218 BYGONE SUSSEX.
Which should the sour critics pretend to unravel,
Or at these lame verses should stupidly cavil,—
If this be our lot, tell those critics, I pray,
That I care not one farthing for all they can say,
And now I conclude with my service, good Peter,
To yourself and all friends ;—farewell muse ! farewell metre !
It may be noted Byrom makes no reference to the somewhat easy manners of Tunbridge as described in the " Spectator" (Nos. 492 and 496).* All agree that there was much gambling. Of this aspect of fashionable life at Tunbridge there is a striking illustration in Goldsmith's " Life of Beau Nash."
"At Tunbridge, in the year 1715," he says, " Mr. J. Hedges made a very brilliant appearance ; he had been married about two years to a young lady of great beauty and large fortune ; they had one child, a boy, on whom they bestowed all that affection which they could spare from each other. He knew nothing of gaming, nor seemed to have the least passion for play ; but he was unacquainted with his own heart! He began by degrees to bet at the table for trifling sums, and his soul took fire at the prospect of immediate gain. He was soon
* Byrotris Journals, printed from his own shorthand MSS., and giving a vivid picture of certain portions of the literary and general society of England in the earlier part of last century, have been printed by the Chetham Society, which has also issued an edition of his poems carefully annotated and appreciated by Ur. A. W. Ward.