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Thence, o'er wide fhrubby 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 Bagfhot-heath we cross,
Where broken gamefters oft' repair their lofs.
At Hartley-row the foaming bit we prest,
While the fat landlord welcom'd every guest.
Supper was ended, healths the glaffes crown'd,
Our hoft extoll'd his wine at every round;
Relates the juftices lare mecting there,
How many bottles drank, and what their cheer;
What lords had been his guests in days of yore,
And prais'd their wifdom much, their drinking more.
Let travellers the morning-vigils keep :
The morning rofe, but we lay faft afleep.
Twelve tedious miles we bore the fultry fun,
And Popham-lane was fcarce in fight by one:
The fraggling village harbour'd thieves of old,
'Twas here the ftage-coach'd lafs refign'd her gold;
That gold which had in London purchas'd gowns,
And fent her home a belle to country towns.
But robbers haunt no more the neighbouring wood :
Here unown'd infants find their daily food;
For, fhould the maiden-mother nurfe her fon,
'Twould fpoil her match when her good name is gone.
Our jolly hoftefs nineteen children bore,
Nor fail'd her breaft to fuckle nineteen more.
Be juft, ye prudes, wipe off the long arrear:
Be virgins ftill in town, but mothers here.
Sutton we pafs, and leave her fpacious 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 vifage wears;
What! no election come in feven long years
Of all our race of Mayors, fhall Snow* alone
Be by Sir Richard's dedication known?
Our streets no more with tides of ale fhall float,
Nor coblers feaft three years upon one vote.
Next morn, twelve miles led o'er th' unbounded plain,
Where the cloak'd fhepherd guides his fleecy train.
No leafy bowers a noon-day shelter lend,
Nor from the chilly dews at night defend :
With wondrous art, he counts the ftraggling flock,
And by the fun informs you what 's o'clock.
How are our fhepherds 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 afcend;
Our horfes faintly trot beneath the heat,
And our keen ftomachs know the hour to eat.
* Sir Richard Steele, member for Stockbridge, wrote a treatife called "The Importance of Dunkirk confi"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 confidered, in a Second Letter to the Bailiff "of Stockbridge, 1713." N.
Who can forfake thy walls, and not admire
The proud cathedral, and the lofty fpire?
What fempftrefs has not prov'd thy fciffars 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 flide swift away,
And Blandford ends the labours of the day.
The morning rofe; the fupper reckoning paid,
And our due fees difcharg'd to man and maid,
The ready oftler near the flirrup ftands,
And, as we mount, our half-pence load his hands.
Now the fteep hill fair Dorchefter o'erlooks,
Border'd by meads, and wash'd by filver brooks..
Here fleep my two companions eyes fuppreft,
And propt in elbow-chairs they fnoring rest :-
I weary fit, and with my pencil trace
Their painful poftures, and their eyelefs face;
Then dedicate cach glass to some fair name,
And on the fafh the diamond ferawls my flame.
Now o'er true Roman way our horfes found,
Grævius would kneel, and kifs the facred ground.
On either fide low fertile valleys lie,
The diftant profpects tire the traveling eye.
Through Bridport's ftony lanes our route we take,
And the proud steep defcend to Morcombe's lake.
As hearfes pafs'd, our landlord robb'd the pall,
And with the mournful fcutcheon hung his hall.
*There are three boarding-fchools in this town. GAY.
On unadulterate wine we here regale,
And ftrip the lobster of his fcarlet mail.
We climb'd the hills, when ftarry night arofe, And Axminster affords a kind repose.
The maid, fubdued by fees, her trunk unlocks,.
And gives the cleanly aid of dowlafs-fmocks.
Mean time our fhirts her bufy fingers rub,
While the foap lathers o'er the foaming tub.
If women's geer fuch pleafing dreams incite,
Lend us your fmocks, ye damfels, every night!
We rife, 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 ftroak'd the beard of Jove.
Now from the fteep, midft fcatter'd farms and
Our eye through Honiton's fair valley roves.
Behind us foon the bufy town we leave,
Where fineft lace induftrious laffes weave.
Now fwelling clouds roll'd on; the rainy load
Stream'd down our hats, and fmoak'd along the road;;
When (O bleft fight !) a friendly fign we fpy'd,
Our fpurs are flacken'd from the horses fide;
For fure a civil hoft the house commands,
Upon whofe fign this courteous motto stands,-
"This is the ancient hand, and eke the pen;
"Here is for horfes hay, and meat for men.'
How rhyme would flourish, did each fon of fame:
Know his own genius, and direct his flame!
Then he, that could not Epic flights rehearfe, Might fweetly mourn in Elegiac verse. But, were his Mufe for Elegy unfit, Perhaps a diftich might not strain his wit; If Epigram offend, his harmless lines Might in gold letters swing on ale-house figns. Then Hobbinol might propagate his bays, And Tuttle-fields record his fimple lays; Where rhymes like these might lure the nurfes' eyes, While gaping infants fquawl for farthing pies: "Treat here, ye thepherds blithe, your damfels fweet, "For pies and cheesecakes are for damfels meet." Then Maurus in his proper fphere might shine, And these proud numbers grace great William's fign: "This is the man, this the Naffovian, whom "I nam'd the brave deliverer to come." But now the driving gales fufpend the rain, We mount our fteeds, and Devon's city gain. Hail, happy native land! but I forbear,
What other counties muft with envy hear.
Blackmore's Prince Arthur, Book V.