1796
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Modes of Courtship. Devonshire Hob's Love.

The Works of Peter Pindar, Esqr. in Four Volumes. Volume IV.

Dr. John Wolcot


A dialect pastoral in which Hob makes love to Joan with downright simplicity. Whatever else might be lacking, he promises an overflowing larder: "Zumtimes we'll ha a choice squab pie; | And zum days we wull broil and vry, | And zum days roast, ye slut; | An az vor Zyder, thee shat guzzle, | Zo much, JOAN, as will tire thy muzzle, | Enow to splet thy gut." West-country pastorals are comparatively scarce, perhaps because the dialect had been thoroughly ridiculed by Pope in his Guardian No. 40. John Wolcot was Devonshire-born, and may have composed this poem long before it appeared in this supplemental volume to his Works of 1794.



JOANNY, my dear, wut ha poor HOB?
Vor I'm upon a coortin job—
Gadswunds! Iss leek thee, Joan;
I'd fert vor thee — Iss, that Iss wud;
Iss love thee well, as pigs love mud,
Or dogs to gna a bone.

What thoff Iss ban't so hugeous smurt,
Forsooth leek voaks that go to curt;
Voakes zay I'm perty vitty:
Lord, Joan, a man may be alive,
Ha a long puss, and kep a wive,
That ne'er zeed Lundun zitty.

A man may ha the best o' hearts,
Although no chitterlins to's shart;
And lace that gentry uze;
Theed'st vend me honest — Iss, rert down,
Altho' thee hadsn't got a gown,
Ner stockings vath ner shooze.

Now, JOANNY, pr'ythee dant now blish;
Vor zich, Iss wudd'n gee a rish;
Dant copy voakes o' town:
No, JOAN, dant gee thy zel an air,
And ren and quat, just leek a hare,
And think I'll hunt thee down.

No, that' dam voalilsh, let me zay;
No — dant ren off, and heed away,
Leek paltriges in stubble:
No, no, the easiest means be best;
Iss can't turmoil, an looze one's rest;
Iss can't avoard the trouble.

Now JOAN, beleek, thee waantst to know
About my houze-keepin and zo,
Bevore thee tak'st the hooze—
Why vlesh an dumplin ev'ry day;
But az vor Zunday, let me zay,
We'll ha a gud vat gooze.

Zumtimes we'll ha a choice squab pie;
And zum days we wull broil and vry,
And zum days roast, ye slut;
An az vor Zyder, thee shat guzzle,
Zo much, JOAN, as will tire thy muzzle,
Enow to splet thy gut.

Now break thy meend, zay "dun, an dun;"
I'll make thee a good husband, mun;
And JOAN, I'll love thee dearly;
Iss waant do leek our neighbour FLAIL,
That huffth his wive, and kickth her tail,
And drashth her just leek barely.

JOANNY, Iss now have broke my meend;
Zo speak, and let the bisness eend,
And dant stand shilly shally;
But if thee wutt'n — Lord, lay't alone;
Go hang thy zel vor me, mun, JOAN,
I'll curt thy zester Mally.

[pp. 280-83]