WISEACRE, Sir Wilful

New invented patent Water Closets with a Screen for the Ladies

$486
n.p. . n.d. [c1780].

A manuscript poem on one side of a single leaf. Five verses of four lines each written in a neat italic hand. It has been folded in three for posting (there is the mark of a seal and, on the verso, the name of the addressee, Chas Blatchley Esq, Bury. A strip has been torn on the left edge no doubt when the letter was opened but there is no loss of text. Otherwise it is in very good condition with nice clear text.

This poem by Sir Wilful Wiseacre is in praise of the recently invented Water Closet. The first patent for a flushing lavatory was given in 1775 to the Scottish watchmaker Alexander Cummings. In jaunty, amusing, mildly risqué verse, Wiseacre makes plain the advantages of this important invention:

"No more her L[ad]y[shi]p shall go
Trembling her Secrets to deposite
Through Heat or Cold through Frost or Snow
When shelter'd by our Water Closet".

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