That man is daily prick'd with thorns
Who makes imaginary horns.
If you follow Reason's sway,
You'll be happy while you may;
But you will, if her you spurn,
Want her when she'll not return.
Most happy is that husband's life
Who sees no errors in his wife.
The social hours glide gently on
When all is right that's said and done;
A spring of bliss; and 'tis confess'd
The fountain lies within his breast;
And this we hold the happiest state
That ever is indulg'd by Fate.
What husband would not wish to find
The benefits of being blind?
Not quite so happy is his share
Who sees her errors as they are;
Sometimes a silken chain he finds;
Delightful seems, and gently binds:
'Tis iron now, and heavy found;
Can hardly raise it from the ground:
'Tis roughly form'd, and, what is more,
The galling jags have made him sore.
Have patience, friend, it won't remain,
'Twill by and by be silk again.
The great majority must pass
Of married people in this class.
A state too bad to be respected;
A state too good to be rejected.
Another class to view we'll call,
The most deplorable of all;
The husband, with malicious eye,
Can ev'ry trifling error spy;
Nay, that same eye, involv'd in mist,
Sees faults which never did exist;
Feels on his brow the antlers start,
Which grow from his corrupted heart;
And every horror round him haults
Attendant upon real faults;
To make him most compleatly curst
Ideas fix'd upon the worst.
No bliss his jealous thoughts retain;
The best of wives becomes a bane.
We'll now begin our short harangue
On this last case our tale shall hang.
Your pardon, should a slip be found;
We'll lightly tread, 'tis dangerous ground.
We'd rather not offend the ear
Of vulgar, or the chastest fair.
George Baggarly shall now be shewn;
We'll give this name, for 'twas his own.
A village taylor he'll appear,
Who drove the thread in Leicestershire:
At Groby he might be found out;
Or in the villages about.
From one town to another wander'd,
Just as he found his business squander'd;
On Monday morning left his bed
Soon as Aurora put on red.
His tackle muster'd, out he set;
Good-morrow bid to all he met.
You'd know, the moment he appears,
His errand, by his goose and sheers.
In jovial mood he cross'd the stile:
His whistle sounded half a mile.
His work began with so much glee
His needle travell'd more than he.
With making, mending many a robe,
Us'd thread enough to band a globe.
Needle and thread laid by at night;
Three meals and sixpence were his right.
Lab'ring to Saturday from Monday,
He dress'd the village spruce for Sunday.
No other job could now remain,
Only to whistle home again.
But whistling solus would not do,
For now the song was added too.
You'd think he might for silence seek,
After the toil of one whole week.
But he'd, if I the truth must say,
Three cogent reasons to be gay.
On roast and boil'd he supp'd and din'd--
Three shillings bright his pocket lin'd.
Lastly, he's on the eve of text-day,
Sure of a holyday the next day.
What man would not rejoice to see
Himself in such prosperity?
Could he one little play-thing meet,
'Twould make his happiness compleat.
If bless'd but with a lovely bride,
He'd set at nought the world beside.
THE SECOND PART
But if love shou'd seize your breast,
Jealousy may break your rest.
Dear friend, by the first part you'll know,
We're not contented here below;
For, let the Fates give what they will,
There's always something wanting still.
George eyed the girls; he dress'd up prim;
Nay, even the girls would smile at him.
The man who o'er twelve towns can trample
Is sure to have a choice most ample.
The giddy tribe he much avoided,
But fix'd his heart as prudence guided:
Nay, in his choice, we freely own,
His judgment most conspicuous shone.
Much beauty did his bride inherit;
Which was her smallest part of merit.
Her virtuous heart surpass'd her face,
Just as the jewel does the case;
Full in her aspect you'd discry
Good-nature, chiefly in her eye.
Her conduct was as chaste as day;
Scandal had not a word to say;
And her deportment all along
I think an honour to my song.
But gloomy thoughts attack'd him soon--
Oh! not till chang'd the honey-moon.
