Transcribed from British Library, Cup.410.K7, f.139-150

The Evening Lessons. Being the First and Second Chapters Of the Book of Entertainments.

Woe unto thee, Ranelagh! Woe unto thee, Vaux-hall! Woe unto thee, O Cuper's! And Woe! Woe! Woe! to the Frequenters thereof!.

London, Printed for W. Webb near St. Paul's. 1742.

The First LESSON

1. And the Cry of Poverty was sore in the Land.
2. And it came to pass in those Days, that the Rich People combined together amongst themselves, saying,
3. "Wherefore shou'd the Poor have any Money, seeing they spend it in a Vulgar Way?
4. "Do not they spend it in Meat, and in Drink, and in Raiment, for themselves, their Wives and their Little Ones? Neither regard they the sweet Singers which we have brought over."
5. And the Saying pleased the Rulers of the Land, so that there was not found amongst all the Rulers, whom the Saying did not please.
6. So they oppress'd and harassed the Poor, till they thought they had extorted the utmost Farthing.
7. When the Poor saw this, and that they were oppress'd and harassed, and that they were evil-entreated of their Rulers,
8. They were alarm'd, and moved with Indignation, and they said one to another, "Know not we also the Use of Money?
9. Thus they commun'd among themselves, every Man with his Neighbour, and their Murmurings were great among them.
10. And they said, "Come now and let us seek out Places of Pleasure, and let our Hearts know Joy and Gladness, seeing what we do not spend shall be taken from us.
11. "As it happeneth to the Prodigal, even so happeneth it to the Industrious; there is one Event happeneth to all: Let us Eat and Drink, for to-morrow we shall be Taxed.
12. Now there was present a Man of Skill and great Cunning, and when he had heard the Saying of the Multitude, he departed, and went unto his own Home.
13. Nevertheless he did not forget the Saying of the Multitude, and the Resolution which they had resolved: And as he thought thereon, he contrived a Place of Recreation, and it is called Vaux-hall even to this Day.
14. And the Number of the People that resorted thither, was even as the Number of the Sands that is upon the Sea-shore.
15. When Inigo the Builder saw this, and that the Number of those that resorted unto Vaux-hall, was as the number of the Sands that is upon the Sea-shore;
16. It came to pass, that He also contrived a Place, which he called Ranelagh.
17. And the Building was goodly to the Eye, and fair to look upon, so that a Fairer was not found, not excepting the K—'s Palace.
18. Moreover the K— went and surveyed the Building, and, as he surveyed the Building, he said, "Lo! thus shall it be spoken of me amongst the Nations, The Ruler of Israel excelleth others in a Cake-house.
19. And the Diameter of the Building was 122 Cubits, and the Height 80 and one Cubit, and 336 Cubits was the circumference thereof.
20. And the Ev'ning was warm, and the River smooth, and the Melody of Instruments was heard upon the Waters, and I said, Lo! now will I go to Vaux-hall.
21. So I took a Companion, and the Voyage pleased me. And it came to pass as I sailed by L—h the P—ce of the High-priest,
22. I asked the Man that was with me, saying, Is this P—te alive, or dead? And he answered and said, Our Friend sleepeth.
23. So I came unto Vaux-hall, and produced a Plate of Silver, and the Doors flew open before me, and I enter'd thereat into the Garden.
24. And as I enter'd, my Mind was soften'd unto Pleasure; the irregular Disposition of the Trees delighted me, but the regular Disposition of the Lamps displeas'd me.
25. Moreover at the Sound of the Organ my Soul danced for Joy; and the Man's Finger, that played upon the Organ, was a cunning Finger.
26. And there was great Harmony betwixt the Sound of the Organ, and the Sound of the other Instruments; and it happened, that whatever the Organ on one Side spake, the Fiddles on the other Side cry'd, "So say we." This also pleased me.
27. Albeit there was not heard the Voice of Singing-men, or of Singing-women, and the Music lacked Interpretation.
28. And I said, How wot I now what is piped or harped? Verily this is as it were sounding Brass, or a tinkling Cymbal.
29. Then walked I round the Place: I praised the Colonnades, the Paintings, and the Pavilions.
30. And I said unto mine Eye, Go now and examine every Part.
31. Then I looked up, and lo! a fine Alcove was built for the Reception of one of the Princes of the People.
32. Albeit the Prince chose a Pavilion, for said He, I will be accessible, and upon a Footing with my People.
33. I praised also the Statue of the chief Musician: it had gone thro' the Hands of a Cunning Workman.
34. And there was an Arch before the Statue, and thro' the Arch sawest thou the Statue.
35. Then I beheld a Drawer, and he looked wistfully upon me, and his Countenance said, Sit down.
36. So I sate down; and I said, Go now, fetch me savoury Meats, such as my Soul loveth; and he straitway went to fetch them.
37. And I said unto him, Asked I not for Beef? wherefore then didst thou bring me Parsley?
38. Run now quickly and bring me Wine, that I may drink, and my heart may chear me, for as to what Beef thou broughtest me, I wot not what is become of it.
39. Now the Wine was an Abomination unto me; nevertheless I drank, for I said, "Lest peradventure I shou'd faint by the Way".
40. And I said, Tell me now what is to pay: and He said, Thou shalt know what is to pay.
41. Then pulled I out three Pieces of Silver, and I gave them unto Him, albeit He looked displeased at me, as who shou'd say, Pay me that thou owest me.
42. Have I not been thy Slave and thine Ass these five Minutes? Have I not served thee faithfully? according to the Thing thou gavest me to do, even so did I.
43. Moreover have I any Wages save what thou givest me? Wherefore then dost Thou with-hold from me that which is my due, and givest me not Six-pence? So I gave him Six-pence.
44. But after this He neither bowed, nor made any Obeisance unto me, and I repented of what I had done.
45. And I said, How many Souls wou'd this Money have comforted! Verily it wou'd have done away Sorrow from their Hearts, and made the Eye of the Mourner to weep with Joy.
46. So I departed and came unto the River:
47. And as I drew near, I called "Oars," but there was not found that answer'd, "Here am I."
48. And it rained!

