British Wonders

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British Wonders:

or,

A Poetical Description of the Several

PRODIGIES

and most

Remarkable Accidents

That have happen'd in Britain since the Death of

Queen ANNE.


IN wretched Times, when Men were given
To mock the Church and spurn at Heaven,
And Pious Saints, like Sinners, sold
Their tender Consciences for Gold,
Nay, even when our Guides could take
Or break an Oath for Int'rest sake,
As if no other God but Mammon,
Was worship'd both by Priest and Layman,
And that alike they'd no regard
To future Torment or Reward,
Excepting some, the very best,
Who liv'd despis'd by all the rest,
And bore their Suff'rings in the face
Of Envy, with a Comly Grace,
Dreading no Party Threats nor Pow'rs,
But copy'd old Philosophers,
And in contempt of Knaves and Fools,
Kept wisely up to Vertue's Rules.

'Twas then when Prodigies were grown
As common as the Sun and Moon,
That e'ery Week, the Earth or Skies,
With some new Wonder, fed our Eyes,
And sporting Nature, to amuse us,
Did startling Novelties produce us,
Mocking our Archimedean Sons
Of Art with strange Phæmomenons,
As puz'ling to our Math'maticians,
As new Distempers to Physicians,
Who, with their Terms of Art, oft hide
Their Ign'rance to support their Pride,
Like Pedants, who to gloss their Errors,
Talk Latin to unletter'd Hearers.

Tho' many wond'rous Things appear'd,
And such as justly might be fear'd,
To be Forerunners of some strange
Destructive Plague, or fatal Change,
Like those sad Omens that foretold
The downfal of the Jews of old;
Yet all our Almanack-Professors,
And Astrologick Fortune-guessers,
Tho' at each Sign they stood aghast,
Despis'd the threat'ning Signs when past,
And deem'd each Wonder but the Sport
Of Nature, that presag'd no Hurt.
    So Sailors, when a Storm encreases,
    Look Pale and Fearful till it ceases;
    Then gath'ring Courage by degrees,
    They Swear and Bully Winds and Seas,
    And flight the Danger that before
    So shock'd the Cowards 'till 'twas o'er.

As soon as Britain had sustain'd
That fatal Loss which Heav'n has gain'd,
And Parties squabbl'd to a Madness,
About their Sorrows and their Gladness,
A Plague unprophesy'd succeeded,
That only reach'd the Horniheaded,
And like a fatal Rot or Murrain,
Turn'd all our Bulls and Cows to Carrion;
That even Cuckolds pray'd, to pity,
This Horn-plague might not reach the City,
And from the Kine, who daily ran
Hornmad, extend itself to Man.
The Leacher, tho' he's cold, we find
Is always Goatishly inclin'd:
And the young buxom Female Creature,
As oft contracts a Pole-cat Nature.

Since brutal Passions thus infect us,
When Guardian Vertue does neglect us,
The Wicked may, if Heaven pleases,
As well be ting'd with Brutes Diseases.

The Farriers now their Skill imploy'd,
But still the Cows in Number dy'd,
And with their Horns and Hides together,
Were burnt, without reserve of Leather,
To shew their Owners were almost
As frantick as the Beasts they lost.
Some cunning Huxters, who had Cows
Old, Dry and Lean, not worth a Souse,
Tho' sound in Health, but scarce deserving
Of Pasture, to prevent their Starving,
These wisely knock'd 'em on the Head
By Night, when Neighbours were in Bed,
Next Day assign'd their Expiration
To this new fatal Visitation:
So bore 'em to some distant Pit,
Or Ditch, for such a Purpose fit;

There, to the Terror of our Isle,
Consum'd 'em in their Fun'ral Pile,
Then, like true Hipocrites, put on
A mournful Look, as if undone,
And claim'd the Sum of Forty Shilling,
For e'ery Cow of Heaven's killing.
A gen'rous Bounty! that destroy'd
More Cattle than the Plague annoy'd;
For not a worthless Runt past Thriving,
Wh'in Lanes and Commons sought her Living,
But dy'd, if not of Pest, by Slaughter,
Because o'th' Money that came a'ter:
For Hay was dear, and Grass but scarce,
Which made Lean Cattle fare the worse,
And caus'd their Owners to dispatch 'em,
For fear the Plague should not attack 'em.

In all the filthy Skirts around
The Town, where nasty Scents abound,
O'er-roasted Beef was now the Stink
Predominant o'er Ditch or Sink;
And Surloins broiling in their Flames,
The Foh of Hogmen and their Dames;
Burnt Horns and Hoofs, and hairy Hides,
Offended e'ery Nose besides,
And out-stunk all the Bulls and Bears,
Old Dunghils, Night-men, Slaughterers,
Jayls, Butchers Dogs and Hogs that dwell
In sweet St. James's Clerkenwel;
Or all the Stinks that rise together,
From Hockley-Hole, in sultry Weather.

Thus English Beef, that glorious Food,
Once held so preferably good,
The most substantial of our Meats,
And noblest of our Friendly Treats;
That Flesh which makes the Briton bolder
Than any Foreign Country Soldier,
And gives him Strength, in time of War,
To cleave a Sultan or a Czar;
Yet was it now despis'd by Porters,
And hungry Red-Coats in their Quarters;
Dreading to catch, from Cow or Ox,
The Plague, who never fear'd the Pox.
    So the Fair Mistress of the Town,
    When Young and Wholsome, will go down,
    But with the Crinkums once infected,
    She's by the meanest Rake rejected.