That will the gayest season prove
The very harvest-moon of love.
No more he whistled o'er the leas,
But cherish'd thoughts which only teaze;
No more he view'd the objects round,
But kept his eye upon the ground;
And if by chance a man he met,
He started up as if beset;
But still kept poring on his way,
Without good-morrow or good-day.
'How shall I Dolly leave?' he thought,
'In many a trap she may be caught!
Though round her all the virtues throng,
Those virtues can't continue long;
For human nature tempts to sin
A tempter always lurks within.
Then, man, survey the world about;
Ten thousand tempters lie without.
Beauty's unguarded when alone:
Business demands I must be gone.
When golden apples strike the eye,
They 'tice the man who passes by;
And if no guardian hand is shewn,
He'll quickly make the prize his own.'
Had George, ye Sophs, committed sin?
No! yet he found a hell within;
The flames of which attack'd his wife,
And sing'd her happiness for life.
'An ample cure must be divin'd,
To save his wife, and ease his mind.
He told his Dolly, with a groan,
Her case was bad, but worse his own.
She stood upon a dreadful brink;
Without a remedy would sink;
And must a little pain endure,
To make her perfectly secure.
One gentle operation o'er,
Your honour's safe--I'm plagued no more.
His needle, well applied, would cure
Those pangs which he could not endure.
He could, and not a stich would miss,
Close up the avenue of bliss.'
She heard the sentence with surprize;
The tears descending from her eyes.
Her injur'd cause she durst not plead;
'Twould raise suspicion from the dead;
And if once rais'd she was afraid
It never after would be laid.
For jealousy's a foul inmate
When once it gets into the pate.
She, half submissive, hung her head,
And half reluctantly obey'd.
He quickly brought a part to light
Which never should appear in sight;
And made a dozen wounds or more
Where not a wound was made before;
So firmly did his business there,
That water-proof he left the fair.
His gloom now fled, his peace restor'd,
Resum'd again his goose and board;
And, with a smile, to'ards work he bent;
Could almost whistle as he went;
View'd the gay fields as he were us'd,
And this soliloquy produc'd.
'It has been said, in days of yore,
When steed is stol'n, we shut the door;
But I, with ease, in lucky minute,
Secure the door and all within it.
A taylor, ninth of man, good Lord!
Himself despis'd, his goose, and board;
Yet he's the only man, we see,
Able to guard his property.
Others complain, but must endure it;
None but a taylor could secure it.
Taylors will shine in fame and sway,
And I'm the man who leads the way.'
His joyous spirits rising soon,
He instantly struck up a tune:
But here we are oblig'd to tell,
As his notes rose, her spirits fell.
THE THIRD PART
When one Taylor must engage
Forces of united rage,
Justice, clerk, and Females all,
Wonder not if he should fall.
A running stream demands its course;
For if you stop it up by force,
The rising waters soon o'er-flow,
And danger bring where-e'er they go.
This happen'd to our injur'd fair,
Whose health was lost, and pleasing air.
The neighbouring wives around her press,
To bring assistance in distress,
Glad when they've nothing else to do;
For gossiping is always new.
Mighty inquisitive to know
How matters with their neighbour go.
But how could she explain her case;
And not divulge her own disgrace?
The less the injur'd fair confess'd,
The more to know the good wives press'd.
Our great divines, perhaps, are right--
'Whatever must, will come to light.'
Nor could a sight surprize them more,
Than seam, where seam ne'er was before.
Their exclamations rose apace--
'His insults reach to all our race!'
Their voices rose till out of wind;
Nor did their threat'nings lag behind
'If he were here,' they boldly said,
'With ladles they'd have broke his head.
He'd not trod this place, nor another,
If thus his father'd serv'd his mother.
A precedent we can't produce
Since fig-leaf aprons were in use.
No remedy at all we know;
Instantly fetch the doctor, go.'
