Among other stray flashmen disposed of, this week,
Was a youngster named Stanley, genteelly connected,
Who has lately been passing off coins as antique,
Which have proved to be sham ones, tho’ long unsuspected.
The ancients, our readers need hardly be told,
Had a coin they called “Talents,” for wholesale demands;
And ’twas some of said coinage this youth was so bold
As to fancy he’d got, God knows how, in his hands.
People took him, however, like fools, at his word;
And these talents (all prized at his own valuation,)
Were bid for, with eagerness even more absurd
Than has often distinguisht this great thinking nation.
Talk of wonders one now and then sees advertised,
“Black swans”–“Queen Anne farthings”–or even “a child’s caul”–
Much and justly as all these rare objects are prized,
“Stanley’s talents” outdid them–swans, farthings and all!
At length some mistrust of this coin got abroad;
Even quondam believers began much to doubt of it;
Some rung it, some rubbed it, suspecting a fraud–
And the hard rubs it got rather took the shine out of it.
Others, wishing to break the poor prodigy’s fall,
Said ’twas known well to all who had studied the matter,
That the Greeks had not only great talents but small,
And those found on the youngster were clearly the latter.
While others who viewed the grave farce with a grin–
Seeing counterfeits pass thus for coinage so massy,
By way of a hint to the dolts taken in,
Appropriately quoted Budaeus “de Asse.”
In short, the whole sham by degrees was found out,
And this coin which they chose by such fine names to call,
Proved a mere lackered article–showy, no doubt,
But, ye gods! not the true Attic Talent at all.
As the impostor was still young enough to repent,
And, besides, had some claims to a grandee connection,
Their Worships–considerate for once–only sent
The young Thimblerig off to the House of Correction.