Last guinea

Last guinea  (1727) 

Commonly attributed to John Fowler, but reprinted as "by Mr. Bowman, a Scots gentleman' in Curll's issue of William Pattison's 'Cupid's metamorphoses', 1728.





———Heu! deficit alter Aureus, O ſimili frondeſcat Virga Metallo.



Reprinted, and ſold by moſt BookSellers in Town, 1727.
Price (illegible text) Pence.


William Dale Eſq;


A POEM on a New Uncommon Subject, cannot better, recommend itſelf to the Publick, than under the Protection of One, whoſe happy Genius at improving of great and uſeful Schemes, diſtinguiſhes him among Mankind; and makes him as much the Object of their Praiſe, as he is the Promoter of their Fortunes and Intereſt. This is ſo much your Character, that it is as impoſſible for You to eſcape this Dedication, as it is for you to conceal your Virtues. No Body can be a Stranger to them, and leaſt of all Men a Poet.

Had the Writer your happy Talents of multiplying the laſt Guinea, he could not have had the Leiſure of being ſo poetically forrowful at its Departure. And as it comes forth now, only with the Hopes of an Increaſe, may it prove the Seed of more Gold! And being flung into ſo warm a Bed as yours, riſe up and flouriſh to the Author's Satifaction. He, I aſſure you, thinks himſelf happy, that it gives an Occaſion of applauding that Merit in publick, which he has always admired in private; being,


Your very Obedient

Humble Servant.



THIS POEM being written ſome Months ſince, for private Amuſement, had the good Fortune to fall into the Hands of ſome Gentlemen, who approving the Deſign, were pleas'd to give it ſome Correction, and perſuade the Author to make it publick. Having no Liberty of making Uſe of their Names, his Ambition of an open Acknowledgment is ſtifled againſt his Inclination.

All the Author has to fear, is the Cenſure that may be paſſed on this Performance, as too near reſembling the Subject of Mr. Philips's Splendid Shilling; to which as he was an entire Stranger, ſo the Reader will obſerve, no Ornaments are borrow'd from that delicate Original. The Similies perhaps may appear too thick ſown; but that, it is hoped, increaſes the Surprize, and is no ill Argument of the Author's Invention.

It has no Name before it, and had not appeared in Print from the good Opinion of the Writer, but that of better Judges; who being content to have their Names in the dark, the Poet deſires the same Security from Envy and Cenſure.


Last Guinea:



POOR Relict of my once known yellow Store,
Muſt thou be chang'd, and I have Gold no more?
To earn thee, oft I've exercis'd my Brain,
Small the Reward, but grateful was the Pain.
Thou haſt reliev'd the Troubles of the Day,
And ſooth'd my Soul, whilſt I in Slumbers lay.
In Storms at Sea, and Journeys on the Land,
I had a Friend, whilſt I could thee command.
I've prov'd thy Guide, and thou my Honour's Guard;
and that we now ſhould part, is wond'rous hard.

Thy Mold's th' Semblance of that bliſsful Time,
When Want of Wealth was a reproachful Crime.
From Avarice its guilty Grandeur roſe,
And ſtill with Vice its gilded Value grows.
The wicked Magick of its fatal Charms,
Makes War of Peace, and Friendſhips riſe in Arms.
Its dire Infection, like the tainting Itch,
Spreads round th' Ambition of becoming rich.
Great is its Worth, but greater its Abuſe,
Yet Men its Service with theſe Evils chuſe.
To make it ſacred, Princes, in their Coin,
The Signs of Empire and their Image joyn:
For 'tis profane on any worthleſs thing,
To proſtitute the Arms and Figure of a King.

Thou art a Charles — He was a gen'rous Man,
But much he ſuffer'd ere his Reign began.
May that to me a Change of Fate portend!
May Days of want in Years of Plenty end!
The Image bears the Greatneſs of his Minds;
It ſeems to ſmile and labour to be kind.
Wer't thou a George, I'd ſpare Thee for his ſake,
And Thee the Guardian of my Fortune make;
The Charms of George fierce Poverty might tame,
Since Wars and Tyrants own the peaceful Name.

Here on this Side you boaſt the Herald's Part,
But that's no Cordial for a poor Man's Heart.
Here Lyons couch, and there a Lyon roars;
Men rage in Want, but are ſerene in Stores.
The ſterneſt Aſpect ſhew'd the greateſt Mind,
When by theſe ſymbols War was firſt deſign'd,
There Lilies ſhew the fickle Pride of France,
Melting away almoſt as they advance;
No fading thing in Greatneſs can endure,
Who's rich to Day, tomorrow may be poor.
The Harp there bends its melancholy Strings,
Ah! Muſick Sadneſs to the Thoughtful Brings.
A Crown its Honours on the whole conveys,
A Sceptre there its Majeſty diſplays;
The ſword defends it by an awful Force;
A double Croſs forbodes me ſomething worſe.
Vain is the Pomp that loads theſe gaudy Fields,
It doleful Omens, but no Comfort, yields.

