"Numps was rough, / No Heart of Oak was half so tough, / And true as Steel"

— Somervile, William (1675-1742)

Place of Publication
Printed for Bernard Lintot
"Numps was rough, / No Heart of Oak was half so tough, / And true as Steel"
Metaphor in Context
A Yeoman bold (suppose of Kent)
Liv'd on his own, and paid no Rent;
Manure'd his old paternal Land,
Had always Money at command,
To purchase Bargains, or to lend,
T'improve his Stock, or help a Friend:
At Cressy, and Poictiers, of old
His Ancestors were Bow-Men bold;
Whose good Yew-Bows, and Sinews strong,
Drew Arrows of a Cloth-Yard long:
For England's Glory, strew'd the Plain,
With Barons, Counts, and Princes slain.
Belov'd by all the Neighbourhood,
For his Delight was doing good:
At ev'ry Mart his Word a Law,
Kept all the shuffling Knaves in awe.
How just is Heaven, and how true,
To give to such Desert its Due!
'Tis in authentick Legends said,
Two Twins at once had bless'd his Bed;
Frank was the eldest, but the other
Was honest Numps, his younger Brother;
That, with a Face effeminate,
And Shape too fine, and delicate,
Took after his fond Mother Kate,
A Franklin's Daughter. Numps was rough,
No Heart of Oak was half so tough,
And true as Steel
; to cuff, or kick,
Or play a Bout at double Stick,
Who but Friend Numps? while Frank's Delight
Was more (they say) to dance, than fight;
At Whitson-ales King of the May,
Among the Maids brisk, frolick, gay,
He tript it on each Holy-Day.
Their Genius diff'rent, Frank wou'd roam
To Town; but Numps, he staid at home.
The Youth was forward, apt to learn,
Cou'd soon an honest Living earn;
Good Company wou'd always keep,
Was known to Falstaff in East-Cheap;
Threw many a merry Main, cou'd bully,
And put the Doctor on his Cully;
Ply'd hard his Work, had learnt the way,
To watch all Night, and sleep all Day.
Flush'd with Success, new rigg'd, and clean,
Polite his Air, genteel his Mien:
Accomplish'd thus in ev'ry Part,
He won a buxom Widow's Heart.
Her Fortune narrow, and too wide,
Alas! lay her Concerns, her Pride:
Great as a Dutchess, she wou'd scorn
Mean Fare, a Gentlewoman born;
Poor, and expensive! on my life
'Twas but the Devil of a Wife.
Yet Frank with what he won by Night,
A while liv'd tolerably tight;
And Spouse, who sometimes sate 'till Morn
At Cribbidge, made a good Return.
While thus they liv'd from hand to mouth,
She laid a Bantling to the Youth;
But whether 'twas his own or no,
My Authors don't pretend to know.
His Charge enhanc'd, 'tis also true
A Lying-in 's expensive too,
In Cradles, Whittles, Spice-Bowls, Sack,
Whate'er the wanton Gossips lack;
While Scandal thick as Hail-shot flies,
Till peaceful Bumpers seal their Eyes.
Frank deem'd it prudent to retire,
And visit the good Man his Sire;
In the Stage-Coach he seats himself,
Loaded with Madam, and her Elf;
In her right Hand the Coral place'd,
Her Lap a China Orange grace'd:
Pap for the Babe was not forgot,
And Lullaby's melodious Note,
That warbled in his Ears all day,
Short'ned the rugged, tedious Way.
Searching in HDIS (Poetry)
At least 5 entries in ECCO and ESTC (1727, 1766, 1779, 1780, 1790).

Text from William Somervile, Occasional Poems, Translations, Fables, Tales, &c. (London: Bernard Lintot, 1727). <Link to ESTC><Link to Google Books>

Found also in Johnson's Works of the English Poets (1779-1780, 1790) and Somervile's Poetical Works (1766, 1780).
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.