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TO THE RIVER LODON.
Old Arthur's board: on the capacious round
“ These fellowships are pretty things, Some British pen bas sketch'd the names renown'd,
We live indeed like petty kings: In marks obscure, of his immortal peers.
But who can bear to waste his whole age Though join'd by magic skill with many a rhyme,
Amid the dullness of a college, The Druid frame unhonour'd falls a prey
Debarr'd the common joys of life, To the slow vengeance of the wizard time,
And that prime bliss-a loving wise ! And fade the British characters away ;
O! what's a table richly spread Yet Spenser's page, that chaunts in verse sublime
Without a woman at its head! Those chiefs, shall live unconscious of decay.
Would some snug benefice but fall,
Ye feasts, ye dinners! farewell all!
To officers I'd bid adieu,
Come joys, that rural quiet yields,
Come, tithes, and house, and fruitful fields!" Since first I trod thy banks with alders crown'd, Too fond of freedom and of ease And thought my way was all through fairy ground,
A patron's vanity to please, Beneath thy azure sky and golden sun :
Long time he watches, and by stealth, Where first my Muse to lisp her notes begun ! Each frail incumbent's doubtful health ; While pensive memory traces back the round, At length-and in his fortieth year, Which fills the varied interval between ;
A living drops-two hundred clear ! Much pleasure, more of sorrow, marks the scene. With breast elate beyond expression, Sweet native stream! those skies and suns so pure He hurries down to take possession, No more return, to cheer my evening road!
With rapture views the sweet retreatYet still one joy remains, that not obscure,
“ What a convenient house! how neat! Nor useless, all my vacant days have flow'd,
For fuel here's sufficient wood:
The garden—that must be new plano'd-
O'er yonder vacant plot shall rise
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 And thus, in form of humble suitor,
Metheglin's luscious juice shall stream: Bowing accosts a reverend tutor.
This awkward hut, o'ergrown with ivy, “ Sir, I'm a Glo'stershire divine,
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 devotionMy son's a very forward youth ;
But of a garden had no notion." Has Horace all by heart-you'd wonder
Continuing this fantastic farce on, And mouths out Homer's Greek like thunder.
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: Our pupil's hopes, though twice defeated,
And though she boasts no charms divine,
Yet she can carve and make birch wine. Are with a scholarship completed:
Thus fixt, content he taps his barrel,
Exhorts his neighbours not to quarrel;
Finds his church-wardens have disceruing In garret dark he smokes and puns,
Both in good liquor and good learning; A prey to discipline and duns;
With tithes his barns replete he sees,
And chuckles o'er luis surplice fees;
Studies to find out latent dues,
And regulates the state of pews; But the rich prize no sooner got,
Rides a sleek mare with purple housing, Again he quarrels with his lot:
To share the monthly club's carousing;
Or Oxford pranks facetious tells,
When calm around the common room And—but on Sundays-hears no bells;
puff’d my daily pipe's perfume! Sends presents of his choicest fruit,
Rode for a stomach, and inspected, And prunes himself each sapless shoot;
At annual botilings, corks selected : Plants cauliflow’rs, and boasts to rear
And din'd untax'd, untroubled, under The earliest melons of the year;
The portrait of our pious founder! Thinks alteration charming work is,
When impositions were supply'd Keeps bantam cocks, and feeds his turkies;
To light my pipe-or soothe my prideBuilds in his copse a fav’rite bench,
No cares were then for forward peas, And stores the pond with carp and tench.
A yearly-longing wife to please; But ah! too soon his thoughtless breast
My thoughts no christ'ning dinners crost, By cares domestic is opprest;
No children cry'd for butter'd toast; And a third butcher's bill, and brewing,
And ev'ry night I went to bed, Threaten inevitable ruin:
Without a modus in my head!” For children fresh expenses yet,
Oh! trilling head, and fickle heart ! And Dicky now for school is fit.
Chagrin'd at whatsoe'er thou art; Why did I sell my college life
A dupe to follies yet untry'd, (He cries) for benefice and wife?
And sick of pleasures scarce enjoy'd ! Return, ye days! when endless pleasure
Each prize possess'd, thy transport ceases, I found in reading, or in leisure !
And in pursuit alone it pleases.
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone, Never hear the sweet music of speech,
I start at the sound of my own. The beasts, that roam over the plain,
My form with indifference see; They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestowed upon man, Oh, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again! My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth; Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheered by the sallies of youth.
