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A Season at Harrogate   By: (1770-1844)

Book cover

First Page:

A

SEASON

AT

HARROGATE;

IN A

SERIES OF POETICAL EPISTLES,

FROM

Benjamin Blunderhead, Esquire, to his Mother ,

IN DERBYSHIRE:

With useful and copious NOTES, descriptive of the Objects most worthy of Attention in the Vicinity of Harrogate.

Laugh where we must, be candid where we can.

Pope.

Knaresbrough:

PRINTED BY G. WILSON,

AND SOLD BY

R. WILSON, KNARESBROUGH, AND HARROGATE;

Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Paternoster Row, London; Robinson, Heaton, I. & I. Nicholls, and Baines, Leeds; Wolstenholme, and Todd, York; Hunsley and Thomas, Doncaster; Langdale, Rippon; Edwards, Halifax; Miss Gales, Sheffield; and Wright, Liverpool.

1812.

Entered at Stationers' Hall.

ADVERTISEMENT.

That admirable production of Mr. Anstey's the "New Bath Guide," may justly be considered the parent of a numerous progeny of watering place bagatelles, each of which has some resemblance to its father, though not one of them can boast the wit, humour, or poetical talent which so eminently distinguishes those celebrated letters.

The youngest of this race is now presented to the Public with that timidity which arises from conscious imperfection, devoid of the fear which rivalry has endeavoured to excite, and persecution may seek to perpetuate. Neither nurtured by patronage nor dandled by fashion, neither supported by rank nor allied to literary honours, this child of obscurity is cast on the world in a helpless, yet not hopeless state, for the good man's smile has illumed its cradle, and it possesses that confidence derived from purity of intention, and that humility which disarms malice, and draws the sting of criticism.

B. HOFLAND.

High Harrogate ,

December 1, 1811.

LETTER I.

To Mrs. Blunderhead,

Low Harrogate, July 20th .

'Tis now forty years and dear mother you know it, Since my great Uncle[1] Simkin set up for a poet, And I'll venture to say that not one in the nation, From that day to this caus'd so much admiration, But tho' I ne'er hope on his humour to hit, Much less catch his genius or glow with his wit, Or blend with simplicity satire so keen, That it laugh'd away sin, while it laugh'd away spleen, Yet since there are many more folks in our times, Than were found about his , who make verses and rhymes, I don't see a reason why I should not try, To spread my poor fins and to swim with the fry, You know Drewry of Derby would never refuse, My sonnets, and stanzas, a place in the news, Besides a great name's a great matter we know, James Thompson our schoolmaster always said so, And thought it the best of a hundred good reasons, Why he should write verses as fine as 'The Seasons' Now I being last of the Blunderhead race, As a casuist this doctrine most warmly embrace, And hope my dear mother the parson and you, Whilst conning my letters will give me my due, And say to reward all my labour and pains, He is just like his uncle save wanting his brains . But a truce to this subject of grave declamation, My spirit's not suited to sage dissertation, To anatomists leaving the state of my skull, To critics their right of pronouncing me dull, I shall merely go on with my gossiping rhyme, To tell you my method of killing my time, And open as well as I can all the merit, This place of resort is allow'd to inherit. 32

When first I arriv'd here I didn't well know, If at Harrogate High, or at Harrogate Low, I should place myself snugly, but after some chatter, With those who were knowing, I fix'd on the latter So now my good madam behold me sat down, With a number of invalid folks at the Crown, But what way invalid to unfold I'm not able, Unless 'tis with cramming at Thackwray's good table, Who with turbot, and ven'son, and poultry, and beef, To the sick with their hunger gives instant relief, But as to the crop sick I very much question, If here they find help for diseas'd indigestion, The sight of these good things to me was unpleasant, For you know I am ticklish and qualmish at present But the Company laugh and declare I shall soon eat, Three pounds of good food, tho' I now live on spoonmeat, And in order to bring me about very quickly, Some good looking dames neither sighing nor sickly, Advis'd me most kindly the very first night, To consult with a doctor as soon as 'twas light, Then take of the water a plentiful dose, Said they "the well's nigh" so I find by my nose, "But pray gentle ladies declare in a trice, "The doctor of whom I must ask this advice?" 56

This question once put t'would surprise you dear mother, How they answer'd at once each more loud than the other, "There's not one of them all that my fancy so takes" "Cried a lady in black" "as my good Doctor Jaques," Says the next "Mr... Continue reading book >>




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