The Tours of Dr. Syntax

The Tour of Doctor Syntax
in Search of the Picturesque
by William Combe
and Thomas Rowlandson




Ut Pictura Poesis erit; quæ, si propius stes,

Te capiat magis; et quædam si longius abstes,

Hæc amat obscurum; volet hæc sub luce videri,

Judicis argutum quæ non formidat acumen:

Hæc placuit semel, hæc decies repetita placebit.

Horat. Ars. Poet.









THIS Issue is founded on the Seventh Edition published by R. Ackermann in the year 1817

Dr. Syntax in his study looking pensive

The Revd. Doctor Syntax.

[image of title page]


The Revd. Doctor Syntax Frontispiece
Illustrated Title-Page.
Setting out To face p. 6
Losing his Way 9
Stopped by Highwaymen 12
Bound to a Tree by Highwaymen 14
Disputing his Bill with the Landlady 23
Copying the Wit of the Window 30
Entertained at College 37
Pursued by a Bull 38
Mistakes a Gentleman’s House for an Inn 48
Meditating on the Tombs 54
Tumbling into the Water 68
Loses his Money at the Race-Ground at York 76
At the Review 84
With My Lord 95
Made free of the Cellar 96
Sketching the Lake 105
Drawing after Nature 115
Robbed of his Property 124
Sells Grizzle 134
Rural Sports 144
With the Dairy-Maid 150
At Liverpool 160
Reading his Tour 175
Preaching 178
Bookseller 198
At Covent Garden Theatre 216
The Dream 230
Returned from his Tour 248
Taking Possession of his Living 265



THE School was done, the bus’ness o’er,

When, tir’d of Greek and Latin lore,

Good Syntax sought his easy chair,

And sat in calm composure there.

His wife was to a neighbour gone

To hear the chit-chat of the town;

And left him the unfrequent power

Of brooding through a quiet hour.

Thus, while he sat, a busy train

Of images besieged his brain.

Of Church-preferment he had none,

Nay, all his hope of that was gone:

He felt that he content must be

With drudging in a Curacy.


Indeed, on ev’ry Sabbath-day,

Through eight long miles he took his way,

To preach, to grumble, and to pray;

To cheer the good, to warn the sinner,

And, if he got it,—eat a dinner:

To bury these, to christen those,

And marry such fond folks as chose

To change the tenor of their life,

And risk the matrimonial strife.


Thus were his weekly journeys made,

’Neath summer suns and wintry shade;

And all his gains, it did appear,

Were only thirty pounds a year.

Besides, th’ augmenting taxes press

To aid expense and add distress:

Mutton and beef and bread and beer,

And ev’ry thing was grown so dear;

The boys too always prone to eat

Delighted less in books than meat;

So that when holy Christmas came,

His earnings ceas’d to be the same,

And now, alas! could do no more,

Than keep the wolf without the door.

E’en birch, the pedant master’s boast,

Was so increas’d in worth and cost,

That oft, prudentially beguil’d,

To save the rod, he spar’d the child.

Thus, if the times refus’d to mend,

He to his school must put an end.


How hard his lot! how blind his fate!

What shall he do to mend his state?

Thus did poor Syntax ruminate.

When, as the vivid meteors fly,

And instant light the gloomy sky,

A sudden thought across him came,

And told the way to wealth and fame;

And, as th’ expanding vision grew

Wider and wider to his view,

The painted fancy did beguile

His woe-worn phiz into a smile.

But, while he pac’d the room around,

Or stood immers’d in thought profound,

The Doctor, ’midst his rumination,

Was waken’d by a visitation


Which troubles many a poor man’s life—

The visitation of his wife.

Good Mrs. Syntax was a lady

Ten years, perhaps, beyond her hey-day;

But though the blooming charms had flown

That grac’d her youth, it still was known

The love of power she never lost,

As Syntax found it to his cost:

For as her words were used to flow,

He but replied or, YES or NO.—

Whene’er enrag’d by some disaster,

She’d shake the boys and cuff the master:

Nay, to avenge the slightest wrong,

She could employ both arms and tongue,

And, if we list to country tales,

She sometimes would enforce her nails.

Her face was red, her form was fat,

A round-about, and rather squat;

And when in angry humour stalking,

Was like a dumpling set a-walking.

’Twas not the custom of this spouse

To suffer long a quiet house:

She was among those busy wives

Who hurry-scurry through their lives;

And make amends for fading beauty

By telling husbands of their duty.

’Twas at this moment, when, inspir’d,

And by his new ambition fir’d,

The pious man his hands uprear’d,

That Mrs. Syntax re-appear’d:

Amaz’d she look’d, and loud she shriek’d,

Or, rather like a pig she squeak’d,

To see her humble husband dare

Thus quit his sober ev’ning chair,


And pace, with varying steps, about,

Now in the room, and now without.

At first she did not find her tongue,

(A thing which seldom happen’d long,)

But soon that organ grew unquiet,

To ask the cause of all this riot.

The Doctor smil’d, and thus address’d

The secrets of his lab’ring breast——

“Sit down, my love, my dearest dear,

Nay, prithee do, and patient hear;

Let me, for once, throughout my life,

Receive this kindness from my wife;

It will oblige me so:—in troth,

It will, my dear, oblige us both;

For such a plan has come athwart me,

Which some kind sprite from heav’n has brought me,

That if you will your counsels join,

To aid this golden scheme of mine,

New days will come—new times appear,

And teeming plenty crown the year:

We then on dainty bits shall dine,

And change our home-brew’d ale for wine:

On summer days, to take the air,

We’ll put our Grizzle to a chair;

While you, in silks and muslins fine,

The grocer’s wife shall far outshine,

And neighb’ring folks be forc’d to own,

In this fair town you give the ton.”

“Oh! tell me,” cried the smiling dame,

“Tell me this golden road to fame:

You charm my heart, you quite delight it.”—

I’ll make a TOURand then I’ll WRITE IT.

You well know what my pen can do,

And I’ll employ my pencil too:—

I’ll ride and write, and sketch and print,

And thus create a real mint;


I’ll prose it here, I’ll verse it there,

And picturesque it ev’ry where:

I’ll do what all have done before;

I think I shall—and somewhat more.

At Doctor Pompous give a look;

He made his fortune by a book;

And if my volume does not beat it,

When I return, I’ll fry and eat it.

Next week the boys will all go home,

And I shall have a month to come.

My clothes, my cash, my all prepare;

While Ralph looks to the grizzle mare.

Tho’ wond’ring folks may laugh and scoff

By this day fortnight I’ll be off;

And when old Time a month has run,

Our bus’ness Lovey will be done.

I will in search of fortune roam,

While you enjoy yourself at home.”

The story told, the Doctor eas’d

Of his grand plan, and Madam pleas’d,

No pains were spar’d by night or day

To set him forward on his way:

She trimm’d his coat—she mended all

His various clothing, great and small;

And better still, a purse was found

With twenty notes of each a pound.

Thus furnish’d, and in full condition

To prosper in his expedition;

At length the ling’ring moment came

That gave the dawn of wealth and fame.

Incurious Ralph, exact at four,

Led Grizzle, saddled, to the door;

And soon, with more than common state,

The Doctor stood before the gate.


Behind him was his faithful wife;—

“One more embrace, my dearest life!”

Then his grey palfrey he bestrode,

And gave a nod, and off he rode.

“Good luck! good luck!” she loudly cried,

Vale! O Vale!” he replied.

group gathered to bid farewell to Dr. Syntax and his white mare

Doctor Syntax
Setting out on his Tour to the Lakes



THE farewell ceremony o’er,

Madam went in and bang’d the door:

No woeful tear bedew’d her eye,

Nor did she heave a single sigh;

But soon began her daily trade,

To chide the man and scold the maid;

While Syntax, with his scheme besotted,

Along the village gently trotted.

The folks on daily labour bent,

Whistled and caroll’d as they went;

But as the Doctor pass’d along,

Bow’d down their heads, and ceas’d their song.

He gravely nodded to the people;

Then looking upwards to the steeple,

He thus, in mutt’ring tones express’d

The disappointments of his breast.

“That thankless parent, Mother Church,

Has ever left me in the lurch;

And, while so many fools are seen

To strut a Rector or a Dean,

Who live in ease and find good cheer

On ev’ry day of ev’ry year,

So small her share of true discerning,

She turn’d her back on all my learning.

I’ve in her vineyard labour’d hard,

And what has been my lean reward?

I’ve dug the ground, while some rich Vicar

Press’d the ripe grape, and drank the liquor;


I feed the flock, while others eat

The mutton’s nice, delicious meat;

I’ve kept the hive, and made the honey,

While the drones pocketed the money.

But now, on better things intent,

On far more grateful labours bent,

New prospects open to my view:

So, thankless Mother Church, adieu!”

Thus, having said his angry say,

Syntax proceeded on his way.

The morning lark ascends on high,

And with its music greets the sky:

The blackbird whistles, and the thrush

Warbles his wild notes in the bush;

While ev’ry hedge and ev’ry tree

Resound with vocal minstrelsy.

But Syntax, wrapt in thought profound,

Is deaf to each enliv’ning sound:

Revolving many a golden scheme,

And yielding to the pleasing dream,

The reins hung loosely from his hand;

While Grizzle, senseless of command,

Unguided pac’d the road along,

Nor knew if it were right or wrong.

Through the deep vale, and up the hill,

By rapid stream or tinkling rill,

Grizzle her thoughtful master bore,

Who, counting future treasure o’er,

And, on his weighty projects bent,

Observ’d not whither Grizzle went.

Thus did kind Fancy’s soothing power

Cheat him of many a fleeting hour;

Nor did he know the pacing Sun

Had half his daily circuit run.


Sweet, airy sprite, that can bestow

A pleasing respite to our woe,

That can corroding care beguile,

And make the woe-worn face to smile!

But ah! too soon the vision passes,

Confounded by a pack of asses!


The donkies bray’d; and lo! the sound

Awak’d him from his thought profound;

And as he star’d, and look’d around,

He said—or else he seem’d to say—

“I find that I have lost my way.

Oh what a wide expanse I see,

Without a wood, without a tree;

No one at hand, no house is near,

To tell the way, or give good cheer;

For now a sign would be a treat,

To tell us we might drink and eat;

But sure there is not in my sight

The sign of any living wight;

And all around upon this common

I see not either man or woman;

Nor dogs to bark, nor cocks to crow,

Nor sheep to bleat, nor herds to low:

Nay, if these asses did not bray,

And thus some signs of life betray,

I well might think that I were hurl’d

Into some sad, unpeopled world.

How could I come, misguided wretch!

To where I cannot make a sketch?”

Dr. Syntax peering at an illegible signpost

Doctor Syntax,
Losing his Way

Thus as he ponder’d what to do,

A guide post rose within his view:

And, when the pleasing shape he spied,

He prick’d his steed and thither hied;

But some unheeding, senseless wight,

Who to fair learning ow’d a spite,


Had ev’ry letter’d mark defac’d,

Which once its several pointers grac’d.

The mangled post thus long had stood,

An uninforming piece of wood;

Like other guides, as some folks say,

Who neither lead, nor tell the way.

The Sun, as hot as he was bright,

Had got to his meridian height:

’Twas sultry noon—for not a breath

Of cooling zephyr fann’d the heath;

When Syntax cried—“’Tis all in vain

To find my way across the plain;

So here my fortune I will try,

And wait till some one passes by:

Upon that bank awhile I’ll sit,

And let poor Grizzle graze a bit;

But, as my time shall not be lost,

I’ll make a drawing of the post;

And, tho’ a flimsy taste may flout it,

There’s something picturesque about it:

’Tis rude and rough, without a gloss,

And is well cover’d o’er with moss;

And I’ve a right—(who dares deny it?)

To place yon group of asses by it.

Aye! this will do: and now I’m thinking,

That self-same pond where Grizzle’s drinking,

If hither brought ’twould better seem,

And faith I’ll turn it to a stream:

I’ll make this flat a shaggy ridge,

And o’er the water throw a bridge:

I’ll do as other sketchers do—

Put any thing into the view;

And any object recollect,

To add a grace, and give effect.

Thus, though from truth I haply err,

The scene preserves its character.


What man of taste my right will doubt,

To put things in, or leave them out?

’Tis more than right, it is a duty,

If we consider landscape beauty:

He ne’er will as an artist shine,

Who copies Nature line by line:

Whoe’er from Nature takes a view,

Must copy and improve it too.

To heighten every work of art,

Fancy should take an active part:

Thus I (which few I think can boast)

Have made a Landscape of a Post.

“So far, so good—but no one passes,

No living creature but these asses;

And, should I sit and hear them bray,

I were as great a beast as they:

So I’ll be off; from yonder down

I may, perhaps, descry a town;

Or some tall spire among the trees,

May give my way-worn spirits ease.”

Grizzle again he soon bestrode,

And wav’d his whip and off he rode:

But all around was dingy green,

No spire arose, no town was seen.

At length he reach’d a beaten road:

How great a joy the sight bestow’d!

So on he went in pleasant mood,

And shortly gain’d a stately wood,

Where the refreshing zephyrs play’d

And cool’d the air beneath the shade.

Oh! what a change, how great the treat

To fanning breeze from sultry heat!

But ah! how false is human joy!

When least we think it, ills annoy:


For now, with fierce impetuous rush,

Three ruffians issued from a bush;

One Grizzle stopp’d and seiz’d the reins,

While they all threat the Doctor’s brains.

Poor Syntax, trembling with affright,

Resists not such superior might,

But yields him to their savage pleasure,

And gives his purse, with all its treasure

Fearing, howe’er, the Doctor’s view

Might be to follow and pursue;

The cunning robbers wisely counted

That he, of course, should be dismounted;

And still that it would safer be,

If he were fastened to a tree.

Thus to a tree they quickly bound him;

The cruel cords went round and round him

And, having of all power bereft him,

They tied him fast—and then they left him.

three armed highwaymen surround Dr. Syntax

Doctor Syntax
stopt by highwaymen.



BY the road side, within the wood,

In this sad state poor Syntax stood;

His bosom heav’d with many a sigh,

And the tears stood in either eye.

What could he do?—he durst not bawl;

His noise the robbers might recall;

The villains might again surround him.

And hang him up where they had bound him,

Sure never was an hapless wight

In more uncomfortable plight:

Nor was this all; his pate was bare,

Unshelter’d by one lock of hair;

For when the sturdy robbers took him,

His hat and peruke both forsook him.

The insect world were on the wing,

Whose talent is to buzz and sting;

And soon his bare-worn head they sought,

By instinct led, by nature taught;

And dug their little forks within

The tender texture of his skin.

He rag’d and roar’d, but all in vain,

No means he found to ease his pain:

The cords, which to the tree had tied him,

All help from either hand denied him:


He shook his head, he writh’d his face

With painful look, with sad grimace,

And thus he spoke his hapless case!


“Ah! miserable man,” he cried,

“What perils do my course betide!

In this sad melancholy state,

Must I, alas, impatient wait,

Till some kind soul shall haply find me,

And with his friendly hands unbind me?

Nay, I throughout the night may stay,

’Tis such an unfrequented way:

Tho’ what with hunger, thirst, and fright,

I ne’er shall last throughout the night;

And could I e’en these ills survive,

The flies will eat me up alive.

What mad ambition made me roam!

Ah! wherefore did I quit my home!

For there I liv’d remote from harm;

My meals were good, my house was warm;

And, though I was not free from strife,

With other ills that trouble life,

Yet I had learn’d full well to bear

The nightly scold, the daily care;

And, after many a season past,

I should have found repose at last:

Fate would have sign’d my long release,

And Syntax would have died in peace;

Nor thus been robb’d, and tied and beaten,

And all alive by insects eaten.”

two young women find Dr. Syntax tied to a tree

Doctor Syntax
Bound to a Tree by Highwaymen.

But while he thus at Fate was railing,

And fortune’s angry frown bewailing,


A dog’s approaching bark he hears;

’Twas sweet as music to his ears;

And soon a sure relief appears.

For, tho’ it bore that gen’ral form,

Which oft at home, foretold a storm,

It now appear’d an angel’s shape

That promis’d him a quick escape:


Nor did La Mancha’s val’rous Knight

Feel greater pleasure at the sight,

When overwhelm’d with love and awe,

His Dulcinea first he saw:

For on two trotting palfreys came,

And each one bore a comely dame:

They started as his form they view;

The horses also started too:

The dog with insult seem’d to treat him,

And look’d as if he long’d to eat him.

In piteous tones he humbly pray’d

They’d turn aside, and give him aid;

When each leap’d quickly from her steed,

To join in charitable deed.

They drew their knives to cut the noose,

And let the mournful pris’ner loose;

With kindest words his fate bewail,

While grateful Syntax tells his tale.

The rustic matrons soothe his grief,

Nor offer, but afford relief;

And, turning from the beaten road,

Their well-lin’d panniers they unload;

When soon upon the bank appear’d

A sight his fainting spirits cheer’d:

They spread the fare with cheerful grace,

And gave a banquet to the place.

Most haply, too, as they untied him,

He saw his hat and wig beside him:

So, thus bewigg’d and thus behatted,

Down on the grass the Doctor squatted;

When he uplifted either eye,

With grateful accents to the sky.

“’Tis thus,” he humbly said, “we read

In sacred books of heavenly deed:

And thus, I find, in my distress,

The Manna of the Wilderness:


’Tis Hermit’s fare; but thanks to Heaven,

And those kind souls, by whom ’tis given.”

’Tis true that bread, and curds, and fruit,

Do with the pious Hermits suit;

But Syntax surely was mistaken

To think their meals partake of bacon;

Or that those reverend men regale,

As our good Doctors do—with ale;

And these kind dames, in nothing loth,

Took care that he partook of both.

At length ’twas time to bid adieu,

And each their diff’rent way pursue:

A kind farewell, a kiss as kind,

He gave them both with heart and mind.

Then off he trudg’d, and, as he walk’d,

Thus to himself the Parson talk’d.

“’Tis well, I think, it is no worse,

For I have only lost my purse:

With all their cruelty and pains,

The rogues have got but trifling gains;

Poor four-and-fourpence is the measure

Of all their mighty pilfer’d treasure;

For haply there was no divining

I’d a snug pocket in my lining;

And, thanks to Spousy, ev’ry note

Was well sew’d up within my coat.

But where is Grizzle?—Never mind her;

I’ll have her cried, and soon shall find her.”

Thus he pursued the winding way,

Big with the evils of the day:

Though the good Doctor kept in view

The favour of its blessings too.

Nor had he pac’d it half an hour

Before he saw a parish tow’r,


And soon, with sore fatigue opprest,

An Inn receiv’d him as its guest.

But still his mind with anxious care,

Ponder’d upon his wand’ring mare;

He therefore sent the Bell-man round,

To see if Grizzle might be found.

Grizzle, ungrateful to her master,

And careless of his foul disaster,

Left him tied up, and took her way,

In hopes to meet with corn or hay;

But, as that did not come to pass,

She sought a meadow full of grass:

The farmer in the meadow found her,

And order’d John, his man, to pound her.

Now John was one of those droll folk,

Who oft take mischief for a joke;

And thought ’twould make the master stare,

When he again beheld his mare,

(Perhaps the Gem’man might be shockt)

To find her ready cropt and dockt:

At all events, he play’d his fun:

No sooner was it said than done.

But Grizzle was a patient beast,

And minded nought if she could feast:

Like many others, prone to think

The best of life was meat and drink,

Who feel to-day nor care nor sorrow,

If they are sure to feast to-morrow:

Thus Grizzle, as she pac’d around

The purlieu of the barren pound,

In hungry mood might seem to neigh—

“If I had water, corn, and hay,

I should not thus my fate bewail,

Nor mourn the loss of ears or tail.”


In the mean time, securely hous’d,

The Doctor booz’d it, and carous’d,

The Hostess spread her fairest cheer,

Her best beef-steak, her strongest beer;

And sooth’d him with her winning chat,

Of—“Pray eat this—and now take that.

Your Rev’rence, after all your fright,

Wants meat and drink to set you right.”

His Rev’rence prais’d the golden rule,

Nor did he let his victuals cool:

And, having drunk his liquor out,

He took a turn to look about;

When, to the folks about the door,

He told the dismal story o’er.

The country people on him gaz’d,

And heard his perils all amaz’d:

How the thieves twin’d the cords around him:

How to a tree the villains bound him!

What angels came to his relief

To loose his bonds, and soothe his grief!

His loss of cash, and what was worse,

His saddle, saddle-bags, and horse.

Thus as their rude attention hung

Upon the wonders of his tongue,

Lo! Grizzle’s alter’d form appears,

With half its tail, and half its ears!

“Is there no law?” the Doctor cries:—

“Plenty,” a Lawyer strait replies:

“Employ me, and those thieves shall swing

On gallows-tree, in hempen-string:

And, for the rogue, the law shall flea him,

Who maim’d your horse, as now you see him.”

“No,” quoth the Don, “your pardon pray;

I’ve had enough of thieves to-day:

I’ve lost four shillings and a groat,

But you would strip me of my coat;


And ears and tail won’t fatten you,

You’ll want the head and carcase too.”

He chuckled as he made the stroke,

And all around enjoy’d the joke:

But still it was a sorry sight

To see the beast in such a plight:

Yet what could angry Syntax do?

’Twas all in vain to fret and stew:

His well-stuff’d bags, with all their hoard

Of sketching-tools, were safe restor’d;

The saddle too, which he had sought,

For small reward was quickly brought;

He therefore thought it far more sage

To stop his threats and check his rage;

So to the ostler’s faithful care

He gave his mutilated mare:

And while poor Grizzle, free from danger,

Cropp’d the full rack and clean’d the manger,

Syntax, to ease his aching head,

Smok’d out his pipe, and went to bed.



BLESS’D be the man, said he of yore

Who Quixote’s lance and target bore!

Bless’d be the man who first taught sleep

Throughout our wearied frames to creep,

And kindly gave to human woes

The oblivious mantle of repose!

Hail! balmy power! that canst repair

The constant waste of human care;

To the sad heart afford relief,

And give a respite to its grief;

Canst calm, through night’s composing hours

The threat’ning storm that daily low’rs;

On the rude flint the wretched cheer,

And to a smile transform the tear!

Thus wrapt in slumber Syntax lay—

Forgot the troubles of the day:

So sound his sleep, so sweet his rest,

By no disturbing dreams distrest;

That, all at ease, he lay entranc’d,

Till the fair morn was far advanc’d.

At length the hostess thought it wrong

He should be left to sleep so long;

So bid the maid to let him know

That breakfast was prepar’d below.

Betty then op’d the chamber door,

And tripping onwards ’cross the floor,


Undrew the curtains, one by one;

When in a most ear-piercing tone,

Such as would grace the London cries,

She told him it was time to rise.

The noise his peaceful slumbers broke;

He gave a snort or two—and ’woke.

Now, as the Doctor turn’d his head,

Betty was court’sying by the bed:—

“What brought you here, fair maid, I pray?”

“To tell you, Sir, how wears the day;

And that it is my special care

To get your Worship’s morning fare.

The kettle boils, and I can boast

No small renown for making toast.

There’s coffee, Sir, and tea, and meat,

And surely you must want to eat;

For ten long hours have pass’d away

Since down upon this bed you lay!”

The Doctor rubb’d his op’ning eyes,

Then stretch’d his arms, and ’gan to rise:

But Betty still demurely stands,

To hear him utter his commands.

“Be gone,” he cried, “get something nice,

And I’ll be with you in a trice.”

Behold him then, renew’d by rest,

His chin well shav’d, his peruke dress’d,

Conning with solemn air the news,

His welcome breakfast to amuse,

And when the well-fed meal was o’er,

Grizzle was order’d to the door:

Betty was also told to say,

The mighty sum there was to pay:

Betty, obedient to his will,

Her court’sy makes, and brings the bill.


Down the long page he cast his eye,

Then shook, his head, and heav’d a sigh,

“What! am I doom’d, where’er I go,

In all I meet to find a foe?

Where’er I wander to be cheated,

To be bamboozled and ill-treated?”

Thus, as he read each item o’er,

The hostess op’d the parlour door;

When Syntax ’rose in solemn state,

And thus began the fierce debate.


“Good woman; here, your bill retake,

And, prithee, some abatement make;

I could not such demands afford,

Were I a Bishop or a Lord:

And though I hold myself as good

As any of my brotherhood,

Howe’er, by bounteous Fortune crown’d,

In wealth and honours they abound;

It is not in my power to pay

Such long-drawn bills as well as they.

The paper fills me with affright;—

I surely do not read it right:

For at the bottom here, I see

Th’ enormous total—one pound, three!”


“The charges all are fairly made;

If you will eat, I must be paid.

My bills have never found reproaches

From Lords and Ladies, in their coaches.

This house that’s called the Royal Crown,

Is the first Inn throughout the town:

The best of gentry ev’ry day,

Become my guests and freely pay:


Besides, I took you in at night,

Half-dead with hunger and affright,

Just ’scap’d from robbers.”

Dr. Syntax arguing with stout landlady while others look on and horse waits outside

Doctor Syntax
Disputing his Bill with the Landlady.


“That’s most true,

And now I’m to be robb’d by you.”


“Sir, you mistake; and did not I

Disdain rude words, I’d say you lie.


I took you in last night, I say.”—


“’Tis true;—and if this bill I pay

You’ll take me in again to-day.”


“I gave you all my choicest cheer,

The best of meat, the best of beer;

And then you snor’d yourself to rest

In the best bed—I say the best.

You’ve had such tea as few can boast,

With a whole loaf turn’d into toast.”


“And for your beef, and beer and tea,

You kindly charge me—one pound three!”


“’Tis cheap as dirt—for well I know

How things with country Curates go:

And I profess that I am loth

To deal unkindly with the cloth:

Nay, oft and oft, as I’m a sinner,

I’ve given hungry Clerks a dinner.”



“And there’s a proverb, as they say,

That for the Clerks the Parsons pay;

Which you, I trow, can well fulfil,

Whene’er you make a Parson’s bill.

Why one pound three, the truth I speak

Would keep my household for a week.

Dear Mrs. Syntax, how she’d vapour

Were she to read this curious paper!”


“If that’s your living, on my life,

You starve your servants and your wife.”


“I wish my wife were here to meet you,

In your own fashion she would greet you:

With looks as fierce, and voice as shrill,

She’d make you, mistress, change your bill.”


“Think you besides, there’s nought to pay

For all your horse’s corn and hay?

And ointments too, to cure the ail,

Of her cropp’d ears and mangled tail?”


“I wish the wight would bring the shears

Which dock’d that tail and cropp’d those ears,

And just exert the self-same skill

To crop and dock your monstrous bill!

But, I’m in haste to get away,

Though one pound three I will not pay:

So, if you’ll take one-half th’ amount,

We’ll quickly settle the account.


There is your money do you see?

And let us part in Charity.”



“Well, as a charitable deed,

I’ll e’en consent—so mount your steed,

And on your journey strait proceed:

But well you know, where’er you roam,

That Charity begins at home.”



THE Doctor smil’d, the bill was paid,

The hostess left him to the maid;

When Betty stood in humble guise,

With expectation in her eyes,

That he was surely so good-hearted,

To give her something ere they parted.

Now, Nature, in her wanton freaks,

Had given Betty rosy cheeks;

And caus’d her raven locks to break

In native ringlets on her neck:

The roving bee might wish to sip

The sweetness of her pouting lip;

So red, so tempting to the view,

’Twas what the Doctor long’d to do.

“You’re a nice girl,” he smiling said,

“Am I?” replied the simp’ring maid.

“I swear you are, and if you’re willing

To give a kiss, I’ll give a shilling.”

“If ’tis the same thing, Sir, to you,

Make the gift two-fold, and take two.”

He grimly grinn’d, with inward pleasure,

And instant seiz’d the purchas’d treasure.

“Your lips, my dear, are sweet as honey:

So one smack more—and there’s your money.”

This charming ceremony o’er,

The Parson strutted to the door;


Where his poor wounded mare appears

In cruel state of tail and ears.

The neighbours all impatient wait

To see him issue from the gate;

For country-town or village-green,

Had seldom such a figure seen.

Labour stood still to see him pass,

While ev’ry lad and ev’ry lass

Ran forward to enjoy the feast,

To jeer the Sage, and mourn the beast.


But one and all, aloud declare

’Twas a fit sight for country-fair;

Far better than a dancing bear.

At length, escap’d from all the noise

Of women, men, and girls and boys,

In the recesses of a lane

He thus gave utt’rance to his pain.


“It seems to be my luckless case,

At ev’ry point, in ev’ry place,

To meet with trouble and disgrace.

But yesterday I left my home,

In search of fancied wealth to roam;

And nought, I think, but ills betide me:

Sure some foul spirit runs beside me;

Some blasting demon from the east,

A deadly foe to man and beast,

That loves to riot in disaster,

And plague alike both horse and master.

Grizzle, who full five years, and more,

A trumpeter in triumph bore;

Who had in hard-fought battle been,

And many a bloody conflict seen;

Who, having ’scap’d with scarce a scar,

’Mid all the angry threats of war;


When her best days are almost past,

Feels these ignoble wounds at last.

Ah! what can thy fond master do,

He’s cut and slash’d as well as you!

But, though no more with housing gay,

And prancing step you take your way;

Or, with your stately rider, lead

The armed troop to warlike deed;

While you’ve a leg you ne’er shall cease

To bear the minister of peace.

Long have you borne him, nor e’er grumbled,

Nor ever started, kick’d, or stumbled.”

But mildest natures sometimes err

From the strict rules of character:

The tim’rous bird defends its young,

And beasts will kick when they are stung.

’Twas burning hot, and hosts of flies,

With venom’d stings, around them rise:

They seiz’d on Grizzle’s wounded part,

Who strait began to snort and start;

Kick’d up behind, rear’d up before,

And play’d a dozen antics more:

The Doctor coax’d, but all in vain,

She snorted, kick’d, and rear’d again:

“Alas!” said Syntax, “could I pop

Just now, upon a blacksmith’s shop,

Whose cooling unguent would avail

To save poor Grizzle’s ears and tail!”

When scarce had he his wishes spoke,

Than he beheld a cloud of smoke,

That from a forge appear’d to rise,

And for a moment veil’d the skies,

While the rude hammers to his ear,

Proclaim’d the aid he wish’d was near.

By the way-side the cottage rose,

Around it many a willow grows,


Where Syntax, in a tone of grief,

Shew’d Grizzle’s wounds and pray’d relief.

The sooty Galen soon appear’d,

And with fair hopes the Doctor cheer’d.

“Trust me, good Sir, I’ve got a plaister,

Will cure the beast of her disaster;

And, while the dressing I prepare,

With all becoming skill and care,

You in that arbor may regale

With a cool pipe and jug of ale:

I’ve long a two-fold trade profess’d,

And med’cine sell for man and beast.”

—Syntax now sought the cooling shade,

While Galen’s dame the banquet made:

She well knew how her guests to please,

And added meat, and bread, and cheese:

Besides, she told the village-tale—

Who came to drink her home-brew’d ale;

How that the laughter-loving Vicar

Would sometimes walk to taste their liquor;

That their gay landlord was renown’d,

For hunting fox, with horn and hound;

That he’d a daughter passing fair,

Who was his Honour’s only heir;

But she was proud, nor could a ’Squire

Approach to tell his am’rous fire;

A Lord alone, as it was said,

She would receive into her bed.

Throughout the village, ev’ry name

Became a subject for the dame;

And thus she play’d her chatt’ring part,

Till Syntax thought it time to start.

And now poor Grizzle re-appears,

With plaster’d tail and plaster’d ears,

Which thus cas’d up, might well defy

The sharpest sting of gnat or fly.


The Doctor having had his fill,

Without a word discharg’d his bill:

But, as it was the close of day,

He trotted briskly on his way;

And, ere the sun withdrew his light,

An Inn receiv’d him for the night.

His frame fatigu’d, his mind oppress’d,

He tiff’d his punch, and went to rest.

The morning came, when he arose

In spirits from his calm repose;

And while the maid prepar’d the tea,

He look’d around the room to see

What story did the walls disclose,

Of human joys, of human woes.

The window quickly caught his eye,

On whose clear panes he could descry

The motley works of many a Muse:

There was enough to pick and choose;

And, “Faith,” said he, “I’ll strive to hook

Some of these lines into my book:

For here there are both grave and witty,

And some, I see, are rather pretty.”

From a small pocket in his coat

He drew his tablets,—when he wrote

Whate’er the pregnant panes possess’d;

And these choice lays among the rest.

“If my fond breast were made of glass,

And you could see what there doth pass,

Kitty, my ever charming fair!

You’d see your own sweet image there.”

“I once came here a free-booting,

And on this fine manor went shooting,

And if the ’Squire this truth denies,

This glass shall tell the ’Squire—he lies.”

Dr. Syntax looking at the windowpane taking notes, while dog jumps onto the table

Doctor Syntax
Copying the wit of the window.


“Dolly’s as fat as any sow,

And, if I’m not mistaken,

Dolly is well dispos’d, I trow,

To trim her husband’s bacon.”

“Dear Jenny, while your name I hear,

No transient glow my bosom heats;

And when I meet your eye, my dear,

My flutt’ring heart no longer beats.

I dream, but I no longer find

Your form still present to my view;

I wake, but now my vacant mind

No longer waking dreams of you.

I can find maids, in ev’ry rout,

With smiles as false and forms as fine;

But you must hunt the world throughout,

To find a heart as true as mine.”

“I hither came down

From fair London town

With Lucy so mild and so kind;

But Lucy grew cool,

And call’d me a fool,

So I started and left her behind.”

But as he copied, quite delighted,

All that the Muse had thus indited,

A hungry dog, and prone to steal,

Ran off with half his breakfast meal;

While Dolly, ent’ring with a kettle,

Was follow’d by a man of mettle,

Who swore he’d have the promis’d kiss;

And, as he seiz’d the melting bliss,

From the hot, ill-pois’d kettle’s spout,

The boiling stream came pouring out,

Which drove the Doctor from the Muse

By quickly filling both his shoes.



WHAT various evils man await,

In this strange, sublunary state!

No sooner is he cheer’d by joy,

Than sorrows come, and pains annoy;

And scarce his lips are op’d to bless

The transient gleam of happiness,

Than some dark cloud obscures the sky,

And grief’s sad moisture fills his eye.

Thus, while the Doctor smiling stole

From the clear glass each witty scroll,

He felt, to interrupt the treat,

The scalding torment in his feet:

And, thus awaken’d from his trance,

Began to skip, and jump, and dance.

“Take off my shoes,” he raving cried,

“And let my gaiters be untied.”

When Dolly with a nimble hand,

Instant obey’d the loud command;

And, as he loll’d upon the chair,

His feet and ancles soon were bare.

Away th’ impatient damsel run,

To cure the mischief she had done;

And quick return’d with liquid store,

To rub his feet and ancles o’er;

Nor was the tender office vain;

It soon assuag’d the burning pain.


A tear was seen on Dolly’s cheek:

Who sigh’d as if her heart would break.

“Be not, my girl, with care oppress’d;

I’m now,” says Syntax, “quite at rest:

My anger’s vanish’d with the pain;

No more, my dear, shall I complain,

Since to get rid of my disaster,

So fair a maid presents the plaister.”

Thus did he Dolly’s care beguile,

And turn’d her tears into a smile.

But, while she cool’d the raging part,

She somehow warm’d the Doctor’s heart;

And, as she rubb’d the ointment in,

He pinch’d her cheeks and chuck’d her chin;

And, when she had re-dress’d his shanks,

He with a kiss bestow’d his thanks;

While gentle Dolly, nothing loth,

Consenting smil’d, and took them both.

“I think,” said she, “you’d better stay,

Nor travel further on to-day:”—

And though she said it with a smile,

His steady purpose to beguile,

The Doctor clos’d the kind debate,

By ord’ring Grizzle to the gate.

Now, undisturb’d, he took his way,

And travell’d till the close of day;

When, to delight his wearied eyes,

Before him Oxford’s tow’rs arise.

“O, Alma Mater!” Syntax cried,

“My present boast, my early pride;

To whose protecting care I owe

All I’ve forgot, and all I know:

Deign from your nursling to receive

The homage that his heart can give!


Hail! sacred, ever-honour’d shades

Where oft I woo’d th’ immortal maids;

Where strolling oft, at break of day,

My feet have brush’d the dews away!

By Isis and by Cherwell’s stream,

How oft I wove the classic dream,

Or sought the Cloisters dim, to meet

Pale science in her lone retreat!

The sight of you, again inspires

My bosom with its former fires:

I feel again the genial glow

That makes me half forget the woe

And all my aching heart could tell,

Since last I bid these scenes farewell.”

