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Bel. My dear Charles, I am happy to see you. True, I find, to the first of September.
Capt. B. I meant to have been here last night, but one of my wheels broke, and I was obliged to sleep at a village six miles distant, where I left my chaise, and took a boat down the river at day-break. But your corn is not off the ground.
Bel. You know our harvest is late in the north, but you will find all the lands cleared on the other side the mountain.
Capt. B. And pray, brother, how are the partridges this season?
Bel. There are' twenty coveys within sight of my house, and the dogs are in fine order.
Cupt. B. The game-keeper is this moment leading them round. I am fir'd at the sight. What sport! What health!
With bosoms right jocund and gay,
• Guin health by the sports of the day.
See Diana! she points !-see, they rise
• In thunder replies,
Bel. True, brother, you gain health by the sports of the field; but it is at the expence of your humanity. The creatures are given us for our use and sustenance, not that we should take delight in their blood. We should have no favourable idea of the humanity of the man who would become his own butcher for his amusement. Diversion and health may be better obtained by other means.
Cant. B. [ Aside.] But where is my little rustic, charmer? O! there she is. I am transported. Pray, brother, is not that the little girl whose dawning beauty we admired so much last year?.
Bel. It is, and more lovely than ever. I shall dine in the field.with my reapers to-day, * brother: will you share our rural repast, or have a dinner prepared at the manor-house?
Capt. B. By no means : pray let me be of your party : your plan is an admirable one, especially if your girls are handsome. I'll walk round the field, and meet you at dinner-time.
Bel. Come this way, Rustic; I have some orders to - give you.
[Exeunt Belville and Rustic. [Capt. Belville goes up to Rosina, gleans a few
ears, and presents them to her; she refuses them;
she runs out, he follows her. Enter William [speaking at the side scene.] Will. Lead the dogs back, James, the captain won't shoot to-day (seeing Rustic and Phabe behind.] indeed ? so close? I don't half like it.
* What a delightful picture of primitive manners is this! What a source of happiness, hoth to the peasant and the landlord, were it generally practised ! Dr. Hey, in his Lectures, on the ixth Article, Sect. XLIV. recommends an attention to Agriculture, in a relia gious point of view, as a remedy for one of the Denunciations made on occasion of the offence of our first Parents : " Labour might be “ improved, or the evil of it diminished, by every one's sharing in " it ; with a view 10 health, and other ends; and by improving the "condition of those, who earn a subsistence by Labour.- Asalso by “ cootriving to have incitements to labour from some poble or af. “ fecuing sentiment ; for we know, that, in the warmth of friend"ship, compassion, emulation, &c. the evil of labour is entirely an.
nihilated. Among these incitements should be, the hope of suc« cess; to which it would contribute greatly, if i be materials were All improved on which men labour.” Vol. lll. p. 191.
Enter Rustic and Prebe. Rus. That's a good girl! do as I bid you, and you shan't want encouragement. [He goes up to the Reapers, and William
comes forward, Will. O, no; I dare say she won't. So, Mrs. Phæbe !
Phæ. And so, Mr. William, if you go to that! Will. A new sweetheart, I'll answer for it, and a pretty comely lad he is : but he's rich, and that's enough to win a woman.
Phæ. I don't desaroe this of you, William : but I'm rightly sarved for being such an easy fool. You think, mayhap, I'm on my last legs; but you may find yourself mistaken.
Will. You do right to cry out first; you think belike that I did not see you take that posy from Harry.
Phæ. And you belike that I did not catch you tying up one of the cornflowers and wild roses for the miller's maid: but I'll be fooled' no longer; I have done with you, Mr. William.
Will. I shan't break my heart, Mrs. Phæbe. The miller's maid loves the ground I walk on.'
As fair as ey'd e'er wish to see;
The maid of the mill for me.
And call’d me the fairest she;
Young Harry's the lad for me.
Her face like the blossom in May;
Her teeth are as white as the new-shorn flock, *
Her breath like the new-made hay.
His cheeks are as fresh as the rose;
When drest in his Sunday clothes.'
[Go off on different sides of the stage. [ As they go off, Rosina runs across the stage, Capt.
Bclville following her..
Capt. B. Stay, and hear me, Rosina. Why will you fatigue yourself thus ? only homely girls are born to work-your obstinacy is vain; you shall hear me.
Ros. Why do you stop me, Sir ? my time is precious. When the gleaning season is over, will you make up my loss?
Capt. B. Yes.
Ros. Will it be any advantage to you to make me lose my day's work?
Capt. B. Yes.
Rós. Would it give you pleasure to see me pass all my days in idleness ?
Capt. B. Yes.
Ros. We differ greatly then, Sir: I only wish for so much leisure as makes me return to my work with fresh
* " Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, “ which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, " and none is barren among them." Song of Solomon, iv, 8.
Thy pearly teeth are like a new-shorn flock
Dr drooping on the plain, or on the white wave tost. See Mrs. FRANCIS's Poetical Translation of the Song of Solomon, 40. 1781, p. 42. Jo which this beautiful Poem is arranged as a - Drama, as it is supposed originally to have been.
spirit. We labour all the week 'tis true; but then how sweet is our rest on Sunday !*
Whilst with village maids I stray,
Mild Content the constant guest.
Ros. Let me call my mother, Sir, I am young, and can support myself by my labour; but she is old and helpless, and your charity will be well bestowed. Please to transfer to her the bounty you intended for
Capt. B. Why-ras to that
Ros. I understand you, Sir ; your compassion does not extend to old women. Capt. B. Really-I believe not.
* The Village Sabbath always appears to me to have a peculiar charm. There is a sober cheerfulness in it, which the sabbath in a town always seems to want, and I attribute it to this reason, that in a town the shops, which are generally a large proportion of the fronts of the principal streets, being shut up, give it a gloomy appearance ; whereas, in a village, there being few shops, there is less difference in that respect ; and the cessation from labour, and the inhabitants heing dreseed neat, and in their best clothes, gives a festive appearance to the day. Poets seem greatly to participate in this pleasure, Mr. Coleridge says of Domestic Peace, in the Song, in his Tragedy of The Fall of Robespiere,
" In a cottag'd vale she dwells,
“ List'oing to the Sabbath bells." Cowper makes it one of the circumstances of regret to Alexander Selkirk, during his solitary abode in the island of Juan Fernandez:
the sound of the church-going bell
These vallies and rocks never heard,
Or smil'd when a sabbath appear'd. See also Grahame's Poem of The Sabbath, and Cockin's Rural. · Sabbath.