The Sale Of The Tools.

A poem by Thomas Moore

Instrumenta regni.--TACITUS.


Here's a choice set of Tools for you, Ge'mmen and Ladies,
They'll fit you quite handy, whatever your trade is;
(Except it be Cabinet-making;--no doubt,
In that delicate service they're rather worn out;
Tho' their owner, bright youth! if he'd had his own will,
Would have bungled away with them joyously still.)
You see they've been pretty well hackt--and alack!
What tool is there job after job will not hack?
Their edge is but dullish it must be confest,
And their temper, like Ellenborough's, none of the best;
But you'll find them good hardworking Tools, upon trying,
Were't but for their brass they are well worth the buying;
They're famous for making blinds, sliders, and screens,
And are some of them excellent turning machines.

The first Tool I'll put up (they call it a Chancellor),
Heavy concern to both purchaser and seller.
Tho' made of pig iron yet worthy of note 'tis,
'Tis ready to melt at a half minute's notice.[1]
Who bids? Gentle buyer! 'twill turn as thou shapest;
'Twill make a good thumb-screw to torture a Papist;
Or else a cramp-iron to stick in the wall
Of some church that old women are fearful will fall;
Or better, perhaps, (for I'm guessing at random,)
A heavy drag-chain for some Lawyer's old Tandem.
Will nobody bid? It is cheap, I am sure, Sir--
Once, twice,--going, going,--thrice, gone!--it is yours, Sir.
To pay ready money you sha'n't be distrest,
As a bill at long date suits the Chancellor best.

Come, where's the next Tool?--
Oh! 'tis here in a trice--
This implement, Ge'mmen, at first was a Vice;
(A tenacious and close sort of tool that will let
Nothing out of its grasp it once happens to get;)
But it since has received a new coating of Tin,
Bright enough for a Prince to behold himself in.
Come, what shall we say for it? briskly! bid on,
We'll the sooner get rid of it--going--quite gone.
God be with it, such tools, if not quickly knockt down,
Might at last cost their owner--how much? why, a Crown!

The next Tool I'll set up has hardly had handsel or
Trial as yet and is also a Chancellor--
Such dull things as these should be sold by the gross;
Yet, dull as it is, 'twill be found to shave close,
And like other close shavers, some courage to gather,
This blade first began by a flourish on leather.[2]
You shall have it for nothing--then, marvel with me
At the terrible tinkering work there must be,
Where a Tool such as this is (I'll leave you to judge it)
Is placed by ill luck at the top of the Budget!

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