Here endeth the First LESSON.

The Second LESSON

1. Now there was moreover an Ev'ning when the Sky was cloudy, and the East-Wind blew, and Men's Hearts do sink with Trouble, and I waxed exceeding sorrowful.
2. And my Companions said unto me, "Why go we not now unto Ranelagh-Gardens, that we may banish Sorrow from our Hearts?
3. So we went; and it came to pass that the Preparations by the Way-side filled our Minds with mighty Expectations.
4. And we said one to another, What Building can this Man build, that shall answer the Expectations he gives us by the Way?
5. And we drew near unto the Theatre; and as we entered the Theatre it so fell out, that our Expectations were exceeded.
6. Our Hearts leaped for Joy, and I said unto my self, See now, what mighty Pleasures may be purchased for a Shilling!
7. Where is now the Sorrow wherewith I sorrowed, or the Grief whereof I grieved? Surely Pain and Anguish are banish'd from this Circle: Trouble also and Sorrow have no Shilling to introduce them.
8. And the Lamps were not disposed as thou seest them in the Street, a-row; but like unto the Stars that are in the Firmament.
9. And the Organ play'd, and the Singers sung, and the Lamps blaz'd, and the Gilding glitter'd, and the Ladies look'd, and I was fill'd with Joy; and I said, Is there now among the Sons of Men one that is happier than I?
10. Moreover the Words which the Singers sung enticed me to be free and gay.
11. So my Heart was enlarged, and I wished well even to mine Enemies, saving those that were my Nation's Enemies; to such wished I not well.
12. And my Soul was opened, and I talked unto the Stranger that was next me, even as thou wouldest talk unto thine Acquaintance, or thy Brother; and I said in my Heart, Are we not all one Family?
13. And the Physician that was with me said, Verily this is meet for an English Climate.
14. Nevertheless the Gardens are not yet to be compared to the Gardens on the other-side Jordan, neither perhaps will they.
15. And there was a Time when the Man that ruleth at Ranelagh met the man that ruleth at Vaux-hall, and as he drew near unto him, he cry'd with a loud Voice, "What dost thou?
16. And the Man of Ranelagh bespoke him fairly, saying, Wilt thou not I shou'd do what I will with mine own? Yea, verily, and with other People's also, seeing they have put it into my Hands.
17. If thou wilt pray for a warm Evening, shou'd not I pray also for a cool one, that it may be well with me? Wherefore let there be no Difference betwixt Thee and Me, for we are Brethren.
18. When the Man of Vaux-hall heard this, he was smitten at Heart, and he said unto himself, What shall I do now to disgrace this Man of Ranelagh!
19. And he said, Lo! this will I do; I will go hence unto a Seer, and I will cause him to lye down, and it shall be that when he waketh, he shall say, I have dreamed a Dream.
20. In Condemnation of Ranelagh shall he dream, and in Praise of Vaux-hall shall he dream, and I will print his Dreamings in the Champion.
21. So he did even as he had said, and the Dreamer dreamed, and the Champion printed, and the Readers at the Coffee-house interpreted the Dream.
22. Moreover the Man of Ranelagh cast his Eye upon a Field, and he said, I will purchase that Field, for so shall I make an Addition to my Garden.
23. And he said unto the Owner of the Field, Lo! now what shall I give thee for the Field which joineth unto my Garden? And he said, An hundred pieces of Gold.
24. And he said, I will not give thee an Hundred Pieces, albeit Ninety and nine Pieces will I give thee.
