The Englishman

Coffee House of
the Four Nations
Nassau Street
March 11


I make bold for to address you as a lover of truth and litterature tho not in an exalted spear of life.

You must know Sir that I am well acquainted with the history of the Attic Chest from the Conversation of a Party of Gentlemen that often dine here and having overheard their account of a poem read out at your last meeting the author of which confesses some Lover’s plagaryes but who I can convict of more plagarism than he thinks for, I make bold to send you one of the real Tales of the Four Nations nerated partly in honour of my House by a very pretty young gentleman, who, as my head waiter says, is known among the quality by the name of Mr Hatticus Scribblerus. I shan’t therefore mention his real name at present but you’ll see, Sir, that his intention was to copy some of the striking beauties of that great poet Lord Byron whereas your plagarist has distorted his story and copied other peculiarities of the noble authors style — whether better ones I wont preshume to judge.

As I have taken up my pen I can’t help hinting that I know the real history of the disputed verses about Runa’s Ring which I heard the gentleman talking of you will be supprized to hear they was writ by Mr Scribbleruses father for Mr Saulieu who kept this Coffee House many years ago, when he went a Courting to my Lady Agatha Fitzpatricks maid, a young lady that always wore blue stockings.

I am Sir
your most humble
Servant to command


Tales of the Four Nations

The Englishman

Darkly glimmers the waning lamp,
And distantly echoes the Coach horses tramp;
Few are the watch cries that twang thro the air,
And the Revellers few that home repair:
Yet dauntless Sir Jeremy holds on his way,
Reckless of ills that his steps betray — 
Sir Jeremy, newest and boldest of knights
When the star of Companion to glory invites,
While it shines in his breast and the Ladies delights.


Out upon Mud! it will leave no more
Of our Stockings behind than our Stockings before,
“Out upon Mud!” Washerwomen may say — 
“Thus it was in our Grandmothers Day,
And thus it shall claim from our younger Daughter
Quarterns of Soap rubb’d in buckets of Water.”

But who is that with anxious eye
That still exclaims “Sir Jeremy!”
Not silk or satin’s brightest hue
Could match his eyes ethereal blue;
In vain you’d liquid rouge bespeak
For such a lip and such a cheek;
Terpsichere in vain might beg,
To shine in ballets, such a leg;
And e’en Imperial Russia’s taste
Envy in vain that slender waist.

 * * *

A Coffee house and Tavern stands,
Fashioned by long forgotten hands — 
Two or three dishes and two or three plates
And a boy to attend your Honor that waits,
And Bills of Fare that with dainties swell,
This houses name and office tell.
Twas Nassau once, Four Nations now;
Here Saulieu stood with ready bow,
Here agile Baron smiled and jumped and tripp’d
While from his hand unbroke the bounding Dishes skipp’d
Til to make room for Labouré off he slipp’d
Name follows name, Hish Hosh succeeds,
As following bigots shift their creeds;
Nor know we who shall cater next,
Nor who expound or what the text.


Sir Jeremy at supper here
With friends enjoyed the Tavern cheer,
Till homeward steps his thoughts engage
Moved by that careful blue-eyed Page,
Who still upturns his wistful eye,
“Beware! beware! Sir Jeremy,
Tempt not the various ills that roam
Around each histrionic dome,
And let us shun the dangerous trials
That lurk about the Seven Dials — ”
“No! thou may’st faint or fear my Page,”
Cried Jeremy in martial rage — 
“My star is bright, my arm is strong,
I heed not Blackguards, come along!”


Beneath the high Piazza’s wall
The Pickpockets held their Carnival — 
Sharing the spoils between Harry and Jim
They were too busy to steal from him.
From a Masons poke they had drawn a Book,
As ye pull up a fish with a line and hook;
Their greasy thumbs crumpled the greasyer Notes
As they slipt in the pockets that lurked in their Coats
At Brookes and Boodles and Whites he had seen
All the deeds of the card-strewn and dice-sprinkled green
And with heart unmoved he had witnessed the strife
Which to some was the ruin of Children and Wife
And some robbed of reason and some robbed of Life
But to look at the Cash that the pickpockets stole
Harrowed up with a horror unwonted his Soul,
That all should regard the rich as their prey,
And all should rejoice in his loss and decay!


Still onward sped the unequal pair,
O’er mud-clad stones thro’ fog-damp air,
Till they came to cellary Monmouth Street
“Oh my Page, this asks for firmer feet
Than these” — “Nay to fall in no Cellar I fear,
But I dread the old sybil that lingers here.”

“Out on thee Boy, Fortune-tellers to dread!”
As he turned him round the slim Boy was fled,
And he sought him thro Courts and thro Alleys alone,
Till he heard from the old Gypsy’s cellar a moan,
And he flew down the stairs to consult the wise crone.
She sat by the light of a withering flame,
And her voice from lips unmoving came,
All black was her Gown and her Cloak all red,
And even Sir Jeremy shook with dread
When he asked the fate of his blue-eyed Boy,
And she sung in a voice between sorrow and joy — 


“The Smuggler stood by ocean’s wave,
And many an anxious look he gave
As the breezes whistled in note of fear,
That seemed to say to his startled ear
‘If thy Wife is false, or thy Brandy staved,
The Exciseman vainly hast thou braved!
Here must thou sit on the slippery stone — 
Thou must watch thro’ the stormy night alone — 
Till the Seagull returns to her lonely nest,
And the chirp of her young shall the Mother attest;
Till the sea-weed that rides on the storm-troubled wave
Is left dry by the flood that thy watch-post shall lave.’
Then he sat all night on the sea-washed stone,
And nothing he heard but the wild-wind’s moan,
And the dawn brought no sea-weed to dash at his feet,
And no white-flapping wings did his longing eyes greet.
But soon in the stern of a fishers boat
He saw a well-known mantle float,
And softly whispered the dying gale — 
“She comes with many a well-packed Bale!
Doubt not her truth or Smuggling handy — 
She brings thee many a Cask of Brandy!”


“Thou knowst me Sybil! but in vain
Thy malice trolls a taunting strain — 
For Tide-waiters too deep by half,
I brought my Wine and Laces safe!
When late in Paris conquered walls
I sought the Palais-Royal’s halls,
To find some gift for Isabel;
A damsel brought a Walnut’s shell — 
With rosy fingers, like young Love’s,
She rolled a pair of snow white gloves,
The pearl-like ball in net she twined — 
Thus Bella holds my captive mind — 
Then closed the shell with nicest art — 
But ah! where fled the walnut’s heart?”


“A heart, Sir Knight, tis mine to give — 
And Jeremy shall happy live.”
No more the Sybil Gypsy spoke,
But, fallen her Mask and sordid Cloak,
Show that blue-eye and bosom’s swell
At once the Page and Isabel!