Frear’s Bazaar . . . and bizarre

Frears_trade_cardpoem.jpgAt least to me, this trade card for Frear’s “Again Enlarged and Improved Troy Cash Bazaar” seems a bit, well, bizarre. The card, printed by T. Newcomb of New York City and perhaps used by other merchants as well, features a dandy (or is he a fop?) contemplating a sunflower, and the odd bit of verse:

“A Japanese young man,

A blue-and-white young man,

Francesca di Rimini, miminy, priminy,

Je-ne-sais-quoi young man.”

Turns out that’s from an 1899 Gilbert and Sullivan work called “Patience, or Bunthorne’s Bride: A Comic Opera in Two Acts.” Even reading it in context, I have no idea what it means.

What does it have to do with Frear’s? Perhaps it was so well known then that it was just considered quotable.

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