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THE YEARLY DISTRESS, OR TITHING TIME
AT STOCK IN ESSEX.
Verses addressed to a Country Clergyman, complaining of the
disagreeableness of the day annually appointed for receiving the Dues at the Parsonage.
COME, ponder well, for 'tis no jest,
To laugh it would be wrong,
The troubles of a worthy priest,
The burthen of my song.
This priest he merry is and blithe
Three quarters of a year
But oh! it cuts him like a sithe,
When tithing time draws near,
He then is full of fright and fears,
As one at point to die,
And long before the day appears,
He heaves up many a sigh.
For then the farmers come jog, jog,
Along the miry road,
Each heart as heavy as a log,
To make their payments good.
In sooth the sorrow of such days
Is not to be express'd,
When he that takes and he that pays
Are both alike distress'd.
Much less transfix his feelings with an oath;
Nor frown, unless he vanish with the cloth
And, trust me, his utility may reach
To more than he is hired or bound to teach ;
1 Much trash unutter'd, and some ills 'undone, s ro Through reverence of the censor of thy son.
But, if thy table be indeed unclean, Foul with excess, and with discourse obscene, 3-: And thou a wretch, whom, following her old plan, The world accounts an honourable man, Because forsooth thy courage has been tried, il And stood the test, perhaps on the wrong side () Though thou hadst never grace enough to prove That any thing but vice could win thy love,u. but Or hast thou a polite, card-playing wife, 1- ,916 W Chain’d to the routs that she frequents for life ;1. Who, just when industry begins to snore, Flies, wing’d with joy, to some coach crowded door ; And thrice in every winter throngs thine own-.ll With half the chariots and sedans in town Thyself meanwhile e'en shifting as thou mayst;
ud Not very sober though, nor very chaste; Or is thine house, though less superb thy rank, If not a scene of pleasure, a mere blank, And thou at best, and in thy soberest mood, A trifler vain, and empty of all good ;
.1 , : Though mercy for thyself thou canst have none, i Hear Nature plead, show mercy to thy son. Saved from his home, where every day brings forth Some mischief fatal to his future worth,
Find him a better in a distant spot,
Within some pious pastor's humble cot,
Where vile example (yours I chiefly mean,
The most seducing, and the oftenest seen)
May never more be stamp'd upon his breast,
Not yet perhaps incurably impress'd.
Where early rest makes early rising sure,
Disease or comes not, or finds easy cure,
Prevented much by diet neat and plain ;
Or, if it enter, soon starved out again :
Where all the attention of his faithful host,
Discreetly limited to two at most,
May raise such fruits as shall reward his care,
And not at last evaporate in air :
Where, stillness aiding study, and his mind
Serene, and to his duties much inclined,
Not occupied in day dreams, as at home,
Of pleasures past, or follies yet to come,
His virtuous toil may terminate at last
In settled habit and decided taste.-
But whom do I advise ? the fashion-led,
The incorrigibly wrong, the deaf, the dead !
Whom care and cool deliberation suit
Not better much than spectacles a brute ;
Who, if their sons some slight tuition share,
Deem it of no great moment whose, or where;
Too proud to adopt the thoughts of one unknown,
And much too gay to have any of their own.
But courage, man! methought the Muse replied,
Mankind are various, and the world is wide :
The ostrich, silliest of the feather'd kind,
And form'd of God without a parent's mind,
Commits her eggs, incautious; to the dust,
Forgetful that the foot may crush the trust ;
And, while on public nurseries they rely,
Not knowing, and too oft not caring, why,
Irrational in what they thus prefer,
No few, that would seem wise, resemble her.) 1,1
But all are not alike. Thy warning voice ..
May here and there prevent erroneous choice'; N
And some, perhaps, who, busy as they are, s, ter; }
Yet make their progeny their dearest care, son)
(Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills may reach
Their offspring, left upon so wild a beach,) 910
Will need no stress of argument to enforce'widt
The expedience of a less adventurous course :
The rest will slight thy counsel, or condemn 1
But they have human feelings-turn to them. : 2
To you, then, tenants of life's middle state, il
Securely placed between the small and great,3(I
Whose character, yet undebauch’d, retains
Two-thirds of all the virtue that remains, i
Who, wise yourselves, desire your sons should learn
Your wisdom and your ways-to you I turn.”.
Look round you on a world perversely blind ;
See what contempt is fallen on human kind;
See wealth abused, and dignities misplaced,
Great titles, offices, and trusts disgraced,
Long lines of ancestry, renown'd of old,
Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold ;
See Bedlam's closeted and handcuff’d charges or'!
Surpass d in frenzy by the mad at large;l nitri
See great commanders making war a trade, - ;, 181,07
Great lawyers, lawyers without study made ; 11. 1i
Churchmen, in whose esteem their best employ... ł
Is odious, and their wages all their joy,
Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves yo!
With Gospel lore, turn infidels themselves ;
See womanhood despised, and manhood shamed
With infamy too nauseous to be named,
Fops at all corners, ladylike in mien,
Civeted fellows, smelt ere they are seen,
Else coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue
On fire with curses, and with nonsense hung,
Now flush'd with drunkenness, now with whoredom
Their breath a sample of last night's regale ;
See volunteers in all the vilest arts,
Men well endow'd, of honourable parts,
Design'd by Nature wise, but self-made fools ;
All these, and more like these, were bred at schools.
And if it chance, as sometimes chance it will,
That though school-bred the boy be virtuous still ; ;
Such rare exceptions, shining in the dark,
Prove, rather than impeach, the just remark ;
As here and there a twinkling star descried
Serves but to show how black is all beside.
Now look on him, whose very voice in tone
Just echoes thine, whose features are thine own,