Nor was the Flesh alone refus'd,
But Milky Diets much disus'd:
Pudding, that universal Dish,
The Swain's Delight, the Plowman's Wish,
The Housewife's Pride, the Husband's Choice,
The darling Food of Girls and Boys,
Now dwindl'd to such low esteem,
'Twould scarce go down, tho' made of Cream;
For the Horn'd Cattle running Mad,
Had brought on Milk a Name so bad,
That even Pudding lost its vogue,
And for a Season prov'd a Drug.
Pudding! the Idol of the Priest,
The Farmer's constant Sunday's Feast,
The Ornament of each Man's Table,
Down from the Noble to the Rabble,
The sole Characteristick Food
Of true-born Englishmen abroad:
From whence, to good Old-England's Fame,
Jack-Pudding takes his ancient Name.
As the French Fool is titl'd John-
Pottage, from Soops he feeds upon.
And the Dutch Zany for preferring
His Fish, is nick-nam'd Pickl'd-Herring.
Thus e'ery Fool is call'd, in Jest,
By what his Country loves the best,
That those who crowd to see the Pranks
On Stages play'd by Mountebanks,
May know what Country Fool attends
The Doctor, to engage his Friends,
For his assum'd or given Name,
Discovers whence the Zany came.

Butter, that old Balsamick Sauce,
Was also now made scandalous,
That even 'Prentice-Boys would flout it,
And eat their very Roots without it,
For fear the Cream should prove contagious,
And make 'em, like the Cows, outragious;
For no Distemper, Plague, or Sadness,
Infects the English like to Madness.

Fish now were forc'd to swim, alas,
In Oil, to th' Table of His Grace,
Or naked in the Dish appear,
Till Butter had a time to clear
Its present odious Reputation,
That it might come once more in fashion;
And, like some Lords turn'd out of Post,
Regain the Credit it had lost.

Custard, that noble cooling Food,
So toothsome, wholsome, and so good,
That Dainty so approv'd of old,
Whose yellow surface shines like Gold;
That Idol of our City Halls,
Which crowns our solemn Festivals,
And adds unto my Lord-May'r's Board,
A Grace more pleasing than his Sword.
That crusty Fort, whose Walls of Wheat,
Contain such tender lusheous Meat,
And us'd so often to be storm'd
By hungry Gownmen sharply arm'd,
Was now, alas, despis'd as nought,
And slighted wheresoe'er 'twas brought;
Whilst Lumber-Pies came more in play,
And bore, at Feasts, the Bell away.
    So in wet Seasons, when our Mutton
    Is e'ery where cry'd down as rotten,
    Cow-heel becomes a Dish of State,
    And climbs the Tables of the Great.

O wretched Times, when People fear'd
Their Chops with Custard should be smear'd,
Lest the Cow-plague should seize their Skulls,
And make 'em all as mad as Bulls!
    So the wise Whigs, to Int'rest hearty,
    Abjure the Disaffected Party,
    Lest Tory-Breath should taint their Wits,
    And make 'em all turn Jacobites.

The Milk-Maids now began to mourn
The Brindle, Red, and Crumpl'd Horn,
And dream'd at Night they saw the Ghost
Of e'ery Fav'rite Cow they'd lost:
Then rising early, having none
To stroke but Udders of their own:
They wept in Clusters near their Houses,
Like Widows parted from their Spouses,
Till Tears and Pissing made a Flood,
In e'ery Corner where they stood.
Thus moaning, now the Cows were dead,
The Loss of them and of their Bread:
Some singing Ballads for support,
New merry Strains with aching Heart,
As Malefactors, when they're dying,
Howl out a Psalm, next kin to crying:
Others, their Modesty forsaking,
Took up the Trade of Basket-making,
And humbly ply'd for small Rewards,
Among His Majesty's Foot-Guards,
To gain, by Poxing and by Whoring,
What they had lost by Plague or Murrain.
Thus Girls of honest Means bereft,
Who've nothing but their Quistrils left,
Must live by Jading or by Theft.

The next Disaster that befel,
Before the drooping Cows grew well,
Was that unhappy Chance among
The Scaffolds, when the Joyful Throng
Were gazing at the Grand Procession,
That grac'd the pompous Coronation,
Where Lords and Ladies flam'd as bright
By Day, as wand'ring Stars by Night,
And where the Hanoverian Line
Did all the British Race outshine,
And in their Robes and Jewels dress'd,
Look'd far more glorious than the rest:

But as in solemn Pomp they mov'd,
Much honour'd, shouted and approv'd,
A Scaffold loaded with a crowd
Of fond Spectators, humbly bow'd
Its Props and Stancheons to the Great
Supporters of the Church and State,
Whose solemn Grandeur aw'd the Boards,
To fall before such mighty Lords,
Proclaiming, in a crackling sound,
Their Joy, as tumbling to the Ground,
The only Homage Wood could pay
To such a Train, on such a Day.
But O! the doleful Shrieks and Cries,
That of a sudden did arise
Between both Sexes, when they found
The Scaffold tumbling to the Ground.
No Sailors in a foundring Ship
Half swallow'd in the foaming Deep,
Could in their Pray'rs and Groans express
More dreadful signals of Distress;
For soon as e'er each yielding Prop
Gave way, and Seats began to drop,
Their loud Huzza's and Loyal Peals
Of Joy, were turn'd to Cries and Yells;
Some roaring out, My Back, my Back!
Like Wretches tort'ring on the Rack;
And some that met with diff'rent Harms,
Bawl'd out, My Legs! or, 0 my Arms!
All, Helter Skelter, in disorder,
Some crying, Help; and others, Murder.
The Ladies, who were dress'd as gay
As could be, for so bless'd a Day,

Suffer'd much more in this Mischance,
Than their kind Husbands or Gallants;
Some losing all their Fin'ry off
Their Heads, became the Rabble's Scoff;
For tho' they look'd so Plump and Young,
When round with Flanders Laces hung,
Yet, when unrigg'd, their Crowns appear'd
As bald, as those for Age rever'd;
Whilst others, with their Heels upright,
Expos'd a more crinif'rous Sight,
Squeaking, with Voices almost spent,
Like tender Girls in Ravishment.

