1728 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gay

Anonymous, "The Old Baronet, behind the Scenes, at the Beggar's Opers" The Daily Journal (26 April 1728).



When first Sir Bob, that rusty Knight,
Appear'd upon the Stage,
All star'd at so Grotesque a Sight,
Not seen since Alfred's Age.

Some thought him done on Pastboard, Sir,
And some in Canvas woven;
None e'er imagin'd he could stir,
But when the Scenes were moven.

All wonder'd, in the Toupee Rows
To see so odd a Figure,
Amidst the limber, damag'd, Beaus,
So inelegant a Vigour.

But they were all mistaken much,
Nor had they him well sounded,
For as their Hearts, just his, was such,
And just as much was wounded:

Not they with warmer Pleasure hear,
When Polly, in soft Expression,
Engages the attentive Ear,
With — All is in my Possession—

Then into Raptures does he stray,
And tender Passions takes,
Who ne'er before was mov'd, they say,
But with the Plate, or Stakes.

Thus, have I seen a Jew-trump Girl,
In Fields of Lincoln's Inn,
A Bear, by Pow'r of Musick, whirl
Into extatic Grin:

Each shaggy Limb just Measure takes,
His frosty Nature fire,
Each Nerve with new Emotion shakes,
Touch'd by the harmonious Lyre.