The Furmetary

About this text

Introductory notes

A Very
Innocent and Harmless
In Three CANTO's.

Printed, and Sold by A. Baldwin, near the Oxford-Arms-Inn, in Warwick-Lane, 1699.



THE Author of the following Poem, may be thought to write for Fame, and the Applause of the Town, but he wholly disowns it; for he writes only for the Publick good, the Benefit of his Countrey, and the Manufacture ofEngland. It is well known, that Grave Senatorshave often at the Palace-Yard, refresh'd themselves with Barley-Brothin a Morning, which has had a very solid Influence on their Councels; It is therefore hoped that other Persons may use it, with the like success. No Man can be Ignorant, how of late Years Coffeeand Teain a Morning has prevail'd, Nay, Cold Watershave obtain'd their Commendation, and Wells are Sprung up from Acton, to Islington, and cross the Water to Lambeth. These Liquors have several Eminent Champions of all Professions. [Page]But there have not been wanting Persons in all Ages, that have shewn a true Love for their Country, and the proper Diet of it, as Watergruel, Milk-Porridge, Rice-Milk, and especially Furmetry, both with Plumbs and without; to this end several Worthy Persons have Encouraged the Eating such wholsom Dyet in a Morning, and that the Poor may be provided, they have desired several Matrons to stand at Smithfield-Bars, Leaden-Hall-Market, Stocks-Market, and divers other noted places in the City, especially at Fleet-Ditch; There to dispense Furmetryto Labouring People, and the Poor, at Reasonable Rates, at Three-half-Pence, and Two-Pence a Dish, which is not Dear, the Plumbs being Conside ed.

The Places are generally stiled Furmetrys, becaused that Food has got the general esteem; But that at Fleet-Ditch, I take to be one of the most Remarkable, and therefore I have stiled it The Furmetary: And could easily have had a Certificate of the usefulness of this Furmetary, signed by several Eminent Carmen, Gardiners, Journey-Men-Taylors, and Basket-Women, who have promis'd to Contribute to the maintenance of the same, in Case the Coffee-Housesshould proceed to oppose it.


I have thought this a very proper Subject for an Heroick Poem, and endeavoured to be as smooth in my Verse, and as inoffensive in my Characters, as was possible. It is my Case with Lucretius, that I write upon a Subject not Treated of by the Ancients; But the greater Labour, the greater Glory.

Virgilhad a Homerto Imitate, but I stand upon my own Legs, without any support from abroad, I therefore shall have more Occasion for the Readers favour, who from the kind acceptance of this, may expect the description of other Furmetariesabout this City, from

His Most
Humble Servant,
And per se And.
[Page 1]


