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When he that takes and he that pays
Are both alike distress'd.
Now all unwelcome at his gates .
The clumsy swains alight,
He trembles at the sight.
And well he may, for well he knows
Each bumpkin of the clan, Instead of paying what he owes,
Will cheat him if he can.
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 of hail,
By maggots at the tail.
Quoth one, “ A rarer man than you
In pulpit none shall hear :
You sell it plaguy dear.”
Oh, why are farmers made so coarse,
Or clergy made so fine ?
May kill a sound divine.
Then let the boobies stay at home ;
'T would cost him, I dare say, Less trouble taking twice the sum
Without the clowns that pay.
TO THE REV. MR NEWTON. [Written in October, 1780, on his return from Ramsgate.]
That ocean you have late survey'd,
Those rocks I too have seen ;
You tranquil and serene.
You from the flood-controlling steep
Saw stretch'd before your view,
No longer such to you.
To me, the waves that ceaseless broke
Upon the dangerous coast,
Of all my treasure lost.
Your sea of troubles you have past,
And found a peaceful shore ;
TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
[“ A poetical effort of the predictive kind," as the poet spor. tively calls this piece, composed in the beginning of 1781. The allusions to the American Senate and United Provinces, and to the armed neutrality in Europe, are sufficiently obvious. ]
Dear president, whose art sublime
Thus say the Sisterhood, -We come-
First strike a curve, a graceful bow,
Iberia, trembling from afar,
TO MRS NEWTON.
September 16, 1781. A NOBLE theme demands a noble verse, In such I thank you for your fine oysters. The barrel was magnificently large, But being sent to Olney at free charge, Was not inserted in the driver's list, And therefore overlook’d, forgot, or miss'd ; For when the messenger whom we despatch'd Inquired for oysters, Hob his noddle scratch'd ; Denying that his wagon or his wain Did any such commodity contain. In consequence of which, your welcome boon Did not arrive till yesterday at noon ; In consequence of which some chanced to die, And some, though very sweet, were very dry. Now Madam says, (and what she says must still Deserve attention, say she what she will,) That what we call the Diligence, be-case It goes to London with a swifter pace, Would better suit the carriage of your gift, Returning downward with a pace as swift; And therefore recommends it with this aim — To save at least three days, – the price the same; For though it will not carry or convey For less than twelve pence, send whate'er you may For oysters bred upon the salt sea shore, Pack'd in a barrel, they will charge no more.
News have I none that I can deign to write,
AN ILLUSTRATION. [Written “on the shortest day,” 1781 ; and originally intended for an introduction to one of the pieces in the poet's first publication, where, however, it did not appear.] WHEN a bar of pure silver or ingot of gold
Is sent to be flatted or wrought into length, It is pass'd between cylinders often, and rolld
In an engine of utmost mechanical strength.
Thus tortured and squeezed, at last it appears
Like a loose heap of ribbon, a glittering show, Like music it tinkles and rings in your ears,
And warm'd by the pressure is all in a glow.
This process achieved, it is doom'd to sustain
The thump-after-thump of a gold-beater's mallet, And at last is of service in sickness or pain
To cover a pill from a delicate palate.
Alas for the Poet! who dares undertake
To urge reformation of national ill -
With the double employment of mallet and min.
If he wish to instruct, he must learn to delight,
Smooth, ductile, and even, his fancy must flow, Must tinkle and glitter like gold to the sight,
And catch in its progress a sensible glow.