Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

Silvia and Tom Turd-man

THE people concerned in the lines below, on a subject which you may depend upon to be matter of fact, desire that you will print them. They send their most humble service to you and your brethren,
         by Sir, your humble servant,

                   TOM. THE WATERMAN.

N. B. They desire you will have patience to read them through before you condemn them.


Restless and sick poor SILVIA lay,
         In darken'd room confin'd.
And thought the melancholy hours,
         Lagg'd lazyly behind.


Long were the nights; nurse very dull;
         Her physic had no force;
The couch was queer; the chairs were bad;
         The bed was ten times worse.


To her a second RATCLIFE comes;
         Madam, how is't to-day?
Oh! bad. Oh! very bad indeed:
         This pain won't go away.


He stands at window full of thought,
         Just like a pigg at piss.
Says he, Your cure is in my hands,
         If you can solve me this.


A noted person's passing by,
         Who's known the city round:
The moment that you guess his name,
         Your certain cure is found.


Then sickly SILVIA rais'd her head,
         In hopes of having ease;
And with a look and voice most sweet,
         I'll try, Sir, if you please.


Is't my lord mayor, or squire CATCH;
         Or one of the ale-conners?
Sheriffs, Recorder, Chamberlain,
         Or any of their honours?


         Or WALSINGHAM in chariot?
Or Lady OSBORNE through the streets
         Fast trudging from her garret?


Is't Doctor HYP, or ROCK, or MOORE,
         The Penny-Post, or so?
At which the doctor look'd most wise,
         And gravely answer'd, No.


Then SILVIA with soft piteous tone,
         I'm tir'd upon my word, man;
Nor have I any hopes of ease,
         Except it be TOM Turd-man.


That's he! that's he! the doctor cry'd.
         At which her sides she shook,
With laughter loud so heartily,
         That her imposthume* broke.


The doctor pleas'd, and SILVIA eas'd,
         Both beg that C–LL–Y BAYS,
For this great cure so quickly wrought,
         Will sing TOM TURD-MAN's praise.

(The Grub-street Journal, 22 August 1734)

                                                           [*imposthume = swelling]

(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, "Silvia and Tom Turd-man", 16 December 2003 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/waterman.htm>

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