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And so he did, and won it too,
For he got first to town;
Nor stopped till where he had got up
He did again get down.
Now let us sing, long live the king,
And Gilpin long live he;
And, when he next doth ride abroad,
May I be there to see!
ON RURAL SIGHTS AND SOUNDS. The nurse sleeps sweetly, hired to watch the sick, Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he, Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour To sleep within the carriage more secure, His legs depending at the open door. Sweet sleep enjoys the curate in his desk, The tedious rector drawling over his head; And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep Of lazy nurse, who snores the sick man dead, Nor his, who quits the box at midnight hour To slumber in the carriage more secure, Nor sleep enjoyed by curate in his desk, Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet, Compared with the repose the sofa yields.
Oh may I live exempted (while I live Guiltless of pampered appetite obscene) From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe Of libertine excess. The sofa suits
Their length and colour from the locks they spare;
The elastic spring of an unwearied foot,
That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence,
That play of lungs, inhaling and again
Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes
Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me,
Mine have not pilfered yet; nor yet impaired
My relish of fair prospect; scenes that soothed
Or charmed me young, no longer young, I find
Still soothing, and of power to charm me still.
And witness, dear companiou of my walks,
Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive
Fast locked in mine, with pleasure such as love,
Confirmed by long experience of thy worth
And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire-
Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long.
Thou knowest my praise of nature most sincere,
And that my raptures are not conjured up
To serve occasions of poetic pomp,
6. The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb,
Though on a sofa, may I never feel:
For I have loved the rural walk through lanes
Of grassy swarth, close cropt by nibbling sheep,
And skirted thick with intertexture firm
Of thorny boughs; have loved the rural walk
O'er hills, through vallies, and by rivers' brink,
E'er since a truant boy I passed my bounds
To enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames;
And still remember, nor without regret
Of hours, that sorrow since has much endeared:
How oft, my slice of pocket store consumed,
Still hungering, pennyless, and far from home,
I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws,
Or blushing crabs, or berries, that imboss
The bramble, black as jet, or sloes austere.
Hard fare! but such as boyish appetite
Disdains not; nor the palate, undepraved
By culinary arts, unsavory deems.
No sofa then awaited my return;
Nor sofa then I needed. Youth repairs
His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil
Incurring short fatigue; and, though our years,
As life declines, speed rapidly away,
And not a year but pilfers as he goes
Some youthful grace, that age would gladly keep,
A tooth or auburn lock; and by degrees
But genuine, and art partner of them all.
How oft upon yon eminence our pace
Has slackened to a pause, and we have borne
The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew,
While admiration, feeding at the eye,
And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene.
Thence with what pleasure have we just discerned
The distant plough still moving, and beside
His labouring team, that swerved not from the track,
The sturdy swain diminished to a boy!
Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain
Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o'er,
Conducts the eye along his sinuous course
Delighted. There, fast rooted in their bank,
Stand, never overlooked, our favourite elms,
That screen the herdsman's solitary hut;
While far beyond, and overthwart the stream
That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale,
The sloping land recedes into the clouds;
Displaying on its varied side the grace
Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tower, Tall spire, from which the sound of cheerful bells Just undulates upon the listening ear,
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages, remote. Scenes must be beautiful, which daily viewed Please daily, and whose novelty survives Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years; Praise justly due to those that I describe.
Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds, Exhilirate the spirit, and restore The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds, That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood Of ancient growth, make music not unlike The dash of ocean on his winding shore, And lull the spirit while they fill the mind; Unnumbered branches waving in the blast, And all their leaves fast fluttering, all at once. Nor less composure waits upon the roar Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighbouring fountain, or of rills that slip
Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
In matted grass, that with a livelier green
Old Arthur's board: on the capacious round
Some British pen has sketch'd the names renown'd,
In marks obscure, of his immortal peers.
Though join'd by magic skill with many a rhyme,
The Druid frame unhonour'd falls a prey
To the slow vengeance of the wizard time,
And fade the British characters away;
Yet Spenser's page, that chaunts in verse sublime
Those chiefs, shall live unconscious of decay.
TO THE RIVER LODON.
Ah! what a weary race my feet have run,
Since first I trod thy banks with alders crown'd,
And thought my way was all through fairy ground,
Beneath thy azure sky and golden sun :
Where first my Muse to lisp her notes begun!
While pensive memory traces back the round,
Which fills the varied interval between ;
Much pleasure, more of sorrow, marks the scene.
Sweet native stream! those skies and suns so pure
No more return, to cheer my evening road!
Yet still one joy remains, that not obscure,
Nor useless, all my vacant days have flow'd,
From youth's gay dawn to manhood's prime mature;
Nor with the Muse's laurel unbestow'd.
THE PROGRESS OF DISCONTENT. 1746.
When now mature in classic knowledge,
The joyful youth is sent to college,
His father comes, a vicar plain,
At Oxford bred-in Anna's reign,
And thus, in form of humble suitor,
Bowing accosts a reverend tutor.
Sir, I'm a Glo'stershire divine,
And this my eldest son of nine;
My wife's ambition and my own
Was that this child should wear a gown;
I'll warrant that his good behaviour
Will justify your future favour;
And for his parts, to tell the truth,
My son's a very forward youth;
Has Horace all by heart-you'd wonder-
And mouths out Homer's Greek like thunder.