Some well-dress'd lofty-seated Lasses,
Tumbling from high to lower Classes,
O'erwhelm'd inferieur Blades and Beaus,
With their hoop'd Coats and Furbiloes,
Some sneaking out their Heads, bereft
Of Wigs, which they behind had left
In sacred Mansions, where could be
No search, 'thout breach of Modesty;
Whilst others, who had plung'd their Locks
'Twixt Sattin Skins and Holland Smocks,
Brought forth about their wreaking Ears,
Th'unsav'ry Dregs of Female Fears;
An Accident so very spightful,
That made the Suff'rers look as frightful
As pelted Wretches, just set free
From rotten Eggs and Pillory.
Thus crowds of Mortals struggling lay,
Among the Planks, in sad dismay;
Some mixing their expiring Groans
With others dismal Cries and Moans,

Whilst all the neighb'ring Surgeons swarm'd
Around the fatal Ruins, arm'd
With Lancets, Balsams, Rags and Plasters,
Adapted to the Crowds Disasters;
Each laying hold of whom they cou'd,
To set their Bones, or let 'em Blood,
Or do what they conceiv'd most crafty,
For their own Good and Patient's Safety;
    Thus Surgeons, like to Lawyers, make
    The best of what they undertake;
    And tho' they cure our Ailings first,
    The After-clap proves always worst.

The next sad Chance that did ensue,
More fatal than the former Two,
Was that destructive Conflagration;
Dreadful to human Observation,
Begun, as Fame reports, by thofe
Preparing Fire-works, to expose
And burn the Effigies of the best
Of Queens, whose Mem'ry they detest,
Because she strove our Wounds to heal,
And bless'd Her Foes against their Will.
    So Drunkards, when with Wine o'ercome,
    Abuse their Friends that lead 'em home,
    And tho' the Way, they're forc'd along,
    Be right, they'll swear, in spight, 'tis wrong.

Deep in a Cellar under Ground,
Where Night was always to be found,
A Work-house proper for the Makers
Of whizing Squibs and bouncing Crackers,

There, for some time, Hell's Engineers
Had been contriving artful Fires,
And dressing Puppits to delight
Their Malice on some Publick Night;
But Providence, displeas'd to see
Their mad ingrateful Mockery,
Made their own Carelesness the ruin
Of all the Mischiefs they'd been brewing,
And by some Accident or other
Turn'd their ill Works to Smoke and Smother,
Which fled before a Sou-West Wind,
And left a raging Fire behind,
Such as consum'd whole Streets and Lanes,
And gave to sundry Men their Banes,
Who lab'ring to preserve the Wealth
Of others, perish'd in their Health;
Whilst many more, who stood to see
The Flames, thro' Curiosity,
Came lamely off, with Maims and Bruises,
By Timber from the blown-up Houses.
    Therefore, let their Misfortunes learn us,
    To shun what Hazards don't concern us,
    And rather hear, from Friend or Stranger,
    What can't be seen without much Danger.

Claret, that universal Wine,
That makes the Poet's Fancy shine,
And wins more Favours from the Fair,
Than all that Man can say or swear,
Was now in Pipes and Hogsheads burn'd,
And into Fun'ral Liquors turn'd,
Or coddl'd Hogwash, fit to bring
To Gossips at a Christening;
Whilst Thousands that ador'd the Juice,
As Heaven's Gift for Humane Use,
Curs'd the invidious Fire that boil'd
The noble Creature 'till 'twas spoil'd,
And wept to see the drougthy Flames
Drink Wine by Tuns, so near the Thames,
When Water from the swelling Current,
Had sooner cool'd the raging Tyrant.

Brandy, that Cordial of the Town,
In fiery Streams flow'd up and down,
And turn'd (if Poets leave may take)
Each Kennel to a Stygian Lake;
Whilst Coachmen, Carmen, Porters, Seamen,
Trulls, Orange-Drabs and Oyster-Women,
Licking their Lips, in clusters stood,
And griev'd to see the burning Flood.
(In Frosty Morns the best of Drinks)
Ran flaming down the dirty Sinks,
When they'd have all been glad, I'll warrant,
To've stop'd the Fury of the Torrent,
But that it flow'd as scalding hot,
As Pottage boiling o'er the Pot.
    So have I seen a Hound stand peeping
    At roasting Beef and melted Dripping,
    And like a pregnant Gossip long,
    But durst not touch it with his Tongue.

Tobacco, that Narcotick Funk,
That fluxes Mortals till they're drunk,
And tempts the marry'd Sot to slight.
The Nuptial Blessings of the Night,
Was now, instead of Pipes of Clay,
Consum'd in Hogsheads as it lay;
From whence ascended Fumes so choaking,
As if the Dev'l himself was smoaking,
And, knocking out his Pipes, forgot
To tread the stinking Ashes out,
But left 'em burning on the Ground,
To poyson all his Friends around.

Sugar, whose pleasing taste imparts
Such Life to Puddings, Pies and Tarts,
And stops the Cries of swaddl'd Babes,
When pop'd into their Mouths by Dabs.
Sugar, the grand Support that bears
Up all Confectionary Wares,
And makes the Wife's Loblolly sooth
The kind Uxorious Husband's Tooth,
In Loads now perish'd in the Flames,
And burnt in Dunghils near the Thames,
Till melted and reduc'd to Wax,
Then stoll'n away by crafty Quacks,
And sold as new-discover'd Physick,
To cure Consumption, Cough, or Phthysick;
A Nostrum also never failing,
In any other inward Ailing.
    So Dogs-turd, when it's dry'd, becomes
    A Med'cine rare for ulcer'd Gums,
    And of all Powders is the best
    For a Sore-Throat. Probatum est.
But why our Quack-Administrators
Of Phyfick, use such trifling Matters,
Is 'cause they're cheap to him that gives 'em,
And dear toth' Patient that receives 'em.

