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Upon debate: the

papers echoed yet

With this début, which made a strong impression, And rank'd with what is every day display'd

<< The best first speech that ever yet was made. »


Proud of his « Hear hims ! » proud too of his vote
And lost virginity of oratory,

Proud of his learning (just enough to quote)
He revell'd in his Ciceronian glory :
With memory excellent to get by rote,

With wit to hatch a pun or tell a story,
Graced with some merit and with more effrontery,
<< His Country's pride,» he came down to the country.


There also were two wits by acclamation,

Longbow from Ireland, Strongbow from the Tweed, Both lawyers and both men of education;

But Strongbow's wit was of more polish'd breed: Longbow was rich in an imagination,

As beautiful and bounding as a steed,

But sometimes stumbling over a potato,—
While Strongbow's best things might have come from Cato.


Strongbow was like a new-tuned harpsichord;

But Longbow wild as an Æolian harp,
With which the winds of heaven can claim accord,
And make a music, whether flat or sharp.

Of Strongbow's talk you would not change a word:
At Longbow's phrases you might sometimes carp:
Both wits-one born so, and the other bred,
This by his heart-his rival by his head.




If all these seem an heterogeneous mass
To be assembled at a country seat,
Yet think, a specimen of every class

Is better than an hum drum tête-a-tête.
The days of Comedy are gone, alas!

When Congreve's fool could vie with Moliere's béte: Society is smooth'd to that excess,

That manners hardly differ more than dress.


Our ridicules are kept in the back-ground-
Ridiculous enough, but also dull;
Professions too are no more to be found

Professional; and there is nought to cull
Of folly's fruit: for though your fools abound,
They're barren and not worth the pains to pull.
Society is now one polish'd horde,

Form'd of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored,


But from being farmers, we turn gleaners, gleaning
The scanty but right-well threshed ears of truth;
And, gentle reader ! when you gather meaning,
You may be Boaz, and I-modest Ruth.
Further I'd quote, but Scripture intervening,
Forbids. A great impression in my youth
Was made by Mrs. Adams; where she cries
<< That Scriptures out of church are blasphemies.

* «Mrs. Adams answered Mr. Adams, that it was blasphemous to talk of Scripture out of church. » This dogma was broached to her husband-the best Christian in any book. See Joseph Andrews, in the latter chapters.


But what we can we glean in this vile age
Of chaff, although our gleanings be not grist.
I must not quite omit the talking sage,

Kit-Cat, the famous conversationist,

Who, in his common-place book, had a page Prepared each morn for evenings. «List, oh list! »— « Alas, poor Ghost!»-What unexpected woes Await those who have studied their bons mots!


Firstly, they must allure the conversation
By many windings to their clever clinch;
And secondly, must let slip no occasion,
Nor bate (abate) their hearers of an inch,
But take an ell—and make a great sensation,
If possible and thirdly, never flinch


When some smart talker puts them to the test,
But seize the last word, which no doubt's the best.


Lord Henry and his Lady were the hosts;

The party we have touch'd on were the guests!
Their table was a board to tempt even ghosts
To pass the Styx for more substantial feasts.
I will not dwell upon ragoûts or roasts,
Albeit all human history attests,

That happiness for Man-the hungry sinner!~~
Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner.


Witness the lands which «< flow'd with milk and honey,» Held out unto the hungry Israelites :

To this we have added since, the love of money, The only sort of pleasure which requites.

Youth fades, and leaves our days no longer sunny;

We tire of Mistresses and Parasites;

But oh, Ambrosial Cash! Ah! who would lose thee? When we no more can use, or even abuse thee!


The gentlemen got up betimes to shoot,

Or hunt the young, because they liked the sportThe first thing boys like, after play and fruit.

The middle-aged, to make the day more short; For ennui is a growth of English root,

Though nameless in our language :-we retort The fact for words, and let the French translate That awful yawn which sleep can not abate.


The elderly walked through the library,

And tumbled books, or criticised the pictures, Or sauntered through the gardens piteously, And made upon the hot-house several strictures, Or rode a nag which trotted not too high,

Or on the morning papers read their lectures, Or on the watch their longing eyes would fix, Longing at sixty for the hour of six.


But none were « gêné :» the great hour of union
Was rung by dinner's knell; till then all were
Masters of their own time-or in communion,
Or solitary, as they chose to bear

The hours, which how to pass is but to few known.
Each rose up at his own, and had to spare

What time he chose for dress, and broke his fast
When, where, and how he chose for that repast.


The ladies-some rouged, some a little pale-
Met the morn as they might. If fine, they rode,
Or walked; if foul, they read, or told a tale,

Sung, or rehearsed the last dance from abroad; Discuss'd the fashion which might next prevail,

And settled bonnets by the newest code,
Or cramm'd twelve sheets into one little letter,
To make each correspondent a new debtor.


For some had absent lovers, all had friends.
The earth has nothing like a She epistle,
And hardly heaven-because it never ends.
I love the mystery of a female missal,
Which, like a creed, ne'er says all it intends,
But full of cunning as Ulysses' whistle,
When he allured poor Dclon:-you had better
Take care what you reply to such a letter.


Then there were billiards, cards too, but no dice;Save in the Clubs no man of honour plays;Boats when 'twas. water, skaiting when 'twas ice, And the hard frost destroyed the scenting days: And angling too, that solitary vice,

Whatever Isaac Walton sings or says:

The quaint, old, cruel coxcomb, in his gullet
Should have a hook, and a small trout to pull it.*

* It would have taught him humanity at least. This sentimental savage, whom it is a mode to quote (amongst the novelists) to show their sympathy for innocent sports and old. songs, teaches how to sew up frogs, and break their legs by way of experiment, in addition to the art of

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