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More briskly moved by his severer toil ; Yet he too finds his own distress in theirs.
SCANTY LIGHTS AND SCANTY FARE OF THE HONEST POOR. -
The taper soon extinguished, which I saw Dangled along at the cold finger's end Just when the day declined ; and the brown loaf Lodged on the shelf, half-eaten without sauce Of savory cheese, or butter, costlier still ; Sleep seems their only refuge : for, alas ! Where penury is felt the thought is chained, And sweet colloquial pleasures are but few. With all this thrift they thrive not.
All the care Ingenious parsimony takes but just Saves the small inventory, bed, and stool, Skillet, and old carved chest, from public sale. They live, and live without extorted alms Froin grudging hands ; but other boast have none, To soothe their honest pride, that scorns to beg, Nor comfort else, but in their mutual love.
To better deeds, he bundles up the spoil,
ROBBING OF HEX-ROOSTS.
Nor will he leave Unwrenched the door, however well secured, Where Chanticleer amidst his harem sleeps In unsuspecting pomp. Twitched from the perch, He gives the princely bird, with all his wives, To his voracious bag, struggling in vain, And loudly wondering at the sudden change.
INTEMPERANCE, THE CRUEL CURSE. Nor this to feed his own. 'T were some excuse, Did pity of their sufferings warp aside His principle, and tempt him into sin For their support, so destitute. But they Neglected pine at home; themselves, as more Exposed than others, with less scruple made His victims, robbed of their defenceless all. Cruel is all he does. 'Tis quenchless thirst Of ruinous ebriety that prompts His every action, and imbrutes the man. 0, for a law to noose the villain's neck, Who starves his own; who persecutes the blood He gave them in his children's veins, and hates And wrongs the woman he has sworn to love !
PRISON CRIMINALS AND PAUPERS OFTEN BETTER FED TIAN
THE INDUSTRIOUS POOR.
LICENSED DRAM-SHOPS. Pass where we may, through city or through town, Village or hamlet of this merry land, Though lean and beggared, every twentieth pace Conducts the unguarded nose to such a whiff Of stale debauch, forth issuing from the styes That law has licensed, as makes temperance reel.
THE GROG-SHOP AND ITS INMATES. - DISCORD PERSONIFIED.
TUB POOR ENCOCRAGED. - TRCE CIIARITY. But be ye of good courage ! Time itself Shall much befriend you. Time shall give increase; And all your numerous progeny, well trained But helpless, in few years shall find their hands, And labor too. Meanwhile ye shall not want What, conscious of your virtues, we can spare, Nor what a wealthier than ourselves may send. I mean the man who, when the distant poor Need help, denies them nothing but his name.
SLOTH AND WASTE CHIEFLY ORIGINATE BEGGARY AND
But poverty with most, who whimper forth Their long complaints, is self-inflicted woe ; The effect of laziness or sottish waste. Now goes the nightly thief prowling abroad For plunder ; much solicitous how best He may compensate for a day of sloth By works of darkness and nocturnal wrong.
There sit, involved and lost in curling clouds Of Indian fume, and guzzling deep, the boor,
The lackey, and the groom : the craftsman there | Takes a Lethean leave of all his toil ;
Smith, cobbler, joiner, he that plies the shears,
Woe to the gardener's pale, the farmer's hedge, Plashed neatly, and secured with driven stakes Deep in the loamy bank. Uptorn by strength, Resistless in so bad a cause, but lame
DRAM-SHOPS ARE SCHOOLS.
For more than half the tresses it sustains ;
Behold the schools in which plebeian minds, Once simple, are initiated in arts, Which some may practise with politer grace, But none with readier skill ! — 't is here they learn The road that leads from competence and peace To indigence and rapine ; till at last Society, grown weary of the load, Shakes her encumbered lap, and casts them out. WHY THE DRAM-SHOP CANNOT BE SUPPRESSED ; IT HELPS
THE PUBLIC REVENUE. BESOTTED PATRIOTISM. But censure profits little : vain the attempt To advertise in verse a public pest, That, like the filth with which the peasant feeds Ilis hungry acres, stinks, and is of use. The excise is fattened with the rich result Of all this riot ; and ten thousand casks, Forever dribbling out their base contents, Touched by the Midas finger of the state, Bleed gold for ministers to sport away. Drink, and be mad, then ; 't is your country bids ! Gloriously drunk obey the important call ! Her cause demands the assistance of your throats; – Ye all can swallow, and she asks no more.
THE TOWN AS STAINED THE COUNTRY.-FASHION HAS
USURPED RURAL MANNERS. SAFETY. The town has tinged the country; and the stain Appears a spot upon a vestal's robe, The worse for what it soils. The fashion runs Down into scenes still rural ; but, alas ! Scenes rarely graced with rural manners now ! Time was when in the pastoral retreat The unguarded door was safe ; men did not watch To invade another's right, or guard their own. Then sleep was undisturbed by fear, unscared By drunken howlings ; and the chilling tale Of midnight murder was wonder heard With doubtful credit, told to frighten babes.
