BETA

Father Sycophant.

Old Father Sycophant, stand out to light,1
And self-condemned in injured virtue’s sight ;2
Hast thou not whispered in a certain ear,3
What cost the houseless widow many a tear ? -4
Laughed at thy patron’s jests, though trite and stale,5
And “ excellent” exclaimed at every tale ?6
His trees, his lawns, his breed of cattle lauded ? 7
And up to heaven his “ politics” applauded ?8
Oh ! I have marked thee bend, and scrape, and stand,9
Thy hat low dangling from thy better hand,10
Yes-ing and No-ing to the great man’s will,11
And with his changed opinion veering still.12
Have I not seen thee in a “ Priest’s” attire,13
Mixing with holy flame unholy fire ?14
His Lordship was at church, you marked, to-day ;15
And how, my dearest, did I preach and pray ?16
Her Grace was most attentive, I could see17
She scarcely turned her lovely eyes from me ;18
And Lady Ann an angel tear-drop shed,19
I’ll get a Gown when Lady Ann is wed ;20
But I must dress for dinner at the hall21
I’m not at home,’ should any neighbour call ;22
The poor are always sickening—can’t they die ?23
Reserve for supper-time the pigeon-pie.”24
As crows the cock, so chirps the chicken brood : —25
Were ever gentle folks so very good ?26
And, dear Papa, my Lady called to-day,27
And ask’d my sister Suky to a play ;28
Such real attentive folks I never saw29
They are so very kind, my dear Papa.30
And, dear Papa, how very much we need31
Society, Papa—we do indeed,32
Except the ‘ Russels,’ nobody have we33
Worth pinning down a ribbon end to see,34
A set of low-bred country farmer folks35
Big-bosom’d Jennies, bullet-headed Jocks36
With now and then the Laird o’ Spittal Miln, 37
Whose face is ever reeking like a kiln.38
It was but t’other day that ‘ Clodpole’ dined39
With us, Papa,—he bullock’d, bull’d, and swin’d,40
And so belaboured us with ‘ fork and knife,’*41
I thought I should have died, upon my life.42
And then they’re so familiar—just conceive43
How any mortal can at all behave,44
When ‘ Calfhead,’ from his whisky, nods at me,45
And passes with a grinning ‘ Miss, how d’ye ? ’46
And Jock Guidfallow’s daughter curtseys low,47
And how we all are ‘ living,’ begs to know ! ”48
Thus aped Sir Frog, the bullock in the stank,49
And from his brother Frog indignant shrank,50
Till, ready to explode, by sheer inflation,51
He learn’d, too late, to know his proper station !52

* “ Fork and knife,” “ butter and bread,” “ cheese and bread,” “ milk and bread,”
et pleraque similia are Scotticisms ; and consequently, amongst what we term “ well educa-
ted people,” they are sibboleths, or tests of vulgarity. The rationale upon which this pecu-
liarity of idiom proceeds, is evidently to be traced up to the habits of that class of people
who, having made use of knives and bread, and other common necessaries and conveniences
that object first in the order of colloquial arrangement, which was in fact the most rare,
and therefore appeared to them the most valuable. verbum sat. This observation might be
greatly, and even grammatically, extended.