The Bijou

The Bijou;

or Annual of Literature and the Arts

compiled by William Fraser

London: William Pickering,


[Page 176] page image and link
An Address to the Lost Wig of John Bell, Esquire
By a Tyro
BEFORE I yet assume the band, 1
Or dare to tread on lawyer- land, 2
(A rich champaign that's never bleak 3
Nor bare to those who boldly speak; 4
Where neither cold, nor rain, nor drought 5
Can ever turn the crops to nought:) — 6
Before I venture on a brief, — 7
Before I hang a single theif, — 8
Or plunge my goose- quill into ink, — 9
Or purse my mouth and seem to think, 10
While clients stare, and rustics wonder, 11
Like young pigs when they shrink from thunder, — 12
I'll call on thee, renowned wig! 13
(In self- importance justly big) 14
Beneath whose ample curls men sit, 15
Disfigured by thy weight of wit: — 16
(For thou still dost the lawyer fire, 17
As Phoebus' rays bards' brains inspire; 18
Making mere man thrice vast and learn'd, 19
Like water into vapour turned.) — 20

[Page 177] page image and link
— Spirit of wisdom, cramped and curled! 21
Type of the thoughts that fill the world! 22
(Tortured to every quirk and shift 23
That lawyers into fortune lift:) 24
What garland, wrought of barren bays? — 25
What "order," rich with martial rays? — 26
What knightly cross, or riband red? 27
What key,— — what collar ever shed 28
Such honours on man's honoured head? 29
Vittoria's splendours! — what are they 30
To Eldon's powder waxing grey? 31
What black King Charles's black peruke? 32
What Villers' locks, 'though twice a duke'? 33
What Malborough's waggon- load of hair? 34
Or Lely's loves all frizz'd and fair? — 35

And thou — Greatwig! — white — powdered — flowing 36
O'er eyebrows knit and foreheads knowing, 37
Upon what skull, on law intent, 38
Did'st perch, — thou, King of wigs! — content, 39
When wisest BELL, (so keen and kind) 40
Left law but left no peer behind, — 41
Not one so sage, and yet so meek, 42
Of all the tribes that love to speak? 43
Before what jaded judge, (who sits, 44
And sighs, and nods, and yawns by fits,) 45
Dost thou now shake thy Gorgon terrors, 46
Doubling some damned defendant's errors? 47

[Page 178] page image and link
Or, — after P — 's judicial fury, 48
Dost smooth some forty- shilling jury? 49
Casting thy perfumes in their noses 50
The more thy brother wig opposes? 51
Or dost thou on the bench inhabit, 52
Where L — looks smug and — says 'D — it?' 53
From little snarling — — 's crown 54
Fling'st thou thy odours half- way down 55
His pigmy shape? — From Pr — st — n's head, 56
Where deep black- lettered law was bred, 57
And nursed through many a patient night 58
Till Lincolns Inn was filled with light? 59
Dwell'st thou with elder S — nd — rs, (well 60
Mayst thou with him contented dwell, — 61
A lawyer sound as ever saw 62
When sense should sway the doubtful law)? 63
Hang'st thou on L — nd — st's lordly cheek? 64
Dost thou abide with W — lde, or P — ke, 65
Both serjeants firm and fit to battle 66
A cause through four old women's tattle? 67
Or hidest thou S — t's pompous air? 68
Or M — t's visage hard and square? 69
Or A — t's look 'tween scowl and smile? 70
Or — 's face all drenched in guile? 71
Or H — ld's bold brow? or B — s — l's grace, 72
Handsomest of the lawyer race?— 73
Speak! — if thou still canst teach the tongue 74
(That thing on golden hinges hung) 75

[Page 179] page image and link
To speak — I'll secret be — Declare, 76
From all thy thousand mouths of hair 77
If any barrister or bencher 78
Still from thy bounty fills his trencher? 79

If, on some huge block's head and shoulders, 80
Thou hang'st, the laugh of all beholders, 81
Forc'd, when thou canst inspire no more, 82
To hear the trash thou scorn'dst before, 83
Quick! leave the block (the head) — whose hum 84
Comes out as from some empty drum, 85
Which one who should be beaten beats, — 86
Where noisy nonsense, nonsense meets, — 87
Where blunders bump 'midst lawyer's quirks, — 88
And not one ounce of wisdom lurks: 89
Quick, leave the lackwit's skull all free, 90
And send the rogue to — Coventry1 . 91

Or, — are thou still, by human head, 92
O peerless wig! untenanted? 93
Hanging somewhere 'tween sea and sky, 94
Like prophets' coffin lone and high? — 95
If so, and there's a curl of hair, 96
A bunch — a look — a lock to spare, 97
Yield it to me, — to me, who left 98
(Like widow of her son bereft) 99

[Page 90] page image and link
For aye, the sweet muse Poesy, 100
And gave my life to law and thee! 101

And must I see the poet's pages 102
No more? — ne'er dream of bright bright-ages, 103
When inspiration, like a sun, 104
Came down and deathless deed were done? 105
Farewell, then — (in Sir Blackstone's vein, 106
I'll bid the muse farewell again) — 107
Farewell, then, to the dangerous muse, 108
Whom lawyers love yet aye abuse! 109
Farewell unto the poets crowned! 110
Farewell, where laurel leaves abound, — 111
Thessalian Pindus! — Tempe's plains! — 112
Parnassus, where Apollo reigns! 113
And farewell O Castalian river! 114
Upon whose fringed banks for ever 115
Lie clustering still the dark-eyed daughters, 116
Singing to all thy running waters 117
Strange music like the Sybil's spell, — 118
Farewell, — to all and each — Farewell! 119
from The Bijou, 1828, pp. 176-90
TEI-encoded version

1. [Note to "An Address to the Lost Wig of John Bell, Esq.":]Not the town, (which would be of little service to a dunce) but a learned and ingenious conveyancer of that name. [Fraser or Author.] Back