« PreviousContinue »
Here rows of drummers stand in martial file, But still the wandering passes forc'd his stay,
| Thy venturous footsteps to a female guide : Now Industry awakes her busy sons ;
She'll lead thee with delusive smiles along, Full-charg'd with news the breathless hawker runs: Dive in thy fob, and drop thee in the throng. Shops open, coaches roll, carts shake the ground, When waggish boys the stunted besom ply, And all the streets with passing cries resound. To rid the slabby pavement, pass not by
If cloth'd in black you tread the busy town, Ere thou hast held their hands; some heedless flirt Or if distinguish'd by the reverend gown, Will overspread thy calves with spattering dirt. Three trades avoid : oft in the mingling press Where porters' hogsheads roll from carts aslope, The barber's apron soils the sable dress ;
Or brewers down steep cellars stretch the rope, Shun the perfumer's touch with cautious eye, Where counted billets are by carmen tost, Nor let the baker's step advance too nigh. Stay thy rash step, and walk without the post. Ye walkers too, that youthful colors wear,
What though the gathering mire thy feet beThree sullying trades avoid with equal care :
smear, The little chimney-sweeper skulks along, The voice of Industry is alwa And marks with sooty stains the heedless throng; Hark! the boy calls thee to his destin'd stand, When small-coal murmurs in the hoarser throat, And the shoe shines beneath his oily hand. From smutty dangers guard thy threaten'd coat; Here let the Muse, fatigued amid the throng, The dustman's cart offends thy clothes and eyes, Adorn her precepts with digressive song ; When through the street a cloud of ashes flies; Of shirtless youths the secret rise to trace, But, whether black or lighter dyes are worn, And show the parent of the sable race. The chandler's basket, on his shoulder borne, Like mortal man, great Jove (grown fond of With tallow spots thy coat; resign the way,
change) To shun the surly butcher's greasy tray,
Of old was wont this nether world to range, Butchers, whose hands are dyed with blood's foul To seek amours; the vice the monarch lov’d, stain,
Soon through the wide ethereal court improv'd : And always foremost in the hangman's train. And ev'n the proudest goddess, now and then, Let due civilities be strictly paid :
Would lodge a night among the sons of men; The wall surrender to the hooded maid ;
To vulgar deities descends the fashion, Nor let thy stufdy elbow's hasty rage
Each, like her betters, had her earthly passion. Jostle the feeble steps of trembling age:
Then Cloacina* (goddess of the tide, And when the porter bends beneath his load, Whose sable streams beneath the city glide,) And pants for breath, clear thou the crowded road. Indulg'd the modish flame; the town she roy'd, But, above all, the groping blind direct;
A mortal scavenger she saw, she lov'd; And from the pressing throng the lame protect. The muddy spots that dried upon his face,
You'll sometimes meet a for, of nicest tread, Like female patches, heightend every grace : Whose mantling peruke veils his empty head; She gaz'd; she sigh'd ; (for love can beauties spy At every step he dreads the wall to lose,
In what seem faults to every common eye.) And risks, to save a coach, his red-heel'd shoes; Now had the watchman walk'd his second round Him, like the miller, pass with caution by, When Cloacina hears the rumbling sound Lest from his shoulder clouds of powder fly. Of her brown lover's cart (for well she knows But, when the bully, with assuming pace, That pleasing thunder): swift the goddess rose, Cocks his broad hat, edg’d round with tarnish'd And through the streets pursu'd the distant noise, lace,
Her bosom panting with expected joys. Yield not the way, defy his strutting pride, With the night-wandering harlot's airs she past, And thrust him to the muddy kennel's side; Brush'd near his side, and wanton glances cast; He never turns again, nor dares oppose,
In the black form of cinder-wench she came, But mutters coward curses as he goes.
When love, the hour, the place, had banish'd shame, If drawn by business to a street unknown, To the dark alley arm in arm they move : Let the sworn porter point thee through the town; O may no link-boy interrupt their love! Be sure observe the signs, for signs remain,
When the pale Moon had nine times fill'd her Like faithful landmarks, to the walking train.
