Spoken by Mr Liston (1819)

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

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