Terry, sculp Pater-noster Row.

LONDON: Printed for R. THOMAS, Brighthelmstone; and sold by R. BALDWIN, Pater-noster-row, LONDON. MDCCLXXVII.


AS the following Trifle is the mere recital of a RURAL RAMBLE, when I had not time to wander from the strait and common road, I hope the Reader will excuse my not entering more particu­larly into the Origin of Customs, or Date of Antiquities; those have already been given the world by more profound and in­defatigable pens than mine;—all that I have attempted, is simple incident; and if it should not be found altogether suited to the mind, from the Matter, yet I flatter myself, I have, in some measure, written to Time and Mode; as very few of our Fashionable Readers would wish to have the contents of a volume outlast the dres­ [...]g of their hair, or the common post of a chaise and four.


WALKING with a friend from the busy Exchange to the forlorn St. James's, when the sun shot down his hottest rays, and the fainting porter groaned beneath his load, I observed that London always wore the most unpleasing aspect at the most pleasing season of the year; it was July, and the gay and fashion­able part of the world was gone to [Page 2] more fashionable, or more retired re­sorts;—town was half deserted, a li­beral face was rarely to be met, the smart and smirking shopkeeper, whose hands but a month ago were well employed in measuring out his different commodities, now stood at his door with his hands tucked up behind him, his customers fell in, like donations to a charity, slow, but well received.

The different avenues sent up their unsavoury odours from their different confines, and as the heat encreased, the thicker were the rising exhala­tions; we mutually wished to be in the country; we challenged each other with a ramble, stepped into a tavern, eat a good dinner, settled the [Page 3] proposals over a bottle of wine, and put our wishes into action;—we agreed to walk or ride, as it might suit us, for the slower we were in our paces, the more explicit in our ob­servations; we went home, packed up our different necessaries, and sent them off by the Tunbridge machine. We left town about five o' clock in the afternoon, took with us a faithful favourite dog, to guard and to amuse us, and walked through a perpetual cloud of dust and throng to Green­wich, but turning on our way to Lewisham we took our leave on't; the trees and hedges now were green­er, the country stiller, and contem­plation began to fill the mind.

We saunter'd on, and bent our way to Bromley, enjoying an unin­terrupted [Page 4] conversation, save, that now and then some view, some house or object, broke the thread of our discourse, and would oft beguile us into a pleasing observation.

About nine we enter'd Bromley; the evening was breaking in apace, but turning round we found there was yet light enough to view the great metropolis we just had left behind: St. Paul's, whose towering dome seemed to kiss the clouds, was half encircled in a bed of smoke; the busy bustle of the noisy city, that but a few hours before almost distracted us, now was heard no more, and we pleased ourselves with the reflection, that we had already set the greatest, [Page 5] and the wealthiest city in the world, at so great a distance, in so short a time.

When we had reached our inn, were shewn into a room, and placed ourselves in separate chairs, we found, that if we had been necessitated to have gone farther, we should have been tired; we ordered a good sup­per, eat with a good appetite, went to our beds, slept sound, and waked in the morning without the head­ach.

In the morning we arose early; the sun shone forth in all his splendor, and while our breakfasts were prepa­ring, we sought the church-yard, and wandered through the tombs; here and there an uncouth epitaph was [Page 6] cut, perhaps the rude production of the clerk or sexton; here we found but little worth our observation, ei­ther from its oddity, sentiment, or wit. But turning to take a survey of the country round us, St. Paul's again stood in our way, and morning fires sent up clouds of smoke, which seemed to make their way for many miles: yonder, said I, is the greatest capital in the world; there many a head is aching with its cares; there many a heart is breaking with its sor­rows: some full of age and avarice, cleaving to fortune like ivy to the oak, scraping up, with greedy anxiety, mas­sy heaps of gold, to make them masters, and to bear a transient sway over state­mansions and extensive plains; let them come here, and see how little, [Page 7] how small a spot must soon suffice. Here stands a tomb that tells a weal­thy merchant lies within, and here are too engraved the honors that he once possessed. Mark the characters of his life.

He was industrious to his cost,
He ne'er a single hour lost,
To serve a friend, or say a prayer,
His business so engross'd his care;
In spring of age, in highth of pride,
His cares o'ercame him, and he dy'd.

The Scripture tells us there is a time for every thing; but this unfortu­nate man seems to have been pos­sessed of a different way of thinking, he wanted to be rich, and thought his time was only given him to that end. He saw the golden Mammon [Page 8] in his view, and ran himself out of breath in striding forth too hastily to his throne.

But, says my friend, that never shall be the case with me; I am rich with a competency; I am happy; riches cannot purchase more. Perhaps the mouldering course that lays within this costly tomb, ne'er spent an hour in pleasing reflection, like this we now enjoy. Ne'er viewed the beau­ties of the painted meads, or strayed the plains to taste the bliss of health, or charms of social conversation: but he has stolen into the grave, with a dull and sordid mind, that ne'er would let him look up to the sun. We left this consecrated close of me­ditation, and sought our inn, eat our [Page 9]breakfast, and made our way to Seven Oaks.

