Image of two men kissingHomosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

The Petit Maître. A Poem


By a Lady.


Tell me, gentle hob'dehoy!
Art thou Girl, or art thou Boy?
Art thou Man, or art thou Ape;
For thy Gesture and thy Shape,
And thy Features and thy Dress,
Such contraries do express:
I stand amaz'd, and at a Loss to know,
To what new Species thou thy Form dost owe?


By thy Hair comb'd up behind,
Thou should'st be of Womankind:
But that damn'd forbidding Face,
Does the charming Sex disgrace;
Man, or Woman, thou art neither;
But a blot, a shame to either:
Nor dare to Brutehood, even to make Pretence;
For Brutes themselves, shew greater Signs of Sense.


By thy Jaws all lank and thin;
By that forc'd unmeaning grin:
Thou appear'st to human Eyes,
Likesome Ape of monst'rous Size;
Yet an Ape thou can's not be,
Apes are more Adroit than thee;
Thy Odditties so much my Mind perplex,
I neither can define thy Kind or Sex.


Art thou Substance, art thou Shade?
That thus monst'rously array'd,
Walking forth in open Day,
Dost our Senses quite dismay?
Unghastly yet, thou only can'st provoke,
Our Rage, our Detestation, and our Joke.


If thou art a Man, forbear
Thus, this motly Garb to wear;
Do not Reason thus displace,
Do not Man-hood thus disgrace;
But thy Sex by Dress impart,
And appear like what thou art:
Like what thou art, said I, pray pardon me;
I mean, appear like what thou ought'st to be.

SOURCE: Satan's Harvest Home: or the Present State of Whorecraft, Adultery, Fornication, Procuring, Pimping, Sodomy, And the Game at Flatts, Collected from the Memoirs of an intimate Comrade of the Hon. Jack S**n**r, and concern'd with him in many of his Adventures, London: Printed for the Editor, 1749, p. 62.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Petit Maitre, 1749," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. Updated 14 April 2000 <>.

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