Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

A Quill-Boy's Prayer


In publishing the following lines you will oblige an infinite number of Spittle-fields weavers, and among the rest.
     Your most humble, but very little servant,
          Bob Spindle

A Quill-Boyís Prayer
composed by one of their fraternity

That it may please thee to defend us,
From all the miseries that attend us,
And journeymen-weavers that threaten to mend us
          with fighting.

From shoes without soles and never a heel,
From working on Saturday nights at the wheel,
From herrings and sprats for a Sundays meal,
          or whitings.

From the curse of Scotland, itch and lice,
From a broken head, or a pair of black eyes,
From losing our wages at wheel-barrow dice,
          for oranges.

From lying on straw without blanket or rugs,
From a kick on the arse, or a pull by the lugs,
From the doctrine of Sam.* the maker of mugs,
          or porringers.

(*A porterís íprentice turníd preacher in Spittle-fields.)

From chilblainíd feet that are bad as the gout,
From the French refugees, and the Irish rout,
That has done us more harm than the callico clout,
          or chinces.

From a mistress that scolds, and a master that swears,
And offers to kick the poor Quill-Boy down stairs,
From the gardinerís dog when we go to steal pears,
          or quinces.

From the whip of a coachman, a lick behind,
From one that weaves faster than poor boys can wind,
And from working to one that is never incliníd,
          to skittles.

From the hands of a miser that worships a broad-piece
From an old pair of breeches thatís out at the codpiece
And from going to bed without eating a good piece
          of victuals.

From a master as proud as a Knight of the Shire,
From a garret of thirty shillings a year;
From an half peck of coals, and chandlerís beer,
          callíd ratgut.

From a pillory bakerís cheating fraud,
From a cursed bullís pizzle, preserve us good Lord,
From a treddel, ropes-end, or a whip made of cord,
          or catgut.

From the stink of garlick at Phoenix-street,
From a Whig and Tory when ever they meet,
And from cracking of nuts for another to eat
     the curnels.

From Christmas without either boilíd or roast,
From a shirt of a groat a yard at the most,
And from making of rhimes for Half-Penny Post,
          or Journals.

(Weekly Journal, or British Gazetteer, 27 March 1725)

(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, "A Quill-Boy's Prayer", 14 December 2003 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/quillboy.htm>

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