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Old Arthur's board: on the capacious round
Some British pen has sketch'd the names renown'd,
In marks obscure, of his immortal peers.
Though join'd by magic skill with many a rhyme,
The Druid frame unhonour'd falls a prey
To the slow vengeance of the wizard time,
And fade the British characters away;
Yet Spenser's page, that chaunts in verse sublime
Those chiefs, shall live unconscious of decay.
Ah! what a weary race my feet have run,
Since first I trod thy banks with alders crown'd,
And thought my way was all through fairy ground,
Beneath thy azure sky and golden sun :
Where first my Muse to lisp her notes begun!
While pensive memory traces back the round,
Which fills the varied interval between ;
Much pleasure, more of sorrow, marks the scene.
Sweet native stream! those skies and suns so pure
No more return, to cheer my evening road!
Yet still one joy remains, that not obscure,
Nor useless, all my vacant days have flow'd,
From youth's gay dawn to manhood's prime mature;
Nor with the Muse's laurel unbestow'd.
THE PROGRESS OF DISCONTENT. 1746.
When now mature in classic knowledge,
The joyful youth is sent to college,
His father comes, a vicar plain,
At Oxford bred-in Anna's reign,
And thus, in form of humble suitor,
Bowing accosts a reverend tutor.
"Sir, I'm a Glo'stershire divine,
And this my eldest son of uine;
My wife's ambition and my own
Was that this child should wear a gown;
I'll warrant that his good behaviour
Will justify your future favour;
And for his parts, to tell the truth,
My son's a very forward youth;
Has Horace all by heart-you'd wonder
And mouths out Homer's Greek like thunder.
If you'd examine-and admit him,
A scholarship would nicely fit him:
That he succeeds 'tis ten to one;
Your vote and interest, Sir!"-'Tis done.
Our pupil's hopes, though twice defeated,
Are with a scholarship completed:
A scholarship but half maintains,
And college rules are heavy chains:
In garret dark he smokes and puns,
A prey to discipline and duns;
And now intent on new designs,
Sighs for a fellowship-and fines.
When nine full tedious winters past,
That utmost wish is crown'd at last :
But the rich prize no sooner got,
Again he quarrels with his lot:
"These fellowships are pretty things,
We live indeed like petty kings:
But who can bear to waste his whole age
Amid the dullness of a college,
Debarr'd the common joys of life,
And that prime bliss-a loving wife!
O! what's a table richly spread
Without a woman at its head!
Would some snug benefice but fall,
Ye feasts, ye dinners! farewell all!
To officers I'd bid adieu,
Of Dean, Vice Pres.-of Bursar too;
Come joys, that rural quiet yields,
Come, tithes, and house, and fruitful fields!"
Too fond of freedom and of ease
A patron's vanity to please,
Long time he watches, and by stealth,
Each frail incumbent's doubtful health;
At length-and in his fortieth year,
A living drops-two hundred clear!
With breast elate beyond expression,
He hurries down to take possession,
With rapture views the sweet retreat—
"What a convenient house! how neat!
For fuel here's sufficient wood:
Pray God the cellars may be good!
The garden-that must be new plann'd—
Shall these old-fashion'd yew-trees stand?
O'er yonder vacant plot shall rise
The flow'ry shrub of thousand dyes:-
Yon wall, that feels the southern ray,
Shall blush with ruddy fruitage gay:
While thick beneath its aspect warm
O'er well-rang'd hives the bees shall swarm,
From which, ere long, of golden gleam
Metheglin's luscious juice shall stream:
This awkward hut, o'ergrown with ivy,
We'll alter to a modern privy:
Up yon green slope, of hazels trim,
An avenue so cool and dim,
Shall to an arbour, at the end,
In spite of gout, entice a friend.
My predecessor lov'd devotion-
But of a garden had no notion."
Continuing this fantastic farce on,
He now commences country parson.
To make his character entire,
He weds-a cousin of the 'squire ;
Not over weighty in the purse,
But many doctors have done worse:
And though she boasts no charms divine,
Yet she can carve and make birch wine.
