Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

Epigram on a Bookseller



          In Newgate, a book-seller once said to his friend
Under sentence of Death: I am griev’d at your end;
But I hope you sincerely repent of the deed,
And then to short sorrow long joy will succeed.
          I’m in hopes, Sir, I do, poor Culprit replies,
And by way of return will give you some advice.
Both our cases well weigh, as one day they’ll be found:
I have robb’d for a shilling, you cheated for a pound.
By pirating copies, and selling at low price,
You have made the proprietor’s copies of no price:
O! their price then you robb’d ’em, – You cry, Not against law.
– In this plea, says GUTHRIE,* the Devil finds a flaw.
What you’ve wrongfully taken, if able, restore
To the person you’ve wrong’d; if unknown, to the poor.
Else to heaven in vain you’ll attempt an intrusion:
No rich knave’s admitted without restitution.
Tho’ Tyburn’s oft defrauded, yet Hell won’t be flamm’d;**
Tho’ not hang’d in this world, in the next you’ll be damn’d.


                (The Grub-street Journal, 12 September 1734)

[*Guthrie = Turnkey at Newgate Prison]
[**flammed = cheated by trickery]

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Epigram on a Bookseller", 16 December 2003 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/epigram1.htm>

Return to list of Newspaper Reports