Thus Syntax mov’d in sober pace,

Beset with academic grace;

While Grizzle bore him up the town,

And at the Mitre set him down.

The night was pass’d in sound repose,

And as the clock struck nine he ’rose

The barber now applies his art,

To shave him clean, and make him smart

From him he learn’d that Dickey Bend,

His early academic friend,

As a reward for all his knowledge,

Was made the Provost of his College;

And fame declar’d that he had clear

At least twelve hundred pounds a year.

“O ho!” says Syntax, “if that’s true,

I cannot surely better do

Than further progress to delay,

And with Friend Dickey pass a day.”

Away he hied, and soon he found him

With all his many comforts round him.


The Provost hail’d the happy meeting,

And after kind and mutual greeting,

To make enquiries he began;—

And thus the conversation ran.


“Good Doctor Syntax, I rejoice

Once more to hear your well-known voice;

To dine with us I hope you’ll stay,

And share a college feast to-day.

Full many a year is gone and past

Since we beheld each other last:


Fortune has kindly dealt with me,

As you, my friend, may plainly see;

And pray how has she dealt with thee?”


“Alas! alas! I’ve play’d the fool;

I took a wife, and keep a school;

And while on dainties you are fed,

I scarce get butter to my bread.”


“For my part, I have never married,

And grieve to hear your plans miscarried:

I hope then my old worthy friend,

Your visit here your fate will mend.

My services you may command;

I offer them with heart and hand;

And while you think it right to stay,

You’ll make this house your home I pray.”


“I’m going further, on a scheme,

Which you may think an idle dream;

At the fam’d Lakes to take a look,

And of my Journey make a Book.”



“I know full well that you have store

Of modern as of classic lore:

And, surely, with your weight of learning,

And all your critical discerning,

You might produce a work of name,

To fill your purse and give you fame,

How oft have we together sought

Whate’er the ancient sages taught!”


“I now perceive that all your knowledge

Is pent, my friend, within your college!

Learning’s become a very bore—

That fashion long since has been o’er.

A Bookseller may keep his carriage,

And ask ten thousand pounds in marriage;

May have his mansion in a square,

And build a house for country air;

And yet ’tis odds the fellow knows

If Horace wrote in verse or prose.

Could Doctor G—— in chariot ride,

And take each day his wine beside,

If he did not contrive to cook,

Each year, his Tour into a book;

A flippant, flashy, flow’ry stile,

A lazy morning to beguile;

With, ev’ry other leaf, a print

Of some fine view in aqua tint’?

Such is the book I mean to make,

And I’ve no doubt the work will take:

For though your wisdom may decry it,

The simple folk will surely buy it.

I will allow it is but trash,

But then it furnishes the cash.”


riotous scene in college dining hall

Dr. Syntax entertained at College.


“Why things are not the same, I fear,

As when we both were scholars here;

But still I doubt not your success,

And wish you ev’ry happiness;

Myself, and my whole college tribe,

Depend upon it will subscribe.”

At length the bell began to call

To dinner, in the college-hall;

Nor did the guests delay to meet,

Lur’d by the bounty of the treat.

The formal salutations over,

Each drew his chair and seized his cover;

The Provost, in collegiate pride,

Plac’d Doctor Syntax by his side;

And soon they heard the hurrying feet

Of those that bore the smoking meat.

Behold the dishes due appear—

Fish in the van, beef in the rear;

But he who the procession led,

By some false step or awkward tread,

Or curs’d by some malignant pow’r,

Fell headlong on the marble floor!

Ah, heedless wight! ah, hapless dish!

Ah! all the luxury of fish!

Thus in a moment spoil’d and wasted;

Ah! never, never to be tasted!

But one false step begets another,

So they all tumbled one o’er t’other;

And now the pavement was bestrew’d

With roast and boil’d, and fried and stew’d.

The waiters squall’d, their backs bespatter’d

With scalding sauce; the dishes clatter’d


In various discord; while the brawl

Re-echo’d through th’ astonish’d hall.

“Well,” said a Don, “as I’m a sinner,

We must go elsewhere for a dinner.”

“’Tis no such thing,” the Head replied,

“You all shall soon be satisfied:

We are but ten: and sure there’s plenty;

I order’d full enough for twenty.

I see my friends, the haunch unspoil’d,

With chickens roast, and turkey boil’d;

The ven’son pasty is secure,

The marrow puddings safe and sure;

With ham, and many good things more,

And tarts, and custards, full a score.

Sure, here’s enough to cut and carve;

To-day, I think, we shall not starve:

But still I’ll make the boobies pay

For the good things they’ve thrown away.”

Thus ev’ry eye was quickly cheer’d

With all the plenty that appear’d;

They ate, and drank, they smok’d, they talk’d,

And round the college-garden walk’d:

But the time came (for time will fly)

When Syntax was to say—“good-bye.”

His tongue could scarce his feeling tell,

Could scarce pronounce the word, “farewell!”

The Provost too, whose gen’rous heart

In those same feelings bore a part,

Told him, when he should want a friend,

To write, or come, to Dickey Bend.

Dr. Syntax climbs a tree to escape a raging bull

Doctor Syntax pursued by a Bull.

Next morning, at an early hour,

Syntax proceeded on his Tour;

And, as he saunter’d on his way,

The scene of many a youthful day,

He thought ’twould give his book an air,

If Oxford were well painted there;


And, as he curious look’d around,

He saw a spot of rising ground,

From whence the turrets of the city

Would make a picture very pretty;

Where Radcliff’s dome would intervene,

And Magd’len tower crown the scene.

So Grizzle to a hedge he tied,

And onward then impatient hied:

But, as he sought to chuse a part

Where he might best display his art,

A wicked bull no sooner view’d him,

Than loud he roar’d, and straight pursu’d him,

The Doctor finding danger near,

Flew swiftly on the wings of fear,

And nimbly clamber’d up a tree,

That gave him full security;

But as he ran to save his bacon,

By hat and wig he was forsaken;

His sketch-book too, he left behind,

A prey to the unlucky wind:

While Grizzle, startled by the rout,

Broke from the hedge, and pranc’d about.

Syntax, still trembling with affright,

Clung to the tree with all his might;

He call’d for help—and help was near,

For dogs, and men, and boys appear;

So that his foe was forc’d to yield,

And leave him master of the field.

No more of roaring bulls afraid,

He left the tree’s protecting shade;

And as he pac’d the meadow round,

His hat, his wig, his book he found.

“Come, my old girl,” the Doctor said;

The faithful steed the call obey’d,

So Grizzle once more he bestrode,

Nor look’d behind—but off he rode.



FIX’D in cogitation deep,

Adown the hill and up the steep,

Along the moor and through the wood,

Syntax his pensive way pursu’d:

And now his thoughts began to roam

To the good woman left at home;

How she employ’d the passing day

When her fond mate was far away:

For they possess’d, with all their pother,

A sneaking kindness for each other.

Proud of her husband’s stock of learning,

His classic skill and deep discerning,

No tongue she suffer’d to dethrone

His fond importance—but her own.

Besides, she was a very bee

In bustle and in industry;

And though a pointed sting she bore,

That sometimes made the Doctor sore,

She help’d to make the household thrive,

And brought home honey to the hive.

He too had not forgot her charms,

When first he took her to his arms;

For, if report relates the truth,

She was a beauty in her youth:

The charming Dolly was well known

To be the toast of all the town;

And, though full many a year was gone

Since this good dame was twenty-one,


She still retain’d the air and mien

Of the nice girl she once had been.

For these, and other charms beside,

She was indeed the Doctor’s pride;

Nay, he would sometimes on her gaze

With the fond looks of former days,

And, whatsoe’er she did or said,

He kept his silence and obey’d.

Besides his mind he thus consol’d;

“’Tis classical to be a scold;

For, as the Ancient tomes record,

Xantippe’s tongue was like a sword:

She was about my Dolly’s age,

And the known help-mate of a sage.

Thus Socrates, in days of yore,

The self-same persecution bore:

Nor shall I blush to share the fate

Of one so good—of one so great.”

’Twas now five days since they had parted,

And he was ever tender-hearted:

Whene’er he heard the wretched sigh,

He felt a Christian sympathy;

For though he play’d the demi-god

Among his boys, with rule and rod;

What! though he spoke in pompous phrase,

And kept the vulgar in amaze;

Though self important he would stride

Along the street with priestly pride;

Though his strange figure would provoke

The passing smile, the passing joke;

Among the high, or with the low,

Syntax had never made a foe;

And, though the jest of all he knew,

Yet, while they laugh’d they lov’d him too:


No wonder then, so far from home,

His head would shake, the sigh would come.

Thus he went gently on his way,

Till the sun mark’d declining day.

But Thought as well as grief is dry,

And, lo! a friendly cot was nigh,

Whose sign, high dangling in the air,

Invites the trav’ller to repair,

Where he in comfort may regale,

With cooling pipe and foaming ale.

The Doctor gave the loud command,

And sees the Host beside him stand;

Then quits his steed with usual state,

And passes through the wicket-gate;

The Hostess opes the willing door,

And then recounts the humble store

Which her poor cottage could afford,

To place upon the frugal board.

The home-spun napkin soon was laid,

The table all its ware display’d;

The well-broil’d rasher then appear’d,

And with fresh eggs his stomach cheer’d;

The crusty pye, with apples lin’d,

Sweeten’d the feast on which he din’d,

And liquor, that was brew’d at home,

Among the rest was seen to foam.

The Doctor drank—the Doctor ate,

Well pleas’d to find so fair a treat

Then to his pipe he kindly took,

And with a condescending look,

Call’d on the Hostess to relate

What was the village name and state;

And to whose office it was given

To teach them all the way to Heav’n.



The land belongs to ’Squire Bounty,

No better man lives in the county:


I wish the Rector were the same;

One Doctor Squees’em is his name;

But we ne’er see him—more’s the shame!

And while in wealth he cuts and carves,

The worthy Curate prays and starves.


I truly wish that he were here

To take a pipe and share my beer;

I know what ’tis as well as he,

To serve a man I never see.

Just as he spoke, the Curate came:—

“This, this is he!” exclaim’d the dame.

Syntax his brother Parson greeted,

And begg’d him to be quickly seated;

“Come take a pipe, and taste the liquor,

’Tis good enough for any Vicar.”


Alas! Sir, I’m no Vicar;—I,

Bound to an humble Curacy,

With all my care can scarce contrive

To keep my family alive.

While the fat Rector can afford

To eat and drink like any Lord:

But know, Sir, I’m a man of letters,

And ne’er speak evil of my betters.


That’s good;—but when we suffer pain,

’Tis Nature’s office to complain;


And when the strong oppress the weak,

Justice, though blind, will always speak.

Tell me, have you explain’d your case,

With due humility and grace?

The great and wealthy must be flatter’d

They love with praise to be bespatter’d:

Indeed, I cannot see the harm,

If thus you can their favour charm;

If by fine phrases you can bend

The pride of Power to be your friend.


I wrote, I’m sure, in humblest style,

And prais’d his goodness all the while:

I begg’d, as things had grown so dear,

He’d raise my pay ten pounds a year;

And, as I now had children five,

The finest little bairns alive,

While their poor, fond, and faithful mother

Would soon present me with another;

And, as the living brought him, clear,

At least a thousand pounds a year,

He’d grant the favour I implore,

Nor let me starve upon threescore.


Now I should like without delay,

To hear what this rich man could say;

For I can well perceive, my friend,

That you did not obtain your end.


The postman soon a letter brought,

Which cost me six-pence and a groat;

Nor can your friendly heart suggest

The rudeness which the page express’d.


“Such suits as yours may well miscarry,

For beggars should not dare to marry;

At least, for I will not deceive you,

I never, never will relieve you;

And if you trouble me, be sure

You shall be ousted from the Cure.”

But I shall now, good Sir, refrain,

Because I know ’twould give you pain,

From telling all that in his spite,

The arch old scoundrel chose to write;

For know, Sir, I’m a man of letters,

And never will abuse my betters.


Zounds!—’tis enough to make one swear,

Nor can I such a monster bear:

But, think, my friend, on that great day

Of strict account, when he must pay

For all his cruelty and lies:

Then he shall sink, and you will rise.


The terms, I own, are not quite civil,

But he’s the offspring of the devil;

And, when the day of life is past,

He’ll with his father dwell at last;

But know, Sir, I’m a man of letters,

And ne’er wish evil to my betters.

’Twas thus they talk’d and drank their ale,

Till the dim shades of eve prevail;

When Syntax settled each demand:

And, while he held the Curate’s hand,

Bid him be stout, and not despair.

“The poor are God’s peculiar care:


You’re not the only one, my friend,

Who has with evil to contend!

Resign yourself to what is given:

Be good, and leave the rest to Heaven.”

Syntax, we’ve said, was tender hearted;—

He dropp’d a tear, and then departed.

The evening lower’d,—a drizzly rain

Had spread a mist o’er all the plain;

Besides, the home-brew’d beer began

To prey upon the inward man;

And Syntax, muddled, did not know

Or where he was, or where to go.

An active horseman by him trotted,

And Syntax was not so besotted

But he could hiccup out “My friend,

Do tell me if this way will tend,

To bring me to some place of rest?”

“Yes,” ’twas replied—“the very best

Of all our inns, within a mile,

Will soon your weariness beguile.”

Who should this be but ’Squire Bounty,

So much belov’d throughout the county,

And he resolv’d, by way of jest,

To have the Parson for his guest;

So on he gallopp’d, to prepare

His people for the friendly snare.


The Doctor came in tipsy state;

The ’Squire receiv’d him at the gate,

And to a parlour led him straight;

Then plac’d him in an easy chair,

And ask’d to know his pleasure there.


Landlord, I’m sadly splash’d with mire

And chill’d with rain, so light a fire;


And tell the Ostler to take care

Of that good beast, my Grizzle mare;

And what your larder can afford,

Pray place it quickly on the board.


We’ve butcher’s meat, of ev’ry kind;

But, if that is not to your mind,

There’s poultry, Sir, and if you please,

Our cook excels in fricassees.


Tell me, my honest friend, I pray,

What kind of fowl or fish are they?

Besides, my very civil Host,

I wish to know what they will cost;

For a poor Parson can’t afford

To live on dainties like a lord.


The clergy, Sir, when here they stay,

Are never, never ask’d to pay:

I love the Church, and, for its sake,

I ne’er make bills or reck’nings take;

Proud if its ministers receive

The little that I have to give.


Why, then, my friend, you’re never dull;

Your inn, I trow, is always full:—

’Tis a good rule, must be confest,

But, though I blink, I see a jest.


No, Sir; you see the cloth is laid,

And not a farthing to be paid.



I find my head’s not very clear;

My eyes see double too, I fear;

For all these things can never be

Prepar’d for such a guest as me:

A banquet, it must be allow’d,

Of which Olympus might be proud.

Dr. Syntax makes a fuss, as roomful of people look on

Dr. Syntax
mistakes a Gentleman’s house for an Inn.

Thus Syntax ate and drank his fill,

Regardless of the morrow’s bill;

He rang the bell, and call’d the waiters,

To rid him of his shoes and gaiters.

“Go tell the maid to show the bed,

Where I may lay my aching head;

Here, take my wig and bring a cap;

My eye-lids languish for a nap:

No court’sying, pray; I want no fawning,

For I shall break my jaws with yawning.”

Now Kitty, to adorn his crown,

Brought him a night-cap of her own;

And, having put it on, she bound it

With a pink ribbon round and round it.

In this fine guise was Syntax led

Up the best stairs, and put to bed.

Though mirth prevail’d the house throughout,

Though it was all one revel rout,

He heard it not, nor did he know

The merriment he caus’d below;

For, with fatigue and wine oppress’d,

He grunted, groan’d, and went to rest.

But when the sun in Thetis’ lap,

Had taken out his usual nap,

Syntax awoke, and looking ’round,

The sight his senses quite confound.


He saw that he had laid his head

Within a fine-wrought silken bed:

A gaudy carpet grac’d the floor

And gilded mouldings deck’d the door,

Nor did the mirror fail to show

His own sweet form from top to toe.

“If I,” said he, “remember right,

I was most lordly drunk last night:


And, as the Tinker in the play

Was taken, when dead-drunk he lay,

And made a Lord for half a day;

I think that some one has made free

To play the self-same trick with me:

But I’ll contrive to be possest

Of this same secret when I’m drest:

To find it out—I’ll ring the bell;

The chamber-maid the truth may tell.”

She soon appear’d, and court’sying low:

Requested his commands to know.—

“When and how did I come here?

You’ll be so good to say, my dear.”

“—You came last night, not very late,

About the time the clock struck eight;

And I have heard the servants say,

They thought that you had lost your way.”

“——Inform me, also, how you call

This noble inn?” “’Tis Welcome Hall.”

“And pray who have you in the house?”

“We’ve ’Squire Bounty and his spouse;

With Lady and Sir William Hearty,

And, you, good Sir, may join the party:

Indeed, I’m order’d to request

That you will be their morning guest.”

To question more he did not stay,

But bid the damsel show the way.


O! ’twas a very pleasant meeting:

The Landlord gave a hearty greeting,

And plac’d the Doctor in a chair,

Between two Ladies, young and fair.

Syntax, well-pleas’d began to prate,

And all his history to relate;

While mirth and laughter loud prevail,

As he let forth the curious tale.

At length the ’Squire explain’d the joke;

When thus the Doctor quaintly spoke:—

“I beg, Sir, no excuse you’ll make,

Your merriment I kindly take;

And only wish the gods would give

Such jesting ev’ry day I live.”

The Ladies press’d his longer stay,

But Syntax said—he must away,

So Grizzle soon her master bore,

Some new adventure to explore.



“IN ev’ry way, in ev’ry sense,

Man is the care of Providence;

And whensoe’er he goeth wrong,

The errors to himself belong:

Nor do we always judge aright

Of Fortune’s favours, or her spite.

How oft with pleasure we pursue

Some glitt’ring phantom in our view;

Not rightly seen or understood,

We chace it as a real good:

At length the air-born vision flies

And each fond expectation dies!

Sometimes the clouds appear to low’r,

And threat misfortune’s direful hour:

We tremble at the approaching blast:

Each hope is fled—we look aghast;

When lo! the darkness disappears,

The glowing sun all nature cheers;

The drooping heart again acquires

Its former joys, its former fires.

Last night I wander’d o’er the plain,

Through unknown ways and beating rain,

Nor thought ’twould be my lot to fall

On such an inn as Welcome Hall;


Indeed with truth I cannot say

When there I came I lost my way,

For all was good, and nought to pay.”


Thus Syntax, with reflection fraught,

Soliloquiz’d the moral thought;

While Grizzle, all alive and gay,

Ambled along the ready way.

Last night she found it no disaster

To share the fortune of her master;

She, ’mong the finest hunters stood,

And shar’d with them the choicest food:

In a fine roomy stable plac’d,

With ev’ry well-trimm’d clothing grac’d,

Poor Grizzle was as fair a joke

To all the merry stable-folk,

As the good Doctor’s self had been,

To the kind gentry of the Inn.

Enrapt in Contemplation’s pow’r

Syntax forgot the fleeting hour;

Till looking round, he saw the sun

Had past his bright meridian run.

A shepherd-boy he now espied,

Strolling along the highway side;

And, on his wand’ring flock intent,

The stripling whistled as he went.

“My honest lad, perhaps you know,

What distance I shall have to go,

Before my eager eyes may greet

Some place where I may drink and eat.”

“Continue, Master, o’er the Down,

And soon you’ll reach the neighb’ring town

In less, I think, than half an hour,

You’ll pass by yonder lofty tow’r:

Keep onward by the church-yard wall,

When you will see an house of call;

The sign’s a Dragon—there you’ll find

Eating and drinking to your mind.


Across the Down the Doctor went,

And towards the Church his way he bent.

“Thus,” Syntax said, “when man is hurl’d

Upwards and downwards in the world;

When some strong impulse makes him stray

And he, perhaps, has lost his way,

The Church,—Religion’s holy seat,

Will guide to peace his wand’ring feet!

But, hark! the death-bell’s solemn toll

Tells the departure of a soul;

The Sexton, too, I see prepares

The place where end all human cares.

And, lo, a crowd of tombs appear!

I may find something curious here;—

For oft poetic flowers are found

To flourish in sepulchral ground.

I’ll just walk in to take a look,

And pick up matter for my book:

The living, some wise man has said,

Delight in reading of the dead.

What golden gains my book would boast,

If I could meet a chatty ghost,

Who would some news communicate

Of its unknown and present state:

Some pallid figure in a shroud,

Or sitting on a murky cloud;

Or kicking up a new-made grave,

And screaming forth some horrid stave;

Or bursting from the hollow tomb,

To tell of bloody deeds to come;

Or adverse skeletons embattling,

With ghastly grins and bones a rattling;

Something to make the misses stare,

And force upright their curly hair;

To cause their pretty forms to shake,

To make them doubt if they’re awake:


And thus to tonish folks present,

The Picturesque of Sentiment!

But ’tis, I fear, some hours too soon—

Ghosts slumber all the afternoon:

I’ll ask the Sexton if, at night,

I may perchance pick up a sprite.”

The Doctor in canonic state,

Now op’d at once the church-yard gate;

While Grizzle too thought fit to pass,

Who knew the taste of church-yard grass.

“Sir,” cried the Sexton, “let me say

That you must take your mare away,

Or else, believe me, I am bound

To lead her quickly to the pound.”

“You do mistake, my honest friend—

’Tis a foul wrong that you intend:

A Parson’s mare will claim a right

In a church-yard to take a bite;

And, as I come to meditate

Among these signs of human fate,

I beg you will not make a riot,

But let the poor beast feed in quiet.”

No more the conscious Sexton said,

But urg’d his labours for the dead;

While Syntax cull’d, with critic care,

What the sad muse had written there.

Dr. Syntax talks with a gravedigger, with pile of skulls in the foreground

Doctor Syntax
Meditating on the Tomb-stones.


Here lies poor Thomas and his wife,

Who led a pretty jarring life;

But all is ended do you see?

He holds his tongue, and so does she.


If drugs and physic could but save

Us mortals from the dreary grave,

’Tis known that I took full enough,

Of the Apothecary’s stuff,

To have prolong’d life’s busy feast,

To a full century at least;

But, spite of all the Doctor’s skill,

Of daily draught and nightly pill,

Reader, as sure as you’re alive,

I was sent here at twenty-five.


Within this tomb a lover lies,

Who fell an early sacrifice

To Dolly’s unrelenting eyes.

For Dolly’s charms poor Damon burn’d,

Disdain the cruel maid return’d:


But, as she danc’d in May-day pride,

Dolly fell down, and Dolly died,

And now she lies by Damon’s side.

Be not hard-hearted then, ye fair!

Of Dolly’s hapless fate beware!

For sure, you’d better go to bed,

To one alive, than one who’s dead.

Beneath the sod the soldier sleeps,

Whom cruel war refus’d to spare:

Beside his grave the maiden weeps,

And Glory plants the laurel there.

Honour is the warrior’s meed,

Or spar’d to live, or doom’d to die;

Whether ’tis his lot to bleed,

Or join the shout of Victory;

Alike the laurel to the truly brave;

That binds the brow, or consecrates the grave.


Beneath this stone her ashes rest,

Whose memory fills my aching breast!

She sleeps unconscious of the tear

That tells the tale of sorrow here;

But still the hope allays my pain

That we may live and love again:

Love with a pure seraphic fire,

That never, never shall expire.

Syntax the Sexton now address’d,

As on his spade he lean’d to rest.


“We both, my friend, pursue one trade;

I for the living, you the dead.

For whom that grave do you prepare

With such keen haste, and cheerful air?”


“An’ please your Rev’rence Lawyer Thrust,

Thank Heav’n, will moulder here to dust:

Never before did I take measure

Of any grave with half the pleasure:

And when within this hole he’s laid,

I’ll ram the earth down with my spade:

I’ll take good care he shall not rise,

Till summon’d to the last assize;

And, when he sues for Heaven’s grace,

I would not wish to take his place.

He once on cruel deed intent,

Seiz’d on my goods for want of rent;

Nay, I declare, as I’m a sinner,

He took away the children’s dinner:

For, as they sat around the table,

Eating as fast as they were able,


He seiz’d the dishes, great and small,

The children’s bread and milk, and all!

The urchins cried, the mother pray’d,

I begg’d his rigour might be stay’d

Till I could on our Parson call,

Who would engage to pay it all;

But he disdain’d a Parson’s word,

And mock’d the suit which I preferr’d.

He knew a better way to thrive;

To pay two pounds by taking five.

Bursting with rage, I knock’d him down,

And broke the cruel rascal’s crown;

For which in county-gaol I lay,

Half-starving, many a bitter day;

But our good Parson brought relief,

And kindly sooth’d a mother’s grief.

He, while in prison I remain’d,

My little family sustain’d;

And when I was from durance free,

Made me his Sexton, as you see.

But Doctor Worthy, he is gone;

You’ll read his virtues on the stone

That’s plac’d aloft upon the wall,

Where you may see the ivy crawl:

Oh while his ashes rest below,

He’s gone where all the righteous go.

I dug his grave with many a moan,

And almost wish’d it were my own.

I daily view the earthy bed,

Where Death has laid his rev’rend head;

And when I see a weed appear,

I pluck it up, and shed a tear.

The parish griev’d for not an eye

In all its large extent was dry,

Save one:—but such a kindly grace

Ne’er deck’d the Lawyer’s iron face.


The aged wept a friend long known,

The young a parent’s loss bemoan:

While we, alas! shall long deplore

The bounteous patron of the poor.”

The Doctor heard, with tearful eye,

The Sexton’s grateful eulogy:


Then sought the stone with gentle tread,

As fearing to disturb the dead,

And thus, in measur’d tones, he read:

“For fifty years the Pastor trod

The way commanded by his God;

For fifty years his flock he fed

With that divine celestial bread

Which nourishes the better part

And fortifies man’s failing heart.

His wide, his hospitable door,

Was ever open to the poor;

While he was sought, for counsel sage,

By ev’ry rank and ev’ry age.

That counsel sage he always gave,

To warn, to strengthen, and to save:

He sought the sheep that went astray,

And pointed out the better way:

But while he with his smiles approv’d

The virtue he so dearly lov’d,

He did not spare the harsher part,

To probe the ulcer to the heart;

He sternly gave the wholesome pain

That brought it back to health again.

Thus, the commands of Heav’n his guide,

He liv’d,—and then in peace he died.”


“Pray tell me, friend, who now succeeds

This Pastor, fam’d for virtuous deeds?”



“A very worthy, pious man,

Who does us all the good he can;


But he, good Sir, has got a wife;”


“Who may perhaps disturb his life;

A tongue sometimes engenders strife.”


“No:—she’s a worthy woman too;

But then they’ve children not a few;

I think it is the will of Heav’n

That they are bless’d with six or seven;

And then you will agree with me,

That home’s the scene of charity.”


“’Tis true;—nor can your Parson preach

A sounder doctrine than you teach.

And now, good Sexton, let me ask,

While you perform your mortal task,

As day and night you frequent tread

The dreary mansions of the dead,

If you, in very truth, can boast,

That you have ever seen a ghost?”


“Your Rev’rence, no;—tho’ some folks say

That such things have been seen as they.

Old women talk, in idle chat,

Of ghosts and goblins, and all that,

While, round the glimm’ring fire at night,

They fill their hearers with affright.

’Tis said that Doctor Worthy walks,

And up and down the church-yard stalks;


That often, when the moon shines bright,

His form appears all clad in white:

But to his soul it is not given

To walk on earth—for that’s in Heaven.

All hours I have cross’d this place,

And ne’er beheld a spirit’s face.

Once, I remember, late at night,

I something saw, both large and white,

Which made me stop, and made me stare,—

But ’twas the Parson’s grizzle mare.

Such things as these, I do believe,

The foolish people oft deceive;

And then the parish gossips talk

How witches dance, and spectres walk.”


“Your reasoning I much commend;

So fare you well, my honest friend.

If we act right we need not dread

Either the living or the dead:

The spirit that disturbs our rest

Is a bad conscience in our breast;

With that a man is doubly curst:”


“That spirit haunted Lawyer Thrust.”


“His race is run, his work is o’er—

The wicked man can sin no more;

He’s gone where justice will be done

To all who live beneath the sun:

And, though he wrong’d you when alive,

Let not your vengeance thus survive:

Forgive him, now he’s laid so low—

Nor trample on a fallen foe.


Once more farewell! But ere we part,

There’s something that will cheer your heart.”


“Your Rev’rence, ’twill be some time yet

Ere I forgive;—but to forget—

No, no, for though I may forgive,

I can’t forget him while I live.

For your good gift, kind Heaven I bless,

And wish you health and happiness:

I thank my God, each coming day,

For what he gives and takes away;

And now I thank Him, good and just,

That he has taken Lawyer Thrust.”

Syntax along the village pass’d,

And to the Dragon came at last;

Where, as the shepherd-boy had said,

There seem’d to be a busy trade;

And, seated in an easy chair,

He found that all he wish’d was there.



ALONG the varying road of Life,

In calm content, in toil or strife;

At morn or noon, by night or day,

As time conducts him on his way,

How oft doth man, by Care oppress’d,

Find in an Inn a place of rest?

Whether intent on worldly views,

He, in deep thought, his way pursues;

Whether by airy pleasure led,

Or by Hope’s fond delusions fed,

He bids adieu to home, and strays

Through unknown paths and distant ways;

Where’er his fancy bids him roam,

In ev’ry Inn he finds a home.

—Should Fortune change her fav’ring wind,

Though former friends should prove unkind,

Will not an Inn his cares beguile,

Where on each face he sees a smile?

When cold winds blow, and tempests lower,

And the rain pours in angry shower,

The dripping trav’ller looks around,

To see what shelter may be found;

Then on he drives, through thick and thin,

To the warm shelter of an Inn.

Whoe’er would turn their wand’ring feet,

Assur’d the kindest smiles to meet;

Whoe’er would go and not depart

But with kind wishes from the heart,


O let them quit the world’s loud din,

And seek, the comforts of an Inn:

And as the Doric Shenstone sung,

With plaintive music on his tongue—

“Whoe’er has travell’d Life’s dull round,

Where’er his changeful tour has been,

Will sigh to think how oft he found

His warmest welcome at an Inn.”

’Twas at an Inn, in calm repose,

Heedless of human joys or woes,

That Syntax pass’d a quiet night

In pleasing dreams and slumbers light;—

But in the morn the thunder roar’d,

The clouds their streaming torrents pour’d;

The angry winds impetuous blew,

The rattling casement open flew;

Scar’d at the noise, he rear’d his head;

Then, starting quickly from the bed,

“Is it,” he cried, “the day of doom?”

As he bestrode the trembling room.

The houses’ tops with water stream’d,

The village-street a river seem’d;

While, at the tempest all amaz’d,

The rustics from their windows gaz’d.

“I’m not,” he said, “dispos’d to fear,

But ’tis not time to loiter here;

I’ll change the scene, and quick retire

From flaming flash to kitchen fire;

Nay, while rude Nature’s threats prevail,

I’ll lose the storm in toast and ale.”

Half-dress’d he made a quick retreat,

And in the kitchen took his seat,

Where an old woman told the host

What by the lightning she had lost:


How a blue flash her sow had struck,

Had kill’d a cock and lam’d a duck!

With open mouth another came,

To tell a rick was in a flame,

And then declar’d that on the spire

He saw the weathercock on fire:

Nay, that so loud the winds were singing

They’d set the peal of bells a-ringing!

A dripping tailor enter’d next

And preach’d upon the self-same text:

He swore that sitting on his board,

While the wind blew and thunder roar’d,

A kind of fiery flame came pop,

And bounc’d, and ran about his shop;

Now here, now there, so quick and nimble,

It sing’d his finger through his thimble;

That all about his needles ran,

If there was any truth in man;

While buttons, at least half-a-score,

Were driven through the kitchen door!

The Sexton, with important mien,

Gave his opinion on the scene;

And, to the Doctor drawing near,

Thus gently whisper’d in his ear:

“The Devil himself his cell has burst,

To fly away with Lawyer Thrust.”

Now having with due patience heard

The story which each wight preferr’d,

Syntax was to the parlour shown,

Where he might breakfast all alone.

“I see,” said he, “I here must stay

And at the Dragon pass the day:

And this same Dragon, on my life,

Just hints that I have got a wife;


Nor can I pass the morning better

Than to indite this wife a letter.”

He paus’d and sigh’d ere he began,

When thus the fond epistle ran.

“My dearest Doll,—full many a day

From you and home I’ve been away;

But, though we thus are doom’d to part

You’re ever present in my heart:

Whene’er my pray’rs to heav’n arise,

At morn or ev’ning sacrifice,

Whene’er for Heaven’s care they sue,

I ask it for my Dolly too.

My Journey, like Life’s common road,

Has had its evils and its good;

But I’ve no reason to complain,

When pleasure has outweigh’d the pain.

With flatt’ring Fortune in my view,

Glad I the toilsome way pursue;

For I’ve no fear to make a book,

In which the world will like to look,

Nor do I doubt will prove a Mine

For my own comfort, and for thine!

But should all fail, I’ve found a friend

In my old school-mate Dickey Bend;

Who, kind and wealthy, will repay,

If hope should cheat me on the way,

My ev’ry loss I may sustain,

And ease ill-fortune of its pain:

He has engag’d to glad our home,

With promise of much good to come.

Particulars of what I’ve seen,

What I have done—where I have been,

I shall reserve for my return,

When as the crackling faggots burn,


I will in all domestic glory,

Smoke out my pipe, and tell my story:

But be assur’d I’m free from danger;

To the world’s tricks I’m not a stranger:

Whatever risks I’m forc’d to run,

I shall take care of number one;

While you, at home, will keep in view,

The self-same care of number two.

To my kind neighbours I commend

The wishes of their distant friend:

Within ten days, perhaps a week,

I shall York’s famous city seek.

Where at the post, I hope to find

A line from Dolly, ever kind.

And, if you will the pleasure crown,

Tell me the prattle of our town;

Of all that’s passing, and has past,

Since your dear Hub beheld it last:

And know the truth which I impart,

The offspring of my honest heart,

That wheresoe’er I’m doom’d to roam,

I still shall find that, Home is Home:

That true to Love and nuptial vows,

I shall remain your loving spouse.

Such are the tender truths I tell;

Conjux carissima—farewell!”

Thus he his kindest thoughts reveal’d—

But scarce had he the letter seal’d,

When straight appear’d the trembling Host,

Looking as pale as any ghost:—

“A man’s just come into the town,

Who says the castle’s tumbled down:

And that, with one tremendous blow,

The lightning’s force has laid it low.”


“What castle, friend?” the Doctor cried,—

“The castle by the river side;

A famous place, where as folk say,

Some great king liv’d in former day:

But this fine building long has been

A sad and ruinated scene,

Where owls, and bats, and starlings dwell,—

And where, alas, as people tell,

At the dark hour when midnight reigns,

Ghosts walk, all arm’d, and rattle chains.”

“Peace, peace,” said Syntax, “peace, my friend,

Nor to such tales attention lend.


—But this new thought I must pursue:

A castle and a ruin too;

I’ll hasten there and take a view.”

The storm was past, and many a ray

Of Phœbus now reviv’d the day,

When Grizzle to the door was brought,

And this fam’d spot the Doctor sought.

Upon a rock the castle stood,

Three sides environ’d by a flood,

Where confluent streams uniting lave

The craggy rift with foaming wave.

Around the moss-clad walls he walk’d,

Then through the inner chambers stalk’d,

And thus exclaim’d, with look profound,

The echoes giving back the sound.


“Let me expatiate here awhile:

I think this antiquated pile

Is, doubtless, in the Saxon style.

This was a noble spacious hall,

But why the chapel made so small?

I fear our fathers took more care

Of festive hall than house of prayer.


I find these Barons fierce and bold,

Who proudly liv’d in days of old,

To pray’r preferr’d a sumptuous treat,

Nor went to pray when they could eat.

Here all along the banners hung;

And here the welcome minstrels sung:

The walls with glitt’ring arms bedight

Display’d an animating sight:

Beneath that arch-way, once a gate,

With helmed crest, in warlike state

The bands march’d forth, nor fear’d the toil,

Of bloody war that gave the spoil.

But now, alas! no more remains

Than will reward the painter’s pains:

The palace of the feudal victor

Now serves for nought but for a picture.

Plenty of water here I see,

But what’s a view without a tree?

There’s something grand in yonder tower,

But not a shrub to make a bower;

Howe’er I’ll try to take the view,

As well as my best art can do.”

Dr. Syntax falls backward into a stream

Doctor Syntax
Tumbling into the Water.

