Anonymous, “A Simile for the contending Poets at Dublin”


A Simile for the contending Poets at Dublin”


So, in the streets, when trollops jar,
Contending high in wordy war;
With burning ire their venom fries,
Reproach and clamour rend the skies,
The hubbub fell, is heard aloud,                                       5
And round them rakes a blackguard crowd;
With scornfull hiss, the list’ning rabble,
And laughter loud, foment the squabble,
With fiercer rage, their sound inspire
To keener lust of vengeance fire;                                      10
Fresh peals of spite tumultuous rise,
New Billingsgate in vollies flies,
Foul on each other’s fame, they fall,
‘Till each leaves either, none at all.
And when th’inglorious rout expires,                                 15
Hiss’d, rail’d, and laught at, each retires.


1 trollops A “morally loose woman,” especially suggesting slovenly dress and manners (OED).

2 Jar To make unpleasantly loud and inharmonious noises. To abruptly and violently effect, as in a fight.

6 blackguard A person, generally a man, who behaves in a dishonorable or otherwise despicable way (OED).

8 foment To encourage, incite or instigate.

12 Billingsgate Originally a fish market in London infamous for the vitriolic language of its fishmongers, at some point the term came to denote verbal abuse in general (OED). 

16 rail’d Verbally attacked.

Source: The Gentlemen’s Magazine, Vol. 5 (January 1735), p. 48.

Edited by Joseph Watkins