« PreviousContinue »
Noble he was, contemning all things mean,
• Kind are your laws ('t is not to be denied), That in yon house for ruined age provide, And just, as kind; when young, we give you all, And then for comforts in our weakness call. Why then this proud reluctance to be fed, To join your poor, and eat the parish bread ? But yet I linger, loath with him to live, Who, while he feeds me, is as loath to give ; He who by contract all your paupers took, And gauges stomachs with an anxious look ; On some old master I could well depend ; See him with joy, and thank him as a friend ; But ill on him who doles the day's supply, And counts our chances who at night may die : Yet help me, Heaven ! to mourn my lot is vain ; Mine it is not to choose, but to sustain.'
S DEATH. HOW MISSED AT CHURCH.
HIS LAUDABLE PRIDE.
Such were his thoughts, and so resigned he grew; Daily he placed the work-house in his view ; But came not there, for sudden was his fate, He dropped expiring at his cottage gate.
I feel his absence in the hours of prayer, And view his seat, and sigh for Isaac there ; I see no more those white locks, thinly spread, Round the bald polish of that honored head ; No more that awful glance on playful wight Compelled to kneel and tremble at the sight; To fold his fingers all in dread the while, Till Mister Ashford softened to a smile ; No more that meek, that suppliant look in prayer, Nor that pure faith, that gave it force, are there : But be is blest, and I lament no more, A wise good man, contented to be poor.
If pride were his, 't was not their vulgar pride, Who, in their base contempt, the great deride ; Nor pride in learning, though my clerk agreed, If fate should call him, Ashford might succeed ; Nor pride in rustic skill, although he knew More skilful none, and skilled like him but few. But if that spirit in his soul had place, It was the jealous pride that shuns disgrace : A pride in honest fame, by virtue gained, In sturdy boys to virtuous labors trained ; Pride in the power that guards his country's coast, And all that Englishmen enjoy and boast; Pride in a life that Slander's tongue defied; In fact, a noble passion, misnamed pride.
HIS RELIGION. He had no party's rage, no sect’ry's whim ; Christian and countryman was all with him. True to his church he came ; no Sunday shower Kept him at home in that important hour ; Nor his firm feet could one persuading sect By the new light to the new way direct ; • Mine now are faith and hope,' he said ; 'adieu ! I fear to lose them in a way so new.'
In times severe, when many a sturdy swain Felt it his pride, his comfort, to complain, Isaac their wants would soothe, his own would hide, And feel in that his comfort and his pride.
Then died a rambler ; not the one who sails And trucks for female favors, beads, and nails ; Not one who posts from place to place, of men And manners treating, with a flying pen : Not he who climbs for prospects Snowden's height, And chides the clouds, that intercept the sight; No curious shell, rare plant, or brilliant spar, Enticed our traveller from his home so far ; But all the reason by himself assigned For so much rambling was a restless mind ; As on, from place to place, without intent, Without reflection, Robin Dingley went.
HOW HE BECAME CRAZED.
HIS THOUGHTS IN THE ALMS-HOUSE.
Not thus by nature : never man was found Less prone to wander from his parish bound; Claudian's old man, to whom all scenes were new, Save those where he and where his apples grew, Resembled Robin, who around would look, And his horizon for the earth's mistook.
To this poor swain a keen attorney came ; "I give thee joy, good fellow, on thy name ! The rich old Dingley's dead ; - no child has he, Nor wife, nor will ; his all is left for thee ; To be his fortune's heir, thy claim is good ; Thou hast the name, and we will prove the blood.'
At length he found, when serenty years were run, His strength departed, and his labor donc ; His honest fame he yet retained ; no more ; His wife was buried, and his children poor ; 'T was then, a spark of — say not discontent Struck on his mind, and thus he gave it vent :
A POOR SAILOR.
The claim was made; 't was tried, it would not stand; Called not away, when time had loosed each hold They proved the blood, but were refused the land. On the fond heart, and each desire grew cold ;
Assured of wealth, this man of simple heart But when to all that knit us to our kind To every friend had predisposed a part ;
She felt fast bound as charity can bind ; His wife had hopes indulged of various kind ; Not when the ills of age, its pain, its care, The three Miss Dingleys had their school assigned, The drooping spirit for its fate prepare ; Masters were sought for what each Miss required, And, each affection failing, leaves the heart And books were bought, and harpsichords were hired; Loosed from life's charm, and willing to depart; So high was hope : - the failure touched his brain, But all her ties the strong invader broke, And Robin never was himself again :
In all their strength, by one tremendous stroke! Yet he no wrath, no angry wish expressed,
Sudden and swift the eager pest came on, But tried in vain to labor or to rest;
And all was terror, till all hope was gone ; Then cast his bundle on his back, and went
Was silent terror, where that hope grew weak, He knew not whither, nor for what intent.
