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A POEM, On the Supposition of the Book having been published and read.

1 The dinner was over, the table-cloth gone,
2 The bottles of wine and the glasses brought on,
3 The gentlemen fill'd up the sparkling glasses,
4 To drink to their King, to their country and lasses;
5 The ladies a glass or two only requir'd,
6 To th' drawing-room then in due order retir'd;
7 The gentlemen likewise that chose to drink tea;
8 And, after discussing the news of the day,
9 What wife was suspected, what daughter elop'd,
10 What thief was detected, that 'twas to be hop'd,
11 The rascals would all be convicted, and rop'd;
12 What chambermaid kiss'd when her lady was out;
13 Who won, and who lost, the last night at the rout;
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14 What lord gone to France, and what tradesman unpaid,
15 And who and who danc'd at the last masquerade;
16 What banker stopt payment with evil intention,
17 And twenty more things much too tedious to mention.
18 Miss Rhymer says, Mrs. Routella, ma'am, pray
19 Have you seen the new book (that we talk'd of that day,
20 At your house you remember) of Poems, 'twas said
21 Produc'd by the pen of a poor Servant Maid?
22 The company silent, the answer expected;
23 Says Mrs. Routella, when she'd recollected;
24 Why, ma'am, I have bought it for Charlotte; the child
25 Is so fond of a book, I'm afraid it is spoil'd:
26 I thought to have read it myself, but forgat it;
27 In short, I have never had time to look at it.
28 Perhaps I may look it o'er some other day;
29 Is there any thing in it worth reading, I pray?
30 For your nice attention, there's nothing can 'scape.
31 She answer'd, There's one piece, whose subject's a Rape.
32 A Rape! interrupted the Captain Bonair,
33 A delicate theme for a female I swear;
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34 Then smerk'd at the ladies, they simper'd all round,
35 Touch'd their lips with their fans, Mrs. Consequence frown'd.
36 The simper subsided, for she with her nods,
37 Awes these lower assemblies, as Jove awes the gods.
38 She smil'd on Miss Rhymer, and bad her proceed
39 Says she, there are various subjects indeed:
40 With some little pleasure I read all the rest,
41 But the Murder of Amnon's the longest and best.
42 Of Amnon, of Amnon, Miss Rhymer, who's he?
43 His name, says Miss Gaiety's quite new to me:
44 'Tis a Scripture tale, ma'am, he's the son of King David,
45 Says a Reverend old Rector: quoth madam, I have it;
46 A Scripture tale? ay I remember it true;
47 Pray is it i'th' old Testament or the new?
48 If I thought I could readily find it, I'd borrow
49 My house-keeper's Bible, and read it to-morrow.
50 'Tis in Samuel, ma'am, says the Rector: Miss Gaiety
51 Bow'd, and the Reverend blush'd for the laity.
52 You've read it, I find, says Miss Harriot Anderson;
53 Pray, sir, is it any thing like Sir Charles Grandison?
54 How you talk, says Miss Belle, how should such a girl write
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55 A novel, or any thing else that's polite?
56 You'll know better in time, Miss: She was but fifteen:
57 Her mamma was confus'd with a little chagrin,
58 Says, Where's your attention, child? did not you hear
59 Miss Rhymer say, that it was poems, my dear?
60 Says Sir Timothy Turtle, my daughters ne'er look
61 In any thing else but a cookery book:
62 The properest study for women design'd;
63 Says Mrs. Domestic, I'm quite of your mind.
64 Your haricoes, ma'am, are the best I e'er eat,
65 Says the Knight, may I venture to beg a receipt.
66 'Tis much at your service, says madam, and bow'd,
67 Then flutter'd her fan, of the compliment proud.
68 Says Lady Jane Rational, the bill of fare
69 Is th' utmost extent of my cookery care:
70 Most servants can cook for the palate I find,
71 But very few of them can cook for the mind.
72 Who, says Lady Pedigree, can this girl be;
73 Perhaps she's descended of some family;
74 Of family, doubtless, says Captain Bonair,
75 She's descended from Adam, I'd venture to swear.
76 Her Ladyship drew herself up in her chair,
77 And twitching her fan-sticks, affected a sneer.
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78 I know something of her, says Mrs. Devoir,
79 She liv'd with my friend, Jacky Faddle, Esq.
80 'Tis sometime ago though; her mistress said then,
81 The girl was excessively fond of a pen;
82 I saw her, but never convers'd with her though
83 One can't make acquaintance with servants, you know.
84 'Tis pity the girl was not bred in high life,
85 Says Mr. Fribbello: yes, then, says his wife,
86 She doubtless might have wrote something worth notice:
87 'Tis pity, says one, says another, and so 'tis.
88 O law! says young Seagram, I've seen the book, now
89 I remember, there's something about a mad cow.
90 A mad cow! ha, ha, ha, ha, return'd half the room;
91 What can y' expect better, says Madam Du Bloom?
92 They look at each other, a general pause
93 And Miss Coquettella adjusted her gauze.
94 The Rector reclin'd himself back in his chair,
95 And open'd his snuff-box with indolent air;
96 This book, says he, (snift, snift) has in the beginning,
97 (The ladies give audience to hear his opinion)
98 Some pieces, I think, that are pretty correct;
99 A stile elevated you cannot expect:
100 To some of her equals they may be a treasure,
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101 And country lasses may read 'em with pleasure.
102 That Amnon, you can't call it poetry neither,
103 There's no flights of fancy, or imagery either;
104 You may stile it prosaic, blank-verse at the best;
105 Some pointed reflections, indeed, are exprest;
106 The narrative lines are exceedingly poor:
107 Her Jonadab is a the drawing-room door
108 Was open'd, the gentlemen came from below,
109 And gave the discourse a definitive blow.


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Title (in Source Edition): A POEM, On the Supposition of the Book having been published and read.
Genres: occasional poem

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Source edition

Hands, Elizabeth, 1746-1815. The death of Amnon. A poem. With an appendix: containing pastorals, and other poetical pieces. By Elizabeth Hands. [Coventry]: Printed for the author, by N. Rollason, Coventry, M,DCCLXXXIX., 1789, pp. 50-55. [40],127,[1]p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T141063) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [Dunston B 961 (1)].)

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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.

Other works by Elizabeth Hands (née Herbert)