Spoken by Mr Liston, riding on a velocipede, last night, at Convent-Garden Theatre:
Fresh from the Arcade, from Bond Street, on the Lobby,
Behold me here, a Dandy, with my Hobby;
Horseman and Horse equipp’d, a taking sight –
Two for a pair, both ultra-exquisite.
(As my friend Backbite sings in the Play)
“Who ever saw so elegant a Poney?
“Other Horses are mere clowns, but this is a Macaroni.”
The gentlest creature – pray, Sir, venture near him;
No Lady and no Dandy need to fear him;
He never kicks; and then his pedigree
Is quite heraldic – branching from a tree; –
Goes without spurring, gallops without whips;
And though not quite a Highflyer, or Eclipse,
Could he descend to low-bred Epsom jokes,
Born in a wood, he sure had won the Oaks.
The living Steed is what your Jockeys prize;
But, then, they are such violent exercise –
They shake the nerves, enough to make one drop –
And do so gall the part that’s not one stop!
The motion is excessive, past enduring –
The grief is past Diachulum in curing.
Old Priam’s town (a ten years’ siege withstood)
Veil’d her proud turrets to a Horse of wood;
Our Hobby had not been so long to seek –
Once seen, he’d take all Paris in a week.
Instead of Russian Mountains, we should meet
A spruce Cheval de Bois in every street.
What frisking! Capering! Prancing! Fetching breath!
A Frenchman always rides his Hobby Horse to death.
Just such a Horse as this, a wooden Nag,
Bore on her moonlight pranks the midnight hag!
Then might you see – O sight to make one stare! –
As folks do now when Madam Sacqui’s there –
Whole troops of Dandy Witches to the air!
Known by their jutting hips and janty stays;
We Dandies still retain those ‘witching ways.
Methinks I see Newmarket’s glories fade –
Egham and Ascot sink into the shade.
No more the mettled Courser’s swift career
Shall fire the soul of Commoner or Peer;
Britannia’s Horsemen, for a bit of wood,
Have barter’d their old boast – their bits of blood.
School for Scandle
The Morning Chronicle, June 16, 1819