THE SECURITY OF THE COUNTRY HAS CEASED. But farewell now to unsuspicious nights, And slumbers unalarmed! Now, ere you sleep, See that your polished arms be primed with care, And drop the night-bolt ; — ruffians are abroad, And the first larum of the cock's shrill throat May prove a trumpet, summoning your ear To horrid.sounds of hostile feet within. Even daylight has its dangers ; and the walk Through pathless wastes and woods, unconscious once Of other tenants than melodious birds, Or harmless flocks, is hazardous and bold.
ARCADIAX INNOCENCE AND HAPPINESS. Would I had fallen upon those happier days, That poets celebrate ; those golden times, And those Arcadian scenes that Maro sings, And Sidney, warbler of poetic prose! Nymphs were Dianas then, and swains had hearts That felt their virtues : innocence, it seems, From courts dismissed, found shelter in the groves; The footsteps of simplicity, impressed Upon the yielding herbage (so they sing), Then were not all effaced : then speech profane, And manners profligate, were rarely found, Observed as prodigies, and soon reclaimed.
THE GOLDEN AGE INCREDIBLE NOW.
CAUSES OF DEGENERACY. - WEALTH. -- LUXURY. Lamented change ! to which full many a cause Inveterate, hopeless of a cure, conspires. The course of human things from good to ill, From ill to worse, is fatal, never fails. Increase of power begets increase of wealth ; Wealth luxury, and luxury excess ; Excess, the scrofulous and itchy plague, That seizes first the opulent, descends To the next rank contagious, and in time Taints downward all the graduated scale Of order, from the chariot to the plough.
THE RICH DESERT THEIR DUTY FOR PLEASURE, The rich, and they that have an arm to check The license of the lowest in degree, Desert their office ; and themselves, intent On pleasure, haunt the capital, and thus To all the violence of lawless hands Resign the scenes their presence might protect. Authority herself not seldom sleeps, Though resident, and witness of the wrong.
SLOTH OF SOME OF THE CLERGY. -CORRUPTION. The plump convivial parson often bears
The magisterial sword in vain, and lays
THE MILITARY SPIRIT A CURSE. --THE RUSTIC RECRUIT.
THE SOLDIER'S VICES. To swear, to game, to drink ; to show at home, By lewdness, idleness, and Sabbath-breach, The great proficiency he made abroad ; To astonish and to grieve his gazing friends ; To break some maiden's and his mother's heart; To be a pest where he was useful once ; Are his sole aim, and all his glory, now.
MAN IN THE FAMILY AND IN THE ARMY. A SIMILE.
Man in society is like a flower
man, associated and leagued with man
COMMERCIAL WARS. Hence chartered boroughs are such public plagues; And burghers, men immaculate perhaps In all their private functions, once combined, Become a loathsome body, only fit For dissolution, hurtful to the main. Hence merchants, unimpeachable of sin Against the charities of domestic life, Incorporated seem at once to lose Their nature ; and, disclaiming all regard For mercy and the common rights of man, Build factories with blood, conducting trade At the sword's point, and dying the white robe Of innocent commercial justice red.
But faster far, and more than all the rest, A noble cause, which none, who bears a spark of public virtue, ever wished removed, Works the deplored and mischievous effect. 'T is universal soldiership has stabbed The heart of merit in the meaner class. Arms, through the vanity and brainless rage of those that bear them, in whatever cause, Seem most at variance with all moral good, And incompatible with serious thought. The clown, the child of nature, without guile, Blessed with an infant's ignorance of all But his own simple pleasures ; now and then A wrestling match, a foot-race, or a fair ; Is ballotted, and trembles at the news : Sheopish he doffs his hat, and mumbling swears A Bible-oath to be whate'er they please, To do he knows not what. The task performed, That instant he becomes the sergeant's care, His pupil, and his torment, and his jest. His awkward gait, his introverted toes, Bent knees, round shoulders, and dejected looks, Procure him many a curse.
THE CLOWN TCRNED SOLDIER.
By slow degrees, Unapt to learn, and formed of stubborn stuff, He yet by slow degrees puts off himself, Grows conscious of a change, and likes it well : He stands erect; his slouch becomes a walk ; He steps right onward, martial in his air, His form and movement ; is as smart above As meal and larded locks can make him ; wears His hat, or his plumed helmet, with a grace ; And, his three years of heroship expired, Returns indignant to the slighted plough. He hates the field in which no fife or drum Attends him ; drives his cattle to a march ; And sighs for the smart comrades he has left. "T were well if his exterior change were all — But with his clumsy port the wretch has lost His ignorance and harmless manners too.