Religion! what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word! More precious than silver and gold,
Or all that this earth can afford. But the sound of the church-going bell
These vallies and rocks never heard, Never sighed at the sound of a knell,
Or smiled when a sabbath appeared.
ON THE DEATH OF MRS. THROCK
MORTON'S BULFINCH. Ye nymphs! if e'er your eyes were red With tears o'er hapless favourites shed,
O share Maria's gries!
Assassined by a thief.
And though by nature mute,
Of flagelet or flute.
His bosom of the hue,
To sweep up all the dew.
No cat had leave to dwell; And Bully's cage supported stood On props of smoothest-shaven wood,
Large-built and latticed well. Well-latticed--but the grate, alas! Not rough with wire of steel or brass,
For Bully's plumage sake, But smooth withi wands from Ouse's side, With which, when neatly peeled and dried,
The swains their baskets make. Night veiled the pole. All seemed secure. When led by instinct sharp and sure,
Subsistence to provide,
Ye winds, that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore Some cordial endearing report
Of a land, I shall visit no more. My friends, do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me? O tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see.
How fleet is a glance of the mind !
Compared with the speed of its flight, The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-winged arrows of light.
A beast forth-sallied on the scout,
THE POET'S NEW-YEAR'S GIFT Long-backed, long-tailed, with whisker'd snout, And badger-coloured hide.
TO MRS. (NOW LADY) THROCKMORTON. He, entering at the study-door,
Maria! I have every good
For thee wished many a time,
Both sad, and in a cheerful mood,
But never yet in rhyme.
To wish thee fairer is no need,
More prudent, or more sprightly,
Or more ingenious, or more freed
From temper-flaws unsightly.
What favour then not yet possest
Can I for thee require,
In wedded love already blest,
To thy whole heart's desire?
None here is happy but in part:
Full bliss is bliss divine;
There dwells some wish in every heart, Minute the horrors that ensued;
And doubtless one in thine.
That wish on some fair future day,
Which fate shall brightly gild,
("Tis blameless, be it what it may)
I wish it all fulfilled.
PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED.
I shall not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau,
If birds confabulate or no;
'Tis clear that they were always able His head alone remained to tell
To hold discourse, at least in fable;
And e'en the child who knows no better,
Must have a most uncommon skull.
It chanced then on a winter's day,
But warm, and bright, and calm as May, Which Mary to Anna conveyed,
The birds, conceiving a design
To forestall sweet St. Valentine,
In many an orchard, copse, and grove,
Assembled on affairs of love,
Began to agitate the matter.
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, opening wide his beak, I hastily seized it, unfit as it was
A moment's liberty to speak; For a nosegay, so dripping and drown'd,
And, silence publicly enjoined, And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas!
Delivered briefly thus his mind. I snapped it, it fell to the ground.
My friends! be cautious how ye treat
The subject upon which we meet;
I fear we shall have winter yet.
A Finch, whose tongue knew no control,
With golden wing, and satin pole, Already to sorrow resigned.
A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
What marriage means, thus pert replied.
By his good will would keep us single,
He sees that this great roundabout
But 'tis her own important charge The world, with all its motley rout,
To qualify him more at large, Church, army, physic, law,
And make him quite a wit. Its customs, and its businesses,
Sweet Poll! his doating mistress cries, Is no concern at all of his,
Sweet Poll! the mimic bird replies; And says—what says he ?-Caw.
And calls aloud for sack. Thrice happy bird! I too have seen
She next instructs him in the kiss; Much of the vanities of men;
'Tis now a little one, like Miss, And, sick of having seen 'em,
And now a hearty smack. Would cheerfully these limbs resign
At first he aims at what he bears; For such a pair of wings as thine,
And, listening close with both his ears,
Just catches at the sound;
Much to the amusement of the crowd,
And stuns the neighbours round.
A querulous old woman's voice
His humorous talent next employs, Pay me for thy warm retreat
He scolds and gives the lie. With a song more soft and sweet;
And now he sings, and now is sick, In return thou shalt receive
Here Sally, Susan, come, come quick, Such a strain as I can give.
Poor Poll is like to die!
Belinda and her bird ! 'tis rare
To meet with such a well-matched pair,
The language and the tone, And the mouse with curious snout,
Each character in every part With what vermin else infest
Sustained with so much grace and art,
And both in unison.
When children first begin to spell,
And stammer out a syllable,
We think them tedious creatures; Though in voice and shape they be
But difficulties soon abate, Formed as if akin to thee,
When birds are to be taught to prate,
And women are the teachers.
HISTORY OF JOHN GILPIN,