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So off he travels in triumphant guise,
High raised in air to bless his Jessie's eyes,
And strike the passenger with wonder due,
And wap his supple leglets in their view.
As drives from lurking-place in quest of prey,
The villain fox, and rends his prize away-
So sudden, and so swiftly to his aim,
The hand of Jessie's elder brother came
Surprised the Guards-man in unguarded hour,
And stretch'd him far beyond the Owner's power.
Now friend with friend, in jocund rustic guise,
Tries many a trick of playful artifice:
Sly the approach, and noiseless is the pace,
Mute is the tongue, and muter still the face;
Slow the advance, as watchful kitten slow,
Or his who catches birds in time of snow-
One hand in air, a hazel “ rung" displays,
And o'er a neighbour's back the cudgel plays
On distant comrade, soon to recognize
The author of the jest, with gleesome eyes.
'Tis “ two o'clock," the crowded street displays
Its motley madress in unnumber'd ways“.
The country Laird, with brandish'd whip in hand,
A passage for his gig can scarce command,
And not the Parson, as he shoots along,
Can gain a hat amidst the driving throng.
This flies the trampling of his honour's beast,
And that avoids, with equal care, the Priest.
The lowing cattle, pass amidst the throng,
With tossing horns, they fearless drive along,
Not mindful they of Maiden's Sunday dress,
They squeeze their hairy sides amidst the press;
Nor care have they for Serjeant's brandish'd stick,
But greet a bastinado with a kick,
Or sideling sweep of filth-dispersing tail,
Which travels o'er his doublet like a flail.
This way—and that, the jostling clusters run,
Impellid by wonderment and led by fun;
Whilst tawdry lasses, arm in arm, repair,
With fellow-servants, to obtain their « fair ;"
And laps are out-and portion'd fairings fall,
And Watty's half-year's wages pays for all.
Anon to public-house, or whisky-shop-
By twos, and threes, the lads and lasses drop;
The rap is plied--the maid is “ coming,” still,
And loud the outcry—“ bring anither gill.”-
One damsel, gifted with unwonted sense,
Softly reminds her partner of expence,
“ Damn all expence,"—the maddening lover bawls,
And, "fill that stoup again,”-indiguant calls.-
“ And happy he, the happiest of his kind," To whose enraptur’d bosom is consign'd The Miller's daughter-Queen, beyond compare, O'er all the rustic beauties of the fairHis be the room where neighbouring gentry dine, And his to treat the favour'd maid with wine, No cost to grudge-no calculation makeBut spend his every sixpence for her sake.
And happier still the village “ Widow," who,
Last night, the spiggot of a barrel drew-
And sees this day, her customers come ben,"
A set of sober-drouthy-country men
Determin’d to be drunk- as suits the day-
And kindly help the “ Widow's” wort away.
And ’tis, indeed, a kindly sight to view
These crony-friends their sympathies renew-
Of recollected feat, revive the tale,
Relate the bargain, calculate the sale,
O'er dangling tankard, all their senses drown,
And wash with frequent pull the whiskey down—"
The ready hand and ready purse extend-
And only, " who shall pay the last contend,
Till each half-mutchkin propagate its kind,
As who, that has not paid--will be behind ?
Then hand in hand, and nose approaching nose,
Sink softly down to silence and repose.
But hark-the Trumpet's voice is clear and loud,
And riot rules amidst the rushing crowd-
The pye-bald " Merriman,” his station takes,
His mouth he lengthens, and his head he shakes ;
Heels over head he swiftly shoots away,
Then bolts upright in all his droll array.
His priest-grey duffle-spiral-taper'd cap-
Upon his breech descends with sounding flap;
At length comes forth-with solemn look and sage,
The long-expected Doctor of the stage;
The whip applied to Merry Andrew's back,
He thus in “ Bendo”* phrase begins his clack-
“ That box of plaster, as it seems to all
- That little box-I sovereign balsam call.
“Does gout afflict you with its fitful throes ?
“ Do corns, with shooting pains, infest your toes ?
“ Does wild-fire spread behind your childrens' necks?
“ Do bruises fester-oor does scurvy vex?-
" Whate'er the depth of your corporeal woe,
“ This searching balsam deeper still will go.