In short, all sorts of Foreign Goods,
Hemp, Cotton, Linen, Drugs and Woods,
Tea, Coffee, Spices, Turky-Leather,
Convey'd from distant Countries hither,
All shar'd one Fate and burnt together,
Till Hellborn Powder, which began
This flagrant Mischief unto Man,
Subdu'd the Tyrant, God be prais'd,
And stop'd the Fire itself had rais'd.
    So Claret, tho' it makes us bright,
    And oft inflames us all the Night,
    A Hair of the same Dog next Morning,
    Is best to quench our fev'rish burning.

Now, had the Tories play'd the Fool,
And dizen'd up a Pastboard Nol,
Or been preparing Squibs and Crackers,
To vex our Mug-house Undertakers,
And had their insolent Offence
Produc'd so sad a Consequence,
The dreadful Flames had then been thought
A Judgment, or, at least, a Plot;
Then Cloak and Band would soon have taught,
How wicked Works are brought to nought,
And prov'd by Decalogue, verbatim,
That God will punish those that hate him.
But when their own Designs miscarry,
And from their good Intentions vary,
They wisely make the cross Events,
The Lord's Probation of his Saints,
And cite each holy Text that proves
How God chastiseth whom he loves.

Next to this Fire, whose raging Flames
Insulted and defy'd the Thames,

And, spight of Engines and of Water,
Committed such a dreadful slaughter,
The distant Heav'ns began to show
New Wonders to the World below,
And seem'd to threat the whole Creation
With Deluge or with Conflagration.

The Moon who us'd to rule the Night,
And bless us with her silver Light,
Not only prov'd Unceremonious,
And turn'd her dark backside upon us,
But like a Mask obscur'd the Face
O'th' Sun in his diurnal Race,
That even Men and Brutes were frighted,
To find themselves, by Day, benighted.
The Wicked gaz'd in woful plight,
And shiver'd at the dismal Sight,
Reflecting on their past Offences,
And all their sinful Negligences;
Whilst Atheists, who before believ'd
No God, at once were undeceiv'd,
And lifting up their Eyes to Heaven,
Devoutly pray'd to be forgiven:
The Godly even shook with Fear,
And thought the Day of Judgment near;
Nor could their old pretended Pleas
Of Grace secure their Consciences,
But in their Faces we could see
Guilt, Terror, and Despondency;
As if convinc'd they were no more
Elected than the Scarlet Whore,
But that their Sins were full as great
As theirs they stile the Reprobate.
    So forward Fools who vainly boast
    Of Strength and Resolution most,
    When Danger's near, grow pale and fad,
    For want of what they thought they had.

The Cattle in their Pastures Low'd,
And did in Herds together crowd,
As if surpris'd to see the Light
So early vanish into Night.

The Poultry from their Walks adjourn'd,
And to their several Roosts return'd,
Whilst their proud Mates that stalk'd before,
Clap'd Wings and falsly crow'd the Hour.
    Like drunken Watchmen, when they sally,
    At Midnight, from some Darkhoufe Ally.

The Birds from Seeded Lands withdrew,
And into Woods and Hedges flew,
As if the Darkness made 'em fear
Some sad destructive Storm was near,
Whilst purblind Bats and Mooney'd Owls,
Forsook their hollow Trees and Holes,
And round Church Steeples took their flight,
Hooting and Squeaking as if Night.

The frighted Swains and delving Clowns,
Fled from the Fields to neigb'ring Towns,
And left their Flocks, their Plows and Teams,
With aching Hearts and trembling Limbs,
Dreading the Omen might portend
The wicked World's immediate End,
Before their Souls could be prepar'd
To meet the awful Judge they fear'd:
Nor could their shallow Brains conceive,
That Nature such a shock could give,
But, self-convicted, shiv'ring stood,
And pray'd to God, the only Good,
That He'd vouchsafe to shew 'em Mercy,
Who only knew him but by hear-say,
Till absent Pbœbus started forth,
And once more bless'd the teeming Earth,
That rowling Fire which daily gives
New Life to e'ery Thing that lives;
Then sinful Wretches, who had felt
Such Stings and Terrors from their Guilt,
As soon as the Surprise was o'er,
Grew vile and daring as before.
    So Criminals in Prison thrown,
    Seem conscious of the Ills they've done;
    But when enlarg'd they prove but worse,
    And still Rogue on without remorse.

The next Unhappiness that fell on
This Nation, was the North Rebellion,
In which half English and half Scot,
Combin'd to do they knew not what.
However, they in Friendship join'd,
And seem'd, at first, alike inclin'd,
Till Danger star'd them in the Face,
And then they squinted diff'rent ways,
Making themselves a noisy Rabble,
As much confus'd as those at Babel;
Contending for the Martial Sway,
Not knowing whom they should obey:
Some drown'd in Wine, some drunk with Malt,
Some crying, March, and others, Halt;
One Part, thro' Pride or Folly, breaking
The Measures others were for taking.

Like Hounds ill-coupl'd ne'er agreed,
But hinder'd one another's speed;
Excepting those that had a fence,
Or foresight of the Consequence,
Who when they found their rash Design
Wanted both Arms and Discipline,
They then repenting, made a Slip,
And fled the Town like frighted Sheep,
Leaving their Chief, who should have Led,
To drink his Butter'd-Ale in Bed.
    Thus Bullies bluster, till their Eye
    Beholds the shocking Danger nigh,
    And then with Scandal and Disgrace,
    They fly from what they durst not face,
    For Cowards always are too crafty
    To doat on Honour more than Safety.

Just so the Preston Herd, unskill'd
To keep the Town or win the Field,
Before the Royal Troops appear'd,
Talk'd big, as if they nothing fear'd,
And with good Wine and Nappy warm'd,
Threaten'd much more than they perform'd;
For few had Courage to withstand
The Danger, when 'twas near at hand,
But rather than to boldly run
The risque of what themselves begun,
To please and flatter Cow'rdly Nature,
Postpon'd one Hazard for a greater.

