Posts tagged ‘1796’

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Old Ham Fresh Drest by Michael Massey Robinson

Booted and spurr’d, our gallant wight
Returning late one winter’s night
From toil, hard ware and duty,
Took Pancras church-yard in his way;
For near that spot, the gossips say,
He kept a pamper’d beauty.

Darkness and silence reign’d around,
When lo! the church-bell gave a found,
Such as chill terror brings,
When some pale spirit, long since sled,
Haunts the black caverns of the dead,
To tell of – WICKED THINGS!

But left the world should think it strange,
A marry’d man shou’d, rake-like, range,
This will explain the matter;
The WIDOW late had slipt her breath,
And even died a nat’ral death!
Tho’ Justice murmur’d at her!

So circumstanc’d, ’tis not uncommon
For widowers to keep a woman,
Altho’ not over chaste:
For beauty has a thousand charms
To lure to its devoted arms
A trading cull of taste.

We bards that use familiar rhyme,
Never affect a style sublime,
Nor heed we little errors;
The reader therefore will excuse
The lapse of a plain-dealing muse,

Involuntary as surprise;
Our hero paus’d and rubb’d his eyes,
And thought he must be dreaming;
When lo!
another dismal found,
With groans terrific teeming!

“What could possess me,” thus he cried,
“So late at counting-house to ‘bide!
I’d better mend my pace.
It is not that I’m apt to fear;
But none wou’d like this knell to hear
In such a lonely place!

With quicken’d steps he brush’d along,
The ling’ring path seem’d length’ning on,
For conscience was not stout;
Silent the bell – but swift as light
A spectre slitted by his sight,
And cried, “THE DEED WILL OUT!”

If ‘midst the busy scenes of life,
We seek to calm internal strife
And snatch a cheerful hour,
The jocund tale, the flowing bowl,
Will shed oblivion o’er the foul,
And check reflexion’s pow’r.

But when dark solitude pervades
The midnight scene – and silent shades
Are wrapt in awful gloom,
Where is the mind impair’d by GUILT?
Where is the hand that BLOOD has spilt,
That shrinks not at its doom?

Ah! what avails each grand parade
By the proud hand of fashion made,
And scenes of splendid riot?
What charm can health or wealth impart?
What tranquil moment knows the heart
When CONSCIENCE is not quiet?

What! though a borough could be found,
And bought for thirty thousand pound,
What comfort would be in it?
Altho’ to mark a soaring mind,
A tradesman tries that way to find
A seat in England’s f-n-e.

In the court records it states that “This stanza appears too personal to be introduced at present”

Is there not wrap’t in Fate’s dark womb,
A tale for ages yet to come?
A foul, unnat’ral deed?
Did not black Avarice conspire
With all the rage of lustful fire?

Oh! that fair Charity, mild maid,
Indulgent to the widow’s shade,
Cou’d check conjecture’s course.
That busy memory no more
Might the mysterious deed explore,
Or trace its FATAL SOURCE!

But – ! let the muse resume her strain,
And to her tale return again;
Whilom of ghosts she sung-
When a grim spectre struck his sight,
Distinguish’d by a glimm’ring light,
It seem’d to bear along.

“THE DEED WILL OUT ,” the phantom cried,
And forwards mov’d from side to side,
To intercept his rout;
Whilst our pale traveller dismay’d,
With falt’ring speech address’d the shade,
And ask’d, “WHAT DEED WILL OUT?”

“Pause thee a while, and lift!” – it said,
And sigh’d and shook its aged head.
(Our hero trembling stood!)
“Why in the early scenes of age,
“Didst thou in such a deed engage?”
Remember – BLOOD for BLOOD!

“Of years, not five times five are past,
“Since, circled round thy humble waist,
“The dingy apron hung, –
“Thy heart then no soul mischief brew’d;
“Thy mind a moral track pursu’d;
“And guileless was thy tongue:

“Till dire ambition, like a fiend,
“That hurls destruction, without end,
“On each devoted slave,
“Burst forth. – Then lust assum’d a name
“To hide a secret guilty flame,
“And doom me to the grave!

“The poison’d chalice (fatal draught!)
“To my unconscious lips was brought –

*Note: This poem was sent to a London ironmonger as part of an extortion attempt and accuses the ironmonger of the murder of his former employer. The extortion attempt failed and the writer was sentenced to death. The sentence was changed to one of transportation and the writer arrived in Botany Bay (Australia) in 1798 as a convict. This version of the poem is from the record of the trial and is missing a stanza which the court deemed ‘too personal’ and appears unfinished.

From: Old Bailey Proceedings Online, February 1796, trial of MICHAEL ROBINSON (t17960217-71).

