Eighteenth Century Satire - and the Prestons


Advice to a Painter

Dear Man of Art! Your strongest Canvas spread,
Your largest Pattern, & your coarsest Thread,
Where a full Groupe of ample Form & Size
May swell at large, & in proportion rise.
Nor ask wee Rubens' tint, or Raphael's fire,
The Touches yt a Guido's hand inspire,
The colour yt from Titian's pencil flows
When Beautys Cheek wth rosy pleasure glows;
For as wee only wish the Picture like,
Hogarth wd paint them better than Vandyke;
Or Foot might here indulge his mimick-Vein;
Nor can his Art a single feature strain.

Full in ye midst let Preston's figure spread,
Crownd wth a shapeless something like a Head,
Huge, brainless, bald of an enormous size,
Window'd by two grey little lights, called Eyes
And let his Mouths' dire-yawn disclosing wide
It is upward Chin, and downward Nose divide
Now swell his Paunch before, with beef replete
While two splay-feet support his waddling weight;

Let him look off - for who has strength to bear
The Eye-direct of such a hideous Glare?
Pale be his Hue, as when with conscious dread
He saw ye threatening Cudgel ore his head,
In black & blue descending to chastize
His Whispers, Scandal, insolence and lyes.

At 29 in Virtue's last despair,
With neck untuckered, and wth Bosom bare,
His simpering Sister shd attempt to stand,
But sweetly-tottering catch her Brother's hand
Down to her Navel pour the light
And spread her nauseous - Bosom to ye sight;

And as her bitten Lips with purple Glow,
Let a soft-lisping-Nonsense ore them flow
Such have I seen a Heifer, in her pride,
when all her gambol-tricks of Love She tryd,
She kicks, she flings, and tossing high her tail,
wth amorous Lovings woos her Grinded Male.

But first be sure your colours to parfume
For fear her very-likeness scents ye Room;

But likeness she has none! The giddy Elf
Changes so fast, she is not like her-self:
Easier to paint a Meteor's flying Gleam,
The shapeless Visions of a Woman's dream,
Or ye distorted forms of sense and laws,
When Preston pleads his ruin'd Client's cause.

How will you catch fair Russel's primly Grace
When the Coy Nymph cant look you in the Face?
Let others own ye blast of Shame & fear,
Her modest Cheek your coldest light will bear,
But kindly sink her Footman in the Shade
For ye poor Girl by midnight was betrayed;

Now wriggling rise the rattle-pated Knight
Who sets his mark, & swears yt he can write.

Let Harwood keep his own pert, priggish Air,
Fast by his charming Wife's Medusa's stare.

Let Dapper Chute appear in smugness smart,
And look the important pertness of his heart.

While clumsy Branthwayt strives his fear to hide
And the long-sword hangs trembling by his Side.

Let Gardner seem just-rising from the Bar
As loud as Preston in the wordy-War,
Yet wisely cautious of domestick strife
He 'nere disputes it wth his own meek Wife.

A Group of Deaths around Nurse Offley paint,
Like Angels hov'ring 'ore a Popish Saint;
The Miracle's the same, should either save
A soul from Hell, or a body from ye Grave.
Then let his Deaths look jolly, plump, and red
As if by war, or plague, or famine fed.

But whence yt simple Whig? Ah Luckless Wight!
In Understanding purblind, as in Sight,
poor Custance cannot see his crooked ways;
Or thinks them strait as his fair Spouse's Stays.

In distant prospect of a Northern Glade,
Where barren Mountains cast a gloomy Shade,
Let treason's dear abode, enormous Pile,
Upheave its vastness in the Gothick style;
There let him sit in ample Council-room
While one paler Taper lights th' eternal gloom.
But lo! Where foul Rebellion o'er their heads
A balefull black Election-Poison sheds,
Then like ye bird of Rapine, and of Night,
On Preston's baldness fixt suspend her flight,
While Preston like another Owl appears,
Ill-omened Bird compos'd of mouth & Ears

He feels hiself inspired, and instant spoke
When from it is opening jaws these Horrors broke
"Companions ever-faithful, ever dear
"In present danger, or in distant fear
"Full-often try'd in deeds of deadliest Hue
"And nobly bruised in Honours black and blue
"Oh! could we fix our Monarch on the Throne
"and give ye Crown by right-divine his Own;
"That Right-divine should animate our Cause,
"Unaw'd by Freedom, uncontrolled by Laws.
"Come ye pale Ghosts that haunt Culloden's Plain
"For patriots deeds by Ruthleys Williams slain.
"Ye Scaffolds, Axes, Hallers, Gibbets dive
"With ten-fold Rage my swelling Soul inspire!