An heap of stones the Doctor found,

Which loosely lay upon the ground,

To form a seat, where he might trace

The antique beauty of the place:

But, while his eye observ’d the line

That was to limit the design,

The stones gave way, and, sad to tell,

Down from the bank he headlong fell.

The slush, collected for an age,

Receiv’d the venerable Sage;

For, at the time, the ebbing flood

Was just retreating from the mud;


But, after floundering about,

Syntax contriv’d to waddle out,

Half-stunn’d, amaz’d, and cover’d o’er

As seldom wight had been before.

O’erwhelm’d with filth, and stink, and grief,

He saw no house to give relief;

And, thus amid the village din,

He ran the gauntlet to the inn.

An angler threw his hook, so pat,

He caught at once the Doctor’s hat:

A bathing boy, who naked stood,

Dash’d boldly in the eddying flood,

And, swimming onward like a grig,

Soon overtook the Doctor’s wig.

Grizzle had trac’d the barren spot,

Where not a blade of grass was got:

And, finding nought to tempt her stay,

She to the Dragon took her way.

The ostler cried; “Here’s some disaster—

The mare’s return’d without her master!”

But soon he came amid the noise

Of men and women, girls and boys:

Glad in the inn to find retreat

From the rude insult of the street.

Undress’d, well wash’d, and put to bed,

With mind disturb’d, and aching head,

In vain poor Syntax sought repose,

But lay and counted all his woes.

The friendly Host, with anxious care,

Now hastes the posset to prepare:—

The cordial draught he kindly gives;

Which Syntax with a smile receives:

Then seeks, in sleep, a pause from sorrow,

In hopes of better fate to-morrow.



POOR mortal man in ev’ry state,

What troubles and what ills await!

His transient joy is chas’d by sorrow,

To-day he’s blest;—a wretch to-morrow.

When in the world he first appears,

He hails the light with cries and tears:

A schoolboy next, he fears the nod

Of pedant pow’r, and feels the rod:

When to an active stripling grown

The Passions seize him as their own;

Now lead him here, now drive him there,

The alternate sport of Joy and Care;

Allure him with their glitt’ring treasure,

Or give the brimming cup of pleasure;

While one eludes his eager haste,

The other palls upon the taste.

The pointed darts from Cupid’s quiver,

Wound his warm heart, and pierce his liver;

While charm’d by fair Belinda’s eyes,

He dines on groans, and sups on sighs.

If from this gay and giddy round

He should escape both safe and sound,

Perhaps, if all things else miscarry,

He takes it in his head to marry;

And in this lottery of life,

If he should draw a scolding wife,

With a few children, eight or ten

(For such things happen now and then),


Poor hapless man! he knows not where

To look around without a care.

Ambition in its airy flight

May tempt him to some giddy height;

But, ere the point he can attain,

He tumbles, ne’er to rise again.

Pale Av’rice may his heart possess,

The bane of human happiness,

Which never feels for others’ woe,

Nor ever does a smile bestow;

A wretched, meagre, griping elf,

A foe to all, and to himself.

Then comes Disease, with baneful train,

And the pale family of Pain:

Till death appears in awful state,

And calls him to the realms of Fate.

—How oft is Virtue seen to feel

The woeful turn of Fortune’s wheel,

While she with golden stores awaits,

The wicked in their very gates.

But Virtue still the value knows

Of honest deeds, and can repose

Upon the flint her naked head;

While Vice lies restless on the bed

Of softest down, and courts in vain

The opiate to relieve its pain.

It was not Vice that e’er could keep

Dear Syntax from refreshing sleep;

For no foul thought, no wicked art,

In his pure life e’er bore a part.

Some ailment dire his slumbers broke,

And, ere the sun ’rose he awoke;

When such a tremor o’er him pass’d;

He thought that hour would prove his last.


His limbs were all besieg’d by pain;

He now grew hot, then cold again:

His tongue was parch’d, his lips were dry,

And, heaving the unbidden sigh,

He rang the bell, and call’d for aid,

Then groan’d so loud th’ affrighted maid

Spread the alarm throughout the house;

When straight the landlord and his spouse

Made all dispatch to do their best

And ease the sufferings of their guest.

“Have you a Doctor?” Syntax said;

“If not, I shortly shall be dead.”

“O yes; a very famous man;

He’ll cure you, Sir, if physic can!

I’ll fetch him quick;—a man renown’d

For his great skill the country round.”

The Landlord soon the Doctor brought,

Whose words were grave, whose looks were thought:

By the bed-side he took his stand,

And felt the patient’s burning hand;

Then, with a scientific face,

He told the symptoms of the case.

“His frame’s assail’d with fev’rish heats;

His pulse with rapid movement beats;

And now, I think, ’twould do him good,

Were he to lose a little blood:

Some other useful matters too,

To ease his pain, I have in view.

I’ll just step home, and in a trice,

Will bring the fruits of my advice;

In the mean time, his thirst assuage

With tea that’s made of balm or sage.”

He soon return’d,—his skill applied,—

From the vein flow’d the crimson tide,


And, as the folk, behind him stand,

He thus declar’d his stern command:

“At nine these powders let him take;

At ten this draught,—the phial shake;

And you’ll remember at eleven,

Three of these pills must then be given;

This course you’ll carefully pursue,

And give, at twelve, the bolus too:

If he should wander, in a crack

Clap this broad blister on his back;

And, after he has had the blister,

Within an hour apply the clyster.

I must be gone; at three or four

I shall return with something more.”

Now Syntax and his fev’rish state

Became the subject of debate.

The mistress said she was afraid

No medicine would give him aid;

For she had heard the screech-owl scream,

And had besides a horrid dream.

Last night the candle burn’d so blue;

While from the fire a coffin flew;

And, as she sleepless lay in bed,

She heard a death-watch at her head.

The maid and ostler too declar’d

That noises strange they both had heard.

“Aye,” cried the Sexton, “these portend

To the sick man a speedy end;

And, when that I have drunk my liquor,

I’ll e’en go straight and fetch the Vicar.”

The Vicar came, a worthy man,

And like a good Samaritan,

Approach’d in haste the stranger’s bed,

Where Syntax lay with aching head;


And, without any fuss or pother,

He offer’d to his rev’rend brother

His purse, his house, and all the care

Which a kind heart could give him there.

Says Syntax, in a languid voice,

“You make my very soul rejoice;

For, if within this house I stay,

My flesh will soon be turn’d to clay:

For the good Doctor means to pop

Into my stomach all his shop.

I think, dear Sir, that I could eat,

And physic’s but a nauseous treat:

If all that stuff’s to be endur’d,

I shall be kill’d in being cur’d.”

“O,” said the Vicar, “never fear;

We’ll leave the apparatus here.

Come, quit your bed—I pray you, come,—

This arm shall bear you to my home,

Where I, and my dear mate will find

Med’cine more suited to your mind.”

Syntax now rose, but feeble stood,

From want of food and loss of blood;

But still he ventur’d to repair

To the good Vicar’s house and care;

And found at dinner pretty picking,

In pudding boil’d and roasted chicken.

Again, ’twas honest Grizzle’s fate

To take her way through church-yard gate;

And, undisturb’d, once more to riot

In the green feast of church-yard diet.

The Vicar was at Oxford bred,

And had much learning in his head;

But, what was far the better part,

He had much goodness in his heart:


He also had a charming wife

The pride and pleasure of his life;

A loving, kind, and friendly creature,

As blest in virtue as in feature,

Who, without blisters, drugs, or pills,

Her patient cur’d of all his ills.

Three days he stay’d a welcome guest,

And ate and drank of what was best;

When, on the fourth, in health renew’d,

His anxious journey he pursu’d.

In two days more before his eyes

The stately towers of York arise.

“But what,” said he, “can all this mean!

What is yon crowded busy scene?

Ten thousand souls, I do maintain,

Are scatter’d over yonder plain.”


“Aye, more than that,” a man replied,—

Who trotted briskly by his side,

“And if you choose, I’ll be your guide:

For sure you will not pass this way,

And miss the pleasure of the day:

These are the races, to whose sport

Nobles and gentry all resort.”

Thought Syntax I’ll just take a look;

’Twill give a subject to my book.

So on they went;—the highway friend

His services did thus commend.

“I will attend you to the course,

And tell the name of ev’ry horse;

But first we’ll go and take a whet,

And then I’ll teach you how to bet;

I’ll name the horse that’s doom’d to win—

We’ll take the knowing fellows in.”

Just as he spoke, the sports began;

The jockies whipp’d, the horses ran;


And, when the coursers reach’d the post,

The man scream’d out—“Your horse has lost:

I’ve had the luck—I’ve won the day,

And you have twenty pounds to pay.”

Syntax look’d wild—the man said “Zounds!

You know you betted twenty pounds;

So pay them down, or you’ll fare worse,

For I will flog you off the course.”

The Doctor rav’d, and disavow’d

The bold assertion to the crowd.

What would have been his hapless fate,

In this most unexpected state,

May well be guess’d: But, lo! a friend

Fortune was kind enough to send.

An honest ’Squire, who smok’d the trick,

Appear’d well-arm’d with oaken stick,

And placing many a sturdy blow

Upon the shoulders of the foe,

“It is with all my soul I beat

This vile, this most notorious cheat,”

The ’Squire exclaim’d; “and you, good folk

Who sometimes love a pleasant joke,

As I am partly tired of thumping,

Should treat the scoundrel with a pumping.”

The crowd with their commission pleas’d

Rudely the trembling Black-leg seiz’d,

Who, to their justice forc’d to yield,

Soon ran off dripping from the field.

horse race with crowds watching

Doctor Syntax
Loses his money at the Race-ground at York.

Syntax his simple story told,—

The ’Squire, as kind as he was bold,

His full protection now affords,

And cheer’d him both with wine and words.

“I love the Clergy from my heart,

And always take a Parson’s part.


My father, Doctor, wore the gown—

A better man was never known:

But an old uncle, a poor elf,

Who to save riches, starv’d himself,

By his last will bequeath’d me clear

At least two thousand pounds a year,

And sav’d me all the pains at college,

To pore o’er books and aim at knowledge:

Thus free from care, I live at ease;

Go where I will, do what I please,

Pursue my sports, enjoy my pleasure,

Nor envy Lords their splendid treasure.

I have an house at York beside,

Where you shall go and straight reside,

And ev’ry kindness shall be shown,

Both for my Dad’s sake, and your own:

For know, good Sir, I’m never loth

To mark my friendship for the Cloth.

Hearty’s my name, and you shall find

A welcome, Doctor, to your mind:

And I’ve a wife so blithe and gay,

Who ne’er says yes when I say nay.”

Syntax observ’d, “that was a blessing

A man might boast of in possessing.”

At length arriv’d, a lady fair

Receiv’d them with a winning air.

“Ah,” said the ’Squire, “I always come,

My dearest girl, with pleasure home:


You see a rev’rend Doctor here,

So give him of your choicest cheer:”

Yes,” she replied, “O yes, my dear.”

“Nor fail all kindness to bestow:”

“O no, my dear,” she said, “O no.”

Thus happy Syntax join’d the party

Of Madam and of ’Squire Hearty.



IN this sad, variegated life,

Evil and good, in daily strife,

Contend, we find, which shall be master:

Now Fortune smiles—then sad disaster

Assumes in turn its frowning power,

And gives to man his chequer’d hour.

With chequer’d hours good Syntax thought,

And well he might, his journey fraught;

But still he hop’d, when all was past,

That he should comfort find at last.


Thus, with unlook’d-for kindness blest,

No fears alarm his tranquil breast;

He eats, and drinks, and goes to rest;

And when the welcome morrow came,

The ’Squire and Madam were the same.

Just as the Minster-clock struck nine,

Coffee and tea, and fowl and chine,

Appear’d in all their due array,

To give the breakfast of the day.

The ’Squire then the talk began,

And thus the conversation ran.

’Squire Hearty.

“Doctor, you truly may believe

The pleasure which I now receive

In seeing you, as you sit there,

On what was once my father’s chair.


I pray you think this house your home,—

Aye, though it were three months to come.

Here you will find yourself at ease—

May read or write—just as you please.


At nine we breakfast, as you see,—

Dinner is always here at three;

At six my wife will give you tea.”

Mrs. Hearty.

“And should you find the evening long,

I’ll play a tune and sing a song.”

’Squire Hearty.

“Besides, you’ll range the country round;

Some curious things may there be found:

Your genius too may chance to trace,

Within this celebrated place,

Some ancient building worth a look,

That may perhaps enrich your book.

I’m a true Briton, as you see:

I love good cheer, and liberty;

And what I love myself, I’ll give

To others, while I’m doom’d to live.

This morning I intend to go

To see the military show.

The light dragoons now quarter’d here,

Will all in grand review appear:

They are a regiment of renown,

And some great Gen’ral is come down

To see them all, in bright array,

Act the fierce battle of the day.

If you should like such sights as these,

If warlike feats your fancy please,

We’ll to the Common take a ride,

And I myself will be your guide:


So, if you please, within an hour

Our nags shall be before the door.”


“I will be ready to attend

The summons of my worthy friend.

The laurell’d Hero’s my delight,

With plumed crest and helmet bright:

E’en when a boy, at early age,

I read in Homer’s lofty page

How the stout Greeks, in times of yore,

Brought havoc to the Phrygian shore:

I revell’d in that ancient story,

And burn’d with ardent love of glory.

Whene’er I trac’d the Fields of Troy

My heart beat high with martial joy.

’Tis true, I pray that war may cease,

And Europe hail returning Peace;

Yet still I feel my bosom glow

When British heroes meet the foe;

When our arm’d legions make him fly,

And yield the palm of Victory;

Or when our naval thunders roar,

And terrify the Gallic shore.

This grand review will give me pleasure,

And I shall wait upon your leisure.”

But, as no time was to be lost,

Syntax now hasten’d to the post:

The post obey’d his loud command,

And gave a letter to his hand.

With eager haste the seal he broke,

And thus the fond epistle spoke.

“My dearest husband,—on my life

I thought you had forgot your wife,


While she, to her affection true,

Was always thinking, Love, on you.

By this time, I presume, you’ve made

No small advancement in your trade:

I mean, my dear, that this same book,

To which I with impatience look,

Is full of promise; and I’m bold

To hope for a return in gold.

I have no doubt that ample gains

Will well reward your learned pains,

And with a bounteous store, repay

Your anxious toil of many a day;

For well, my dearest friend, I know,

Where’er you are compell’d to go,

You still must sigh that you should be

So long away from Love and me.

I truly say my heart doth burn

With ardent wish for your return;

And that I may my Syntax greet

With all due honour when we meet;

The milliner is now preparing

A dress that will be worth the wearing,

Just such an one as I have seen

In Ackerman’s last Magazine,

Where, by the skilful painter’s aid,

Each fashion is so well display’d.

A robe of crape with satin bodice,

Will make me look like any goddess:

A mantle too is all the ton,

And therefore I have order’d one:

I’ve also got a lilac bonnet,

And plac’d a yellow feather on it:

Thus I shall be so very smart,

’Twill vex Miss Raisin to the heart!

Oh! it will make me burst with laughter,

To plague the purse-proud grocer’s daughter;


While through the town as you shall see

No one will be so fine as me.

Oh! with what pleasure and delight

I shall present me to your sight;

How shall I hug you, dearest honey,

When you return brimfull of money.”

Syntax exclaim’d, in accents sad,

“The woman’s surely gone stark mad!

To ruin, all her airs will tend;

But I’ll read on, and see the end.”

“As to the news, why you must know,

Things in their usual order go:

Jobson the Tanner’s run away,

And has not left a doit to pay:

Bet Bumkin was last Thursday married,

And Mrs. Stillborn has miscarried.

In the High-street, the other day,

Good Mrs. Squeamish swoon’d away,

And was so ill, as it is said,

That she was borne away for dead;

But Mother Gossip, who knows all

The neighbours round, both great and small,

Has hinted to me, as she thinks,

That pious Mrs. Squeamish drinks.


—There is a Lady just come down,

A dashing, frisky dame from town,

To visit Madam Stapleton;

She’s said to be a London toast,

But has no mighty charms to boast;

For it is clear to my keen sight,

That she lays on both red and white.

She drives about in chaise and pair,

And, I have heard, can curse and swear:


But I mind not these things, not I,

I never deal in calumny.

So fare you well, my dearest life,—

And I remain your loving wife.”


“But if you fear that you shall come

Without a bag of money home,

’Twere better far that you should take

A leap at once into the Lake:

I’d rather hear that you were drown’d,

Than that you should my hopes confound!”

These tender lines did not impart

Much comfort to the Doctor’s heart;

He therefore thought it would be better,

To lay aside this pretty letter;

Nor suffer its contents to sour

The pleasure of the present hour.

The ’Squire now became his guide,

So off they trotted, side by side;

And, ere they pass’d a mile or two,

Beheld the scene of the review.

The troops drawn up in proud array,

An animating sight display;

The well-form’d squadrons wheel around,

The standards wave, the trumpets sound.

When Grizzle, long inur’d to war,

And not without an honour’d scar,

Found all her former spirits glow

As when she used to meet the foe:

No ears she prick’d, for she had none:

Nor cock’d her tail, for that was gone:

But still she snorted, foam’d, and flounc’d;

Then up she rear’d and off she bounc’d;


And, having play’d these pretty pranks,

Dash’d all at once into the ranks!

While Syntax, though unus’d to fear,

Suspected that his end was near.

But, though his courage ’gan to addle,

He still stuck close upon his saddle;

While to the trumpets on the hill,

Grizzle sped fast, and then stood still:

With them she clos’d her warlike race,

And took with pride her ancient place;

For Grizzle, as we’ve told before,

Once to the wars a trumpet bore.

Dr. Syntax and many others watching a military review

Dr. Syntax at the Review.

At length recover’d from his fright,

The Doctor stay’d and view’d the sight;

And then with heart as light as cork

He with his friend jogg’d back to York,

Where was renew’d the friendly fare,

And ev’ry comfort promis’d there.

The time in chit-chat pass’d away,

Till the chimes told the closing day:

“And now,” says pleasant Madam Hearty,

“What think you if our little party

Should each to sing a song agree?

’Twill give a sweet variety.

Thus let the passing moments roll,

Till Thomas brings the ev’ning bowl;

The Doctor, sure, will do his best

And kindly grant my poor request.”

The Doctor, though by nature grave,

And rather form’d to tune a stave,

Whene’er he got a little mellow,

Was a most merry, pleasant fellow;

Would sing a song, or tell a riddle,

Or play a hornpipe on the fiddle;


And, being now a little gay,

Declar’d his wishes to obey.

“Then I’ll begin,” ’Squire Hearty said,

“But though by land my tours are made,

Whene’er I tune a song or glee,

I quit the land, and go to sea.”

The ’Squire’s Song.

The signal given, we seek the main,

Where tempests rage, and billows roar;

Nor know we if we e’er again

Shall anchor on our native shore.

But, as through surging waves we sail,

And distant seas and isles explore,

Hope whispers that some future gale

Will waft us to our native shore.

When battle rages all amain,

And hostile arms their vengeance pour,

We British sailors will maintain

The honour of our native shore.

But, should we find a wat’ry grave,

A nation will our loss deplore;

And tears will mingle with the wave

That breaks upon our native shore.

And after many a battle won,

When ev’ry toil and danger’s o’er,

How great the joy, each duty done,

To anchor on our native shore!


Mrs. Hearty’s Song.

Cupid, away! thy work is o’er:

Go seek Idalia’s flow’ry grove!

Your pointed darts will pain no more;

Hymen has heal’d the wounds of Love.

Hymen is here, and all is rest;

To distant flight thy pinions move:

No anxious doubts, no fears molest;

Hymen has sooth’d the pangs of Love.

Cupid, away! the deed is done!

Away, ’mid other scenes to rove:

For Ralph and Isabel are one,

And Hymen guards the home of Love.

The Doctor now his rev’rence made,

And Madam’s smiling nod obey’d.

“Your songs,” said he, “have giv’n me pleasure,

As well in subject as in measure;

But, in some modern songs, the taste

Is far, I’m sure, from being chaste:

They do not make the least pretence

To poetry or common sense.

Some coarse conceits, a lively air,

With a da capo, here and there,

Of uncouth words, which ne’er were found

In any language above ground;

And these set off with some strange phrase,

Compose our sing-song now-a-days.

The dancing-master of my school

In this way oft will play the fool

And make one laugh—one knows not why,—

But we had better laugh than cry.


The song, which you’re about to hear

Will of this character appear;

From London it was sent him down,

As a great fav’rite through the town.”

Doctor Syntax’s Song.

I’ve got a scold of a wife,

The plague and storm of my life;

O! were she in coal-pit bottom,

And all such jades, ’od rot ’em!

My cares would then be over,

And I should live in clover;

With harum scarum, horum scorum,

Stew’d prunes for ever!

Stew’d prunes for ever!

Brother Tom’s in the codlin-tree,

As blithe as blithe can be:

While Dorothy sits below,

Where the daffodillies grow;

And many a slender rush,

And blackberries all on a bush;

With harum scarum, etc. etc.

We’ll all to the castle go

Like grenadiers all of a row,

While the horn and trump shall sound

As we pace the ramparts round,

Where many a lady fair

Comes forth to take the air,

With harum scarum, etc. etc.

The vessel spreads her sails

To catch the rising gales,

And dances o’er the wave;

While many a love lorn slave


To his mistress tells his tale,

Far off in the distant vale;

With harum scarum, etc. etc.

When the dew is on the rose,

And the wanton zephyr blows;

When lilies raise their head,

And harebells fragrance shed,

Then I to the rocks will hie,

And sing a lullaby:

With harum scarum, etc. etc.

By fam’d Ilyssus’ stream

How oft I fondly dream,

When I read in classic pages

Of all the ancient sages;

But they were born to die!

And so were you and I;

With harum scarum, horum scorum,—

Stew’d prunes for ever!

Stew’d prunes for ever!

Thus with many a pleasant lay,

The party clos’d th’ exhausted day.



LIFE is a journey,—on we go

Through many a scene of joy and woe

Time flits along and will not stay,

Nor let us linger on the way:

Like as a stream, whose varying course

Now rushes with impetuous force;

Now in successive eddies plays,

Or in meanders gently strays,

It still moves on, till spreading wide,

It mingles with the briny tide;

And, when it meets the ocean’s roar,

The limpid waves are seen no more.

Such, such is Life’s uncertain way;—

Now the sun wakes th’ enliv’ning day:

The scene around enchants the sight;

To cool retreat the shades invite;

The blossoms balmy fragrance shed;

The meads a verdant carpet spread;

While the clear rill reflects below

The flowers that on its margin grow,

And the sweet songsters of the grove

Attune to harmony and love.

But lo! the clouds obscure the sky,

And tell the bursting tempest nigh:

The vivid flash, the pelting storm,

Fair Nature’s ev’ry grace deform;

While their assailing powers annoy

The pensive pilgrim’s tranquil joy:


But, though no tempests should molest

The bower where he stops to rest,

Care will not let him long remain,

But sets him on his way again.

Thus Syntax, whom the ’Squire had press’d

For three whole months to take his rest,


Sigh’d when he found he could not stay

To loiter through another day:

“No,” he exclaim’d, “I must away:—

I have a splendid book to make,

To form a Tour,—to paint a Lake;

And, by that well projected Tome,

To carry fame and money home:

And, should I fail, my loving wife

Will lead me such a precious life,

That I had better never more

Approach my then forbidden door.”

’Twas thus he ponder’d as he lay,

When the sun told another day,

Nor long the downy couch he press’d,

Where busy thought disturb’d his rest;

But quick prepar’d, with grateful heart,

From this warm mansion to depart.

The ’Squire to his professions true,

Thus spoke at once his kind adieu.


“I’m sorry, Sir, with all my heart,

That you and I so soon must part:

Your virtues my regard engage;

I venerate the rev’rend sage;

And, though I’ve not the mind to toil

In Learning’s way, by midnight oil,

Yet still I feel the rev’rence due

To all such learned men as you:


Nor can I urge your longer stay,

When Science calls you far away:

But still I hope you’ll not refuse

My friendly tribute to the Muse;

And, when again you this way come,

Again you’ll find this house a home.

Besides, I mean to recommend

Your labours to a noble friend,

Who well is known to rank as high

In learning, as in quality;

Who can your merits well review;

A statesman, and a poet too:

He will your genius truly scan,

And though a Lord, a learned man.

For C———— is an honour’d name,

Whose virtue and unsully’d fame

Will decorate th’ historic page,

And live through ev’ry future age.

That courteous Lord doth condescend

To know me for a faithful friend;

And, when you to his Lordship give

The letter which you now receive,

Expect, on his right noble part,

A welcome that will cheer your heart.

To ———————— then repair,

And Honour will attend you there.


Nor fear, my friend, that gilded state

Will frown upon your humble fate;

My Lord is good as he is great.”


“Your kindness, surely, knows no end;

You are in truth a real friend;

Nor can my feeble tongue express

This unexpected happiness:


For if this noble Lord should deign

My feeble labours to sustain,

With the all-cheering, splendid rays,

Of his benign, protecting praise,

My fortune will at once be made,

And I shall bless the author’s trade.”

Thus, as he spoke, ’Squire Hearty gave

The letter Syntax long’d to have;

And with it a soft silky note,

On which two coal-black words were wrote;

The sight of which his sense confounds,

For these said words were Twenty Pounds.

“Check,” said the ’Squire, “your wond’ring look;

’Tis my subscription to your book;

And when ’tis printed, you will send

A copy to your Yorkshire friend;

Besides, I’ll try to sell a score

Among my neighbours here, or more.”

The Doctor’s tongue made no reply,

But his heart heav’d a grateful sigh:

Nor, as he sits, can we do better

Than to repeat the promis’d letter.

“My Lord,

This liberty I take,

For laughter and for Merit’s sake;


And when the bearer shall appear

In your fine mansion’s atmosphere,

His figure will your spirits cheer.

You need no other topic seek;

He’ll furnish laughter for a week:

But still I say, and tell you true,

You’ll love him for his merit too.


You’ll see at once, in this Divine,

Quixote and Parson Adams shine:

An hero well combin’d you’ll view

For Fielding and Cervantes too:

Besides, my Lord, if I can judge,

In classic lore he’s us’d to drudge.

O do but hear his simple story;

Let him but lay it all before you;

And you will thank me for my letter,

And say that you are Hearty’s debtor:

Nay, when your sides are tir’d with mirth,

Your heart will feel his real worth.

I know your kindness will receive him,

And to your favour thus I leave him.

So I remain, with zeal most fervent,

Your Lordship’s true and hearty servant.

R. H.”

York, Thursday.

The Doctor now prepar’d to go,

With heart of joy and look of woe;

He silent squeez’d the ’Squire’s hands,

And ask’d of Madam her commands.

The ’Squire exclaim’d, “Why so remiss?

She bids you take a hearty kiss;

And if you think that one won’t do,

I beg, dear Sir, you’ll give her two:”

“Nay then,” says Syntax, “you shall see;”

And strait he gave the Lady three;

Nor did he linger to exclaim,

“He ne’er had kiss’d a fairer dame.”

The Lady blushing thank’d him too,

And in soft accents, said—“Adieu!”

Syntax, since first he left his home,

Had no such view of good to come,


As now before his fancy rose

To bid him laugh at future woes.

“Fortune,” he cried, “is kind at last,

And I forgive her malice past;

Clad in C————’s benignant form,

Her power no more will wake the storm,

Nor e’er again her anger shed

In frequent showers upon my head!”

Now, after a short morning’s ride,

In eager Hope and Fancy’s pride,

The Doctor views, with conscious smile,

Fair ————————’s splendid pile.


Not Versailles makes a finer show,

As, passing o’er the lofty brow,

The stately scene is view’d below.

My Lord receiv’d him with a grace

Which mark’d the sov’reign of the place;

Nor was poor Syntax made to feel

The pride which fools so oft reveal;

Who think it a fine state decorum,

When humble merit stands before ’em:

But here was birth from folly free,

Here was the true nobility,

Where human kindness gilds the crest;

The first of virtues, and the best.

An hour in pleasant chit-chat past,

The welcome dinner came at last;

And now the hungry Syntax eats

Of high ragouts and dainty meats;

Nor was the good man found to shrink

Whenever he was ask’d to drink.

Dr. Syntax and others around a table in elegant room

Dr. Syntax with my Lord.

My Lord.

“What think you, Doctor, of the show

Of pictures that around you glow?”



“I’ll by-and-by enjoy the treat;

But now, my Lord, I’d rather eat.”

My Lord.

“What say you to this statue here?

—Does it not flesh and blood appear?”


“I’m sure, my Lord, ’tis very fine;

But I, just now, prefer your wine.”

Sir John.

“I wonder you can keep your eye

From forms that do with Nature vie!

Nay, in my mind, my rev’rend friend,

Nature’s best works they far transcend.

Look at that picture of the Graces,

What lovely forms!—what charming faces!”


“Their charms, Sir John, I shall discover,

I have no doubt, when dinner’s over:

At present, if to judge I’m able,

The finest works are on the table:

I should prefer the cook just now,

To Rubens or to Gerrard Dow.”

My Lord.

“I wish to judge, by certain rules,

The Flemish and Italian schools;

And nicely to describe the merits

Or beauties which each school inherits.”



“Tho’, in their way they’re both bewitching;

I now prefer your Lordship’s kitchen.”

The dinner done, the punch appears,

And many a glass their spirits cheers.

The festive hours thus pass’d away,

Till time brought on the closing day:

The Doctor talk’d, nor ceas’d his quaffing,

While all around were sick with laughing.

My Lord.

“Again the subject I renew,

And wish you would the pictures view.”


“To view them now would be a trouble,

For faith, my Lord, my eyes see double.”

My Lord.

“To bed then we had best repair,—

I give you to the Butler’s care;

A sage grave man, who will obey

Whate’er your Rev’rence has to say.”

The sage grave man appear’d, and bow’d:

“I am of this good office proud;

But ’tis the custom of this place,

From country-yeoman to his Grace,

Whene’er a stranger guest we see,

To make him of the cellar free.

To you the same respect we bear,

And therefore beg to lead you there;

Where ev’ry noble butt doth claim

The honour of some titled name.”

Dr. Syntax and others rejoicing in cask-filled cellar

Doctor Syntax
Made Free of the Cellar.


The servants waited on the stairs,

With cautious form and humble airs.

“Lead on,” says Syntax, “I’ll not stay,

But follow where you lead the way.”

The Butler cried, “You’ll understand

It is our noble Lord’s command


To give this rev’rend Doctor here

A sample of our strongest beer;

So tap her grace of Devonshire.”

At length the potent liquor flows,

Which makes poor man forget his woes.


Syntax exclaim’d, “Here’s Honour’s boast;—

The health of our most noble Host—

And let fair Devon crown the toast.”

The cups were cheer’d with loyal song;

But cups like these ne’er lasted long,

And Syntax stammer’d, “Do you see?

Now I’m of this fam’d cellar free,

I wish I might be quickly led

T’ enjoy my freedom in a bed.”

He wish’d but once, and was obey’d,

And soon within a bed was laid,

Where, all the day’s strange bus’ness o’er,

He now was left to sleep and snore.



HOW oft, as through Life’s vale we stray,

Doth fancy light us on the way!

How oft, with many a vision bright,

Doth she the wayward heart delight,

And, with a fond enliv’ning smile,

The heavy hour of care beguile!

But though so oft she scatters flowers,

To make more gay our waking hours,

Night is the time when o’er the soul

She exercises full controul,

While Life’s more active functions pause,

And sleep its sable curtain draws:

’Tis then she waves her fairy wand

And strange things rise at her command:

She then assumes her motley reign,

And man lives o’er his life again;

While many an airy dream invites

Her wizard masks, her wanton sprites:

Through the warm brain the phantoms play,

And form a visionary day.

Thus Syntax, while the bed he prest,

And pass’d the night in balmy rest,

Was led in those unconscious hours,

By Fancy, to her fairy bowers,

Where the light spirits wander free

In whimsical variety.


No more an humble Curate now,

He feels a mitre on his brow:

The mildew’d surplice, thus withdrawn,

Yields to the fine, transparent lawn,

And peruke, that defied all weather,

Is nicely dress’d to ape a feather.

Grizzle no more is seen to wail,

Her mangled ears and butcher’d tail;

Six Grizzles now, with ev’ry ear,

And all their flowing tails appear;

When, harness’d to a light barouche,

The ground they do not seem to touch;

While onward whirl’d in wild surprise,

The air-blown Prelate thinks he flies.

Now through the long cathedral aisle

Where vergers bow and virgins smile,

With measur’d step and solemn air,

He gains at length the sacred chair;

And to the crowd, with look profound,

Bestows his holy blessing round.

Above the pealing organs blow,

To the respondent choir below;

When, bending to religion’s shrine,

He feels an energy divine.

Now, ’scap’d from Dolly’s angry clutches,

He thinks he’s married to a Duchess;

And that her rank and glowing beauty

Enliven his prelatic duty.

Thus Fancy, with her antic train,

Pass’d nimbly through the Doctor’s brain

But, while she told her varying story

Of short-liv’d pomp and fading glory,

A voice upon the vision broke,—

When Syntax gave a grunt—and ’woke.


“And may it please you, I’ve a word

To tell your Rev’rence, from my Lord.”

“A Lord,” he cried, “why to be free,

I’ve been as good a Lord as he:

Throughout the night, I’ve been as great

As any Lord, with all his state;

But now that fine-drawn scene is o’er,

And I’m poor Syntax as before.

You spoil’d my fortune, ’tis most certain,

The moment you withdrew the curtain,

So, if you please, my pretty maid,

You’ll tell me what my Lord has said.”

“—My Lord has sent to let you know

That breakfast is prepared below.”

“—Let my respects upon him wait,

And say that I’ll be with him straight.”

Out then he bounc’d upon the floor:

The maid ran shouting through the door,

So much the figure of the Doctor,

In his unrob’d condition shock’d her.

Syntax now hasten’d to obey

The early summons of the day.

He humbly bow’d and took his seat;

Nor did his Lordship fail to greet

With kindest words his rev’rend guest—

As how he had enjoy’d his rest;

Hop’d ev’ry comfort he had found;

That his night slumbers had been sound,

And that he was prepar’d to share,

With keen regard, his morning’s fare.

The Doctor smil’d, and soon made free

With my Lord’s hospitality;

Then told aloud his golden dream,

Which prov’d of mirth a fruitful theme.


“’Tis true,” he said, “when I awoke,

The charm dissolv’d, the spell was broke;

The mitre and its grand display,

With my fine wife, all pass’d away:

Th’ awak’ning voice my fortune cross’d;

I op’d my eyes, and all was lost;—

But still I find, to my delight,

I have not lost my appetite.”

Sir John.

“As for the mitre and the gold,

Which Fancy gave you to behold,

They, to a mind with learning fraught,

Do not deserve a passing thought;

But I lament that such a bride

Should thus be stolen from your side.”


“For that choice good I need not roam;

I’ve got, Sir John, a wife at home,

Who can from morn to night contrive

To keep her family alive:

Such sprightly measures she can take,

That no one sleeps when she’s awake.

For me, if Fortune would but show’r

Some portion of her wealth and pow’r,

I would forgive her, on my life,

Though she forgot to add a wife.

Indeed, Sir John, we don’t agree,

Nor join in our philosophy;

For did you know what that man knows,

Had you e’er felt his cutting woes,

Who has of taunts a daily plenty,

Whose head is comb’d, whose pocket’s empty,

You ne’er would call those shiners trash,

Whose touch is life—whose name is Cash.”


My Lord.

“A truce, I pray, to your debate;

The hunters all impatient wait;

And much I hope our learned Clerk

Will take a gallop in the Park.”


“Your sport, my Lord, I cannot take,

For I must go and hunt a Lake;

And while you chace the flying deer,

I must fly off to Windermere.

’Stead of hallooing to a fox,

I must catch echoes from the rocks;

With curious eye and active scent,

I on the picturesque am bent;

This is my game, I must pursue it,

And make it where I cannot view it:

Though in good truth, but do not flout me,

I bear that self-same thing about me.

If in man’s form you wish to see

The picturesque, pray look at me;

I am myself without a flaw,

The very picturesque I draw.

A Rector, on whose face so sleek

In vain you for a wrinkle seek,

In whose fair form, so fat and round,

No obtuse angle’s to be found,

On such a shape no man of taste

Would his fine tints or canvas waste;

But take a Curate who’s so thin,

His bones seem peeping through his skin,

Make him to stand, or walk or sit,

In any posture you think fit,

And, with all these nice points about him,

No well-taught painter e’er would scout him:


For with his air, and look, and mien,

He’d give effect to any scene.

In my poor beast, as well as me,

A fine example you may see;

She’s so abrupt in all her parts—

O what fine subjects for the arts!