space, Seek not from prenti to learn the way, The pregnant goddess (cautious of disgrace) Those fabling boys will turn thy steps astray ; Descends to Earth; but sought no midwife's aid, Ask the grave tradesman to direct thee right, Nor 'midst her anguish to Lucina pray'd ; He ne'er deceives—but when he profits by 't. No cheersul gossip wish'd the mother joy,
Where fam'd St. Giles's ancient limits spread, Alone, beneath a bulk, she dropt the boy. (prov'd An enrail'd column rears its lofty head;
The child, through various risks in years im Here 10 seven streets seven dials count the day, At first, a beggar's brat, compassion mov'd; And from each other catch the circling ray. His infant tongue soon learnt the canting art, Here oft the peasant, with inquiring face, Knew all the prayers and whines to touch the Bewilder'd, trudges on from place to place;
heart. He dwells on every sign with stupid gaze, Enters the narrow alley's doubtful maze,
* Cloacina was a goddess, whose image Tatius (a king Tries every winding court and street in vain,
of the Sabines) found in the common sewer; and, not And doubles o'er his weary steps again.
knowing what goddess it was, he called it Cloacina, from Thus hardly Theseus with intrepid feet
the place in which it was found, and paid to it divine Travers’d the dangerous labyrinth of Crete; honors.-Lactant. 1. 20, Minuc. Fel. Oct. p. 232.
Oh, happy unown'd youths! your limbs can bear His treble voice resounds along the Meuse,
The goddess long had mark'd the child's distress, Too long detains the walker on his way; And long had sought his sufferings to redress. While he attends, new dangers round him throng: She prays the gods to take the fondling's part, The busy city asks instructive song. To teach his hands some beneficial art
Where, elevated o'er the gaping crowd, Practis'd in streets: the gods her suit allow'd, Clasp'd in the board the perjurd head is bow'd, And made him useful to the walking crowd ; Betimes retreat; here, thick as hailstones pour, To cleanse the miry seet, and o'er the shoe, Turnips and half-hatch'd eggs (a mingled shower) With nimble skill, the glossy black renew. Among the rabble rain: some random throw Each power contributes to relieve the poor : May with the trickling yolk thy cheek o'erflow. With the strong bristles of the mighty boar
Though expedition bids, yet never stray Diana forms his brush; the god of day
Where no rang'd posts defend the rugged way. A tripod gives, amid the crowded way
Here laden carts with thundering wagons meet, To raise the dirty foot, and ease his toil;
Wheels clash with wheels, and bar the narrow Kind Neptune fills his vase with fetid oil
street ; Prest from th' enormous whale; the god of fire, The lashing whip resounds, the horses strain, From whose dominions smoky clouds aspire, And blood in anguish bursts the swelling vein. Among these generous presents joins his part, O barbarous men! your cruel breasts assuage ; And aids with soot the new japanning art. Why vent ye on the generous steed your rage ? Pleas'd she receives the gifts; she downward glides, Does not his service earn your daily bread ? Lights in Fleet-ditch, and shoots beneath the tides. Your wives, your children, by his labors sed !
Now dawns the morn, the sturdy lad awakes, If, as the Samian taught, the soul revives, Leaps from his stall, his tangled hair he shakes ; And, shifting seats, in other bodies lives; Then, leaning o'er the rails, he musing stood, Severe shall be the brutal coachman's change, And view'd below the black canal of mud, Doom'd in a hackney-horse the town to range; Where common shores a lulling murmur keep, Carmen, transform’d, the groaning load shall draw Whose torrents rush from Holborn's fatal steep: Whom other tyrants with the lash shall awe. Pensive through idleness, tears flow'd apace, Who would of Warling-street the dangers share, Which eas'd his loaded heart, and wash'd his face! When the broad pavement of Cheapside is near? At length he sighing cried, " That boy was blest, Or who that rugged street* would traverse o'er, Whose infant lips have drain'd a mother's breast; That stretches, O Fleet-ditch, from thy black shore But happier far are those (if such be known) To the Tower's moated walls? Here steams ascend Whom both a father and a mother own :
That, in mix'd fumes, the wrinkled nose offend. But I, alas ! hard Fortune's utmost scorn, Where chandlers' caldrons boil; where fishy prey Who ne'er knew parent, was an orphan born! Hide the wet stall, long absent from the sea ; Some boys are rich by birth beyond all wants, And where the cleaver chops the heifer's spoil, Belov'd by uncles, and kind good old aunts ; And where huge hogsheads sweat with trainy oil ; When time comes round, a Christmas-box they bear, Thy breathing nostril hold: but how shall I And one day makes them rich for all the year. Pass, where in piles Carnaviant cheeses lie; Had I the precepts of a father learn'd,
Cheese, that the table's closing rites denies, Perhaps I then the coachman's fare had earn'd, And bids me with th' unwilling chaplain rise ? For lesser boys can drive; I thirsty stand,
O bear me to the paths of fair Pall-Mall! And see the double flagon charge their hand, Safe are thy pavements, grateful is thy smell! See them puff off the froth, and gulp amain, At distance rolls along the gilded coach, While with dry tongue 1 lick my lips in vain." Nor sturdy carmen on thy walks encroach;
While thus he servent prays, the heaving tide, No lets would bar thy ways were chairs denied, In widen'd circles, beats on either side ;
The soft supports of laziness and pride : The goddess rose amid the inmost round,
Shops breathe perfumes, through sashes ribbons glow, With wither'd turnip-tops her temples crown'd; The mutual arms of ladies and the beau. Low reach'd her dripping tresses, lank, and black Yet still ev'n here, when rains the passage hide, As the smooth jet, or glossy raven's back; of the loose stone spirts up a muddy tide Around her waist a circling eel was twin'd, Beneath thy careless foot; and from on high, Which bound her robe that hung in rags behind. Where masons mount the ladder, fragments fly, Now, beckoning to the boy, she thus begun : Mortar and crumbled lime in showers descend, “ Thy prayers are granted; weep no more, my son : And o'er thy head destructive tiles impend. Go thrive. At some frequented corner stand ; But sometimes let me leave the noisy roads, This brush I give thee, grasp it in thy hand; And silent wander in the close abodes, Temper the soot within this vase of oil,
Where wheels ne'er shake the ground; there pensive And let the little tripod aid thy toil.