The country was beautifully vari­egated with hanging woods, that seemed to fringe the skirts of every hill; the vallies fertile, and were plentifully scattered over with flocks and herds; from every rood we made on either hand, we acquired some new object.

About fourteen miles from Lon­don we discovered a remarkable well; very wide, deep, and the water peer­less, it was near the common road, and seemed to have been dug as a common convenience, to every needy thirsty traveller, that might chance to pass that way. Near it sat, on the [Page 10] trunk of a bulky Elm, just felled, and lopped of all its branches, one who had just refreshed himself from the cooling spring, by dipping in one corner of his hat, and drinking from the other. We accosted him with en­quiries, he made replies with civility; we found him more intelligent than we had reason to expect; he said he lived in the neighbourhood, was an old inhabitant, and told us he had been informed, that the well we so much admired, was dug by the Romans for the use of one part of their army, that once was stationed near that spot; he then bid us observe a range of lofty trees at some distance, planted in the form of a crescent; those, he told us, were reared to perpetuate the situation in which their tents [Page 11] were said to have been ranged, and that thereabout was said to have been fixed the standard of one of their generals, but he honestly acknow­ledged he could not remember his name, said he was fond of reading, had read much, but he was old, and his memory left him with his hairs.

We were pleased with his conver­sation, thanked him for the little piece of history he furnished us with, bid him a good morning, and made the best of our way to Riverhead, where we no sooner wished to rest, than we found ourselves invited by a whimsical illiterate triplet, written under the sign of the maiden­head:

[Page 12]
Gemmen if you have any
Pray stop and spend one penny
With poor Tom Lemmy.

The house is lowly, has a thatch'd roof, yet it is pleasantly situated on a rising ground, about sixty paces from the road; the walls were built of clay, the landlord humble, and seems to place his dependance on cottage customers, or frugal country travellers; we paid our attention to the invitation on his sign, asked what he sold, he told us, ale of his own brewing, and challenged the whole parish in respect to its good body, and sound qualities; he sometimes made an effort at a joke, therefore, we put him on his mettle, chafed him with rugged questions, but, we found from his replies, he was com­posed [Page 13] of so soft a texture, that the coalition of his retorts, with our sim­ple interrogatives, could not produce one spark of wit; then we sate us down upon a bench under a spread­ing tree, that shades his house, tasted of his ale, which was very good, we praised it, but soon discovered, that though he had not much to boast of in respect of wit, he had more of cunning, for he advised us to have a second tankard, which we refused; "What," says he, ‘"not any more? why, can you have too much of a good thing?"’ at which saying he was so pleased with himself, that he laughed immoderately; we told him we had drank ale enough, had swal­lowed too many bad jokes, and that when we might happen to come that [Page 14] way again, we would thank him for his ale, but he might keep his wit for other company; this, we found, in some measure, ruffled the poor old man, so, to shew we did not mean to wage a war of words, we shook hands, and parted.

We arrived at Sevenoaks about noon, where we dined, took a survey of the ancient seat of his Grace the Duke of Dorset; the park is beau­tifully variegated with lakes and clamps of lofty trees, in different parts, very judiciously disposed; the house has a venerable and magnifi­cent appearance, but we had not an opportunity to see the interior excel­lences. The road, for some miles, is made uncommonly pleasant by the [Page 15] embowering trees that shelter it from the sun; sometimes from side to side they form a lofty arch, and then a break present [...] itself, and shews the house in a different point of view, furnishing the traveller with a plea­sing variety of scenes.

We had walked almost to Tun­bridge town, I believe it might have been at three miles distance, a guide­post was fixed at the corner of a lane, telling us it was a road to Tunbridge-Wells, but we soon found that it was a road that led us four or five miles out of our way; however, we arrived at a village about two miles out of the great high road; it was pleasant, very retired, the inhabitants were exceeding rustic and civil; there was [Page 16] a beautiful old church, a neat and decent place of entertainment; the sun was near his setting, and the cricketers were at play upon a smooth and level green; the clack of the mill, and the sign at the public house, brought to my remembrance the old ballad:

" At the sign of the horse, near the foot of the hill."

We refreshed ourselves here, and got instructed in our way to Tun­bridge; the sun was now gone down, it was about five miles we had to go through the most delightful mea­dows; the river was our guide, on the banks of which we walked, and found out Tunbridge, as Queen [Page 17] Eleanor did her way through the meandering bower, by a clue of thread, so we by the winding stream;—the stars began to twinkle, the reed-sparrows sung upon the willows; at length the moon broke gravely through the clouds, and glimmered in the gliding stream.

