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Shenstone's "Schoolmistress."


An, me! full sorely is my heart forlorn,

To think how modest worth neglected lies ; While partial fame doth with her blasts adorn

Such deeds alone as pride and pomp disguise ; Deeds of ill sort and mischievous emprise ;

Lend me thy clarion, goddess ! let me try To sound the praise of merit ere it dies ;

Such as I oft have chancéd to espy, Lost in the dreary shades of dull obscurity. In every village marked with little spire,

Embowered in trees, and hardly known to fame, There dwells, in lowly shed and mean attire,

A matron old, whom we Schoolmistress name, Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame ;

They grieven sore, in piteous durance pent, Awed by the power of this relentless dame,

And ofttimes, on vagaries idly bent, [shent. For unkempt hair, or task unconned, are sorely And all in sight doth rise a birchen tree,

Which Learning near her little dome did stowe, Whilom a twig of small regard to see,

Though now so wide its waving branches flow, And work the simple vassals mickle woe ;

For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew, But their limbs shuddered, and their pulse beat

[grew, And as they looked, they found their horror And shaped it into rods, and tingled at the view. So have I seen (who has not, may conceive)

A lifeless phantom near a garden placed ; So doth it wanton birds of peace bereave,

Of sport, of song, of pleasure, of repast; They start, they stare, they wheel, they look

Sad servitude! such comfortless annoy [aghast; May no bold Briton's riper age e'er taste !

Ne superstition clog his dance of joy,
Ne vision empty, vain, his native bliss destroy.
Near to this dome is found a patch so green,

On which the tribe their gambols do display ; And at the door imprisoning-board is seen,

Lest weakly wights of smaller size should stray, Eager, perdie, to bask in sunny day!

The noises intermixed, which thence resound, Do Learning's little tenement betray ;

Where sits the dame, disguised in look profound, And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow, (around.

Emblem right meet, of decency does yield ; Her apron, dyed in grain, is blue, I trowe,

As is the hare-bell that adorns the field ;

And in her hand, for sceptre, she does wield
Tway birchen sprays, with anxious fears en-

With dark distrust, and sad repentance filled,

And steadfast hate, and sharp affliction joined, And fury uncontrolled, and chastisement unkind. Few but have ken’d, in semblance meet portrayed,

The childish faces of old Eol's train ;
Libs, Notus, Auster ; these in frowns arrayed,

How then would fare on earth, or sky, or main,
Were the stern god to give his slaves the rein ?

And were not she rebellious breasts to quell, And were not she her statutes to maintain,

The cot no more, I ween, were deemed the cell, Where comely peace of mind and decent order dwell. A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown ;

A russet kirtle fenced the nipping air ; 'T was simple russet, but it was her own ;

'T was her own country bred the flock so fair; 'T was her own labor did the fleece prepare ;

And, sooth to say, her pupils, ranged around, Through pious awe did term it passing rare ;

For they in gaping wonderment abound,
And think, no doubt, she been the greatest wight on
Albeit ne flattery did corrupt the truth, (ground!

Ne pompous title did debauch her ear;
Goody, good-woman, n'aunt, forsooth,

Or dame, the sole additions she did hear;
Yet these she challenged, these she held right dear;

Ne would esteem him act as mought behove, Who should not honored eld with these revere ;

For never title yet so mean could prove, But there was eke a mind that did that title love. One ancient hen she took delight to feed,

The plodding pattern of the busy dame ; Which, ever and anon, impelled by need,

Into her school, begirt with chickens, came ! Such favor did her past deportment claim ;

And if neglect had lavished on the ground Fragment of bread, she would collect the same,

For well she knew, and quaintly could expound, What sin it were to waste the smallest crumb she found.

[speak, Herbs, too, she knew, and well of each could

That in her garden sipped the silvery dew; Where no vain flower disclosed a gaudy streak;

But herbs for use and physic not a few,
Of gray renown, within those borders grew;

The tufted basil, pun-provoking thyme,
Fresh baum, and marygold of cheerful hue ;

The lowly gill, that never dares to climb; And more I fain would sing, disdaining here to rhyme.


