs, thy deeds, and ev'n thy fees, suspend; Come, let us leave the Temple's silent walls, Me business to my distant lodging calls; Through the long Strand together let us stray; With thee conversing, I forget the way. Behold that narrow street which steep descends, Whose building to the slimy shore extends;
Here Arundel's fam'd structure rear'd its frame,
O ye associate walkers! O my friends!
I've seen a beau, in some ill-fated hour, When o'er the stones choak'd kennels swell the shower,
In gilded chariot loll; he with disdain
If the pale walker pant with weakening ills,
Shall the large mutton smoke upon your boards? Such Newgate's copious market best affords. Wouldst thou with mighty beef augment thy meal? Seek Leaden-hall; St. James's sends thee veal; Thames-street gives cheeses; Covent-garden, fruits; Moorfields, old books; and Monmouth-street, old suits.
Hence may'st thou well supply the wants of life, Support thy family, and clothe thy wife.
Volumes on shelter'd stalls expanded lie, Summon at once thy courage, rouse thy care, And various science lures the learned eye;
Stand firm, look back, be resolute, beware. The bending shelves with ponderous scholiasts Forth issuing from steep lanes, the collier's steeds groan,
Drag the black load ; another cart succeeds; And deep divines, to modern shops unknown; Team follows team, crowds heap'd on crowds appear, Here, like the bee, that on industrious wing And wait impatient till the road grow clear. Collects the various odors of the Spring,
Now all the pavement sounds with tramping feet, Walkers at leisure, learning's flowers may spoil, And the mix'd hurry barricades the street. Nor watch the wasting of the midnight oil; Entangled here, the wagon's lengthen'd team May morals snatch from Plutarch's tatter'd page, Cracks the tough harness; here a ponderous beam A mildew'd Bacon, or Stagyra's sage :
Lies overturn'd athwart; for slaughter fed, Here sauntering prentices o'er Otway weep, Here lowing bullocks raise their horned head. O'er Congreve smile, or over D'Urfey sleep; Now oaths grow loud, with coaches coaches jar, Pleas'd semptresses the Lock’s fam'd Rape unfold; And the smart blow provokes the sturdy war; And Squirts* read Garth, till a pozems grow cold. From the high box they whirl the thong around, O Lintot ! let my labors obvious lie,
And with the twining lash their shins resound: Rang'd on thy stall, for every curious eye! Their rage ferments, more dangerous wounds they So shall the poor these precepts gratis know,
try, And to my verse their future safeties owe. And the blood gushes down their painful eye.
What walker shall his mean ambition fix And now on foot the frowning warriors light, On the false lustre of a coach and six ?
And with their ponderous fists renew the fight; Let the vain virgin, lur'd by glaring show, Blow answers blow, their cheeks are smear'd with Sigh for the liveries of th' embroider'd beau.
blood, See yon bright chariot on its braces swing, Till down they fall, and grappling roll in mud. With Flanders mares, and on an arched spring. So, when two boars, in wild Ytene * bred, That wretch, to gain an equipage and place, Or on Westphalia's fattening chestnuts fed, Betray'd his sister to a lewd embrace ;
Gnash their sharp tusks, and, rous’d with equal fire, This coach, that with the blazon'd 'scutcheon glows, Dispute the reign of some luxurious mire ; Vain of his unknown race, the coxcomb shows. In the black flood they wallow o'er and o'er, Here the brib'd lawyer, sunk in velvet, sleeps ; Till their arm'd jaws distil with foam and gore. The starving orphan, as he passes, weeps ;
Where the mob gathers, swiftly shoot along, There flames a fool, begirt with tinsel slaves, Nor idly mingle in the noisy throng: Who wastes the wealth of a whole race of knaves; Lur'd by the silver hilt, amid the swarm, That other, with a clustering train behind, The subtle artist will thy side disarm. Owes his new honors to a sordid mind!
Nor is the flaxen wig with safety worn; This next in courl-fidelity excels,
High on the shoulder, in a basket borne, The public rifles, and his country sells.
Lurks the sly boy, whose hand, to rapine bred, May the proud chariot never be my fate,
Plucks off the curling bonors of thy head. If purchas'd at so mean, so dear a rate!
Here dives the skulking thief, with practis'd sleight, Or rather give me sweet content on foot,
And unfelt fingers make thy pocket light. Wrapt in my virtue, and a good surtout!
Where's now the watch, with all its trinkets, flown?
And thy late snuff-box is no more thy own.