“ That powder too--this little box within,
“ Will banish “freckles," and improve the skin,
“ Redden the lips, make teeth all sound and white,
“ In spite of tartar, and in nature's spite.-
“ Do vermin mar your rest, with sudden start,
“ Apply this powder to the proper part.-
“ You then may sleep till doomsday, 'tis so killing,
“ And both the boxes only cost a shilling.”
The shilling moves the prison hold within,
And scorns the limits of the “ Moudy skin.t
Fast wrapt in napkin-corner takes its flight-
Like meteor shooting o'er the brow o' night.--
* See true copy of Lord Rochester's speech when he set up' for an Italian mounte. bank on Tower Hill, under the feigned name of Alexander Bendo.
ROCHESTER's Works._1731.. t" Mole-skin,” of which the purses of the Scotch peasantry were frequently made ;It was reckoned lucky to possess one.
Now shoulder'd up, and much averse to stand,
And bide the jeerings of the “ fool's" command,
A curly-headed cub ascends the stage,
Destin'd to act the Doctor's humble page ! -
The tickets to distribute--all may see
When such the case-collusion cannot be.
Here “ Gawky Bess”—a bretches piece, has got
And “ Jeering Sandy” boasts a petticoat-
A waistcoat piece is “ Lusty Leezie's” prize-
“ 'Twould make a dicky-had it but been size"-
And “lucky Geordie” bears the watch away-
But first must condescend his “ pound to pay."
Old Aunty Kate, whose dreams were wont to scare
Some little jumping gentry, she could spare,
Black Parthian troops--all silent ín attack,
Who on th' enraged pursuer-turn their back-
and that in to detachments sever,
Yet to repeat th' assault are ready ever !-
This sober dame had heard, unmoved, untouch'd,
The all of nonsense wbich the Doctor preach'd,
Till raised at last, by promise of repose,
To purchase future rest--" the shilling goes.”
No prize is hers—but what she valued most,
has the “powder”—this could not be lost-
And now bethinks her of the remedy-
How she the box may properly apply-
Her enemies were sudden in the flight,
Dark was their hue, and sorely fail'd her sight,--
The Doctor is referr’d to.--He replies,
Why catch them first, and dash it in their eyes.”
" But should I catch--why, can't I kill them too.
the Doctor, * “ either way will do .!".
Loud rolls the drum amidst the reeling mass,
As through the crowd recruiting parties pass ;
The Serjeant stalks, a moving man of war,
His sword, and helmet, figure from afar.
Behind him march, in scarlet coat array'd,
The feather'd victims of his bloody trade :
In tatter'd doublet, to bring up the rear,
Come raw Recruit and home-bred Volunteer ;
Arrived at length the village inn before,
He musters up his followers at the door,
The deaf'ning flourish o'er-he hems-and then
Attacks the listening mob-in serjeant strain.
“ Is there a lad, whose Father is unkind,
" One who has not a Master to his mind
“ Whose sweetheart has “ begunked him-won his heart-
« Then left him all forlorn to dree the smart?
• I here allude to “ Dr Green,” who was very well known some thirty, or thirty-fiva years ago, all over Scotland, in the capacity of Stage-Doctor. He was a man eminent in his profession, and, in fact, conferred, by the assistance of his fool, or Merry Andrew, who was afterwards his successor, under the designation of “ Dr M-Gill,” a certain degree of respectability upon a calling originally none of the most dignified. Some of his jests were indeed coarse_and broad enough in all conscience, but the one I have attempted to instance, was one of the best of them. Whether it arise from any decrease of gullibility in the Scottish peasantry, or from a shifting in the channels of professional ambition, I know not, but the character of “ Stage Doctor," is now extinct.-A. D. 1821.
“ One lad of spirit, who disdains to toil,
“ And crawl about, the earth-worm of the soil;
“ One who will listen to ambition's call,
“ And be at length-perhaps “ a General”-
“ In coach-and-six, by courtly lady ride,
" And dash along, with“ Flunkies” at his side-
“ His be that purse, with twenty yellow guineas ;
“ And his a bowl of punch might float a * Pinnace.”
