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SHEEP-TENDING ; FARMING ; PEACE.
O, happy plains, remote from war's alarms, And all the ravages of hostile arms ! And happy shepherds, who, secure from fear, On open downs preserve your fleecy care ! Whose spacious barns groan with increasing store, And whirling flails disjoint the cracking floor! No barbarous soldier, bent on cruel spoil, Spreads desolation o'er your fertile soil ; No trampling steed lays waste the ripened grain, Nor crackling fires devour the promised gain • No flaming beacons cast their blaze afar, The dreadful signal of invasive war : No trumpet's clangor wounds the mother's ear, And calls the lover from his swooning fair.
Nor on the velvet couch invites disease ;
THE COUNTRY GIRL DESCRIBED; HER HAPPY LOT.
ADIEU TO THE COUNTRY.
What happiness the rural maid attends,
- Such happiness, and such unblemished fame,
Ye happy fields, unknown to noise and strife, The kind rewarders of industrious life ; Ye shady woods, where once I used to rove, Alike indulgent to the muse and love ; Ye murmuring streams that in meanders roll, The sweet composers of the pensive soul ; Farewell !— The city calls me from your bowers : Farewell ! amusing thoughts and peaceful hours.
Tusser's "March's Husbandry."
WHITE peason, both good for the pot and the purse,
From moon being changed, till past be the prime,
i These extracts are from that rare old Farmer's book, * Tusser's Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry,' first published in England, in Elizabeth's reign, three hundred years ago. The precepts were given in rhyme, so as to be fixed in the memory.
2 8 St. Gregory's day is the 12th of March ; Pasque, or Easter, foll about a month after.
4 Goeler, perhaps yellower.'
Rustic Ballads for Mareh.
“ ROBIN HOOD AND GUY OF GISBORNE.” 1
Whan shaws been sheene, and shraddes full fayre,
And leaves both large and longe,
To hear the small birdes songe.?
Sitting upon the spray,
In the greenwood where he lay.
A sweaven I had this night ;
That fast with me 'gan fight.
And took my bow me froe ; If I be Robin alive in this land
I'll be wroken on them towe. Sweavens are swift, said Little John,
As the wind blows over the hill ;
To-morrow it may be still.
And John shall go with me,
In greenwood where they be.
And took their bows each one ;
A shooting forth are gone ;
Where they had gladdest to be :
That leaned against a tree.
Of many a man the bane ;
Top and tayll and mayne.
Stand still, master, quoth Little John,
Under this tree so green,
To know what he doth mean.
And that I farley find :
And tarry myself behind ?
An a man but hear him speak;
John, I thy head would break.
So they parted Robin and John ; And John is going to Barnesdale :
The gates he knoweth each one.
Great heaviness there he had,
Were slain both in a slade.
Fast over stock and stone, For the proud sheriffe with seven score men
Fast after him is gone.
With his might and mayne ;
To stop he shall be fain.
And settled him to shoot ;
And fell down at his foot.
That ever thou grew on tree ; For now this day thou art my bale,
My boote when thou should be. His shoote it was but loosely shot,
Yet flew not the arrow in vain,
And William a Trent was slain.
To have been abed with sorrow,
To meet with Little John's arrow. For is it was said, when men be met,
Five can do more than three, The sheriff hath taken Little John
And bound him fast to a tree.
1 About the year 1190, in Richard First's reign, were many outlaws, among whom Robin Hood and Little John were most renowned. Robin, says Stowe, 'entertained an hundred tall men, and good archers, with such spoils and thefts as he got, upon whom four hundred (were they ever so strong) durst not give the onset.' He suffered no woman to be molested, sparing poor men's goods, and relieving them with what he got from abbeys and the rich. Maior calls him of all theeves the prince and most gentle theef.'
? The antique spelling of this old English ballad, of uncertain, but quite ancient date, is retained in this first verse.
Thou shalt be drawn by dale and down,
And hanged high on a hill.
If it be Christ his will.
And think of Robin Hood,
Where under the leaves he stood.
Good-morrow, good fellow, quo' he : Methinks, by this bow thou bears in thy hand,
A good archer thou should'st be.
And of my morning tyde.
Good fellow, I'll be thy guide.
Men call him Robin Hood;
Than forty pound so good.
And Robin thou soon shalt see :
Under the greenwood tree.
