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SOME years ago, ere Time and Taste
Had turned our parish topsy-turvy, When Darnel Park was Darnel Waste,
And roads as little known as scurvy, The man who lost his way between
St. Mary's Hill and Sandy Thicket, Was always shown across the Green,
And guided to the Parson's wicket.
Back flew the bolt of lissom lath;
Fair Margaret in her tidy kirtle, Led the lorn traveller up the path,
Through clean-clipt rows of box and myrtle : And Don and Sancho, Tramp and Tray,
Upon the parlor steps collected, Wagged all their tails and seemed to say,
“Our master knows you; you're expected !"
Up rose the Reverend Doctor Brown,
Up rose the Doctor's winsome marrow; The lady laid her knitting down,
Her husband clasped his ponderous Barrow; Whate'er the stranger's caste or creed,
Pundit or papist, saint or sinner, He found a stable for his steed,
And welcome for himself, and dinner.
If, when he reached his journey's end,
And warmed himself in court or coïlege, He had not gained an honest friend,
And twenty curious scraps of knowledge;If he departed as he came,
With no new light on love or liquoi; Good sooth, the traveller was to blame,
And not the Vicarage, nor the Vicar.
His talk was like a stream which runs
With rapid change from rocks to roses : It slipped from politics to puns :
It passed from Mahomet to Moses : Beginning with the laws which keep
The planets in their radiant courses, And ending with some precept deep
For dressing eels or shoeing horses.
He was a shrewd and sound divine,
Of loud Dissent the mortal terror; And when, by dint of page and line,
He 'stablished Truth, or started Error,