Sales by Auction

Miss Vardill

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Belles, witlings and beaux, all ye butterfly throng,
Ye lovers of fashion, ye votaries of song,
Ye dabblers in Science, your energies rouse,
And haste to the auction at Positive House.

Sworn foe to despondence, caprice and blue devils,
Sole queen in our halls electricity revels.
Spleen, megrim and dullness her splendour dispels,
The heartaches of beaux, and the headaches of belles.

Haste, hither ye girls who are sighing for sparks,
This machine will show more than the ball or the parks,
Nor fear some loath’d rival’s successes to view,
Present by your hand, and they all fly to you.

Ye poets! whose muse will no longer inspire ye.
Approach! the discharge of our batteries shall fire ye!
Nor dread them, brave soldiers! with water they work.
And the balls that are flying are only of cork.

For firing of castles or splitting of rocks,
This jar, O ye playwrights! has plenty of shocks.
Our machines if we work to electrify you,
Then yours may your audience electrify too.

We have brass, if in that it should chance you are poor,
And our well finish’d air-pumps a vacuum procure,
Such vacuum as nature can never attain,
Unless, as ’tis thought, in the caves of the brain.

Ye quidnuncs, the quiet of peace who deplore,
Ye gapers, whose eyes need fresh food every hour,
Come hither, nor mermaid, balloon, lion, or comet or
War, can compare with our new Electrometre.

How delightful, whene’er they approach it to tell,
The depth of the wit, and the sense of the belle,
The youth whose fine genius his modesty smothers,
From the fop who reflects but the lustre of others.

None like to be minus in pocket or wit,
Our strokes make the head plus wherever they hit.
Then come, and to equal exchanges incline as,
Your pockets are plus, and our master’s are minus.

None like a chill negative put on their work,
But we’ll make you as positive here as a Turk.
Whate’er sickly fancy is wishing to buy,
She is certain to meet with an ample supply.

Three parts of an air-pump and half a balloon,
Or a perspective view of the man in the moon,
If engines pneumatic, hydraulic you choose,
Here are hundreds for everything fitted, but use.

Here’s the vat whence the porter so briskly did pour
That the fate of poor Clarence was that of a score,1
The streams and the people ran quicker and quicker,
And hundreds got drunk with the smell of the liquor.

Broken phials and retorts, and mystical drops,
Here are plenty, for conjurors and quack doctor shops,
Here are thrones made of glass. Oh! how well it would be,
If thrones much more brittle from stains were as free!

Glass slippers we boast, which e’en Taylor can’t fellow.
Haste! whoever would view with thy fame Cinderella!
Haste! ye tenants of Bethlem, our quarters are near,
And the lunatics still have their properties here.

Here are fragments of rhyme by the spider encrusted,
A suit of old armour all broken and rusted.
Whatever your taste, here’s amusement enough,
Rely on the faith of your auctioneer — Puff.

Britons justly are proud of their insular station,
But here we at pleasure command insulation.
Our conductors conduct to the Temple of Fame,
Or steal from the heavens, like Prometheus, their flame.

The sapient may boast of their reasoning powers
But their finest inductions are rivall’d by ours,
The points of wit’s arrows oft sting in their play,
Our points win in silence the venom away.

  1. Drowned in the liquor that they loved.