Two gallant Chiefs they had, 'tis plain,
That is, two Heads, but ne'er a Brain;
For had their Conduct and Discretion
But prov'd as great as their Submission,
They might, perchance, have grown much stronger
And sav'd their Necks a little longer:
Yet had they fought like Men of Mettle,
And bravely stood a hardy Battle,
They'd not perform'd so great a Wonder,
As in their tamely knocking under.

No doubt the Heroes first design'd
To fight, when they at Preston join'd,
Tho' half the Weapons of their Forces,
Were only Whips to flog their Horses;
But when they saw their bad Condition,
Few Arms and little Ammunition,
Led on promiscuously together,
By him that knew the use of neither,
The Champions rather chose to yield
Toth' Gallows, than to die i'th' Field;
Because one Danger of the two
Was farthest from their present View;
Forgetting, he that boldly draws
His Sword against the Nations Laws,
Must, if he means to win the Day,
Press on, and fling the Sheath away:
For he who'gainst the Crown is fighting,
And hopes for Pardon by submitting,
Is like the Fool who first provokes,
The Lyon with disdainful, Strokes,
Then tamely bowing to his Jaws,
Craves Mercy of his Teeth and Claws.
    Thus, those that dare to undertake
    Rebellion, if they once look back,
    Themselves they ruine, lose their End,
    And mar the Cause they would defend.

No sooner had the Captive Crowd,
Their stubborn Necks to Cæsar bow'd,
As if at first they meant no more,
Than to aggrandize Sov'reign Pow'r,
Or that they thought the Nation blest,
And, Statesman like, rebell'd in Jest;
Not to disturb, but serve the Ends
Of Government, like trusty Friends,
By wheedling in the Disaffected,
To be Drawn, Hang'd, and then Dissected.

I say, no sooner had they shown
Their great Submission to the Throne,
And render'd to the Royal Forces,
Their Arms, their Money, and their Horses,
But they were ty'd on Scrubs and Tits,
Whose Hempen Bridles had no Bits,
Nor worthless Saddles Stirrups on,
To rest their pendant Feet upon:
But rode, like Sancho on his Ass,
Or Hostlers, kicking Jades to Grass,
Who with their Riders often falter,
Because they're guided by the Halter.
    Thus Insurrections in a Realm,
    Prove Thorns to those that rule the Helm,
    Till crush'd and then the Victor makes
    His Market of the Fools he takes.

In Triumph thus the Cavalcade
Of Rebels were to London led,
Guarded on e'ery Side by those
Who when they conquer'd spar'd their Blows,
To make their gallant Foes amends,
For acting so like Bosom Friends,

And fixing in our Jarring Isle,
The Cause they vainly hop'd to spoil.
    As foolish Parents often make
    Those Matches they attempt to break,
    And by their want of timely Care,
    Ruine the Child they would prefer.

Now all the Jayls about the Town,
Were cram'd with Rebels of Renown,
The Tow'r with Lords, who mourn'd their Fate,
And rash Proceedings, when too late;
Whilst Criminals of Low'r Degree,
Fill'd Newgate, Fleet, and Marshalsea,
Where now they felt, as well as saw,
The Fangs and Tushes of the Law,
To which they tamely had submitted,
Blam'd by their Friends, by Foes unpity'd.

In this sad plight, unhappy Creatures,
Loaded with heavy Chains and Fetters,
They were confin'd to eat and sleep,
Like Negroes in a Guinea Ship;
Till some, to terrify the Nation,
Were try'd and doom'd to Decollation;
And others sentenc'd to resign
Their wretched Lives in Hempen Twine.
    Thus Rebels, when they lose the Day,
    Support the Pow'r they disobey;
    But if Success attends their Pride,
    They make the Gallows change its Side.
    For 'tis the Vict'ry, not the Cause,
    That steers the Justice of the Laws,
    And in each rash domestick Quarrel,
    Disposes both of Hemp and Laurel.

Now bald-pate Winter shiv'ring rear'd
His wrinkl'd Brows and hoary Beard,
And flying Southward from the North,
In Anger breath'd cold Weather forth;
Puff'd, as he made uncommon speed,
And by the Way kill'd Herb and Weed;
Did on the Clouds with Passion blow,
And turn'd their Rain to flakes of Snow,
Congeal'd Earth's Surface in a trice,
And Rivers chang'd to Rocks of Ice,
That working Tradesmen and their Spouses,
Forsook their Terra firma Houses,
And with old Blankets, Poles and Sheets,
On Frozen Thames built Lanes and Streets,
Where many Trades and Crafts of Hand
Were follow'd, in contempt of Land;
And Hackny Whores and Coaches ply'd
With more Success than in Cheapfide;
Tho' Winds that made 'em blow their Nails,
In Reason might have cool'd their Tails.
But Lust is such a warm Desire,
It feels no Cold, and needs no Fire;
And rather than abstain from Vice,
Will Sin, tho' on a Bed of Ice.
    So vicious Dogs, who slyly run
    At harmless Sheep, and pull 'em down,
    Ne'er leave the Sport, tho' beat and bang'd,
    But still love Mutton till they're hang'd.

The Thames was now the Mart or Fair,
For e'ery sort of common Ware.
Here Names were Printed, Medals Stamp'd,
New Garments sold, and Old new vamp'd,

Young Lasses spoil'd by Rakes and Bullies,
And old ones starv'd for want of Cullies;
Base Rings, and Spelter Trinkets sold
To Fools, for Silver and for Gold;
And to the great reproach of France,
Damn'd English Spirits vouch'd for Nantz:
Besides rare Wines of e'ery sort,
White, Claret, Sherry, Mountain, Port,
Tho' none of't e'er had cross'd the Seas,
Or from the Grape deriv'd its Lees,
But made at Home, 'twixt Chip and Dash,
Of Sugar, Sloes, and Grocer's Trash,
Or Cyder dy'd with Cochineal,
If Fame their Secrets can reveal.