Thus, thus we travel on together,

With gentle gale or stormy weather;

And, though we trot along the plains

Where one dead level ever reigns,

Or pace where rocks and mountains rise,

Who lift their heads, and brave the skies;

I, Doctor Syntax, and my horse,

Give to the landscape double force.

—I have no doubt I shall produce

A volume of uncommon use,

That will be worthy to be plac’d

Beneath the eye of men of taste;

And I should hope, my Lord, that you

Will praise it and protect it too;

Will let your all sufficient name

The two-fold patronage proclaim;

That time may know, till time doth end,

That C———— was my honour’d friend.”

Sir John.

“And can you, learned Doctor, see

When that important hour shall be?”


“Sir Knight, that was not wisely spoke;

The point’s too serious for a joke;


And you must know, by Heav’n’s decree,

That hour will come to you and me,

And then succeeds—Eternity.”


My Lord.

“Peace, peace, Sir John, and let me tell

The Doctor that I wish him well:

I doubt not but his work will prove,

Most useful to the arts I love.

But pray, good Sir, come up to town,

That seat of wealth and of renown:

Come up to town nor fear the cost,

Nor time nor labour shall be lost.

I’ll ope my door and take you in—

You’ve made me laugh, and you shall win:

We’ll then consult how I can best

Advance your real interest:

And here this piece of writing take;—

You’ll use it for the donor’s sake;

I mean, you see, that it shall crown

Your wishes while you stay in town:

But you may, as it suits you, use it,—

No one, I fancy, will refuse it.”

The Doctor, when he view’d the paper,

Instead of bowing—cut a caper.

My Lord now sought th’ expected chace,

And Syntax, in his usual pace,

When four long tedious days had past,

The town of Keswick reach’d at last,

Where he the famous work prepar’d,

Of all his toil the hop’d reward.

Soon as the morn began to break,

Old Grizzle bore him to the Lake,

Along the banks he gravely pac’d,

And all its various beauties trac’d:

When, lo, a threat’ning storm appear’d!

Phœbus the scene no longer cheer’d;


The dark clouds sunk on ev’ry hill;

The floating mists the valleys fill

Nature, transform’d, began to low’r,

And threaten’d a tremendous show’r.

“I love,” he cried, “to hear the rattle,

When elements contend in battle;

For I insist, though some may flout it,

Who write about it, and about it,

That we the picturesque may find

In thunder loud, or whistling wind:

And often, as I fully ween,

It may be heard as well as seen:

For, though a pencil cannot trace

A sound as it can paint a place,

The pen, in its poetic rage,

Can make it figure on the page.”

Dr. Syntax, mounted, sketching lake and boating ladies

Dr. Syntax Sketching the Lake.

A fisherman, who pass’d that way,

Thought it civility to say—

“An’ please you, Sir, ’tis all in vain

To take your prospects in the rain;

On horseback too you’ll ne’er be able—

’Twere better sure to get a table.”—

“Thanks,” Syntax said, “for your advice,

And faith I’ll take it in a trice;

For, as I’m moisten’d to the skin,

I’ll seek a table at the Inn;”—

But Grizzle, in her haste to pass,

Lur’d by a tempting tuft of grass,

A luckless step now chanc’d to take,

And sous’d the Doctor in the Lake;

But, as it prov’d, no worse disaster

Befell poor Grizzle and her master,

Than both of them could well endure,

And a warm Inn would shortly cure.


To that warm Inn they quickly hied,

Where Syntax, by the fire-side,

Sat in the Landlord’s garments clad,

But neither sorrowful nor sad;


Nor did he waste his hours away,

But gave his pencil all its play,

And trac’d the landscapes of the day.



“NATURE, dear Nature, is my goddess,

Whether array’d in rustic bodice,

Or when the nicest touch of Art

Doth to her charms new charms impart:

But still I, somehow, love her best,

When she’s in ruder mantle drest:

I do not mean in shape grotesque,

But when she’s truly picturesque.”

Thus the next morning as he stray’d,

And the surrounding scene survey’d,

Syntax exclaim’d.—A party stood

Just on the margin of the flood,

Who were, in statu quo, to make

A little voyage on the Lake.

The Doctor forward stepp’d to show

The wealth of his port-folio:

The ladies were quite pleas’d to view

Such pretty pictures as he drew;

While a young man, a neighb’ring ’Squire,

Express’d a very warm desire,

Which seem’d to come from honest heart,

That of their boat he’d take a part.

Now from the shore they quickly sail’d

And soon the Doctor’s voice prevail’d.

“This is a lovely scene of nature;

But I’ve enough of land and water:


I want some living thing to show

How far the picturesque will go.”



“See, Sir, how swift the swallows fly,

And lo, the lark ascends on high,

We scarce can view him in the sky.

Behold the wild-fowl, how they spread

Upon the Lake’s expansive bed:

The kite sails through the airy way,

Prepar’d to pounce upon its prey:

The rooks too, from their morning food,

Pass cawing to the distant wood.”


“When with a philosophic eye

The realms of Nature I descry,

And view the grace that she can give

To all the varying forms that live;

I feel with awe the plastic art

That doth such wond’rous pow’rs impart

To all that wing the air, or creep

Along the earth, or swim the deep.

I love the winged world that flies

Through the thin azure of the skies;

Or, not ordain’d those heights to scan,

Live the familiar friends of man,

And, in his yard or round his cot,

Enjoy, poor things! their destin’d lot:

But though their plumes are gay with dyes,

In endless bright diversities,

What, though such glowing tints prevail,

When the proud peacock spreads his tail;

What, though the nightingales prolong

Through the charm’d night th’ enchanting song;


What, though the blackbird and the thrush

Make vocal ev’ry verdant bush;

Not one among the winged kind

Presents an object to my mind:


Their grace and beauty’s nought to me;

In all their vast variety

The picturesque I cannot see.

A carrion fowl ty’d to a stake

Will a far better picture make,

When as a scare-crow ’tis display’d

To make all thievish birds afraid,

Than the white swan, in all its pride,

Sailing upon the crystal tide.

As a philosopher I scan

Whate’er kind Heav’n has made for man;

I feel it a religious duty

To bless its use and praise its beauty:

I care not whatsoe’er the creature,

Whate’er its name, its form and feature,

So that fond Nature will aver

The creature doth belong to her.

But though indeed, I may admire

The greyhound’s form, and snake’s attire,

They neither will my object suit

Like a good shaggy, ragged brute.

I will acknowledge that a goose

Is a fine fowl of sov’reign use:

But for a picture, she’s not fitted—

The bird was made but to be spitted.

The pigeon, I’ll be bound to show it,

Is a fine subject for a poet;

In the soft verse his mate he woos,

Turns his gay neck, and bills and coos,

And, as in am’rous strut he moves,

Soothes the fond heart of him who loves:


But I’ll not paint him, no, not I—

I like him better in a pye,

Well rubb’d with salt and spicy dust,

And thus embody’d in a crust.

How many a bird that haunts the wood,

How many a fowl that cleaves the flood,

With their sweet songs enchant my ear,

Or please my eye as they appear,

When in their flight, or as they row

Delighted on the Lake below!

But still, whate’er their form or feather,

You cannot make them group together;

For let them swim or let them fly,

The picturesque they all defy.

The bird that’s sitting quite alone

Is fit but to be carv’d in stone;

And any man of taste ’twould shock

To paint those wild geese in a flock:

Though I like not a single figure,

Whether ’tis lesser or ’tis bigger:

That fisherman so lean and lank,

Who sits alone upon the bank,

Tempts not the eye; but, doff his coat,

And quickly group him with a boat,

You then will see the fellow make

A pretty object on the Lake.

If a boy’s playing with a hoop,

’Tis something, for it forms a group.

In painter’s eyes—O what a joke

To place a bird upon an oak:

At the same time, ’twould help the jest,

Upon the branch to fix a nest.

A trout, with all its pretty dyes

Of various hues, delights the eyes;

But still it is a silly whim

To make him on a canvas swim:


Yet, I must own, that dainty fish

Looks very handsome in a dish;

And he must be a thankless sinner,

Who thinks a trout a paltry dinner.

“The first, the middle, and the last,

In picturesque is bold contrast;

And painting has no nobler use

Than this grand object to produce.

Such is my thought, and I’ll pursue it;

There’s an example—you shall view it.

Look at that tree—then take a glance

At its fine, bold protuberance;

Behold those branches—how their shade

Is by the mass of light display’d:

Look at that light, and see how fine

The backward shadows make it shine:

The sombre clouds that spot the sky,

Make the blue vaulting twice as high;

And where the sun-beams warmly glow,

They make the hollow twice as low.

The Flemish painters all surpass

In making pictures smooth as glass:

In Cuyp’s best works there’s pretty painting;

But the bold picturesque is wanting.

“Thus, though I leave the birds to sing,

Or cleave the air with rapid wing—

Thus, though I leave the fish to play

Till the net drags them into day—

Kind Nature, ever bounteous mother!

Contrives it in some way or other,

Our proper wishes to supply

In infinite variety.

The world of quadrupeds displays

The painter’s art in various ways,


But, ’tis some shaggy, ragged brute

That will my busy purpose suit;

Or such as, from their shape and make,

No line-wrought, high-bred semblance take.

A well-led horse, with shining skin,

Form’d for the course, and plates to win,

May have his beauties, but not those

That will my graphic art disclose:

My raw-bon’d mare is worth a score

Of these fine pamper’d beasts, and more,

To give effect to bold design,

And decorate such views as mine.

To the fine steed you sportsmen bow,

But picturesque prefers a cow;

On her high hips and horned head

How true the light and shade are shed:

Indeed, I should prefer by half,

To a fine colt, a common calf:

The unshorn sheep, the shaggy goat,

The ass with rugged, ragged coat,

Would to a taste-inspir’d mind,

Leave the far-fam’d Eclipse behind:

In a grand stable he might please,

But ne’er should graze beneath my trees.”

Caught by his words, the northern ’Squire

Fail’d not his learning to admire:

But yet he had a wish to quiz

The Doctor’s humour, and his phiz.

“I have a house,” he said, “at hand,

Where you my service may command;

There I have cows, and asses too,

And pigs, and sheep, Sir, not a few;

Where you, at your untroubled leisure,

May draw them as it suits your pleasure.


You shall be welcome with your mare,

And find a country ’Squire’s fare:

If a few days with us you pass,—

We’ll give you meat—and give her grass.”

Thus ’twas agreed; they came on shore,

The party saunter’d on before;

But, ere they reach’d the mansion fair,

Grizzle had borne her master there.

It was indeed a pleasant spot

That this same country ’Squire had got;

And Syntax now the party join’d

With salutation free and kind.


“This, Doctor Syntax, is my sister:

Why, my good Sir, you have not kiss’d her.”


“Do not suppose I’m such a brute

As to disdain the sweet salute.”


“And this, Sir, is my loving wife,

The joy and honour of my life.”


“A lovely Lady to the view!

And with your leave, I’ll kiss her too.”

Thus pleasant words the converse cheer’d

Till dinner on the board appear’d;

Where the warm welcome gave a zest

To all the plenty of the feast.

The Doctor ate, and talk’d and quaff’d;

The good Host smil’d, the Ladies laugh’d.



“As you disdain both fowl and fish,

Think you your art could paint that dish?”


“Though ’twill to hunger give relief,—

There’s nothing picturesque in beef:

But there are artists—if you’ll treat ’em;

Will paint your dinners; that is—eat ’em.”



“But sure your pencil might command

Whate’er is noble, vast and grand,—

The beasts, forsooth, of Indian land;

Where the fierce, savage tiger scowls,

And the fell, hungry lion growls.”


“These beasts may all be subjects fit;

But, for their likeness, will they sit?

I’d only take a view askant,

From the tall back of elephant;

With half an hundred Indians round me,

That such sharp claws might not confound me.

But now, as we have ceas’d to dine,

And I have had my share of wine,

I should be glad to close the feast

By drawing some more harmless beast.”

The Doctor found a quick consent,

And to the farm their way they bent.

A tub inverted, form’d his seat;

The animals their painter meet:

Cows, asses, sheep, and ducks and geese,

Present themselves, to grace the piece:


Poor Grizzle, too, among the rest,

Of the true picturesque possest,

Quitted the meadow to appear,

And took her station in the rear:

The sheep all baa’d, the asses bray’d,

The moo-cows low’d, and Grizzle neigh’d!

“Stop, brutes,” he cried, “your noisy glee;

I do not want to hear—but see;

Though by the picturesquish laws,

You’re better too with open jaws.”

Dr. Syntax, seated, sketches farm animals as well-dressed people look on

Doctor Syntax
Drawing after Nature.

The Doctor now, with genius big,

First drew a cow, and next a pig:

A sheep now on the paper passes,

And then he sketch’d a group of asses:

Nor did he fail to do his duty

In giving Grizzle all her beauty.

“And now,” says Miss, (a laughing elf)

“I wish, Sir, you would draw yourself.”

“With all my heart,” the Doctor said,

“But not with horns upon my head.”


“—And then I hope you’ll draw my face.”

“In vain, fair maid, my art would trace

Those winning smiles, that native grace.

The beams of beauty I disclaim;

The picturesque’s my only aim:

My pencil’s skill is mostly shown

In drawing faces like my own,

Where time, alas! and anxious Care,

Have plac’d so many wrinkles there.”

Now all beneath a spreading tree

They chat, and sip their ev’ning tea,

Where Syntax told his various fate,

His studious life and married state;


And that he hop’d his Tour would tend

His comforts and his purse to mend.

At length they to the house retreated,

And round the supper soon were seated;

When the time quickly pass’d away,

And gay good humour clos’d the day.



“VIRTUE embraces ev’ry state;

And, while it gilds the rich and great,

It cheers their heart who humbly stray

Along Life’s more sequester’d way:

While, from beneath the portals proud,

Wealth oft relieves the suppliant crowd,

The wayworn pilgrim smiles to share,

In lowly homes, the welcome fare.

In splendid halls and painted bow’rs

Plenty may crown the festive hours;

Yet still within the secret dell

The hospitable Virtues dwell;

And in this Isle, so brave and fair,

Kind Charity is ev’rywhere.

Within the city’s ample bound

Her stately piles are seen around;

Where ev’ry want, and ev’ry pain

That in man’s feeble nature reign,

Where the sad heir of pining grief

May, bless’d be Heaven! obtain relief;

While, on the humble village-green,

How oft the low-roof’d pile is seen,

Where poverty forgets its woes,

And wearied age may find repose.

“Thrice happy Britons! while the car

Of furious, unrelenting War


Leaves the dire track of streaming gore

On many a hapless, distant shore,—

While a remorseless tyrant’s hand

Deals mis’ry, through each foreign land,

And fell destruction, from the throne

To him who doth the cottage own,—

Peace beams upon your sea-girt Isle,

Where the bright Virtues ever smile;

Where hostile shoutings ne’er molest

The happy inmate’s genial rest.

Where’er it is his lot to go,

He will not meet an armed foe;

Nay, wheresoe’er his way doth tend,

He sure may chance to find a friend.”

Thus, having rose at early day,

As through the fields he took his way,

The Doctor did his thoughts rehearse,

And, as the Muse inspir’d, in verse:

For, while with skill each form he drew,

His Rev’rence was a poet too.

But soon a bell’s shrill, tinkling sound,

Re-echo’d all the meads around,

And said as plain as bell could say—

“Breakfast is ready—come away.”

The welcome summons he obey’d,

And found an arbour’s pleasing shade,

Where, while the plenteous meal was spread,

The woodbine flaunted o’er his head.

“Ah! little do the proud and great,

Amid the pomp and toil of state,

Know of those simple, real joys,

With which the bosom never cloys!


O! what a heart-reviving treat

I find within this rural seat!

All that can please the quicken’d taste,

Is offer’d in this fair repast.

The flowers, on their native bed,

Around delicious odours shed:

A bloom that with the flow’ret vies

On those fair cheeks, attracts my eyes;

And what sweet music greets my ear,

When that voice bids me welcome here!

Indeed, each sense combines to bless

The present hour with happiness.”

Thus Syntax spoke, nor spoke in vain;

The Ladies felt the flatt’ring strain;

Nor could they do enough to please

The Doctor for his courtesies.

“All that you see, if that’s a charm,

Is, Sir, the produce of our farm:

The rolls are nice, our oven bakes ’em;

Those oat cakes too, my sister makes ’em.

The cream is rich, pray do not save it;

The brindled cow you drew, Sir, gave it:

And here is some fresh gather’d fruit—

I hope it will your palate suit:

’Tis country fare which you receive,

But ’tis the best we have to give.”

“O!” said the ’Squire, “the Doctor jokes

With us poor harmless country folks:

I wonder that with all his sense,

And such a tickling eloquence,

He has not turn’d an humble priest

Into a good fat dean, at least.

We know how soon a Lady’s ear

Will list the honey’d sound to hear:


At the same time, I’m free to say

I think the men as vain as they.

How happens it, my learned friend,

That you have not attain’d your end?

That all your figures and your tropes

Have not fulfill’d your rightful hopes?

I should suppose your shining parts

And above all your flatt’ring arts

Would soon have turn’d your grizzly mare

Into a handsome chaise and pair.

I live amidst my native groves,

And the calm scene my nature loves:

But still I know, and often see,

What gains are made by flattery.”

“That may be true,” the Doctor said;

“But flattery is not my trade.

Indeed, dear Sir, you do me wrong—

No sordid interest guides my tongue;

Honour and Virtue I admire,

Or in a Bishop or a ’Squire;

But falsehood I most keenly hate,

Tho’ gilt with wealth, or crown’d with state.

For TRUTH I’m like a lion bold;

And a base lie I never told:

Indeed, I know too many a sinner

Will lie by dozens for a dinner;

But, from the days of earliest youth,

I’ve worshipp’d, as I’ve practis’d Truth:

Nay, many a stormy, bitter strife

I’ve had with my dear, loving wife,

Who often says she might have seen

Her husband a fine, pompous Dean:

Indeed, she sometimes thinks her spouse

Might have a mitre on his brows,


If, putting scruples out of view,

He’d do as other people do.

No—I will never lie nor fawn,

Nor flatter, to be rob’d in lawn.

I too, can boast a certain rule

Within the precincts of my school:

Whatever faults I may pass by,

I never can forgive a lie.

I hate to use the birchen rod;

But, when a boy forswears his God;

When he in purpos’d falsehood deals,

My heavy strokes the culprit feels.

Vice I detest, whoever shows it,

And, when I see it, I’ll expose it:

But, to kind hearts my homage due

I sure will pay, and pay to you;

Nor will you, Sir, deny the share

I owe to these two ladies fair.”

The ’Squire replied, “I e’en must yield,

And leave you master of the field:

These Ladies will, I’m sure agree

That you have fairly conquer’d me;

But, be assur’d, all joke apart,

I feel your doctrine from my heart.

Your free-born conduct I commend,

And shall rejoice to call you friend:

O! how it would my spirits cheer

If you were but the Rector here!

Our Parson, I’m concern’d to say,

Had rather drink and game—than pray:


He makes no bones to curse and swear,

In any rout to take a share,

And what’s still worse, he’ll springe a hare.

I wish his neck he would but break,

Or tumble drunk into the Lake!


For, know the Living’s mine to give,

And you should soon the cure receive:

The Benefice, I’m sure, is clear,

At least three hundred pounds a year.”

“I thank you, Sir, with all my heart,”

Said Syntax, “but we now must part.”

The fair-ones cry’d—“We beg you’ll stay,

And pass with us another day.”

“—Ladies, I would ’twere in my pow’r,

But I can’t stay another hour:

I feel your kindness to my soul,

And wish I could my fate controul:

Within ten days the time will come

When I shall be expected home;

Nor is this all—for strange to say,

I must take London in my way.”

Thus converse kind the moments cheer’d,

Till Grizzle at the gate appear’d.

“Well,” said the ’Squire, “since you must go

Our hearty wishes we bestow:

And if your genius bids you take

Another journey to the Lake,

Remember Worthy-Hall, we pray,

And come and make a longer stay:

Write too, and tell your distant friends

With what success your journey ends.

We do not mean it as a bribe,

But to your work we must subscribe.”

The Ladies too, exclaim’d—“repeat

Your visit to our northern seat.”

Poor Syntax knew not how to tell

The gratitude he felt so well;

And, when at length he said—“Good-bye,”

A tear was bright in either eye.


The Doctor pac’d along the way

Till it grew nigh the close of day,

When the fair town appear’d in sight,

Where he propos’d to pass the night:

But as he reach’d the destin’d Inn,

The landlord, with officious grin,

At once declar’d he had no bed

Where Syntax could repose his head;

At least, where such a rev’rend guest

Would think it fit to take his rest:

A main of cocks had fought that day,

And all the gentry chose to stay.

“Observe, my friend, I mind not cost,”

Says Syntax to his cringing host;

“But still, at least, I may be able

To sleep with Grizzle in the stable;

And many a Doctor after all,

Is proud to slumber in a stall:

In short, I only want to sleep

Where neither rogue nor knave can creep.

I travel not with change of coats,

But in these bags are all my notes:

Which, should I lose, would prove my ruin.

And be for ever my undoing.”

Thus as he spoke, a lively blade,

With dangling queue and smart cockade,

Reply’d at once, “I have a room;

The friend I look’d for is not come;

And of two beds where we may rest,

You, my good Sir, shall have the best:

So you may sleep without alarm;

No living wight shall do you harm:

You may depend upon my word;—

I serve the King, and wear a sword.”



“Your offer, Sir, I kindly greet,”

Says Syntax, “but you’ll let me treat

With what is best to drink, and eat;

And I request you will prepare,

To your own taste, the bill of fare.”

The Doctor and the Captain sat,

Till tir’d of each other’s chat,

They both agreed it would be best

To seek the balmy sweets of rest.

Syntax soon clos’d his weary eye,

Nor thought of any danger nigh;

While, like the ever-watchful snake,

His sharp companion lay awake,

Impatient to assail his prey;

When, soon as it was dawn of day,

He gently seiz’d the fancied store;

But, as he pass’d the creaking door,

Syntax awoke, and saw the thief;

When, loudly bawling for relief,

He forward rush’d in naked state,

And caught the culprit at the gate:

Against that gate his head he beat,

Then kick’d him headlong to the street.

thief steals from Dr. Syntax’s inn room while he sleeps

Doctor Syntax
Robb’d of his Property.

The ostler from his bed arose,

In time to hear and see the blows.

Says Syntax, “I’ll not make a riot;

I’ve sav’d my notes, and I’ll be quiet.

The rascal, if I’m not mistaken,

Will ask his legs to save his bacon:

But what a figure I appear!

I must not stand and shiver here;

So take me back into the room,

From whence in this strange way I’ve come.”


The ostler then the Doctor led,

To the warm comforts of his bed:


Into that bed he quickly crept,

Beneath his head his bags he kept,

And on that pillow safely slept.



FAIR Virtue is its own reward,

For Heaven remains its constant guard;

And it becomes us all to trust

In this grand truth—that Heaven is just.

Whatever forms the human lot,

Whether in palace or in cot,

In the calm track or frequent strife,

Man leads his variegated life;

Whether he feast his smiling hours

In stately halls or painted bow’rs;

Whether he labours through the day

In Winter cold, or Summer’s ray;

Or, in long nights of tort’ring pain,

He strives to close his eyes in vain,

Comfort will on his lot attend

If Virtue be his bosom friend.

In youth, when Love’s creative pow’r

Forms the young Passion’s roseate bow’r;

When, life matur’d, the eager game

That hunts for wealth or seeks for fame,

Is subtly play’d, with various art,

To seize the mind and fill the heart:

When Pleasure doth its charms display,

And Syrens sing but to betray;

If Virtue’s call’d, it will defy

Th’ attack of ev’ry enemy.

When age comes on with stealing pace,

And the crutch marks the closing race,


Virtue supports her champion’s cause,

And cheers him with her fond applause:

Nay, e’en at Death’s resistless hour,

She still displays her conscious pow’r;

Nor fails to make the flow’rets bloom

Round the dark confines of the tomb.


Thus Syntax ponder’d—when around

His head he turn’d, and grateful found

His bags and notes all safe and sound:

Pleas’d with the prospect, he was fain

To yawn, and go to sleep again.

But, while he still enjoy’d his dream,

His story was the gen’ral theme

Of ev’ry tongue, and made a din

Through all the purlieus of the Inn.

The ostler told it to the maid,

And she the whole, and more, betray’d;

Nay, in her idle, eager prate,

Mistook the window for the gate:

For, though she lay all snug and quiet,

And slept, unconscious of the riot,

She swore that, all within her view,

The Parson from the window threw

A full grown man into the street

Who haply lighted on his feet,

And then ran off through all the dirt,

With night-cap on, and half a shirt.

The Barber caught the story next,

Who stuck no closer to the text;

But left a face half-shav’d, and ran

To tell it to the Clergyman.

“O! bless me, Sir,” he cried, “I fear

To utter, what you now must hear:


At the Blue Bell there’s been such doing—

The house, I’m certain, it must ruin;

Nay, as I live, I’ll tell no further,—

A Bishop has committed murther!

He seiz’d a Captain by the pate,

And dash’d it so against the gate,

That all the planks are cover’d o’er

With scatter’d brains and human gore!

His Lordship gave him such a banging,

That he will scarce escape with hanging.

They quarrell’d, Sir, as it was said,

About the colours black, and red:

The Captain manfully profess’d

That the bright scarlet was the best;

And they, who that fine colour wore,

The first of all professions bore,

While black (it was not very civil)

Was the known liv’ry of the devil.

Thus soon a loud dispute arose,

Which from hard words went on to blows;

And ended in this bloody strife,

Which robb’d the Captain of his life;

And, if fair Justice does not falter,

She’ll deck the Bishop with a halter.”

The Parson smil’d, and bid the calf

Go home and shave the other half;

But, when he came, the lather’d elf,

Had shav’d the other half himself.

The Tailor laid aside his needle

To hear the story from the Beadle,

Who swore he had strange news to tell

Of what had happen’d at the Bell:—

“Would you believe it, that, last night,

A highwayman, a man of might,


Down in his bed a Lawyer bound,

And robb’d him of a thousand pound;

Then gagg’d him, that he might not rouse

The people sleeping in the house.”

“No, no,” says Snip, “however strong

No gag will stop a Lawyer’s tongue;

And, after all, the stolen pelf,

Is what, I’m sure, he stole himself;

For, if the real truth we knew,

He’s the worst villain of the two!

They’re thieves in grain—they never alter—

Attornies all deserve a halter.

If that is all, I’ll mind my stitches,

Nor lay aside John Bumkin’s breeches.”

The blacksmith, while a trav’ller stay’d

That a new horse-shoe might be made,

Inform’d him that a rev’rend Clerk

Last night was strangled in the dark,

No one knew how—’twas at the Bell,

The murd’rer not a soul could tell:

The Justice though would make a rout,

And try to find the fellow out.—

Thus Rumour spread the simple case,

In ev’ry form throughout the place.

The Doctor now unclos’d his eyes,

And thought that it was time to rise:

So up he got, and down he went,

To scold the Landlord fully bent;

Who, pale, and trembling with affright

At what had happen’d in the night,

Approach’d with such an humble look,

The Doctor’s rage at once forsook

His Christian breast; and, with a voice

That did the poor man’s heart rejoice,


He bid him soon as he was able,

To let the coffee grace the table.

“I do aver,” the Landlord said,

“That since I’ve carried on my trade,

Since I’ve been master of the Bell,

As all throughout the town can tell,

(And that is now ten years or more)

I ne’er knew such mishap before.

The fellow, Sir, upon my word,

Let loose his money like a Lord:


I receive all who come this way,

And care not, Sir, how long they stay,

So they but eat and drink—and pay.

I ask not from whence people come,

What is their name, or where their home;

That he’s a rogue, I think is clear,

Nor e’er again shall enter here.

He is some sharper, I suppose,

Who round about the country goes;

While, to assist his lawless game,

He takes the soldier’s noble name.

I understand the rogue you bang’d,

And in good time, Sir, he’ll be hang’d:

I hope that all your notes you’ve found,—

I’m told they’re worth a thousand pound.”

“Prove that,” says Syntax, “my dear honey,

And I will give you half the money.

Think not, my friend, I’m such a fool,

That I have been so late at school,

To put my bank-notes in a bag

That hangs across my Grizzle nag;

No, they were notes to make a book;

The thief my meaning, friend, mistook:

For know, the man would not have found

Them worth—to him—a single pound:


Though much I hope that they will be

The source of many a pound to me.”

Thus Syntax cheer’d the Landlord’s heart

’Till the time warn’d him to depart;

When soon, along the beaten road,

Poor Grizzle bore her rev’rend load.

The Doctor’s pleasant thoughts beguile

The journey onward many a mile;

For many a mile he had not seen

But one unvarying, level green;

Nor had the way one object brought

That wak’d a picturesquish thought.

A spire, indeed, across the down,

Seem’d to denote a neighb’ring town;

And that he view’d with some delight—

For there he hop’d to pass the night.

A farmer now, so blithe and gay,

Came trotting briskly on his way.

“Will you,” says Syntax, “tell me, friend,

If to yon town this way doth tend?”

“This road, good Sir, will take you there;

You’re surely going to the fair;

’Tis the first mart both far and near,

For horses, cows, and such like gear;

And, from the beast I’ve in my eye,

You’re going, Sir, a nag to buy:

I think, if I the truth may tell,

You have not got a nag to sell;

For not a person in the fair

Will give ten shillings for your mare.”

Syntax, who dearly lov’d a joke,

And long had liv’d ’mong country folk;

Thought he could work a little mirth

Out of this rustic son of earth;


So thus the conversation flow’d,

As they jogg’d on the beaten road.


“Believe me, Farmer, long together,

In sun-shine, and in stormy weather,

My mare and I have trotted on,

Nor is as yet our labour done;

And, though her figure you despise,

Did you but know her qualities,

You would not rate her quite so low

As now you seem dispos’d to do.”


“I’ll lay a pound, if you are willing,

She does not fetch you twenty shilling.”


“First, my good friend, one truth I’ll tell;

I do not want my mare to sell:

While to lay wagers I am loth;

The practice would disgrace my cloth:

Nor ever, while Life’s path I trace,

Will I my sacred rank disgrace:

But yet I think you under-rate

Poor Grizzle’s qualities and state.

’Tis true, she’s past the age of beauty;

Yet still the old girl does her duty;

And some one surely will be found

To think, at least, she’s worth a pound:


Nay, to amuse the country folk,

We’ll put her up, by way of joke,

But no one must the wager smoke:

And I propose that, if you lose,

(No Christian will the bet refuse)


The money to the poor you’ll give,

’Twill be a Christian donative:

And if my old and faithful mare

Should so be treated in the fair,

That not a person would be willing

To offer for her twenty shilling,

On honour I will do the same,

As sure as Syntax is my name.

Such are the terms that I propose,

So let us now the bargain close.”

“Give me your hand,” the Farmer said,

“The terms I’ll keep, the bargain’s made.”

Thus they rode on and reach’d the town:—

The pipe and bowl the ev’ning crown.

The ’morrow came, and through the fair

The Farmer led the grizzle mare.

Says one, “I would not bid a pound:

She’s only fit to feed a hound;

But would a hound the gift receive,

For she has nought but bones to give?

Where must we look her ears to find?

And faith, she’s left her tail behind!”

“Why,” says another, “view her scars:

She must have left them in the wars.”

As a warm Yeoman pass’d along

He heard the jeerings of the throng,

And felt a strong desire to know

What pleas’d the laughing people so.

“A Parson, Sir,” says one, “distress’d,

Would sell that poor, that wretched beast;

And asks, I hear, a pound or two:

I think he’ll ne’er get that from you.”

“If that’s the case,” the Yeoman said,—

“I’ll ease his heart, and buy the jade.


I’ll bid two pounds, my friend, that’s plain,

And give him back his beast again.”

The Farmer own’d the wager lost,

And op’d his bag to pay the cost,

“No, Sir,” says Syntax, “’tis to you

To pay where’er you think it due:

But, as we pass’d the Common o’er,

I saw beside a cottage door,

A woman with a spinning-wheel,

Who turn’d her thread around the reel,

While joyful frolick’d by her side

Three children, all in Nature’s pride;

And I resign it to your care

To leave the welcome bounty there.”

Dr. Syntax selling his white mare

Dr. Syntax sells Grizzle.

The Yeoman, when he heard the joke,

In friendly words to Syntax spoke.

“I, Sir, an humble mansion own,

About five furlongs from the town;

And there your Rev’rence I invite

To go and dine, and pass the night.

To-day I give an annual feast,

Where you will be a welcome guest.

I love the cloth,—and humbly crave

That we may there your blessing have.

Come then, and bring your mare along;

Come, share the feast, and hear the song;

And in the ev’ning will be seen

The merry dancers on the green.”

“With joy,” said Syntax, “I receive

The invitation which you give;

In your kind feast I’ll bear a part,

And bring with me a grateful heart.”


“I,” said the Yeoman, “must be gone:

But shall expect you, Sir, at one.”

Nor did the Doctor long delay:

To the farm-house he took his way;

And chang’d the bustle of the fair,

For a kind, noiseless welcome there.



YE Courtesies of life, all hail!

Whether along the peaceful vale,

Where the thatch’d cot alone is seen,

The humble mansion of the green,

Or in the city’s crowded way,

Man—mortal man, is doom’d to stray;

You give to joy an added charm,

And woe of half its pangs disarm.

How much in every state he owes

To what kind Courtesy bestows;

To that benign, engaging art

Which decorates the human heart,

And, free from jealousy and strife,

Gilds all the charities of life.

To ev’ry act it gives a grace;

It adds a smile to ev’ry face;

And Goodness’ self we better see

When dress’d by gentle Courtesy.

Thus Syntax, as the house he sought,

Indulg’d the grateful, pleasing thought;

And soon he step’d the threshold o’er,

Where the good Farmer went before:

Plenty appear’d, and many a guest

Attended on the welcome feast.


The Doctor then, with solemn face,

Proceeded to the appointed place,

And, in due form, pronounc’d the grace.


That thankful ceremony done,

The fierce attack was soon begun,

While meat and pudding, fowl and fish,

All vanish’d from each ample dish.

The dinner o’er, the bowl appear’d;

Th’ enliv’ning draughts the spirits cheer’d;


Nor did the pleasant Doctor fail,

Between the cups of foaming ale,

To gain the laugh by many a tale.

But it so hap’d—among the rest—

The Farmer’s Landlord was a guest;

A buckish blade, who kept a horse,

To try his fortune on the course;

Was famous for his fighting cocks,

And his staunch pack to chace the fox:

Indeed, could he a booby bite,

He’d play at cards throughout the night;

Nor was he without hopes to get

Syntax to make some silly bet.

“I never bet,” the Doctor said,

While a deep frown his thoughts betray’d:

“Your gold I do not wish to gain,

And mine shall in my purse remain:

No tempting card, no gambling art,

Shall make it from my pocket start.

Gaming, my worthy Sir, I hate;

It neither suits my means nor state:

’Tis the worst passion, I protest,

That’s known to haunt the human breast

Of all vile habitudes the worst;

The most delusive and accurst:

And, if you please, I’ll lay before ye

A very melancholy story;

Such as, I think, will wring your heart,

And wound you in the tend’rest part;



That will in striking colours show

The biting pangs—the bitter woe,

That do, too oft, from gaming flow.”

“Nay,” said the ’Squire, “I don’t deny

I often like my luck to try;

And no one here, I’m sure, will say

That when I lose I do not pay:

But as you think it such a sin,

Pray try to cure me—and begin.


“How many of the human kind,

Who to their common honour blind,

Look not in any path to stray

But where fell passion leads the way:

Who, born with ev’ry real claim

To wear the fairest wreath of Fame,

Reject the good by Nature given,

And scoff at ev’ry boon of Heaven!

Yes; such there are, and such we find

At ev’ry point that gives the wind:

But, when among the crowd we see

One whom, in prodigality,

Fortune and Nature had combin’d

To fill his purse and form his mind;

Whose manly strength is grac’d with ease,

And has the happy pow’r to please;

Whose cooler moments never heard

The frantic vow to Heav’n preferr’d;

And near whose steps Repentance bears

The vase of purifying tears;

When such a victim we behold,

Urg’d by the rampant lust of gold,

Yielding his health, his life, his fame,

As off’rings to the god of game;


The tear grows big in Virtue’s eye,

Pale Reason heaves the poignant sigh;

The guardian spirit turns away,

And hell enjoys a holiday.

“Is there on earth a hellish vice?

There is, my friend, ’tis avarice:

Has avarice a more hellish name?