Among the woods so even ;
Here at some unsett steven.
That grew both under a breere,
To shoot the prickes y-fere.
Lead on, I do bid thee.
My leader thou shalt be.
He mist but an inch it fro :
But he could never do so.
He shot within the garland :
For he clave the good pricke-wande.
Good fellow, thy shooting is good ;
Thou wert better than Robin Hood.
Under the leaves of lyne.
Till thou have told me thine.
And Robin to take I'm sworn ;
I am Guy of good Gisborne.
My dwelling is in this wood, says Robin,
By thee I set right naught :
Whom thou so long has sought.
Might have seen a full fayre sight,
With blades both brown and bright :
Two hours of a summer's day :
Them settled to fly away.
And stumbled at that tyde ;
And hit him upon the side.
That art both mother and may,
To die before his day !
And soon leapt up again ;
And he Sir Guy hath slayne.
And stuck it upon his bow's end :
Which thing must have an end. Robin pulled forth an Irysh knife,
And nicked Sir Guy in the face,
Could know whose head it was.
And with me be not wroth :
Thou shalt have the better cloth. Robin did off his gown of green
And on Sir Guy did throw,
That clad him top to toe.
Now with me I will bear;
To see how my men do fare.
And a loud blast in it did blow,
As he leaned under a lowe.
I hear now tidings good,
And he hath slain Robin Hood.
It blows so well in tyde ;
Clad in his capull hyde.
Come hither, come hither, thou good Sir Guy;
Ask what thou wilt of me. 0 I will none of thy gold, said Robin,
Nor I will none of thy fee :
But now I have slain the master, he says,
Let me go strike the knave; For this is all the meed I ask,
None other reward I 'll have.
Thou art a madman, said the sheriff,
Thou shouldst have had a knight's fee : But seeing thy asking has been so bad,
Well granted it shall be.
When Little John heard his master speak,
Well knew he it was his steven : Now shall I be looset, quoth Little John,
With Christ his might in heaven.
Fast Robin he hied him to Little John,
He thought to loose him blive ; The sheriff and all his company
Fast after him 'gan drive.
Stand aback, stand aback, said Robin,
Why draw you me so near ? It was never the use in our countryè
Ono's shrift another should hear.
DRAYTON'S “ ROBIN IN SHERWOOD.”
In this our spacious isle, I think there is not one, But he hath heard some talk of him and Little John; And to the end of time the tale shall ne'er be done, Of Scarlock, George-a-Green, and Much the Miller's
son, Of Tuck the merry friar, which many a sermon made In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade.
An hundred valiant men had this same Robin Hood, Still ready at his call, that bowmen were right good, All clad in Lincoln green, with caps of red and blue; His fellows' winded horn, not one of them but knew, When setting to their lips their little beugles shrill, The warbling echoes waked from every dale and hill: Their bauldrichs set with studs, athwart their shoulders cast,
(fast, To which under their arms their sheafs were buckled A short sword at their belt, a buckler scarce a span, Who struck below the knee, not counted they a man; All made of Spanish yew, their bows were wondrous
strong, They not an arrow shot, but was as a cloth-yard long.
Of archery they had the very perfect craft; With broad-arrow, or but, or prick, or roving shaft, At marks full forty score, they used to prick and rove, Yet higher than the breast for compass never strove; Yet at the farthest mark a foot could hardly win : At long-buts, short and hoyles, each one could cleave
the pin : Their arrows finely paired for timber and for feather, With birch and brazil pieced, to fly in any weather; And shot they with the round, the square or forked pile,
(mile ; The loose gave such a twang, as might be heard a And of these archers brave there was not any one But he could kill a deer his swiftest speed upon : Which they did boil or roast in many a mighty wood, Sharp hunger the fine sauce to their more kingly food. Then taking them to rest, his merry men and he Slept many a summer's night under the greenwood tree.
(dant store, From wealthy abbots' chests, and churls' abunWhat oftentimes he took he shared among the poor : No lordly bishop came in lusty Robin's way, To hiin before he went, but for his pass must pay : The widow in distress he graciously relieved, And remedied the wrongs of many a virgin grieved: He froin the husband's bed no married woman wan, But to his mistress dear, his lovéd Marian, Was ever constant known, who, wheresoe'er she came, Was sovereign of the woods, chief lady of the game : Her clothes tucked to the knee, and dainty braided hair,
(there With bow and quiver armed, she wandered here and Among the forests wild ; Diana never knew Such pleasures, nor such harts as Mariana slew.
