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THE YEARLY DISTRESS ;
OR, TITHING TIME AT STOCK, IN ESSEX. Verses addressed to a country clergyman, complaining of the disagreeableness of the day annually appointed for receiving the dues of the parsonage.
COME, ponder well, for 'tis no jest,
To laugh it would be wrong,
The troubles of a worthy priest,
The burthen of my song.
This priest he merry is and blithe
Three-quarters of a year,
But oh! it cuts him like a scythe,
When tithing time draws near.
He then is full of fright and fears,
As one at point to die,
And long before the day appears
He heaves up many a sigh.
For then the farmers come jog, jog,
Along the miry road,
Each heart as heavy as a log,
To make their payments good.
In sooth, the sorrow of such days
Is not to be express'd,
When he that takes, and he that pays,
Are both alike distress'd.
Now all unwelcome at his gates,
The clumsy swains alight,
With rueful faces and bald pates
He trembles at the sight.
And well he may, for well he knows
Each bumpkin of the clan,
Instead of paying what he owes,
Will cheat him if he can.
So in they come-each makes his leg,
And flings his head before,
And looks as if he came to beg,
And not to quit a score.
* And how does miss and madam do,
The little boy and all ?' • All tight and well. And how do
you, Goud Mr. What-d'ye call ?" The dinner comes, and down they sit;
Were e'er such hungry folk?
There's little talking and no wit;
It is no time to joke.
One wipes his nose upon his sleeve,
One spits upon the floor,
Yet, not to give offence or grieve,
Holds up the cloth before.
The punch goes round, and they are dull
And lumpish still as ever;
Like barrels with their bellies full,
They only weigh the heavier,
At length the busy time begins.
Come, neighbours, we must wag-
The money chinks, down drop their chins.
Each lugging out his bag.
One talks of mildew and of frost,
And one of storms of hail,
And one of pigs that he has lost
By maggots at the tail.
Quoth one, • A rarer man than you
In pulpit none shall hear :
But yet, methinks, to tell you true,
You sell it plaguy dear.'
why are farmers made so coarse,
Or clergy made so fine?
A kick, that scarce would move a horse,
May kill a sound divine.
Then let the boobies stay at home;
'Twould cost him, I dare say, Less trouble taking twice the sum,
Without the clowns that pay.
SONNET ADDRESSED TO HENRY COWPER, ESQ. On his emphatical and interesting Delivery of the Defence of
Warren Hastings, Esq. in the House of Lords. COWPER, whose silver voice, task'd sometimes hard,
Legends prolix delivers in the ears
(Attentive when thou read'st) of England's peers, Let verse at length yield thee thy just reward. Thou wast not heard with drowsy disregard,
Expending late on all that length of plea
Thy generous powers; but silence honour'd thee,
Mute as e'er gazed on orator or bard.
Thou art not voice alone, but hast beside
Both heart and head : and couldst with music sweet
Of Attic phrase and senatorial tone,
Like thy renown'd forefathers, far and wide
Thy fame diffuse, prais'd not for utterance meet
Of others' speech, but magic of thy own.
ADDRESSED TO DR. DARWIN,
Author of The Botanic Garden.'
Two Poets* (poets, report,
Not oft so well agree),
Sweet harmonist of Flora's court !
Conspire to honour Thee.
They best can judge a poet's worth,
Who oft themselves have known
The pangs of a poetic birth
By labours of their own.
We therefore pleased extol thy song,
Though various, yet complete,
Rich in embellishment as strong,
And learned as 'tis sweet.
No envy mingles with our praise,
Though, could our hearts repine At any poet's happier lays,
They would—they must at thine. But we, in mutual bondage knit
Of friendship's closest tie,
Can gaze on even Darwin's wit
With an unjaundiced eye;
And deem the bard, whoe'er he be,
And howsoever known,
Who would not twine a wreath for Thee,
Unworthy of his own.
MRS. MONTAGU'S FEATHER.
The birds put off their every hue,
To dress a room for Montagu.
The peacock sends his heavenly dyes,
His rainbows and his starry eyes ;
The pheasant plumes, which round infold
His mantling neck with downy gold;
The cock his arch'd tail's azure show;
And, river blanch'd, the swan his snow.
All tribes beside of
That glossy shine, or vivid flame,
Where rises, and where sets the day,
Whate'er they boast of rich and gay,
Contribute to the gorgeous plan,
Proud to advance it all they can.
This plumage neither dashing shower,
Nor blasts, that shake the dripping bower,
Shall drench again or discompose,
But, screen'd from every storm that blows,
It boasts a splendour ever new,
Safe with protecting Montagu.
To the same patroness resort,
Secure of favour at her court,
Strong Genius, from whose forge of thought
Forms rise, to quick perfection wrought,
Which, though new-born, with vigour move,
Like Pallas springing arm'd from Jove
Imagination scattering round
Wild roses over furrow'd ground,
Which Labour of his frown beguile,
And teach Philosophy a smile
Wit flashing on Religion's side,
Whose fires, to sacred truth applied,
The gem, though luminous before,
Obtrude on human notice more,
Like sunbeams on the golden height
Of some tall temple, playing bright-
Well-tutor'd Learning, from his books
Disn.iss'd with grave, not haughty, looks,
Their order on his shelves exact,
Not more harmonious or compact
Than that, to which he keeps confined
The various treasures of his mind
All these to Montagu's repair,
Ambitious of a shelter there.
There Genius, Learning, Fancy, Wit,
Their ruffled plumage calm refit,
(For stormy troubles loudest roar
Around their flight who highest soar)
And in her eye, and by her aid,
Shine safe without a fear to fade.
She thus maintains divided sway
With yon bright regent of the day;
The plume and poet both, we know,
Their lustre to his influence owe;
And she the works of Phæbus aiding,
Both poet saves and plume from fading.
VERSES, Supposed to be written hy Alexander Selkirk, during his solitary
abode in the island of Juan Fernandez.
I AM monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre all round to the sea,
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.