Looked on the sick, and was ashamed to speak.
Slowly they bore, with solemn step, the dead ;
When grief grew loud, and bitter tears were shed: Years fled ; -of Robin all remembrance past,
My part began; a crowd drew near the place, When home he wandered in his rags at last :
Awe in each eye, alarm in every face : A sailor's jacket on his limbs was thrown,
So sure the ill, and of so fierce a kind, A sailor's story he had made his own ;
That fear with pity mingled in each mind ; Had suffered battles, prisons, tempests, storms,
Friends with the husband came their griefs to blend, Encountering death in all his ugliest forms ;
For Goodman Frankford was to all a friend.
GRIEF OF HER FAMILY. -- CHILDREN AT THE GRAVE.
In now a louder, now a lower strain ; Here clothed and fed, no sooner he began
While the meek father, listening to their tones, To round and redden than away he ran :
Swelled the full cadence of the grief by groans. His wife was dead, their children past his aid,
The elder sister strove ber pangs to hide, So unmolested from his home he strayed :
And soothing words to younger minds applied. Six years elapsed, when, worn with want and pain, Be still, be patient,' oft she strove to say, Came Robin, wrapt in all his rags again :
But failed as oft, and weeping turned away. We chide, we pity ; — placed among our poor,
Curious and sad, upon the fresh-dug hill, He fed again, and was a man once more.
The village lads stood melancholy still ; As when a gaunt and hungry fox is found, And idle children, wandering to and fro, Entrapped alive, in some rich hunter's ground, As nature guided, took the tone of woe. Fed for the field, although each day 's a feast,
THE DEAD MOTHER MISSED. - VSE OF SORROW. Fatton you may, but never tame the beast ;
Arrived at home, how then they gazed around, An house protects him, savory meats sustain,
In every place where she no more was found ! But loose his neck, and off he goes again :
The seat at table she was wont to fill; So stole our vagrant from his warm retreat,
The fireside chair, still set, but vacant still ; To rove a prowler, and be deemed a cheat.
The garden walks, a labor all her own ;
The lattice bower, with trailing shrubs o'ergrown; Hard was his fare : for him at length we saw
The Sunday pew she filled with all her race; In cart conveyed, and laid supine on straw :
Each place of hers was now a sacred place, His feeble voice now spoke a sinking heart;
That, while it called up sorrows in the eyes, His groans now told the motions of the cart :
Pierced the full heart, and forced them still to rise. And thus he rose, but tried in vain to stand ;
O sacred Sorrow! by whom souls are tried, Closed was his eye, and clenched his clammy hand;
Sent not to punish mortals, but to guide ;
If thou art mine (and who shall proudly dare
To tell his Maker he has had his share?), But now he fell a victim to the snare
Still let me feel for what thy pangs are sent,
And be my guide, and not my punishment !
Of Leah Cousins next the name appears,
With honors crowned, and blest with length of years, Then died lamented, in the strength of life, Save that she lived to foel, in life's decay, valued mother an a faithful wife ;
The pleasure die, the honors drop away :
THE MIDWIFE'S PLEA.
A matron she whom every village wife
RIVALLED BY DR. GLIB.
Thus Leah lived ! long trusted, much caressed, Till a town dame a youthful farmer blest ; A gay, vain bride, who would example give To that poor village where she deigned to live ; Soine few months past, she sent, in hour of need, For Doctor Glib, who came with wondrous speed ; Two days he waited, all his art applied To save the mother, when her infant died. • ’T was well I came,' at last he deigned to say ; • 'T was wondrous well,' — and proudly rode away.
The news ran round: How vast the doctor's power! He saved the lady in the trying hour ; Saved her from death, when she was dead to hope, And her fond husband had resigned her up :So all, like her, may evil fate defy, If Doctor Glib, with saving hand, be nigh.'
Warmed by her well-spiced ale, and aiding pipe, The angry matron grew for contest ripe.
