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THE Splendid Shilling,

—— Sing, heav'nly Muse,
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime,
A Shilling, Breeches, and Chimera's dire.
1 Happy the Man, who void of Care and Strife,
2 In silken or in leathern Purse retains
3 A Splendid Shilling: He nor hears with Pain
4 New Oysters cry'd, nor sighs for chearful Ale;
5 But with his Friends, when mighty Mists arise,
6 To Juniper's, Magpye, or Town Hall repairs:
7 Where mindful of the Nymph, whose wanton Eye
8 Transfix'd his Soul, and kindled amorous Flames,
9 Chloe or Phillis; he each circling Glass
10 Wisheth her Health, and Joy, and equal Love.
11 Mean while, he smoaks and laughs at merry Tale,
12 Or Pun ambiguous, or Conundrum quaint.
13 But I, whom griping Penury surrounds,
14 And Hunger, sure Attendant upon Want,
15 With scanty Offals, and small acid Tiff
16 (Wretched Repast!) my meagre Corps sustain:
17 Then solitary walk, or doze at home
18 In Garret vile, and with a warming Puff
19 Regale chill'd Fingers; or from Tube as black
20 As Winter Chimney, or well-polish'd Jet,
21 Exhale Mundungus, ill-perfuming Scent:
22 Not blacker Tube, nor of a shorter Size
23 Smoaks Cambro-Britain (vers'd in Pedigree,
24 Sprung from Cadwalader and Arthur, Kings
25 Full famous in romantick Tale) when he
26 O'er many a craggy Hill and barren Cliff,
27 Upon a Cargo of fam'd Cestrian Cheese,
28 High over-shadowing rides, with a design
29 To vend his Wares, or at the Arvonian Mart,
30 Or Maridunum, or the ancient Town
31 Ecleap'd Brechinia, or where Vaga's Stream
32 Encircles Ariconium, fruitful Soil,
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33 Whence flow nectareous Wines, that well may vie
34 With Massic, Setin, or renown'd Falern.
35 Thus, while my joyless Minutes tedious flow,
36 With Looks demure, and silent Pace, a Dunn,
37 Horrible Monster! hated by Gods and Men,
38 To my aerial Citadel ascends;
39 With vocal Heel thrice thund'ring at my Gates,
40 With hideous Accent thrice he calls; I know
41 The Voice ill-boding, and the solemn Sound.
42 What shou'd I do? or whither turn? Amaz'd,
43 Confounded, to the dark Recess I fly
44 Of Woodhole; strait my bristling Hairs erect
45 Thro' sudden Fear; a chilly Sweat bedews
46 My shudd'ring Limbs, and (wonderful to tell!)
47 My Tongue forgets her Faculty of Speech;
48 So horrible he seems! his faded Brows
49 Entrench'd with many a Frown, and conic Beard
50 And spreading Band, admir'd by modern Saints,
51 Disastrous Acts forebode; in his Right Hand
52 Long Scrolls of Paper solemnly he waves,
53 With Characters and Figures dire inscrib'd,
54 Grievous to mortal Eyes; (ye Gods, avert
55 Such Plagues from righteous Men!) behind him stalks
56 Another Monster, not unlike himself,
57 Sullen of Aspect, by the Vulgar call'd
58 A Catchpole, whose polluted Hands the Gods
59 With Force incredible, and Magick Charms
60 Erst have endu'd: if he is ample Palm
61 Should haply on ill-fated Shoulder lay
62 Of Debtor, strait his Body, to the Touch
63 Obsequious (as whilom Knights were wont)
64 To some enchanted Castle is convey'd,
65 Where Gates impregnable, and coercive Chains
66 In Durance strict detain him, till in form
67 Of Money, Pallas sets the Captive free.
68 Beware, ye Debtors, when ye walk beware,
69 Be circumspect; oft with insidious Ken
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70 This Caitif eyes your Steps aloof, and oft
71 Lies perdue in a Nook or gloomy Cave,
72 Prompt to enchant some inadvertent Wretch
73 With his unhallow'd Touch. So (Poets sing)
74 Grimalkin to Domestick Vermin sworn
75 An everlasting Foe, with watchful Eye
76 Lies nightly brooding o'er a chinky Gap,
77 Protending her fell Claws, to thoughtless Mice
78 Sure Ruin. So her disembowel'd Web