25. And it came to pass, that while he was yet speaking, the Man of Vaux-hall enter'd the Threshold, and paid down the Hundred Pieces; and when he had paid down the Hundred Pieces, he said, The Field is mine.—
26. Now as touching a Comparison betwixt these Places, I will not say that I greatly desire it.
27. For they have both their Beauties; albeit sundry and divers are the Beauties of these Places.
28. For there is a Time to eat, and a Time to drink, and a Time for neither; a Time to walk, and a Time to sit still, and a Time for neither: Even so there is a Time for Ranelagh, and a Time for Vaux-hall: Is there not also a Time for neither? G-d forbid!
29. Moreover I did eat and drink at Ranelagh, as I had before eaten and drunk at Vaux-hall; but the Wine and the Drawers were an abomination in both Places.
30. Now when I had walked the Circle of Ranelagh many Times, and had beheld the same Faces many Times, and the same Laces many Times;
31. A sudden Weariness came upon me, and I began to moralize, and I said, Such also is the Circle of Life!—
32. And as I came forth a Coach-man said unto me, Wou'd your Honour have a Coach?
33. And I looked, and behold it was as it were Noon-day, and the Road was lighten'd, and the Weather was grown warm, and the Feet of Travellers was heard upon the Road, and I said, Nay, I will walk hence, for it is salutary, safe, and pleasant.
34. So I came unto my own Home.
35. Moreover it happened that in those Days lived an exceeding poor Widow, and she said unto herself, wherewithal shall I get Money?
36. And she said, When there appeareth a Comet in the Sky, do not the People go forth at Midnight? do they not gape and stare, and are they not greatly alarmed?
37. And do not the old Men go forth, and the Prophets prophesy? Yea, doth not Whi----n the Prophet (1) prophesy exceedingly, albeit it cometh not to pass?
38. Thus are they alarm'd, both small and great! Come now therefore let us make unto ourselves Comets of Gun-powder, and Comets of Salt-petre, and it shall be, that while they gape and stare, I will pick their Pockets.
39. And she did even as she had said: according to every Word that she had spoken, even so did she. She made unto herself Comets of Gun-powder, and Comets of Salt-petre; and while the People gaped and stared, she did pick their Pockets.
40. Moreover she contrived a Sound like unto the Sound of an Organ, and a Sound like unto the Sound of a Fiddle; and it pleased the People, and they wot not that their Children wanted Bread.
41. And thus it was that the Rulers of the Land ran away with one half of the Substance of the Poor; and that Mother C---p-r, &c. challenged the other half. And nothing flourished in those Days, saving the C----t, and the Cake-house.
42. And when her Fire was waxed low, she had Recourse unto Puffs; albeit her Puffs were as the Puffings of an Old Woman that hath an Asthma.
43. And her Devices grew stale, and her Fire-works failed, insomuch that when her Rockets rose, they were even as the Stars which cause no Admiration.
44. And when she departeth hence, shall it not be said of her, That her Days were even as the Days of a Salamander? She made her Nest in the midst of the Flames: even amidst the Fire of Whores and Combustibles! But the Fire is out, and her Name is extinguished; yea, even as a Rocket is she vanished, which blazes for a while, then sinks, and is forgotten!

Thus endeth the Second LESSON.


(1) William Whiston 1667-1752









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