THE FIELD OF GLORY A SCHOOL. Hence too the field of glory, as the world Misdeems it, dazzled by its bright array, With all its majesty of thundering pomp, Enchanting music, and immortal wreaths, Is but a school, where thoughtlessness is taught On principle, where foppery atones For folly, gallantry for every vice. THE COUNTRY, WITH ALL ITS DRAWBACKS, STILL ATTRACTIVR.
But slighted as it is, and by the great Abandoned, and, which I still more regret, Infected with the manners and the modes It knew not once, the country wins me still. I never framed a wish, or formed a plan, That flattered me with hopes of earthly bliss, But there I laid the scene. There early strayed My fancy, ere yet liberty of choice Had found me, or the hope of being free. CHARMS OF RURAL POETRY. - VIRGIL'S ECLOGUES. -MILTOX.
My very dreams were rural ; rural too The first-born efforts of my youthful muse, Sportive and jingling her poetic bells,
Ere yet her ear was mistress of their powers.
COWLEY. -CHERTSEY PLACE.
Even in the stifling bosom of the town,
THE POOREST CIT TRIES TO CULTIVATE SOME PLANT OR
FLOWER. — THE CRAZY BOX AND BROKES PITCHER, WITH THEIR PLANTS.
The most unfurnished with the means of life, And they that never pass their brick-wall bounds, To range the fields, and treat their lungs with air, Yet feel the burning instinct: over head Suspend their crazy boxes, planted thick, And watered duly. There the pitcher stands A fragment, and the spoutless teapot there ; Sad witnesses how close-pent man regrets The country, with what ardor he contrives A peep at nature, when he can no more.
THE LOVE OF NATURE A UNIVERSAL ENDOWMENT. "T is born with all : the love of Nature's works Is an ingredient in the compound man, Infused at the creation of the kind. And, though the Almighty Maker has throughout Discriminated each from each, by strokes And touches of His hand, with so much art Diversified, that two were never found Twins at all points — yet this obtains in all, That all discern a beauty in His works, And all can taste them: minds that have been forined And tutored with a relish more exact, But none without some relish, none unmoved. It is a fame that dies not even there, Where nothing feeds it : neither business, crowds, Nor habits of luxurious city-life, Whatever else they smother of true worth In human bosoms, quench it or abate.
APOSTROPHE TO RURAL LIFE.
Just in the niche he was ordained to fill.
LOVE OF NATURE AS DISPLAYED IN CITIES. – VILLAS.
CITY CONSERVATORIES. - FLOWER-POTS.
1 A character of the Bucolics of Virgil, see p. 15.
Ballad for January.
HAMILTON'S “BRAES OF YARROW."
A. Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny bonny bride,
Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome marrow !
And think nae mair on the Braes of Yarrow. B. Where gat ye that bonny bonny bride?
Where gat ye that winsome marrow?
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow.
Weep not, weep not, my winsome marrow !
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow.
Why does she weep, thy winsome marrow ?
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow?
Pouing the birks on the Braes of Yarrow.
Her lover dear, the cause of sorrow,
That e'er poued birks on the Braes of Yarrow.
Why on thy braes heard the voice of sorrow?
Hung on the bonny birks of Yarrow ?
What 's yonder floats? O dule and sorrow ! 'T is he, the comely swain I slew
Upon the duleful Braes of Yarrow.
His wounds in tears with dule and sorrow,
And lay him on the Braes of Yarrow.
Ye sisters sad, his tomb with sorrow,
His helpless fate on the Braes of Yarrow.
My arm that wrought the deed of sorrow,
His comely breast, on the Braes of Yarrow.
And warn from fight, but to my sorrow;
Thou met'st, and fell on the Braes of Yarrow.
Yellow on Yarrow bank the gowan, [the grass,
Fair hangs the apple frae the rock,
Sweet the wave of Yarrow flowan.
The apple from the rock as mellow.
In flowery bands thou him didst fetter ;
Than me he never lued thee better.
busk ye, my winsome marrow,
And think nae mair on the Braes of Yarrow. C. How can I busk a bonny bonny bride ?
How can I busk a winsome marrow?
That slew my love on the Braes of Yarrow ? 0, Yarrow fields ! may never nover rain
Nor dew thy tender blossom cover,
My love, as he had not been a lover.
His purple vest, 't was my ain sewing,
He was in these to meet his ruin.
He lay a corpse on the Braes of Yarrow.
I sang, my voice the woods returning,
That slew my love, and left me mourning.
But with his cruel rage pursue me ?
How canst thou, barbarous man, then, woo me?
With cruel and ungentle scoffin,
My lover nailed in his coffin.
How canst thou ever bid me love thee ?
With bridal sheets my body cover,
Let in the expected husband-lover.