1792 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Robinson

John Wolcot, "Mrs. Robinson's Handkerchief and Judge Buller's Wig" Bath Journal (29 October 1792).



A Handkerchief that long has press'd
The snows of Laura's swelling breast,
O'er which fair scene full many a longing lover,
With panting heart, and frequent sighs,
And pretty modest leering eyes,
Had often been observ'd to hover—

This Handkerchief to Kitty giv'n
Was forc'd at length to leave its heav'n,
And enter a Jew's clothes man's ample bag—
O what a sad reverse, poor soul!
To sweat in such a horrid hole,
With ev'ry sort of dirty rag!

"Pray who are you?" the plaintive kerchief cry'd,
Perceiving a rough neighbour at her side:
"You smell as though your master was a fig,
What are you? tell me stinking creature." "Ma'am,
The hairy neighbour grave replied, "I am,
I am the most tremendous great Judge Buller's Wig."

"Indeed, Sir! O how chang'd our fate!
How different, were we both of late!
Now to be lodg'd in this vile place—
What will become of us at last! O dear,
Something more terrible than this, I fear;
Something that carries huge disgrace."

"Madam," rejoin'd the Wig, "don't cry:
No cause have you indeed to sigh;
So trust for once a Wig's prophetic words—
My fate is to be just the same, I find;
Still for a scarecrow's head design'd,
To frighten all the thieves — the Birds.

"But luckier, you, so chang'd will rise,
A fav'rite of ten thousand eyes;
Not burnt (as you suppose perhaps) to tinder;
Chang'd to the whitest paper — happy leaves,
For him, the BARD, who like a God conceives,
The great, th' immortal PETER PINDAR."

"La, Sir, then what a piece of news!
God bless, I say, God bless the Jews—
I wish my dear dear mistress did but know it;
Her hands then I shall happy touch again;
For MADAM always did maintain,
That MISTER PINDAR was a charming poet.