Old “ Andrew Gemmel," shakes his tatter'd rags,
And hoisting full in view his “mealy bags”-
Cries, “ this will never pass—'tis just a hum,'
For after all, my lads to this you come.”-
E'en Silly Sam-his mother's early Petm
Who ne'er had dared to aim at courtship yet,
The lasses' constant sport, by night, and day,
Who laugh'd at all poor “ silly Sam” would say,
Vex'd him eternally with that or this,
And chaced him round the hay-stack for a kiss :
Ee’n he inspir'd, by Serjeant's brimming bowl,
Beneath the ribbon'd hat displays a soul,
Plucks up a soldier mein,“ presents his staff,”-
Bursts o'er the loudest, with a hoarser laugh;
Around the waist, infolds each passing dame,
And hugs, and smacks, beyond the reach of shame
The Serjeant smiles to mark his points and size,
And calculates the value of his prize.-
And there she goes-the Laird's own lovely daughter, «
Who long had been a wife, could wealth have bought her.
But much she loath'd a rotten hulk of age,
Nor would with “ imbecillity” engagem
Her fortune is her own. That rosy glow
That rounded chin-that neck of purest snow
That alabaster breast, where Cupid sleeps,
Upon his pillow'd couch of drifted heaps-
That Sheba-lip a Solomon might please.
That circling of the eye" chevaux de frise"
Th' embattlement of Love, his fortress sure,
Through which his direst shafts he wings secure-
That,“ something” which o'erspreads, sublimes the whole,
Surprizing, whilst it captivates the soul.
These too are her's; and who in all the fair
To treat this form of loveliness, may dare?
A knott of country bucks have traced her long,
And arm in arm have eyed her through the throng,
Have laid a “rump and dozen” on her head,
To pay, if farmer Morrison" succeed.
This yeoman bold could measure six feet three,
From all peculiarities of look was free,
Had heir'à his father's “ lease” but six months gone,
And in a mourning suit genteelly shone.
With whip in hand, and swaggering forward air
“ Will” dashes up to supplicate the fair,
With him, in public house, “ a glass” to share.
He halts at last-turns round-and turns again,
Hermetically seal'd his lips reinain :-
The watchful scoundrels laugh in concert near;
So Will must pay the smart--and stand the jeer
With rascal grin, and voice of harshest note,
With tatter'd hose and not less tatter'd coat;
With all the gill, he gulp'd in either eye
Here “ Andrew Bishop” grunts, his grating cry-
Of “ Almanack,” he bawls, from “ Aberdeen”.
Or famed “ Belfast”-both “ new, and true” I ween.
And still the rustic purchaser to hum,
He slyly adds--for “ forty years to come.”
Yet free from challenge, Andrew learns to steer,
Frepared to plead, he only meant “ the year.”
This is the cottage "register”-and shews,
How much of future fate, the stars disclose :-
Of January's frosts, it boldly tells;
A drifted hear, o'er February swells --
March comes, in black and white alternate shed,
And cloudy damps o'er April flowers are spread ;
May warm and sunny like an eastern Bride,
And June succeeds her in his Bridegroom pride ;
Of thunder July speaks, and “ sumps” of rain ;
And August winds uproot the growing grain ;
September struts with equinoxial puff,
October either rots, or inns the stuff ;
November gloomy urges on his speed,
December blasts are bitter cold indeed.
This is the cottage jest-book-stories queer,
Are cornered in—to supplement the year ;
Odd blackguard sayings, and unhallow'd wit,
Which from their very breadth of humour, hit.
Amidst the very onset of the crush,
When elbows shoulders-shoulders elbows push-
A voice ascends, of female shrilly squall,
Commix'd with sailor's hoarse and husky bawl ;
And long and direful is the ballad tale,
Of foundering ship, and still encreasing gale-
Of lightning's lurid glare, with night combined
Of shipwrecked mariner, all scathed and blind.
The ditty sells apace, as Jock or Jenny
Retire behind, to finger out the penny.
A dress of rags, with manners wild and crazy ;
Song, shout, and dance, 'tis harmless.“ Maggy Cazy."
But deem not Maggy will abide to hear.
That hated nick-name sounded in her ear.
Macdonald is her name, she loves to tell,
And sends the “ Cazy” shouting mob to hell.
She is the queen of Boysaround they come
She deals her threats to all, her blows to some;
Blows, as they seem, of murderous intent,
But all in deadly demonstration spent.
She gathers up a stone, and, high in air,
She meditates the throw, the mob to scare.
Away they scud, some luckless Imp remains
Within her reach, from fall or ancle sprains.
The merry-hearted maniac rushes by,
And leaves him, in his panting fears, to ly.
She is the farmer's guest, nor will she stand
With cross-grained Menial to dispute cominand.
The kitchen is her home, her hall, her pride.