When we arrived at the town of Tunbridge, we gave a good look-out for the best inn; we fixed upon one that wore the best external appear­ance, but as to the entertainment within, I believe I shall not be tempt­ed to visit it any more; we ordered supper, and out of many things, we hardly found one that was fit to eat; the wine so bad, that we contented ourselves with making it into humble [Page 18] negus, and improved it with lemon, water, and sugar; our bed rooms dirty, as were our sheets; our beds were hard: in the morning when we had eat a breakfast, composed of rank butter, coarse sugar, and ill-flavoured tea, the hostess made a good conclu­sion, by bringing in a long and ex­travagant bill, which brought to our minds what Moody says in the Jubi­lee of Shakespeare; ‘"We had no­thing to eat, and paid double for that too."’

We sate off in the morning for the Wells, which are five miles from the town, which we had no sooner left, than we found we had gradually to ascend the road to the top of a hill for near two miles, which was [Page 19] richly fertilized with corn, wood, and pasture; from the summit of which we had a most extensive prospect through most parts of Kent, part of Surry and Sussex; the view was beau­tifully ornamented with different seats, surrounded with parks, villages, churches, with their taper spires, and glassy rivers glistening in their val­lies. Walking on a few miles farther, through such a country as I have described, we reached the gay, ro­mantic, Tunbridge Wells.

They are in a bottom, surrounded by hills or mounts; Mount Ephraim, Mount Sion, Mount Misery, &c. From the pump-room runs a terras of near a thousand feet, on which is built a light and airy piazza, that [Page 20] the gentry in rainy weather may walk and talk without being wet; under the piazza are ranged all kind of shops; booksellers, confectioners, milleners, fruiterers, apothecaries, Tunbridge wares, &c. There are two sets of public rooms, very handsome and convenient, Pinchbeck's and Fry's; likewise, an orchestra erected in the centre of the place, in which there is a tolerable band of music employed to play while the company are upon the walks; there seems to be a greater harmony in this than any other watering-place I know; per­haps this may proceed from its being more compact, that the company are brought more together than at any other place, or that the Master of the Ceremonies is a more sensible [Page 21] man, or that he has less of a cox­comb about him than some I could mention, who would WADE through thick or thin to get to a gaming table, instead of attending to their company, or their friends; whatever it may proceed from, it is most cer­tainly one of the pleasantest and most agreeable places of its kind; there are two good inns, one I never visit­ed, but that which I made my quar­ters, (the Angel) had the most gen­tleman-like civil host, I ever met with.

The lodging-houses are whimsi­cally seattered round the hills, some on a declivity, which open to the village with a pleasing slope; each house has its grove, or garden an­nexed [Page 22] to it: several personages of distinction make this their summer residence, having distinct and elegant villas of their own.

About a mile from the Wells there are a range of rocks, fantasti­cally ranged; when you stand in the valley below them, they represent a fleet of stately men of war all a­breast, bearing down upon the spec­tator; the tops of them are decorated with beautiful shrubs, and from out the different crannies shoot the birch and beach; from the summit of some stands towering a stately elm, which, with the assistance of a little fancy, may be often thought to bear a good resemblance of a mast, and the spreading branches hang like the [Page 23] furled shrouds. They are mostly separated by different isles or avenues; in some places they represent the ruins of an old cathedral. As we were passing through one of the avenues, we discovered the following inscrip­tion, well chiselled out upon one side of the rock, dated near an hundred years ago.

Stop, passenger, and read:
Beneath thy feet five fathom low,
Lies here entomb'd a beauteous beau,
He from the rock's dread summit fell,
Strike with thy stick and ring his knell.

We instantly struck our canes against the sides of the rock, and, whether it was from the drossy nature of the stone, or from its reverberat­ing [Page 24] from some particular cell, we could not determine, however, it produced a sound similar to that of a bell. We climbed to the top, and took a full survey of one of the most beautiful and romantic vallies we ever saw: the flocks were making to their fold; the moon was rising majestically on the left, and a faint glimmering of the lamps at Tun­bridge Wells, were seen upon our right: it was an assembly night, and we could sometimes hear the buzzing of the gay beau monde, hurrying to their revels; the con­trasted scenes urged me to reflection, and placing myself on the root of an old tree, near the corner of a rock, I pencilled down the following stanzas:

Ye that groan beneath the weight
Of dissipation, pride, and state,
Condemn'd to walk thro' life's parade,
At rout, or drum, or masquerade:
Ye that fain would pleasure find,
Led by fortune, ever blind,
Come and sit along with me,
Come and, taste tranquillity.
Or if chas'd by sallow care,
Would you shun the hag despair,
Would you chearful health restore—
When advice can do no more,
Seek the fresh reviving breeze,
Or the fanning of the trees;
Come and sit along with me,
Come and taste tranquillity.
Ye that feel the pangs of love,
Come and murmur with the dove;
Shun the false ungrateful maid,
Seek the sweet sequester'd shade;
Let her ne'er behold thy tears.
Leave her,—Time the passion wears;
Come and sit along with me,
Come and taste tranquillity.
Ye that languish to regain
A breaking heart, or racking brain,
Drove by fortune, or by fate,
To a wild and frantic state;
Or moping, wander like a loon,
Dreading oft the wayward moon;
Come and sit along with me,
Come and taste tranquillity.