But, lo! his bolder thefts some tradesman spies,
Swift from his prey the scudding lurcher flies; of walking the Streets by Night.
Dext'rous he 'scapes the coach with nimble bounds, O TRIVIA, goddess ! leave these low abodes, Whilst every honest tongue “stop thief!" resounds And traverse o'er the wide ethereal roads ; So speeds the wily fox, alarm'd by fear, Celestial queen! put on thy robes of light, Who lately filch'd the turkey's callow care ; Now Cynthia nam’d, fair regent of the night. Hounds following hounds grow louder as he flies, At sight of thee, the villain sheathes his sword, And injur'd tenants join the hunter's cries. Nor scales the wall, to steal the wealthy hoard. Breathless, he stumbling falls. Ill-fated boy! O may thy silver lamp from Heaven's high bower Why did not honest work thy youth employ! Direct my footsteps in the midnight hour!
Seiz'd by rough hands, he's dragg'd amid the roun When Night first bids the twinkling stars appear, and stretch'd beneath the pump's incessant spout Or with her cloudy vest enwraps the air, Or plung’d in miry ponds, he gasping lies, Then swarms the busy street; with caution tread, Mud chokes his mouth, and plasters o'er his eyes. Where the shop-windows † falling threat thy head; Let not the ballad-singer's shrilling strain Now laborers home return, and join their strength Amid the swarm thy listening ear detain : To bear the tottering plank, or ladder's length; Guard well thy pocket; for these Syrens stand Still fix thy eyes intent upon the throng,
To aid the labors of the diving hand; And, as the passes, open, wind along.
Confederate in the cheat, they draw the throng, Where the fair columns of St. Clement stand, And cambric handkerchiefs reward the song. Whose straiten'd bounds encroach upon the Strand; But soon as coach or cart drive rattling on, Where the low penthouse bows the walker's head, The rabble part, in shoals they backward run. And the rough pavement wounds the yielding tread ; So Jove's loud bolts the mingled war divide, Where not a post protects the narrow space, And Greece and Troy retreat on either side. And, strung in twines, combs dangle in thy face; If the rude throng pour on with furious pace,
And hap to break thee from a friend's embrace, * An apothecary's hoy, in the Dispensary. A species of window now almost forgotten. N.
* New-Forest in Hampshire, anciently so called.
Stop short; nor struggle through the crowd in vain,
The laws have set him bounds; his servile feet
If wheels bar up the road, where streets are crost,
Thus Nisus wander'd o'er the pathless grove,
That walker who, regardless of his pace,
Nor need th' officious link-boy's smoky light.
Be sure observe where brown Ostrea stands,
Are rang'd beside the posts; there stay thy haste,
Though you through cleanlier alleys wind by day,
The man had sure a palate cover'd o'er
When from high spouts the dashing torrents fall,
Mind only safety, and contemn the mire.
Where Lincoln's-inn, wide space, is rail'd around,
Thy bleeding head, and fell thee to the ground.
Happy Augusta! law-defended town!
Let not the chairman, with assuming stride,
On every side the pressing spokes are nigh.
Hence sprung the fatal plague that thinn'd thy His numerous lowing herd; his herds he sold, reign,
And his deep leathern'd pocket bagg'd with gold. Thy cursed incest! and thy children slain! Drawn by a fraudsul nymph, he gaz'd, he sigh'd : Hence wert thou doom'd in endless night to stray Unmindful of his home, and distant bride, Thro' Theban streets, and cheerless grope thy way. She leads the willing victim to his doom,
Contemplate, mortal, on thy fleeting years; Through winding alleys, to her cobweb room. See, with black train the funeral pomp appears! Thence thro' the streets he reels from post to post, Whether some heir attends in sable state,
Valiant with wine, nor knows his treasure lost. And mourns, with outward grief, a parent's fate; The vagrant wretch th' assembled watchmen spies Or the fair virgin, nipt in beauty's bloom, He waves his hanger, and their poles defies; A crowd of lovers follow to her tomb:
Deep in the round-house pent, all night he snores, Why is the hearse with 'scutcheons blazon'd round, And the next morn in vain his fate deplores. And with the nodding plume of ostrich crown'd ? Ah, hapless swain! unus'd to pains and ills! No: the dead know it not, nor profit gain ; Canst thou forego roast-beef for nauseous pills! Ii only serves to prove the living vain.
How wilt thou lift to Heaven thy eyes and hands, How short is life! how frail is human trust! When the long scroll the surgeon's fees demands! Is all this pomp for laying dust to dust?