It has, my friend—the lust of game.


All this, perhaps, you’ll thus deny:—

‘There’s no one, with more grace than I,

Lets shillings drop and guineas fly!

To the dejected hapless friend

My door I ope, my purse I lend;

To purchase joy my wealth I give,

And like a man of fashion live.’

—This may be true—but still your breast

Is with the love of gold possest.

Why watch whole nights the fatal card,

Or look to dice for your reward?

Why risk your real wealth with those

Whom you know not, and no one knows;

With maggots whom foul fortune’s ray

Has rais’d from dunghills into day;

Who would in your misfortune riot,

And seek your ruin for their diet?

Pleasure it cannot be, for pains

Will mingle with your very gains—


Will hover round the golden store,

Which ere the passing moment’s o’er,

May, horrid chance! be yours no more.

“As yet, you cannot use the plea

Of beggar’d men—necessity;

Plenty as yet adorns your board,

And num’rous vassals own you Lord.


Your woods look fair—their trunks increase,

The Hamadryades live in peace;

But cards and dice more pow’rful far

Than e’en the sharpest axes are;

At one dire stroke have oft been found

To level forests with the ground:

Have seiz’d the mansion’s lofty state,

And turn’d its master from the gate.

“A youth in wealth and fashion bred,

But by the love of gaming led,

Soon found that ample wealth decay;

Farm after farm was play’d away,

Till, the sad hist’ry to complete,

His park, his lawns, his ancient seat,

Were all in haste and hurry sold,

To raise the heaps of ready gold!

They, like the rest soon pass’d away,

The villains’ gain, the sharpers’ prey;

While he, alas! resolv’d to shun

The arts by which he was undone,

Sought, by hard labour, to sustain

His weary life of woe and pain:

But Nature soon refus’d to give

The strength by which he strove to live;

And nought was left him but to try

What casual pity would supply;

To stray where chance or hunger led,

And humbly ask for scanty bread.

One day, to his despairing eyes,

He saw a stately mansion rise;

Nor look’d he long before he knew

Each wood and copse that round it grew;

For all the scene that seem’d so fair,

Once knew in his a master’s care.


Struck with the sight, and sore oppress’d,

He sought a bank whereon to rest;

There long he lay, and sigh’d his grief;—

Tears came—but did not bring relief:

At last he took his tott’ring way

Where once he lov’d so well to stray,

And, press’d by hunger, sought the gate

Where suppliant Want was used to wait—

Where suppliant Want was ne’er deny’d

The morsel left by glutt’d Pride.

But, ah! these gen’rous times were o’er,

And suppliant Want reliev’d no more.

The mastiff growl’d—the liv’ried thief

With insolence denied relief:—

The wretch, dissolving in a groan,

Turn’d from the portal, once his own;

But ere he turn’d, he told his name,

And curs’d once more the love of game;

Then sought the lawn, for Nature fail’d,

And sorrow o’er his strength prevail’d.

Beneath an oak’s wide spreading shade

His weary limbs he careless laid;

Then call’d on Heaven:—(the bitter pray’r

Of Mis’ry finds admittance there!)

And ere the sun, with parting ray,

Had heighten’d the last blush of day,

Sunk and worn out with want and grief,

He found in death a kind relief.

“The oak records the doleful tale,

Which makes the conscious reader pale;

And tells—‘In this man’s fate behold

The love of play—the lust of gold.’

No moral, Sir, I shall impart;

I trust you feel it in your heart.


“‘You’re young,’ you’ll say, ‘and must engage

In the amusements of the age.’

Go then, and let your mountain bare,

The forest’s verdant liv’ry wear;

Let Parian marble grace your hall,

And Titian glow upon your wall;

Its narrow channels boldly break,

And swell your riv’let to a lake:

To richer harvests bend your soil,

While labour fattens in the toil:

Encourage Nature, and impart

The half-transparent veil of Art.

Let Music charm your melting breast,

And soothe each passion into rest;

Let Genius from your hand receive

The bounty that can make it live;

And call the Muses from on high,

To give you immortality.

To these the hardy pleasures join,

Where Exercise and Health combine:

At the first op’ning of the morn,

O’er hill and dale, with hound and horn,

Boldly pursue the subtle prey,

And share the triumphs of the day:

Nor let the evening hours roll

Unaided by the social bowl;

Nor should fair Friendship be away,

But crown with smiles the festive day.

Say, need I add the joys they prove

Who live in bounds of virtuous love?

Where fond affection fills the heart,

The baser passions shall depart.

While the babe hangs on Beauty’s breast,

While in a parent’s arms caress’d,

Each low-bred thought, all vicious aims,

The pure, domestic mind disclaims:


Virtue inspires his ev’ry sense,

Who looks on cherub innocence:—

Then seek a shield ’gainst passion’s strife

In the calm joys of wedded life.

“This is to live, and to enjoy

Those pleasures which our pains destroy:

This is to live, and to receive

The praises which the good will give:

This is to make that use of wealth

Which heightens e’en the flush of health;

Improves the heart, and gives a claim

To a fair, fragrant wreath of Fame.”

“I thank you, Sir,” the Farmer said;—

“’Tis a sad tale you have display’d.

How I the poor man’s lot deplore!

The more I think, I feel the more:

And much I wish my Landlord too

Would keep his wretched fate in view;

But while my poor good woman weeps,

Behold how very sound he sleeps.

I beg that we may change the scene

And join the dancers on the green.”

Sal now exclaim’d, “The people say

Ralph is so drunk he cannot play!”

“Then I’ll be Fiddler,” Syntax cried:

“By me his place shall be supply’d!

Ne’er fear, my lasses, you shall soon

Be ambling to some pretty tune,

And in a measur’d time shall beat

The green-sod with your nimble feet.

While Virtue o’er your pleasure reigns,

You’re welcome to my merry strains:

While Virtue smiles upon your joy,

I’ll gladly my best skill employ;


For sure, ’twill give me great delight

To be your Fiddler through the night.

I know full well I do not err

From any point of character:

To Heav’n I cannot give offence

While I enliven innocence:

For thus to virtuous man ’tis given

To dance, and sing, and go to Heaven.

Your merry minstrelsy prolong,

And to your dances add the song:

E’en while you caper, loudly sing

In honour of your noble King.”

Chorus of Peasants.

“Strike, strike the lyre! awake the sounding shell!

How happy we who in these valleys dwell!

How blest we live beneath his gentle sway,

Whom mighty realms and distant seas obey!

Make him, propitious Heaven! your choicest care!

O make him happy as his people are!”

’Twas thus they fiddled, danc’d, and sung;

With harmless glee the village rung:

At length dull midnight bid them close

A day of joy, with calm repose.

Dr. Syntax fiddles for rustic dancing

Doctor Syntax — Rural Sports



LET Grandeur blush, and think how few

Of all the many colour’d crew,

The motley group of fools and knaves,

Who hourly prove themselves its slaves,

However Fashion gilds the dress,

Attain the expected happiness!

Let Grandeur blush, and blushing own

How seldom is to greatness known

That pure and unimbitter’d lot

Which often cheers the peasant’s cot;

The hallow’d bliss, the nameless charm,

That decorates the fertile farm.

Thus Syntax ponder’d as his eye

Survey’d the cheerful family:

Who ’round the breakfast-table seated,

With one accord his entrance greeted:

At the same time, they all express’d

Much sorrow that their rev’rend guest

Had order’d Grizzle to the door

In order to pursue his Tour.

“Doctor, I’m griev’d so soon to part,”

Burst from the Yeoman’s friendly heart;

“Yet hope, whene’er you this way come,

You’ll not forget this is your home:—

You see how we poor farmers live,—

A welcome’s all we have to give;


But that’s sincere—so come and try.”

A few kind words were the reply.

Syntax once more his beast bestrode;

He bade farewell, and off he rode.

Now Nature’s beauties caught his eye,

Array’d in gay simplicity:

And as he pass’d the road along,

The blackbird’s note, the thrush’s song,

With musical and native mirth,

Seem’d to do homage to his worth:

The vary’d landscape here combined

To fascinate the eye and mind,

To charm the gazer’s ev’ry sense

From the commanding eminence.

Th’ expanding plain, with plenty crown’d,

Diffuses health and fragrance round;

While, on a lofty, craggy height,

A castle rises to the sight,

Which in its day of strength and pride,

The arms of threat’ning foes defy’d.

Beneath the mouldering abode

In mazy course a riv’let flow’d;

And, free from the tempestuous gale,

Its silent stream refresh’d the vale:

The vale the scatter’d hamlet cheer’d,

And many a straw-roof’d cot appear’d;

While smiling groups at ev’ry door

Spoke grief a stranger to the poor.

With pious thought and eye serene,

Syntax survey’d th’ enchanting scene,

And thus in grateful mood began:

“So deals th’ Omnipotent with man.

Such are thy gifts, all gracious power,

To us, the creatures of an hour!


And yet how oft we barter these,

How oft we risk our health and ease,

Thy best bequest, thy choicest treasure,

For follies which we misname pleasure;

And slaves to vanity and art,

Check the best feelings of the heart.—

How the scene charms the ravish’d eye;

I cannot, will not pass it by!”

He said,—and from his pocket took

His pencil and his sketching-book;

While Grizzle, in contented mood,

Close by her busy master stood:

When, clouds of dust proclaim’d th’ approach

Of something Syntax deem’d a coach.

Four wheels in truth it had to boast,

Although what it resembled most

Were hard to say:—suffice, this tub

Was built in London, where a club,

Yclept Four-horse, is now the rage,

And fam’d for whims in equipage.

Dashers! who once a month assemble;

Make creditors and coachmen tremble;

And, dress’d in colours vastly fine,

Drive to some public-house to dine;

There game, and drink, and swear, and then—

Drive in disorder back again.

Now Syntax, with some kind of fear,

Beheld the vehicle draw near;

And, like her master, Grizzle too

Was far from happy at the view;

For a long whip had caught her eye

Moving about most rapidly;

Though little thought the hapless nag,

The joke which the exalted wag,


Who held the reins with skilful hand,

Against both mare and master plann’d.

But now the curious Doctor spied

The emblem of Patrician pride,

Which on the panels of the coach,

Proclaim’d a noble Lord’s approach:

Nay, (as the facts will plainly prove it)

It was a noble Lord who drove it:

For ’tis well known to men of rank

That Lords will sometimes play a prank,

And thus indulge themselves in jokes

As low as those of vulgar folks.

But ’tis not easy to express

The wild surprise, the deep distress,

Which Syntax felt, when this same Lord

Aim’d at his back the flaunting cord;

And when the whip, with skilful turn,

Was ill applied to Grizzle’s stern;

That stern, enough to make one shudder,

Which we all know had lost its rudder:

Her rage appear’d in either eye,

And then she neigh’d indignantly.

Such seem’d she as when erst she bore

A trumpeter to fields of gore;

When, in the battle’s heat at large,

She led whole squadrons to the charge.

Thus Syntax, as she scour’d the plain,

Indulg’d the moralizing strain.

“Can I, in this foul conduct scan

The Peer, or well-bred Gentleman?

Or rather must not Virtue frown

On such a high-born, titled clown?

Thus, then, do Nobles play the fool?

A conduct which in my poor school,

If ’mong my boys it dare appear;

If they should ape that monkey there;


They for their fun should pay full dearly;

I’d whip the blackguards most severely.

But I’ll not waste another word

Upon this vulgar, booby Lord;

For I have something else to do,

And Grizzle, what’s become of you?”

A farmer’s well-stor’d barn, hard by,

Attracted her observing eye,

Where many a truss of fragrant hay

Induc’d the prudent beast to stay.

Meanwhile, her discontented master,

Reflecting on the late disaster,

Pac’d slowly on, brimfull of care,

And wonder’d who had got his mare.

Indeed he fear’d she might be found

Within the precincts of a pound;

But soon his quadruped he saw,

Up to her girths in hay and straw:

While he who own’d the neighb’ring farm,

Prepar’d to raise his weighty arm;

And, having just observ’d the theft,

Brandish’d a horsewhip right and left,

(Alas! it cannot be denied,)

To lay about on Grizzle’s hide.

Syntax beheld the harsh intent:

“Forbear,” he cried, “the punishment!

Why make her feel the chast’ning thong?

She knows not she is doing wrong.

Forgive my warmth, but truly, Sir,

This suits not with the character

Of one who treads on British ground,

A land for justice so renown’d:

I’ll pay for all the straw that’s wasted,

And all the hay that she has tasted:

Your courtesy I now invoke,

So name the cost, and spare the stroke.”


The Farmer paus’d—as by a charm—

And dropp’d at once th’ uplifted arm:

“Forgive me, Sir, for what,” he cried,

“Cannot, indeed, be justified;

But for my haste, I’ll make amends;

So let us now, good Sir, be friends:

That is my house:—you’ll enter there,

And, Thomas, take the Doctor’s mare.

Come, rev’rend Sir, I’ll lead the way:”

The Doctor did not disobey,

And soon was met with welcome glee,

By all the Farmer’s family.

At length some bus’ness of the day

Summon’d the honest host away;

So Syntax thought he’d look about,

To find some curious object out;

When, lo! a dairy met his view,

Where, full of cream, in order due,

The pans, the bowls, the jugs were plac’d,

Which tempted the Divine to taste;

But he found something better there:

A village damsel young and fair

Attracted his admiring eye;

Who, as he enter’d heav’d a sigh.

Now Syntax, as we all must know,

Ne’er heard a sigh or tale of woe,

But instant wish’d to bring relief,

To dry the tear and soothe the grief.

“Come here, sweet girl,” he softly said;

“Tell me your cares—nor be afraid:

Come here, and seat you by my side;

You’ll find in me a friendly guide.

Relate your sorrows,—tell the truth:

What is it? does some perjur’d youth

Unfaithful to his promise prove,

Nor make the fond return of love!



’Tis so, I see; but raise your eye;

On me, my pretty girl, rely:

You have my tend’rest sympathy.

Again, I say, your grief impart;

You’ve gain’d an int’rest in my heart;

For well I know the pangs they prove

Who grieve for unrequited love.”

Dr. Syntax in close converse with dairymaid while cats laps milk

Doctor Syntax
With the Dairy Maid.

The list’ning mother, who had heard

Love talk’d of, kindled at the word;

And rushing in, express’d her rage:—

“For shame! for shame! while hoary age

Whitens your head, I see your eye

Is beaming with iniquity.

Begone, you old, you wanton goat,

Your heart is black as is your coat!

A Parson too! may Heaven forgive

The wicked age in which we live!

I’ll go and tell my honest spouse

The snake he harbours in his house:

He’ll give such hypocrites their due,

I’ll warrant it;” and off she flew.

The Host arriv’d, but by that time

The false alarm, th’ imputed crime,

Nancy had ventur’d to unfold,

And mother now had ceas’d to scold;

While, the rude anger turn’d to mirth,

They all confess the Doctor’s worth.

Dinner was soon upon the table,

And Grizzle feeding in the stable;

While joyful Syntax, once again,

Forgot past accidents and pain;


And, when night came, repos’d his head

In peace, upon the welcome bed:

But ne’er did he to sleep consign

His weary limbs, till to the shrine

Of Heaven, he had address’d the prayer

Which ever finds admittance there.



THE Sun arose in all its pride:—

“Hail the bright orb,” the Doctor cried,

“That makes the distant mountains glow,

And clears the misty vales below!

O! let me bless the power divine

That bade its splendid fires to shine,

Invigorating warmth to give

To all that grow, and all that live:

Which, in the bowels of the earth,

Brings the rich metal into birth;

Or, piercing through the secret mine,

Makes rubies blush, and diamonds shine:

While man, the first, the head of all

That breathes upon this earthly ball


As freely feels its force as they

Of insect tribe, who, in its ray,

Pass their short hour, and pass away.

O, what a picture greets my sight!

How my heart revels in delight,

While I behold th’ advancing day

O’er the wide scene its power display!

While, as I gaze, th’ enchanted eye

Drinks in the rich variety!

How the gleam brightens yonder tower!

How deep the shade within the bower!

The spreading oak and elm between,

How fine those blushes intervene!


Those brilliant lights!—they would demand

Claude’s pencil, or a Titian’s hand!

E’en while the distant hills I view,

Their orient colours change to blue.

The stream, within whose silver wave,

Poets might see the Naiads lave,

Now, lost in shade, no more is seen

To flow among the alders green;

But, let the eye its course pursue,

Again it brightens in the view;

Reflecting as its current flows,

Each flower that on the margin blows!

“Hail favour’d casement! where the sight

Is courted to enjoy delight,

T’ ascend the hill, and trace the plain,

Where lavish Nature’s proud to reign!

Unlike those pictures that impart

The windows of Palladian art,

From whence no other object’s seen

But gravel-walk, or shaven green;

Plann’d by the artist on his desk;

Pictures that are not picturesque.

But I should not perform my duty

Did I relinquish all this beauty;

Nor snatch, from this expansive view,

Some pretty little scene or two.

“The cot that’s all bewhiten’d o’er,

With children playing at the door;

A peasant hanging o’er the hatch,

And the vine mantling on the thatch;


While the thick coppice, down the hill,

Throws its green umbrage o’er the rill,

Whose stream drives on the busy mill,

In pleasing group their forms combine,

And suit a pencil such as mine.



Nor shall I miss the branchy screen

Of those fine elms that hide the green,

O’er which the tap’ring spire is seen.

I’ll add no more—for to my mind,

The scene’s complete—and well design’d.

There are, indeed, who would insert

Those pigs, which wallow in the dirt;

And though I hold a pig is good

Upon a dish, prepar’d for food,

I do not fear to say the brute

Does not my taste in painting suit;


For I most solemnly aver,

That he from genuine taste must err,

Who flouts at grace or character;

And there’s as much in my old wig

As can be found about a pig.

For, to say truth, I don’t inherit

This self-same picturesquish spirit,

That looks to nought but what is rough,

And ne’er thinks Nature coarse enough.

Their system does my genius shock,

Who see such graces in a dock;

Whose eye the picturesque admires

In straggling brambles, and in briers;

Nay, can a real beauty see

In a decay’d and rotten tree.

I hate with them the trim of Art;

But from this rule I’ll ne’er depart;

In grandame Nature’s vast collection,

To make a fair and fit selection,

Which, when in happy contrast join’d,

Delights th’ inform’d, well-judging mind.”

But lo! the Farmer, at the gate,

Proclaim’d aloud, the hour of eight;


And Syntax now in haste descends

To join his kind, expecting friends.

“Well,” said his Host, “another day

I trust your Reverence will stay.”

“I thank you for the offer made,

But that can’t be,” the Doctor said;

“I have a weary way to go,

And much to see, and more to know;

Indeed so far I’ve got to roam,

A fortnight scarce will take me home;

And thanking you for all your care,

I must beg leave to seek my mare.”

Grizzle was quickly to be found;

And, as the good folks stood around,

Syntax thought proper to discourse

Upon the Virtues of his horse;

Nor did he fail at large to tell

That she had serv’d him passing well,

While he forgot not to bewail

Her loss of ears and loss of tail.

For though, among the passing folk,

His beast created many a joke,

And though the foul and sad disaster

Oft forc’d a laugh against the master,

They should not part while he was able

To keep himself and keep a stable;

Nay, to the last he’d cut and carve,

That his poor Grizzle might not starve.

Thus, as his hist’ry he recounted,

Into the saddle up he mounted,

And there for sometime having sat,

He clos’d at length his farewell chat.

He thought it best t’ avoid caressing;

So gave no kiss, but gave his blessing.


—On home, on book, on fame, intent,

The Doctor ponder’d as he went:

At night he look’d his papers o’er,

And added to the learned store:

But the next morn, another scene,

The vast expanse of liquid green,

The ocean’s self—broke on his eye,

In inexpressive majesty.

There, as he look’d, full many a sail

Gave its white canvas to the gale,

And many a freighted vessel bore

Its treasure to the British shore.

When, as he trac’d the winding coast,

In praise and admiration lost,

Up-rising in the distant view,

Half-seen through the ethereal blue,

A city’s stately form appear’d;

Upon the shore the mass was rear’d,

With glistening spires, while below

Masts like a forest seem’d to grow.

’Twas Liverpool, that splendid mart,

Imperial London’s counterpart,

Where wand’ring Mersey’s rapid streams

Rival the honours of the Thames,

And bear on each returning tide,

Whate’er by commerce is supplied,

Whate’er the winds can hurry o’er

From ev’ry clime and distant shore.

Thus Syntax pac’d along the strand,

Through this fine scene of sea and land:

But nearer now the town appears,

The hum of men salutes his ears;

And soon, amid the noisy din,

He found the comforts of an Inn.

He ate, he drank, his pipe he smok’d,

And with the Landlord quaintly jok’d;


But ere he slept, he pass’d an hour

In adding something to his Tour;

Then sought his couch, in hopes the morn

Would with new thoughts the page adorn.

The morning came—he sallied out

To breathe the air, and look about.

Where’er he turn’d, his ev’ry sense

Grasp’d one vast scene of opulence;

In all he saw there was display’d

The proud magnificence of trade.

Syntax an humble scholar bred,

With nought but learning in his head:

Profound, indeed, in classic art,

And goodness reigning in his heart,

Yet forty pounds a year was all

He could his fix’d revenue call;

For which on ev’ry Sabbath-day,

He went eight miles to preach and pray.

His school, too, brought but little gains,

And scarce repaid him for his pains;

It gave, ’tis true, to drink and eat,

It furnish’d him with bread and meat,

And kept the wolf without the door,

But Syntax still was very poor.

His wife, indeed, had got the art,

To keep herself a little smart,

Yet he, good man, was always seen

With scanty coat and figure mean;

Though still he never threw aside

The pedant’s air—the pedant’s pride.

Thus, through the streets of this rich place,

He strutted with his usual grace;

And thus he walk’d about the town,

As if its wealth had been his own:


But of his wealth he could not vapour—

Twelve guineas and a piece of paper

(The present of a noble Lord,)

Was all his pockets did afford:

Though still the lining of his coat

Secreted ’Squire Hearty’s note.

And now he thought ’twould not be rash

To turn the paper into cash.

Thus, at his breakfast, while he sat,

And social join’d the common chat,

He took occasion to enquire

Who would comply with his desire,

Who would his anxious wish fulfil,

And give him money for his bill.

An arch young sprig, a banker’s clerk,

Resolv’d to hoax the rev’rend spark,

And counsell’d him to take a range

Among the Merchants on the ’Change.

“Some one, perhaps, may want to send

A payment to a London friend;

He’ll in your wishes gladly join,

And take the draft and pay the coin.”

The Barber now the Doctor shear’d,

And soon whipp’d off his three-days’ beard,

His wig, which had not felt a comb,

Not once, since he had quitted home,

Was destin’d now, with friz and twirl,

To be tormented into curl:

His coat, which long had ta’en the rust,

Was soon depriv’d of all its dust;

His gaiters too, were fresh japann’d;

Such were the Doctor’s stern command;

And now with spirits fresh and gay,

To the Exchange he took his way,


To try in this commercial town

A little commerce of his own.

Th’ Exchange soon met his wond’ring sight;

The structure fill’d him with delight.

“Such are the fruits of trading knowledge!

Learning,” he cried, “builds no such college!

Indeed, I entertain a notion,

(I speak the thought with true devotion,)

Though we in Holy Scripture read

That Tyre and Sidon did exceed

In wealth, the cities of the world,

Where ships their wand’ring sails unfurl’d,

That e’en her merchants bore the bell

In eating and in drinking well;

Were richer than the lordly great,

And vy’d with princes in their state;


Yet, with all their power and rule,

I think that they ne’er went to school

In such a ’Change as Liverpool.”

Dr. Syntax in the middle of a large crowd

Dr. Syntax at Liverpool.

He enter’d now—and heard within

The crowded mart—a buzzing din,

A sound confus’d, the serenade

Of ardent gain, and busy trade:

At length his penetrating eye

Was thrown about him, to descry

Some one in whose sleek, smiling face

He could the lines of kindness trace:

And soon a person he address’d,

Whose paunch projected from his breast;

Who looking with good-humour fraught,

Appear’d the very man he sought;

When, with an unassuming grace,

To him he thus disclos’d his case.

“You will this paper, Sir, peruse;

And then, perhaps, you’ll not refuse


The favour which I ask to grant,

And give the money that I want;

The draft is good—and, on my word,

It was a present from a Lord.”


“That may be true: but Lords, I fear,

Will meet but little credit here:

’Tis a fair draft upon the view—

Yes! he’s a Lord—but who are you?”


“Look, and an honest man you’ll see,

A Doctor in Divinity,

Whose word’s his bond; nor e’er was known

To do a deed he would not own.”


“I’ve nought to say—all this may be—

But have you no security?

Pray, Doctor, can’t you find a friend

To answer for what you pretend?”


“No, I have none!—I am not known

Within the precincts of this town.”


“And do you come to Liverpool

To find a poor good-natur’d fool?

With all your learning and your worth,

Pray have you travell’d so far north,

To think we have so little wit,

As by such biters to be bit?

To learning we make no pretence:

But, Doctor, we have common sense.



For learned men we do not seek:

And if I may with freedom speak,

I take you for a very Greek.”


“To know the Greek I do profess—

’Tis my delight and happiness;


And Homer’s page I oft have read,

Through the long night, with aching head,

When my wife wanted me in bed.”


“Then go to Homer, if you will,

And see if he’ll discount your bill.

But the clock strikes.—Good-bye, old Sinner!

’Tis time for me to go to dinner.”

“You want the monies!” said another,

A bearded, Israelitish brother.

“’Tis a suspected bill, I find;

But you look poor, and I am kind.

Well, we must take the chance of trade;

For twenty pounds the draft is made;

It is too much, as I’m alive,

But give it me—and, here, take five.”

“Patience, good Heaven!” the Doctor said;

“Is this the boast and pride of trade!—

Each man, they do not know, to treat

As an incorrigible cheat;

And, when he does his want prefer

To play the base extortioner?

Commerce, I envy not thy gains,

Thy hard-earn’d wealth, thy golden pains,

(For that’s hard-earn’d, though gain’d with ease,

Where Honour’s sacred functions cease.)


The dangers which thy vot’ries run,

Or to undo, or be undone;

Whose hungry maws are daily bent

On the fine feast of cent. per cent.;

Whose virtue, talents, knowledge, health,

Are all combin’d in that word—wealth.

’Tis a proud scene of money’d strife

Forms this magnificence of life;

But poor and rich, with all they have,

Will find at length a common grave.

Continue, bounteous Heav’n! to me,

A feeling heart, and poverty.

These wights despise me, ’cause I’m poor!

But yet the wretched seek my door:

I fear no Duns, I’m not in debt,

I tremble not at the Gazette:


’Twould to my profit be, and fame,

Did but its page display my name;

Can these proud merchants say the same?”

More he had said—but now his bell

The Beadle rang aloud, to tell

That the good folks should vanish straight,

As he must shut the pond’rous gate.

But Syntax did not seem to hear—

So the man rang it in his ear.


“I pray, my friend, what’s all this rout

With your fierce bell?”


“To ring you out.”


“I’ve been used to hear the din

Of bells that always rang me in.”



“All I’ve to say, for you to know,

I’ll shut the gate if you don’t go:

I sure shall leave you in the lurch,

For now, good Sir, you’re not at church.”


“Indeed, my friend, you speak most true

I know all that as well as you.

This is no temple; for ’tis clear

I find no money-changers here;

Nor will I say my mind conceives

It may be call’d a den of thieves.

Howe’er I’ll quit these sons of pelf,

And keep my paper to myself;

They shall no more at Syntax scoff;—

Grizzle and I will soon be off.

Thanks to my stars, I’ve got enough

Of that same yellow, useful stuff,

As will my ev’ry want befriend,

And bear me to my journey’s end.

Arriv’d in town, my noble Lord,

Will welcome me to bed and board;

When it will make his Lordship sport,

As I these trading tricks report;

How near I was the being cheated;

And how his ancient name was treated.”



THUS as he spoke, there pass’d along,

Among the crowding, grinning throng,


One who was in full fashion drest,

In coat of blue and corded vest,

And seem’d superior to the rest.

His small-clothes sat so close and tight;

His boots, like jet, were black and bright;

While the gilt spur, well-arm’d with steel,

Was seen to shine on either heel.

Loaded with seals, and all bespangled,

A watch-chain from his pocket dangled;

His hat a smiling face o’erspread,

And almost hid his well-cropp’d head:

He swung his whip about to greet

His friends who hurried through the street:

When as he pass’d, all big with rage

Syntax appear’d upon the stage,

And still continued talking loud

For the amusement of the crowd.

The well-dress’d man now stopp’d, to know

What work’d the angry Doctor so;

And, in a pleasant friendly way,

Demanded where his grievance lay;

When, Syntax bowing, on they walk’d,

And thus the social strangers talk’d.



“These traders, Sir, I can’t admire:

You, I presume, Sir, are a ’Squire.”

Mr. ————.

“I have (and here there pass’d an oath),

To say the truth, a slice of both:

For now you have within your view

A trader and a ’Squire too.

Here I can some importance claim,

And —— —— is my well known name,

Nay, there are few within this town

Of more substantial renown.

My house of trade is in this street;

A few miles off my country seat:

Where I most frequently reside

’Mid all the charms of rural pride;

And I’ll be ———— if e’er you see

A lord who better lives than me.”


“Fie, fie, good Sir, I cannot bear

To hear a fellow-Christian swear;

You must well know such profanation

Is a foul trick in ev’ry station;

And will draw down celestial ire,

Or on a trader, or a ’Squire:

Nay, ’tis the duty of my cloth,

Whene’er I hear, to check an oath.

I’m a poor Parson—very poor—

I keep a school, and hold a cure;

But when I’m in the parish church,

Or when at home I wield the birch,

I know the dignities that wait

Upon the power or either state;


I keep them always in my view—

Aye, Sir, and I maintain them too:

Nay, in your ’Change, where riches reign,

I did that dignity maintain;

In that proud place, where, I am told,

There sometimes pour down showers of gold;

But not like that we read of Jove,

For that, you know, was pour’d for love;

And nothing like it did I see;

No love, nor e’en civility:

I only ask’d a common grace,

When the man mock’d me to my face:

Had I an arrant swindler been,

He could not with more scornful mien

Have my polite proposal greeted:

Indeed, I was most foully treated;

And by a dolt was made a joke

Among the rude, surrounding folk.


Thus was I work’d into a stew,

By Turk, by Gentile, and by Jew:

How bless’d am I to meet with you!

For know, Sir, I’ve the art to scan

The well-bred, finish’d gentleman;

And, therefore, I shall lay before you

Some items of my honest story.

The object of the Tour I make

Is chiefly for the profit sake;

At the same time, I trust, my name

May find some literary fame:

You, if you please, may take a look

At what I’ve finish’d of my Book:

A noble Peer doth condescend

To be my patron, and my friend;

I saw him late in York’s fair county,

And was the object of his bounty.


This draft, with most becoming grace,

The smile of goodness in his face,

He soft convey’d unto my touch,—

He said, indeed, it was not much;

But, could I visit him in town,

He’d make his further friendship known:

And here, alas! I was so rash

To try to get it chang’d for cash;

For which, myself and this great Peer,

Of these rude raffs, became the jeer.

Permit me, Sir, to show the paper

That made these purse-proud tradesmen vapour;

To its full value you’ll accord;—

Perhaps, Sir, you may know my Lord.”

Mr. ————.

“I know him well,—’tis his hand-writing—

It is his Lordship’s own inditing:

I’ll give the coin;—Why, blood and ’ounds;

I wish ’twere for five hundred pounds!

He is a Lord of great discerning;

His friendship proves your store of learning;

He’s not more known for ancient birth,

Than for the charm of private worth;

For all that elegance and grace

Which decorate a noble race:

Come here with me, and you shall find

At least one trader to your mind.”

Syntax now smooth’d his angry look,

And straight prepared to show his Book.

In a fine room he soon was seated;

With all attention he was treated;

And while they at their luncheon sat,

Ten minutes pass’d in friendly chat.


At length the bus’ness was arrang’d;

The deed was done,—the draft was chang’d;

And, as the Doctor plac’d his note

In a small pouch within his coat,


“There,” said the ’Squire, “there’s another;

I’ve match’d it with its very brother,

The Bank of England is their mother;

And when they’re offer’d to her eye,

She’ll own them as her progeny.

So tell my Lord, that I, for one,

Am proud to do as he has done:

Nor is this all, my learned friend;

Here our acquaintance must not end:

My phaeton and servants wait,

All in due order at the gate:

So you shall go along and see

My rural hospitality.

For a few days we will contrive

To keep our spirits all alive:

I’ll send a groom to fetch your mare,

So laugh at thought and banish care.”

Thus off they went—and four-in-hand,

Dash’d briskly tow’rds the promis’d land:

Syntax first told his simple story,

And then the ’Squire detail’d his glory.

Mr. ————

“Now we’re away in chaise-and-four,

I am a Merchant, Sir, no more,

At least, whene’er I thus retire,

To flourish as a country ’Squire;

And you will see how I prepare

An opiate for mercantile care.

In learned labours some proceed,

But I prefer the racing steed:


Some to Ambitions heights ascend;

I to the Racing-course attend:

In study, I ne’er wander far;

Mine is the Racing-Calendar,


While with keen eye the Heralds see

The long-trac’d line of ancestry,

Give me a Horse’s pedigree.

Others some pow’rful station boast;

But let me gain the winning-post.

It may be sweet with babes to play,

But I prefer the Filly’s neigh.

You talk of men of wit and parts,

Of the deep sciences and arts;

Give me the science that will teach

The knowing one to over-reach:

And, as for pictures and such things,

Which Taste from foreign countries brings;

A brood-mare, in maternal pride,

With a colt trotting by her side,

Is to my eye more pleasing far

Than Hero in triumphant car,

Or sea-born Venus weeping o’er

Adonis, wounded by a boar.”


“These points, good Sir, I can’t discuss:

I know no steed but Pegasus.”

Mr. ————

“Cut off his wings,—I’ve got a horse

Shall run him o’er the Beacon Course;

And, though Apollo should bestride him,

I’ll back my horse—for I will ride him.”

Thus as he spoke, a row of trees,

Which a full age had felt the breeze,


And half that time, at least, had made

A long cathedral aisle of shade,

Appear’d in view, and mark’d the road

Which led to this brave ’Squire’s abode,

Whose stately chambers soon possest

The Doctor as a welcome guest.

The dinner came—a sumptuous treat;

Nor did the Parson fail to eat

In the same way he us’d to do—

As much as any other two.

The cakes he munch’d—the wine he quaff’d,

His tale he told—the Ladies laugh’d;

And thus the merry moments pass’d,

Till cap and slippers came at last.

At length his balmy slumbers o’er,

Morn smil’d, as it had smil’d before,

And as, without our care or pain,

It will not fail to smile again;

When Syntax, having prov’d as able

At breakfast, as at dinner table,

Begg’d leave, with due respect, to say

He must pursue his anxious way.

“Well,” said the ’Squire, “before you go,

I shall my stud of racers show.”

So off they went;—from stall to stall

He show’d the steeds, and nam’d them all;

Describ’d their beauty and their birth;

Their well-earn’d fame and golden worth;

The various feats they all had done,

With plates which they had lost and won.

At length the astonish’d ’Squire saw

Poor Grizzle to her girths in straw.

“That, Sir,” said Syntax, “is my steed;

But though I can’t detail her breed,

I sure can tell what she has won—

Those scars by Frenchman’s sabre done.


I cannot brag what she has cost;

But you may see what she has lost.”

“Where,” said the ’Squire, “are her ears?”

Quoth Syntax, “You must ask the shears;

And now, perhaps, her switchy tail

Hangs on a barn-door, from a nail!”

The Doctor then began to state

Poor Grizzle’s character and fate.

“Who was her dam, or who her sire,

I care not,” says the merry ’Squire:

“But well I know, and you shall see,

Who will her noble husband be;

Yon fam’d grey horse, of Arab birth,

A princely Steed, of nameless worth.”


“The match is very grand indeed,”

Says Syntax, “but it won’t succeed;

Our household is not form’d to breed.

My dearest Dorothy and I

Have never had a progeny:

Our fortune has more wisely carv’d;

Had she borne babes they must have starv’d:

What should we do with such dear elves,

Who scarce know how to keep ourselves!”


“I’ll hear no more,” the ’Squire replied;

“The scheme shall be this moment tried,

Grizzle shall be young Match’em’s bride.

You are a very worthy man,

And may the depths of learning scan;

But in these things you’re quite a dolt;

You’ll get a hundred for the colt.

I’ll have my whim—it shall be carried:”—

So Grizzle was that morning married.

And now the ’Squire invites the stay

Of Syntax for another day.