stray, On this, methinks, I see the walking crew, In studious thought, the long uncrowded way. At thy request, support the miry shoe;
Here I remark each walker's different face, The foot grows black that was with dirt embrown'd, And in their look their various business tracu. And in thy pocket gingling half-pence sound.” The broker here his spacious beaver wears, The goddess plunges swift beneath the flo
Upon his brow sit jealousies and cares;
Bent on some mortgage (to avoid reproach) Columns with plain magnificence appear,
I spy the furies of the foot-ball war:
Increasing crowds the flying game pursue. Careful observers, studious of the town, Thus, as you roll the ball o'er snowy ground, Shun the misfortunes that disgrace the clown; The gathering globe augments with every round. Untempted, they contemn the juggler's feats, But whither shall I run? the throng draws nigh, Pass by the Meuse, nor try the thimble's cheats ;* The ball now skims the street, now soars on high, When drays bound high, they never cross behind, The dext'rous glazier strong returns the bound, Where bubbling yest is blown by gusis of wind : And jingling sashes on the penthouse sound. And when up Ludgate-hill huge carts move slow, O, moving Muse! recall that wondrous year, Far from the straining steeds securely go,
When Winter reign'd in bleak Britannia's air;
Pensive reclines upon his useless oar;
And wander roads unstable, not their own;
Wheels o'er the hardend waters smoothly glide, Nor flush with shame the passing virgin's cheek. And rase with whiten'd tracks the slippery tide; Yet let me not descend to trivial song,
Here the fat cook piles high the blazing fire, Nor vulgar circumstance my verse prolong.
And scarce the spit can turn the steer entire ; Why should I teach the maid, when torrents pour, Booths sudden hide the Thames, long streets appear Her head to shelter from the sudden shower ? And numerous games proclaim the crowded fair. Nature will best her ready hand inform,
So, when a general bids the martial train With her spread petticoat to fence the storm. Spread their encampment o'er the spacious plain ; Does not each walker know the warning sign, Thick rising tents a canvas city build, When wisps of straw depend upon the twine And the loud dice resound through all the field. Cross the close street, that then the paver's art
"Twas here the matron found a doleful fate : Renews the ways, denied to coach and cart? Let elegiac lay the woe relate, Who knows not that the coachman lashing by Soft as the breath of distant flutes, at hours Oft with his flourish cuts the heedless eye; When silent evening closes up the flowers ; And when he takes his stand, to wait a fare, Lulling as falling water's hollow noise ; His horses' foreheads shun the Winter's air? Indulging grief, like Philomela's voice. Nor will I roam where Summer's sultry rays Doll every day had walk'd these treacherous Parch the dry ground, and spread with dust the ways;
Her neck grew warpt beneath autumnal loads With whirling gusts the rapid atoms rise,
of various fruit: she now a basket bore; Smoke o'er the pavement, and involve the skies. That head, alas! shall basket bear no more.
