“The Way to Get Married”
Small matters on the stage I’ll bring,
A butcher’s boy is all I sing.
He’ll grace my page as much as any
He earn’d a groat, and sav’d a penny;
Then, rising by degrees, alone, 5
He purchas’d, slaughter’d, sold, his own:
This proves, that man, with little skill,
May rise to fortune, if he will,
“Get much–spend less,” increase his store;
Dame Fortune ne’er can keep him poor. 10
Now stilliards, cleever, knife, must drop,
He swell’d beyond a butcher’s shop;
His talent had a fortune made,
“He’d try it in the silver trade.”
What man would not rejoice, to feel, 15
To silver turn his greasy steel!
The same stroke which a penny got
Some thousands in his new trade brought.
Joseph was fam’d for doing good;
This art he practis’d all he cou’d, 20
And made each piece of English coin
Tenants at will, his pocket line;
Each one, in watchful silence lies,
For charity of every size;
What object of necessity 25
Could ‘scape a man so arm’d as he?
If neighbours quarrell’d, small or great,
Friend Joe stepp’d in to set all strait;
And gain’d, by tramping up and down,
Sometimes a thank, sometimes a frown. 30
He ne’er assum’d the hypocrite,
His actions well would bear the light;
With manners plain, not made to charm,
Such as oft grow upon a farm;
Should Envy’s self his conduct scan, 35
An honest bluntness marks the man.
Whenever he walk’d out abroad
His active gait industry show’d,
As if to Indolence he’d say,
“With safety you may march this way; 40
The road is fine–may fortune speed you,
‘Twill never to repentance lead you”
Should right or wrong ways intervene,
Love prompts the heart, behind the scene:
Joseph, this subtle power can’t flee, 45
Was captivated by Miss C.
A smile, a bow without much grace,
A little flushing in the face,
A tongue, attempting–this–and that–
The only time unfit to chat, 50
Five broken hems!–not uttered free,
Were introductions to Miss C.
Yet, spite of what the tongue can’t say,
Merit will often find its way:
His suit succeeded, all were eas’d, 55
The mother, daughter, lover, pleas’d–
Till Mr. Kimberley stepp’d in,
A last-man, who shoe’d all the kin–
“Your servant, ladies–I heard say
Young Miss would throw herself away; 60
Upon a Presbyterian too!
A dreadful prospect is in view!
From that vile race the Lord defend you!
He’ll sure a better husband send you.”
“He seem’d, by what we e’er could find,” 65
Says madam “sober, honest, kind.”
“Two sides a Presbyterian shows,
Both false, as any wind that blows.
Besides, your family has been
Staunch churchmen, for long ages seen.” 70
When Joseph’s evening-visit came,
Then look’d askance the senior dame;
The daughter too, replete with ire,
Took that chair farthest from the fire;
And both, though Joseph waited long, 75
Had lost the use of lips and tongue.
A working bottle, cork’d up fast,
Must gain some vent, or burst at last;
It then appear’d–O dreadful case!
That Joe a Presbyterian was. 80
“Pity religion,” Joseph cry’d,
“Meant to unite, should e’er divide.”
Our lover understood his trade,
To Kimberley a visit made;
“I find you work for Mrs. C. 85
I’ll thank you to make shoes for me.”
“O yes sir, none shall me excel,
Depend upon’t, I serve you well.”
The tide, and shoe-maker, now chang’d,
And backwards, through the channel rang’d; 90
He told the ladies, “he was glad
To find the swain the best of bad.”
Thus Kimberley began abusing,
Beause a customer was losing,
But chang’d his tone, when brought to view, 95
That marriage was securing two.
Could Joseph better luck betide?
A pair of shoes procur’d a bride!
4 groat “Taken as the type of a very small sum” (OED).
11 stilliards Possible variation to “steelyard” a lever with unequal arms that moves on a fulcrum (OED).
22 Tenants at will Those who hold or rent property at the will or pleasure of the land owner.
46 Miss C– Possibly a reference to Miss Sarah Cock, before she married William Hutton.
51 hems A suggestive sound similar to a “hum” and “ha” (OED).
57 Mr. Kimberley Possibly a reference to Mr. Grace, an acquaintance of Hutton who opposed his relationship with Miss Cock until he unexpectedly received money that was owed to him; their affections angered Mr. Grace who “tried at separation” (The Life of William Hutton, 167). Only when he received money did he “become good-humoured and promoted the match all in his power” to which Hutton responds with the following: “Such are the wonderful effects of money” (167).
58 shoe’d “Furnished or protected with a shoe or shoes” (OED).
61 Presbyterian In the eighteenth century, a protestant dissenter or non-conformist. Presbyterianism in England traces its roots back to the sixteenth century and Presbyterians became powerful during the Commonwealth in their attempt to reform existing church hierarchy. After the Restoration, the Act of Uniformity (1662) severely curtailed Presbyterianism in England, and lead to over a century of persecution.
70 staunch churchmen That is, long-time Church of England supporters; Anglicans.
72 askance “To turn away from or oblige a person to avert their gaze” (OED).
72 senior dame “The eldest and most superior female” (OED).
92 swain “A young man attending on a knight; hence, a man of low degree” (OED).
97 betide “To happen, befall” (OED).
Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1799), p. 606.
Edited by Adrianna Villasenor