The Incurious Bencher

by William Somervile

William Somervile

At Jenny Mann's, where heroes meet,
And lay their laurels at her feet,
The modern Pallas, at whose shrine
They bow, and by whose aid they dine,
Col'nel Brocade, among the rest,
Was every day a welcome guest.
One night, as carelessly he stood,
Cheering his reins before the fire,
(So every true-Briton should)
Like that he chaf'd and fum'd with ire.
" Jenny," said he, " 'tis very hard
That no man's honour can be spar'd;
If I but sup with Lady Duchess,
Or play a game at ombre, such is
The malice of the world, 'tis said,
Although his Grace lay drunk in bed,
Twas I that caus'd his aching head.
If Madam Doodle would be witty,
And I am summon'd to the City,
To play at blind-man's buff, or so,
What won't such hellish malice do?
If I but catch her in a corner,
Humph — 'tis, Your servant, Col'nel Horner:
But rot the sneering fops! if e'er
I prove it, it shall cost them dear;
I swear by this deed-doing blade
Dreadful examples shall be made:
What — can't they drink bohea and cream,
But (d — n them) I must be their theme?
Other men's business let alone,
Why should not coxcombs mind their own?
As thus he rav'd with all his might,
(How insecure from Fortune's spite,
Alas! is every mortal wight!)
To shew his ancient spleen to Mars,
Fierce Vulcan caught him by the a — ,
Stuck to his skirts, insatiate varlet!
And fed with pleasure on the scarlet.
Hard by, and in the corner, sate
A Bencher grave, with look sedate,
Smoking his pipe, warm as Atoast,
And reading over last week's Post,
He saw the foe the fort invade,
And soon smell'd out the breach he made;
But not a word — a little sly
He look'd, 'tis true, and from each eye
A sidelong glance sometimes he sent,
To bring him news, and watch the' event.
At length, upon that tender part
Where honour lodges, (as of old
Authentic Hudibras has told)
The blustering Col'nel felt a smart,
Sore griev'd for his affronted bum,
Frisk'd, skipp'd, and bounc'd about the room;
Then turning short, " Zounds, sir!" he cries —
" Pox on him, had the fool no eyes?
What! let a man be burnt alive!"
" I am not, sir, inquisitive,"
Replied Sir Gravity, " to know
Whate'er your Honour's pleas'd to do;
If you will burn your tail to tinder,
Pray what have I to do to hinder?
Other men's business let alone,
Why should not coxcombs mind their own?"
Then knocking out his pipe with care,
Laid down his penny at the bar,
And, wrapping round his frieze surtout,
Took up his crabtree and walk'd out.

Last updated October 28, 2017