"Can you,' she said, “ungrateful and unjust, Before experience ostentation trust? What is your hazard, foolish daughters, tell? If safe, you're certain ; if secure, you're well : That I have luck, must friend and foe confess, And what's good judgment but a lucky guess ? He boasts but what he can do:— will you run From me, your friend, who all he boasts have done? By proud and learned words his powers are known; By healthy boys and handsome girls, my own : Wives ! fathers! children ! by my help you live ; Ilas this pale doctor more than life to give ? No stunted cripple hops the village round; Your hands are active, and your heads are sound ; My lads are all your fields and flocks require : My lasses all those sturdy lads admire : Can this proud leech, with all his boasted skill, Amend the soul or body, wit or will? Does he for courts the sons of farmers frame, Or make the daughter differ from the dame ? Or, whom he brings into this world of woe, Prepares he them their part to undergo ? If not, this stranger from your doors repel, And be content to be, and to be well.'
DOCTOR GLIB BECOMES THE FASHION.
Fame (now his friend), Fear, Novelty, and Whim, And Fashion, sent the varying sex to him : From this contention in the village rose, And these the dame espoused, the doctor those ; The wealthier part to him and science went, With luck and Leah the poor remained content.
The matron sighed ; for she was vexed at heart, With so much profit, so much fame, to part.
So long successful in my art,' she cried, * And this proud man, so young, and so untried !'
SHE IS SUPPLANTED, AND TAKES TO DRINK. She spake : but, ah ! with words too strong and
plain ; Hier warmth offended, and her truth was vain : The many left her, and the friendly few, If never colder, yet they older grew ; Till, unemployed, she felt her spirits droop, And took, insidious aid! the inspiring cup ; Grew poor and peevish as her powers decayed, And propped the tottering frame with stronger aid; Then died !- I saw our careful swains convey From this our changeful world the matron's clay, Who to this world, at least, with equal care, Brought them its changes, good and ill, to share.
DR. GLIB'S PLEA.
THE ABUSED UNCLE.
“Nay, but,' he said, “and dare you trust your
Now to his grave was Roger Cuff conveyed, And strong resentment's lingering spirit laid ; Shipwrecked in youth, he home returned, and found His brethren three, - and thrice they wished him
drowned. Is this a landman's love ? be certain, then, We part forever !'- and they cried, Amen!
His words were truth's : some forty summers fled, His brethren died ; his kin supposed him dead : Three nephews these, one sprightly niece, and one Less near in blood ; they called him Surly John. He worked in woods apart from all his kind ; Fierce were his looks, and moody was his mind.
For home the sailor now began to sigh :“The dogs are dead, and I'll return and die ; When all I have, my gains in years of care, The younger Cuffs with kinder souls shall share ;
THE SEXTON. My record ends : — but, hark ! er'n now I hear The bell of death, and know not whose to fear : Our farmers all, and all our hinds, were well; In no man's cottage danger seemed to dwell : Yet death of man proclaim these heavy chimes, For thrice they sound, with pausing space three
Go, of my sexton soek whose days are sped.' [times. • What! he himself ! — and is old Dibble dead ?' His eightieth year he reached, still undecayed, And rectors five to one close vault conveyed : But he is gone ; his care and skill I lose, And gain a mournful subject for my muse : His masters lost he'd oft in turn deplore, And kindly add, o Heaven grant I lose no more !! Yet while he spake a sly and pleasant glance Appeared at variance with his complaisance : For, as he told their fate and varying worth, He archly looked, — I yet may bear thee forth.'
Yet hold !-I'm rich ; — with one consent they 'll
say, “You're welcome, uncle, as the flowers in May." No; I'll disguise me, be in tatters dressed, And best befriend the lads who treat me best.'
Now all his kindred, neither rich nor poor, Kept the wolf Want some distance from the door.
In piteous plight he knocked at George's gate, And begged for aid, as he described his state. But stern was George . Let them who had thee
strong Help thee to drag thy weakened frame along : To us a stranger while your limbs would move ; From us depart, and try a stranger's love :Ha ! dost thou murmur ?' — for in Roger's throat Was · Rascal!' rising, with disdainful note.
To pious James he then his prayer addressed. "Good lack,' quoth James, 'thy sorrows pierce my
breast; And had I wealth, as have my brethren twain, One board should feed us, and one roof contain : But plead I will thy cause, and I will pray : And so, farewell! Heaven help thee on thy way!'
• Scoundrel !' said Roger (but apart), and told His case to Peter; Peter too was cold :• The rates are high ; we have a-many poor ; But I will think – he said, and shut the door.
Then the gay niece the seeming pauper pressed : * Turn, Nancy, turn, and view this form distressed ; Akin to thine is this declining frame, And this poor beggar claims an uncle's name.'
Avaunt ! begone !’ the courteous maiden said, • Thou vile impostor ! Uncle Roger's dead ; I hate thee, beast ! thy look my spirit shocks ; 0! that I saw thee starring in the stocks !