Winter my theme confines; whose nitry wind Each booth she frequent past, in quest of gain, Shall crust the slabby mire, and kennels bind ; And boys with pleasure heard her shrilling strain. She bids the snow descend in flaky sheets,
Ah, Doll ! all mortals must resign their breath, And in her hoary mantle clothe the streets. And industry itself submit to death! Let not the virgin tread these slippery roads, The cracking crystal yields; she sinks, she dies, The gathering fleece the hollow patten loads ; Her head, chopt off, from her lost shoulders fies; But if thy footsteps slide with clotted frost, Pippins she cried, but death her voice confounds Strike off the breaking balls against the post. And pip-pip-pip along the ice resounds. On silent wheels the passing coaches roll ;
So, when the Thracian furies Orpheus tore, Oft look behind, and ward the threatening pole. And left his bleeding trunk deform’d with gore, In harden'd orbs the school-boy moulds the snow,
His sever'd head floats down the silver tide, To mark the coachman with a dext’rous throw. His yet warm tongue for his lost consort cried ; Why do ye, boys, the kennel's surface spread, Euridice with quivering voice he mourn d, To tempt with faithless path the matron's tread? And Heber's banks Euridice return'd. How can you laugh to see the damsel spurn, But now the western gale the flood unbinds, Sink in your frauds, and her green stocking mourn? And blackening clouds move on with warmer winds; At White's the harness'd chairman idly stands, The wooden town its frail foundation leaves, And swings around his waist his tingling hands;
And Thames' full urn rolls down his plenteous The sem pstress speeds to Change with red-tipt nose; The Belgian stove beneath her footstool glows; From every penthouse streams the fleeting snow. In half-whipt muslin needles useless lie, And with dissolving frost the pavements flow. And shuttle-cocks across the counter fly. [prove, Experienc'd men, inur'd to city ways, These sports warm harmless; why then will ye Need not the calendar to count their days. Deluded maids, the dangerous flame of love ? When through the town, with slow and solemn air
Where Covent-garden's famous temple stands, Led by the nostril, walks the muzzled bear; That boasts the work of Jones' immortal hands; Behind him moves, majestically dull,
The pride of Hockley-hole, the surly bull. * A cheat commonly practised in the streets with three Learn hence the periods of the week to name, thimbles and a little ball.
Mondays and Thursdays are the days of game
When fishy stalls with double store are laid ; Here Arundel's fam'd structure rear'd its frame,
And Raphael's fair design, with judgment charmil,
Now hangs the bellman's song, and pasted here
The color'd prints of Overton appear.
A wooden pump, or lonely watch-house, stands.
Successive cries the seasons' change declare, Beneath his eye declining art revives,
Walnuts the fruiterer's hand in Autumn stain, What though no coach to frequent visit rolls,
Yet still your nerves rheumatic pains defy,
Nor lazy jaundice dulls
saffron eye ;
Of burning gout, or sedentary stone.
Or in the leaky boat the Thames divide;
The glasses shatters, and his charge o'erturns.
Views spatter'd passengers all drench'd in rain.
Where the brass-knocker, wrapt in flannel band, Scar'd with dark thunder, to the nether world,
And the Sun's beamy ruin gilds the plains.
From hence he learns the seventh-born doctor's
Come, Fortescue, sincere, experienc'd friend, Such Newgate's copious market best affords.
Thames-street gives cheeses; Covent-garden, fruits
suits. Behold that narrow street which steep descends, Hence may'st thou well supply the wants of life, Whose building to the slimy shore extends ; Support thy family, and clothe thy wife.
Volumes on shelter'd stalls expanded lie, Summon at once thy courage, rouse thy care, And various science lures the learned eye ; Stand firm, look back, be resolute, beware. The bending shelves with ponderous scholiasts Forth issuing from steep lanes, the collier's steeds groan,
Drag the black load ; another cart succeeds ; And deep divines, to modern shops unknown; Team follows team, crowds heap'd on crowds appear, Here, like the bee, that on industrious wing And wait impatient till the road grow clear. Collects the various odors of the Spring,
Now all the pavement sounds with tramping feet, Walkers at leisure, learning's flowers may spoil, And the mix'd hurry barricades the street. Nor watch the wasting of the midnight oil ; Entangled here, the wagon's lengthen’d team May morals snatch from Plutarch's tatter'd page, Cracks the tough harness; here a ponderous beam A mildew'd Bacon, or Stagyra's sage :
Lies overturn'd athwart; for slaughter fed, Here sauntering prentices o'er Otway weep, Here lowing bullocks raise their horned head. O'er Congreve smile, or over D'Urfey sleep; Now oaths grow loud, with coaches coaches jar, Pleas'd semptresses the Lock's fam'd Rape unfold; And the smart blow provokes the sturdy war; And Squirts* read Garth, till a pozenis grow cold. From the high box they whirl the thong around, O Lintot! let my labors obvious lie,
And with the twining lash their shins resound: Rang'd on thy stall, for every curious eye! Their rage ferments, more dangerous wounds they So shall the poor these precepts gratis know,
try, And to my verse their future safeties owe. And the blood gushes down their painful eye.
