Petition of Aaron Harebrains

Miss Appleton

To the Editor

Mr President, my Lord, or Sir,
So please you to understand, I am in a very great demur;
I am, Sir, besides, my Lord, a very poor man,
And I have received a great injury from one of your clan.

I hope no disrespect in my tone,
But pray, Sir, don’t say, what is everybody’s business belongs to none.
It happened, Sir, no longer ago, than last Tuesday,
That a woman of the name of Muse was declared to have run away;
And to your Advertiser’s confusion, and my sorrow, was it said,
That “five hundred lines” would be offered to bring her back, alive or dead.

Oh! Mr President, Sir, and my Lord,
Pray don’t let anyone take him at his word;
Please to unpublish the letter, and proclaim all around,
That the Muse, and the letter, and Advertiser, have all fallen to the ground.

I am sure you are too just, now you have heard my case,
Not to agree, that any one must be angry in my place;
But pray hear me to the end, and then put it to the vote,
Whether the Advertiser ought not to revoke all that he lately wrote.

You must know, Sir, that a great Lord and Genius by name,
To the Register Office of Mrs. Muse, once in a great hurry came,
And said, that he wanted to hire a housekeeper, for one Countess Fame.

He added, moreover, that the lady would give a high price,
But between you and me, Mr President, I think my lady could not be over nice,
Or she never would have sent to such poor mean places,
Much less have been tricked by the sign which hangs out of “The Three Graces”

Well Sir, my Lord Genius, like a great cavalier
Strutted and swelled, and talked loud enough for me to hear;
For, as you may guess, when I saw a Lord’s coach drive up to the door,
I just put on my cloak, and stepped over the way, to know more.

He said, that the lady he spoke for, was of noblest birth,
And so delightful a personage, that she was known and loved throughout the earth;
That she had princes, and warriors, and artists of all sorts, at command;
And that a word from her was more attended to, than any man’s in the land.

In short, said my Lord Genius, she is a very wonder, and so must her servant be,
Pray consider, Madam, whether you know of a fit person, and if so, send her to me:
Therefore, my Lord and Madam parted, with a bow, and congee.

Now said I, I marvel what this dame will do.
Here’s a matter that will puzzle her, and her five clerks too.
Suppose I were to try and get this great Customer to myself,
A Bargain is no robbery, and there’s no harm in lending to the old Elf.

But at the same time, thinks I, I may as well be civil,
For the best of Folks, good Mr President, you know, are obliged to hold candle to the Devil.
I desired my wife Folly to step over and give the hint,
And by way of present, to offer a new coin from Crambo’s mint;
And if so please you, my Lord, to come forward in my urgency,
I’ll do as much for you, Sir, on a like emergency.

And so now, as I humbly hope, the thing will be,
I’ll tell you the reason of the discord between Mrs Muse and me.
You see, I call her Mistress, tho’ married she never has been,
But Lord, Sir! she’s old and grey, and a weasel is not more lean.
I merely say this: not that I bear much ill will to the woman,
You have heard of Poliphemus: I can only say, she is meat for no-man.

But to come to the point, from which I am apt to stray,
And which I verily believe is a failing that will stand by me to Doomsday,
I must tell you, that I keep, Sir, an Attic Register Office for Servants;
And that my Family and I used to have more than enough to satisfy our wants.
I engaged five good Clerks, in my office always to sit;
And their names were Judgment, Taste, Memory, Imagination, and Wit;
And as I paid them good wages, I did hope they would have stayed,
But alas! Mr President, they all dropped off one by one, to that vile old maid.
On the honour of a Gentleman, and be it spoken to her shame,
She took a shop opposite to me, and even counterfeited the last half of my name.
And indeed, Sir, she said her five Clerks behaved so very ill,
That I soon had only employment enough for one Secretary, whose surname is Will,
And this creature is so refractory, and has besides such uncouth ways,
That I never can place any dependance in half that he does or says.
However, I might bear all this if I had a little good trade,
Pray Sir, never encourage the business of that conceited old Maid.
But my wife came back in a greater hurry than she went,
Only think! my dear, said she, Muse’s answer to my Lord is already sent!
And what will surprise you more than all the rest,
She herself is going after the place, and has just now put on her best!
At this, I made no answer, but in a passion, call’d for my Clerk Will;
But instead of him, in came our footboy Pun, who lives with us still.
La, Master said he, as he shewed his laughing face,
You always look to the black, and I, too, both sides of the case.
Granting, that Madam Opposition goes to muse with a grand lady,
Don’t you know, that she who is always absent, can never in the way be?
And may not the household corps which hath lost head and wig,
Be smugg-led to a by-block for a head neither too thin nor too big?
At this I laughed too. Go, go, said I to my boy Pun,
Thou may’st be a pigmy prophet, but a very giant in fun.

And now, Mr President, to bring this long letter to a close
Understand, that as soon as the morrow came, away Mrs Muse goes;
But whether towards France, or Scotland, she bent her step, I know not,
All that I humbly pray for is, that she may be forgot.
For business now is brisker, than ever it has been before,
And I can show names in my office books to the amount of near fourscore.
I have, please you Mr Editor, servants of all kinds on my lists,
There are Attic-housemaids, footboys, ladies maids, and pugilists.
But if my rival should be restored through your Advertiser’s scheme,
All my trade will vanish, and hope fly away like a dream.
So I and my family, humbly entreat from you, Mr President, some efficacious plan,
Whereby the Advertiser may be prevented from ruining a poor man.
And your Petitioners shall ever pray.


Aaron Hairbrains

His confidential Clerk: Perverse Will
His boy: Puny Quibble
His Wife: Folly

True Copy & Case


Chrisr. Comparison
Colonel & Magistrate of Sense Town
this present day of March 1817

God Save the King!