Have, as He wildly roll'd his hagard Eyes
He saw, or thought He saw a Spectre rise;
When swol'n with fear, his prayers abrupt he broke
And in a scented sound beneath He spoke.
The assembly staring witnes'd huge dismay;
Pale, as aghast, as in late affray,
They heard ye Thunder, while aound them spread
A baleful Stench - They rose, and frighted fled

Here then, dear Painter, let your Labours end;
Another sitting may the Picture mend.

Notes: The author of this poem was the Reverend Philip Francis (1708? - 1773), the father of Sir Philip Francis, the reputed author of the "Letters of Junius." Mr Francis was Rector of Skeyton in Norfolk from 1744 till about 1750, when he left the county. He issued his translation of Horace at intervals between 1742 and 1750. The poem is in the handwriting of Ash Windham, of Felbrigg. Although the poem states that Frances is aged 29, indicating it must have been written around 1753, the fact that she is still single means it must have been written prior to October 1751.

Of the people mentioned, "Preston" is Isaac Preston, of Beeston St Lawrence. His simpering sister is Frances Preston, the future wife of William Jermy of Bayfield, who died in 1752. It is this Isaac Preston, who after William Jermys death "bought out" the two Jermy relations "nearest related in blood" to William, and fraudulently usurped the Jermy estates for his own and his heirs benefit.

The part of the poem in black was published by R.W. Ketton-Cremer in 1929, but the additional text is to be found in the original copy in the Norfolk Record Office.


Untitled epigram

On Mrs Jermy haggling about ye price of a piece of plate left to Aylsham church by her husband.

Generous, gentle, pious Frances,
Out of Jermy's poor Finances,
Gave this to Aylsham Church & Poor,
But could not spare one Farthing more;
Oh Aylsham make Her bribe you higher,
Or threaten to return the Esquire.

Note: This epigram is unsigned, and the handwriting does not give any clue as to its author. It refers to Frances, sister of Isaac Preston, of Beeston. She was the second wife of William Jermy, of Bayfield, who died in 1752.

00_1-10  00_1-11 

Stratton's Glory, or The Defeat of Old Compromise

Being a New Ballad for the Year 1753

(ENDORSED - "Ballad on the Meeting at Norwich Oct 3 1753, By Mr Gardiner")

Bob Marsham & Preston,
Tho' some make a Jest on,
Yet they two will tell us
Of Buxton and Fellowes:
How Marsham mounts Fred'rick full often, and trotts him
From Shott'sham to Shadwell, & Shadwell to Shott'sham.

Then I think with Delight
Ev'ry morning & night
Of the Glorious Condition
Of Our Opposition:
And Townshend & Wodehouse, O how it will pine 'em
When but three out of four of ye County will join 'em!

L'Strange & D Grey (sic)
Will mount & away,
And Astley & Windham
May get up behind 'em:
For who'd be so mad to engage in a Fight
Where Buxton & Preston so strongly unite?

Ye Freeholders All
Ye great and Ye small
To my Ditty give Ear
Ye have nothing to fear:
For Buxton most freely will grant you Protection,
If he can but Leave to come to th' Election.

And Preston has Law
To keep them in Awe,
And Marsham has Money
And humour to fun You,
So Gen'rous - He gives, if you take his Own Word,
Never less than a shilling - for eating a T-d.

Now if Wisdom and Valour and Money can save You
These three Noble Chiefs have most Right for to have you:
And Townshend & Wodehouse & the old Compromisers
Must give it up Clear to our New Advertisers;
So sing us Old Rose & Burn us ye bellows
And Halloo Boys halloo for Buxton & Fellowes.

Note: Richard Gardiner, alias "Dick Merryfellow," the author of the above poem, is the most celebrated Norfolk satirist and pamphleteer, and spent most of his life (1723 - 1781) in vigorous political work in the county.

The poem commemorates an attempt on the part of some ambitious gentlemen, including Isaac Preston, to supersede the firmly established and strongly supported Members of Parliament for the County of Norfolk, George Townshend and Sir Armine Wodehouse.


Refs: Francis, Rev. P. c1744. Advice to a Painter. Norfolk Record Office. WKC 7/137/5
Ketton-Cremer, R. W. 1929. Norfolk Satire in the Eighteenth Century. Norfolk Archaeology. v23. pp210 - 220