Thus fixt, content he taps his barrel,
Exhorts his neighbours not to quarrel;
Finds his church-wardens have discerning
Both in good liquor and good learning;
With tithes his barns replete he sees,
And chuckles o'er his surplice fees;
Studies to find out latent dues,
And regulates the state of pews;
Rides a sleek mare with purple housing,
To share the monthly club's carousing;
Of Oxford pranks facetious tells,
And-but on Sundays-hears no bells;
Sends presents of his choicest fruit,
And prunes himself each sapless shoot;
Plants cauliflow'rs, and boasts to rear
The earliest melons of the year;
Thinks alteration charming work is,
Keeps bantam cocks, and feeds his turkies;
Builds in his copse a fav'rite bench,
And stores the pond with carp and tench.
But ah! too soon his thoughtless breast
BBy cares domestic is opprest;
And a third butcher's bill, and brewing,
Threaten inevitable ruin:
When calm around the common room
I puff'd my daily pipe's perfume!
Rode for a stomach, and inspected,
At annual bottlings, corks selected:
And din'd untax'd, untroubled, under
The portrait of our pious founder!
When impositions were supply'd
To light my pipe—or soothe my pride—
No cares were then for forward peas,
A yearly-longing wife to please;
My thoughts no christ'ning dinners crost,
No children cry'd for butter'd toast;
And ev'ry night I went to bed,
Without a modus in my head!”
Oh! trifling head, and fickle heart!
Chagrin'd at whatsoe'er thou art;
A dupe to follies yet untry'd,
And sick of pleasures scarce enjoy'd!
Each prize possess'd, thy transport ceases,
And in pursuit alone it pleases.
"Canynge, awaie! By Godde ynne Heav'n Thatt dydd mee beinge gyve, I wylle nott taste a bitt of breade
Whilst thys Syr Charles dothe lyve. "By Marie, and alle Seinctes ynne Heav'n, Thys sunne shall be hys laste." Thenne Canynge dropt a brinie teare, And from the presence paste.
Wyth herte brymm-fulle of gnawynge grief,
Hee to Syr Charles dydd goe,
And sat hymm downe uponne a stoole,
And teares beganne to flowe.
"Wee all must die," quod brave Sir Charles; "Whatte bootes ytte howe or whenne; Dethe ys the sure, the certaine fate Of all wee mortall menne.
"Say why, my friende, thie honest soul
Runns over att thyne eye;
Is ytte for my most welcome doome
Thatt thou dost child-lyke crye?"
Quod godlie Canynge," I doe weepe,
Thatt thou so soone must dye,
And leave thy sonnes and helpless wyfe;
"Tys thys thatt wettes myne eye."
"Thenne drie the tears thatt out thyne eye
From godlie fountaines sprynge;
Dethe I despise, and alle the power
Of Edwarde, traytour kynge.
"Whan through the tyrant's welcom means I shall resigne my lyfe,
The Godde I serve wylle soone provyde
For bothe mye sonnes and wyfe.
"Before I sawe the lyghtsome sunne,
Thys was appointed mee;
Shall mortall manne repyne or grudge
What Godde ordeynes to bee?
"Howe oft ynne battaile have I stoode,
Whan thousands dy'd arounde;
Whan smokynge streemes of crimson bloode
Imbrew'd the fatten'd grounde:
"Howe dydd I knowe thatt ev'ry darte,
Thatt cutte the airie waie,
Myghte nott fynde passage toe my harte,
And close myne eyes for aie?
"And shall I nowe, forr feere of dethe, Looke wanne and bee dysmayde? Ne! fromm my herte flie childyshe feere; Bee alle the manne display'd. "Ah, goddelyke Henrie! Godde forefende, And guarde thee and thye sonne, Yff 'tis hys wylle; but yff 'tis nott,
Why thenne hys wylle bee donne. "My honest friende, my faulte has beene To serve Godde and mye prynce; And thatt I no tyme-server am,
My dethe wylle soone convynce.
"Ynne Londonne citye was I borne,
Of parents of grete note:
My fadre dydd a nobile armes
Emblazon onne hys cote:
"I make ne doubte butt hee ys gone, Where soone I hope to goe; Where wee for ever shall bee blest, From oute the reech of woe.
"Hee taughte mee justice and the laws Wyth pitie to unite;
And eke hee taughte mee howe to knowe
The wronge cause from the ryghte:
"Hee taughte mee wyth a prudent hande
To feede the hungrie poore,
Ne lett mye sarvants dryve awaie
The hungrie fromm my doore:
"And none can saye but alle mye lyfe I have hys wordyes kept;
And summ'd the actyonns of the daie Eche nyghte before I slept.