Date: 1796

By: Michael Massey Robinson (1744-1826)

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Lecture I from “The Pleader’s Guide” by John Anstey

This is from The Pleader’s Guide, a Didactic Poem in Two Parts: Containing Mr. Surrebutter’s Political Lectures on the Conduct of a Suit at Law, including the Arguments of Counsellor Bother’um, and Counsellor Bore’um, in an Action for Assault and Battery, betwixt John-a-Gull and John-a-Gudgeon.

Of legal Fictions, Quirks, and Glosses,
Attorneys’ gains, and Clients’ losses,
Of Suits created, lost, and won,
How to undo, and be undone;
Whether by Common Law, or Civil,
A man goes sooner to the Devil,;
Things which few mortals can disclose
In Verse, or comprehend in Prose,
I sing—do thou, bright Phoebus, deign
To shine for once in Chanc’ry-lane;
And, Clio, if your pipe you’ll lend
To Mercury, the Lawyer’s friend,
That Usher of the golden rod,
Of Gain and Eloquence the God,
Shall lead my steps with guidance sure,
Safe through the” palpable obscure,
And take my parchments for his labour
To cover your harmonious tabour.
“Pindus to wit“—or where you chuse,—
At Lincoln’s Inn, or Arethuse,
For Bards and Lawyers, both with ease,
May place the Venue where they please;
No matter where an action’s laid,
A Contract or a Poem made:
Is there a proud o’erbearing wight
Who tramples on his neighbour’s right,
Superior in his own opinion
To Lawyers, and the Law’s dominion?
Say, what compulsive mode of action .
Must give the injur’d, satisfaction;
What forms, what fictions must combine
To make the parties Issue join;
And better may enable those
Who draw their Pleas, or Briefs compose,
To hold the balance of success
With such precision and address,
That both the combat may sustain,
And neither the advantage gain;
But when ’tis o’er and judgment given,
The scales may prove so just and even,
That each may venture to make oath
The Law’s impartial to them both;
When both in rags their folly rue,
The Victor and the Vanquish’d too?

Hear then, and deign to be my readers,
Attorneys, Barristers, and Pleaders,
Shrieves, Justices, and Civil Doctors,
Surrogates, Delegates, and Proctors,
Grave Judges too, with smiles peruse
The sallies of a Lawyer’s Muse.
A buxom lass, who fain would make
Your sober sides with laughter shake;
And, good my Lords, be kind and gracious,
And, though You deem her contumacious,
Ne’er to the Fleet, or Bridewell send her,
But spare a ludicrous offender,
Who longs to make your muscles play,
And give your cheeks a holiday.

Hear me, ye Wits, and critics too,
And learned Dames in Stocking blue,
And you, ye Bards, my book who dip in,
In hopes to catch its Author tripping,
Some Mercy still, and Justice shew him,
And purchase ere you damn his Poem.

But chiefly thou, dear Job, my friend,
My kinsman to my verse attend;
By education form’d to shine
Conspicuous in the pleading line,
For you, from five years old to twenty,
Were cramm’d with Latin words in plenty,
Were bound apprentice to the Muses,
And forc’d with hard words, blows, and bruises,
To labour on Poetic ground,
Dactyls and Spondees to confound,
And when become in Fictions wise,
In Pagan histories and lies;
Were sent to dive at Granta’s cells,
For Truth in Dialectic wells,
There duly bound for four years more
To ply the Philosophic oar,
Points metaphysical to moot,
Chop logic, wrangle, and dispute;
And now, by far the most ambitious
Of all the sons of Begersdicius,
Present the Law with all the knowledge
You gather’d both at School and College.
Still bent on adding to your store
The graces of a Pleader’s lore;
And, better to improve your taste,
Are by your Parent’s fondness plac’d
Among the blest, the chosen few,
(BIest, if their happiness they knew,)
Who for three hundred guineas paid
To some great Master of the Trade,
Have, at his rooms, by special favour,
His leave to use their best endeavour
By drawing Pleas, from nine till four,
To earn him twice three hundred more;
And, after dinner, may repair
To ‘foresaid rooms, and then and there
Have ‘foresaid leave, from five till ten,
To draw th’ aforesaid Pleas again;
While thus your blissful hours run on
Till three improving years are gone,
Permit me, with these rhymes, awhile,
Your leisure moments to beguile,
And guide your bold advent’rous ways
Safe through that wide and pathless maze
Where Law and Custom, Truth and Fiction,
Craft, Justice, Strife, and Contradiction,
With every blessing of Confusion,
Quirk, Error, Quibble, and Delusion;
Are all, if rightly understood,
Conspiring for the public Good,
Like jarring Ministers of State,
‘Mid Anger, Jealousy, and Hate,
In friendly Coalition join’d,
To harmonize and bless mankind.