Yet euphrasy may not be left unsung,

That gives dim eyes to wander leagues around,
And pungent radish, biting infant's tongue ;
And plantain ribbed, that heals the reaper's

wound ;
And inarjoram sweet, in shepherd's posy found ;

And lavender, whose spikes of azure bloom
Shall be erewhile in arid bundles bound,

To lurk amid the labors of her loom, [fume. And crown her kerchiefs clean with mickle rare perAnd here trim rosemarine, that whilom crowned

The daintiest garden of the proudest peer,
Ere, driven from its envied site, it found

A sacred shelter for its branches here ; [pear.
Where edged with gold its glittering skirts ap-

0, wassail days ! 0, customs meet and well ! Ere this was banished from its lofty sphere ;

Simplicity then sought this humble cell, Nor ever would she more with thane and lordling

Here oft the dame, on Sabbath's decent eve,
Hymnéd such psalms as Sternhold forth did

mete :
If winter 't were, she to her hearth did cleave,

But in her garden found a summer seat ;
Sweet melody! to hear her then repeat

How Israel's sons, beneath a foreign king,
While taunting foemen did a song entreat,

All for the nonce, untuning every string, Uphung their useless lyres small heart had they

to sing.
For she was just, and friend to virtuous lore,

And passed much time in truly virtuous deed ;
And in those elfin ears would oft deplore

The times when Truth by Popish rage did bleed, And torturous Death was true Devotion's meed;

And simple Faith in iron chains did mourn, That nould on wooden image place her creed ; And lawny saints in smouldering flames did

[return ! Ah, dearest Lord, forefend thilk days should e'er In elbow-chair, like that of Scottish stem

By the sharp tooth of cankering eld defaced,
In which, when he receives his diadem,

Our sovereign prince and liefest liege is placed, The matron sate, and some with rank she graced (The source of children's and of courtier's

pride !), Redressed affronts, for vile affronts there passed ;

And warned them not the fretful to deride, But love each other dear, whatever them betide. Right well she knew each tomper to descry ;

To thwart the proud, and the submiss to raise; Some with vile copper-prize exalt on high,

And some entice with pittance small of praise; And other some with baleful sprig she frays ;

E'en absent, she the reins of power doth hold, While with quaint arts the giddy crowd she sways;

Forewarned if little bird their pranks behold, "T will whisper in her ear, and all the scene unfold.

Lo! now with state she utters the command ;

Eftsoons the urchins to their tasks repair ; Their books of stature small they take in hand,

Which with pellucid horn secured are, To save from fingers wet the letters fair ;

The work so gay, that on their back is seen, St. George's high achievements doth declare ;

On which thilk wight, that has y-gazing been, Kens the forthcoming rod-unpleasing sight, I ween! Ah ! luckless he, and born beneath the beam

Of evil star ! it irks me while I write ; As erst the bard by Mulla's silver stream,

Oft as he told of deadly, dolorous plight, Sighed as he sung, and did in tears indite.

For, brandishing the rod, she doth begin To loose the brogues, the stripling's late delight!

And down they drop ; appears his dainty skin, Fair as the furry coat of whitest ermilin. 0, ruthful scene ! when, from a nook obscure,

His little sister doth his peril see ;
All playful as she sate, she grows demure ;

She finds full soon her wonted spirits flee ;
She meditates a prayer to set him free ;

Nor gentle pardon could this dame deny (If gentle pardon could with dames agree)

To her sad grief, which swells in either eye, And wrings her so that all for pity she could die. No longer can she now her shrieks command,

And hardly she forbears, through awful fear, To rushen forth, and, with presumptuous hand,

To stay harsh Justice in his mid-career. On thee she calls, on thee, her parent dear

(Ah ! too remote to ward the shameful blow!); She sees no kind domestic visage near,

And soon a flood of tears begins to flow, And gives a loose at last to unavailing woe. But, ah ! what pen his piteous plight may trace ?

Or what device his loud laments explain ? The form uncouth of his disguised face?

The pallid hue that dyes bis looks amain ? The plenteous shower that does his cheek distain ?

