1769
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The London Cousin.

Lloyd's Evening Post (4 September 1769) 220.

Anonymous


Eight anapestic quatrains signed "Old Rural, Wealds of Kent, Sept. 1769." These are answering verses to "The Country Cousins" by "Old Cockeny which had appeared in the Lloyd's Evening Post 21 August. While Old Rural did not have much to work with in his source, his reply introduces a regular topic in the pastoral ballad, series, the relation of taste to poverty. The address in Kent and reference to hop-gardening might point to the authorship of William Perfect.



A Cousin, from London great town,
To see us came vastly bedoisen'd,
Perfum'd fit to knock us all down,
'Odsw—ds, I thought we should be poison'd.

His talk was as vain as his dress:
(What notions vain creatures can harbour!)
This Cuz, to his shame, I confess,
Is an ignorant Fop and a Barber.

But for him my table I spread,
With hearty good-will, and with plenty,
Supp'd, drank, smok'd a pipe, went to bed,
Thanking Heav'n for all blessings sent me.

I call'd the young Beau in the morn,
To walk round my farm him invited;
He, far from admiring my corn,
With his dear silly self was delighted.

He talk'd of Alfriska's in town,
And other strange things he frequented;
I wish he had never came down,
Or those hang'd who such places invented.

My wife and my daughters are mad,
To see something call'd like Ball Parro;
Son Dick, too, I found would be glad;
No, Dick, said I, mind Plow and Harrow.

I thinks, as old hops I have by me,
And new ones are like to be scarce,
We'll slip up to London-Town slily,
There sell 'em, and see the whole place.

Dick, tell not your mother; 'twill fret her:
DICK.
Waunds, Fea-ther, not I, for one's life.
FATHER.
If't makes us both wiser and better,
I'll send up my daughters and wife.

DICK.
We'll call on our doizen'd-out Cousin,
Who prated and nois'd like a Parrot:
FATHER.
I'll hold twenty-four to a dozen,
We find him stuck up in a garret.

[p. 220]