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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. ON MRS. MONTAGU'S FEATHER HANGINGS.
The Birds put off their every hue,
To dress a room for Montagu.
The Peacock sends his heavenly dyes,
His rainbows and his starry eyes;
The Pheasant, plumes which round infold
His mantling neck with downy gold;
The Cock his arched tail's azure show;
An'd, river blanched, the Swan his snow.
All tribes beside of Indian name,
That glossy shine, or vivid flame,
Where rises and where sets the day,
Whate'er they boast of rich and gay,
Contribute to the gorgeous plan,
Proud to advance it all they can.
This plumage neither dashing shower,
Nor blasts that shake the dripping bower,
Shall drench again or discompose,
But, screened from every storm that blows,
It boasts a splendour ever new,
Safe with protecting Montagu.
To the same patroness resort,
Secure of favour at her court,
Strong Genius, from whose forge of thought
Forms rise, to quick perfection wrought,
Which, though new-born, with vigour move,
Like Pallas, springing armed from Jove;
Imagination scattering round
Wild roses over furrowed ground.
Which Labour of his frown beguile,
And teach Philosophy a smile;
Wit flashing on Religion's side,
Whose fires, to sacred truth applied,
The gem, though luminous before,
Obtrudes on human notice more,
Like sunbeams on the golden height
Of some tall temple playing bright;
Well-tutored Learning, from his books
Dismissed with grave, not haughty looks,
Their order on his shelves exact,
Not more harmonious or compact
Than that, to which he keeps confined
The various treasures of his mind;
All these to Montagu's repair,
Ambitious of a shelter there.
There Genius, Learning, Fancy, Wit,
Their ruffled plumage calm refit,
(For stormy troubles loudest roar
Around their flight who highest soar,)
And in her eye, and by her aid,
Shine safe without a fear to fade.