When he in abject wise implores the dame, Ne hopeth aught of sweet reprieve to gain ;

Or when from high she levels well her aim, And through the thatch his cries each falling stroke

proclaim. The other tribe, aghast, with sore dismay,

Attend, and con their tasks with mickle care ; By turns, astonied, every twig survey,

And from their fellow's hateful wounds beware, Knowing, I wis, how each the same may share ;

Till fear has taught them a performance meet, And to the well-known chest the dame repair, Whence oft with sugared cates she doth them

greet, And gingerbread y-rare ; now, certes, doubly sweet. See to their seats they hie with merry glee,

And in beseemly order sitten there ; All but the wight of flesh y-galléd ; he (chair

Abhorreth bench, and stool, and fourm, and

burn ;

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Some builden fragile tenements of clay ;

Some to the standing lake their courses bend, With pebbles smooth at duck and drake to play ;

Thilk to the huckster's savory cottage tend, In pastry kings and queens the allotted mite to spend. Here as each season yields a different store,

Each season's stores in order rangéd been ; Apples with cabbage-net y-covered o'er,

Galling full sore the unmoneyed wight, are seen, And goosebrie clad in livery red or green ;

And here, of lovely dye, the catharine pear, Fine pear, as lovely for thy juice, I ween ;

0, may no wight e'er penniless come there, Lest, smit with ardent love, he pine with hopeless


(This hand in mouth y-fixed, that rends his hair);

And eke with snubs profound, and heaving Convulsions intermitting, doth declare [breast,

His grievous wrong, his dame's unjust behest ; And scorns her offered love, and shuns to be caressed. His face besprent with liquid crystal shines,

His blooming face, that seems a purple flower, Which low to earth its drooping head declines,

All smeared and sullied by a vernal shower. 0, the hard bosoms of despotic Power !

All, all but she, the author of his shame, All, all but she, regret this mournful hour ; Yet hence the youth, and hence the flower, shall

claim, If so I deem aright, transcending worth and fame. But now Dan Phoebus gains the middle sky,

And liberty unbars her prison door ; And like a rushing torrent out they fly ;

And now the grassy cirque han covered o'er With boisterous revel rout and wild uproar;

A thousand ways in wanton rings they run. Heaven shield their short-lived pastimes, I im

For well may freedom, erst so dearly won, (plore; Appear to British elf more gladsome than the sun. Enjoy, poor imps ! enjoy your sportive trade,

And chase gay flies, and cull the fairest flowers; For when my bones in grass-green sods are laid,

0, never may ye taste more careless hours In knightly castle or in ladies' bowers.

0, vain to seek delight in earthly thing ! But most in courts, where proud ambition towers;

Deluded wight! who weens fair peace can spring Beneath the pompous dome of kesar or of king. See in each sprite some various bent appear !

These rudely carol most incondite lay ; Those, sauntering on the green with jocund leer,

Salute the stranger passing on his way ;

See, cherries here, ere cherries yet abound,

With thread so white in tempting posies tied, Scattering, like blooming maid, their glances

round, With pampered look draw little eyes aside And must be bought, though penury betide ;

The plum all azure, and the nut all brown ; And here each season do those cakes abide,

Whose honored names the inventive city own, Rendering through Britain's isle Salopia's ? praises

known. Admired Salopia ! that in venial pride

Eyes her bright form in Severn's ambient wave, Famed for her loyal cares in perils tried,

Her daughters lovely, and her striplings brave : Ah ! midst the rest, may flowers adorn his grave

Whose art did first these dulcet cates display. A motive fair to Learning's imps he gave,

Who cheerless o'er her darkling region stray ; Till Reason's morn arise, and light them on their

1 Shrewsbury cakes. 2 Salopia, Shrewsbury.


Ballads for February.

How in the grave she lies ;
And, with his hard, rough hand, he wipes

A tear out of his eyes.
Thus toiling, rejoicing, sorrowing,

Onward through life he goes ;
Each morning sees some task begun,

Each evening sees it close ; Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night's repose. Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught ! Thus at the flaming forge of life

Our fortunes must be wrought ; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped

Each burning deed and thought.


UNDER a spreading chestnut-tree

The village smithy stands ;
The smith, a mighty man is he,

With large and sinewy hands ;
And the muscles of his brawny arms

Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp, and black, and long,

His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,

He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,

For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night,

You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,

With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,

When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school

Look in at the open door ;
They love to see the flaming forge,

And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly

Like chaff from a threshing floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church,

And sits among his boys ;
He hears the parson pray and preach,

He hears his daughter's voice
Singing in the village choir,

And it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother's voice,

Singing in paradise !
He needs must think of her once more,

MY FATHER. My good father died at the age of four score, (o'er; Snow-white were the locks which his head silvered His age as the Winter passed lusty away, [day. 'Twas frosty, but kind ; bright, though cold was the For ne'er in his youth had he rashly applied Hot liquors to quicken his blood's even tide ; Nor, with forehead unbashful, had wooed, to his The means that debilitate man's lusty frame. [shame, His temper was mild as the sun's setting beam, When it plays on the top of some soft-flowing stream: Religion to him was the balm of his mind ; To his Maker's good will he was ever resigned. With a numerous offspring encircled around, At length, like a shock of ripe corn, to the ground He came, an example to all who survive, – Who, to die such a death, such a life must they live.

