Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
Theristes, or the Lordling
By Thomas Tickell (1686–1740)
The Grandson of a Bricklayer, Great-grandson of a Butcher

THERISTES of amphibious breed,
Motley fruit of mongrel seed:
By the dam from lordlings sprung,
By the sire exhaled from dung:
Think on every vice in both,        5
Look on him, and see their growth.
  View him on the mother’s side,
Filled with falsehood, spleen, and pride,
Positive and overbearing,
Changing still, and still adhering,        10
Spiteful, peevish, rude, untoward,
Fierce in tongue, in heart a coward;
When his friends he most is hard on,
Cringing comes to beg their pardon;
Reputation ever tearing,        15
Ever dearest friendship swearing;
Judgment weak, and passion strong;
Always various, always wrong;
Provocation never waits,
Where he loves, or where he hates;        20
Talks whate’er comes in his head,
Wishes it were all unsaid.
  Let me now the vices trace,
From his father’s scoundrel race,
Who could give the looby such airs?        25
Were they masons? Were they butchers?
Herald lend the Muse an answer,
From his atavus and grandsire!
This was dexterous at his trowel,
That was bred to kill a cow well:        30
Hence the greasy clumsy mien
In his dress and figure seen;
Hence that mean and sordid soul,
Like his body, rank and foul;
Hence that wild suspicious peep,        35
Like a rogue that steals a sheep;
Hence he learned the butcher’s guile,
How to cut a throat and smile;
Like a butcher doomed for life
In his mouth to wear his knife;        40
Hence he draws his daily food,
From his tenant’s vital blood.
  Lastly, let his gifts be tried,
Borrowed from the mason-side.
Some, perhaps, may think him able        45
In the state to build a Babel;
Could we place him in a station
To destroy the old foundation.
True, indeed, I should be gladder
Could he learn to mount a ladder.        50
May he at his latter end
Mount alive, and dead descend.
In him tell me, which prevail,
Female vices most, or male?
What produced them, can you tell?        55
Human race, or imp of Hell?

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