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Alexander Brome (Александр Бром)

Upon a Sign-post, set up at Skoale in Norfolk


DId none of you hear,
Of a wonder last year;
That through all Norfolk did ring;
Of an Inn and an Host,
With a Sign and a post,
That might hold (God bless us) the King.


The building is great,
And very compleat,
But cann't be compar'd to the sign;
But within doors, I think
's scarce a drop of good drink,
For Bacchus drinks all the best wine.


But here's the design,
What's amiss in the Wine,
By wenches shall be supply'd;
There's three on a row
Stands out for a show,
To draw in the Gallants that ride.


The first of the three,
Diana should be,
But she cuckolded poor Actaeon,
And his head she adorns
With such visible horns,
That he's fit for his hounds for to prey on.


'Tis unsafe we do find
To trust Women kind,
Since horning's a part of their trade;
Diana is plac't
As a Goddess that's chast,
Yets Actaeon a Monster she made.


The next wench doth stand,
With the scales in her hand,
And is ready to come at your beck;
A new trick they've found,
To sell Sack by the pound,
But 'twere better they'd sell't by the peck.


The last of the three
They say prudence must be,
With the serpent and horn of plenty;
But plenty and wit
So seldom doth hit,
That they fall not to one in twenty.


But above these things all,
Stands a fellow that's small,
With a Quadrant discerning the wind,
And says hee's a fool
That travels from Skoale,
And leaves his good liquor behind.


Near the top of the sign,
Stand three on a line,
One is Temperance, still powring out;
And Fortitude will
Drink what Temperance fill,
And fears not the stone or the gout.


The next to these three,
You'l an Usurer see,
With a prodigal child in his mouth;
'Tis Time (as some say)
And well so it may,
For they be devourers both.


The last that you stare on,
Is old father Charon,
Who's wafting a wench o'r the ferry;
Where Cerberus do's stand,
To watch where they land,
And together they go to be merry.


Now to see such a change,
Is a thing that is strange,
That one, who as stories do tell us,
His money has lent
At fifty per cent,
A Colledge should build for good fellows.


But under this work,
Does a mystery lurk,
That shews us the founders design;
He has chalk'd out the way
For Gallants to stray,
That their lands may be his in fine?


That's first an Ale-bench,
Next hounds, then a wench,
With these three to roar and to revel;
Brings the prodigals lands,
To the Usurers hands,
And his body and soul to the Devil.


Now if you would know,
After all this adoe,
By what name this sign should be known;
Some call't this, and some that,
And some I know not what;
But 'tis many signs in one.


'Tis a sign that who built it,
Had more money then wit,
And more wealth then he got or can use;
'Tis a sign that all we
Have less wit then he,
That come thither to drink, and may chuse.

Alexander Brome's other poems:
  1. The Cavalier
  2. The Prodigal
  3. The Reformation
  4. The Hard Heart
  5. The Libertine

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