John Arbuthnot poems

John Arbuthnot(29 April 1667 - 27 February 1735 / Kincardineshire, Scotland)

The Occasion of the Law Suit. chapter I

- by John Arbuthnot 19

I need not tell you of the great quarrels that have happened in our
neighbourhood since the death of the late Lord Strutt; how the
parson and a cunning attorney got him to settle his estate upon
his cousin Philip Baboon, to the great disappointment of his cousin
Esquire South. Some stick not to say that the parson and the
attorney forged a will; for which they were well paid by the family
of the Baboons. Let that be as it will, it is matter of fact that
the honour and estate have continued ever since in the person of
Philip Baboon.

Late King of Spain.
* Cardinal Portocarero.

You know that the Lord Strutts have for many years been possessed of
a very great landed estate, well conditioned, wooded, watered, with
coal, salt, tin, copper, iron, etc., all within themselves; that it
has been the misfortune of that family to be the property of their
stewards, tradesmen, and inferior servants, which has brought great
incumbrances upon them; at the same time, their not abating of their
expensive way of living has forced them to mortgage their best
manors. It is credibly reported that the butcher's and baker's bill
of a Lord Strutt that lived two hundred years ago are not yet paid.

When Philip Baboon came first to the possession of the Lord Strutt's
estate, his tradesmen, as is usual upon such occasions, waited upon
him to wish him joy and bespeak his custom. The two chief were John
Bull,* the clothier, and Nic. Frog, * the linendraper. They told
him that the Bulls and Frogs had served the Lord Strutts with
draperyware for many years; that they were honest and fair dealers;
that their bills had never been questioned; that the Lord Strutts
lived generously, and never used to dirty their fingers with pen,
ink, and counters; that his lordship might depend upon their honesty
that they would use him as kindly as they had done his predecessors.
The young lord seemed to take all in good part, and dismissed them
with a deal of seeming content, assuring them he did not intend to
change any of the honourable maxims of his predecessors.

The first letters of congratulation from King William and the
States of Holland upon King Philip's accession to the crown of
* The English.
** The Dutch.

Epitaph on Don Francisco

- by John Arbuthnot 1

An Epitaph.

Here lieth the Body of Colonel

Who, with inflexible Constancy,
And inimitable Uniformity of Life,

Persisted, in Spite of Age and Infirmity,

In the Practice of every human Vice,
Excepting Prodigality and Hypocrisy;

His insatiable Avarice
Exempting him from the first,
And his matchless Impudence
From the latter.

Nor was he more singular
In that undeviating Viciousness of Life,
Than successful in accumulating Wealth;

Without Trust of public Money, Bribe,
Worth, Service, Trade, or Profession,
Acquired, or rather created
A Ministerial Estate.

Among the Singularities of his Life and Fortune
Be it likewise commemorated,
That he was the only Person in his Time
Who could cheat without the Mask of Honesty;
Who could retain his primaeval Meanness

After being possessed of 10,000 Pounds a Year;
And who, having done, every Day of his Life,

Something worthy of a Gibbet,

Was once condemned to one
For what he had not done.

Think not, indignant Reader,
His Life, useless to Mankind.


Favoured, or rather connived at
His execrable Designs,
That he might remain,
To this, and future Ages,
A conspicuous Proof and Example
Of how small Estimation
Exorbitant Wealth is held in the Sight
By his bestowing it on
The most unworthy
Of all the Descendants
of Adam.

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