« AnteriorContinuar »
Fair Rosamond, and Robinhood,
The little Children in the Wood,
Now seem'd to look abundance better,
Improv'd in picture, size, and letter :
And, high in order plac'd, describe
The heraldry of every tribe. *
A bedstead of the antique mode,
Compact of timber many a load,
Such as our ancestors did use,
Was metamorphos'd into pews;
Which still their ancient nature keep,
By lodging folks dispos'd to sleep.
The cottage, by such feats as these,
Grown to a church by just degrees,
The hermits then desir'd their
host To ask for what he fancy'd most. Philemon, having pans'd a while, Return'd them thanks in homely style ; Then said, “ My house is grown so fine, Methinks, I still would call it mine. I'm old, and fain would live at ease; Make me the parson if you please.”
He spoke, and presently he feels His grazier's coat fall down his heels: He sees, yet hardly can believe, About each arm a pudding sleeve; His waistcoat to a cassock grew, And both assum'd a sable hue; But, being old, continu'd just As threadbare, and as full of dust. His talk was now of tithes and dues : He smok'd his pipe, and read the news;
Knew how to preach old sermons next,
Vamp'd in the preface and the text;
At christenings well could act his part,
And had the service all by heart;
Wish'd women might have children fast,
And thought whose sow had farrow'd last ;
Against dissenters would repine,
And stood up firm for “ right divine;"
Found his head fill’d with many a system;
But classic authors, -he ne'er miss'd 'em.
Thus having furbish'd up a parson,
Dame Baucis next they play'd their farce on:
Instead of homespun coifs, were seen
Good pinners edg'd with colberteen;
Her petticoat, transform'd apace,
Became black satin flounc'd with lace.
“ Plain Goody” would no longer down,
'Twas " Madam,” in her grogram gown.
Philemon was in great surprise,
And hardly could believe his eyes,
Amaz'd to see her look so prim;
And she admir'd as inuch at him.
Thus happy in their change of life,
Were several years this man and wife:
When on a day which prov'd their last,
Discoursing o'er old stories past,
They went by chance, amid their talk,
To the churchyard to take a walk;
When Baucis hastily cry'd out,
My dear, I see your forehead sprout !"-
Sprout !" quoth the man; “ what's this you tell
I hope you don't believe me jealous !
But yet, methinks, I feel it true;
And really yours is budding too
Nay,--now I cannot stir
It feels as if 'twere taking root.”
Description would but tire my muse,
In short, they both were turn'd to yews.
Old goodman Dobson of the green
. Remembers he the trees has seen ;
He'll talk of them from noon till night,
And goes with folks to show the sight;
On Sundays, after evening prayer,
He gathers all the parish there ;
Points out the place of either yew;
Here Baucis, there Philemon, grew :
Till once a parson of our town,
To mend his barn, cut Baucis down;
At which, 'tis hard to be believ'd
How much the other tree was griev'd,
Grew scrubbed, died a-top, was stunted ;
So the next parson stubb'd and burnt it.
ON THE SUPPOSED DEATH OF PARTRIDGE THE
Well; 'tis as Bickerstaff has guess’d,
Though we all took it for a jest:
Partridge is dead; nay more, he died
Ere' he could prove the good 'squire lied.
Strange, an astrologer should die
Without one wonder in the sky:
Not one of all his crony stars
pay their duty at his hearse!
No meteor, no eclipse appear'd!
No comet with a flaming beard!
The sun has rose and gone to bed,
Just as if Partridge were not dead;
Nor hid himself behind the moon
To make a dreadful night at noon.
He at fit periods walks through Aries,
Howe'er our earthly motion varies;
And twice a-year he'll cut th' Equator,
As if there had been no such matter.
Some wits have wonder'd what analogy
There is 'twixt cobbling * and astrology ;
How Partridge made his optics rise
From a shoe-sole to reach the skies.
A list the cobbler's temples ties, To keep the hair out of his eyes ; From whence 'tis plain the diadem That princes wear derives from them : And therefore crowns are nowadays Adorn'd with golden stars and rays; Which plainly shows the near alliance 'Twixt cobbling and the planets' science.
Besides, that slow-pac'd sign Bootes, As 'tis miscall'd, we know not who 'tis : But Partridge ended all disputes ; He knew his trade, and call'd it boots. +
The horned moon, which heretofore Upon their shoes the Romans wore,
* Partridge was a cobbler.-SWIFT. + See his Almanack.-Swift.
Whose wideness kept their toes from corns,
And whence we claim our shoeing-horns,
Shows how the art of cobbling bears
A near resemblance to the spheres.
A scrap of parchment hung by geometry,
(A great refiner in barometry)
Can, like the stars, foretel the weather;
And what is parchment else but leather?
Which an astrologer might use
Either for almanacks or shoes.
Thus Partridge, by his wit and parts,
At once did practise both these arts :
And as the boding owl (or rather
The bat, because her wings are leather)
Steals from her private cell by night,
And flies about the candle-light;
So learned Partridge could as well
Creep in the dark from leathern cell,
And in his fancy fly as far
To peep upon a twinkling star.
Besides, he could confound the spheres,
And set the planets by the ears ;
To show his skill, he Mars could join
To Venus in aspect malign;
Then call in Mercury for aid,
And cure the wounds that Venus made.
Great scholars have in Lucian read,
When Philip king of Greece was dead,
His soul and spirit did divide,
And each part took a different side:
One rose a star; the other fell
Beneath, and mended shoes in Hell.
Thus Partridge still shines in each art,
The cobbling and star-gazing part,
And is install d as good a star
As any of the Cæsars are.