“I’ll make a tour—and then I’ll write it.
You well know what my pen can do,
And I’ll employ my pencil too:--
I’ll ride and write, and sketch and print,
And thus create a real mint;
I’ll prose it here, I’ll verse it there,
And picturesque it everywhere.
I’ll do what all have done before;
I think I shall—and somewhat more.
At Doctor Pompous give a look
He made his fortune by a book:
And if my volume does not beat it,
When I return, I’ll fry and eat it.
Dr. Syntax Setting out on his Tour to the Lakes, Rowlandson, 1812
Mrs. Syntax eagerly enters into his preparations for his tour and in a few weeks he is ready to depart. Ralph is his stableman, and Grizzle is his horse (the gray palfrey, later an important character in the story).
At length the lingering moment came
That gave the dawn of wealth and fame.
Incurious Ralph, exact at four,
Led Grizzle, saddled, to the door;
And soon, with more than common state,
The Doctor stood before the gate;
Behind him was his faithful wife;--
“One more embrace, my dearest life!”
Then his gray palfrey he bestrode,
And gave a nod, and off he rode.
“Good luck! Good luck!” she loudly cried,
“Vale! O Vale!” he replied.
Thus ends Canto One. We will continue with more of the poem in weeks to come.
Dr. Syntax was produced by the famous Rudolph Ackermann (1764-1834), who published a number of periodicals, including his famous Repository of the Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashion and Politics
from 1809 to 1828.
Rudolph Ackermann, 1814, by Francois Mouchet, NAG, London
The pictures were by artist Thomas Rowlandson and the copy was written by a fascinating character, William Combe, who had an intriguing career We will bring you more about them in the next installment.