Or else (ye gods, avert that worst disgrace!) Where the nail'd hoop defends the painted stall, Thy ruin'd nose falls level with thy face! Brush not thy sweeping skirt too near the wall : Then shall thy wise thy lothesome kiss disdain, Thy heedless sleeve will drink the color'd oil, And wholesome neighbors from thy mug refrain. And spot indelible thy pocket soil.
Yet there are watchmen, who with friendly light Has not wise Nature strung the legs and feet Will teach thy reeling steps to tread aright; With firmest nerves, design d to walk the street ? For sixpence will support thy helpless arm, Has she not given us hands to grope aright, And home conduct thee, safe from nightly harm Amidst the frequent dangers of the night? But, if they shake their lanterns, from afar And think'st thou not the double nostril meant, To call their brethren to confederale war, To warn from oily woes by previous scent? When rakes resist their power; if hapless you
Who can the various city frauds* recite, Should chance to wander with the scouring crew, With all the petty rapines of the night?
Though Fortune yield thee captive, ne'er despair, Who now the guinea-drupper's bait regards,
But seek the constable's considerate ear; Trick'd by the sharper's dice, or juggler's cards ? He will reverse the watchman's harsh decree, Why should I warn thee ne'er to join the fray, Mou'd by the rhetoric of a silver fee. Where the sham quarrel interrupts the way? Thus, would you gain some favorite courtier's word, Lives there in these our days so soft a clown, Fee not the petty clerks, but bribe my lord. Brav'd by the bully's oaths, or threatening frown? Now is the time that rakes their revels keep; I need not strict enjoin the pocket's care,
Kindlers of riot, enemies of sleep. When from the crowded play thou lead'st the fair: His scatter'd pence the flying nicker* flings. Who has not here or watch or snuff-box lost, And with the copper shower the casement rings. Or handkerchiefs that India's shuttle boast? Who has not heard the scourer's midnight fame? 0! may thy virtue guard thee through the roads Who has not trembled at the Mohock's name? Of Drury's mazy courts, and dark abodes ! Was there a watchman took his hourly rounds, The harlots' guileful paths, who nightly stand Safe from their blows, or new-invented wounds? Where Catharine-street descends into the Strand! I pass their desperale deeds, and mischiefs done, Say, vagrant Muse, their wiles and subtle arts, Where from Snow-hill black steepy torrents run; To lure the strangers' unsuspecting hearts : How matrons, hoop'd within the hogshead's womb, So shall our youth on healthful sinews tread, Were tumbled furious thence; the rolling tomb And city cheeks grow warm with rural red. O'er the stones thunders, bounds from side to side;
"Tis she who nightly strolls with sauntering pace, So Regulus, to save his country, died. No stubborn stays her yielding shape embrace ; Where a dim gleam the paly lantern throws Beneath the lamp her ta wdry ribbons glare, O'er the mid pavement, heapy rubbish grows; The new-scour'd manteau, and the slattern air; Or arched vaults their gaping jaws extend, High-draggled petticoats her travels show,
Or the dark caves to common shores descend, And hollow cheeks with artful blushes glow; Oft by the winds extinct the signal lies, With flattering sounds she soothes the credulous Or smother'd in the glimmering socket dies, ear,
Ere Night has half roll'd round her ebon throne; "My noble captain! charmer! love! my dear!" In the wide gulf the shatter'd coach, o'erthrown, In riding-hood near tavern-doors she plies, Sinks with the snorting steeds ; the reins are broke, Or muffled pinners hide her livid eyes.
And from the crackling axle flies the spoke. With empty band box she delights to range,
So, when fam'd Eddystone's far-shooting ray, And feigns a distant errand from the 'Change:
That led the sailor through the stormy way, Nay, she will oft the Quaker's hood profane, Was from its rocky roots by billows torn, And trudge demure the rounds of Drury-lane. And the high turret in the whirlwind borne ; She darts from sarcenet ambush wily leers, Fleets bulg'd their sides against the craggy land, Twitches thy sleeve, or with familiar airs And pitchy ruins blacken'd all the strand. Her fan will pat thy cheek; these snares disdain, Who then through night would hire the harness'd Nor gaze behind thee, when she turns again.
steed? I knew a yeoman, who, for thirst of gain, And who would choose the rattling wheel for speed? To the great city drove, from Devon's plain,
* Gentlemen who delighted to break windows with * Various cheats formerly in practice.