1.1. CANTO I.

NO sooner did the Grey-Ey'd Morning Peep,
And yawning Mortals stretch themselves from sleep,
Finders of Gold were now but newly past,
And Basket-Women did to Market hast,
The Watchmen were but just returning home,
To give the Thieves more Liberty to Roam,
[Page 2]
When from a Hill, by growing Beams of Light,
A stately Pile was offered to the Sight;
Three Spacious Doors let Passengers go through,
And distant Stones did terminate their view:
Just here, as Ancient Poets Sing, there stood
The Noble Palace of the Valiant Lad,
His Image now appears in Portland Stone,
Each side supported by a Godlike Son.
But underneath all the Three Heroes Shine,
In Living Colours, drawn upon a Sign,
Which shows the way to Ale, but not to Wine.
Near is a Place enclosed with Iron-Bars,
Where many Mortals Curse their Cruel Stars,
When brought by Usurers into distress,
For having Little, still must Live on less;
Stern Avarice keeps the Relentless Door,
And bids each Wretch Eternally be Poor.
[Page 3]
Hence Hunger rises, dismally he Stalks,
And takes each single Pris'ner in his Walks:
This Duty done, the meager Monster stares,
Holds up his Bones, and thus begins his Prayers,
Thou Goddess Famin that Canst send us blights,
With Parching heat by Day, and Storm by Nights,
Assist me now, so may all Lands be thine,
And shoals of Orphans at thy Altars Pine;
Long may thy Reign continue on each shore,
Whereever Peace and Plenty liv'd before;
I must confess, that to thy gracious hand
I Widows owe that are at my Command;
I Joy to hear their Numerous Childrens Cries,
And bless thy Power to find they've no supplies,
I Thank thee for those Martyrs who would flie,
From Superflous Rites and Tyranny,
And find their fullness of reward me.
[Page 4]
But 'tis with much Humility I own,
That generous favour you have lately shown,
When Men that bravely have their Country serv'd,
Receiv'd the just reward that they deserv'd,
And are prefer'd to me, and shall be starv'd.
I can, but with regret, I can despise
Innumerable of the London Cries:
When Pease, and Maccarel, with their Harsher sound,
The tender Organs of my Ears confound;
But that which makes my projects all miscarry,
Is this Inhuman fatal Furmetary.
Not far from hence, just by the Bridge of Fleet,
With Spoon and Porringer, and Napkin Neat,
A Faithless Syren does entice the Sence,
By Fumes of Viands with she does dispence
To Mortal Stomachs for rewarding Pence.
Whilst each Mans earliest Thoughts would banish me,
Who have no other Oracle but thee.
[Page 5]

1.2. CANTO II.

WHilst such like Prayers keen Hunger would advance,
Fainting and Weakness threw him in a Trance.
Famin took Pity on her careful Slave,
And kindly to him this Assistance gave.
She took the Figure of a Thin Parch'd Maid,
Who many Years had for a Husband staid;
And coming near to Hunger thus she said;
My Darling Son, whilst Peace and Plenty smile,
And Happiness would over-run this Isle,
I Joy to see, by this thy present care,
I've still some Friends remaining since the War,
[Page 6]
In spite of us, A. does on Venison seed,
And Bread and Butter is for B. Decreed;
C, D. combines with E, F's generous Soul
To pass their Minutes with the sparkling Bowl,
H, I's good Nature from his endless store
Is still confering Blessings on the Poor,
For none, except 'tis K. regards them more.
L, M, N, O, P, Q. is vainly great,
And squanders half his substance in a Treat;
Nice Eating by R, S. is understood,
T's Supper, though 'tis little, yet 'tis good;
U's Conversation's equal to his Wine,
You sup with W. when e'er you Dine.
X, Y, and Z hating to be confin'd,
Ramble to the next EatingHouse they find.
Pleasant, good Humour'd, Beautiful and Gay,
Sometimes with Musick, and sometimes with Play,
Prolong their Pleasures till the approaching Day.
[Page 7]
And per se And alone as Poets use,
The starving Dictates of my Rules pursues;
No Swinging Coachman does afore him shine,
Nor has he any Constant place to dine,
But all his Notions of a meal are mine.
Hast, hast, to him, a Blessing give from me,
And bid him Write sharp things on Furmetry;
But I would have thee to Coffedro go,
And let Tobacco too thy business know,
With Famous Teedrums in this case advice,
Rely on Sagoe, who is always wise.
Amidst such Counsel banish all despair,
Trust me, you shall succeed in this affair:
That project which they Furmetarycall,
Before next Breakfast time shall surely fall.
[Page 8]
This said, she quickly vanish'd in a Wind
Had long within her Body been confin'd;
Thus Herculeswhen he his Mistress found,
Soon knew her by her Scent, and by her Sound.
[Page 9]