[Page 27]We took our leave of Tunbridge Wells, but had previously made en­quiry of a farmer whom we met plodding near the rocks the preceding day, what accomodations he thought we might meet with at Boar's-head­street, a straggling village five miles from the Wells, and in our road to Brighthelmstone; he told us there was a maen good house, called the Boar's-head, and gave us to under­stand, the man who kept it was a friend of his, and would use us well if we made use of his name; we thanked him, and rested confidently on his information; the weather was warm, so purposed getting there be­tween tea and supper, to avoid, in some measure, the expence of lodg­ing [Page 28] at the Wells; for beds are dear, very dear, at this place: according­ly we sat out, enjoying the sweet se­renity of the evening, and arrived at this seemingly deserted village, about nine o'clock, comforting our­selves that we had made an end of our journey; then enquired for the Boar's-head, which we, according to the farmer's tale, supposed a toler­able inn, but, to our mutual mortifi­cation, found it nothing but a humble pot house, and the landlord and his wife, for want of custom, were gone to bed; however, we were determined not to be too precipitate­ly prejudiced by external appear­ances, which is too generally the case, so knocked at the door, for our predicament made us flatter our­selves, [Page 29] it might be better than it seemed: as soon as we were heard, we were questioned by a female with a ragged head, peeping through as ragged a casement, with, ‘"Who is there?"’ we told our business; she replied, ‘"'Ifegs we've got no beds;"’ then, said we, have you no wine? ‘"No, 'Ifegs, we have no commen­dation for gemmen:"’ we asked her where we might expect to be accom­modated: ‘"Oh sir, a little farther there is a desperate good house, called Crowberry Gate:"’ we asked her how far she might suppose it was to Crowborough Gate? she replied, ‘"only four miles;"’ we, with an emphasis of admiration, as well as mortification, cried, only four miles! ‘"no, indeed, gemmen, I'fegs it is [Page 30] no more:"’ as we had no other alternative than pursuing our jour­ney, we gulped the disappointment like a bitter bolus, and made the best of our way to Crowborough Gate, though not without some fears, and from different causes; the one, that we might chance to miss our way, and the other, that we might happen to be stopped upon the way; but the evening being very favour­able, after crossing an extensive heath, such a one, on which one might con­ceive Macbeth held converse with the Witches, we reached Crow­borough Gate; 'tis a lonely house; all were fast asleep within; we had no one to ask whether it was the house to which we had been directed; or not; but looking at the sign, which [Page 31] we with difficulty distinguished was a Crow and a Gate; the Crow was represented sitting on the top; then making to the house, which we fear­ed at first was uninhabited, perceived a label on the door, on which was written ‘"London Porter sold here;"’ we knocked, but it was a long time before we could raise the soporific landlord; at length a window was thrown up, at which a head appeared with a topping like a buffalo, and voice like a bear or Caliban, crying, ‘"Who is at the door?"’ we told him we were benighted, were tired, and should be glad of something to eat, and a bed to rest ourselves: ‘"that may be, he cried, but I don't think it worth my while to let you in:"’ we importuned him much, [Page 32] but found him obdurate, then asked him what county we were in, to which he replied ‘"Sussex, and a very good county too;"’ we were sorry he had given us so bad a speci­men of it; however, we desired him to acquaint us where there was any likelihood of getting proper enter­tainment: ‘"Where, said he? why at the Uckfield;"’ which he gave us to understand was five miles farther; ‘"there you may chance to get in, they are up there all hours, so I wish you a good night."’

This staggered our philosophy, as our exercise had not only made us heartily wish to rest, but had begot an appetite we wished to gratify: this, said my friend, is one of the [Page 33] many vicissitudes travellers often ex­perience; let us comfort ourselves with one consolation which many in our present situation are not furnished with; though we have met with the want of humanity, we are not also in want of money; that, and day­light will bring us to some haven; the first will urge the industrious to open their doors, and the lat­ter the most sordid to open their hearts.