“Your mare,” he said, “we’ll onward send,

Ty’d to the London waggon’s end;

When she’s got forty miles, or more,

We’ll follow in a chaise-and-four:

At the Dun Cow, upon the road,

Grizzle shall safely be bestow’d;

And there, my friend, or soon or late,

Her master’s coming may await:

You’ll neither lose nor time nor space—

Your way I’m going to a race,

Where I’ve a famous horse to run;

And if you do not like the fun,


Why you may then proceed to town

With my best wishes that renown

And profit may your labours crown.

To-morrow by the close of day,

We shall find Grizzle on the way.”

“Just as you please,” the Doctor said;

“Your kind commands shall be obey’d:

I think myself supremely bless’d

By noble minds to be caress’d:

The kind protection you impart

Pours oil of gladness on my heart.”

The Ladies now desir’d to see

His journey’s pictur’d history:

The book he show’d, which prov’d a bribe

For those kind fair ones to subscribe;

And, while they felt the gen’rous pleasure

Of adding to his growing treasure,

The ’Squire, to keep the joke alive,

Had bade his stable folk contrive,

Ere the good Doctor’s grizzle-mare

Was yielded to the carrier’s care;

Ere on her voyage she set sail,

To furnish her with ears and tail.


Grizzle was soon a crop no more,

As she had been some weeks before.

Nor was it long before her stump

Felt all the honours of the rump:

And thus equipp’d with specious art,

She pac’d behind the carrier’s cart.

Their breakfast done, the following day,

The ’Squire and Syntax bounc’d away;

And, ere the sun had set at eve,

The Dun Cow did the sage receive;

Where Grizzle, her day’s journey o’er,

Had a short time arriv’d before.

Syntax now felt a strong desire,

To smoke his pipe by kitchen fire,

Where many a country neighbour sat,

Nor did he fail to join the chat;

When, having supp’d and drunk his ale,

And silence seeming to prevail,

He slowly from his pocket took,

His travelling memorandum book;

And, as he turn’d the pages o’er,

Revolving on their curious lore,

Th’ exciseman, a right village sage,

(For he could cast accounts and gage,)

Spoke for the rest—who would be proud

To hear his Rev’rence read aloud.

He bow’d assent, and straight began

To state what beauty is in man;

Or on the surface of the earth,

Or what finds, in its entrails, birth;

With all things in their due degrees,

That live in air, or love the seas;

In all the trees and plants that grow,

In all the various flowers that blow;


Of all things in the realms of nature,

Or senseless forms, or living creature;

In short, he thus profess’d to show,

Through all the vast expanse below,

From what concenter’d state of things

The varying form of beauty springs.

But, as he read, though full of grace,

Though strong expression mark’d his face,

Though his feet struck the sounding floor,

And his voice thunder’d through the door,

Each hearer, as th’ infection crept

O’er the numb’d sense, unconscious slept!

One dropp’d his pipe—another snor’d,

His bed of down an oaken board;

The cobbler yawn’d, then sunk to rest,

His chin reclining on his breast:

All slept at length but Tom and Sue,

For they had something else to do.

Syntax heard nought; the enraptur’d elf

Saw and heard nothing but himself:

But, when a swineherd’s bugle sounded,

The Doctor then, amaz’d—confounded,

Beheld the death-like scene about him;

And, thinking it was form’d to flout him,

He frown’d disdain—then struck his head,

Caught up a light, and rush’d to bed.

Dr. Syntax in public room of inn, reading from his book

Dr. Syntax reading his Tour.



SLEEP, to the virtuous ever kind,

Soon hush’d the Doctor’s turbid mind,

And, when the morning shed its dew,

He ’rose his journey to pursue.

Of tea and toast he took his fill,

Then told the Host to bring the bill;

But when it came, it made him stare

To see some curious items there!

“Go tell your Ostler to appear;

I wish to see the fellow here.”

The Ostler now before him stands,

Then bows his head, and rubs his hands.—

“In this same bill, my friend, I see

You’re witty on my mare and me:

For all your corn, and beans, and hay,

’Tis a fair charge which I shall pay;

But here a strange demand appears—

For cleaning of her tail and ears!


Now know, my lad, if this is done

On me to play your vulgar fun,

(For ears and tail my mare has none,)

I’ll make this angry horse-whip crack

In all directions on your back.”

The man deny’d an ill intent;

He knew not what his Rev’rence meant:

So thought it best to say no more,

But bring up Grizzle to the door.


Of painted canvas were her ears;

Upon her stump a tail appears;

So chang’d she was, so gay, so smart,

Deck’d out with so much curious art,

That even Syntax hardly dare

To claim his metamorphos’d mare.

He said no more—but kenn’d the joke

Was not the sport of vulgar folk;

So trotted off—and kindly lent

His smile to aid the merriment.

Now, as his journey he pursu’d,

He thus broke forth in solemn mood!

“Though time draws on when those at home

Expect that I should cease to roam,

(Though I have objects in my view

Which are of great importance too,)

Yet, as this is the day of rest

Appointed both for man and beast,

To the first church I will repair,

And pay my solemn duties there.”

Thus as he spoke, a village chime

Denoted it was service time:


And soon a ruddy Curate came,

To whom he gravely told his name,

His rank, and literary fame;

And said, as he’d been us’d to teaching,

He’d give him half an hour’s preaching.

This was accepted with a smile,

And they both strutted up the aisle;

When, in due time, and with due grace,

Syntax display’d his preaching face.

And in grave tones, though somewhat hoarse,

He gave the following discourse.


Dr. Syntax preaching in church

Syntax Preaching.

“The subject I shall now rehearse,

Is JOB the fifth,—the seventh verse.

“‘As sparks rise upwards to the sky,

So man is born to misery.

“This is a truth we all can tell;

In ev’ry state we know it well.

The infant in his cradle lies,

And marks his trouble as he cries;

From his young eyes the waters flow

The emblems of his future woe:

His cheeks the varying scenes display

That mark a changeful April day:

Symbols of joy and hope appear,

And now a smile, and then a tear.

The years of puling childhood o’er,

The nurse’s care he knows no more:

To Learning’s discipline assign’d,

The Tutor forms his early mind;

And hopes and fears alternate rise

In all their strange varieties.

How oft, disdainful of restraint,

His voice lifts up the loud complaint,

While stern correction’s pow’rful law

Keeps the young urchin-mind in awe,

And some dark cloud for ever low’rs,

To shade his bright and playful hours.

Nor, when fair Reason’s steady ray

Begins to light Life’s early day;

Though the thick mist it instant clears,

It dries not up the source of tears;

Nay, ’tis its office, as we know,

Sometimes to make those tears to flow.

For now the Passions will impart

Their impulse to th’ unconscious heart,


Will mingle in Youth’s ardent hours,

And plant the thorns amid the flow’rs;

While Fancy, in its various guise,

With plumage of a thousand dyes,

Flits round the mind in wanton play,

To bear each serious thought away.

The Pleasures seldom tempt in vain

To join their gay, deluding train;

Courting the easy hearts to stray

From Reason’s path and Wisdom’s way:

And oh! how oft the senses cloy

With what is call’d the height of Joy!

While pale Repentance comes at last,

To execrate the Pleasure past!

—At length to finish’d manhood grown,

The world receives him as its own.

Life’s active busy scenes engage

Each moment of maturer age:

Here Pleasure courts him to her bow’rs,

Where serpents lurk beneath the flow’rs.


—Ambition tempts him to explore

The height where daring spirits soar,

While Wealth presents the glitt’ring ore,

Which mingles in each mortal plan,

And is the great concern of man.

—Thus Pleasure, Wealth, or love of pow’r,

Employ man’s short or lengthen’d hour.

“In youth or manhood’s early day,

Pleasure first meets him on the way.

The Siren sings, his eager ear

Drinks in the sound so sweet to hear;

To the delicious song a slave,

He leaves his vessel to the wave:

The helm forsaken, on it goes,

The lightnings flash, the whirlwind blows;


When, by the furious tempest toss’d,

The gay, the gilded bark is lost!

But should he, ’mid the ocean’s roar,

Be cast upon some distant shore;

Then wand’ring on the lonely coast,

He sighs to think what he has lost;

Health, ease, and ev’ry joy that heav’n

Had to his early wishes given.


Life still is his—but life alone

Cannot for follies past atone,

When Pain assails, and Hope is flown.

He feels no more the sunny rays,

Of smiling hours and prosp’rous days:

The world turns from him, nor will know

The man of sorrow and of woe;

But bids him to some cell repair,

In hope to find Contrition there.

“Nor is Ambition more secure,

Nor less the ills which they endure

Within whose breast is seen to dwell

The vice by which the Angels fell.

The love of rule, the thirst of pow’r,

Ne’er give a peaceful, tranquil hour;

’Tis the fierce fever of the soul

That maddens for supreme controul;

Whose burning thirst continual grows;

Whose pride no lasting pleasure knows;

While Hatred, Envy, jealous Fear,

Wait on the proud and bold career.

Contention ev’ry act attends;

Now friends are foes—now foes are friends:

Enjoyment quickens new desire,

And Hope for ever fans the fire.

Whene’er the nearer height is gain’d,

A loftier still must be attain’d;


And then the eye looks keenly round

In hope another’s to be found;

One—such is the aspiring soul—

Whose tow’ring height shall crown the whole.

But oft, as the aspirant gains

The object of his toil and pains,

The giddy view each sense appals—

In vain for some kind help he calls;

The faithless friend, th’ insulting foe,

Rejoice as to the gulf below

He headlong falls—a prey to lie

Of grinning Scorn and Infamy.

“Now Riches next demand our thought:

But gold may be too dearly bought,

As in each clime and ev’ry soil,

It wakes the universal toil.

For this, defying health and ease,

The Sailor ploughs the distant seas:

This shares the Soldier’s daring aim,

Who fights for wealth as well as fame:

But, though all wish its pow’r to wear,

It proves the source of many a care.

—Of all the vices that infest

The purlieus of the human breast,

The love of Mammon is the worst,

The most detested and accurst.

Pleasure’s gay moments may impart

Some gladness to the human heart;

Ambition, too, we often find

The inmate of a noble mind;

But love of riches ever bears

The token of the lowest cares.

We see one base unvarying vice

In the pale form of Avarice:


It only lifts its pray’r to Heav’n

T’ encrease the store already given;

Nor does it e’er the gift repay,

By shedding one kind cheering ray

Upon the weather-beaten shed,

Where Want scarce finds the scanty bread,

By wiping from the widow’s eye

The flowing tears of misery;

Or giving to the naked form

The vestment that will keep it warm.

For gold it courts the sleepless night,

And toils through day’s returning light:

Nor these alone;—the cool deceit—

The treach’rous heart—the hidden cheat—

The ready lie—the hard demand—

And Law’s oppressive griping hand;

These dæmons never fail to wait

At Mammon’s dark and dreary gate.

What does he love! can it be told?

Yes, I can tell:—he loves his gold:

In that one term he comprehends

His kindred, neighbourhood, and friends.

But e’en should Fortune daily pour

Her treasures to encrease his store,

Say, is he happy?—Does he feel

A pleasure which he dare reveal?

Ah, no!—his throbbing anxious breast

Continued doubts and fears molest.

See how he trembles with affright

When Justice claims the widow’s right,

And bids him at the bar appear,

To answer to the Orphan’s tear,

By restoration to atone

For many a wrong that he has done!

Nay, a still far severer doom

May aggravate the time to come:


The scourge without, the scourge within

May lash the unavailing sin;

And, after all his toil and care,

’Tis well if he escape Despair.

“But e’en when Pleasure is not cross’d

With ruin’d health and fortune lost,

Yet still it leaves a void behind—

And dulness stupefies the mind.

The season of enjoyment o’er,

The phantom then can please no more:

Brief is its time, it soon is past;

A vernal bloom not made to last.

Say, what presents its longest doom?

A flower, a fever, and a tomb!

“What, though Ambition holds its pow’r

To Life’s extreme, but certain hour,

Is not its most exalted joy

Encumber’d with some base alloy?

And, on its proudest, loftiest height,

Say, does it always find delight?

Say, could it ever guard its heart

From Fear’s assault, and Envy’s dart!

It cannot shut th’ averted eye

From passing life’s mortality:

E’en from its most aspiring brow,

It must behold a grave below.

“Though Wealth should haply be attain’d

By fair pursuits, with honour gain’d,

Yet in its train how oft we see

The pallid forms of misery.

Intemp’rance yields its foul delight

And feeds the obnoxious appetite;


While Luxury in a thousand ways,

To sensual carelessness betrays,

And lights up in the mortal frame

Disease’s slow-corroding flame.

Fortune in fickle mood may frown,

The firmest base may tumble down;

While it appears in strength secure,

It falls, and leaves its owner poor.

The largest heaps of treasur’d wealth

Cannot restore declining health;

They cannot bribe the sun to stay,

And mitigate his burning ray;

Nor will the North’s imperious cold

Dissolve to genial warmth for gold:

Time will not one short moment stay,

Though millions lay athwart his way;

Nor all the wealth that Crœsus bore

Can add to Life one moment more.

The regal palace and the cot

Are subject to one common lot;

The rich and poor, the small and great,

Alike must feel the stroke of fate:

Virtue alone, we ought to know,

Is real happiness below;

And yet how oft her kindness proves,

By toil and pain, the child she loves.

Honour, of noble minds the flow’r,

Is oft betray’d by Treachery’s pow’r:

And Charity, we often see,

The dupe of base Hypocrisy.

“Who then will venture to declare

That man’s mistitled sorrow’s heir?


But, Brethren, let us not complain,

That Heaven’s unjust, when we sustain

Th’ allotted term of Care and Pain.


Our life in such a mould is cast,

’Tis plain it is not made to last;

’Tis but a state of trial here,

To fit us for a purer sphere;


A scene of contest for a prize,

That in another region lies,

In better worlds and brighter skies:

Here doom’d a painful lot to bear,

Our Happiness is treasur’d there.

To struggle with the woes of life,

To wage with evil, constant strife;

T’ oppose the Passions as they rise,

And check their wild propensities;

T’ improve our nature, and to bear

With patience, the allotted share

Of human woes—and thus fulfil

The wise and the eternal will,

That forms the grand, mysterious plan

For Mortal and Immortal man.

“Man is, indeed, by Heaven’s decree,

As happy as he ought to be;

As suited to his state and nature,

A restless, frail, and finite creature:

His work well done—his labour o’er—

Evil and sorrow are no more;

And, having pass’d the vale of death,

He claims the never-fading wreath;

Glory’s Eternal Crown to share,

Which Cherubs sing, and Angels wear:

Then is complete th’ amazing plan,

And Mortal is Immortal man.”

Here Syntax thought it fit to close:—

Th’ admiring congregation rose;


And after certain hems and ha’s,

The ’Squire nodded his applause:

Nay, such attention he had given

To the sage Minister of Heaven,

That neither did he sleep nor snore—

A wonder never known before.

Then quickly issuing from his pew,

He came to thank the Doctor too.

“Sir, your discourse so good and fine,

Proves you to be a great Divine,

While I, alas! am but a sinner;

So you’ll go home with me to dinner;

And, shortly after ev’ning pray’r,

The Curate too, will meet you there.”

The Doctor found the house well stor’d;

A chatt’ring wife, and plenteous board:

The dinner was a pleasing sight,

For preaching gets an appetite:

And Syntax could perform them both

As well as any of the cloth.

At length the eatables remov’d,

The ’Squire began the talk he lov’d.


“Have you much game, Sir, where you live?”


“An answer, Sir, I scarce can give:

I never hunt, nor bear a gun;

I have no time, nor like the fun.

Learning’s the game which I pursue:

I have no other sport in view:

But I have heard—the country round

With hares and partridge does abound;

Though on my table it is rare

To see or one or t’other there.


Oft when I rise at early morn,

And hear the cheerful, echoing horn,

I’m forc’d from the inspiring noise,

To hunt a pack of idle boys;

And when they babble, in their din,

I am a special whipper-in:

Nay, if they should be found at fault,

I crack my whip, Sir, as I ought.”

Syntax now told his story o’er,

A story told so oft before;

When soon the ’Squire began to feel

A slumber o’er his senses steal:

The Curate, too, bemus’d in beer,

Was more dispos’d to sleep than hear.

Says Syntax, “See the effect of drink!

Heav’n spare the souls which cannot think!

But I will not their sleep molest;

The Sabbath is a day of rest.”

In short his words no more prevail;

There now were none to hear his tale:

He strove another pipe to smoke,

But there were none to hear his joke:

So on his elbow he reclin’d,

And thus the sleeping party join’d.

—The clock struck ten ere they awoke,

When a shrill voice their slumbers broke;

In such a tone it seem’d to come,

That Syntax thought himself at home:

So, having yawn’d and shook their heads,

They wish’d good-night, and sought their beds.



THE clock struck five when Syntax woke:

The sounding door his slumbers broke:

When a soft female voice related

That breakfast and her master waited:

Up rose the Doctor, down he went,

With joyful look and heart content.

“Well,” said the ’Squire, “I hope you’ll stay

And pass with me another day;

The sporting season’s coming on,

And something now is to be done;

For I must breathe my dogs a bit,

And try my gun at some tom-tit.

You’ll take a stroll around the fields,

And see what game my manor yields.”

Says Syntax, “’Tis not in my power

To pass with you another hour;

While you perform your sporting feats,

I must be tramping London streets:

You, therefore, will my thanks receive,

For now, Sir, I must take my leave.”

The ’Squire reply’d—“All I can say—

Another time a longer stay.”

He then walk’d off with dog and gun,

While Syntax travell’d slowly on;

And, o’er the hill, or on the plain,

Indulg’d the contemplative strain.

“I cannot, while I Nature view,

Cloth’d in her robe of verdant hue,


Or when the changeful veil is thrown,

Of Summer’s gold or Autumn’s brown,

Or midst the scenes of snow and frost,

When her gay colouring is lost;

I cannot but the Pow’r admire

That gives such charms to her attire:

Nor do her wond’rous shapes, that rise

In countless forms to meet the eyes,

Mark with less force th’ unerring soul,

Which with such beauty decks the whole.

The mountain’s top that seems to meet

The height of Heaven’s Imperial seat;

The rocks, the valley’s guardian pride,

Or bound’ries of the ocean’s tide,

That oft, in grand confusion hurl’d,

Seem like the fragments of a world;

While the low hill and vale between,

Appear to variegate the scene.

But lesser forms invite to trace

Fair Nature’s ever-varying face:

The humble shrub, the spreading tree,

In this same principle agree.

Along the ground the brambles crawl,

And the low hyssop tops the wall;

The bulrush rises from the sedge,

The wild-rose blossoms in the hedge;

While flowers of ev’ry colour shed

A fragrance from their native bed.

The streamlet, winding through the glade,

The hanging wood, the forest shade;

The river’s bold and flowing wave,

Doth many a peopled margin lave,

Till, with increasing course, ’tis seen

To blend its white waves with the green.

Nor these alone;—how various they

Who cleave the air, or skim the sea,


Or range the plain or, from the brow,

Look down upon the vale below!

The cygnet’s snow, the peacock’s dyes,

The pigeon’s neck, the eagle’s eyes;

Nor in less beauty do they rove,

Who form the music of the grove.

The elephant’s resistless force;

The strength and spirit of the horse;

The ermine’s softness, and the boar,

With rising bristles cover’d o’er.

Thus, throughout Nature’s various state,

Of living or inanimate,

In ev’ry diff’rent class we see

How boundless the variety!

What playful change in all we know

Of this mysterious world below;

In all where instinct motion gives,

In what by vegetation lives:

But these are trivial when we look,

Through the first page of Nature’s book,

When, half-inspir’d, we’re taught to scan

The vast varieties of man.”

Thus, in deep metaphysic mood,

Syntax his shorten’d way pursued,

And many a system had been brought

To ripen in his learned thought;

But none arose which did not tend

Poor human nature to befriend;

None but were aptly form’d to prove

The firm support of social love.

Thus, all bemus’d he took his way,

Unconscious of the passing day;

And, thus employ’d in cogitating,

No wonder he ne’er thought of baiting;


No wonder that it came to pass

When Grizzle saw a little grass,


That he, contemplating the view

Of knotty questions, never knew

She stopp’d to take a bite or two:

Or, when they pass’d a limpid brook,

That she a plenteous beverage took;

Or if, by chance upon the road,

They found a cart with hay well stow’d,

She lagg’d behind to crop the fare,

And levy contributions there.

But now a Trumpet’s warlike sound

’Woke Syntax from his dream profound;

While Grizzle frisk’d, and mov’d on straight,

With many a prancing, to the gate,

Where, in a gorgeous cap of fur,

Stood the proclaiming trumpeter,

With face as the old Lion red

Which dangling hung above his head.

“Oh!” he exclaim’d, “I now could swear

I see again the grizzle mare;

I know her well by that same scar

Which she got with me in the war;

For she received that angry hack

While I was sounding on her back;

A furious Hussar onward came,

And struck at me but miss’d his aim;

When my poor mare receiv’d the blow,

And strait the blood began to flow;


Nay, the same sword had crack’d my crown,

But my brave comrade Stephen Brown,

Came up and cut the Frenchman down.

I have been borne by that same grey

Through many a rough and bloody day:


Her ears well know the martial strain;—

I’m glad to see her once again.”

“That well may be;—but for her ears—

A wicked clown’s infernal shears

Have robb’d her,” Syntax smiling said,

“Of the fair honours of her head;

Nor did one tender thought prevail,

From the same fate to save her tail.”

He then proceeded to relate

Her past mishap and present state;

And ask’d the Trumpeter to share

A flowing bowl and ev’ning fare.

Now Syntax sat and heard the story

The soldier told of England’s glory;

How British columns fought their way,

And drove the foe, and won the day:

How oft he did his breath enlarge,

To call to arms and sound the charge;

But, though he rous’d to many a feat,

He never sounded a retreat.

Still he declaim’d in modest tone—

For England’s glory was his own.

“Oft have I seen in bright array,

(Sure promise of a glorious day)

The martial bands alive to meet

Their foes, and lay them at their feet;

And, when my breathing trumpet told ’em

To go and conquer—to behold ’em,

At once their beaming blades display,

And rush on their victorious way,

I felt the inexpressive joy

Which grim-fac’d danger could not cloy.


If that same Grizzle Steed you rode

Could speak, she’d tell the ground she trod

Was oft, alas! all cover’d o’er

With soldiers slain and clotted gore.

Full many a hair-breadth ’scape I’ve seen;

In many a peril I have been;

And soon again the time may come,

When, order’d from our native home,

We shall seek foreign climes, to share

The dangers and the din of war;

So be it, I’m prepar’d to go,

Wherever I may meet the foe;

And should it be my lot to die,

I have no wife or babes to cry:

And ’mid what blood-shed I may fall,

There’ll be an end of Thomas Hall.”

Said Syntax, “It is well, my friend,

To be prepar’d to meet our end:

To do that well, I’m call’d to preach;

’Tis a prime duty which I teach;

But thoughts of a far diff’rent kind

Just now employ my anxious mind:

The present busy hours must claim

Attention to my purse and fame:

And, as I think ’twould prove a joke

To show my mare to London folk,

It has just come into my mind

To leave poor Grizzle here behind,

And let some stage or mail convey

My bags and me my onward way.

Perhaps, for old acquaintance sake,

Of my poor beast the care you’ll take.”

“If so,”—the trumpeter replied—

“’Twill be my honour and my pride.


God bless your Rev’rence,—never fear—

Your mare shall have protection here;

When you return her looks will tell

That her Old Friend has us’d her well.”

A horn now told the near approach

Of some convenient, rapid coach;

And soon a vehicle and four

Appear’d at the Red Lion door:

Into his place the Doctor pounc’d;

The coachman smack’d, and off they bounc’d.

The scene around was quite composing,

For his companions all were dozing;

So he, forsooth, conceiv’d it best

To close his lids and try to rest.

When the morn dawn’d he turn’d an eye

Upon his slumb’ring company:

A red-fac’d man, who snor’d and snorted,

A lady, with both eyes distorted,

And a young miss of pleasing mien,

With all the life of gay sixteen.


A sudden jolt their slumbers broke;

They started all, and all awoke;

When Surly-boots yawn’d wide, and spoke.

“We move,” said he, “confounded slow:”

“La, Sir,” cried miss, “how fast we go!”

While madam, with a smirking face,

Declar’d it was a middling pace.

“Pray, what think you, Sir?”—“I agree,”

Said simp’ring Syntax, “with all three:

Up hill, our course is rather slow;

Down hill, how merrily we go!

But when ’tis neither up nor down,

It is a middling pace I own.”

“O la!” cried miss, “the thought’s so pretty!”

“O yes!” growl’d Red-face, “very witty!”


The lady said, “If I can scan

The temper of the gentleman,

He’s one of those, I have no doubt,

Who loves to let his humour out;

Nor fails his thread-bare wit to play

On all who come within his way:

But we who in these stages roam,

And leave our coach-and-four at home,

Deserve our lot when thus we talk

With those who were ordain’d to walk!

And now, my niece, you see how wrong

It is to use your flippant tongue,

And chatter as you’re apt to do

With any one—the Lord knows who.”

Surly turn’d round, and friendly sleep

Soon o’er his senses ’gan to creep!

So Syntax thought he’d overlook

The embryo of his future Book:

Thus all was silence till they came

To the great town we London name.

Our sage thought wisely that the din,

Which he should hear about an Inn,

Would not assist his studious hours,

Nor aid his intellectual powers,

To make his volume fit to show

The Dons of Paternoster Row;

And as his Patron of the North,

That Lord renown’d for sense and worth,

Had bid him make his house his home

Whenever he to town should come,

He was resolved to try his fate

In knocking at his Lordship’s gate.

At that same gate he soon appear’d;

My Lord, with smiles the Doctor cheer’d.


“You have done well, my learned friend,

Hither your early steps to bend;

Bus’ness has brought me up to town,

And thus you find me all alone:

Here pitch your tent and pass your hour

In working up your pleasant Tour;

And, when ’tis done I’ll aid your scheme—

It shall not prove an idle dream.”

Syntax receiv’d his Lordship’s grace

With moisten’d eye, but smiling face,

And for ten days, at morn and night,

He toil’d to bring his book to light;

While the few intervening hours

Were render’d gay with wine and flow’rs.1


Huc vina et unguenta et nimium breves

Flores amœnæ ferre jube rosæ.—Hor.

My Lord, by gen’rous friendship mov’d,

Now read his Volume, and approv’d.

“Think not,” said he, “I fondly give

Opinions, tending to deceive:


That I’m sincere, my friend, you’ll see,

When I declare that you are free

To dedicate your Book to me:

Nor is this all—I’ll recommend

My very pleasant, learned friend

To one who has as lib’ral feeling

As any in this kind of dealing:

And when my letter you present,

He’ll take the work, and give content.

Thus, my good Sir, I’ve done my best:

You’ll see him and explain the rest.”

The Doctor now received his papers

In spirits almost to cut capers;



Nor did he then delay to go,

Not to the realms of sight and show,

But those of Paternoster Row.


The shop he entered;—all around

He saw the shelves with volumes crown’d,

In Russia and Morocco bound:

And when he had, with fond delight,

Glanc’d o’er the literary sight,

“Go, call your master,” Syntax said,

“To an attendant on the trade;


Tell him that a D. D. is here:”

The lad then answer’d with a sneer,

“To no D. D. will he appear;

He would not come for all the knowledge

Of Oxford or of Cambridge College:

I cannot go, as I’m a sinner;

I dare not interrupt his dinner:

You know not how I should be blam’d!”

Stamping his foot, Syntax exclaim’d,

“Apollo and the Muses nine!

Must Learning wait while Tradesmen dine?”

“They’re common hacks,” reply’d the boy;

“We never such as those employ;

I’ve heard their names, but this I know,

They seldom come into the Row.”

The master, who had fill’d his crop

In a smart room behind the shop,

On hearing a loud angry voice,

Came forth to know what caus’d the noise;

And left his wife and bottle too,

To see about this strange to-do.

He was a man whose ample paunch

Was made of beef, and ham, and haunch:

And when he saw the shrivell’d form

Of Syntax, he began to storm.



“I wish to know, Sir, what you mean,

By kicking up, Sir, such a scene?

And who you are, Sir, and your name,

And on what errand here you came?”


“My errand was to bid you look

With care and candour on this Book;

And tell me whether you think fit

To buy, or print, or publish it?

The subject which the work contains

Is Art and Nature’s fair domains;

’Tis form’d the curious to allure;—

In short, good-man, it is a Tour;

With Drawings all from Nature made,

And with no common skill display’d:

Each house, each place, each lake, each tree,

These fingers drew—these eyes did see.”


“A Tour indeed! I’ve had enough

Of Tours and such-like flimsy stuff.

What a fool’s errand you have made,

(I speak the language of the trade,)

To travel all the country o’er,

And write what has been writ before!

We can get Tours—don’t make wry faces,

From those who never saw the places!

I know a man who has the skill

To make you Books of Tours at will;

And from his garret in Moorfields

Can see what ev’ry country yields;

So, if you please, you may retire,

And throw your Book into the fire:


You need not grin, my friend, nor vapour;

I would not buy it for waste paper!”

Dr. Syntax in bookshop

Dr. Syntax & Bookseller.


“Blockhead! and is it thus you treat

The men by whom you drink, and eat?

Do you not know, and must I tell ye,

’Tis they fill out your monstrous belly?

Yes, booby! from such skulls as mine

You lap your soup, and drink your wine,

Without one single ray of sense

But what relates to pounds and pence.

Thus good and evil form the whole—

Heaven gave you wealth, and me a soul:

And I would never be an ass

For all your gold, with all your brass.

When humble Authors come to sue,

(Those very men that pamper you,)

You feel like Jove in all his pride,

With Juno squatting by his side.”


“How dare you, villain, to defame

My dearest wife’s unsully’d name?


Yes, she’s my wife! ten years ago

The parson join’d our hands at Bow,

And she’s the flower of all our Row.

As for Miss Juno, she’s a harlot,

You foul-mouth’d, and malicious varlet!

A prostitute, who is well known

To all the rakes about the town;

First with a footman off she ran,

And now lives with an Alderman.”


“Have done—have done! pray read that letter,

And then I think you’ll treat me better.”



“Sir, had you shown the letter first,

My very belly should have burst

Before I would have said a word

Your learned ears should not have heard;

But, in this world wherein we live,

We must forget, Sir, and forgive.

These little heats will sometimes start

From the most friendly, gen’rous heart.

My Lord speaks highly of your merit,

As of the talents you inherit;

He writes himself supremely well;

His works are charming—for they sell.

I pray you take a glass of wine;

Perhaps, Sir, you have yet to dine:

We now, I fear, have nothing hot:

My dear, put something in the pot;

’Twill soon be done; or tell our Nan

To toss a cutlet in the pan.

His Lordship here expressly says

Your work transcends his utmost praise;

Desires the printing may commence,

And he’ll be bound for the expense.

The book will sell, I have no doubt,

I’ll spare no pains to bring it out:

A work like this must not be stinted,

Two thousand copies shall be printed.

And if you please——


“I cannot stay;

We’ll talk of that another day:

When I came out, I gave my word

To take my dinner with my Lord.”



“Perhaps some other time you’ll come,

When my good Lord may dine from home;

It will be kind, indeed, to share,

Quite as a friend, our humble fare;

In the meantime you may command,

In ev’ry sense, my heart and hand.”

Thus (such are this world’s odds and ends)

Though foes they met—they parted friends.



“WHATE’ER of Genius or of merit

The child of labour may inherit,

They will not, in this mortal state,

Or give him wealth, or make him great,

Unless that strange, capricious dame,

Whom Pagan poets Fortune name,

That unseen, ever active pow’r,

Propitious, aids his toilsome hour.

Throughout my life I’ve struggled hard;

And what has been my lean reward?

What have I gain’d by learned lore,

By deeply reading o’er and o’er

What ev’ry ancient sage has writ,

Renown’d for pure and Attic wit;

Or those rich volumes which dispense

The strains of Roman eloquence?

No fav’ring patrons have I got,

But just enough to boil the pot.

What though by toil and pain, I know

Where ev’ry Hebrew root doth grow,

And can each hidden truth descry

From Genesis to Malachi;

Yet I have never been decreed

To shear the fleeces that I feed:

No, they enrich the idle dunce

Who never saw his flock but once,

And meanly grudges e’en to spare

My pittance for their weekly fare.


Have I made any real friends,

By wasting eyes and candles’ ends?

And though a good musician too,

What did my fiddle ever do?

I sometimes might employ its pow’r

To soothe an over-anxious hour;

But though it with my temper suits,

It never yet could soften brutes.

My sketching-pencil, too, is known

In ev’ry house throughout the town;

For, to replace some horrid scrawl,

My drawings hang on ev’ry wall:

And yet, ’tis true, as I’m a sinner,

They seldom paid me with a dinner.

What, do I get poor boys to teach?

And drive in learning at the breech?

A task, which Lucian says, is given

As the worst punishment from Heaven.

While Fortune’s boobies cut and carve,

I may be said to teach and starve;

Too happy, if, on Christmas-day,

I’ve just enough the duns to pay.


Though sometimes I have almost swore

When, from the threshold of the door,

My poverty repelled the poor;

When the cask, empty’d of its ale,

No more the thirsty could regale.

“At length the lucky moment came

To fill my purse and give me fame!

And, after all my labours past,

Hope bids me look for rest at last.

For scarce had I one prosp’rous hour

Till Fortune bid me Write a Tour.

Oft have I said in words unkind,

That strumpet Fortune’s very blind!


But now I think the wench can see,

Since she’s become so kind to me.

To say the truth, I scarce believe

The favours which I now receive:

In a Lord’s house I take my rest,

A welcome and an honour’d guest:

The favours on my Tour I found

Are by his present kindness crown’d.

I’d heard, indeed, that these same Lords

Were only friendly in their words;

But truth alone my patron moves,

Whose friendship ev’ry promise proves.”

Thus Syntax did his feelings broach,

As he reclin’d within a coach;

For, pond’ring as he pass’d along,

He was sore pummell’d by the throng:

Now by a porter’s package greeted,

Now on the pavement he was seated;

While, deafen’d by a news-boy’s din,

A fruit-girl’s barrow strikes his shin;

And as his cautious course he guides,

The passing elbows punch his sides;

While a cart-wheel, with luckless spirt,

Gives him a taste of London dirt:

At length, to get in safety back,

He sought the comforts of a hack.

His little journey at an end,

The Doctor join’d his noble friend:

Together they in comfort dine,

Then munch’d their cakes, and sipp’d their wine;

When Syntax, briefly, thus display’d

His parley with the man of trade.


“I owe unto your Lordship’s name

My future gains in gold and fame.

My uncomb’d wig,—my suit of black,

Which had grown rusty on my back,

My grizzly visage, pale and thin,

My carcass, nought but bones and skin,

Presented to the Tradesman’s eye

The ghastly form of Poverty:

Nor would he deign to cast a look

Upon the pages of my book;

But, with the fierceness of a Turk,

In sorry terms revil’d my work;

And let loose all his purse-proud spleen

Against a thing he ne’er had seen:

But your kind note, where it was said

That all expenses should be paid,

New-dy’d my coat, new-cock’d my hat,

Powder’d my wig, and made me fat.

His eye now saw me plump and sleek,

With not a wrinkle in my cheek;

And strength, and stateliness, and vigour

Completed my important figure;

While, in my pocket, his keen look

Glanc’d at your Lordship’s pocket-book.

’Twas now—‘I’m sure the work will sell,

And pay the learned author well:’

Then grac’d his shrill and sputt’ring speeches

With pulling up his monstrous breeches;

And made me all the humblest bows

His vast protuberance allows:

For, had he come with purse in hand,

E’en Satan might his press command;

So that the book had not a flaw

To risk the dangers of the law.

Prove but his gains—and he’d be civil,

Or to the Doctor or the Devil.”


Thus Syntax and his patron sat,

And thus prolong’d the ev’ning chat.

My Lord.

“Your rapid pencil fairly traces

Men’s characters as well as faces;

Your latter sketch is true to Nature,

And gives me Vellum’s ev’ry feature.

With all your various talents fraught,

So deeply read, so ably taught,

I feel a curious wish to know

From whence your high endowments flow:

And how it happens that a man,

Whose worth I scarce know how to scan,

Should ne’er have reach’d a better state,

Than seems to be your present fate.”


“My Lord, a very scanty page

Will tell my birth and parentage:

A mod’rate circle will contain

My round of pleasure and of pain,

Till you, my ever-honour’d friend,

Bade my horizon wide extend,

And lighted up a brighter ray

To beam upon my clouded day.

