Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE GOUTY MERCHANT AND THE STRANGER, by HORACE SMITH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE GOUTY MERCHANT AND THE STRANGER, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: In broad street building (on a winter night)
Last Line: Leaving the gouty merchant in the dark.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Merchants

IN Broad Street building (on a winter night),
Snug by his parlor-fire, a gouty wight
Sat all alone, with one hand rubbing
His feet rolled up in fleecy hose:
With t' other he'd beneath his nose
The Public Ledger, in whose columns grubbing,
He noted all the sales of hops,
Ships, shops, and slops;
Gum, galls, and groceries; ginger, gin,
Tar, tallow, turmeric, turpentine, and tin;
When lo! a decent personage in black
Entered and most politely said, --
"Your footman, sir, has gone his nightly track
To the King's Head,
And left your door ajar; which I
Observed in passing by,
And thought it neighborly to give you notice."
"Ten thousand thanks; how very few get,
In time of danger,
Such kind attention from a stranger!
Assuredly, that fellow's throat is
Doomed to a final drop at Newgate:
He knows, too, (the unconscionable elf!)
That there's no soul at home except myself."
"Indeed," replied the stranger (looking grave),
"Then he's a double knave;
He knows-that rogues and thieves by scores
Nightly beset unguarded doors:
And see, how easily might one
Of these domestic foes,
Even beneath your very nose,
Perform his knavish tricks;
Enter your room, as I have done,
Blow out your candles -- thus -- and thus --
Pocket your silver candlesticks,
And -- walk off -- thus" --
So said, so done; he made no more remark
Nor waited for replies,
But marched off with his prize.
Leaving the gouty merchant in the dark.

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