What surgeon, like a knight of old,
Would not rejoice when he was told,
He must his trusty lance prepare,
With hasty steps relieve the fair.
Advancing to the afflicted dame,
He found the dextrous taylor's seam;
Sew'd neater than a surgeon cou'd;
Sew'd firmer than a surgeon wou'd.
He cut one stitch, and then cut more--
The women threaten'd, grinn'd, and swore.
A picture of these female faces
Would far surpass great Hogarth's cases.
Susanna was as much provok'd
As when her puppy dog was choak'd;
Fair Mrs. Trim as boldly swore
As when the Tinker call'd her whore;
Bess look'd as black, for all the world
As when her teapot down was hurl'd;
And Kitty made just such a grin
As when she water drank for gin.
The wife reliev'd, the lancet shut,
The husband curs'd from head to foot.
The females sallied out to look him;
When caught, before the Justice took him.
His visage fall'n, his whistle broke,
Their clam'rous tongues against him spoke;
The fact was prov'd by numbers by;
Nor did the husband once deny.
His worship old, and nearly blind,
Had left the paths of love behind.
The tools which he could use no more
Might lie and rust upon the floor--
Told them 'to fill a friendly cup,
And o'er it hush the matter up.
Assur'd them there'd be no applause
Even to those who won the cause;
For, if they drove at such a rate,
'Twould set the vilest tongues agate:
And when a dreadful flame runs high,
'Twill ruin bring before 'twill die;
Besides, this crime, though great it looks,
Is no where found in Statute Books:
How can it then so black appear,
If not describ'd or sentenc'd there?
I think we'd better let him go'--
Sukey, Bess, Mrs. Trim, 'No, No!'
His clerk was neither quite so old,
Nor yet to love so very cold.
He understood, as he pass'd by,
The glances of an amorous eye;
Not only able to discern them,
But just to what extent return them;
And if he met a smiling dame,
Could well with her unite his flame.
He judg'd, should this a fashion prove,
There'd soon a famine be in love;
For, had we food, we must eschew it,
If we have never a mouth to chew it.
'A crime, Sir, of so deep a die
We should, on no account, pass by
But, if with this we now begin,
It will discourage men from sin.
The case, I think, but you best know,
Must under 'sault and batt'ry go.'
'What, 'sault and batt'ry with a needle!
Your mittimus will be too feeble.'
'Perhaps your worship will consent
To call it anti-ravishment.'
'The law for crimes will punish sore,
But not for that which goes before.'
'Your worship then, without more naming,
Under this word commits him--maiming.'
'I think we'd better let him go.'
The ladies cried out--'No, no, no!'
And now the altercation ceas'd;
O'er-power'd, his worship acquiesc'd.
Thus servants, with a growing pride,
Seem to submit, but really guide.
Justice is, as some men have Kings,
Held, by his clerk, in leading strings.
THE FOURTH PART
All his efforts are in vain;
Ruin follows with her train.
His mittimus was quickly made;
And George to Leicester gaol convey'd:
Secur'd within this black retreat
By jealousy, a clerk's deceit;
To which we add, by way of make-weight,
Some female rage, which carries great weight.
From this abode he can't recede
'Till Judge approach, and Counsel plead.
He'll know this by the trumpet's blast;
Nearly as dreadful as the last.
To that great hall he's summon'd now
Where Justice sits with awful brow;
And elevated in his place
Meets no face but a roguish face;
Where every soul who comes in view
Is seiz'd with fear and trembling too.
While one for pocket-picking's tried
Another picks one by his side;
Where lawyers golden showers discern;
Where clients hang the head and mourn;
Who pay that money as a fee
Often another's property.
Too deeply sunk the storm to weather
Must call their creditors together.