“My father was a noble creature

As e’er was form’d by pregnant Nature;

A learned Clerk, a sound Divine,

A fav’rite of the Virgins nine

Who dwell upon Parnassian hill,

Or bathe in Heliconian rill.

In the sequester’d vale of life,

An equal foe to pride and strife,


He pass’d his inoffensive day

In teaching Virtue’s peaceful way:

A shepherd, formed his flock to bless

In this world’s thorny wilderness,

And lead them, when their time is o’er,

To where, good man, he’s gone before.

Ambition ne’er disturb’d his rest

Nor bred a serpent in his breast

To sting his peace; no sordid care

Corroded the contentment there;

While he possess’d an income clear

Of full five hundred pounds a year.

“My mother, first of woman-kind,

In figure, feature, and in mind,

In her calm sphere contented mov’d,

The counterpart of him she lov’d.

Form’d to adorn the highest lot,

She grac’d the Vicar’s rural cot,

With all those manners that became

The Parson’s wife, the village dame.

They liv’d and lov’d—and might have wore

The Flitch, when twenty years were o’er.

“An only child appear’d, to prove

The pledge of fond, connubial love.

I was that child—a darling boy;

Their daily hope—their daily joy.

My anxious father did not spare

The urchin to another’s care;

He taught the little forward elf

To be the image of himself;

And from the cradle he began

To form and shape the future man.

When fifteen summer suns had shed

Their lustre on my curly head,


To Alma Mater he consign’d,

With pious hope, my rip’ning mind.

“There, sev’n short years (for short they were)

Fair science was my only care;

I gave my nights, I gave my days,

To Tully’s page and Homer’s lays.

Whate’er is known of ancient lore

I fondly studied o’er and o’er:

I follow’d each appointed course,

And trac’d up learning to its source;

But in my way I gather’d flow’rs,

I sought the Muses in their bowers,

And did their fav’ring smiles repay

With many a lyric roundelay;

Nor did I fail the arts to woo

Of Music and of Painting too.

Thus was my early manhood pass’d

In happiness too great to last.

My father dy’d—and ere his urn

Had fill’d my arms, I had to mourn

A mother, who refus’d to stay,

When her lov’d mate was ta’en away.

“What follow’d?—I was left alone,

And the world seiz’d me as its own.

I sought gay Fashion’s motley throng,

On Pleasure’s tide I sail’d along;

Till, by rude storms and tempests toss’d,

My shatter’d bark at length was lost;

While I stood naked on the shore,

My treasure gone, my pleasure o’er.

“Now chang’d by Fortune’s fickle wind,

The friends I cherish’d prov’d unkind:

All those who shar’d my prosp’rous day,

Whene’er they saw me—turn’d away;


And, as I almost wanted bread,

I undertook a bear to lead,

To see the brute perform his dance,

Through Holland, Italy, and France;

But it was such a very Bruin,

To be with him was worse than ruin;

So, having pac’d o’er classic ground,

And sail’d the Grecian Isles around,

(A pleasure, sure, beyond compare,

Though link’d in couples with a bear,)

I took my leave and left the cub

Some humble Swiss to pay and drub:

Yet, when I reach’d my native shore,

Determin’d to lead bears no more,

No better prospect did I see,

Than a free-school and curacy;

The country tradesmen’s sons to teach;

In lonely village-church to preach,

With the proud sneer and vulgar taunt,

Oft thrown at Learning when in want;

All which you’ll think, my noble friend,

Did not to ease or comfort tend.

But now, another act displays

The folly of my former days:

A new scene opens of my life;

For faith, my Lord, I took a wife.”

My Lord.

“I should have thought a married mate

Must have improv’d your lonely state!

That a kind look and winning smile

Would serve your labours to beguile.”


“Love, in itself, is very good,

But, ’tis by no means solid food;


And, ere our honey-moon was o’er,

I found we wanted something more.

This was the cause of all my trouble;

My income would not carry double;

But, led away from Reason’s plan

By Love, that torturer of man,

In our delirium we forgot

What is Life’s unremitted lot;

That man and woman, too, are born

Beneath each rose to find a thorn!

We thought, as other fools have done,

That Hymen’s laws had made us one;

But had forgot that Nature, true

To her own purpose, made us two.

There were two mouths that daily cry’d,

At morn and eve, to be supplied:

Though by one vow we were betroth’d,

There were two bodies to be cloth’d;

And, to improve my happiness,

Dolly is very fond of dress.

My head’s content with one hat on it,

While Dorothy has hat and bonnet:

In short, there’s no day passes through,

But I and my dear Doll are two.

One good has my kind fortune sped;

Dolly, my Lord, has never bred.

Thus, though we’re always TWO, you see

We haply yet have ne’er been THREE.

She came a beauty to my arms;

Her only dower was her charms:

But much she sav’d me, I must own,

By never bringing brats to town.”

My Lord.

“Another time, my rev’rend guest,

I hope you will relate the rest:


I truly wish the whole to know,

But bus’ness calls, and I must go.

I need not, sure, repeat my words:

Command whate’er the house affords.”

The Peer thus with the Doctor parted,

And left him gay and easy hearted;

While many a pipe his thoughts digest,

Till his eyes told the hour of rest.

When the next morn, and breakfast came,

Said Syntax, “I should be to blame,

If I delay’d to tell my mind

To one so gen’rous, and so kind,

In hopes such counsel to receive

As he will condescend to give.

For as I on my bed reclin’d,

A sudden thought possess’d my mind,

Which may produce, as I’ve a notion,

A North-West passage to promotion.

“Loyal and true I’ve ever been,

And much of this same world I’ve seen:

Well vers’d in the historic page

Of this and ev’ry other age,

I could employ my studious hour

For those who hold the reins of power;

And sure a well-turn’d pamphlet might

Attention from the court invite;

By which I could, in nervous prose,

Unveil the ministerial foes;

And, with no common skill and care,

Praise and support the powers that are.

I then might be preferr’d at once;

No more the prey of any dunce,


Who views poor authors as mere drudges,

And ev’ry doit he pays them grudges;

Nor cares how much he makes them feel,

Just as a cook-maid skins an eel.

It would be better far, I trow,

Than this same Paternoster Row;

Where the poor bees, in Learning’s hive,

Toil, but to make the tradesmen thrive—

And for their intellectual honey,

Get but a poor return in money.

It would be cutting matters short,

Could I but get a friend at court:

’Twould be, and I repeat the notion,

A North-West passage to promotion.”

My Lord.

“Patient, my learned Doctor, hear;

And to my counsels give an ear:

I long have known, and known too well,

The country where you wish to dwell.

Corruption, fraud, and envy wait

At the proud Statesman’s crowded gate;


There fawning flatt’ry wins its way,

There the base passions join the fray,

Like beasts that on each other prey;

While the smile hides each trait’rous heart,

And interest plays a Proteus2 part.


You’ve too much virtue, my good friend,

Your talents and your time to lend,

To such a power—for such an end.


Can you work up the specious lie

That does not quite the truth deny?

Can you that kind of truth relate,

On which you may prevaricate?

Will you from others bear to seek

What you must think, and write, and speak?

Will you, to-day, their systems borrow,

And calmly shake them off to-morrow?

Will you, Chameleon-like, receive

The hue a Patron wants to give?

—You’ve too much honest pride to be

A scribbler to the Treasury;

Where you must wait the lagging hour,

And cringe to images of power!

To men in office, upstart elves,

Who think of little but themselves.


L’ingannare, il mentir, la fraude, il furto.

Et la rapinadi di pieta vestita:

Crescer col danno, e precipzio altrui,

E far a se de l’altrui biasmo more,

Son le virtue di quella gente infida.

Pastor Fido.

“When long an hacknied slave you’ve been,

And dash’d and div’d through thick and thin;

When you have chang’d each purer thought

For morals which in courts are taught;

When all distinctions, that belong

To what is right and what is wrong,

Have of your reason lost their hold,

For dribblets of a patron’s gold;

When the bold Logic, fram’d by Truth,

Your filial boast in early youth,

Yields to the vacillating rule

Of Policy’s complying school;—

When guile and cunning from your breast

Have driven that once-honour’d guest,

You may, perhaps, or you may not,

Be set aside, unheard, forgot;

Or haply find, when Virtue’s lost,

Repentance, and some petty post.


This will not do, my learned friend,

You must to better things attend;

All thoughts of Downing Street forgo,

And stick to Paternoster Row.

“The man of trade you cannot blame,

For money is his native aim;

It is the object of all trade

To make as much as can be made:

Bankers and Booksellers alike

At ev’ry point of profit strike;

And the same spirit you will meet

In Mincing Lane or Lombard Street.

’Tis not confin’d, we all must know,

To vulgar tradesmen in the ROW.

Success depends on writing well—

Booksellers bow, when Volumes sell.

On the Exchange, each day at three,

This self-same principle you’ll see


Lead thither the vast, pressing throng;

And know, dear Sir, or right or wrong,

’Tis that which makes Old England strong.

Though roguery’s in Vellum’s shop,

It is, my friend, the Nation’s prop:

And though you please, good Sir, to flout it,

Old England could not do without it.

Without it she might be as good,

But half as great she never would.

I look with pleasure to the fame

That now awaits your learned name;

And, when your labours are well paid,

You’ll be the Eulogist of Trade.

Vellum may be a purse-proud Cit,

With more of money than of wit;


But Vellum, my good Sir, can tell

The kind of book that’s made to sell.


Indeed, the man whose pocket’s full,

However empty be his skull,

Although immeasurably dull,

Will find, ’midst the ill-judging crowd,

Far greater reason to be proud,

Than he whose head contains a store

Of critic skill, and learned lore,

If to his wit he does not join,

The blest command of ready coin.

Write and get rich, nor fear the taunts

Of Booksellers and such gallants;

Vellum has no more sordid tricks

Than those who deal in Politics;

But till your various Learning’s known,

And your works sell throughout the Town;

Till, having settled Fortune’s spite,

Your name shall sanction what you write,

Let Vellum his rewards bestow,

Nor scoff at PATERNOSTER ROW.”


“To your kind words I’ve nought to say,

But thank your Lordship, and obey.

And now, as twenty years have pass’d

Since I beheld fair London last,

I shall employ the present day

In strolling calmly to survey

What changes Time and Chance have made,

What Wealth has done, and Art essay’d,

What Taste has, in its fancies, shown,

To give new splendour to the Town:

That being done, I’ll take my way

To Covent Garden—to the play.”


“Then,” said his Lordship, “when we meet,

I shall expect a special treat,

To hear my learned friend impart

His notions of dramatic art.”

The Doctor bow’d, and off he went,

Upon his curious progress bent:

He pac’d the Parks—he view’d each Square,

And, staring, he made others stare.

At length, at the appointed hour,

He hasten’d to the Playhouse door,

And took his place within the pit,

Beside a critic and a wit,

As wits and critics now are known

Who hash up nonsense for the Town;

And, in the daily columns, show

How small the sum of all they know.

“I think,” said Syntax, looking round,

“It is not good, this vast profound:

I see no well-wrought columns here;

No Attic ornaments appear;

Nought but a washy, wanton waste

Of gaudy tints and puny taste:

Too large to hear, too long to see—

Full of unmeaning symmetry.

The parts all answer one another;

Each pigeon-hole reflects its brother;

And all, alas! too plainly show

How easy ’tis to form a Row:

But where’s the grand, the striking whole?

A Theatre should have a soul.”

theatre with vast audience in many galleries

Dr. Syntax at Covent Garden Theatre.

“Excuse me, Sir,” the critic said,

“These Theatres are all a trade:


Their owners laugh at scrolls and friezes;

’Tis a full house alone that pleases:

And you must know, it is the plan

To stick, and stuff it as they can:

Your noble, architect’ral graces

Would take up room, and fill up places.”

“This may be true, Sir, to the letter;

But genius would have manag’d better,”

Syntax replied:—“Nay, I am willing

To let them gain the utmost shilling;

But surely talent might be found,

(The natives, too, of British ground,)

Who could have blended Attic merit

With this proprietary spirit.”

Thus as he spoke, the curtain rose,

And forc’d his harangue to a close:

But still, as they the drama view’d,

The conversation was renew’d,

And lasted till the whole was o’er;

When, as they pass’d the Playhouse door,

The Critic said—“’Twill wound my heart

If you and I so soon must part:

O, how I long to crack a bottle

With such a friend of Aristotle!

Now, as you seem to know him well,

Perhaps his residence you’ll tell.”

“Where it is now I do not know,”

Syntax reply’d;—“and I must go;

But this I can most boldly say—

You scarce will meet him at the play.”


When fairly got into the street,

“O,” thought the Doctor, “what a treat

For my good Lord, when next we meet!”



NOW Syntax, as he travell’d back,

Lolling and stretching in a hack,

Could not but ponder in his mind

On what he had just left behind.

“I’ve seen a play,” he mutt’ring said;—

“’Twas Shakespeare’s—but in masquerade!

I’ve seen a farce, I scarce know what;

’Twas only fit to be forgot.

I’ve seen a Critic, and have heard

The string of nonsense he preferr’d.

Heaven bless me! where has Learning fled?

Where has she hid her sacred head?

O how degraded is she grown,

To spawn such boobies on the town!

The sterling gold is seen no more;

In vain we seek the genuine ore:

Some mixture doth its worth debase;

Some wire-drawn nonsense takes its place.

How few consume the midnight oil!

How few in Learning’s labour toil!

Content, as they incurious stray

Through Life’s unprofitable day,

With straws that on the surface flow,

Nor look for pearls that live below:

They ne’er the hidden depths explore,

But gather sea-weed on the shore!

There was a period, when the stage

Was thought to dignify the age;


When learned men were seen to sit

Upon the benches of the pit;

When to his Art and Nature true,

GARRICK his various pictures drew;


While ev’ry passion, ev’ry thought,

He to perfection fully wrought;

By Nature’s self supremely taught,

He did her very semblance bear,

And look’d as she herself were there.

Whether old Lear’s form he wore

With age and sorrow cover’d o’er;

Or Romeo’s am’rous flame possess’d,

That torture of the human breast;

Or gay Lothario’s glowing pride

In conquest o’er his rival’s bride;

Or when, with fell ambition warm,

In Macbeth or in Gloster’s form,

He gave each passion to the eye

In all its fine variety,

The words he did not loudly quote;

But acted e’en as Shakespeare wrote.

“Nor was he less (for he could range

In ev’ry wayward busy change

Known in the field of scenic art—

The true chameleon of the heart)

When he assum’d the merry glee

Of laughter-loving Comedy.

“In Ranger’s tricks, or when he strove

In Benedict to hide his love;

When he in Drugger’s doublet shone,

Or Brute’s rude ribaldry put on;

When he the jealous Kitely play’d;

When the same passion he essay’d


In Felix;—with what truth and force

He urg’d that Passion’s diff’rent course,

Work’d up its features all anew—

But still he was to Nature true!

Nay, e’en in Farce he could awake

The fun that made the gall’ries shake;

The heart he cheated of its woe,

And made the poignant tear to flow,

Lit up a joy in ev’ry eye,

Or drown’d the soul in agony.

He ever was to Nature true;—

By no false arts did he subdue

Th’ attentive mind, the list’ning ear;

In all the Drama’s wide career,

He ne’er outstepp’d th’ unerring rule,

Which he had learn’d in Nature’s school

In ev’ry part he did excel;

He aim’d at all, and all was well.

In those good times none went to see

The mere effects of scenery;

The constant laugh, the forc’d grimace,

The vile distortions of the face;

In those good times none went to see

Pierots and Clowns in Comedy,

Men sought perfection to discern,

And learned Critics went to learn.

Shakespeare, immortal Bard sublime!

Unmatch’d within the realm of time!

He did not with Promethean aim

Attempt to steal æthereal flame;

Rather to him the thoughts of Heaven

Wore, by Celestial bounty, given:

He read profound, in ev’ry page

Of Nature’s volume, ev’ry age


And act of man! Each passion’s course

He traces with resistless force;

Nay, with a more than mortal art,

Gives unknown feelings to the heart;

And doth the yielding Fancy bear,

Just as his magic wills—and where.

“His page still lives, and sure will last

Till Time and all its years are past.

The Poet, to the end of Time,

Breathes in his works and lives in rhyme;

But, when the Actor sinks to rest,

And the turf lies upon his breast,

A poor traditionary fame

Is all that’s left to grace his name.

The Drama’s children strut and play,

In borrow’d parts, their lives away;

And then they share the obvious lot;

Smith will, like Cibber, be forgot!

Cibber with fascinating art,

Could wake the pulses of the heart;

But her’s is an expiring name,

And darling Smith’s will be the same.

Of GARRICK’S self e’en nought remains;

His art and him one grave contains:

In others’ minds to make him live,

Is all remembrance now can give.

All we can say—alas! how vain!

We ne’er shall see his like again.”

Just as this critic-speech was o’er,

The coach stopp’d at his Lordship’s door:

But my good Lord was gone to bed;

So Syntax to his chamber sped,

Where, with his pipe, and o’er his bottle,

He chew’d the cud of Aristotle,


Till, stretch’d upon a bed of down,

Sleep did his head with poppies crown;

And well he slept, until a voice

Desir’d to know if ’twas his choice

Still to sleep on? And then it stated—

His Lordship and the breakfast waited.

“Well,” said my Lord, when he appear’d,

“I hope the play your spirits cheer’d;

Falstaff, the morning critics tell,

Was never surely play’d so well.”

“These critics,” Syntax smiling said,

“Are wretched bunglers at their trade:

One sat beside me in the Pit,

No more a critic than a wit!

Between the acts we both exprest

Or what was worst, or what was best;

And whil’d those intervals away

In changing thoughts upon the play;

And, though both form’d to disagree,

Nought pass’d but perfect courtesy.

Perhaps it may your fancy suit

To hear our classical dispute:

I think, my Lord, ’twould prove a treat,

Should you allow me to repeat

All that this criticising sage

Knew of the humours of the stage:

For, as to what should form a play;

How actors should their parts convey;

What are the Drama’s genuine laws,

The source from whence true Genius draws

Such scenes, as when to Nature shown,

She loud exclaims—They are my own!

He knew no more, it will appear,

Than the tea-urn that’s boiling here;


Like that, he did no more than bubble,

And without any toil or trouble:

They felt the trouble who sat near him;

For, sure enough, ’twas toil to hear him.

After some gen’ral trifling chat

Of the new Playhouse, and all that,

The scenes that pass’d before our eyes,

Produc’d these questions and replies:

In short, I’ll state our quids pro quos

Just in the order they arose.”


“Oh, what a Falstaff!—Oh, how fine!

Oh, ’tis great acting—’tis divine!”


“His acting’s great—that I can tell ye;

For all the acting’s in his belly.”


“But, with due def’rence to your joke,

A truer word I never spoke

Than when I say—you’ve never been

The witness of a finer scene.

Th’ admir’d actor whom you see

Plays the fat Knight most charmingly:

’Tis in this part he doth excel;

Quin never play’d it half so well.”


“You ne’er saw Quin the stage adorn:

He acted ere your sire was born,

And critics, Sir, who liv’d before ye,

Would have disclos’d a different story.

This play I’ve better acted seen

In country towns where I have been.


I do not hesitate to say—

I’d rather read this very play

By my own parlour fire-side,

With my poor judgment for my guide,

Than see the actors of this stage,

Who make me gape at Shakespeare’s page.

When I read Falstaff to myself,

I laugh like any merry elf;

While my mind feels a cheering glow

That Shakespeare only can bestow.

The swagg’ring words in his defence,

Which scarce are wit, and yet are sense;

The ribald jest—the quick conceit—

The boast of many a braggart feat;

The half-grave questions and replies,

In his high-wrought soliloquies;

The dubious thought—the pleasant prate,

Which give no time to love or hate,

In such succession do they flow,

From no to yea—from yea to no,

Have not been to my mind convey’d

By this pretender to his trade.

The smile sarcastic, and the leer

That tells the laughing mock’ry near;

The warning look, that, ere ’tis spoke,

Aptly forebodes the coming joke;

The air so solemn, yet so sly,

Shap’d to conceal the ready lie;

The eyes, with some shrewd meaning bright,

I surely have not seen to-night.

Again, I must beg leave to tell ye,

’Tis nought of Falstaff but his belly.”


“All this is fine—and may be true;

But with such truths I’ve nought to do.



I’m sure, Sir, I shall say aright,

When I report the great delight

Th’ enraptur’d audience feel to-night:


It is indeed, with no small sorrow,

I cannot your opinions borrow

To fill the columns of to-morrow.

My light critique will be preferr’d,

The public always take my word;

Nay, the loud plaudits heard around

Must all your far-fetch’d thoughts confound

I truly wonder when I see

You do not laugh as well as me.”


“My muscles other ways are drawn:

I cannot laugh, Sir,—while I yawn.”



“But you will own the scenes are fine.”


“Whate’er the acting, they’re divine,

And fit for any pantomime.

Of this it is that I complain;

These are the tricks which I disdain:

The painter’s art the play commends;

On gaudy show success depends:

The clothes are made in just design;

They are well character’d and fine.

The actors now, I think, Heav’n bless ’em,

Must learn their art from those who dress ’em;


But give me actors, give me plays,

On which I could with rapture gaze,

Tho’ coats and scenes were made of baize:

For, if the scene were highly wrought,

If players acted as they ought,


You would not then be pleas’d to see

This heavy mass of frippery.

Hear Horace, Sir, who wrote of plays

In Ancient Rome’s Augustan days:—

Tanto cum strepitu ludi spectantur et artes

Divitiæque peregrinæ, quibus oblitus actor

Cum stetit in scena, concurrit dextera lævæ.

Dixit adhuc aliquid? Nil sane. Quid placet ergo?

Lana Tarentino violas imitata veneno.’


“Your pardon, Sir, but all around me,

There are such noises they confound me;

And, though I full attention paid,

I scarcely know a word you said.

To say the truth I must acknowledge

’Tis long since I have quitted college:

Virgil and Horace are my friends

I have them at my fingers’ ends;

But Grecian Lore, I blush to own,

Is wholly to my mind unknown.

I therefore must your meaning seek:

Oblige me, Sir, translate your Greek.

But see, the farce is now begun,

And you must listen to the fun,

It sure has robb’d you of your bile;

For now, methinks, you deign to smile.”


“The thing is droll, and aptly bent

To raise a vulgar merriment:

But Merry-Andrews, seen as such,

Have often made me laugh as much.

An actor does but play the fool

When he forsakes old Shakespeare’s rule,


And lets his own foul nonsense out,

To please th’ ill-judging rabble rout:

But when he swears, to furnish laughter,

The beadle’s whip should follow after.

There’s Terence, Sir, and then there’s Plautus;

They’ve both a better lesson taught us.”


Terence, I know, he wrote in Latin,

Just as the weaver makes his satin;

He well deserv’d the comic bays:

For Westminster he wrote his plays;

And Plautus was a fellow famous,

He wrote a Farce call’d Ignoramus;

Where Lawyers, by profession bold,

In Latin and in English scold.”

“At length, my Lord, the parley ended:

Which, to amuse, cannot be mended.

You well may laugh so loud, but I

Feel myself more dispos’d to cry,

When thus I see what asses sit

In judgment upon works of wit.

“I own, my Lord, I love a play—

When some performer’s turn’d away,

By Green-Room tyrants, from the boards

Of London stage, our town affords

To tempt or her or him to stay,

For a few nights, upon their way;

Then Doll and I are seen to sit

Conspicuous in our Country Pit.”

Thus as he spoke, with frequent bows,

And fifty whens, and wheres, and hows,


Vellum appeared, with solemn look,

To talk about the Doctor’s Book.

He said, “’Twas true a learned friend

The Manuscript did much commend;

He thinks it is a work of merit,

Written with learning, taste, and spirit;

The sketches too, if he don’t err,

Possess appropriate character;

’Tis to the humour of our age,

And has your Lordship’s patronage;

I therefore wish the work to buy,

And deal with liberality.

’Tis true that paper’s very dear,

And workmen’s wages most severe:

The volume’s heavy, and demands

Th’ engraver’s with the printer’s hands:

Besides, there is a risk to run;

Before the press its work has done

New taxes may, perhaps, be laid

On some prime article of trade,

And then the price will be so high;—

The persons are but few who buy

Books of so very costly kind;

But still the work is to my mind.

I’ll try my luck, and will be bound

To give, my Lord, three hundred pound.”


After some little chat on trade

The bargain was completely made—

The work transferr’d, the money paid.

“Tho’,” said my Lord, “I think your gains

By no means equal to your pains:

(For Vellum will a bargain drive

As well as any man alive;)


The work must give my friend a name,

And stamp his Literary fame;

’Twill Paternoster Row command,

And keep old Vellum cap-in-hand;

And when a name is up, ’tis said,

The owner may lie snug in bed.

Write on—the learned track pursue—

And Booksellers shall cringe to you.”

Much pass’d upon his Lordship’s part,

Which show’d the goodness of his heart;

While Syntax made his full replies,

Not with his tongue—but with his eyes.



MY Lord retir’d—the Doctor too,

As he had nothing else to do,

Thought he would take a peep and see

His noble Patron’s Library.

So down he sat, without a care,

In a well-stuff’d Morocco chair,

And seiz’d a book; but Morpheus shed

The poppies o’er his rev’rend head;

While Fancy would not be behind,

So play’d her tricks within his mind,

And furnish’d a most busy dream,

Which Syntax made his pleasant theme,

Soon as he met my Lord to dine,

Or rather, while they took their wine.

Dr. Syntax sleeping in a chair, dreaming of flying books with different faces

The Doctor’s Dream.

The Dream.

That I was in the Strand I dream’d,

And o’er my head methought there seem’d,

A flight of volumes in the air,

In various bindings gilt and fair:

Th’ unfolded leaves, expos’d to view,

Serv’d them as wings on which they flew,

Through the mid air they pass’d along

In stately flight a num’rous throng;

And from each book a label fell,

Form’d ev’ry author’s name to tell!

Nor was it long before I saw,

With a fond, reverential awe,


The celebrated Bards and Sages

Which grac’d the Greek and Roman ages,

All headed by a solemn fowl

Which bore the ’semblance of an Owl.

’Twas Pallas’ Bird, who led them straight

Through Temple-Bar’s expanded Gate.

—Year-Books, Reports, and sage grave Entries,

At either Temple-gate stood sentries:

While Viner his Abridgment shows

In sixty well-arm’d Folios.

The Lamb, it baa’d, the Horse, it neigh’d,

In rev’rence of the cavalcade.

Near Clifford’s-Inn appear’d to stand

Of Capiases an ugly band;

For when their parchment flags appear’d,

Instant the crowded street was clear’d,

And the procession pass’d along,

Untroubled by a pressing throng.

St. Dunstan’s savages were mute,

But still they gave their best salute;

Disdaining Eloquence and Rhymes,

They ’woke their bells to speak in chimes.

Erskine’s fam’d Pamphlet Cap-a-pee,

With many an I, and many a Me,

Issu’d from Serjeants’-Inn, and made

A speech to grace the grand parade.

The Stationers came forth to meet

The stranger forms in Ludgate-Street;

Each one, upon his brawny back,

Bearing a large sheet Almanack.

For a short time the Learned train

Stopp’d before Ave-Mary-Lane,

That Galen might just view the College,

The seat of medicinal knowledge.

Nor did they fail awhile to tarry

Before St. Paul’s learn’d Seminary,


Where Lilly’s Grammar did rehearse

Propria quæ Maribus in verse.

At Cheapside-end there seem’d to stand

A pageant, rather huge than grand;

Ream upon Ream of Quire Stock

Appear’d like some vast, massive rock:

On its firm base a figure stood,

A composite of brass and wood:

The months and weeks around it stand,

With each a number in its hand

Of Bibles, Hist’ries and Reviews,

And Magazines from ev’ry Muse,

With coverlids of various hue,

Pea-green and red, and brown and blue.

The shape was clad in Livery-gown;

The face had neither smile nor frown,

While it held out a monstrous paunch

As fat with many a ham and haunch.

Two Printer’s Devils o’er his head

A crimson canvas widely spread,

Whereon was writ in gilded show—

Genius of Paternoster-Row.”

The mighty Giants of Guildhall,

Urg’d by a sympathetic call,

No sooner heard the clock strike One,

Than from their stations they came down;

And in Cheapside they took their stand,

In honour of the Classic Band;

But when they heard the clock strike Two,

March’d back as they were wont to do.

Now as they came near the Old-Jewry,

Like Dulness work’d into a Fury,

A vulgar shape appear’d, who flew

On pinions mark’d with ONE and TWO;

And other items which denote,

That four-pence is well-worth a groat.


It seem’d to lead a num’rous train

Who render’d further passage vain.

Straight he came forward to produce

A Blank-Sheet as a flag of truce.

Near him two flutt’ring Pamphlets bore

Standards, with figures cover’d o’er;

A gilt Pence-table grac’d the one,

The Price of Stocks on t’other shone.

A picquet guard of Valuations,

And Int’rest Tables took, their stations

Around their leader, who drew nigh,

To make his bold soliloquy;

But ere he speaks, my proper course is

Just to describe the City Forces.

Bill-Books and Cash-Books form’d the van,

An active and a numerous clan:

The Journals follow’d them, whose skill

Is exercis’d in daily drill:

On either side appear’d to range

Unpaid Accounts, Bills of Exchange,

And Files of Banker’s Checks: these three

Manœuv’red as Light Infantry;

While many a stationery book

Its regular position took;

And Quires of Blotting Paper stood

To suck up any flow of blood.

The Ledgers the main body form,

Arm’d to resist the coming storm;

Whose pond’rous shapes could boldly show

A steady phalanx to the foe.

Discord appear’d with base intent

The hostile spirit to foment:

Not Discord that precedes the car

Of Mars whene’er he goes to war;


But of a different rank and nation,

Known by the name of Litigation;

Born on some foul Attorney’s desk;

Bred up to harass and perplex;

Whose appetite is for dispute,

And has no wish but for a suit.

She rose upon a Gander’s wing,

And round about began to fling

Pleas, Declarations, and each bit

Of Parchment that could form a Writ.

The News-papers with pen in hand,

In the balconies took their stand;

Waiting with that impartial spirit,

Which all well know they all inherit,

To make the hurry of the Battle

Through all the next day’s columns rattle;

And, with one conscience, to prepare

The Hist’ry of this Paper war.

The Herald now the silence broke,

’Twas mighty Cocker’s self that spoke;

And thus to Pallas’ Bird address’d

The solemn purpose of his breast.

“I state my claim to ask and know

From whence you come and where you go,

And by what licence you appear

With all your foreign Pagans here?


Come you with all this cavalcade

T’ insult the Vehicles of Trade,

And our dear, home-bred rights invade?

A mighty force awaits you here,

To check and punish your career;

And I am order’d by my masters,

Who fear disturbance and disasters,



To bid you quickly turn about,

From London-streets to take your rout,

Or we shall quickly turn you out.

My name is Cocker, which is known

In ev’ry Counting-house in Town:

Nay, such my use and reputation,

I am respected through the nation.

Yes, I’m the Father, I who speak,

Of Mercantile Arithmetic;

Source of a race that far outvies

Your Greek and Latin progenies:


And now I hope that in a crack

You’ll send an humble answer back,

Or else expect a fierce attack.

I’ll count twice two, and then add four,

That time I’ll give, but give no more.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.—

I’ve done, and will no longer wait.”

The Bird of Pallas who could speak,

In English or in Attic Greek,

As suited best—did not prolong

His answer in the Vulgar Tongue.

“’Twas a Petition, duly made

By certain of your Sons of Trade,

To beg my mistress would permit

That they should buy a little Wit;

And here import, though in defiance

Of common rules, a little Science.

I ask not, if ’twas their intent

To gain a name—or ten per cent.;

Whether ’tis wisdom or misdoing;

Whether ’twill prove their good or ruin,

Or the result of civic sense,

Or a shrewd, mercantile pretence:


Whether ’tis Interest or Pride

That turns them from old rules aside;

That urges them to tax their trade,

For off’rings to th’ Immortal Maid:

These self-same matters, to be free,

Are, Mister Cocker, nought to me.

’Tis by Minerva’s high command,

That I conduct this Classic Band;

’Tis she commands, and we obey;

Nor shall you stop us on the way,


Whether it does or does not suit

Your Pleasure, to the Institute

We’ll go, you calculating brute.

Say, will your low-born volumes dare

With these brave vet’rans to compare?

What’s all this bustle—all this fuss?

Think you they can contend with us?

They who are slaves, so base and willing,

Of any pound, and pence, and shilling.

As the pen gives they’re forc’d to drink

The venal dips of any ink;

And when they’re filled, their lives expire,

Consign’d to light a kitchen fire;

Or sent away to such vile use

As Chandlers or as Hucksters chuse:

If they oppose our stated way,

We’ll sweep them from the face of day.

“At the same time we wish for peace,

And that your saucy threats may cease.

We do not mean to mock the City

With any hope of being witty:

We do not bring our learned powers

To vex its speculating hours,

Or with poetic visions cross

Your schemes of Profit and of Loss.


We did not first suggest the deed,

To bring you books you cannot read.

Meetings were form’d and speeches made,

And all by weighty men of trade,

To frame the unforeseen request;

And surely we have done our best,

When we each Classic did provide,

With a Translation by its side.

Dryden is ready to rehearse

All Virgil’s Works in English verse;

And Grecian Homer rests his hope

Of being understood by Pope.

Leland will give you, if ye please,

The speeches of Demosthenes;

While Northern Guthrie will bestow

The Eloquence of Cicero.

To Thomas Styles and John a Nokes

Carr will repeat old Lucian’s Jokes;

While Juvenal’s sharp satire shines

In William Giffard’s rival lines.

Coleman and Thornton will convey

Right notions of a Latin Play.

Whate’er the ancient Critics wrote,

You now may in plain English quote,

And drink Pye’s health, when o’er the bottle,

For Anglicising Aristotle!

Nay, all the Ancient Bards have sung

You now may sing in Vulgar Tongue!

What could we more?—so cease your riot,

And let us pass along in quiet.

Dismiss your Counting-house parade;

Send off these cumbrous tomes of trade:

Back to their counters let them roam,

And sip their ink, and stay at home;

Nor e’er again their threats oppose

To Grecian and to Roman foes.”



“Fools may be found, I do not doubt it,

Within this City as without it:

This truth, indeed, is very clear,

For they were fools who brought you here.

I pray thee tell me what has wit

To do with any plodding cit!

Of wit we know not what is meant,

Unless ’tis found in Cent. per Cent.

Learning a drug has always been;

No Warehouseman will take it in:

Should practis’d Mercers quit their satin

To look at Greek and long for Latin?

Should the pert, upstart, Merchant’s boy

Behold the Tower, and think of Troy?

Or should a Democratic Hatter

’Bout old Republics make a clatter?

Should City Praters leave their tools,

To talk by Ciceronian rules;

And at our meetings in Guildhall

Puzzle the mob with Classic brawl?

No, to such things they’ve no pretence;

No—let them stick to common sense:

You may your Ancient Bards rehearse,

But there’s no common-sense in verse;

Not all the Classics at your tail

Would weigh an ounce in Reason’s scale.

I treat the name of Rome with scorn;

Give me the Commerce of Leghorn.

From Italy’s prolific shore

The wond’rous science was brought o’er,

The bright invention which convey’d

Such vast facilities to Trade:

The Double Entry far outvies

All pictur’d, sculptur’d fantasies;


And sure I am, his honour’d name

Deserves a brighter wreath of Fame,

To whose keen mind the scheme occurr’d,

Than e’er was won by conqu’ror’s sword.

What did the Greeks, pray, know of Trade?

Ulysses, as I’ve heard it said,

Was full ten months oblig’d to roam,

Before he brought his cargo home:

A voyage in that self-same sea,

Our coasting brigs would make in three.


The INSTITUTION was display’d

As a mere trump’ry trick of trade,

Deck’d out, ’tis true, with great parade;

While you are coming as a bribe,

To make our purse-proud cits subscribe;

And aid the primary intent

Of dividends of ten per cent.


We have our pedant tradesmen too,

Who talk as if they something knew,

And Learning’s cud pretend to chew:

Who get cramp words, and court the Muse

In Magazines and in Reviews.

Yes, we have those whose priggish rage is,

Not to read books—but title-pages;

Who spare no cost in drink and meat

To furnish out a tempting treat

That may attract an Attic train

To Mincing- or to Philpot-Lane;

Who snatch the feast, and go away

To mock the patron of the day.

There are who strive to have it thought,

That they have minds with Learning fraught

Though, if they have so small discerning,

To interrupt their trade with Learning,

The day will come when they’ll be found

With certain shillings in the pound.