Here Beaus appear'd with Ladies fine,
To toy and fool away their Coin,
In hopes the Fair might slip awry,
And blushing show a Leg or Thigh.
    For she that on the Ice will venture,
    May chance to turn up all God sent her,
    And by one heedless Fall discover
    The hidden Bait that charms her Lover.
Here Neptune's Slaves, who ply'd the Ferries,
And us'd to row the Town in Wherries,
Made Whigwams now of Tilts and Sails,
And dealt in Brandy, Wines and Ales,
To gain by Ice what they had lost
By want of Water and by Frost.
    So common Jilts, those drudging Jades,
    When Winter Age has spoil'd their Trades,
    Take Brothels near some Chanc'ry Inn,
    And deal in Coffee, Whores and Gin.

The Dutchmen, tho' to Cold inur'd,
Who in our Harbours liv'd Aboard.
Those Sandy Brandybottle Boors,
Those brawny Slaves to Sails and Oars,
With Rats-tail Locks, Thrum Woollen Caps,
And pissburnt Whiskers round their Chaps,
Now left their frozen Decks and Shrouds,
Where piercing Winds congeal'd their Bloods,
And nimbly scating on the Ice,
Thaw'd their numb'd Limbs by Exercise,
And show'd us how their Lords at Home,
With Fish to Market go and come;
Who tho' they help to Rule the State,
Think it no Shame to sell their Scate.
    No Wonder, since there's no such thing
    As Honour, where there is no King;
    For Honour, every Body knows,
    From Crowns originally flows:
    And where there's no Crown'd-Head to give it,
    No Man can merit or receive it.
    Besides, where Honour has no place,
    There's nothing scandalous or base,
    That carries Int'rest in its face.

The Streets of London now were fill'd
With heaps of Dirt, and Snow congeal'd;
Some nicely modell'd into Form,
By Art, to keep Industry warm:
Here, o'er a frozen Kennel, stood
A Passant Lyon carv'd in Mud,
Whose Teeth, that fortify'd his Jaws,
Were broken Pipes and Lobster's Claws,
Which made the King of Beasts appear
So fierce, so threatning and severe,
That all the Mob that came about him,
Paid Homage, and were proud to shout him.
    So Indians homely Statues frame,
    Then Worship, 'em in Jos's Name.
    Believing from their ugly Form,
    They've Pow'r to do their Makers harm.

In the next Street, perhaps, appear'd
A Frostwork Bull, by Butchers rear'd,
Whose Horns, that grac'd his frizzl'd Top,
Were pointed tow'rds some Cuckold's Shop,
Which serv 'd his Helpmate for a Reason,
To keep him close the Frosty Season,
For fear the Rabble should agree
To Point, and cry aloud, That's he.
    So when a Skimington comes by,
    Each Scolding Housewife looks awry,
    And to her Husband cries, My Dear,
    Prithee come in, and stay not here,
    I wonder you can take delight
    To gaze at such a foolish Sight.
    Thus guilty Conscience always flies
    The Rod that scourges human Vice;
    And even Sinners, who would pass
    For Saints of a superior Class,
    At Church will on the Preacher frown,
    To hear their darling Sins cry'd down.
    Yet all will others Faults disclose,
    But think the Priest and Poet Foes,
    If they presume to lash the Crimes
    Of Impious Men in wicked Times.

Thus num'rous Figures made of Dirt,
As Children do of Clay, for Sport,
Adorn'd the Kennels of each Street,
To make the Passage more compleat.
That Riding-Hoods and Clogs might move
About the grand Affairs of Love,
Without the danger of a Slip,
To sprain a Leg or bruise a Hip,
Or cause their Crupper-Bones to pay
Obedience to the frozen Way;
And that the Sharping Tribe, who range
The Nooks and Allies near the Change,
Might scowre about the Town, t'amuse
Believing Fools with Lying News;
Who make themselves the Tools and Slaves
Of Cunning, Cheating, Jobbing Knaves,
That daily study to disguise
The face of Truth with Impious Lies,
And, Devil like, support, we see,
Their Int'rest by their Villany.

The Watchmen too vouchsaf'd to stoop
And build Nocturnal Hovels up,
With Kennel-Dirt and Snow together,
To fence their Worships from the Weather,
That they might Sit, Drink, Swear and Prate,
Like Midnight Magistrates, in State,
And Lurk, like hungry Wolves, to prey
On Drunkards that should reel that way.

Now crafty Glasiers threw about
Their Foot-Balls to the Rabble-Rout,
And sent their Youngsters to Bombard
Their Neighbours, whilst the Frost was. hard.
Oft have I heard of Quarrels pick'd,
And Tradesmen out of Bus'ness kick'd,
But the wise Glasiers change the Scene,
And kick themselves, not out, but in.

Week after Week the Winter strengthen'd,
And froze more sharply as it lengthen'd,
That the poor Girls were forc'd to use
Dutch Stoves in old St. Bartholomews,
To keep their Maidenheads from freezing,
The Weather was so cold and teazing.

Marriage, that comfortable Vow,
Could ne'er be more approv'd than now;
For as in mild delightful Weather,
Int'rest and Love bring Fools together,
So now the most prevailing Charm
That made us Wed, was to be warm:
Nay, some so very Cold were grown,
They could no longer lie alone,
But crept together, hugg'd and kiss'd,
Without remembrance of the Priest.
    As hungry Gluttons eat apace,
    Till cloy'd, and never think of Grace.

