Signior Dildo

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

Edited by Jack Lynch

The poem apparently dates from late 1673, shortly after Mary of Modena arrived in London. It first appeared in print in 1703 in Poems on Affairs of State.

You Ladyes all of Merry England
Who have been to kisse the Dutchesse's hand,
Pray did you lately observe in the Show
A Noble Italian call'd Signior Dildo?
The Signior was one of her Highness's Train [5]
And helpt to Conduct her over the Main,
But now she Crys out to the Duke I will go,
I have no more need for Seignior Dildo.
At the Signe of the Crosse in Saint James's Street,
When next you go thither to make your Selfes Sweet, [10]
By Buying of Powder, Gloves, Essence, or Soe
You may Chance get a Sight of Signior Dildo.
You'l take him at first for no Person of Note
Because he appears in a plain Leather Coat:
But when you his virtuous Abilities know [15]
You'll fall down and Worship Signior Dildo.
My Lady Southesk, Heav'ns prosper her for't,
First Cloath'd him in Satten, then brought him to Court;
But his Head in the Circle, he Scarcely durst Show,
So modest a Youth was Signior Dildo. [20]
The good Lady Suffolk thinking no harm,
Had got this poor Stranger hid under her Arm:
Lady Betty by Chance came the Secret to know,
And from her own Mother, Stole Signior Dildo:
The Countesse of Falmouth, of whom People tell [25]
Her Footmen wear Shirts of a Guinea an Ell:
Might Save the Expence, if she did but know
How Lusty a Swinger is Signior Dildo.
By the Help of this Gallant the Countesse of Rafe
Against the feirce Harris preserv'd her Self Safe: [30]
She Stifl'd him almost beneath her Pillow,
So Closely she imbrac'd Signior Dildo.
Our dainty fine Dutchesse's have got a Trick
To Doat on a Fool, for the Sake of his Prick,
The Fopps were undone, did their Graces but know [35]
The Discretion and vigor of Signior Dildo.
That Pattern of Virtue, her Grace of Cleaveland,
Has Swallow'd more Pricks, then the Ocean has Sand,
But by Rubbing and Scrubbing, so large it do's grow,
It is fit for just nothing but Signior Dildo. [40]
The Dutchesse of Modena, tho' she looks high,
With such a Gallant is contented to Lye:
And for fear the English her Secrets shou'd know,
For a Gentleman Usher took Signior Dildo.
The countess of the Cockpit (who knows not her Name) [45]
She's famous in Story, for a Killing Dame:
When all her old Lovers forsake her I Trow
She'l then be contented with Signior Dildo.
Red Howard, Red Sheldon, and Temple so tall
Complain of his absence so long from Whitehall: [50]
Signior Barnard has promis'd a Journy to goe,
And bring back his Countryman Signior Dildo.
Doll Howard no longer with his Highness must Range,
And therefore is profer'd this Civill Exchange:
Her Teeth being rotten, she Smells best below, [55]
And needs must be fitted for Signior Dildo.
St Albans with Wrinkles and Smiles in his Face
Whose kindnesse to Strangers, becomes his high Place,
In his Coach and Six Horses is gone to Pergo,
To take the fresh Air with Signior Dildo. [60]
Were this Signior but known to the Citizen Fopps
He'd keep their fine Wives from the Foremen of Shops,
But the Rascalls deserve their Horns shou'd Still grow,
For Burning the Pope, and his Nephew Dildo.
Tom Killigrews wife, North Hollands fine Flower, [65]
At the Sight of this Signior, did fart, and Belch Sow'r,
And her Dutch Breeding farther to Show,
Says welcome to England, myn Heer Van Dildo.
He civilly came to the Cockpitt one night,
And profer'd his Service to fair Madam Knight, [70]
Quoth she, I intrigue with Captain Cazzo
Your Nose in myne Arse good Seignior Dildo.
This Signior is sound, safe, ready, and Dumb,
As ever was Candle, Carret, or Thumb:
Then away with these nasty devices, and Show [75]
How you rate the just merits of Signior Dildo.
Count Cazzo who carryes his Nose very high,
In Passion he Swore, his Rivall shou'd Dye,
Then Shutt up himself, to let the world know,
Flesh and Blood cou'd not bear it from Signior Dildo. [80]
A Rabble of Pricks, who were welcome before,
Now finding the Porter deny'd 'em the Door,
Maliciously waited his coming below,
And inhumanely fell on Signior Dildo.
Nigh weary'd out, the poor Stranger did fly [85]
And along the Pallmall, they follow'd full Cry,
The Women concern'd from every Window,
Cry'd, Oh! for Heavn's sake save Signior Dildo.
The good Lady Sandys, burst into a Laughter
To see how the Ballocks came wobbling after, [90]
And had not their weight retarded the Fo
Indeed 't had gone hard with Signior Dildo.


Notes

Train
"Entourage."
Soe
"So," "such."
Virtuous
"Powerful." Medicines in particular were noted for their virtues (powers).
Guinea an Ell
Guinea, twenty-one shillings (or one pound and one shilling); an ell is forty-five inches. Fabric that cost a guinea an ell would be fabulously expensive.
Gallant
"1. A gay, sprightly, airy, splendid man; 2. A whoremaster, who caresses women to debauch them" (Johnson).
Cazzo
Italian for "prick."
Pallmall
Pall Mall, a fashionable walk in London.