Alexander’s Feast: an Ode by John Wolcot (Peter Pindar)

Timotheus now, in music handy,
Struck up a tune call’d — Drops of Brandy;
The hero pulls out Thais to the dance:
Timotheus now struck up a reel;
The couple skipp’d with nimble heel,
Then sat them down, and drank a quart of Nantz.

Now did the master of the lyre
On dancing exercise his fire.
He sung of hops at court, and wakes, and fairs;
He sung of dancing dogs, and dancing bears;
He prais’d the minuet of Nan Catley,
And lumps of pudding, and Moll Pately:
The king grew proud, and soon began to reel,
A hopping inspiration seiz’d his heel.

Bravi, bravi, the soldier crowd
In admiration cry’d aloud.
The lady dances like a bold Thalestris,
And Alexander hops like Monsieur Vestris.
Again, so furiously they dance a jig,
The lady lost her cap, the hero lost his wig.

The motley mob, behind, before,
Exclaim’d — encore! encore! encore!
Proud of th’ applause, and justly vain,
Thais made a curtsey low,
Such as court ladies make before the queen.
Alexander made a bow,
Such as the royal levee oft has seen,
And then they danc’d the reel again.

Of vast applause the couple vain,
Delighted, danc’d the reel again:
Now in, and now out,
They skipp’d it about,
As tho’ they felt the madness of the moon;
Such was the power of Timothy and tune.

When the dub a dub, a dub dub drum,
In triumph behind e’m beat — Go to bed, Tom.

And now in their ire,
Return’d from the fire,
In revenge for the Greeks that were dead,
The king and his punk
Got most horribly drunk,
And together went reeling to bed.


Date: 1808

By: John Wolcot (Peter Pindar) (1738-1819)

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