BETA

MR RICHARD GOSSIP, VULGARLY CALLED DICKY GOSSIP.

Synopsis. Richard, illegitimate son of Margaret Gossip, chambermaid at the Saluta-
tion Tavern, born 1st April, 1735, his putative father was Jasper Quidnune—ran on er-
rands till ten years old—employed in barber’s shop in Seven Dials—in 1759, sets up trade
as barber in the Barbican—marries Prudence Higgins, by whom he had one daughter,
Tabitha, who survived him—finds the access to news in London the cause of his neglect-
ing his business—removes in 1791 to the village of Jadsby, where he officiated not only as
shaver, but also as apothecary, carpenter, and dentist—died in 1801, aged 65.
Documents. TYP.  “ My grandmother,” by Prince Hoare, Esq. London. 8 vo
1806.—Works of the City Poet, 2 vols. 1778.—MS. Journal of Philip Vapour, Esq.—
An original autographic Bill and Note.—Letter from John Oldbuck, Esq.—Register of
birth, marriage, and burial. (penes me Q. Z. X.)

[My friend begins with all Mr Gossip’s speeches, and with the famous song,
whose chorus ends with “ Dicky Gossip is the man,” from “ My Grand-
mother,” which is in the shape of a farce ; although it cannot be doubted, that
the real Dicky Gossip was the basis of the character there introduced. Unless
however, Mr P. Hoare can assure us of the authenticity of the words, (and
possibly some Boswell or Spence noted them down,) I shall be content to
refer your readers to the printed work.  The marrow of them is found in the
synopsis.] G. M.

Odes by Q. Horatius Flaccus, and the City Poet of 1788.

To Dicky Gossip.

While he thinks of tittle-tattle, not to forget
his wiggery.

Do you see that stately caxon, 1
Which looks with all its whiteness,2
Like a bush o’erlaid with snow ;3
And the curls, which range below,4
Stand stiff in frosty brightness.5
Come, melt some sweet pomatum— 6
And, for powder do not stint us ;7
Draw your irons from the stove ;8
And, Dicky, quickly move,9
To make my old wig as portentous,10
Don’t ask of to-morrow’s matters, 11
Since them, nor you, nor I, know ;12
Mind your shop, my boy, nor spurn13
From customers, to earn,14
For scraping their muzzles, their rhino.115
Show yourself a wise wig-maker,16
For sure you’ve enough to handle,17
As long as folks don’t wear18
Their own untrimmed grey hair,19
Without heeding the whispers of scandal.20
Yet ah, those ears so itching ! 21
My muse can not restrain ’ em ;22
Should a laugh come from the street,23
Comb and razor you would quit,24
Nor longer could your fingers retain ’ em.25

I grieve to say, that I cannot find out who the city poet of London was in
1788. In former times, John Taylor, Elkaneh Settle, and Thomas Shadwell,
acquitted themselves finely in that office. Nor can I learn that the place is
filled up at present ; the persons who occasionally come forward being volun-
tary, and not official performers. It is due to the young gentleman mentioned
in No I. to say, that the discovery of the resemblance between the English and
Latin ode is his ; they are now printed, therefore, in juxta-position, for the
benefit of the curious, as indeed it is surprising, that two poets of such differ-
ent ages should have hit on ideas so much alike. Q.Z.X.

Editorial notes

  1. "rhino" is slang for money (OED).