"I have a spouse, goe aske of her
Yff I defyl'd her bedde?
I have a kynge, and none can laie
Black treason onne my hedde.
"Ynne Lent, and onne the holie eve,
Fromm fleshe I dydd refrayne;
Whie should I thenne appeare dismay'd
To leave thys worlde of payne?
"Ne, hapless Henrie! I rejoyce
I shall ne see thye dethe;
Most willynglie ynne thye just cause
Doe I resign my brethe.
"Oh, fickle people! rewyn'd londe!
Thou wylt kenne peace ne moe; Whyle Richard's sonnes exalt themselves,
Thye brookes wythe bloude wylle flowe,
"Saie, were ye tyr'd of godlie peace, And godlie Henrie's reigne, Thatt you dydd choppe your easie daies For those of bloude and peyne? “Whatte though I onne a sledde be drawne, And mangled by a hynde, I doe defye the traytour's pow'r, Hee can ne harm my mynde; "Whatte though, uphoisted onne a pole,
Mye lymbes shall rotte ynne ayre, And ne ryche monument of brasse
Charles Bawdin's name shall bear; "Yett ynne the holie book above,
Whyche tyme can't eate awaie, There wythe the sarvants of the Lord Mye name shall lyve for aie. "Thenne welcome dethe! for lyfe eterne I leave thys mortall lyfe: Farewell vayne worlde, and all that's deare, Mye sonnes and lovynge wyfe!
"Bye foule proceedyngs, murdre, bloude,
Thou wearest nowe a crowne;
And hast appoynted mee to die,
By power nott thyne owne.
"Thou thynkest I shall dye to-daie;
I have beene dede till nowe,
And soone shall lyve to weare a crowne
For aie uponne my browe:
Whylst thou, perhapps, for som few yeares, Shalt rule thys fickle lande, To lett them knowe howe wyde the rule 'Twixt kynge and tyrant hande: "Thye pow'r unjust, thou traytour slave! Shall falle onne thye owne hedde❞— Fromm out of hearyng of the kynge Departed thenne the sledde. Kynge Edwarde's soule rush'd to hys face, Hee turn'd his hedde awaie, And to hys broder Gloucester
Hee thus dydd speke and saie:
"To hym that soe-much-dreaded dethe
Ne ghastlie terrors brynge,
Beholde the manne! hee spake the truthe,
Hee's greater thanne a kynge!"
"Soe lett hym die!" Duke Richarde sayde; "And maye ech one oure foes Bende downe theyre neckes to bloudie axe, And feede the carryon crowes."
And nowe the horses gentlie drewe
Syr Charles uppe the hyghe hylle; The axe dydd glysterr ynne the sunne, His pretious bloude to spylle.
Syr Charles dydd uppe the scaffold goe,
As uppe a gilded carre
Of victorye, bye val'rous chiefs
Gayn'd ynne the bloudie warre:
And to the people hee dyd saie:
"Beholde you see mee dye, For servynge loyally mye kynge, Mye kynge most ryghtfullie.
"As longe as Edwarde rules thys lande, Ne quiet you wylle knowe:
Your sonnes and husbandes shalle bee slayne, And brookes wythe bloude shalle flowe. “You leave your goode and lawfulle kynge, Whenne adversitye;
Lyke mee, untoe the true cause stycke, And for the true cause dye."
Thenne hee, wyth preestes, uponne hys knees, A pray'r to Godde dyd make, Beseechynge hym unto hymselfe
Hys partynge soule to take.
Thenne, kneelynge downe, hee layd hys hedde
Most seemlie onne the blocke;
Whyche fromme hys bodie fayre at once
The able heddes-manne stroke:
Swote hys tongue as the throstles note, Quycke ynn daunce as thought canne bee, Defe hys taboure, codgelle stote, O! hee lyes bie the wyllowe tree: Mie love ys dedde, Goune to hys death-bedde, Al under the wyllowe tree. Harke! the ravenne flappes hys wynge, In the briered delle belowe; Harke! the dethe-owle loude dothe synge, To the nyghte-mares as heie goe; Mie love ys dedde, Gonne to hys death-bedde, Al under the wyllowe tree. See! the whyte moone sheenes onne hie; Whyterre ys mie true loves shroude; Whyterre yanne the mornynge skie, Whyterre yanne the evenynge cloude;
Mie love y's dedde,
Gon to hys death-bedde,
Al under the wyllow tree.