Where jurymen, not worth a groat,
Assume a rank--are great in thought;
And the spruce clerk, not apt to lag,
Struts forward with his gay green bag;
Seems to the bar-keeper to say
'This moment open; Sir, make way:'
Where crowds crush crowds, and never fail
To listen to a luscious tale;
Where sheriff, counsel, and their suit,
Know how to relish mellow fruit;
Where George must now a culprit stand,
Commanded to hold his hand.
Th' indictment wrought up without a flaw,
Held all the rhetoric of law;
And though the meaning was but blind,
We think you words enough might find;
For when they'd gallop'd on a while
Sense found herself behind a mile.
A waggon load of dross they hurl in,
But not an ounce of real sterling.
When over fifty lines you've gone,
You may comprize the sense in one:
Thus ships may travel on the sea,
And zig-zag make but little way.
'He, instigated by the Devil,
Malice aforethought--wrought an evil.
The culprit did this wicked thing
Against our Sov'reign Lord the King;
Against the Crown he set his face;
Against the statute in that case;
No fear of God--but when, and where,
With force and arms, did then and there,
A certain needle--in his wroth--Did--violently'--and so forth.
Our much immodest trial then
Only attended was by men;
For not a female came in view
Excepting Bess, Kate, Nell, and Sue;
Who, by authority, came nigh since,
Supœna'd, they possess'd a licence:
All other ladies absent were,
Who had not then a blush to spare.
While all to listen did not fail,
Th' unfolding of a curious tale;
And strong desire was on the itch,
Was strung up to the highest pitch.
George thought the scene should not enlarge,
Then pleaded guilty to the charge.
This prov'd to all a sore vexation,
In disappointing expectation.
They wish'd him punish'd at the time,
More for his pleading than his crime:
For who'd rejoice to take a seat
At a rich feast, yet must not eat.
This pleading made his Lordship silent;
Who seem'd to ponder there a while on't;
But this he thought was rather wrong,
For if a judge should ponder long,
If, when the sentence he should speak,
That very sentence was to seek,
He knew his credit would be falling,
As not being master of his calling;
For not a case in print or out
Could e'er be found to solve his doubt.
While fluctuating pro and con
Something must instantly be done--
'That twenty shillings George should pay-down;'
'Twas nineteen more than he could lay-down;
'And back to prison should be sent,
Sustain two years imprisonment.'
Now female vengeance at him flies--
'Their nails shall tear out both his eyes.
In future shall in darkness dream,
Nor see to sew another seam.'
What greater evil could attack;
A troop of females on his back!
He'd better all the laws engage
Than fall a prey to female rage.
We've told our tale; we've told it true;
Except an inference or two.
Much happiness the man betides
Who knows he's well, and there abides.
If he attempts to climb a wall,
His foot may slip, and cause a fall.
Let Husbands ne'er, for George's sake,
Wear horns but those of female make:
They fit best which your loving spouse
Silently places on your brows.
When she conducts them you'll look big;
She'll regulate them like your wig.
Nor Taylors boast superior skill
In driving needles where they will;
For if a living seam they sew,
In dreadful anguish lurks a foe,
Will punish all their errors past,
And cause that seam to be their last.
Let Justices, 'mong our remarks,
Use their own brains, and not their clerks:
For if the laws you can't dispense,
Then take your weak heads off the bench
Humbly submit to this disgrace,
To put your clerk's head in its place.
The lovely Fair come next in view;
They are the game I must pursue.
No--at a distance I shall stand;
I own they've far the upper hand.
No character my Muse assails;
I'd rather have their lips than nails.
If you the laws will take in hand,
You'll read the most--least understand.
Your journey's long, you may depend on't;
Never expect to reach the end on't.
You'll blunder, hurry, reel about,
And, after all, must give it out.
Lastly, to Judges we shall turn;
They're not so learn'd but they may learn.
Choice sentences they should lay by
For all occasions, cut and dry;
Then, if a cause come strait or cross;
You'll never find them at a loss.
Tell me, ye Sages of the nation,
Who bind by your determination,
How George, when he's to prison gone,
Could twenty shillings pay with one.