But, to be brief—consult your fame,

And go back gravely, as you came;

Or we shall send you somewhat faster,

Nor for your wounds afford a plaister.

—Look at that form which soars in air,

And shines like a portentous star;

It is th’ armorial symbol bright,

Of a renown’d, commercial Knight,

Who sought not a superior fame

Than doth befit a Merchant’s name.

See how his ensign is unfurl’d

O’er the Emporium of the world,

And does, with threat’ning aspect view,

Your Owlish worship and your Crew;

While in its motions we descry

The sure presage of Victory.

Yes, on success I calculate,

As sure as four and four make eight.

Thus I have clearly stated the amount

Errors excepted, of my just account.”

The Owl.

“Good Mister Cocker I have heard

All that your wisdom has preferr’d;

And I entreat you turn your head,

In which such numbers have been bred,

And see a certain wind prevail,

To make your grasshopper turn tail;

From which my wise soothsayer draws

An omen fatal to your cause;

And you may hear his tongue proclaim,

‘Your boobies will all do the same.’

But talking is of little use—

Therefore at once I break the truce.”


As Critics now when call’d to duel,

Disdainful of the common fuel,

No more with shot or bullet vapour,

But wound with ink, and kill with paper:

Both sides for conflict dire prepare;

And thus commenc’d the threaten’d war.

Euclid at Master Cocker flew,

Whom by one stroke he overthrew;

Then with a knotty problem bound him,

And left him struggling where he found him.

Cæsar, with all his Latins, pounc’d

On the light parties, whom they trounc’d,

And soon a dreadful havoc made

Of bills that never would be paid;

While Banker’s Checks made quick retreat,

And huddled into Lombard-Street.

With equal force the Greeks attack,

And drove the heavy legions back:

Ledgers and Journals lay all scatter’d;

Bill-Books and Cash-Books were bespatter’d:

Short was the contest; struck with dread,

Confus’d the City forces fled.

For aid on Stationers they call,

But they were busy at their Hall;

And this same Hall their trade-craft found

To be a sort of neutral ground;

As they conceiv’d the havoc made,

Might serve the paper-making trade:

To side with either they were loth,

In hopes to profit from them both.


The Postman now his clarion blew;

His blasts were vain—they would not do;

The Letter-Books disorder’d flew;


While Pindar from Bow-steeple clock

Look’d down, and, as he view’d the shock

Chaunted, nor did he chaunt in vain,

A loud and animating strain.

Forth from the Bank a troop was sent

Of threes and fours and fives per cent.;

But they ran off, nor struck a blow;

For Stocks that day were very low.

The Policies remain’d secure,

Waiting for arms or signature;

For what brave spirit e’er would fight ’em

When nobody would underwrite ’em.

And now these doughty cits were beat,

Down ev’ry lane, up ev’ry street,

But met to form each broken rank,

Before the Portals of the Bank:

There they a solemn council hold,

Whether, by added strength grown bold

To a new contest they should come,

Or sneak away disbanded home.

Thus the old Classics having beat

The vulgar foe, sought Coleman-Street;

But as they pass’d a numerous host

At Coopers’-Hall, had taken post.

Two blue-coat urchins play’d the fife

Which call’d them to the martial strife;

When, ’stead of pointed darts and lances,

They pelted the Antiques with Chances:

But Fortune, who is ever blind,

Turn’d short and left her bands behind:

Their Leader lost, away they steal,

And hide their numbers in the Wheel.


At length the Classic Sages greet

Their Parthenonian retreat:

But while the echoing walls around

With Io Pæans loud resound;

Again the vengeful foes appear’d,

Again their angry standards rear’d.

“Must we once more,” the Ancients said,

“O’ercome these frantic imps of trade?

Is there no power to save our race

From war, when conquest is disgrace?”

The Greeks then call’d on PORSON’S name:

The Latins echo’d back the same;

And straight in Grecian stole array’d,

Appear’d the venerable shade:


Homer went down upon his knees

And so did Tragic Sophocles

With all the names that end in ῆς.

“Hail, sacred tomes!” he said, “to you

I grateful ow’d whate’er I knew:

From you I gain’d my mortal fame,

The honours of a scholar’s name:

To you the immortal power I owe,

To give the aid I now bestow:

I come from that Celestial Hall

Where they all dwell who wrote you all.”

He spoke—and lo! a Volume came,

Of size immense and rueful name:

Its back no verbal title bore;

But num’rous dates of time long o’er;

While on its letter’d sides appears,


Straight to the foe, that, all aloof,

Flutter’d about each neighb’ring roof,


It did full many a page untold,

And show’d Whereas, and cried, “behold!”

While that same word, upon the walls

Blaz’d forth in flaming Capitals.

Whereas a thousand voices rung,

And on the wing there upwards sprung

A flight of Dockets, who were join’d

By dire Certificates unsign’d:

These saw the foes, and, chill’d with dread,

Trembled and shriek’d aloud, and fled.

The Ghost now vanish’d from the view;

The Bird of Pallas vanish’d too.

And then I thought the Classic elves

Instinctive sought their proper shelves,

Where undisturb’d each learned Tome

May slumber to the Day of Doom.

I ’woke and felt a real glee

At the same fancied victory.

Nor would I change my Classic lore,

Poor as I am, for all the store,

Which plodding anxious trade can give,

In constant doubt and fear to live.


My treasures are all well secur’d,

I want them not to be insur’d:

My Greek and Latin are immur’d

Within the warehouse of my brain,

And there in safety they remain:

My little cargo’s lodg’d at home,

Where storms and tempests never come.

Learning will give an unmix’d pleasure,

Which gold can’t buy, and trade can’t measure;

But each within its destin’d station:

Learning’s my pride and consolation,


That high-form’d inmate of the soul,

Which, as the changing seasons roll,

Acquires new strength, preserves its power,

And smiles in life’s extremest hour.

The learned man, let who will flout him,

Doth always carry it about him;

And should he idly fail to use it,

Though it may rust, he will not lose it:

Fortune may leave off her caressing,

But she can’t rob him of that blessing.

Full many a comfort money gives;

But ask him who for money lives,

Whether he other pleasures shares,

Than sordid joys and golden cares?

How oft I’ve pass’d an evening hour

Within an hawthorn’s humble bower,

And read aloud each charming line,

That doth in Virgil’s Georgics shine:

Though Wealth pass’d by in stately guise,

I felt no rankling envy rise;

Nor could the show my mind engage

From the Immortal Poet’s page.

When homeward as I us’d to stray,

Along the unfrequented way,

Enraptur’d as I stroll’d along,

With Philomela’s evening song,

I felt what worldlings never share;

Oblivion of all human care:

Such hours are few, but well we know,

That Learning can those hours bestow.


My Lord continued the debate;

And time pass’d on in pleasant prate,

Till night broke up the Tête-à-Tête.



CROWN’D with success, the following day

The Doctor homeward took his way;

And on the ’morrow, he again

Was borne by Grizzle o’er the plain.

But Grizzle, having liv’d in clover,

Symptoms of spirit did discover,

That more than once had nearly thrown

Her deep-reflecting master down;

Nor, till they’d travell’d half the day,

Did he perceive he’d lost his way:


Nor, to that moment, did he find,

That Grizzle, by some chance unkind,

Had left her ears and tail behind.

“Ne’er mind, good beast,” he kindly said;

“What though no ears bedeck your head;

What though the honours of your rump

Are dwindled to a naked stump,

Now, rais’d in purse as well as spirit,

Your master will reward your merit.”

Another day they journey’d on;

The next, and lo! the work was done.

Some days before, (I had forgot

To say,) a letter had been wrote,

To tell how soon he should appear,

And re-embrace his dearest dear;

But not one solitary word

Of his good fortune he preferr’d.


“Yes, home is home, where’er it be,

Or shaded by the village-tree,

Or where the lofty domes arise

To catch the passing stranger’s eyes.”

’Twas thus he thought, when, at the gate

He saw his Doll impatient wait;

Nor as he pass’d the street along,

Was he unnotic’d by the throng;

For not a head within a shop

But did through door or window pop.

He kiss’d his Dame, and gravely spoke,

As now he brooded o’er a joke;

While she to know impatient burn’d

With how much money he return’d.

“Give me my pipe,” he said, “and ale,

And in due time you’ll hear the tale.”

He sat him down his pipe to smoke,

Look’d sad, and not a word he spoke;

But Madam soon her speech began,

And in discordant tones it ran.

“I think, by that confounded look,

You have not writ your boasted book;

Yes, all your money you have spent,

And come back poorer than you went:

Yes, you have wander’d far from home,

And here a beggar you are come;

But bills from all sides are in waiting,

To give your Reverence a baiting:

I do not mean to scold and rail;

But I’ll not live with you in jail.

So long a time you’ve stay’d away,

That the Town-Curate you must pay;

For, while from home you play’d the fool,

He kindly came to teach the school;


And a few welcome pounds to earn

By flogging boys to make them learn:

But I must say, you silly elf,

You merit to be flogg’d yourself;

And I’ve a mind this whip shall crack

Upon your raw-bon’d, lazy back.

Yes, puff away—but ’tis no joke

For all my schemes to end in smoke.

What, tongue-ty’d booby! will you say

To Mrs. Dress’em?—Who will pay

Her bills for these nice clothes?—Why zounds!

It borders upon twenty pounds.”

Thus, as she vehemently prated,

And the delighted Doctor rated,

From a small pocket in his coat,

He unobserv’d drew forth a note,

And throwing it upon the table,

He said, “My dear, you’ll now be able

To keep your mantua-maker quiet;

So cease, I beg, this idle riot:

And, if you’ll not make such a pother,

I’ll treat you with its very brother:

Be kind—and I’ll not think it much

To show you half-a-dozen such.”

She started up in joy’s alarms,

And clasp’d the Doctor in her arms;

Then ran to bid the boys huzza,

And gave them all a holiday.

Dr. Syntax and his wife seated at table by his fireside

Doctor Syntax
Returned From His Tour.

“Such is the matrimonial life,”

Said Syntax;—“but I love my wife.

Just now with horsewhip I was bother’d;

And now with hugging I am smother’d;


But wheresoe’er I’m doom’d to roam,

I still shall say—that home is home!

Again her dear the Dame caress’d,

And clasp’d him fondly to her breast:

At length, amidst her am’rous play,

The Doctor found a time to say—

“The fatted calf I trust you’ve slain,

To welcome Syntax home again:”

“No,” she reply’d, “no fatted calf;

We have a better thing by half;

For with expectation big

Of your return, we kill’d a pig;

And a rich Haslet at the fire,

Will give you all you can desire;

The sav’ry meat myself will baste,

And suit it to my deary’s taste.”

“That dish,” he cried, “I’d rather see,

Than Fricandeau or Fricassee.

O,” he continued, “what a blessing

To have a wife so fond of dressing;

Who with such taste and skill can work,

To dress herself, and dress the pork!”

She now return’d to household care,

The dainty supper to prepare.

Whoe’er has pass’d an idle hour,

In following Syntax through his Tour,

Must have perceived he did not balk

His fancy, when he wish’d to talk:

Nay, more—that he was often prone

To make long speeches when alone;

And while he quaff’d th’ inspiring ale,

Between each glass to tell a tale:



Or, as he smok’d, with half-shut eyes,

Now smiling, and now looking wise,

He’d crack a joke, or moralize:

And when this curious spirit stirr’d him,

He minded not though no one heard him.

This he did now—as ’twill appear;

He talk’d though there were none to hear;

When the whiffs pass’d, he silence broke,

And thus he thought, and puff’d, and spoke

The Smoking Soliloquy.

“That man, I trow, is doubly curst,

Who of the best doth make the worst;

And he, I’m sure, is doubly blest,

Who of the worst can make the best:

To sit and sorrow and complain,

Is adding folly to our pain.

“In adverse state there is no vice,

More mischievous than cowardice;

’Tis by resistance that we claim

The Christian’s venerable name.

If you resist him, e’en Old Nick

Gives up his meditated trick:

Fortune contemns the whining slave,

And loves to smile upon the brave.

“In all this self-same checquer’d strife

We meet with in the road of life,

Whate’er the object we pursue,

There’s always something to subdue;

Some foe, alas! to evil prone,

In others’ bosoms or our own.

That man, alone, is truly great,

Who nobly meets the frowns of Fate;


Who, when the threat’ning tempests lower,

When the clouds burst in pelting shower,

When lightnings flash along the sky,

And thunders growl in sympathy,

With calmness to the scene conforms,

Nor fears nor mocks the angry storms:

He does not run, all helter-skelter,

To seek a temporary shelter;

Nor does he fume, and fret, and foam,

Because he’s distant far from home;

For well he knows, each peril past,

He’s sure to find a home at last.

“If petty evils round you swarm,

Let not their buzz your temper warm,

But brush them from your mind away,

Like insects of a summer’s day.

“Evil oppose with Reason’s power,

Nor fear the dark or threat’ning hour;

Combat the world;—but, as ’tis fit,

To the decrees of Heaven submit.

“If Spite and Malice are your foes,

If fell Revenge its arrow throws,

Look calmly on, nor fear the dart;

Virtue will guard the honest heart;

Nor let your angry spirit burn

The pointed missile, to return.

The good man never fails to wield

A broad and strong protecting shield,

That will preserve him through the strife

Which never fails to trouble life;

And, when he meets his final doom,

Will form a trophy for his tomb.


Bear and forbear—a dogma true

As human wisdom ever drew.

If you would lighten every care,

And every sorrow learn to bear,

To be secure from vile disgrace,

Look frowning Fortune in the face;

And, if the foe’s too strong, retreat,

But not as if you had been beat:

Calmly avoid th’ o’erpow’ring fray,

Nor fight when you can stalk away;

For you can scarce be said to yield,

If, when you slowly quit the field,

You so present yourself to view,

That a wise foe will not pursue.

“I who have long been doom’d to drudge,

Without a patron or a judge;

I, who have seen the booby rise

To dignified pluralities;

While I his flock to virtue steer,

For hard-earn’d thirty pounds a-year;

A flock, alas! he does not know,

But by the fleeces they bestow:

I, who have borne the heaviest fate

That doth on Learning’s toil await;

For, when a man’s the sport of Heaven,

To keep a school the fellow’s driven;

(Nor when that thought gay Lucian spoke,

He did not mean to crack a joke;3—)


I still man’s dignity maintain’d,

And though I felt, I ne’er complain’d!

3 Lucian says, that when the gods make a man the object of their sportive persecutions, they turn him into a schoolmaster. Such an one as Doctor Syntax was, may think, that the sarcastic Greek is in the right; but the Masters of Eton, Westminster, and Winchester are, probably, of a different opinion.

“If Life’s a farce, mere children’s play,

Let the rich trifle it away:

I cannot model mine by theirs,

For mine has been a life of cares.

“Men with superior minds endow’d

May soar above the titled crowd,

Though ’tis their humble lot to dwell

In calm retirement’s distant cell;


Or, by Dame Fortune poorly fed,

To call on science for their bread;

To lead the life that I have led:—

Though neither wealth nor state is given,

They’re the Nobility of Heaven.

“In its caprice a Sovereign’s power

May make a noble ev’ry hour:

A King may only speak the word,

And some rich blockhead struts a Lord;

But all the sceptred powers that live

Cannot one ray of genius give.

Heaven and Nature must combine

To make the flame of genius shine;

Of wealth regardless or degree,

It may be sent to shine on me.

Learning, I thank thee!—though by toil

And the pale lamp of midnight oil

I gain’d thy smiles; though many a year

Fortune refus’d my heart to cheer;

By th’ inspiring laurels crown’d,

I oft could smile while Fortune frown’d!

Beguil’d by thee, I oft forgot

My uncomb’d wig and rusty coat:


When coals were dear, and low my fire,

I warm’d myself with Homer’s lyre:


Or, in a dearth of ale benign,

I eager quaff’d the stream divine,

Which flows in Virgil’s ev’ry line.

To save me from domestic brawls,

I thunder’d Tully to the walls:

When nought I did could Dolly please,

I laugh’d with Aristophanes,—

And oft has Grizzle, on our way,

Heard me from Horace smart and gay.

“Though with the world I struggled hard,

Virtue my best but sole reward;

When my whole income could but keep

The wolf from preying on the sheep;

Ne’er would I change my classic store

For all that Crœsus had, or more;


Nor would I lose what I have read,

Though tempting Fortune, in its stead,

Would shower down mitres on my head!

Bear and forbear,—an adage true

As human wisdom ever drew!

That this I’ve practis’d through my life,

I have a witness in my wife;

For though she’d sometimes snarl and scold,

I never would a parley hold;


And when she, though but seldom, swore,

I check’d the oath, but said no more,

And all returning taunts forbore.

I dress’d my spirit from the pages

Of learned Dons and ancient Sages;

But my lean form was never smart

From barber’s skill or tailor’s art;


So that my figure was a joke

For all the town and country folk:

But this my feelings never griev’d,

And I with smiles their smiles receiv’d;

I ne’er retorted, like a fool,

Their inoffensive ridicule.

“So that my Dolly’s clothes were fine,

She never car’d a doit for mine:


So that on ev’ry Sabbath-day,

She could appear in trappings gay,

And in a pew her form display,

She’d let me walk about the town,

Till my black coat was almost brown:

But she was, I cannot deny,

The soul of notability.

She struggled hard to save the pelf;

And, though she might except herself,

I do believe, upon my word,

To all things Syntax was preferr’d.

Bear and forbear, I’ve thought and said,

Is part of ev’ry Parson’s trade;

And what he doth to others preach,

He should by his example teach.

Whene’er the scoffer trotted by,

I ne’er have turn’d an angry eye:

Nay, when of Wealth I’ve been the jeer,

When petty pride let loose a sneer,

I never fail’d the joke to join,

And paid them off in classic coin.

“My Rector, fat as fat can be,

With prebend stall, and livings three,

Once told me, if I kept my riches

Within the pockets of my breeches,


To make them of materials stout,

Or else the weight would wear them out.

O, with what base irreverent glee

He chose to mock my poverty!

Yet I did not my cloth disgrace

By squirting spittle in his face;

But answer’d from St. Paul, in Greek,

And bid him the quotation seek

In Pliny:—When the purse-proud brute

Nodded assent—and then was mute.

“The Oilman there, in that fine house,

Who boasts th’ escutcheons of his spouse,


Soon after he had left off trade,

Lov’d some great noble Lady’s maid,

Who by my Lord had been betray’d:

To Hymen’s Fane the fair he led,

And gave the claim to half his bed:

She talks of Duchesses by dozens,

As if they were her cater-cousins.

He once said—‘Doctor, do you see?

Let’s hear what is your pedigree;’—

When I, with rev’rence due replied,

’I am not to the great allied;

But yet I’ve heard my grandame say,

(Though many a year has pass’d away

Since she is gone where all must go,

Whether they have been high or low,)

That one of our forefathers bore

A place of state in days of yore;

That he was butler or purveyor,

Or trumpeter to some Lord Mayor,

When Carthaginian Hannibal

Dined with his Lordship at Guildhall:

That great man being forc’d to come,

By order of the Pope of Rome,


To end some quarrel ’tween the houses

That bore the pale and crimson roses.’

The Oilman said, ‘It might be so;

And ’twas a monstrous while ago.’

“’Tis thus I give these fools a poke,

And foil their tauntings with a joke;

For that man has no claim to sense,

Whose blood boils at impertinence.

Were I to scourge each fool I meet,

I ne’er must go into the street;

I ne’er my bearded head must pop

Into the chatt’ring barber’s shop.

Bear and forbear—a maxim true

As erring mortals ever knew.

But things are chang’d; new scenes appear

My mind to soothe, my heart to cheer;

The Pow’rs above my fate regard,

And give my patience its reward.

But while I trod Life’s rugged road,

While troubles haunted my abode,

With not an omen to portend

That toil would cease, that things would mend

I did to my allotment bow,

And smok’d my pipe as I do now.

“Hail social tube! thou foe to Care!

Companion of my easy chair!

Form’d not, with cold and Stoic art,

To harden, but to soothe the heart!

For BACON, a much wiser man

Than any of the Stoic clan,

Declares thy power to controul

Each fretful impulse of the soul;

And SWIFT has said, (a splendid name,

On the large sphere of mortal fame)


That he who daily smokes two pipes

The tooth-ache never has—nor gripes.

With these, in silence calm and still,

My Dolly’s tones, no longer shrill,

Though meant to speak, reproach and sneer,

Pass’d in soft cadence to my ear.

Calm Contemplation comes with thee,

And the mild maid,—Philosophy!

Lost in the thoughts which you suggest

To the full counsel of my breast,

My books all slumb’ring on the shelf,

I thus can commune with myself;

Thus to myself my thoughts repeat;

Thus moralize on what is great,

And, ev’ry selfish wish subdu’d,

Cherish the sense of what is good.

“While I thy grateful breath inhale,

I see the cheering cup of ale;

Benignant juice; Lethean stream!

That aids the fond oblivious dream;

Which fits the freshen’d mind to bear

The burden of returning care.

“Let Pride’s loose sons prolong the night

In Bacchanalian delight;

I envy not their jovial noise,

Their mirth, and mad, intemp’rate joys.

The luscious wines that Spain can boast,

Or grow on Lusitanian coast,

Ne’er fill’d my cups:—4 Repast divine!

The home-brew’d beverage is mine.


Thus, cheer’d with hopes of happier days,

My grateful lips declare thy praise.

How oft I’ve felt, in adverse hour,

The comforts of thy soothing power!

Nor will I now forget my friend,

When my foul fortune seems to mend:

Yes, I would smoke as I do now,

Though a proud mitre deck’d my brow.


——Mea nec Falernæ

Temperant vites, neque Formiani

Pocula colles.

Hor. L. i. Od. xx.

“Hail, social tube! thou foe to care!

Companion of my easy chair!

While, as the curling fumes arise,

They seem th’ ascending sacrifice

That’s offer’d by my gratitude

To the Great Father of the good.”

More had he spoke: but, lo! the Dame

With the appointed Haslet came:

When Syntax, having bless’d the meat,

Sat down to the luxuriant treat.

“And now,” he said, “my dear, ’twill be

As good as Burgundy to me,

If you will tell me what has pass’d

Since we embrac’d each other last.”

“O,” she replied, “my dearest love,

Things in their usual order move.

Pray take a piece of this fine liver:

The Rector is as proud as ever.

I’ll help you, dear, to this or that:

Let me supply your lean with fat.—

I thought the Oilman’s wife would burst

When in this dress she saw me first;

It was at Church she show’d her airs;

My bonnet spoil’d the woman’s prayers.

Your knife is blunt; here, take the steel;

Cut deep,—the Haslet cannot feel.—


There’s Lawyer Graspall got a beating,

As you may well suppose,—for cheating:

Our honest Butcher trounc’d him well,

As the Attorney’s bones can tell.

He order’d home a rump of beef;

And when it came, the hungry thief,

Having shav’d off a pound or two

Return’d it, for it would not do.

The fraud discovered, words arose,

And they were follow’d soon by blows:

When, as he well deserv’d, the sinner

Got a good thrashing for his dinner.”

Said Syntax, “If I had a son,”—

“Pooh!” she reply’d, “you have not done:

You still, I hope, can pick a bit,

And no excuse will I admit.

’Tis long since we’ve together been;

Since we’ve each other’s faces seen;

And surely, I’m not such a fright

To make you lose your appetite.”

“But,” he continued, “if a boy

Were, my dear Doll, to crown our joy,

I’d sooner, far, the stripling see

The heir of dire Adversity,

Than to a dire Attorney bind him,

Where Old Nick is sure to find him.”

She added—“Yes, with naked feet

I’d sooner have him pace the street;

But ere you let your choler burst,

Let’s have the little Urchin first.”

The Doctor thought his jolly wife

Ne’er look’d so handsome in her life.

Her voice he thought grown wond’rous sweet;

To him a most uncommon treat,


So much in tune, it made him long

To hear it quaver in a song.

“Come, sing, my charmer,” Syntax said,

And thus the simp’ring dame obey’d.


“Haste to Dolly! haste away!

This is thine and Hymen’s day!

Bid her thy soft bondage wear;

Bid her for Love’s rights prepare.

Let the nymphs with many a flower,

Deck the sacred nuptial bower;

Thither lead the lovely fair,

And let Cupid, too, be there.

This is thine and Hymen’s day!

Haste to Dolly! haste away!”

Thus pass’d the time; the morrow came,

And Mrs. Syntax was the same:


But when (for ’twas not done before)

She heard the Doctor’s story o’er,

With all the hopes he had in store;

By joy, by vanity subdu’d,

Her warm embraces she renew’d;

While he, delighted, fondly kiss’d

Those hands which, form’d into a fist,

Had often warn’d his eyes and nose

To turn from their tremendous blows.

At length, of golden ease possest,

No angry words, no frowns, molest;


No symptoms of domestic strife,

Disturb’d their very alter’d life,

For she out-dress’d the Oilman’s wife:

And he could now relieve the poor,

Who sought his charitable door.


Though to each virtue often blind,

The world to wealth is ever kind;

For lo! a certain tell-tale dame,

Yclep’d and known as Mistress Fame,

Had told to all the country round,

That Syntax for a thousand pound

Had sold a learned book he wrote;

That now he was a man of note,

By Lords protected! and that one

Would make him tutor to his son:

So that, whenever he went forth,

All paid their homage to his worth;

While it became the fond desire

Of ev’ry neighb’ring rural ’Squire

To send his hopeful boys to share

The favour of the Doctor’s care.

But all these views soon found an end:

A packet came, and from a friend,

From ’Squire Worthy, who resides

On Keswick’s bold and woody sides.

The wond’ring Postman made it known,

As he pass’d on, to all the town;

For such a letter ne’er had been

Within his little circuit seen:

Nay, by the fiat of the Post,

It more than seven shillings cost.

The Doctor star’d—while Ma’am unwilling,

Slowly drew forth each ling’ring shilling.

“Ne’er mind your silver,” Syntax said,

“The Postman, Deary, must be paid;

And now these papers I behold,

I see they’re worth their weight in gold:

Come, sit you down, and take good heed

To what I’m now about to read.”


“Good Rev’rend Sir,

Our Vicar’s dead,

And I have nam’d you in his stead.

I often wish’d his neck he’d break,

Or tumble drunk into the Lake;

So, you must know the poaching hound

Fulfill’d one wish—for he is drown’d.

Unfit for preaching or for praying,

His merit lay in cudgel-playing:

And he preferr’d to saying prayers,

The laying springes for the hares.

“You will perceive I keep my word,

And to this Church you’re now preferr’d:

By ev’ry legal act and deed,

To Parson Hairbrain you succeed:

The papers which you now receive,

A right and full possession give.

You, Sir, may make the living clear

Above three hundred pounds a year;

And if you will but condescend

To my son’s learning to attend;

If you’ll direct his studious hour,

I’ll add some fifty pounds or more:

Nay, soon we hope that you will cheer

The parish with your presence here.

Miss Worthy and her sister join

Their kindest compliments to mine;

And to your prayers I recommend

Your faithful and admiring friend,

Jonathan Worthy.”

The Dame exclaim’d, “My Grecian boy,

I know not how to tell my joy.

This is the height of my desire:—

’Squire Worthy is a worthy ’Squire.”


“Ha, ha,” said Syntax, “O, the fun!

Why, Dolly, you have made a pun.


But still a pun I do detest,

’Tis such a paltry, humbug jest;

They who’ve least wit can make them best.


But you may frisk and pun away;

I’m sure I cannot teach to-day,

So tell the boys to go and play.

Thank Heaven, that toil and trouble past,

My holidays are come at last!”

At length, the busy school resign’d,

They both rejoic’d to leave behind

A place which little had to give,

Than the hard struggle how to live.


For the long journey to prepare,

Syntax had bought a one-horse chair,

With harness for the grizzle-mare.

Ralph would not from his master part,

But trudg’d beside the traveling cart

That bore the Doctor’s books and chattles,

With Madam’s clothes and fiddle-faddles:

The Cook upon the baggage rode,

And added to the weighty load;

For she, kind maid, was fully bent

To go wherever Ralpho went.

The Doctor walk’d about to tell

The day when he should say—farewell:

And they who had disdain’d before

To pass the threshold of his door,

When Syntax gave his farewell treat,

Sought that same door to drink and eat.

The neighbours now, who never yet

Knew his great worth, his loss regret;

While Madam, on whom no good word

Had been, throughout the town, preferr’d,


Was now a most delightful creature,

Of temper mild,—of winning feature.

The Ringers, who for many a year,

Refus’d his natal day to cheer,

Now made the bells, in woeful zeal,

Chime forth the dumb, lamenting peal.

—The time soon came, when, quite light-hearted,

The Doctor and his spouse departed:

And as they journey’d on their way,

They did not fail to pass a day

At Oxford, with his early friend,

The kind and learned Dickey Bend.


Nor did he think it a delay,

The Christian Vicar to repay,

And ’neath his roof a night to stay;

To add, for former kindness shown,

His Dolly’s greeting to his own.

At York they also form’d the party,

For a whole week, of ’Squire Hearty.

Dr. and Mrs. Syntax driving up to their new house

Doctor Syntax taking Possession of his Living.

A few days more, and, lo! the Lake

Did on th’ enraptur’d vision break:

When, rising ’mid the tufted trees,

Syntax his sacred structure sees,

Whose tow’r appear’d in ancient pride,

With the warm Vic’rage by its side.

“At length, dear wife,” he said, “we’re come

To our appointed, tranquil home.”

The courteous people line the way,

And their rude, untaught homage pay:

The foremost of the assembled crowd,

The fat Exciseman, humbly bow’d:

“Welcome,” he said, “to Sommerden.”

The Clerk stood by, and cried “Amen!


Grizzle dash’d boldly through the gate,

Where the kind ’Squire and ladies wait,

With kind embrace, with heart and hand,

To cheer them into Cumberland.

The bells rang loud, the boys huzza’d;

The bonfire was in order laid;

The villagers their zeal display,

And ale and crackers close the day.

Syntax, whom all desired to please,

Enjoy’d his hours of learned ease;

Nor did he fail to preach and pray,

To brighter worlds to point the way;

While his dear spouse was never seen

To show ill-nature or the spleen;

And faithful Grizzle now no more

Or drew a chaise, or rider bore.

Thus the good Parson, Horse, and Wife,

Led a most comfortable life.


Title Page Text:

The Tour


Doctor Syntax,

In Search of the

close-up of illustrated “Picturesque” from title page

A Poem

Seventh Edition

with new Plates

Pubd. Jan. 1 1817 at R. ACKERMANN’S REPOSITORY of ARTS 101 Strand London

Notes and Corrections

Canto I

You would not guess it from the first few pages, but Syntax really is fond of his wife.

He but replied or, YES or NO.
punctuation unchanged
[It seems as if the comma should go after “replied”, if anywhere.]

I’ll make a TOURand then I’ll WRITE IT.
final . missing

Canto III

The villains might again surround him. / And hang him up where they had bound him,
[Punctuated as shown. The comma and period (full stop) should perhaps be swapped.]

For there I liv’d remote from harm; / My meals were good, my house was warm;
[A rhyme familiar from “I love little Pussy / Her coat is so warm / And if I don’t hurt her / She’ll do me no harm.” We will not talk about “behatted : squatted” on the next page.]

When overwhelm’d with love and awe,
text has overwelm’d

He gave them both with heart and mind.
. missing or invisible

Canto V

While Dolly, ent’ring with a kettle
[In Canto VII we will learn that Syntax’s wife is also called Dolly.]

Canto VII

Justice, though blind, will always speak.
. missing or invisible

Canto VIII

And whensoe’er he goeth wrong
text has whenso’er
[The word occurs in a later Canto with the expected spelling.]

Eating and drinking to your mind.”
. invisible

Who fell an early sacrifice / To Dolly’s unrelenting eyes.
[“Dolly” seems to be the author’s favorite name.]

But he, good Sir, has got a wife;”
close quote missing

Canto X

The alternate sport of Joy and Care
[Pronounced, I think, “Th’alTERnate”.]

And cheer’d him both with wine and words.
. missing or invisible

Hearty’s my name
[We will meet Squire Hearty again in the second Tour.]

“Nor fail all kindness to bestow:
open quote missing

Canto XI

text has Postcript

Canto XII

I should prefer the cook just now, / To Rubens or to Gerrard Dow
[Chorus: I can tell undoubted Raphaels / From Gerard Dows and Zoffanies]

A sample of our strongest beer;
text has stongest

Canto XIII

When, harness’d to a light barouche, / The ground they do not seem to touch
[I would have been perfectly happy not knowing that this is how “barouche” was pronounced in Regency England.]

Canto XIV

“This is a lovely scene of nature; / But I’ve enough of land and water:
[Yikes. Elsewhere in the Tour, a favorite rhyme for “nature” is “creature”, while “water” rhymes with “daughter” and similar.]

Would to a taste-inspir’d mind,
[To make the line scan, it should have been printed “taste-inspired”.]

Leave the far-fam’d Eclipse behind
[Eclipse (1764–1789) was England’s most famous race horse. It is not long since I looked him up in connection with a book dating from 1881.]

“With all my heart,” the Doctor said, / “But not with horns upon my head.”
[Does he not trust his wife?]

Canto XV

Squire Worthy, like Squire Hearty, will reappear in future Tours.

Till tir’d of each other’s chat
[Like “inspir’d” in the previous Canto, it really ought to be “tired”.]

Canto XVI

Pleas’d with the prospect, he was fain
text has feign

Where you will be a welcome guest.
. missing or invisible

Canto XVII

Pray try to cure me—and begin.”
. invisible


The vary’d landscape here combined
text has conbined
[In fact I’m surprised he didn’t write it “combin’d”.]

Come, rev’rend Sir, I’ll lead the way:”
punctuation unchanged

Nor make the fond return of love!
text unchanged: expected question mark

Canto XIX

But ere he slept, he pass’d an hour / In adding something to his Tour;
[This is known as a Spelling Rhyme. He uses it several times in the course of the Tour—but “tour” is just as likely to rhyme with “door”. Further along in the Canto, we similarly get “town” rhymed with “own” and “known”.]

Yet, with all their power and rule,
[I can’t get this to scan unless I toss in another syllable at the beginning, like “And yet, with” or “Yet still, with”.]

Canto XX

Nay, in your ’Change, where riches reign,
text has Nay, in your ’Change, where, with superfluous comma

Some to Ambitions heights ascend;
text unchanged: expected Ambition’s

[Illustration] Dr. Syntax reading his Tour
[The color values of this illustration are noticeably different because I had to bring it in from a different source.]

Canto XXII

How British columns fought their way,
text has . for ,

And if you please——”
[The printed book has no visible punctuation before the quotation mark; I’ve supplied the dash from a different edition.]


L’ingannare, il mentir, la fraude, il furto
[The five lines are printed as shown. Canonically—based on two different sources, a century apart—it is:

L’ingannare, il mentir, la frode, il furto,

E la rapina di pietà vestita,

Créscer col danno e precipizio altrúi,

E far a se dell’ altrúi biasmo onore,

Son le virtù di quella gente infida.

Reading onore as more is interesting, as it’s more of an OCR error. Did somebody have bad handwriting?]

Canto XXIV

Whether old Lear’s form he wore
[Like the word “real”, the name “Lear” has two syllables.]

In those good times none went to see / The mere effects of scenery
[In the good old days, nobody went home humming the sets.]

We ne’er shall see his like again
[Since David Garrick died in 1779, it is possible Dr. Syntax’s memory of his acting is tinged by a general “everything was better when I was young”.]

Syntax. “You ne’er saw Quin the stage adorn:
. missing

Th’ admir’d actor whom you see
[Once again, the editor goofed. You need all three syllables of “admired”.]

Canto XXV

[Illustration] The Doctor’s Dream.
[If I knew more about Rowlandson, I would be able to say whether each face in the pictured dream is a caricature of some identifiable author.]

And Grecian Homer rests his hope / Of being understood by Pope.
[Unfortunately, “Chapman” wouldn’t scan. And I can’t help notice that, in this long list of translators, Pope and Dryden are the only names I recognize.]

Ulysses, as I’ve heard it said, / Was full ten months oblig’d to roam
[Unlike “real” and “Lear”, the word “years” would be the same single syllable for Dr. Syntax as it is for you and me. Does it have to be “months” (the error is Cocker’s, not the author’s) to align with the “three” of the following couplet?]

knees . . . Sophocles . . . end in ῆς
[New Style pronunciation being almost a century away, it all rhymes.]

Canto XXVI

Of his good fortune he preferr’d.
. missing

Then ran to bid the boys huzza, / And gave them all a holiday
[Is that how you pronounce “huzza”? I’ll be darned.]

To cheer them into Cumberland
[Rhymes with Newfoundland, I take it.]

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.