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

Sir Narcissus Foplin, 1708

Sir Narcissus Foplin:
The Self-Admirer.

HE is the Spindle-shank'd Progeny of a half-witted Father, who drowsily begot him, betwixt sleeping and waking, to pleasure his Lady, much rather than himself; and dying, left the Fruits of his nuptial Drudgery to the Mother's Care, who, by her effeminate Fondness, has made him all Woman, except the masculine Peg, which is hung on by Nature, for the Distinction of Sexes. He has a plentiful Estate; but lives a single Gentleman, for no other Reason, but because he's so conceited of his own Merits, that he never could yet find a Woman that he thought was worthy of hiim: Nothwithstanding, he has so little in his Person, or his Parts, to recommend him to any Body's liking, but his own, that should an Indian Baboon be as nicely fitted with a fair Wig, and a Sute of Cloaths of the same Colour, I am certain, any Lady, that was to see them together, would swear, they were Twins of the same [p.210] Litter; yet eh ill-favour'd Ape is such a wonderful Admirer of his own Imperfections, that the Fop's Dressing-Droom is lin'd thro' with Looking-Glass, that let him turn his Eyes what way soever, he may still be in Sight of his own omely Shadow. The Lineaments of his Face, are so very remarkable, that, to oblige the Ladies, I shall modestly describe them, with the least Improvement; viz. He has the forehead of a Monkey, the Eyes of a Howlet, the Nose of a Negro, the Mouth of an Aligator, a Tuffin's chin, and the Lanthorn-Jaws of an old preaching Fanatick; and all these, inclos'd within a Thicket of Whores-Hair, curl'd into the newest Fashion by Monsieur Shammeree, Wigmaker in Ordinary to the Beaus and Block-heads round the Opera-Theatre. Besides the extraordinary symmetry of his bewitching Countenance, he is as slender in the Waste, as if his Mother, in his Agony, had given him a Pinch in the Middle, when he was born half-way, that had spoil'd his Growth for the future; or, that she had kept him swath'd, 'till he was twenty Years old, for Fear he should prove gotch-belly'd. And, to add another Advantage to his excellent Proportion, he has the Honour to stand upon such a fashionable Pair of Gentleman's legs, that [p.211] you would guess, by their Size, he was the Sheep-shank'd Bastard of some limber-hamm'd Courtier, who had wasted his Calves in the Service of the Ladies. And if all these graceful Members are not thought sufficient to engage a beautiful Diana to sacrifice her Chastity to so obliging a Lover, I shall farther recommend to her the Graces of his Mind, and the Niceties of his Breeding; and if those will not charm her into a languishing Condition, she may keep her Love to herself, 'till she can die for some Body that she thinks more deserving. As to his Wit, it is so very admirable, that there is not a nmew Pun, or a Play-house Jest, but what he has as ready at his Tongue's End, as a young Bully has his fashionable Oaths, or a pert Harlot her smutty Stories. And as for his Courage, it is chiefly shewn in pinking the Backs of Tavern-Chairs, and in breaking the Heads of his own Footmen; which they bear with Patience, because he never forgets to give them a Plaister, for Fear they should be angry with him. His Generosity is such, that it never extends to any, but his Flatterers; and those that can find out a new Grace in him, shall never fail of a Reward for their notable Discovery. As to his Learning, it consists in the Title-Pages of new [p.212] Pamphlets; for his thinks Reading to be the Drudgery of a Scholar, or the Diversion of a Pedant, but a Scandal to a Gentleman. The Wings of his Affections are so intollerably clipp'd, by a Self-Conceit of his own Gallantry, that his Love can never fly out of the Windows of his own Breast, any farther than his Looking-Glass; and so plays backwards and forwards, between himself and his Shadow, like a Shuttle-cock between two Battledors. Tho' he is very conversant with the fair Sex, and a mighty Man among the fine Ladies, he only rivals them in their own Vanity; and, as they hope to be admir'd by him, so the Fool fancies they are his Admirers; but if they were, they might ease their Passions with their own solitary Sighs; for he has so cool a Sense of Female Favours, that he has less Respect for the Charms of a Petticoat, then for the loathsome Condescensions of a fricatizing Catamite, who is Beast enough to ease his Sodomitical Desires with anti-venereal Exercise. Yet, after all, the squeaking Homunculus, wiht his Capon's Voice, who, in Contempt of the fair Sex, can be manual Operator to his own Lust, becuase he has an Estate, can loll in his gilt Chariot, and keep his brawny Slaves to bow down and worship him, must set [p.213] himself up, Forsooth, for a Man of Honour, a Gentleman of Worth, a Patriot of his Country, a Judge of Learning, an Encourager of Vertue, adnt he worthy Branch of an ancient and honourable Family: Tho', notwithstanding his Pride and Vanity, was the worthless Mortal to be stripp'd of his Acres, his Equipage, and his Finery, which are the only Armour that can secure the Coxcombe from the Contempt of the Public, and he would scarce have Merit enough to recommend him to the Employment of a reforming Understrapper. Yet, since he was born in a lucky Minute, and his propitious Stars have plac'd him high above the Heads of Thousands, who have fifty Times more Mereit, much wiser Numbers, and the more vertuous Crowd must bow their humble Noddles to the lofty Idol, who sits in Triumph, glories in his Ignorance, as well as his Vices, and gazes, with Disdain, upon those Persons, who can scarce deserve his Estate so much, as he does their Poverty. [p.214]

Familiar Descant on the foregoing Character.

How cross a Jilt, how base a Trull,
          Is purblind Madam Fortune,
Who proves so gen'rous to the Foot,
          And to the Wise uncertain?

What Fops and Monsters do we see
          Sit lolling in their Coaches,
And haughty Apes, of high Degree,
          Grow proud of their Debauches?

Whilst Men of Brains and Vertue, stand
          Depending at a Distance;
And bowing down, with Cap in Hand,
          Implore the fools Assistance.

One thinks, that Whoring is a Vice,
          Of all the rest, most noble;
And, to enjoy his Paradise,
          Becomes the Ladies Bubble.

A second, finds another Trick,
          Much worse than Fornication;
And, in his Lust, wants Grace to stick
          At Male-Administration.

A third, two powerful Vices join,
          For want of sober Thinking;
And, adding Women to his Wine,
          Delights in Love and Drinking. [p.215]

A fourth, becomes a Rake at large,
          Pursues all wicked Measures,
And values no Expence or Charge,
          To purchase sinful Pleasures.

Yet, if they be but rich and great,
          Tho' impious as the Devil,
They must be wise, in Spite of Fate,
          And good, in Spite of Evil. [p.216]

SOURCE: Ned Ward, The Modern World Disrob'd: or, Both Sexes Stript of their pretended Vertue, London, 1708.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Sir Narcissus Foplin, 1708", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 14 May 2010 <>.

Return to Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England