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THE MODERN FINE GENTLEMAN.

Written in the Year 1746.

Quale portentum neque militaris
Daunia in latis alit esculetis,
Nec Jubae tellus generat, leonum
Arida nutrix.
[ed.] Horace, Carmina 1.22. (AH)
1 JUST broke from school, pert, impudent, and raw;
2 Expert in Latin, more expert in taw,
3 His honour posts o'er ITALY and FRANCE,
4 Measures St. PETER'S dome, and learns to dance.
5 Thence having quick thro' various countries flown,
6 Glean'd all their follies, and expos'd his own,
7 He back returns, a thing so strange all o'er,
8 As never ages past produc'd before:
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9 A monster of such complicated worth,
10 As no one single clime could e'er bring forth:
11 Half atheist, papist, gamester, bubble, rook,
12 Half fidler, coachman, dancer, groom, and cook.
13 Next, because bus'ness now is all the vogue,
14 And who'd be quite polite must be a rogue,
15 In parliament he purchases a seat,
16 To make th' accomplish'd Gentleman compleat.
17 There safe in self-sufficient impudence,
18 Without experience, honesty, or sense,
19 Unknowing in her int'rest, trade, or laws,
20 He vainly undertakes his country's cause:
21 Forth from his lips, prepar'd at all to rail,
22 Torrents of nonsense burst; like bottled ale,
23 Tho' shallow, muddy; brisk, tho' mighty dull;
24 Fierce without strength; o'erflowing, tho' not full.
25 Now quite a Frenchman in his garb and air,
26 His neck yok'd down with bag and solitaire,
27 The liberty of BRITAIN he supports,
28 And storms at place-men, ministers, and courts;
29 Now in crop'd greasy hair, and leather breeches,
30 He loudly bellows out his patriot speeches;
31 King, lords, and commons ventures to abuse,
32 Yet dares to shew those ears he ought to lose.
33 From hence to WHITE'S our virtuous CATO flies,
34 There sits with countenance erect, and wise,
35 And talks of games of whist, and pig-tail pies;
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36 Plays all the night, nor doubts each law to break,
37 Himself unknowingly has help'd to make;
38 Trembling and anxious, stakes his utmost groat,
39 Peeps o'er his cards, and looks as if he thought:
40 Next morn disowns the losses of the night,
41 Because the fool would fain be thought a bite.
42 Devoted thus to politicks, and cards,
43 Nor mirth, nor wine, nor women he regards;
44 So far is ev'ry virtue from his heart,
45 That not a gen'rous vice can claim a part;
46 Nay, lest one human passion e'er should move
47 His soul to friendship, tenderness, or love,
48 To FIGG and BROUGHTON he commits his breast,
49 To steel it to the fashionable test.
50 Thus poor in wealth, he labours to no end,
51 Wretched alone, in crowds without a friend;
52 Insensible to all that's good, or kind,
53 Deaf to all merit, to all beauty blind;
54 For love too busy, and for wit too grave,
55 A harden'd, sober, proud, luxurious knave,
56 By little actions striving to be great,
57 And proud to be, and to be thought a cheat.
58 And yet in this so bad is his success,
59 That as his fame improves, his rents grow less;
60 On parchment wings his acres take their flight,
61 And his unpeopled groves admit the light;
62 With his estate his interest too is done,
63 His honest borough seeks a warmer sun.
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64 For him, now cash and liquor flows no more,
65 His independent voters cease to roar:
66 And BRITAIN soon must want the great defence
67 Of all his honesty, and eloquence,
68 But that the gen'rous youth more anxious grown
69 For public liberty, than for his own,
70 Marries some jointur'd antiquated crone:
71 And boldly, when his country is at stake,
72 Braves the deep yawning gulph, like CURTIUS, for its sake.
73 Quickly again distress'd for want of coin,
74 He digs no longer in th' exhausted mine,
75 But seeks preferment, as the last resort,
76 Cringes each morn at levees, bows at court,
77 And, from the hand he hates, implores support:
78 The minister, well pleas'd at small expence
79 To silence so much rude impertinence,
80 With squeeze and whisper yields to his demands,
81 And on the venal list enroll'd he stands;
82 A ribband and a pension buy the slave,
83 This bribes the fool about him, that the knave.
84 And now arriv'd at his meridian glory,
85 He sinks apace, despis'd by Whig and Tory;
86 Of independence now he talks no more,
87 Nor shakes the senate with his patriot roar;
88 But silent votes, and with court trappings hung,
89 Eyes his own glitt'ring star, and holds his tongue.
90 In craft political a bankrupt made,
91 He sticks to gaming, as the surer trade;
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92 Turns downright sharper, lives by sucking blood,
93 And grows, in short, the very thing he wou'd:
94 Hunts out young heirs, who have their fortunes spent,
95 And lends them ready cash at cent per cent,
96 Lays wagers on his own, and others lives,
97 Fights uncles, fathers, grandmothers and wives,
98 Till death at length, indignant to be made
99 The daily subject of his sport and trade,
100 Veils with his sable hand the wretch's eyes,
101 And, groaning for the betts he loses by't, he dies.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): THE MODERN FINE GENTLEMAN. Written in the Year 1746.
    Author: Soame Jenyns
    Themes: politics; manners; fashion
    Genres: heroic couplet; character; satire
    References: DMI 19539

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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. III. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 167-171. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.003)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.