« PreviousContinue »
In sooth, the sorrow of such days
Is not to be expressed,
When he that takes and he that pays
Are both alike distressed.
Now all unwelcome at his gates:
The clumsy swains alight,
With rueful faces and bald pates-
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,
Yet, not to give offence or grieve,
Holds up the cloth before.
The punch goes round, and they are dull
And lumpish still as ever;
Like barrels with their bellies full,
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,
And one of pigs, that he has lost
By maggots at the tail.
Quoth one, 'A rarer man than you
⚫ In pulpit none shall hear:
But yet, methinks, to tell you true,
'You sell it plaguy dear.'
Oh, why are farmers made so coarse,
Or clergy made so fine!
A kick that scarce would move a horse,
May kill a sound divine.
Then let the boobies stay at home;
"Twould cost him, I dare say,
Less trouble taking twice the sum,
Without the clowns that pay.
ADDRESSED TO HENRY COWPER, ESQ.
On his emphatical and interesting delivery of the defence of
Warren Hastings, Esq. in the House of Lords.
CowPER, whose silver voice, tasked sometimes hard,
Legends prolix delivers in the ears
(Attentive when thou readest) of England's peers, Let verse at length yield thee thy just reward.
LINES ADDRESSED TO DR. DARWIN. 169 Thou wast not heard with drowsy disregard, Expending late on all that length of plea Thy generous powers, but silence honoured thee Mute as ever gazed an Orator or Bard. Thou art not voice alone, but hast beside
Both heart and head; and couldst with music sweet Of Attic phrase and senatorial tone, Like thy renowned forefathers, far and wide Thy fame diffuse, praised not for utterance meet Of others' speech, but magic of thy own.
ADDRESSED TO DR. DARWIN.
Author of the Botanic Garden.
Two Poets* (poets, by report,
Not oft so well agree),
Sweet Harmonist of Flora's court!
Conspire to honour Thee.
They best can judge a poet's worth,
Who oft themselves have known
The pangs of a poetic birth
By labours of their own.
We therefore pleased extol thy song,
Though various yet complete,
Rich in embellishment as strong,
And learned as 'tis sweet.
No envy mingles with our praise,
Though, could our hearts repine
At any poet's happier lays,
They would-they must at thine.
* Alluding to the poem by Mr. Hayley, which accompanied this.
But we, in mutual bondage knit
Of friendship's closest tie,
Can gaze on even Darwin's wit
With an unjaundiced eye;
And deem the bard, whoever he be,
And howsoever known,
Who would not twine a wreath for Thee,
Unworthy of his own.
MRS. MONTAGUE'S FEATHER-HANGINGS.
THE Birds put off their every hue
To dress a room for Montague.
The Peacock sends his heavenly dyes,
His rainbows and his starry eyes;
The Pheasant, plumes, which round infold
His mantling neck with downy gold;
The Cock, his arched tail's azure show;
And, river blanched, the Swan, his snow.
All tribes beside of Indian name,
That glossy shine or vivid flame,
Where rises and where sets the day,
Whate'er they boast of rich and gay,
Contribute to the gorgeous plan,
Proud to advance it all they can.
This plumage neither dashing shower,
Nor blasts, that shake the dripping bower,
Shall drench again or discompose,
But screened from every storm that blows,
It boasts a splendour ever new,
Safe with protecting Montague.
To the same patroness resort,
Secure of favour at her court,
Strong Genius, from whose forge of thought
Forms rise, to quick perfection wrought,
Which, though new-born, with vigour move
Like Pallas springing armed from Jove-
Imagination scattering round
Wild roses over furrowed ground,
Which Labour of his frown beguile,
And teach Philosophy a smile-
Wit flashing on Religion's side,
Whose fires to sacred Truth applied,
The gem, though luminous before,
Obtrude on human notice more,
Like sun-beams on the golden height
Of some tall temple playing bright-
Well-tutored Learning, from his books
Dismissed with grave, not haughty, looks,
Their order on his shelves exact,
Not more harmonious or compact
Than that, to which he keeps confined
The various treasures of his mind-
All these to Montague's repair,
Ambitious of a shelter there.
There Genius, Learning, Fancy, Wit,
The ruffled plumage calm refit
(For stormy troubles loudest roar
Around their flight who highest soar),
And in her eye, and by her aid,
Shine safe without a fear to fade.
She thus maintains divided sway
With yon bright regent of the day;
The Plume and Poet both we know
Their lustre to his influence owe;
And she the works of Phoebus aiding,
Both Poet saves and Plume from fading.