The Old complain'd of Coughs and Gouts,
And crawl'd about with dripping Snouts,
Vowing Dame Nature ne'er had dealt 'em
Such Weather, since their Age had gelt 'em.

Beggars crept ,up and down, poor Souls,
Cursing the Price of Bread and Coals,
And in Expressions too severe,
Damn'd those that kept them up so dear,
    Thus Providence, to whom we owe
    All we enjoy, and all we know,
    In e'ery Dispensation, finds
    Some pleas'd, and some with grumbling Minds;
    Whilst the good Christian sits at Ease,
    And bends to all that Heav'n decrees.

The next surprising Scene, this Year,
Did in the Northern Heav'ns appear,
Where, after Sun-set, did arise
Strange Coruscations in the Skies.
At first a sullen Cloud ascended
I'th' North, which tow'rds the Weft extended,
And sailing gently with the Wind,
Eclips'd a seeming Fire behind,
For round its Edges we could fee
A smoaky pale Lucidity,
As if the Cloud arose to hide
Some Blazing-Star on t'other side.
At length, to entertain our View,
The Sable Curtain burst in two,
And belching forth a fiery Train
Of flaming Sulphur, clos'd again.
Thus did it shut and open thrice,
Darting its Lightning cross the Skies,
And then, like huddl'd Fire and Smoke,
Into a strange Confusion broke,
Venting on e'ery side new Light,
That bolted forth in Streams upright,
Like blazing Rockets that display
Their Fury as they make their way,
Till Waves of Light'ning fill'd the Space,
And rowl'd, like Seas, from place to place,

The Heav'ns presenting to our View,
Each Moment, something that was new,
And thro' the Skies such Flashes hurl'd,
As if design'd to fire the World,
And Crystalize this dirty Mass,
Into, a Globe of shining Glass,
So make the same, by Conflagration,
A Planet for the next Creation.

From Sun-set to the break of Day,
Did these Celestial Fireworks play,
Whilst Crowds of Mortals stood below,
Beholding the tremendous Show.

Some harden'd Sinners feem'd to gaze,
With Pleasure on the scatter'd Rays,
As if the Wonder was no more
Portentous than a rainy Show'r.

Others more conscious of the base
Atheistick Guilt of Human Race,
With Terror struck, beheld the Light,
And trembl'd at the gastly Sight,
Believing it portended some
Destructive Plague to Christendom,
Or bloody Contest, that might lay,
The World in one Aceldema.

Astrologers, those skilful Noddies,
That watch and read the Heav'nly Bodies,
To make their knowing Selves more certain,
In telling Female Fools their Fortune,
Climb'd up aloft, and stood for Hours,
On Steeples, Battlements, and Tow'rs,
That they might there behold, the better,
These puzzling wondrous Works of Nature.
All lugging out, to view the Light,
Their various Instruments of Sight;
By which they did discern, no doubt,
What others saw as well without.
Thus many Hours they gaz'd in vain,
And spy'd and peep'd, and spy'd again:
Returning, when they'd done, not quite
So Wise as if they'd slept all Night,
Contending who should give the best
Account of what had spoil'd their Rest.
Some wisely said, the Northern Bears,
Were fall'n together by the Ears,
And in their Rage, their angry Eyes
Struck Fire, and sparkl'd thro' the Skies.

Others, who saw the Cause more plain,
Affirm'd, that Charles had left his Wain,
B'ing dry, to beg a Draught of Liquor,
From old Aquarius's Pitcher;
And that the resty Jades, his Horses,
Had, in his Absence, turn'd their Arses,
And kicking with their Shoes of Steel,
Throw'd Light'ning from each clashing Heel,

Some, who believ'd themselves no less
Expert than others, at a guess,
Conjectur'd, these amusing Streams
Of Light, were but the Rays or Beams
Of some portentous Blazing-Star,
That skulk'd below our Hemisphere,
Whose flaming Beard would soon arise,
Toth' Terror of our English Eyes.
Instead of which, the Light declin'd,
And we no Blazing-Star could find;

Which shews, that those wise Albumazers,
Who on the Heav'ns have long been Gazers,
In spight of Mathematick Rules,
May err, as well as other Fools.

The Scots, among us, seem'd delighted,
To see their Southern Friends so frighted
At Nature's Sportings, that arise
So frequent in the Northern Skies,
And when they brandish in the Air,
Are stil'd, The Pritty Dancers, there;
No more regarded when they shine,
Than Light'ning underneath the Line.
    So Strombulo, or Ætna's Flames,
    Fright not the neighb'ring Clowns or Dames;
    But such a Mount among us here,
    Would raise our Wonder and our Fear.

Others, in Nature's Works more learn'd,
The Cause with greater Skill discern'd,
And borr'wing Terms from Doctor Wallis,
Call'd it, Aurora Borealis.
But that can only happen here,
When Days are long and Nights are clear,
Near th' Æstal Solstice, when the Sun
Just shines beneath the Horizon;
And tho' his Face be out of sight,
His neighb'ring Rays diffuse a Light,
And faintly gild the Northern Skies,
As to his rising Point he flies.
But that Phænomenon which scar'd
Our sinful Land, in March appear'd,
When Sol, 'twixt Setting and Returning,
Could give us here no Northern Morning.
But Men of Art, who proudly aim
At universal Praise and Fame,
Must, true or false, their Judgment show,
In Matters they profess to know,
Or Fools would think the Learn'd but muddy
Proficients in the Arts they study.
    Thus most Mens excellency lies
    In puzzling those they find less Wise.
    By that alone the Gown and Band,
    Gain, of the Crowd, the upper hand,
    In Things that neither understand.

