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That fellow with the tarnish'd suit of lace,
With insolence and folly in his face,
Must raise his soap and candles, to afford
To dress himself on Sundays, like a lord;
Whilst that pert puppy, with the powder'd queue,
his barber out of me or you.
Time was, when sattin waistcoats and scratch wigs,
Enough distinguished all the city prigs,
Whilst every sunshine Sunday saw them run
To club their sixpences, at Islington ;
When graver citizens, in suits of brown,
Lined every dusty avenue to town,
Or led the children and the loving spouse,
To spend two shillings at White-Conduit-house :
But now, the 'prentices, in suits of green,
At Richmond or at Windsor may be seen ;
Where in mad parties they run down to dine,
To play at gentlefolks, and drink bad wine :
Whilst neat post-chariots roll their masters down
To some snug box, a dozen miles from town.
I grant, that.even prudence' self allows
The man of wealth his coach and country house;
By common justice every man is taught,
To tas e those blessings which his labour bought;
But, say, if candow can forbear to scoff,
When men begin just where their sires left off?
But trade to gain is now too slow a way ;
Fortunes must rise, like mushrooms, in a day;
Hence sprung that most destructive mode of robbing,
By dangerous under-writing, and stock-jobbing ;
Even merchants now, laborious trade despise,
And find that money is best merchandize ;
Hence springs the irrecoverable debt,
Hence, whereas fills each page of the Gazette.
Time was, when tradesmen laid up what they
gain'd, And frugally a family maintain'd; When they took stirring house-wives for their
To keep up prudent order in their houses ;
Who thought no scorn, at night to sit them down,
And make their childrens cloaths, or mend their
Would Polly's coat to younger Bess transfer,
And make their caps without a milliner :
But now a shopping half the day they're gone,
To buy five hundred things, and pay for none;
Whilst Miss despises all domestick rules,
But lisps the French of Hackney boarding-schools;
And every lane around Whitechapel bars
Resounds with screaming notes, and harsh guittars.
Time was too, when the prudent dames would stay
Till Christmas holidays to see a play,
And met at cards, at that glad time alone,
In friendly setts of loo or cheap pope-joan;
Now, every lady writes her invitations
For weekly routs, to all her wise relations,
And every morning teems with fresh delights;
They run the city over, seeing sights;
Then hurry to the play as night approaches,
And spend their precious time in hackney-coaches.
Hence spring assemblies with such uncouth names,
At Deptford, Wapping, Rotherhithe, and Shad.
Where every month the powder'd white-gloved
Spruce haberdashers, pert attornies' clerks,
With deep-enamour'd 'prentices, prefer
Their suit to many a sighing millenor :
In scraps of plays their passions they impart,
With all the awkward bows they learn from Hart.
'Tis here they learn their genius to improve,
And throw by Wingate for the Art of Love;
They frame the acrostick deep, and rebus terse,
And fill the day-book with enamour'd verse;
Even learned Fenning on his vacant leaves,
The ill-according epigram receives,
And Cocker's margin hobling sonnets grace
To Delia, measuring out a yard of lace.
'Tis true, my friend ; and thus throughout the
Prevails this general love of dissipation :
It matters little where their sports begin,
Whether at Arthur's, or the Bowl and Pin ;
Whether they tread the gay Pantheon's round,
Or play at skittles at St. Giles's pound,
The self-same idle spirit drags them on,
peer and porter are alike undone :
Whilst thoughtless imitation leads the way,
And laughs at all the grave or wise can say.
The prudent youth, whom some fond mother's
Had taught to dread the subtle gamester's snare,
The first half year improves his own estate,
And visits not the mansions of the great.
But thirst of pleasure lures him up to town,
And every sharper marks the pigeon down,
Destructive custom quickly draws him in,
He plays for trifles, and they let him win
He doubles stakes, still feels no fatal rub,
And now is ballotted at every
No more he dreads the rattling soand of dice,
And what was but amusement, turns to vice;
He views the Faro-bank without affright,
And all his acres tremble every night.
So have I seen the cautious maiden fair,
in innocence and country air,
Her first appearance make in this gay place,
And hang her head, and dread to shew her face;
A bashful, blushing, modest, timorous creature,
That fancies every man she meets will eat her:
But this improving air soon calms her fear,
She looks around and spies no dangers near,
In one short month learns how to play her cards,
And flirts it with an Ensign in the Guards.
All these are heavy truths --- what can we say?.