You Guineas are good natur'd eaſy Folks,
Your Princpile no Company provokes;
You have no Conſcience, tho' an humane ſhape,
Are ſingly dumb, but rattle in an Heap.
You come with Pleaſure, and Depart with Pain,
As Lovers meet, and take their Leave again:
You riſe and fall as Humours take the Great,
Too true an Emblem of a Courtier's Fate:
You court the Worthleſs, and neglect the Beſt,
As Fools are moſt by flatt'ring Knaves careſt.
They keep you beſt who leaſt can you employ,
As Eunuchs guard the Fair they can't enjoy.
When moſt ſecure, you frequently are ſtole,
As Accidents our purpos'd Joys controul.
Where'er you are our whole Attention lies,
As Sylvia is the Centre of all Eyes.
Of ev'ry Virtue you ſupply the Place,
Wit to the Mind, and Beauty to the Face.
The Pope ſtrange Wonders of his Keys may tell,
But you command his Paradiſe, or Hell.

Thou, in thy Time, haſt many Circles run,
Both Good and ill, in thy Adventures, done.
Your Courſe of Life is like a Pilgrim State,
But adds no Knowledge to thy thoughtleſs Pate:
As Squires, who travel half the Globe around,
Wiſe as before on their Return are found.
Ere thou waſt mine, thou, like a Stateſman's Heart,
Or veering Winds, couldſt play'd a different Part,
The Loyal Subject, or the Rebel act,
Defend the Church, or propagate a Sect.
Oft haft thou pled an injur'd righteous Cauſe,
Oft falſly ſworn, oft made pernicious Laws;
For Parliament unfaithful Members choſe,
And, in Debate, for either Queſtion roſe;
Too oft oppos'd the Meaſures of the Court,
Then, ſhifting Sides, with Zeal haſt voted for't,
Oft in the Field for Liberty haſt fought,
And Poſts and Honours for the Worthleſs bought
O! may thy laſt great Actions, when thou’rt gone,
Make rich Amends and former Crimes attone!
When thou art chang'd, exert for me thy Pow'r,
In deeds, a Guinea ne'er eſſay'd before.
The World you know, each old Acquaintance find,
Search every Treaſure, gather every Friend,
'Till ſhining Bright with Thouſands in thy Train,
Thou com'ſt triumphant to my Purſe again.
If Monarch like, you bring attendant Bands,
Thy Praiſe ſhall eccho from my buſy Hands,
And, when whole Heaps uncelebrated lie,
You ſhall be ſung in Verſe that ne'er cau die.

As when a Conſul, Victor in the War,
Return'd to Rome, in a triumphant Car,
'Midſt valiant Legions marching in Array,
And Captive Nations, to renown the Day,
The City hail'd him with deſerv'd Applauſe,
Nor dy'd his Honours with the loud Huzza's;
For Arches roſe to ſee the Hero paſs,
And ſtill he lives a Conqueror in Braſs.

Alas! this Lecture can't my Pains abate,
They ſtill increaſe as I thy Power relate.
To keep thee ſafe I've faſted now till Noon,
Nor cool'd my Liver in the Heats of June.
Sure, of my Grief thou feel'ſt a friendly Share,
While thus I ſigh, and on thy Colour ſtare.
E'en Rocks relent, as wand'ring Shepherds mourn,
And doleful Echo's their Complaints return.
Hard Steel it ſelf, like Ice, diſſolves away,
When in the Centre of collected Day.

Thy Sympathy I fee, thy Brightneſs fails,
And Dimneſs o'er thy Radiance now prevails.
Tis thy Compaſſion hinders thee to melt,
Since Want, alas! would then too ſoon be felt.
Tho' in fine Artiſts ſeldom you delight,
And hate the Poets with a mortal Spite;
An ancient Plaint! deduc'd from time to time,
By the worſt Right, hereditary Rhime.}
Yet now, as conſcious of my anxious Pain,
Thou Pity tak'ſt, and gladly wou'dſt remain.
As when a Sire is of Nine Sons bereft,
The only One, his Age's Comfort, left,
In Death can feel a Parent's bitter Grief,
Prepar'd to die, would live for his Relief.

When thou art gone what ſhall become of me?
Where'er thou go'ſt, Mankind take Care of thee;
And yet thou may'ſt from Hand to Hand be toſt:
Or in ſome Miſer's ruſty Coffers loſt,
Or purchaſe Port, or be at Ombre play'd,
Or bribe a Strumpet, or debauch a Maid,
Be ſent to Paris and employ'd in Stocks,
Buy Villains Pardon, or Gallants the Pox,
Make Judges e’en with wholeſom Laws diſpenſe,
And deem that Guilt which they know Innocence.
Were it thy hap in the South-Sea to ſwell,
I might forget this ſorrowful Farewel;
For there ſmall Sums to mighty Treaſures grow,
As Rills uniting into Rivers flow;
Or as, when Men ſome diſtant Fame convey,
The Tale improves, and lengthens with the way.