But Robin pulled forth an Irish knife,
And loosed John hand and foot, And gave him Sir Guy's bow in his hand,
And bade it be his boote.
Then John he took Guy's bow in his hand,
His bolts and arrows each one ; When the sheriff saw Little John bend his bow,
He settled him to be gone.
Towards his house in Nottingham town
He fled full fast away : And so did all the company :
Not one behind would stay. * * *
Shaws, groves ; sheene, shining, in best array ; woodweele, woodwale ; faye, faith ; sweaven, dream; wighty, stalwart, active ; froe, from ; wroken, revenged ; bowne, get ready ; yond, yonder ; had gladdest, were most glad, had far rather ; ware, aware ; capull hyde, horse-hide ; top, tayl, and mayne, from top to toe ; farley, strange ; an, if ; bale, misfortune, trouble; gates, ways, paths, passes ; slade, slaughter ; stocke, bush ; wends, goes ; fain, willing ; worth, betide ; boote, gooil, good luck, cause of joy, help ; wilful, mistrustful; quo', said ; tyde, time, season ; masterye, trial of skill ; unsett steven, without previous appointment ; breere, brier ; prickes, pointed weapons; y-fere, together, in company ; prick-wande, peeled twig or rod set up for a mark ; lyne, linden, lime-tree ; kith, relation; fayre, fair ; reachles, reckless, careless, unmindful ; may, maiden ; nicked, gashed ; knave, man, serving-man í blive, belike, you may well believe, forthwith.
Goldsmith's "Deserted Village."
THE VILLAGE OF AUBURN IN ITS PROSPERITY.
And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall ; SWEET Auburn ! loveliest village of the plain,
And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand, Where health and plenty cheered the laboring swain, Far, far away, thy children leave the land. Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
WEALTH OF LESS VALUE THAN A HAPPY, MANLY PEASANTRY ;
SMALL FREEHOLDS COMMENDED ; CHANGES THROCGH AVAAnd parting summer's lingering blooms delayed.
RICE; MOURNFUL CONTRASTS.
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay ;
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade ; Where humble happiness endeared each scene !
A breath can make them, as a breath has made : How often have I paused on every charm, The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
When once destroyed can never be supplied.
A time there was, ere England's griefs began, The decent church that topt the neighboring hill, The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
When every rood of ground maintained its man ;
For him light labor spread her wholesome store, For talking age and whispering lovers made !
Just gave what life required, but gave no more ; VILLAGE PASTIMES ; DANCING ; SPORTIVE INNOCENCE. His best companions, innocence and health ; How often have I blest the coming day,
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth. When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
But times are altered ; trade's unfeeling train And all the village train, from labor free,
Usurp the land and dispossess the swain ; Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree ;
Along the lawn, where scattered hamlets rose,
Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose ; While many a pastime circled in the shade,
And every want to luxury allied,
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
These gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that asked but little room, And still as each repeated pleasure tired,
Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful scene, Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired ;
Lived in each look, and brightened all the green ; The dancing pair that simply sought renown,
ese, far departing, seek a kinder shore, By holding out, to tire each other down ;
And rural mirth and manners are no more.
REMINISCENCES AND DISAPPOINTMENT.
Sweet Auburn ! parent of the blissful hour, The matron's glance that would those looks reprove.
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power. These were thy charms, sweet village ! sports like Here, as I take my solitary'rounds, these,
Amidst thy tangling walks, and ruined grounds, With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please ; And, many a year elapsed, return to view These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed, Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew, These were thy charms- but all these charms are fled. Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain. DESOLATING EFFECTS OF LAND-MONOPOLY ON THE VILLAGE.
In all my wanderings round this world of care, Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, In all my griefs — and God has given my shareThy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn ; I still had hopes my latest hours to crown, Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down ; And desolation saddens all thy green :
To husband out life's taper at the close, One only master grasps the whole domain,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose : And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain.
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still, No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
Amidst the swains to show my book-learned skill, But, choked with sedges, works its weedy way ; Around my fire an evening group to draw, Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw ; The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest; And, as a hare whom hounds and horns pursue Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
Pants to the place from whence at first she few, And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.
I still had hopes, my long vexations past, Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
Here to return - and die at home at last.