Grumbler’s Petition



GIVE me, ye GODS! a farm as snug

As woollen blanket to a bug;

I’ll dance and sing, and rhyme and sleep,

To lowing cows and bleating sheep;

Carve Cynthia’s name on every tree;

But Cynthia’s false — as false as me!

A plague consume the filthy cot;

Perish the herds — the flocks may rot!


Give me a warehouse crammed with


And fifty ships to plow the floods;

I’ll strut and swagger, job and range,

The fiercest merchant upon ‘Change.

But what is loss and gain to me?

I hate the golden rule of three:

And as for fractions, hang the breed,

They’ll make a fraction of my head!

Then, curse on trade! — I’ll leave the stocks

To lame the legs of waddling ducks.


How wretched is a batchelor’s life!

Give me, ye GODS! a pretty wife;

As Pallas wise, as Venus fair;

Gay as the light, and chaste as air;

Ha!­­­ ––– now I think on’t ––– wives have


And mine are weak, consumptive lungs!


Then grant me an enormous wig,

And reverend coat, ten times too big;

With purple pimpled face I’ll shine,

A worthy orthodox divine:

Six days and nights in riot spent,

I’ll bless the seventh and repent;

Then start again on Monday morn,

Nor rest till Sabbath day return.

— No, — my good grannum used to say,

That there will come — a judgment day!


Well, then with lawyers I’ll resort,

And, like a spectre, haunt the court;

With gown so black and wig so white,

Symbolical of wrong and right, —

(For every lawyer letts his tongue

To any tenant, right or wrong;)

— I’ll split my windpipe o’er a brief,

And bawl for justice and for beef:

Or spruce and gay, with back bone pliant,

Bow, smile and simper to a client;

But then, before he quits my gate O,

I’ll make a man of him, if Plato

Be right in what he hath alledged,

That man’s a two-legged thing unfledg-


Stay! — John Bull’s Memoirs tell me — rot


That law’s the pit without a bottom;

If so— heaven shield me from such evils!

Lawyers themselves must e’en be devils!


Make me, ye GODS! a soldier brave,

A soldier’s coat fits fool or knave;

With tongue of brass and heart of delf ware,

As thousands more beside myself are;

Like Hercules, I’ll mount a breach,

And murder all within my reach.

“Stop!” roars a bullet: “Blast your eyes!”

Cries Hercules — and falls, and dies.


O then, ye GODS! my next condition

Must be the lot of a physician!

Through all the parish, who but me?

Man-midwife, surgeon and M.D.

I’ll shrug my shoulders, shake my head,

And look a purseless patient dead;

But the rich rogue, in anguish lying,

Shall lead a weary life of dying; —

My conscience smites me, scripture faith,

“The end of all these things is death!”

What! — Death to doctors? — Doctors die?

I’ll be no doctor— no, not I!


Give me an house in Grosvenor Square,

With forty thousand pounds a year;

An host of friends to wait my call,

Yet not a friend among them all:

But who would sigh for faithless friends?

A star and garter makes amends;

Titles and gewgaws are adored;

Heavens! what a thing to be a lord!

Then in a chariot to be whirled,

And kick a dust up in the world.

Hold! — carriages are apt to break,

And mine’s a very brittle neck:

‘Tis fun to thunder up and down,

But death to fall and crack one’s crown:

Sweet is the noise of rattling stones;

But curse the crash of broken bones!


Sick of mankind, and all their folly,

I’ll yield my soul to melancholy.

Myself and I, in cordial strife,

Together live, like man and wife:

Like them, alass! we’re two in one;

Flesh of each other’s flesh and bone.

Alass! Like them, we scold and fight;

Like them, we hate with all our might;

Like them, to mend the breach, of course,

We must determine to divorce.

Then, give me, Jove! an hermit’s cell,

Where I, with apathy, may dwell;

And, like another honest ass,

Drink the clear spring and browze on grass;

From morn to night, in my retreat,

I’ll cat and bray, and bray and eat.

No — who would be an ass that can,

In any sense or shape, be man?


What shall I ask for then, ye GODS!

Of this world’s EVENS and its ODDS:

Alike to me is odd or even,

There’s no such thing on EARTH as HEAVEN!

I bow content to your decrees —

Give me, O give me — what you please!