From: Anstey, John, The Pleader’s Guide, a Didactic Poem in Two Parts: Containing Mr. Surrebutter’s Political Lectures on the Conduct of a Suit at Law, including the Arguments of Counsellor Bother’um, and Counsellor Bore’um, in an Action for Assault and Battery, betwixt John-a-Gull and John-a-Gudgeon, the Seventh Edition, 1815, T. Cadell and W. Davies: London, pp. 3-12.

Date: 1796

By: John Anstey (17??-1819)

Sunday, 28 January 2018

To a Little Man with a Very Large Beard by Isaac ben Khalif

How can thy chin that burden bear?
Is it all gravity to shock?
Is it to make the people stare?
And be thyself a laughing stock?

When I behold thy little feet
After thy beard obsequious run,
I always fancy that I meet
Some father followed by his son.

A man like thee scarce e’er appear’d –
A beard like thine – where shall we find it?
Surely thou cherishest thy beard
In hopes to hide thyself behind it.

From: Carlyle, J.D., Specimens of Arabian Poetry, From the Earliest Times to the Extinction of the Khaliphat, with Some Accounts of the Authors, 1796, John Burges: Cambridge, p. 148.

Date: ?11th century (original in Persian); 1796 (translation in English)

By: Isaac ben Khalif (?11th century)

Translated by: Joseph Dacre Carlyle (1758-1804)

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Excerpt from “Lamiyat al-Ajam (The L-Poem of the Foreigner)” by Abu Esmail Moayed-o-din Hosein-ebn-e-ali Esfahani Togharayi

No kind supporting hand I meet,
But Fortitude shall stay my feet;
No borrowed splendours round me shine,
But Virtue’s lustre all is mine:
A fame unsullied still I boast,
Obscured, concealed, but never lost —
The same bright orb that led the day
Pours from the west his mellowed ray.

Zaura, farewell! No more I see
Within thy walls a home for me;
Deserted, spurned, aside I’m tossed,
As an old sword whose scabbard’s lost:
Around thy walls I seek in vain,
Some bosom that will soothe my pain —
No friend is near to breathe relief,
Or brother to partake my grief.

For many a melancholy day
Through desert vales I’ve wound my way;
The faithful beast whose back I press
In groans laments her lord’s distress;
In every quivering of my spear
A sympathetic sigh I hear;
The camel, bending with his load,
And struggling through the thorny road,
Midst the fatigues that bear him down,
In Hassan’s woes forgets his own; —
Yet cruel friends my wanderings chide,
My sufferings slight, my toils deride.

Once wealth, I own, engrossed each thought;
There was a moment when I sought
The glittering stores Ambition claims
To feed the wants his fancy frames;
But now ’tis past: the changing day
Has snatched my high-built hopes away,
And bade this wish my labours close, —
Give me not riches, but repose.

From: Clouston, W.A., Arabian Poetry for English Readers, 1881, Privately Printed: Glasgow, pp. 153-154.

Date: 11th century (original in Persian); 1796 (translation in English)

By: Abu Esmail Moayed-o-din Hosein-ebn-e-ali Esfahani Togharayi (1045-1105)

Translated by: Joseph Dacre Carlyle (1758-1804)

Saturday, 16 September 2017

An Apologue by Edward Jerningham

Woo’d by the summer gale, an Olive stood
Beside the margin of the silver flood,
Beneath its playful gently-way’ring shade
A Syrian Rose her Eastern bloom display’d!
The flow’r complain’d, that stretching o’er her head
The dark’ning Olive a broad umbrage spread,
Or if admitted to a partial view,
Her blushing leaves imbib’d a yellow hue.

Not unattentive to the mournful strain,
The Master heard his Syrian Rose complain:
The ready axe soon urg’d the fatal wound,
And bow’d the stately Olive to the ground!
The Rose exulting now with full display
Gave all her beauty to the garish day;
But soon her triumph ceas’d—the mid-day beam
Pour’d on her tender frame a scorching stream:
The Rose now sick’ning, drooping, languid, pale,
Call’d the soft show’r, and call’d the cooling gale;
Nor soft’ning show’r, nor gale with cooling breath,
Approach’d, to save her from untimely death.

The humbled Olive saw the Rose distress’d,
And thus with dying voice the flow’r address’d:
Ah! were it not that low-born envy stole
With all its rancour on thy yielding soul,
I might, attir’d in youth’s unfading green,
Have still embellish’d the surrounding scene;
And thou, detaining still th’ admiring eye,
Have breath’d thy little incense to the sky!

