Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, OF A PRECISE TAILOR, by JOHN HARRINGTON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

OF A PRECISE TAILOR, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: A tailor, a man of an upright dealing
Last Line: "of such-a-coloured silk in all the flag."
Alternate Author Name(s): Harington, John
Subject(s): Life; Tailors; Dress Makers

A TAILOR, a man of an upright dealing,
True but for lying, honest but for stealing,
Did fall one day extremely sick by chance,
And on the sudden was in wondrous trance.
The Fiends of hell, mustering in fearful manner,
Of sundry-coloured silks displayed a banner,
Which he had stol'n; and wished, as they did tell,
That one day he might find it all in hell.
The man, affrighted at this apparition,
Upon recovery grew a great precisian.
He bought a Bible of the new translation,
And in his life he showed great reformation.
He walked mannerly and talked meekly;
He heard three lectures and two sermons weekly;
He vowed to shun all companies unruly,
And in his speech he used no oath but "truly":
And, zealously to keep the Sabbath's rest,
His meat for that day on the even was dressed.
And, lest the custom that he had to steal
Might cause him sometime to forget his zeal,
He gives his journeyman a special charge
That, if the stuff allowed fell out too large,
And that to filch his fingers were inclined,
He then should put the Banner in his mind.
This done, I scant the rest can tell for laughter.
A Captain of a ship came three days after,
And bought three yards of velvet and three quarters,
To make Venetians down below the garters.
He, that precisely knew what was enough,
Soon slipped away three quarters of the stuff.
His man, espying it, said in derision,
"Remember, Master, how you saw the vision!"
"Peace, knave," quoth he; "I did not see one rag
Of such-a-coloured silk in all the flag."

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