HUnger rejoyc'd to hear the blest Command,
That Furmetary should no longer stand;
With speed he to Coffeedro's Mansion flies,
And bids the pale-fac'd Mortal quickly rise;
Arise, my Friend, for upon thee do wait,
Dismal Events and Prodigies of Fate!
'Tis break of Day, thy Sooty Broth prepare
And all thy other Liquors for a War,
Rouse up Tobacco, whose delicious sight,
Illuminated round with Beams of Light,
To my Impatient Mind will Cause Delight.
[Page 10]
How will he Conquer Nostrils that presume
To stand the attack of his Impetuous Fume,
Let Handsome Teedrums too be call'd to Arms,
For he has Courage in the midst of Charms;
Sago with Counsel fills his wakeful Brains,
But then his Wisdom Countervails his Pains;
'Tis he shall be your Guide, he shall effect
That Glorious Conquest which we all expect:
The brave Hectorvus, shall Command this force
He'll meet Tubcarrio's Foot, or which is worse,
Oppose the fury of Carmanniels Horse.
For his Reward, this he shall have each day,
Drink Coffee, then strut out, and never pay.
It was not long e'er the Grandees were met,
And round News-Papers, in full Order set,
Then Sago rising said, I hope you hear,
Hungers advice with an Obedient Ear,
[Page 11]
Our great design admits of no delay,
Famine Commands, and we must all Obey;
That Syren which does Furmetary keep,
Long since is risen from the Bands of Sleep,
Her Spoons and Porringers, with Art display'd
Many of Hungers Subjects have betray'd;
To Arms (Hectorvus cry'd:) Coffeedro stout
Issue forth Liquor from thy scalding Spout,
Great One-and-All-i gives the first Alarms,
Then each Man snatches up offensive Arms.
To Ditch of Fleet, Couragiously they Run,
Quicker than thought, the Battle is begun:
Hectorvus first Tubcarrio does attack,
And by surprize soon lays him on his Back;
Thirsto, and Drowtho, then approaching near,
Soon overthrow two Magazines of Beer.
[Page 12]
The Innocent Sirena little thought
That all these Arms against her self were brought,
Nor that in her defence the Drink was spilt
How could she fear that never yet knew Guilt!
Her fragrant Juice, and her delicious Plumbs
She does dispense, (with Gold upon her Thumbs)
Virgins and Youths around her stood; she State,
Inviron'd with a Wooden Chair of State.
In the mean time Tobacco strives to Vex
A numerous Squadron of the Tender Sex,
What with strong smoak, and with his stronger Breath
He Funks Basketia, and her Son to Death.
Coffeedro then with Teedrums, and the Band,
Who carryed scalding Liquors in their Hand,
[Page 13]
Throws Watry Amunition in their Eyes,
On which Syrena's party, frightned Flies:
Carmannio Straight drives up a Bulwork strong
And Horse opposes to Coffeedro's throng.
Coledrivio stands for bright Syrena's Guard,
And all her rallied Forces are prepar'd;
Carmannio then to Teedrums Squadron makes,
And the Lean Mortal by the Buttons Takes
Not Teedrums Arts Carmannio could beseech,
But his rough Valour throws him in the Ditch,
Syrena, tho' surpriz'd, resolv'd to be
The Great Bonduca of her Furmetry;
Before her Throne Couragiously she stands,
Managing Ladlesful, with both her hands.
The Numerous Plumbs, like Hail-shot flew about,
And Plenty soon dispers'd the Meager Rout.
[Page 14]
So have I seen at Fair that's nam'd from Horn
Many a Ladles blow, by Prentice born;
In vain he strives their Passions to asswage
With Threats would frighten; with soft words engage;
Until thro' Milky Gauntlet Soundly beat,
His Prudent Heels secure a quick Retreat.
Iamq; opus exegi, quod nec Jovis Ira nec Ignis,
Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetustas.
This is the full version of the original text


drink, plenty, poor, rice, war, water

Source text

Title: The Furmetary

Author: William King

Publisher: A. Baldwin

Publication date: 1699

Edition: A. Baldwin

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: Wing / K545 Bibliographic name / number: Arber's Term cat. / III 141 Physical description: [6], [8], 14 p. Copy from: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery Reel position: Wing / 460:20

Digital edition

Original author(s): William King

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) whole


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > poetry

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.