Since in your Chancery of Wit
Pockets have fil’d a Bill, ’tis fit
That I, with due deliberation,
Should make demur and replication.
Let Plaintiff Pocket understand
He is no native of the land:
He came, as Thomas Hearne can show,
From Anjou with King Stephen’s foe;
(But only an exterior pendent
Like me, the much-abus’d defendant)
Stiff with brocade and fringes broad
To grace the belt of Empress Maud:
Not fill’d with needles and thread-papers
Fit only to give Belles the vapours,
But with a dagger shrewed and keen
That might have kill’d before ’twas seen;
Not like the Beauties of to-night
Which would, but only wound at sight.
Shall I to Plaintiff Pocket crouch
Whose truest cognomen is Pouch?
All Saxon Chronicles combine
To prove the Pocket masculine;
And ev’ry modern Bard or Knight
Keeps one for dinner or for fight,
With flasks of powder and of ale
Lest needful ammunition fail:
And, ergo, ev’ry Belle should vote
To leave the Pocket to the coat.
But I my true descent can trace
From workbags, glory of our race!
For when on ancient Ida’s top
Three Goddesses perplex’d a fop,
Venus, secure his heart to charm
Took but a workbag on her arm;
And Cupid, when he went to school,
Call’d it his mother’s Ridicule:
Thus from a legend of high fame
I trace my station and my name.
With skill and prudence ev’ry hour
I aid my first employer’s pow’r:
On Beauty’s graceful arm I play
Or Cupid’s messages convey:
Myself a type of Beauty’s mind
Clos’d fitly, but with softness lin’d;
The golden clasps which hold me show
All busy Cupid can bestow.
Chief of the Chancery of Wit!
My case for judgement I submit;
And with a hearing am content, if
In open court you call the Plaintiff.
Since Pockets, as I make it clear,
Of nature masculine appear,
Let them, as lordly husbands should,
Be purse-bearers for public good,
But let the bag which bears my name
Like wives, the lighter treasures claim:
So I shew cause and beg a rule
To be your servant