79 Arachne in a Hall, or Kitchen spreads,
80 Obvious to vagrant Flies: She secret stands
81 Within her woven Cell; the humming Prey,
82 Regardless of their Fate, rush on the Toils
83 Inextricable, nor will aught avail
84 Their Arts, nor Arms, nor Shapes of lovely hue;
85 The Wasp insidious, and the buzzing Drone,
86 And Butterfly proud of expanded Wings
87 Distinct with Gold, entangled in her Snares,
88 Useless Resistance make: With eager Strides,
89 She tow'ring flies to her expected Spoils;
90 Then with envenom'd Jaws the vital Blood
91 Drinks of reluctant Foes, and to her Cave
92 Their bulky Carcasses triumphant drags.
93 So pass my Days. But when Nocturnal Shades
94 This World invelop, and th'inclement Air
95 Persuades Men to repel benumming Frosts
96 With pleasant Wines, and crackling Blaze of Wood;
97 Me lonely sitting, nor the glimmering Light
98 Of Make-weight Candle, nor the joyous Talk
99 Of loving Friend delights; distress'd, forlorn,
100 Amidst the Horrors of the tedious Night,
101 Darkling I sigh, and feed with dismal Thoughts
102 My anxious Mind; or sometimes mournful Verse
103 Indite, and sing of Groves and Myrtle Shades,
104 Or desperate Lady near a purling Stream,
105 Or Lover pendent on a Willow-Tree:
106 Mean while, I labour with eternal Drought,
107 And restless wish and rave my parched Throat
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108 Finds no Relief, nor heavy Eyes Repose:
109 But if a Slumber haply does invade
110 My weary Limbs, my Fancy's still awake,
111 Thoughtful of Drink, and eager, in a Dream,
112 Tipples imaginary Pots of Ale:
113 In vain; awake I find the settled Thirst
114 Still gnawing, and the pleasant Phantom curse.
115 Thus do I live from Pleasure quite debarr'd,
116 Nor taste the Fruits that the Sun's genial Rays
117 Mature, John-Apple, nor the downy Peach,
118 Nor Walnut in rough-furrow'd Coat secure,
119 Nor Medlar, Fruit delicious in Decay:
120 Afflictions great! yet greater still remain:
121 My Galligaskins that have long withstood
122 The Winter's Fury, and encroaching Frosts,
123 By Time subdued (what will not Time subdue!)
124 An horrid Chasm disclose, with Orifice
125 Wide, discontinous; at which the Winds
126 Eurus and Auster, and the dreadful Force
127 Of Boreas, that congeals the Cronian Waves,
128 Tumultuous enter with dire chilling Blasts,
129 Portending Agues. Thus a well-fraught Ship
130 Long sail'd secure, or thro' the Ægean Deep,
131 Or the Ionian, till cruising near
132 The Lilybean Shoar, with hideous Crush
133 On Scylla, or Charybdis (dang'rous Rocks)
134 She strikes rebounding, whence the shatter'd Oak,
135 So firce a Shock unable to withstand,
136 Admits the Sea; in at the gaping Side
137 The crowding Waves gush with impetuous Rage,
138 Resistless, Overwhelming; Horrors seize
139 The Mariners, Death in their Eyes appears,
140 They stare, they lave, they pump, they swear, they pray;
141 (Vain Efforts!) still the battering Waves rush in
142 Implacable, till delug'd by the Foam,
143 The Ship sinks found'ring in the vast Abyss.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): THE Splendid Shilling,
Author: John Philips
Themes: happiness; contentment; money; wealth
Genres: blank verse; Miltonic verse
References: DMI 30641

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Source edition

Bramston, James, 1694?-1744. The Crooked six-pence. With a Learned preface Found among Some Papers bearing Date the same Year in which Paradise Lost was published by the late Dr. Bently [poems only]. London: printed for R. Dodsley at Tully's-Head in Pall-Mall; and sold by M. Cooper at the Globe in Pater-Noster Row, 1743, pp. 11-14. x,24p. (ESTC T34436)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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