1776
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord-Mayor's Day. A Mock Elegy.

Public Advertiser (9 November 1776).

M.


Thirteen quatrains, signed "M.," the house poet at the Public Advertiser. Lord-Mayor's day is part of the series of burlesques of Gray's Elegy written in a Country Churchyard describing life in urban London. "M" (who makes little attempt to follow his original beyond the opening lines) composed a series of short newspaper poems marking the notable days of the year. Lord Mayor's feasts were a regular target of wit in London newspapers. This poem also appeared in Lloyd's Evening Post and the London Chronicle, and in the Westminster Magazine.

A different version of the poem, signed "Settle, Junior" was published under the same title in the Public Advertiser 9 November 1781; it made a belated appearance in The Morning Chronicle with a slightly different text, signed "W. A., Blackfriars, Nov. 5, 1785."



The Sun creeps slowly o'er the eastern Hills,
The lazy-pacing Hours attend his Way,
Through the thick Fog the scarce pervading Beam
Gives LONDON'S LORD his gorgeous, gaudy Day.

Now the grim'd Scavenger his Bosom plies,
And whistles at his Work with wonted Glee,
The Streets look decent, ev'n in Courtiers Eyes,
While the Wretch sweeps for dirtier Folks than he.

And now the City Bells, in many a Peal,
Bursting at once upon the vacant Ear,
Bid the glad Freemen from their Compters steal,
And hail the Day to Beef and Pudding dear.

Nor is this all — the solid Ham supplies
The Place where yesterday's plain Mutton stood,
And the rich Pudding with the Pye-crust views:
—But all is swallow'd soon — for all is good.

Nor pass we by the Capon and the Chine,
Nor, heedless, leave the Turky's Praise unsung;
The many-mixtur'd Punch, th' inspiring Wine,
Joy of each Heart, and Theme of every Tongue!

And now AUGUSTA'S Senators repair,
To that old Pile where broad-fac'd Giants stand;
While courtly Strangers like those Giants stare,
—Maz'd at the clumsy Wonders of our Land!

But haste, my Muse, the Coach of State appears!
AUGUSTA'S Lord, and all his Court are blithe:
Coachmen be careful how you reach the Stairs,
And land the Monarch safely at Queenhithe!

But ah! — one moral Thought will yet intrude,
Tho' glad the Heart, and festive be the Day;
"How short our Bliss! We've made the Landing good,
On the frail Waves to plow the wat'ry Way!"

Now sail the Barges — half a Mile an Hour;
Now fly the Streamers — now the Corks too fly;
The Morning Brimmer gives the Stomach Power
To storm the Beef, and raise the Pigeon-pie!

Let Fancy, trav'lling on the bank of Thame,
Suppose at RUFUS' Hall the glitt'ring Throng;
The Business done — revisit we the Stream,
While Pop-guns cannonade us — all along!

With grateful Hearts, and Eyes of greedy Joy,
We view the Bridge of Elegance, Blackfriars;
While the glad Matron hugs her darling Boy,
—For Daddy's safe arriv'd, thro' worse than Thorns and Briars.

Muse, croud the Verse, — as London Streets are fill'd,
With Men, Dogs, Horses, Chariots, and Sedans;
Strew many a Flower, as many a Bottle's spill'd,
And croud with Spits, and Plates, and Pots and Pans.

The Feasting o'er, the Ball, the sprightly Dance,
With jocund Glee beguile the Night away;
The Crouds retire when Sunday-Hours advance,
"And eat in Dreams, the Custard of the Day."

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