My gentle niece !' he said, and sought the wood. 'I hunger, fellow ! prithee, give me food!'
"Give! am I rich ? this hatchet take and try Thy proper strength, nor give those limbs the lie ; Work, feed thyself, to thine own powers appeal, Nor whine out woes thine own right hand can heal; And while that hand is thine, and thine a leg, Scorn of the proud or of the base to beg.'
PARSON ADDLE. • When first' (he so began) my trade I plied, Good master Addle was the parish guide ; His clerk and sexton I beheld with fear, His stride majestic, and his frown severe ; A nobler pillar of the church he stood, Adorned with college gown and parish hood ; Then, as he paced the hallowed aisles about, He filled the seven-fold surplice fairly out : But in his pulpit, wearied down with prayer, He sat, and seemed as in his study's chair ; For while the anthem swelled, and when it ceased, The expecting people viewed their slumbering priest; Who, dozing, died.
Our parson Peele was next; “I will not spare you,” was his favorite text : Nor did he spare, but raised them inany a pound ; Ev'n me he mulct for my poor rood of ground ; Yet cared he naught, but, with a gibing speech, “What should I do,"quoth he,“ but what I preach?" His piercing jokes (and he'd a plenteous store) Were daily offered both to rich and poor ; His scorn, his love, in playful words he spoke ; Ilis pity, praise, and promise, were a joke : But though so young, and blest with spirits high, He died as grave as any judge could die : The strong attack subdued his lively powers, His was the grave, and Doctor Grandspear ours.
Come, Surly John, thy wealthy kinsman view,' Old Roger said ; 'thy words are brave and true. Come, live with me; we 'll vex those scoundrel boys; And that prim shrew shall, envying, hear our joys. Tobacco's glorious fume all day we'll share, With beef and brandy kill all kinds of care ; We'll beer and biscuit on our table heap, And rail at rascals till we fall asleep.' Such was their life : but when the woodman
died, His grieving kin for Roger's smiles applied ; In vain : he shut with stern rebuke the door, And, dying, built a refuge for the poor ; With this restriction : That no Cuff should share One meal or shelter for one moment there.
Then were there golden times, the village round; In his abundance, all appeared to abound ; Liberal and rich, a plenteous board he spread, Ev'n sly dissenters at his table fed ; Who wished, and hoped, and thought a man so kind А way to heaven, though not their own, might find; To them, to all, he was polite and free, Kind to the poor, and, ab ! most kind to me. [old;
• Ralph," would he say, “Ralph Dibble, thou art That doublet fit, 't will keep thee from the cold ;
How does my sexton? What! the times are hard;
Gay days were these : but they were quickly
THE BOOKISHI PARSOX.
• Then came the Author Rector ; his delight
For, like the doctor, wore a world of hat,
THE CAMBRIDGE PARSOX.
Him, in his youth, a clamorous sect assailed, Advised, and censured, flattered — and prevailed. Then did he much his sober hearers vex, Confound the simple, and the sad perplex;' To a new style his reverence rashly took ; Loud grew his voice, to threatening swelled his look; Above, below, on either side he gazed, Amazing all, and most himself amazed : No more he read his preachments pure and plain, But launched outright, and rose and sank again :
At times he smiled in scorn, at times he wept,
«« Conviction comes like lightning,” he would cry;
‘Such was the doctrine our young prophet taught; And here conviction, there confusion wrought: When his thin cheek assumed a deadly hue, And all the rose to one small spot withdrew : They called it hectic ; 't was a fiery flush, More fixed and deeper than the maiden blush ; His paler lips the pearly teeth disclosed, And laboring lungs the lengthening speech opposed. No more his span-girth shanks and quivering thighs Upheld a body of the smaller size ; But down he sank upon his dying bed, And gloomy crotchets filled his wandering head.
“Spite of my faith, all-saving faith,” he cried, “I fear of worldly works the wicked pride ; Poor as I am, degraded, abject, blind, The good I've wrought still rankles in my mind; My alms-deeds all, and every deed I've done, My moral rags defile me every one ; It should not be : what say'st thou? tell me, Ralph." Quoth I, “ Your reverence, I believe you 're safe ; Your faith 's your prop, nor have you passed such In life's good works as swell them to a crime.” [time “ If I of pardon for my sins were sure, About my goodness I would rest secure.”
Such was his end ; and mine approaches fast; I've seen my best of preachers, and my last.'
He bowed, and archly smiled at what he said, Civil, but sly, — And is old Dibble dead ?'
CONCLUSION OF THE REGISTER.