Dear Deep of Wealth, by whoſe attractive Force
The golden Streams direct their winding Courſe,
And gath’ring Water to ſupply the Main,
The Vales and Mountains of their Moiſture drain;
Proud of their Treaſure, muſically glide,
And loſe the whole Collection in the Tide:
Till warm'd by Day, they riſe in ſhining Clouds,
Then viſit Mortals in deſcending Floods,
And paying Hills and Dales the Debts they owe,
Their former Channels narrow Banks o'erflow.

The ſilent Main wakes by a gentle Breeze,
And high-blown Winds torment the lab'ring Seas,
The Stocks ſerene ſo Whiſpers diſcompoſe,
And make them die myſterious as they roſe.
If Rumours fly, imported from afar,
Of faithleſs Tyrants, or a riſing War,
Then ſtrange Convulſions they begin to feel,
Embroil'd by Fame, from high to low they reel.
Then you may Periſh, founder'd in the Storm;
For what canſt thou, in ſuch diſtreſs, perform?
Yet go thou muſt, tho Storms, by pow'rful Force,
Thou'd daſh my Hopes, in thy advent'rous Courſe.
But ere we Part, my beſt Inſtructions take:
O mind them well, and mind them for my Sake
"If envious Blaſts the Golden Sea controul,
"And perſecute the Partner of my Soul,
"Some mighty Neptune, who commands the Deep
"At thy Requeſt, will bid the Tempeft ſleep.
"George is a Great, a powerful, Peaceful Lord,
"Empires are huſh, if he but ſpeak the Word.
"But if that God allow the Waves to roar,
"Retreat to Africk's hoſpitable Shore;
"The Land, where Trojans cou'd a Dido find,
"While Chandos rules, muſt be a Stranger's Friend
"If forc'd from thence, by ſome ſevere Decree,
"May Harborough thy wiſht for Latium be,
"Or ſeek a bleſt Aſylum here at home,
"And let York-Buildings be, where Hammond is thy Dome.
"If ſtill the Pow'rs ſhou'd croſs thy fond Deſign
"Humbly retire e’en to a Copper Mine.
"O! be not proud, for (as the Poets tell)
"The Sybil led Aeneas down to Hell.
"Your Mold firſt came from ſuch a Place as this,
"Again be buried, ere you riſe to Bliſs.

Now Nature calls, and that's a firm Decree,
Then, precious Piece, once more adieu to thee.
Ah! bring a Dram—The ſympathizing Glaſs
Trembles like me, and ſeems to share my Caſe.
Pleaſure farewel, my Guinea I deplore:
VVho would not mourn when he has Gold no more?

O may we meet in more auſpicious Times,
When Gold on Gold ſhall ſtrike harmonious Chimes!

A ſweeter Sound than ſympathizing Rhimes.
We'll ſhare the Joys of a more bliſsful State,
And wonder at the various Turns of Fate,
Fortune with Fortune pleaſantly compare,
Experienc'd grow, and feaſt in purer Air.

Theſe Silver ſhillings with leſs Luſtre ſhine
Pale as my Lips, few Days they will be mine.
Ah! then what ſhall my Pockets freſh recruit,
To pay for Lodgings, and an half worn Suit,
Keep me from Goal, be Drink of ev'ry Sort,
A Slice of Beef, ſometimes———a Pint of Port.
(Miſers may quaff the foul inſipid Beer,
Nectar alone a Poet's Soul can cheer.)
Like Hercules, by an immortal Toil,
Give that rude Monſter Poverty the Foil,
And (if the Fates ſhould diſregard my Pray’rs)
Afford a Pipe, at leaſt, to whiff away my Cares.

But now 'tis time that I begin to ſave,
For Wine to Silver is a liquid Grave.
And when no Gold a Poet's Pocket lines,
'Tis criminal to taſte the Juice of Vines.
All Money chang'd, the leſs by changing grows,
And throʻ our Hands with ſilent waſtings flows,
Like Mercury, when pour'd upon the Floor,
Each Stroke divides and multiplies the Store.
This thing and that we reckon due Expence,
This we muſt have, nor yet with that diſpenſe.
And, when no Rents come flowing in as faſt,
The Purſe is drain'd to Emptineſs at laſt.
As when a Pool is ſluic'd in all its Sides,
Thro' ev'ry Vent the ſlippʻry Water glides,
No living Streams ſupply the ſwift Decay,
The Source is dry'd, and Riv'lets die away.

Methinks I ſee theſe Silver Friends turn few,
And Halfpence them, as they the Gold, purſue.
Already Crowns to Shillings have giv'n place,
And theſe aſſlume the Guineas ſplendid Grace:
Whilſt one remains, I will not quite deſpair,
Hope after Hope ſhall ſtill relieve my Care.
And when they're ſpent, as dubious of my Doom,
I'll e'en think what's of ev'ry Piece become.
To Men in Health ne'er mind how Time decays,
Nor what conſumes the Treaſure of their Days;
'Till ebbing Life is to the loweſt wrought,
When Forms of Horror riſe in ev'ry Thought,
And in dark Shades Eternity appears,
One Hour, one Moment's worth a Length of Years
In Pangs the precious Minutes paſt they view,
And, dreading what's to come, would fain their Days renew.


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.