What walker shall his mean ambition fix And now on foot the frowning warriors light, On the false lustre of a coach and six ?
And with their ponderous fists renew the fight; Let the vain virgin, Jurd by glaring show, Blow answers blow, their cheeks are smear'd with Sigh for the liveries of th' embroider'd beau.
blood, See yon bright chariot on its braces swing, Till down they fall, and grappling roll in mud. With Flanders mares, and on an arched spring. So, when two boars, in wild Ytene* bred, That wretch, to gain an equipage and place, Or on Westphalia's fattening chestnuts fed. Betray'd his sister to a lewd embrace ;
Gnash their sharp tusks, and, rous'd with equal fire, This coach, that with the blazon'd 'scutcheon glows, Dispute the reign of some luxurious mire ; Vain of his unknown race, the coxcomb shows. In the black flood they wallow o'er and o'er, Here the brib'd lawyer, sunk in velvet, sleeps ; Till their arm'd jaw's distil with foam and gore. The starving orphan, as he passes, weeps ;
Where the mob gathers, swiftly shoot along, There flames a fool, begirt with tinsel slaves, Nor idly mingle in the noisy throng: Who wastes the wealth of a whole race of knaves; Lur'd by the silver hilt, amid the swarm, That other, with a clustering train behind, The subtle artist will thy side disarm. Owes his new honors to a sordid mind!
Nor is the flaxen wig with safety worn; This next in court-fidelity excels,
High on the shoulder, in a basket borne, The public rifles, and his country sells.
Lurks the sly boy, whose hand, to rapine bred, May the proud chariot never be my fate, Plucks off the curling honors of thy head. If purchas'd at so mean, so dear a rate!
Here dives the skulking thief, with practis'd sleight, Or rather give me sweet content on foot, And unfelt fingers make thy pocket light. Wrapt in my virtue, and a good surtout!
Where's now the watch, with all its trinkets, flown?
And thy late snuff-box is no more thy own.
But, lo! his bolder thefts some tradesman spies,
Swift from his prey tine scudding lurcher flies; Of walking the Streets by Night.
Dextrous he 'scapes the coach with nimble bounds, O Trivia, goddess ! leave these low abodes, Whilst every honest tongue “stop thief!” resounds. And traverse o'er the wide ethereal roads; So speeds the wily fox, alarmd by fear, Celestial queen! put on thy robes of light, Who lately filch'd the turkey's callow care ; Now Cynthia nam'd, fair regent of the night. Hounds following hounds grow louder as he flies, At sight of thee, the villain sheathes his sword, And injur'd tenants join the hunter's cries. Nor scales the wall, to steal the wealthy hoard. Breathless, he stumbling falls. Ill-fated boy! O may thy silver lamp from Heaven's high bower Why did not honest work thy youth employ? Direct my footsteps in the midnight hour! Seiz'd by rough hands, he's dragg'd amid the roun
When Night first bids the twinkling stars appear, And stretch'd beneath the pump's incessant spout Or with her cloudy vest enwraps the air,
Or plung'd in miry ponds, he gasping lies, Then swarms the busy street; with caution tread, Mud chokes his mouth, and plasters o'er his eyes. Where the shop-windows t falling threat thy head; Let not the ballad-singer's shrilling strain Now laborers home return, and join their strength Amid the swarm thy listening ear detain : To bear the tottering plank, or ladder's length; Guard well thy pocket; for these Syrens stand Still fix thy eyes intent upon the throng,
To aid the labors of the diving hand; And, as the passes open, wind along.
Confederate in the cheat, they draw the throng, Where the fair columns of St. Clement stand, And cambric handkerchiefs reward the song. Whose straiten'd bounds encroach upon the Strand; But soon as coach or cart drive rattling on, Where the low penthouse bows the walker's head, The rabble part, in shoals they backward run. And the rough pavement wounds the yielding tread; So Jove's loud bolts the mingled war divide, Wnere not a post protects the narrow space, And Greece and Troy retreat on either side And, strung in lwines, combs dangle in thy face ; If the rude throng pour on with furious pace,
And hap to break thee from a friend's embrace, • An apothecary's boy, in the Dispensary, A species of window now almost forgotten. N.
* New-Forest in Hampshire, anciently so called.