"Come listen, ye students of every degree"

Tobias Smollett

Come listen, ye students of every degree;
I sing of a wit and a tutor perdie,
A statesman profound, a critic immense,
In short, a mere jumble of learning and sense;
And yet of his talents though laudably vain,
His own family arts he could never attain.
His father, intending his fortune to build,
In his youth would have taught him the trowel to wield.
But the mortar of discipline never would stick,
For his skull was secured by a facing of brick;
And with all his endeavours of patience and pain,
The skill of his sire he could never attain.
His mother, a housewife, neat, artful, and wise,
Renown'd for her delicate biscuit and pies,
Soon alter'd his studies, by flattering his taste,
From the raising of wall to the rearing of paste;
But all her instructions were fruitless and vain,
The pye-making mystery he could ne'er attain.
Yet, true to his race, in his labours were seen
A jumble of both their professions, I ween;
For when his own genius he ventured to trust,
His pies seem'd of brick, and his houses of crust;
Then, good Mr Tutor, pray be not so vain,
Since your family arts you could never attain.

Last updated January 14, 2019