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Tunbridge Wells

Lord John Wilmot 1647 (Ditchley, Oxfordshire) – 1680 (Woodstock, Oxfordshire)



At five this morn, when Phoebus raised his head
From Thetis' lap, I raised myself from bed,
And mounting steed, I trotted to the waters
The rendesvous of fools, buffoons, and praters,
Cuckolds, whores, citizens, their wives and daughters.

My squeamish stomach I with wine had bribed
To undertake the dose that was prescribed;
But turning head, a sudden curséd view
That innocent provision overthrew,
And without drinking, made me purge and spew.
From coach and six a thing unweildy rolled,
Whose lumber, card more decently would hold.
As wise as calf it looked, as big as bully,
But handled, proves a mere Sir Nicholas Cully;
A bawling fop, a natural Nokes, and yet
He dares to censure as if he had wit.
To make him more ridiculous, in spite
Nature contrived the fool should be a knight.
Though he alone were dismal signt enough,
His train contributed to set him off,
All of his shape, all of the selfsame stuff.
No spleen or malice need on them be thrown:
Nature has done the business of lampoon,
And in their looks their characters has shown.

Endeavoring this irksome sight to balk,
And a more irksome noise, their silly talk,
I silently slunk down t' th' Lower Walk,
But often when one would Charibdis shun,
Down upon Scilla 'tis one's fate to run,
For here it was my curséd luck to find
As great a fop, though of another kind,
A tall stiff fool that walked in Spanish guise:
The buckram puppet never stirred its eyes,
But grave as owl it looked, as woodcock wise.
He scorns the empty talking of this mad age,
And speaks all proverbs, sentences, and adage;
Can with as much solemnity buy eggs
As a cabal can talk of their intrigues;
Master o' th' Ceremonies, yet can dispense
With the formality of talking sense.

From hence unto the upper walk I ran,
Where a new scene of foppery began.
A tribe of curates, priests, canonical elves,
Fit company for none besides themselves,
Were got together. Each his distemper told,
Scurvy, stone, strangury; some were so bold
To charge the spleen to be their misery,
And on that wise disease brought infamy.
But none had modesty enough t' complain
Their want of learning, honesty, and brain,
The general diseases of that train.
These call themselves ambassadors of heaven,
And saucily pretend commissions given;
But should an Indian king, whose small command
Seldom extends beyond ten miles of land,
Send forth such wretched tools in an ambassage,
He'd find but small effects of such a message.
Listening, I found the cob of all this rabble
Pert Bays, with his importance comfortable.
He, being raised to an archdeaconry
By trampling on religion, liberty,
Was grown to great, and looked too fat and jolly,
To be disturbed with care and melancholy,
Though Marvell has enough exposed his folly.
He drank to carry off some old remains
His lazy dull distemper left in 's veins.
Let him drink on, but 'tis not a whole flood
Can give sufficient sweetness to his blood
To make his nature of his manners good.

Next after these, a fulsome Irish crew
Of silly Macs were offered to my view.
The things did talk, but th' hearing what they said
I did myself the kindness to evade.
Nature has placed these wretches beneath scorn:
They can't be called so vile as they are born.
brkAmidst the crowd next I myself conveyed,
For now were come, whitewash and paint being laid,
Mother and daughter, mistress and the maid,
And squire with wig and pantaloon displayed.
But ne'er could conventicle, play, or fair
For a true medley, with this herd compare.
Here lords, knights, squires, ladies and countesses,
Chandlers, mum-bacon women, sempstresses
Were mixed together, nor did they agree
More in their humors than their quality.

Here waiting for gallant, young damsel stood,
Leaning on cane, and muffled up in hood.
The would-be wit, whose business was to woo,
With hat removed and solmn scrape of shoe
Advanceth bowing, then genteelly shrugs,
And ruffled foretop into order tugs,
And thus accosts her: "Madam, methinks the weather
Is grown much more serene since you came hither.
You influence the heavens; but should the sun
Withdraw himself to see his rays outdone
By your bright eyes, they would supply the morn,
And make a day before the day be born."
With mouth screwed up, conceited winking eyes,
And breasts thrust forward, "Lord, sir!" she replies.
"It is your goodness, and not my deserts,
Which makes you show this learning, wit, and parts."
He, puzzled, butes his nail, both to display
The sparkling
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:53 min read
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Lord John Wilmot

John Wilmot was an English poet and courtier of King Charles II's Restoration court. more…

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