When we had, with weary paces, plodded about a mile from this in­hospitable dwelling, the road, though it was night, was still made darker by the gloomy curtain of a wood;—there was a friendly stile at the en­trance of an avenue, that seemingly [Page 34] meandered through the solemn shades; here we sat and rested for a while; the fluttering bat flew wan­tonly around our heads, the cricket sung, the owl hooted to his fellow sage; yet all contributed to form a pleasing awful scene; here, similar to the time, we quoted many a fa­vourite verse; from Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, of our immortal bards of old;—there was a cottage opposite to where we sate; the silence of the night was broke by the whim­sical controversy of its inhabitants; we could easily distinguish what they said, and drawing nearer to the door, we found it was a curious curtain lec­ture, which a woman was delivering to her drowsy husband; she evidently discovered a perturbed spirit; her [Page 35] husband's conduct the preceding day would not let her rest, for this was partly the discourse;—‘"Ah, you can sleep well-enough, and be hanged to you; a fine day's work you have made on't indeed; you have brought your pigs to a fine market; sold only one poor sack of wheat, and spent half the mo­ney by the way;"’ to which the husband replied rather vociferously, ‘"What the devil, is the woman mad; can one have no rest for you night nor day? I never brought my pigs to so bad a mar­ket as when I married you:"’ these words were but throwing spirits on the fire; reproach was answered by reproach, and as the weakest always falls to the ground, the wife was [Page 36] tumbled out of bed; this raised the rest of the family, who, with a friendly interference, convinced them they were both in the wrong; and after some little wailing of the wife, the husband was softened into pity, they kissed, and made it up, and we pursued our journey; when we reached Uckfield we were so tired, that we were determined to go no further. As we entered the town, the church clock struck one; this di­rectly brought to our fancy the first two lines in Young's Night Thoughts:

" The clock strikes one!
" We take no note of time, but from its loss."

[Page 37] All seemed folded up in sleep and silence; anon a cheering candle from a garret window, shot its feeble rays, and much attracted our atten­tion; and lest it should unfortunately have been extinguished before we reached the house in which it was, we made the best of our way; 'twas at the sign of the Maidenhead; we knocked, and was immediately an­swered by a mild angelic voice from above; we asked if we could be fur­nished with a supper and a bed; yes, replied the damsel, ‘"I'll go to my mistress directly for the key:"’ no cry of a reprieve to a despairing cri­minal could have been received with greater welcome: presently a mur­muring we heard in her mistress's [Page 38] chamber; and, from her long delay of bringing down the key, we feared some obstacle was raised by fate, still to exercise our patience; and our conjectures were too directly verified; our little bird of hope returned, but sang a different strain; ‘"Gentlemen, I am very sorry, sorry indeed, but my mistress says, she will let in none to-night:"’ here I broke out into he­roics; tell your mistress, then, she is inhuman, we will go no farther, we are tired, hungry, and benighted; my poor dog, too, is foot-sore, and still more hungry than ourselves; he shall be my pillow, and here we will stay till morning; this had some ef­fect, for we were desired to stay for a moment, the hostess was about re­voking of her sentence; but first [Page 39] the hostler was sent out to recon­noitre; his instructions, we plainly could conceive, were to notice our address, and our attire; he saluted us with pity, the most contemptible specimen of friendship; then admired the beauty and nobility of our dog, who would have brought the hostler on his first appearance to the ground, had not we prevented him; for his exterior character was truly gro­tesque; a woollen night cap, half drawn over a bushy head of hair; a waggoner's frock thrown over his shoulders, was without stockings, but had on a pair of shoes that made a clattering like a troop of horse: after he had satisfied himself with taking a full survey of us and our dog, he said he would try his mis­tress [Page 40] again, he did not see why she might not let us in; he had not left us long, before he put his head out of the window, and, seemingly, with some pleasure, cried, ‘"Gemmen, stay a moment, I'm coming down, I've got the key!"’ presently the door was unlocked, which raised a most ecstatic impulse in our breasts; 'twas a second heaven; nothing but the key of St. Peter could have given greater bliss. A cold collation, and a jug of humming ale was soon produced, which was crowned with a bouncing bottle of rich old Tawny Port; I need not say with what a zest we battened on our unexpected meal of luxury; but that we might not abuse the indulgencies they had shewn, for so we thought them, we [Page 41] went to our beds sooner than we otherwise would have done; no pea­sant from his long day's toil, ever sounder slept; we did not rise till twelve at noon; our anxieties, and our labours being over, we began already to reflect with pleasure, on the vicissitudes of the preceding day; how dearly we had purchased, and how heartily we received our meal; but we made it our first business to address our hostess with all the civi­lities we were masters of, for her humanity, and for her indulging us with an admittance at so unseasonable an hour; but she presently over­whelmed our gratitude; "ah," said she, ‘"you have no occasion to thank me so much for yourselves, 'twas not for your sake; I heard you had a [Page 42] dog with you, I pitied him, therefore I let you in; oh, I'm vastly fond of dogs, and a fine fellow he is;"’ looking at him, and fawn­ing on him all the while; this caused us to laugh immoderately; and made our dumb, but faithful companion, seem still more valuable than ever; we breakfasted at noon, on the best tea, sugar, butter, cream, and rolls, that were ever put upon a table; then ordered a chaise to Lewes; we had the wilds of Sussex in our view; a beautiful range of lofty mountains; the hedges on each side the road be­came more scanty, and the trees more scarce; when we arrived near the margin of the mightiest hill, we mutually agreed to leave our chaise a while, and obtain the formidable [Page 43] heighth; the turf which cloathed its bulky sides was smooth and green, nibbled by the sheep; the air was thinner still, and thinner as we as­cended toward the top, and when we had obtained the summit, a sweet refreshing breeze restored us from our lassitude; this was a novel scene, indeed; the sea disclosed itself upon our left, and distant was the view on every side; in different parts were seen the careless shepherd, and his watchful cur, stretched upon the ground, while the harmless flock was feeding near his side. Lewes had a beautiful effect, the river glisten­ing in the valley, the venerable castle mantled over with ivy, overlooked the town; this caused us to observe, that the very spot on which we stood, [Page 44] so silent and serene, was once the seat of war; for here, in times of old, did many a Saxon, with a Bri­ton fall; yon flinty walls stood many a siege, and all these plains were anarchy and uproar; but peace now reigns, and pure tranquillity; here we could have roamed the live-long day, but growing anxious for our journey's end, descended to our chaise, and made the best of our way to Brighthelmstone; we went through Lewes; the town is beautiful, and erected on the decli­vity of a hill; the houses chiefly built with flint, cut into squares, like bricks, and every house almost has its arbour of jessamine at the door; the inhabitants rich, but proud and boorish; the women [Page 45] handsome, but illiterate; the inns are spacious, but exorbitant; were it not for these obstructions, I do not know a town that I would sooner wish to make my residence. When we had got through Lewes, we presently arrived at Brighthelmstone, though we could see little of the town till we were close upon its borders; the transition was great; the silent rural scene was now no more; the gay beau-monde were here assembled in all the hurry of a jubilee; the racket of the car­riages, and the rushing of the ocean, made a glorious uproar; I had not been here a day, before my muse be­gan to wanton in my mind, and tum­bled forth the following Poetical TAGG.



