Ladies and Gentlemen, your most devoted!
Since beards have wisdom evermore denoted,
I now ambitious to obtain esteem
Have fall'n upon this useful stratagem.
Behold me, then, a man not light or airy,
You view a most profound apothecary.
But hark! - I Hear a formidable groan;
Some dreadful critic with a surly tone
Exclaims: 'What can the idiot mean by this?
'Tis sure his own poor stuff - come, let us hiss;
For one thing's sure - I have said nought amiss.
Well, thank my stars - 'tis lucky - I'll go on;
I beg you'll hear me out, I'll soon be done.
All I intended, then, to say - d'ye see? -
Was only this: t'inform the house that we
Propose tonight, by comical narration,
To strike your tympanums with such vibration
That ev'ry gloomy count'nance shall be mended,
While ev'ry feature is with mirth distended.
Pardon the formal chillness of my story -
Indeed, I'm quite abash'd t'appear before ye.
How cam I hither? Pox upon these feet!
I wish I saw the door - I'd soon retreat.
O, here it is! I go de tout mon cæur.
Ladies and Gentlemen, votre serviteur!
Probably written by James Boswell ca. 1760 as an address to the "Soaping Club" of which he was a founding member.