If you'd examine-and admit him,
A scholarship would nicely fit him:
That he succeeds 'tis ten to one;
Your vote and interest, Sir!"-'Tis done.
Our pupil's hopes, though twice defeated,
Are with a scholarship completed:
A scholarship but half maintains,
And college rules are heavy chains:
In garret dark he smokes and puns,
A prey to discipline and duns;
And now intent on new designs,
Sighs for a fellowship-and fines.
When nine full tedious winters past,
That utmost wish is crown'd at last:
But the rich prize no sooner got,
Again he quarrels with his lot:
A patron's vanity to please,
Long time he watches, and by stealth,
Each frail incumbent's doubtful health;
At length-and in his fortieth year,
A living drops-two hundred clear!
With breast elate beyond expression,
He hurries down to take possession,
With rapture views the sweet retreat—
"What a convenient house! how neat!
For fuel here's sufficient wood:
Pray God the cellars may be good!
The garden-that must be new plann'd—
Shall these old-fashion'd yew-trees stand?
O'er yonder vacant plot shall rise
The flow'ry shrub of thousand dyes:-
Yon wall, that feels the southern ray,
Shall blush with ruddy fruitage gay:
While thick beneath its aspect warm
O'er well-rang'd hives the bees shall swarm,
From which, ere long, of golden gleam
Metheglin's luscious juice shall stream:
This awkward hut, o'ergrown with ivy,
We'll alter to a modern privy:
Up yon green slope, of hazels trim,
An avenue so cool and dim,
Shall to an arbour, at the end,
In spite of gout, entice a friend.
My predecessor lov'd devotion-
But of a garden had no notion."
Continuing this fantastic farce on,
He now commences country parson.
To make his character entire,
He weds-a cousin of the 'squire;
Not over weighty in the purse,
But many doctors have done worse:
And though she boasts no charms divine,
Yet she can carve and make birch wine.
Thus fixt, content he taps his barrel, Exhorts his neighbours not to quarrel; Finds his church-wardens have discerning Both in good liquor and good learning; With tithes his barns replete he sees, And chuckles o'er his surplice fees; Studies to find out latent dues, And regulates the state of pews; Rides a sleek mare with purple housing, To share the monthly club's carousing;
Of Oxford pranks facetious tells,
And-but on Sundays-hears no bells;
Sends presents of his choicest fruit,
And prunes himself each sapless shoot;
Plants cauliflow'rs, and boasts to rear
The earliest melons of the year;
Thinks alteration charming work is,
Keeps bantam cocks, and feeds his turkies;
Builds in his copse a fav'rite bench,
And stores the pond with carp and tench.
But ah! too soon his thoughtless breast
By cares domestic is opprest;
And a third butcher's bill, and brewing,
Threaten inevitable ruin:
For children fresh expenses yet,
And Dicky now for school is fit.
Why did I sell my college life (He cries) for benefice and wife? Return, ye days! when endless pleasure
I found in reading, or in leisure!
When calm around the common room
I puff'd my daily pipe's perfume!
Rode for a stomach, and inspected,
At annual bottlings, corks selected:
And din'd untax'd, untroubled, under
The portrait of our pious founder!
When impositions were supply'd
To light my pipe-or soothe my pride-
No cares were then for forward peas,
A yearly-longing wife to please;
My thoughts no christ'ning dinners crost,
No children cry'd for butter'd toast;
And ev'ry night I went to bed,
Without a modus in my head!"
Oh! trifling head, and fickle heart!
Chagrin'd at whatsoe'er thou art;
A dupe to follies yet untry'd,
And sick of pleasures scarce enjoy'd!
Each prize possess'd, thy transport ceases,
And in pursuit alone it pleases.
THE POET'S NEW-YEAR'S GIFT TO MRS. (NOW LADY) THROCKMORTON. Maria! I have every good
For thee wished many a time, Both sad, and in a cheerful mood, But never yet in rhyme.
To wish thee fairer is no need,
More prudent, or more sprightly,
Or more ingenious, or more freed
From temper-flaws unsightly.
What favour then not yet possest
Can I for thee require,
In wedded love already blest,
To thy whole heart's desire?
None here is happy but in part:
Full bliss is bliss divine;
There dwells some wish in every heart,
And doubtless one in thine.
That wish on some fair future day,
Which fate shall brightly gild,
('Tis blameless, be it what it may)
I wish it all fulfilled.
PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED. A FABLE.
I shall not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau,
If birds confabulate or no;
"Tis clear that they were always able
To hold discourse, at least in fable;
And e'en the child who knows no better,
Than to interpret by the letter
A story of a cock and bull,
Must have a most uncommon skull.
It chanced then on a winter's day, But warm, and bright, and calm as May, The birds, conceiving a design
To forestall sweet St. Valentine,
In many an orchard, copse, and grove,
Assembled on affairs of love,
And with much twitter and much chatter,
Began to agitate the matter.
At length a Bulfinch, who could boast
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, opening wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And, silence publicly enjoined,
Delivered briefly thus his mind.
My friends! be cautious how ye treat
The subject upon which we meet;
I fear we shall have winter yet.
A Finch, whose tongue knew no control,
With golden wing, and satin pole,
A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
What marriage means, thus pert replied.
Methinks the gentleman, quoth she,
Opposite in the apple-tree,
By his good will would keep us single,