To R. B—D, Esq Oxford.

YOU say you vastly long to hear,
What great inducements we have here,
That coaxes all our courtiers down,
And half depopulates the town;
Like Bath, you think our streets are fine,
Our squares and crescents all divine;
You think our hills and vales produce
The pomgranate, or nectar juice:
[Page 50] In rhime you ask me to relate,
The wonders of its present state:
Tho' you're a critic, yet I'll try
To give it you in poetry.
This town, or village of renown,
Like London Bridge, half broken down,
Few yers ago was worse than Wapping,
Not fit for human soul to stop in;
But now, like to a worn-out shoe,
By patching well, the place will do.
You'd wonder much, I'm sure, to see,
How it's becramm'd with quality:
Here Lords and Ladies oft carouse
Together in a tiny house;
Like Joan and Darby in their cot,
With stool and table, spit and pot;
And what his valet would despise,
His lordship praises to the skies;
But such the ton is, such the case,
You'll see the first of rank or place,
With star and riband, all profuse,
Duck at his door-way like a goose:
[Page 51] The humble beam was plac'd so low,
Perhaps to teach some clown to bow.
The air is pure as pure can be,
And such an aspect of the sea!
As you, perhaps, ne'er saw before,
From off the side of any shore:
On one hand Ceres spread, her plain,
And on the other, o'er the main,
Many a bark majestic laves
Upon the salt and buoyant waves;
The hills all mantl'd o'er with green,
A friendly shelter to the Styene,
Whene'er the rugged Boreas blows,
Bemingled with unwelcome snows:
Such is the place and situation,
Such is the reigning seat of fashion.

