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To prove, alas ! my main intent,
No cutting and contriving;
With still less hope of thriving.
Then judge, or ere you choose your man, As circumspectly as you can,
And, having made election, See that no disrespect of yours, Such as a friend but ill endures,
Enfeeble his affection.
It is not timber, lead and stone,
To finish a great building;
The carving and the gilding.
As similarity of mind,
Or something not to be defined,
First rivets our attention;
Must save it from declension.
The man who hails you Tom or Jack,
His sense of your great merit,
Some friends make this their prudent plan"Say little, and hear all you can ;"
Safe policy, but hateful;
Unpleasant and ungrateful.
They whisper trivial things, and small:
Things serious, deem improper;
Just like the simmering copper.
These samples (for alas! at last
Of evils yet unmentioned ;)
Pursue the theme, and you shall find
To be at least expedient,
A principal ingredient.
True friendship has, in short, a grace
That proves it heaven-descended;
To last till life is ended.
TO AN AFFLICTED PROTESTANT LADY IN FRANCE.
Madam,—A stranger's purpose in these lays
But ills of every shape and every name,
Ah, be not sad, although thy lot be cast
THE YEARLY DISTRESS;
OR, TITHING-TIME AT STOCK IN ESSEX.
VERSES ADDRESSED TO A COUNTRY CLERGYMAN, COMPLAINING OF THE DISAGREEADLENESS OF THE DAY ANNUALLY APPOINTED FOR RECEIVING THE DUES AT THE PARSONAGE.
Come, ponder well, for 'tis no jest,
To laugh it would be wrong;
The burden of my song.
This priest he merry is and blithe
Three quarters of the year,
When tithing time draws near.
He then is full of frights and fears,
As one at point to die,
He heaves up many a sigh.
For then the farmers come, jog, jog,
Along the miry road,
To make their payments good.
In sooth the sorrow of such days
Is not to be expressed,
Are both alike distressed.
Now all unwelcome at his gates
The clumsy swains alight,
He trembles at the sight.
And well he may, for well he knows
Instead of paying what he owes,
So in they come—each makes his leg,
And flings his head before, And looks as if he came to beg,
And not to quit a score.
"And how does miss and madam do,
The little boy and all?" "All tight and welL And how do you,
Good Mr. What-d'ye-call?"
The dinner comes, and down they sit:
Were e'er such hungry folk? There's little talking, and no wit;
It is no time to joke.
One wipes his nose upon his sleeve,
One spits upon the floor,
Holds up the cloth before.
The punch goes round, and they are dull
And lumpish still as ever;
They only weigh the heavier.
At length the busy time begins,
"Come, neighbours, we must wag."
The money chinks, down drop their chins, Each lugging out his bag.
One talks of mildew and of frost,
And one of storms and hail, And one of pigs that he has lost
By maggots at the tail.
Quoth one, "A rarer man than you
In pulpit none shall hear;
You sell it plaguey dear."
Oh, why were farmers made so coarse,
Or clergy made so fine? A kick that scarce would move a horse,
May kill a sound divine.
Then let the boobies stay at home;
'Twould cost him I dare say, Less trouble taking twice the sum,
Without the clowns that pay.
SONNET TO HENRY COWPER, ESQ.,
ON HIS EMPHATICAL AND INTERESTING DELIVERY OF THE DEFENCE OF
COWPER, whose silver voice, tasked sometimes hard,
Let verse at length yield thee thy just reward.
Thou wast not heard with drowsy disregard,
Mute as e'er gazed on orator or bard.
Thou art not voice alone, but hast beside
Both heart and head ; and couldst with music sweet
LINES ADDRESSED TO DR. DARWIN,
AUTHOR OF THE "BOTANIC GARDEN."
Two Poets,1 (poets, by report,
Not oft so well agree,)
Conspire to honour thee.
They best can judge a poet's worth,
The pangs of a poetic birth
We therefore pleased extol thy song,
Though various yet complete,
And learned as 'tis sweet.
No envy mingles with our praise;
Though, could our hearts repine
They would—they must at thine.
But we, in mutual bondage knit
Of friendship's closest tie,
With an unjaundiced eye;
And deem the Bard, whoe'er he be,
And howsoever known,
Unworthy of his own.
1 Alluding to the poem by Mr. Hayley, which accompanied these lines.