From: Jerningham, Mr., Poems [Part 2], 2009, University of Michigan Library: Ann Arbor, Michigan, pp. 130-131.

Date: 1796

By: Edward Jerningham (1737-1812)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Epigram [As Two Divines, Their Ambling Steeds Bestriding] by “Cam.”

As two Divines, their ambling steeds bestriding,
In merry mood o’er Boston neck were riding,
At length a simple structure met their sight,
From which the felon takes his hempen flight,
When, sailor like, he squares accounts with hope,
His all depending on a single rope;
“Ah where, my friend,” cried one, “where now were you
Had yonder gallows been allowed its due?”
Where,” said the other in sarcastic tone,
“Why where —but riding into town alone.”

From: Lewis, Paul (ed.), The Citizen Poets of Boston. A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789-1820, University Press of New England: Hanover and London, p. 33.

Date: 1796

By: “Cam.” (fl. 1796)

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Satire on Pride by Elizabeth Mapes Bonhôte

Hell’s first born exhalation sure is pride!
Who, with its sister, envy, would divide
The various blessings to poor mortals given.
By the kind bounty of indulgent heaven.
What at the last have kings to make them proud!
A gilded coffin and a satin shroud.
The lordly worm on these will quickly prey;
For worms, like kings, in turn will have their day.
What then is man who boasts his form and make?
A reptile’s meal,—a worm’s high-flavour’d steak,
The epicure, who caters like a slave,
Is but a pamper’d morsel for the grave.

Envy’s a canker of such subtle power,
It steals all pleasure from the gayest hour.
It is the deadly nightshade of the mind;
With secret poison all its arts refin’d;
And, when attended by it vile relation,
Would spread a plague destructive to a nation.
Then send these hags back to their native hell,
With fiends and evil spirits formed to dwell.

No more on worth let man look down with scorn,
And frown on those not quite so highly born;
Nor, as the coaches rattle from his door,
Boast, like proud Haman, of not being poor!
Earth’s doom’d to earth, all folly there must end,—
Then read, and own the satirist a friend.


Date: 1796

By: Elizabeth Mapes Bonhôte (1744-1818)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

To the Same [Mrs. Bishop], on the Anniversary of her Wedding Day, which was also her Birth Day, with a Ring by Samuel Bishop

“Thee, Mary, with this ring I wed” —
So, fourteen years ago, I said. —
Behold another ring! — “for what?”
“To wed thee o’er again?” Why not?
With that first ring I married Youth,
Grace, Beauty, Innocence, and Truth;
Taste long admir’d, Sense long rever’d,
And all my MOLLY then appear’d.
If she, by merit since disclos’d,
Prove twice the Woman I suppos’d,
I plead that double Merit now,
To justify a double Vow.
Here, then, to-day, (with Faith as sure,
With Ardor as intense, as pure,
As when, amidst the Rite divine,
I took thy Troth, and plighted mine,)
To thee, sweet Girl, my second Ring
A Token and a Pledge I bring:
With this I wed, till death us part,
Thy riper Virtues to my heart;
Those Virtues which, before untry’d,
The Wife has added to the Bride:
Those Virtues, whose progressive claim,
Endearing Wedlock’s very name,
My soul enjoys, my song approves,
For conscience’ sake as well as Love’s.
And why? — They shew me every hour
Honour’s high thought, Affection’s power,
Discretion’s deed, sound Judgment’s sentence, —
— And teach me all things — but Repentance. —

From:  Bishop, Samuel and Clare, Thomas (ed.), The Poetical Works of the Rev. Samuel Bishop, A.M. Late Head-Master of Merchant-Taylors’ School, Rector of St. Martin Outwich, London, and of Ditton in the County of Kent; and Chaplain to the Bishop of Bangor. To which are prefixed , Memoirs of the Life of the Author, by the Rev. Thomas Clare, A.M., Volume II, 1796, A. Strahan: London, pp. 19-20.

Date: 1796

By: Samuel Bishop (1731-1795)

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Sun by Henry Rowe

Angel, king of streaming morn;
Cherub, call’d by Heav’n to shine;
T’ orient tread the waste forlorn;
Guide ætherial, pow’r divine;
Thou, Lord of all within!

Golden spirit, lamp of day,
Host, that dips in blood the plain,
Bids the crimson’d mead be gay,
Bids the green blood burst the vein;
Thou, Lord of all within!

Soul, that wraps the globe in light;
Spirit, beckoning to arise;
Drives the frowning brow of night,
Glory bursting o’er the skies;
Thou, Lord of all within!


Date: 1796

By: Henry Rowe (1753-1819)