A "Swell's" Homage to Mrs. Stowe

PERFORMED AT COVENT-GARDEN , 1976.

The Stage should be to life a faithful glass,
Reflecting modes, and manners as they pass;
If these extravagant appear to you,
Blame not the drama, the reflection's true.

Our Author makes of virtue no parade,
And only ridicules the vice of trade;
Exposes folly in its native tint,
And leaves mankind to profit by the hint.
The modern buck, how diff'rent from the beau,
In bag and ruffles, sixty years ago!
The city coxcomb then was seldom seen,
(Confin'd to Bunhill Row, or Bethnall Green)
West of Cheapside you then could rarely meet
The gay Lothario of Threadneedle Street!
His folly scarcely met the public eye,
Or, like a shadow, pass'd unheeded by;
Tradesman, and rake, were then remov'd as far,
As gay St. James's is from Temple Bar!
But now the Cit must breathe a purer air,
The Change he visits, lives in Bedford Square;
Insures a fleet, then Bootle's club attends,
Proud to be notic'd by his titled friends;
And tries to join, by dissipation's aid,
The man of fashion, with the man of trade!
Vain to associate with superior rank,
He quits his ledger, for the Faro Bank;
His dashing curricle down Bond Street drives,
Risking his own, and worse, his horses' lives!
Till urging fortune's glowing wheel too fast,
This empty air-blown bubble breaks at last!

Though trade may give such upstart mushrooms birth,
The Muse pays homage to its real worth.
This Isle to commerce owes its splendid state,
The source of all that makes her truly great!
And, 'midsTher busy sons, enough are found
To raise dejected mis'ry from the ground.
While commerce, with a lib'ral heart, bestows
Her wealth, to mitigate the poor man's woes;
Seeks out the wretch, his gloomy prison cheers,
And wipes, with pitying hand, the widow's tears.
The applauding world will say, such bounty giv'n,
The English merchant is the steward of Heav'n!
Our author now that candour must implore,
Which your indulgence has bestow'd before;
Still on a gen'rous public he depends,
Give your support, he asks no better friends.
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