On a certain auctioneer (1787)

Villiers, George
George Cruikshank, Sales by Auction! - or Provident Children Disposing of their Deceased Mother, 1819. Scanned from Baker, Kenneth, George IV: A Life in Caricature. London: Thames & Hudson, 2005, p. 114.


The true art indeed is to knock down the lot
As soon as you think you have made a good Shot!
Pray give great Attention, survey every Seat,
And when they grow thin, make a speedy retreat!

AN Auction indeed is a whimsical thing,
'Tis there that you bid for a Poet or King,
'Tis done in a trice if you once give a nod,
All yields to the Hammer, for that is his God!
Have you ever attended the Auctions in Town!
Tis then with an air they knock all the things down!
'Tis then Mr. Pompos with Cape to his Chin,
The Audience assembl'd! Salutes with a Grin!
If it's Houses he sells, or a pretty Estate,
In both I am sure he's exceedingly great!
Let's first take the House, which is ample and large,
Tho' close to the River, the noise of a Barge
Dont affedt it at all, 'tis an elegant Place
And gives up to none that I ever could trace!
It's spacious, commodious, convenient, and fit,
I think on my Conscience you could not have hit
On so charming an House, fee the beauties around,
Which appear to your view in the adjacent ground!
The Rooms are all lofty, the Floors nicetly laid,
I know they were done by the best in the Trade,
What say ye? 'tis going for four thousand pound,
Don't miss it I beg -- there can never be found
Such a Bargin -- indeed 'tis sold for a Song!
I'll wait 'till the Bidders approach in a throng!
The Furniture too I'm requested to sell,
Such curious things! in an Auction will tell!
Admire I beseech you that beautiful Jarr!
Made at Buxton or Matlock of Derbyshire Sparr!
Five Pounds in two Places is actually bid!
BROKER. I'll add to'ther pound if you'll throw in the lid.
POMPOUS. Indeed Sir I can't, but I'm free to declare,
The next is a service of Staffordshire Ware,
'Twill go very cheap, and if you have a wish,
Give me but a hint, you thall have every Dish.
Little Josi, you know is a wonderful man,
His Bus'ness is great, and it's on a good plan, 
He furnishes Russia, France, Holland and Spain,
The more he get's for it, the less he's in pain;
The next lot I think are some fine diamond Rings,
That would grace both the Fingers of Queens and of Kings,
In value much less, but much larger in size
Than the Bulse! wvhich occasioned so great a surprise.
Having now both the Houfe and the Furniture sold!
I pray ye admire how the Country looks bold,
The prospect is riant, how well the Ground lies!
You see nothing here of the Fosse or surprise!
The Garden is laid so judiciously down,
'Twas done by the Great Capability Brown!
He oftentimes tried to re-plant the high trees,
Which were torn from the roots by boisterous breeze!
He took a delight in a Serpentine Walk!
But nothing I think did his fancy e'er balk!
You'll see in the Garden a shady Retreat
A Meandring stream, with the best Fish replete,
The Foliage, Silvage, all hither unite,
Contending by turns to amuse and delight!
Observe how the House and the Offices stand,
The Soil is so healthy, 'tis Gravel not Sand
I'd almost forgot the Corps d'office to mention,
To flight such a quarter was not my intention! 
The Cellars are dry, but replete with such Liquor,
'Twill make many tipsy as well as the Vicar!
The Butler has ev'ry thing under his eye,
The Locks are the best, (can't be pick'd by the bye)
The Kitchen well furnish'd with all you desire,
The Chimney capacious, good room for a fire
For the Beef of old England! let us then unite
In praising the Beef ! 'tis a very fine sight !
I ardently wish that the fine situation
May answver most fully your chief expectation.
Many thanks for this honor! I'll go to my dinner,
And shall then be a match for my rival Jack Spinner,
He has parts it is true! but he never can shine
Without taking pains as I've done in this line!
I practiced so early to get some address!
Surprising fine parts from my birth I possess!
I ne'er feel asham'd when the Rostrum I mount
The powers of the Hammer turn well to account!
The true art indeed is to knock down the lot
As soon as you think you have made a good Shot!
Pray give great Attention, survey every Seat,
And when they grow thin, make a speedy retreat!
Give notice the Sale is adjourn'd 'till next Day,
And 'twill fnish, unless there thould be a delay!
Thus Pounds, Pence, and Shillings fly into my mouth,
From East, North, and West, not forgetting the South.


George Villiers, On a certain auctioneer. London, 1787. Transcribed by Alain Kerhervé. Full Text in Ecco.