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And in her hand, for sceptre, she does wield
Tway birchen sprays; with anxious fear entwined,
With dark distrust, and sad repentance filled;
And steadfast hate, and sharp affliction joined,
And fury uncontrolled, and chastisement unkind.
A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown;
A russet kirtle fenced the nipping air;
'Twas simple russet, but it was her own;
'Twas her own country bred the flock so fair!
'Twas her own labour 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
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 securèd are;
To save from finger wet the letters fair:
The work so gay, that on their back is seen,
St. George's high achievements does declare;
On which thilk wight that has y-gazing been
Kens the forth-coming rod, unpleasing sight, I ween !
Ah, luckless he, and born beneath the beam
Of evil star! it irks me whilst 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.
O 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 that swells in either eye,
And wrings her so that all for pity she could die.
The other tribe, aghast, with sore dismay,
Attend, and conn their tasks with mickle care:
By turns, astonied, every twig survey,
And, from their fellow's hateful wounds, beware;
Knowing, I wist, how each the same may share;
Till fear has taught them a performance meet,
And to the well-known chest the dame repairs;
Whence oft with sugared cates she doth 'em greet, And ginger-bread y-rare; now, certes, doubly sweet!
Yet nursed with skill, what dazzling fruits appear! Even now sagacious foresight points to show A little bench of heedless bishops here, And there a chancellor in embryo, Or bard sublime, if bard may e'er be so, As Milton, Shakespeare, names that ne'er shall die! Though now he crawl along the ground so low, Nor weeting how the muse should soar on high, Wisheth, poor starveling elf! his paper kite may fly.
WRITTEN AT AN INN AT HENLEY
To thee, fair freedom! I retire
From flattery, cards, and dice, and din;
Nor art thou found in mansions higher
Than the low cot, or humble inn.
'Tis here with boundless power I reign;
And every health which I begin,
Converts dull port to bright champagne;
Such freedom crowns it, at an inn.
I fly from pomp, I fly from plate!
I fly from falsehood's specious grin!
Freedom love, and form I hat
And choose my lodgings at an inn.
Here, waiter! take my sordid ore,
Which lacqueys else might hope to win; It buys, what courts have not in store;
It buys me freedom, at an inn.
Whoe'er has travelled life's dull round,
Where'er his stages may have been, May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome at an inn.
FROM THE BEASTS' CONFESSION
When beasts could speak, (the learned say
They still can do so every day,)
It seems they had religion then,
As much as now we find in men.
It happened, when a plague broke out,
(Which therefore made them more devout,)
The king of brutes (to make it plain,
Of quadrupeds I only mean)
By proclamation gave command
That every subject in the land
Should to the priest confess their sins;
And thus the pious Wolf begins :-
'Good father, I must own with shame,
That often I have been to blame:
I must confess, on Friday last,
Wretch that I was! I broke my fast:
But I defy the basest tongue
To prove I did my neighbour wrong;
Or ever went to seek my food,
By rapine, theft, or thirst of blood.'
The Ass approaching next, confessed
That in his heart he loved a jest:
A wag he was, he needs must own,
And could not let a dunce alone:
Sometimes his friend he would not spare,
And might perhaps be too severe:
But yet the worst that could be said,
He was a wit both born and bred;
And, if it be a sin and shame,
Nature alone must bear the blame:
One fault he has, is sorry for’t,
His ears are half a foot too short;
Which could he to the standard bring,
He'd show his face before the king :
Then for his voice, there's none disputes
That he's the nightingale of brutes.
The Swine with contrite heart allowed
His shape and beauty made him proud:
In diet was perhaps too nice,
But gluttony was ne'er his vice:
In every turn of life content,
And meekly took what fortune sent:
Inquire through all the parish round,
A better neighbour ne'er was found;
His vigilance might some displease;
'Tis true, he hated sloth like pease.
The mimic Ape began his chatter, How evil tongues his life bespatter; Much of the censuring world complained, Who said, his gravity was feigned: Indeed, the strictness of his morals Engaged him in a hundred quarrels: He saw, and he was grieved to see 't, His zeal was sometimes indiscreet: He found his virtues too severe For our corrupted times to bear; Yet such a lewd licentious age Might well excuse a stoic's rage.
The Goat advanced with decent pace, And first excused his youthful face; Forgiveness begged that he appeared ('Twas Nature's fault) without a beard. 'Tis true, he was not much inclined To fondness for the female kind: Not, as his enemies object, From chance, or natural defect;
Not by his frigid constitution;
But through a pious resolution:
For he had made a holy vow
Of chastity, as monks do now:
Which he resolved to keep for ever hence
And strictly too, as doth his reverence.
Apply the tale, and you shall find, How just it suits with human kind. Some faults we own; but can you guess ?.
-Why, virtues carried to excess, Wherewith our vanity endows us, Though neither foe nor friend allows us.
The Lawyer swears (you may rely on't) He never squeezed a needy client; And this he makes his constant rule, For which his brethren call him fool; His conscience always was so nice, He freely gave the poor advice; By which he lost, he may affirm, A hundred fees last Easter term; While others of the learned robe, Would break the patience of a Job. No pleader at the bar could match His diligence and quick dispatch; Ne'er kept a cause, he 'well may boast, Above a term or two at most.
The cringing Knave, who seeks a place
Without success, thus tells his case:
Why should he longer mince the matter?
He failed, because he could not flatter;
He had not learned to turn his coat,
Nor for a party give his vote:
His crime he quickly understood;
Too zealous for the nation's good :
He found the ministers resent it,
Yet could not for his heart repent it.
The Chaplain vows, he cannot fawn,
Though it would raise him to the lawn:
He passed his hours among his books;
You find it in his meagre looks:
He might, if he were worldly wise,
Preferment get, and spare his eyes;