To M. P. A. Esq

YOU, perhaps, have not heard, that the Countess of Grace,
Has built a new Methodist house at this place;
You may chance to be sav'd, if you hither should come,
By a Cobler, a Taylor, a Tinker, or Groom.
[Page 53] The first (for of late you have often been dull)
Will mend up that fractur'd old saucepan, your skull;
The second will botch up the hole in your heart,
Which was rent by Miss Nancy—when forc'd to depart;
The third, to preserve your poor soul give his all;
The fourth will well litter you up in a stall,
Will bridle your conscience, and saddle your soul,
And water your faith in a Whitsieldite bowl:
So, 'tween one and t'other, you'll unleav'n become,
And be rubb'd into bliss by a heavenly groom.
Religion of old did the wisest confound,
But now it's as clear as four crowns to a pound:
Arithmetic-like are all matters reveal'd
That so shamefully lay to past ages con­cealed;
[Page 54] By tropes, or by figures we're all set to right,
And the cloud is expell'd that secluded the light:
If you'll patiently read it, I'll try to re­hearse,
A methodist sermon—but take it in verse,
That was preach'd by a taylor—believe me 'tis true,
They call'd him a Christian—he look'd like a Jew;
His semblance bespoke him as sordid a dog,
As ever was seen at a Jew's Synagogue;
And thus he began to expound, and to preach,
Tho' he never was master of one part of speech:
" My sisters and brothers, who hither come crying,
Whose practice is nothing but swearing and lying,
[Page 55] Is it heaven you seek, your journey pursue,
You'll never get there—I'll be d—d if you do,
Except you set off on the wings of religion,
For religion's a dove, and a dove is a pidgeon:
Then daily come here, on your marrow­bones fall,
Ask me but for wings, and I'll pidgeon you all:
And if you would live, if you never would die,
Say, what can support you like sweet charity?
On charity's wings you will fly up to hea­ven,
I will venture to lay you twelve groats to eleven;
Then pull out your purses, and give to the poor,
See, Peter stands starving to death at the door;
[Page 56] Ah! don't deny Peter, tho' Peter de­nied
His master, when once he in trouble es­pied,
And saw him surrounded in imminent danger,
He told a great fib, and he call'd him a stranger.
'Ere crows the next cock, you will all deny me,
I know by your faces I plainly can see;
I've not in the plate yet a penny heard fall,
Mark this! you'll be damn'd, ev'ry cock of you all;
And can't you afford it, have you no avo­cation?
Say no: oh, that no, is a sweet palli­ation!
Why don't you contribute? or have you not any?
Had you rather be damn'd, than you'd part with a penny?
[Page 57] You that here come with your faces so meek,
Who worship old Mammon the rest of the week,
Some selling of one thing, or making ano­ther,
By cheating, and lying, and tricking, his brother,
Each makes up a purse, then comes to this place,
All hoping to drink of the fountain of grace.
You'd be glad of some faith, for you hav'nt a jot,
And do you not find your poor tongues very hot?
Of faith, or of grace, not a drop left to cool ye,
Because you will let that old Beelzebub rule ye:
But he that a penny to Peter shall pay,
I'll give him a bucket of faith ev'ry day:
He that feeds daily on conserves and pickles,
And every hour his appetite tickles,
[Page 58] He little now thinketh, because he lives well,
What a pickle he'll be in, when burning in hell;
When bathing in brimstone as hot as a heater,
He'll then wish he'd given his penny to Peter.
I've touch'd you, then, have I?—I've touch'd to the quick!
You'd forgot, then, that cunning old soul­catcher, Nick:
You did not then know of his fiery lakes,
How he spreads out his nets, and what trouble he takes;
Like a bird-catcher sitting, conceal'd in a ditch,
As sly as a sox, and as foul as a witch;
Just like to that sauc'ress, that wicked of­fender,
You've often heard talk'd of, the old witch of Endore;
But I'll be your Generalissimo, I,
All his nets and his brimstone I dare to desy;
[Page 59] This book is my shield, and my tongue is my spear,
I'll send him away with a flea in his ear."
When this he had said, I could not stay longer,
My apprehensions grew stronger and stronger,
Then out at the door I judiciously sneak'd,
'Twas a thousand to one but my pocket was pick'd.
I plainly could see thro' the farcical joke,
The preacher was clad in a mystical cloak:
By snaring my heart, and by blinding my eyes,
He thought to deceive me in holy dis­guise.

To the Rev. Mr. H—D.

I'VE just left a scene, and had you been present,
I'm sure you'd have thought it was won­derous pleasant.
T'other morn as my lady Fal-lal was at tea,
Just after she'd pickl'd herself in the sea,
She gap'd, and she yawn'd, and said it was strange,
That the sea should have made such a wonderful change:
She rose to the glass her old tresses to plume,
Then smil'd on herself, and she fancied a bloom;
[Page 61] Lord Saunter was there, like herself in decay,
Who came down to wash all his humours away;
Pray my good lord, said my lady Fal-lal,
Don't you think it a heaven, compar'd to Pall mall?
What tho' we've no park, nor a tree to be seen,
But yet there's that little sweet level, the Styene.
'Tis a damnable town, says my lord, you'll agree,
But then, says my lady, my lord, there's the sea.
Then, says my lord, in a jocular strain,
I don't think I ever shall sea it again.
At length then the thread of the subject to break,
My lady propos'd some excursion to take;
For time seems to hang here most sadly on hand,
Altho' it's the first-fashion'd place in the land;
[Page 62] Ods bobs, says my lord, there's a raffle on foot,
That's good, says my lady, so off they went to't:
You'd have laugh'd to have seen 'em, or amble or hop,
With a heart full of glee, to the book­sellers' shop;
The booksellers shop is the change of this place,
From Sir Timothy Traffick, e'en up to his Grace;
For my lord-duke of Blenheim preferreth the Styene,
To a palace that's fit for a King or a Queen:
But the bookseller's shop, I must tell all about it,
The place would be dull as a dunghill without it.
In a corner sat little miss Tit-up a leering,
And old lady Wishfor't sat opposite sneer­ing,
[Page 63] Sir Christopher Croaker, with spindles so taper,
Sat squinting thro' spectacles over a paper;
Then all of a sudden began he to croak,
This war with the Congress, by G-d is no joke;
Then addressing himself to a new-married dame,
Who was deeply engag'd with the Temple of Fame,
What think you, my lady?—I don't think at all,
Sir Christopher Croaker, unless of a ball.
A-propos, she continued, pray what do you say;
Now you talk of a ball, will you go to the play?
Sir Christopher instantly, seiz'd with the dumps,
He threw down his paper, and took to his stumps:
[Page 64] He wonder'd how people could e'er think of plays,
In these terrible, troublesome, critical, days.
A new face appear'd in a smart riding hat;
The whisper was instantly—Pray who is that?
'Tis miss Molly Mundungus—"What for­tune?" but small;
" No person of rank, then?" no, nothing at all:
" Don't you think she is pretty?" yes, without grace;
All beauty, you know, is not centr'd in face:
Do but observe how she carries her arms,
And yet the poor simpleton fancies she charms.
If she looks for a fortune, cries one with a scoff.
She may wait till she's tir'd before she goes off.
[Page 65] Though she that said this, will, perhaps, lay herself,
Until she is musty, upon the high shelf.
She was old, and as ugly as envy could make her,
As fine as a Bell-horse, as stiff as a quaker:
And, what is still worse, I am sorely a­fraid,
She's likely, poor lady, to die an old maid!
Miss Mundungus came in, and a prettier face,
I'll venture to say, was ne'er seen in the place;
So dimpled, so blooming, so smiling, and young,
And then when she spoke, such a musi­cal tongue!
I could—that I could!—but I won't tell you now—
Odds-bobs, I'd forgot, there was Billy, the beau,
[Page 66] With his R-se by his side, you scarcely would think it,
He presented my lady Fal-lal with a trinket;
And then to miss Tit-up began to make love,
And what was his passion?—to put on her glove!
One ask'd the gay beau, why he ventur'd to roam,
And leave his dear Butter Patt [...]ighing at home?
He straight took the hint, and cry'd, come my dear R-se,
And, mounting his whisky, to London he goes.

