Page images

His pride was hurt by this expression,
Thinking they knew his sire's profession ;
Sheathing his sword he sneak'd away,
And drove for Glo'ster that same day.
There soon he found new cause of grief,
For dining off some fine roast beef,
One ask'd him which he did prefer,
Some cabbage or a cucumber?
The purse-proud coxcomb took the hint,
Thought it severe reflection meant;
His stomach turn'd, he could not eat,
So made an ungenteel retreat ;
Next day left Glo'ster in great wrath,
And bade his coachman drive to Bath
There he suspected fresh abuse,
Because the dinner was roast goose :
And that he might no more be jeer'd
Next day to Exeter he steerd,
There with some bucks he drank about,
Until he fear'd they found him out;
His glass not full, as was the rule,
They said 'twas not a thimble full;
The name of thimble was enough,
He paid his reck’ning and went off.
He then to Plymouth took a trip,
And put up at the Royal Ship,
Which then was kept by Caleb Snip.
“Snip, Snip,” the host was often callid,
At which his guest was so much gall’d,
That soon to Cambridge he remov'd,
There too he unsuccessful prov'd :
For tho’he fill'd his glass or cup,
He did not always drink it up :
The scholars mark'd how he behav'd,
And said a remnant sha'n't be say'd :
The name of remnant gall’d him so
That he resolv'd to York he'd go :

There fill’d his bumper to the top, And always fairly drank it up : "Well done,” says Jack, a buck of York, "You go thro' stitch, sir, with your work.' The name of stitch was such reproach, He

rang the bell, and call'd his coach. But ere he went, enquiries made, By what strange means they knew his trade.

“ You put the cap on, and it fits,”
Reply'd one of the Yorkshire wits;
“Our words, in common acceptation,
Could not find out your occupation;
'Twas you yourself gave us the clue,
To find out both your trade and you.
Vain coxcombs, and fantastic beaux
In ev'ry place themselves expose;
They travel far at vast expense,
To show their wealth and want of sense ;
But take this for a standing rule,
There's no disguise can screen a fool.


It happened once a certain man
Adopted the illegal plan,
Which still 'mongst heathen men survives,
Of having ('stead of one) two wives;
But not with wisdom, you


say. Two wives he took ;—the one was young, And grace and beauty round her hung; The other was an ancient bride, And walking on life's down-hill side: They lived together, in one house, And tried their best to please their spouse.

Each treated him with tender care,
Prepar'd his food and comb'd his hair.
These offices they shar'd, no doubt,
In equal turns, week in, week out.
The young wife blush'd to have it said
That she had married a gray head;
So, when the combing was her share,
She slily pluck'd out each white hair.

The elder dame was pleased to see
Her husband look as old as she;
So sought, when dressing up his pate,
The black ones to eradicate,-
For much she fear'd each gossip scold
Would call him young, and call her old.
The worthy man was sadly plac'd-
His youth despis’d, his age disgraced ;
He found (such things the best befall)
He'd better have no wife at all;
For while each stood up for her right,
He lost his hair, both black and white;
And ere an old man he had grown,
He'd lost the honors of his crown.


Those who would a new wife wed,
Should wait until the other 's dead.


King. (Enters alone, wrapped in a cloak.) No, no, this can be no public road—that's certain. I have lost my way undoubtedly. Of what advantage is it now to be a king? Night shows me no respect; I cannot see better, nor walk so well as another man. When a king is lost in a wood, what is he more than other men ? His wisdom knows not which is north, and which is south; his power a beggar's dog would bark at, and the beggar himself would not bow to his greatness. And yet how often are we puffed up with these false attributes! Well, in losing the monarch, I have found the man. But hark ! somebody sure is near. What were it best to do? Will my majesty protect me? No. Throw majesty aside, then, and let manhood do it.

Enter the Miller. Miller. I believe I hear the rogue. Who's there? King. No rogue, I assure you. Miller. Little better, friend, I believe. Who fired that gun? King. Not I, indeed. Miller. You lie, I believe.

King. (Aside.) Lie, lie! How strange it seems to me to be talked to in this style! (Aloud.) Upon my word, I don't, sir.

Miller. Come, come, sirrah, confess. You have shot one of the king's deers, haven't you?

King. No, indeed; I owe the king more respect. I heard a gun go off, to be sure, and was afraid some robbers might have been near.

Miller. I am not bound to believe this, friend. Pray, who are you? What's your name?

King. Name!
Miller. Name !-ay, name.

You have a name, haven't you? Where do you come from? What is your business here?

King. These are questions I have not been used to, honest


Miller. May be so; but they are questions no honest man would be afraid to answer; so, if you can give no better account of yourself, I shall make bold to take you along with me, if

you please.

King. With you! What authority have you to

Miller. The king's authority, if I must give you an account. Sir, I am John Cockle, the miller of Mansfield, one of his majesty's keepers in the forest of Sherwood, and I will let no suspicious fellow pass this way, unless he can give a better account of himself than you have done, I promise you

King Very well, sir. I am very glad to hear the king has so good an officer; and since I find you have his authority, I will give you a better account of myself, if you will do me the favor to hear it.

Miller. You don't deserve it, I believe; but let 's hear what you can say for yourself.

King. I have the honor to belong to the king as well as you, and perhaps should be as unwilling to see any wrong done him. I came down with him to hunt in this forest, and the chase leading us to-day a great way from home, I am benighted in this wood, and have lost my way.

Miller. This does not sound well. If you have been a hunting, pray where is


horse? King. I have tired my horse so that he lay down under me. and I was obliged to leave him.

Miller. If I thought I might believe this, now-
King. I am not used to lie, honest man.

Miller. What! do you live at court, and not lie ? That's a likely story, indeed! King. Be that as it will, I speak truth now,


assure you ; and to convince you of it, if you will attend me to Nottingham, or give me a night's lodging in your house, here is something to pay you for your trouble-(offering money)—and if that is not sufficient, I will satisfy you in the morning to your utmost desire.

Miller. Ay, now I am convinced you are a courtier: here is a little bribe for to-day, and a large promise for to morrow, both in a breath. Here, take it again—John Cockle is no courtier, He can do what he ought without a bribe.

King Thou art a very extraordinary man, I must own, and I should be glad, methinks, to be further acquainted with thee.

Miller. Prithee, don't thee and thou me at this rate. I suppose I am as good a man as yourself, at least.

King Sir, I beg pardon.

Miller. Nay, I am not angry, friend; only I don't love to be too familiar with you until I am satisfied as to your honesty.

« PreviousContinue »