Concluding Hymn of Praise.


These, as they change, Almighty Father, these Are but the varied God. The rolling year Is full of Thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love. Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm ; Echo the mountains round ; the forest smiles ; And every sense and every heart is joy. Then comes thy glory in the Summer-months, With light and heat refulgent. Then thy sun

Shoots full perfection through the swelling year ;
And oft thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks ;
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves, in hollow-whispering gules.
Thy bounty shines in Autumn unconfined,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives.
In Winter awful Thou ! with clouds and storms
Around Thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest rolled.
Majestic darkness ! on the whirlwind's wing
Riding sublime, Thou bidd'st the world adore,
And humblest Nature with thy northern blast.

Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine, Deep felt, in these appear ! a simple train, Yet so delightful mixed, with such kind art, Such beauty and beneficence combined, Shade, unperceived, so softening into shade, And all so forming an harmonious whole, That, as they still succeed, they ravish still. But wandering oft, with brute unconscious gaze, Man marks not Thee, marks not the mighty hand That, ever-busy, wheels the silent spheres ; Works in the secret deep ; shoots, steaming, thence The fair profusion that o'erspreads the Spring ; Flings from the sun direct the flaming day ; Feeds every creature ; hurls the tempest forth ; And, as on earth this grateful change revolves, With transport touches all the springs of life.

Nature, attend ! join, every living soul Beneath the spacious temple of the sky, In adoration join ; and, ardent, raise One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales, Breathe soft, whose Spirit in your freshness breathes: 0, talk of Him in solitary glooms ! Where, o'er the rock, the scarcely waving pine Fills the brown shade with a religious awe. And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar, Who shake the astonished world, lift high to heaven The impetuous song, and say from Whom you rage. His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills ; And let me catch it as I muse along. Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound, Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze Along the vale, - and thou, majestic main, A secret world of wonders in thyself, – Sound His stupendous praise ; whose greater voice Or bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall. Soft-roll your incense, berbs, and fruits, and flowers, In mingled clouds to Him; whose sun exalts, Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints. Ye forests, bend, ye harvests, wave to Him; Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart, As home he goes beneath the joyous moon. Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams, Ye constellations, while your angels strike, Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre. Great source of day! best image here below Of thy Creator, ever pouring wide, From world to world, the vital ocean round, On Nature write with every beam His praise.

The thunder rolls : be hushed the prostrate world ;
While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills : ye mossy rocks,
Retain the sound : the broad responsive low,
Ye valleys, raise ; for the Great Shepherd reigns,
And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come.
Ye woodlands all, awake : a boundless song
Burst from the groves ! and when the restless day,
Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds, sweet Philomela, charm
The listening shades, and teach the night His praise.
Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles,
At once the head, the heart, and tongue of all,
Crown the great hymn! In swarming cities vast,
Assembled men, to the deep organ join
The long-resounding voice, oft breaking clear,
At solemn pauses, through the swelling base ;
And, as each mingling fame increases each,
In one united ardor rise to heaven.
Or if you rather choose the rural shade,
And find a fane in every sacred grove ;
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the God of Seasons, as they roll !
For me, when I forget the darling theme,
Whether the blossom blows, the Summer ray
Russets the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams,
Or Winter rises in the blackening east ;
Be my tongue mute, may Fancy paint no more,
And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat !

Should fate command me to the farthest verge
Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes,
Rivers unknown to song ; where first the sun
Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam
Flames on the Atlantic isles ; 't is naught to me :
Since God is ever present, ever felt,
In the void waste as in the city full ;
And where He vital breathes there must be joy.
When c'en at last the solemn hour shall come,
And wing my mystic flight to future worlds,
I cheerful will obey ; there, with new powers,
Will rising wonders sing : I cannot go
Where Universal Love not smiles around,
Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their suns ;
From seeming Evil still educing Good,
And better thence again, and better still,
In infinite progression. But I lose
Myself in Him, in Light Ineffable !
Come, then, expressive Silence, muse His praise.

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