No sooner did this Wonder cease,
Or fade, as Day-light did encrease,
But Fame from Ireland did report
An Omen of another sort,
Consisting of two mighty Shoals
Of monstrous Fish, as big as Bulls,
Who meeting on the Irish Coast,
Most fiercely charg'd each others Host,
Fighting a Battle near the Shore,
That dy'd the Ocean with their Gore,
And chang'd, by their repeated Valour,
The Sea-green, to a Sanguine Colour.
Like angry Rams they clash'd their Heads,
Rebounding in their watry Beds,
Casting aloft, from batter'd Snouts,
And broken Gills, such crimson Spouts,
As if they spew'd up Claret Wine,
Or fought in Blood, instead of Brine.

Some, large as Elephants, display'd
Huge Tushes sprouting from the Head,
By force of which they over-run
Their Foes, and eat 'em when they'd done.

Others, like Ships in stormy Weather,
Fell foul, Broad-side and Side together,
And Jostl'd till the biggest Foe,
Made the Less plow the Seas below.
    So Armies, with their Foot and Horse,
    Subdue their weaker Foes by force,
    And make the Cause, which they espouse,
    Not good by Reas'ning, but by Blows.

Thus mighty Fish with Fish contended,
Some rising up, whilst some descended,
Boldly relieving one another,
As one brave Soldier would his Brother,
Whilst wounded Monsters swam on Shore,
For Breath, and perish'd in their Gore.

Nor did one Day decide the Quarrel,
Or give to either Host the Laurel,
But as the Sun return'd his Light,
They still renew'd their bloody Fight,
Till length of Time and loss of Blood,
Made all the Scaly Troops think good
To leave the Empire of the Main
Unsettl'd, till they met again.
That future Contests might decide
The right of Rule, for which they try'd.
    Thus as proud Heroes fight on Shore,
    And struggle for superior Pow'r,
    So Monsters battle in the Sea,
    For needful Food and Sovereignty.

Now Zephyrus with Anger swell'd,
And with his Breath the Tide repell'd,
Forcing the gentle Thames to fly
Those Bounds she us'd to occupy;
And with a fierce and rapid Motion,
T' incorp'rate with the briny Ocean,
Where She for sev'ral Days remained,
And left her native Channel drain'd
So dry, where Barges us'd to float,
That Numbers cross'd without a Boat,
And in their Walks upon the Strand,
Found Things of Value in the Sand,
Which Thieves into the Thames had tost,
Or some by Carelesness had lost.

Now Ladies walk'd where Streams should flow,
And Boats and Barges us'd to Row;
There exercis'd their nimble Heels,
On Sandy Beds for Fish and Eeles,
And where Thames Salmon, when beset,
Lay skulking to avoid the Net.
The Boatmen now forsook their Stations,
And chang'd their Rowing Occupations,
Carr'd heavy Loads, like Men of Stature,
And ply'd by Land, instead of Water.
    As Whores decay'd and past their Labours,
    Turn Bawds, and so assist their Neighbours.

Nor did this boist'rous Wind alone,
Blow Rivers dry, that Eastward run,
But forc'd the Sea to break its Bounds,
And swallow sundry Tracts of Grounds:
Huge Barns it overset with ease,
Blow'd Houses down, and plow'd up Trees,
And made the rowling Ocean rise
So near the Arches of the Skies,
That sundry Vessels dug their Graves,
And founder'd in the clashing Waves,
Whilst Crowds contended to devour
The Shipwrecks that were thrown ashore.
    As Women do on Armies wait,
    To Plunder those that meet their Fate.

Tiles from the tops of Houses blown,
And Chimney-Bricks came ratt'ling down,
Whilst frighted Mortals skulk'd below,
In dread of some destructive Blow.
Till Providence restrain'd the Storm
From doing Mankind further Harm,
And once more bless'd our longing Eyes,
With gentle Winds and pleasing Skies.

One Wonder more, from distant Climes
Came over, in these sinful Times,
A num'rous Flight of Foreign Birds,
With pointed Bills as sharp as Swords,
Webfooted, of the Water kind,
Were hither driven by the Wind,
And in two Columns did appear,
Like wing'd Battalions in the Air,
And shrieking loud began a Fight,
Astonishing to human sight,
Which they maintain'd, at least, an Hour,
With all the fierceness in their Pow'r:
Some falling headlong to the Ground,
Were dead upon the Surface found,
And others in the Battle maim'd,
Were taken up, not dead, but lam'd:
Like bleeding Cocks with wounded Eyes,
Still pecking, tho' too weak to rise,
Twisting their Necks about to find
The Foe that struck 'em Lame or Blind.
Thus for some time they fought together.
Tho' all seem'd Birds of the same Feather,
Till one Side had obtain'd the Laurel,
And put a Period to their Quarrel,
Then all those Civil Heats and Jars,
That kindl'd these domestick Wars
Among the Birds, that seem'd to be
Of one divided Family,
Were of a sudden at an end,
And e'ery Foe became a Friend.
Then those that did before appear
In diff'rent Armies in the Air,
Seem'd all united into one
Dark Body that eclips'd the Sun,
Hov'ring aloft, for some time a'ter,
In Friendship, without further slaughter,
Till a fresh Storm began to rise,
And blacken the transparent Skies.
Such as had driven, heretofore,
The Trojans on the Lybick Shore;
And then the Birds, by Wind and Weather,
Were blown from hence, the Lord knows whither.
    So when domestick Feuds and Fears,
    Set jarring Nations by the Ears,
    The Parties struggle for Command,
    Till one Side gains the upper-hand:
    Then they who're worsted, wave their Spight,
    And tamely with their Foes unite.

These are the Wonders we have seen,
Since Britain has Interr'd her Queen:
But what these Prodigies forebode,
Whether our Evil or our Good,
I'll leave to those that read the Heavens,
And guess by Sixes and by Sevens,
Who, by great Chance, some Truths may give us,
Or with officious Lies deceive us.
    For Arts, by which they gain sheir Ends,
    And Planets, like unfaithful Friends,
    Are most deceitful when we need 'em,
    Or else they Blockheads are that read 'em.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.