To W. D—, Esq Oxford.

YOU ask me if I spend my day,
In the circle of the gay;
Or if greater pleasures rise,
From the sylvan deities:
Listen then, while I confess,
How I purchase happiness.
'Tis not on the crouded Styene,
Where the great and proud are seen,
No, nor do I ever stoop,
Where the vari'gated group
Bend to Fashion's airy shrine;
Such are no pursuits of mine.
But when Tyrra-lyrra sings,
Spreading his ecstatic wings;
[Page 68] With some friend, or fav'rite book,
Near some fountain, or some brook,
There it is I take my seat,
There I always pleasure meet.
Or where Ceres spreads the plain,
With her rich luxuriant grain,
Or Pomona's fruits invite,
Tempting of the ravish'd sight:
Oft the mountain's brow I tread,
Where the shepherd's care is spread,
Or the gradual heights ascend,
View or prospect to extend:
Plains or distant hills I spy,
Proudly tow'ring to the sky,
Here a level, there a steep,
Or a winding river peep,
Shewing oft its glassy face,
In some unexpected place,
Till some mountain rise between,
Vari'gating of the scene,
There it is I take my seat,
There I always pleasure meet.
[Page 69] Here, tho' coy to sluggish wealth,
Sits the rosy god of health;
Here his fount for ever flows,
Ev'ry happy shepherd knows;
Here the gentle zephyrs spill
Their aromatics round each hill;
Here the listless nerve is brac'd,
Here the wonted bloom replac'd,
Robb'd by dissipation's crew,
Here restores its native hue;
Then my friend attend to me,
Tread the margin of the sea,
Seek the woodland or the lawn,
Or the hill at early dawn,
'Ere the thirsty sun appears,
Tippling on nocturnal tears:
There it is I take my seat,
There it is I pleasure meet.

Intended to have been performed one Moonlight Evening, to a Select So­ciety, in the Grove at PRESTON, near BRIGHTHELMSTONE.

COME ye gay illustrious train,
Rivals of the Cypraean queen,
This is now the golden reign,
Where each social face is seen;
For sallow Care
Ne'er enters here;
To the sordid miser's cell
He's sure to hie,
With low'ring eye,
But dares not in this circle dwell.
Sons of Bacchus and Apollo,
Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Sylvans, Sylphs, and Faries come,
From hillock green, or cavern hollow;
Come and join the chearful throng,
In merry dance, or merry song;
Sylvans, Sylphs, and Fairies come,
Come, come along.
With pearly veil,
Behold fair Cynthia mantles ev'ry tree,
The thriftiest maiden of the vaulted sky.
The Zephyrs rise, and at their bidding, see
The tow'ring branches with their plu­mage high
Nod to the gale.
With what majestic homage they incline
To make this jocund scene, a scene divine.
To every cadence let echo return
Her soft swelling notes from her rock­riven cave,
Let every bosom with rhapsody burn,
And the heart in a fountain of extacy lave;
Let every mountain, let every dell,
Return a soft echo to sweet Philomel.
Once more your tuneful voices raise,
Where'ere ye lay, where'ere ye rove,
On dreary heath, or woody maze,
Or in the lover-haunted grove.
Now tune the shell, or strike the lyre,
Enforc'd by rich poetic fire.
And as you sing, or as you play,
Be this the burthen of your lay.
Let Peace for ever, ever smile,
Around this heaven-favour'd Isle;
From East and West this sentence sing,
" Protect her Beauties, and her King."

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.