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Thence, o'er wide shrubby heaths and furrow'd lanes,
We come where Thames divides the meads of Staines.
We ferry'd o'er; for late the winter's flood
Shook her frail bridge, and tore her piles of wood.
Prepar'd for war, now Bagshot-heath we cross,
Where broken gamesters oft' repair their loss.
At Hartley-row the foaming bit we prest,
While the fat landlord welcom'd every guest.
Supper was ended, healths the glasses crown'd,
Our host extollid his wine at every round;
Relates the justices late meeting there,
How many bottles drank, and what their cheer;
What lords had been his guests in days of yore,
And prais’d their wisdom much, their drinking more.
Ler travellers the morning-vigils keep :
The morning rose, but we lay fast asleep.
Twelve tedious miles we bore the sultry fun,
And Popham-lane was scarce in sight by one :
The ftraggling village harbour'd thieves of old,
'Twas here the stage-coach'd lass resign'd her gold;
That gold which had in London purchas'd gowns,
And sent her home a belle to country towns.
But robbers haunt no more the neighbouring wood :
Here unown'd infants find their daily food ;
For, should the maiden-mother nurfe her son,
'Twould spoil her match when her good name is gone.
Our jolly hostess nineteen children bore,
Nor fail'd her breast to fuckle nineteen more.
Be just, ye prudes, wipe off the long arrear:
Be virgins still in town, but mothers here.
Sutton we pass, and Icave her spacious down,
And with the setting fun reach Stockbridge town.
O'er our parch'd tongue the rich metheglin glides,
And the red dainty trout our knife divides.
Sad melancholy every visage wears ;
What! no election come in seven long years !
Of all our race of Mayors, thall Snow * alone
Be by Sir Richard's dedication known?
Our streets no more with rides of ale shall float,
Nor coblers feast three years upon one vote.
Next morn, twelve miles led o'er th’unbounded plain,
Where the cloak'd shepherd guides his Acecy train.
No leafy bowers a noon-day shelter lend,
Nor from the chilly dews at night defend :
With wondrous art, he counts the straggling flock,
And by the sun informs you what 's o'clock.
How are our shepherds fall’n from antient days !
No Amaryllis chaunts alternate lays ;
From her no listening echos learn to fing,
Nor with his reed the jocund valleys ring.
Here sheep the pasture hide, there harvests bend,
See Sarum’s steeple o'er yon hill ascend;
Our horses faintly trot beneath the heat,
And our keen stomachs know the hour to eat.
* Sir Richard Steele, member for Stockbridge, wrote a treatise called “The Importance of Dunkirk consi“ dered," and dedicated it to Mr. John Snow, Bailiff of Stockbridge. GAY. - Dr. Swift wrote a humourous treatise in answer to it, called “ The Importance of the “ Guardian considered, in a Second Letter to the Bailiff " of Stockbridge, 1713,” N.
Who can forsake thy walls, and not admire
The proud cathedral, and the lofty fpire ?
What fempstress has not prov'd thy scislars good ?
From hence first came th' intriguing riding-hood.
Amid * three boarding-schools well stock'd with miffes,
Shall three knight-errants ftarve for want of kisses ?
O'er the green turf the miles slide swift
And Blandford ends the labours of the day.
The morning rose; the supper reckoning paid,
And our due fees discharg’d to man and maid,
The ready oftler near the stirrup stands,
And, as we mount, our half-pence load his hands,
Now the steep hill fair Dorchester o’erlooks,
Border'd by meads, and wath'd by filver brooks..
Here sleep my two companions eyes fuppreft,
And propt in elbow-chairs they snoring rest :
I weary fit, and with my pencil trace
Their painful postures, and their eyeless face;
Then dedicate cach glass to fome fair name,
And on the fall the diamond scrawls my flame.
Now o'er true Roman way our horses sound,
Grævius would kneel, and kiss the sacred ground.
On either side low fertile valley's lie,
The distant prospects tire the traveling eye.
Through Bridport's stony lanes our route we take,
And the proud steep descend to Morcombe's lake.
As hearses pass d, our landlord robb’d the pall,
And with the mournful scutcheon hung his hall.
* There are three boarding-schools in this town. Gay.
On unadulterate wine we here regale,
And strip the lobster of his scarlet mail.
We climb’d the hills, when starry night arose,
And Axminster affords a kind repose.
The maid, fubdued by fees, her trunk unlocks,
And gives the cleanly aid of dowlafs-smocks.
Mean time our shirts her busy fingers rub,
While the soap lathers o'er the foaming tub.
If women's geer such pleasing dreams incite,
Lend us your fmocks, ye damsels, every night!
We rise, our beards demand the barber's art;
A female enters, and performs the part.
The weighty golden chain adorns her neck,
And three gold rings her skilful hand bedeck:
Smooth o'er our chin her easy fingers move,
Soft as when Venus stroak’d the beard of Jove.
Now from the steep, midst scatter'd farms and grovesy,
Our eye through Honiton's fair valley roves.
Behind us soon the busy town we leave,
Where finest lace industrious laffes weave.
Now swelling clouds rollid on; the rainy load
Stream'd down our hats, and smoak'd along the road ;;
When (O bleft fight !) a friendly sign we spy’d,
Our spurs are slacken'd from the horses side;
For sure a civil host the house commands,
Upon whose sign this courteous motto stands,
• This is the ancient hand, and eke the pen ;
“ Here is for horses hay, and meat for men.”
How rhyme would flourish, did each son of fame :
Know his own genius, and direct his flame !
Then he, that could not Epic flights rehearse,
Might sweetly mourn in Elegiac verse.
But,' were his Muse for Elegy unfit,
Perhaps a distich might not strain his wit;
If Epigram offend, his harmless lines
Might in gold letters swing on ale-house signs.
Then Hobbinol might propagate his bays,
And Tuttle-fields record his simple lays ;
Where rhymes like these might lure the nurses' eyes,
While gaping infants squawl for farthing pies :
“ Treat here, ye shepherds blithe, your damsels swect,
“ For pies and cheesecakes are for damsels meet."
Then Maurus in his proper sphere might shine,
And these proud numbers grace great William's fign:
“ This is the man, this the Naslovian, whom
“ I nam'd the brave deliverer to come *.”
But now the driving gales suspend the rain,
We mount our steeds, and Devon's city gain.
Hail, happy native land ! — but I forbear,
What other counties must with envy hear.
* Blackmore's Prince Arthur, Book V.