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For she was just, and friend to virtuous lore, And pass'd much time in truly virtuous deed; And, in those elfins' ears, would oft deplore The times, when truth by popish rage did bleed; And tortious death was true devotion's meed; And simple faith in iron chains did mourn, That nould on wooden image place her creed; And lawny saints in smouldering flames did burn; Ah! dearest Lord, forefend, thilk days should e'er
In elbow-chair, like that of Scottish stem
By the sharp tooth of cankering eld defac’d,
In which, when he receives his diadem,
Our sovereign prince and liefest liege is plac d,
The matron sate; and some with rank she grac'd,
(The source of children's and of courtier's pride!)
Redress’d affronts, før vile affronts there pass'd;
And warn'd them not the fretful to deride,
But love each other dear, whatever them betide.
Right well she knew each temper to descry;
To thwart the proud, and the submiss to raise ;
Some with vile copper-prize exalt on high,
And some entice with pittance small of praise ;
And or her some with baleful sprig she 'frays:
Ev'n absent, she the reips of power doth hold,
While with quaint arts the giddy crowd she ,
sways; Forewarn’d, if little bird their pranks behold, Twill whisper in her ear, and all the scene unfold.
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 secured 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 forthcoming rod, unpleasing sight, I ween!
Ah luckless he, and born beneath the beam
Of evil star! it erks me whilst I write !
As erst the * bard by Mulla's silver stream,
Oft, as he told of deadly dolorous plight,
Sigh'd 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.
No longer can she now her shrieks command;
And hardly she forbears, through awful fear,
To rushen forth, and with presumptuous hand,
To stay harsh justice in its mid career.
On thee she calls, on thee her parent dear!
Ah! too remote to ward the shameful blow!
She sees no kind domestic visage near,
And soon a flood of tears begins to flow;
And gives a loose at last to unavailing woe.
But ah! what pen his piteous plight may trace ?
Or what device his loud laments explain?
The form uncouth of his disguised face?
The pallid hue that dyes his locks amain ?
The plenteous shower that does his cheek distain?
When he, in abject wise, implores the dame,
Ne hopeth aught of sweet reprieve to gain ;
Or when from high she levels well her aim,
And, through the thatch, his cries each falling stroke
The other tribe, aghast, with sore dismay,
Attend, and conn their tasks, with mickle care :
By turns, astony'd, every twig survey,
And, from their fellows' 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 repair ;
Whence oft with sugar'd cates she doth them greet, And ginger-bread y-rare; now certes doubly sweet.
See to their seats they hye with merry glee,
And in beseemly order sitten there;
All but the wight of bum y-galled, he,
Abhorreth bench and stool, and fourm, and chair ;
This hand in mouth y-fix'd, that rends his hair;
And eke with sobs profound, and heaving breast,
Convulsions intermitting, does declare
His grievous wrong; his dame's unjust behest; And scorns her offer'd love, and shuns to be caress'd.
His face besprent with liquid crystal shines,
His blooming face that seems a purple flower,
Which low to earth its dropping head declines,
All smeard and sully'd by a vernal shower.
O the hard bosoms of despotic power!
All, all, but she, the author of his shame,
All, all, but she, regret this mournful hour:
Yet hence the youth, and hence the flower shall
If so I deem aright, transcending worth and fame.
Behind some door, in melancholy thought,
Mindless of food, he, dreary caitiff! pines;
Ne for his fellows' joyance careth aught,
But to the wind all merriment resigns;
And deems its shame if he to peace inclines;
And many a sullen look ascance is sent,
Which for his dame's annoyance he designs;
And still the more to pleasure him she's bent, The more doth he, perverse, her haviour past resent.
Ah me! how much I fear lest pride it be!
But if that pride it be, which thus inspires,
Beware, ye dames, with nice discernment see,
Ye quench not too the sparks of nobler fires :
Ah! better far than all the muses' lyres,
All coward arts, is valour's generous heat ;
The firm fixt breast which fit and right requires,
Like Vernon's patriot soul; more justly great
Than craft that pimps for ill, or flowery false deceit;
Yet, nurs'd with skill, what dazzling fruits appear ! Ev'n new sagacious foresight points to show A little bench of heedless bishops here, And there a chancelor in embryo, Or bard sublime, if bard may e'er be so, As Milton, Shakspeare, 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.
And this perhaps, who, censuring the design,
Low lays the house which that of cards doth build,
Shall Dennis be! if rigid fate incline,
And many an epic to his rage shall yield;
And many a poet quit th' Aonian field;
And, sour'd by age, profound he shall appear,
As he who now with 'sdainful fury thrill'd
Surveys mine work; and levels many a sneer,
And furls his wrinkly front, and cries, " What stuff is
" here ?"
But now Dan Phoebus gains the middle skie,
And liberty unbars her prison-door ;
And like a rushing torrent out they fly,
And now the grassy cirque had cover'd o'er
With boisterous revel-rout, and wild uproar;
A thousand ways in wanton rings they run,
Heaven shield their short-liv'd pastimes, I implore!
For well may freedom erst so dearly won,
Appear to British elf more gladsome than the sun.
Enjoy, poor imps! enjoy your sportive trade,
And chase gay flies, and cull the fairest flowers;
For when my bones in grass-green sods are laid,
For never may ye taste more careless hours,
In knightly castles or in ladies bowers.
O vain to seek delight in earthly thing!
But most in courts where proud ambition towers;
Deluded wight! who weens fair peace can spring
Beneath the pompous dome of kesar or of king.
See in each sprite some various bent appear!
These rudely carol most incondite lay ;
Those sauntering on the green, with jocund leer
Salute the stranger passing on his way;
Some builden fragile tenements of clay;
Some to the standing lake their courses bend,
With pebbles smooth at duck and drake to play;
Thilk to the huxter's savory cottage tend,
In pastry kings and queens th' allotted mite to spend.
Here, as each season yields a different store,
Each season's stores in order ranged been;
Apples with cabbage-net y-cover'd o'er,
Galling full-sore the unmoney'd wight, are seen;
And goose-'brie clad in livery red or green;
And here of lovely dye, the catharine pear,
Fine pear! as lovely for thy juice, I ween:
O may no wight e'er pennyless come there,
Lest smit with ardent love, he pine with hopeless care!
See! cherries here, ere cherries yet abound,
With thread so white in tempting posies tyd,
Scattering like blooming maid their glances round,
With pamper'd look draw little eyes aside;
And must be bought, though penury betide.
The plumb all azure and the nut all brown,
And here each season do those cakes abide,
Whose honour'd names * th' inventive city own, Rendering through Britain's isle Salopia's praises know,