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In elbow chair, like that of Scottish stem,
By the sharp tooth of cank’ring eld defacd,
In which, when he receives his diadem,
Qur soy'reign 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, for 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 other some with baleful sprig she 'frays:
E'en absent, she the reins of pow'r doth hold,
While with quaint arts the giddy crowd she sways;
Forewarn'd, if little bird their pranks behola,
'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 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,
Sigh'd as be 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 pray'r 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 fordears, thro' awful fear,
To rushen forth, and, with presumptuous hand,
stay harsh justice in its rid 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 looks amain?
The plenteous show'r 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, thro' the thatch, his cries each falling stroke
proclaim. The other tribe, aghast, with sore dismay Attend, and con their tasks with mickle care: By turns, astony'd, ev'ry twig survey, And, from their fellow's hateful wounds, bcware, 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 'em greet, And gingerbread 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 snubs 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 flow'r;
Which low to earth its drooping head declines,
All smear'd and sully'd by a vernal show'r:
O the hard bosoms of despotic pow'r!
All, all, but she, the author of his shame,
All, all, but she, regret this mournful hour;
Yet hence the youth, and hence the flow'r shall claim,
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' joyaunce careth aught,
But to the wind all merriment resigns,
And deems it 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 gen'rous 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 flowry false deceit.
Yet nurs'd with skill, what dazzling fruits appear!
Ev'n 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!
Tho' now he crawl along the ground so low,
Nor weeting how the Muse should soar on high,
Wisheth, poor starv'ling elf! his paper kite may fly.
And this perhaps, who, cens’ring the design,
Low lays the house which that of cards doth build,
Shall Dennis be! if rigid fates incline,
And many an epic to his rage shall yield,
And many a poet quit the 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
But now Dan Phæbus gains the middle sky,
And Liberty unbars her prison door,
And like a rushing torrent out they fly,
And now the grassy cirque han cover'd o'er
With boist'rous revel-rout and wild uproar;
A thousand ways in wanton rings they run,
Heav'n shield their short-liv'd pastimes, I implore!
For well may Freedom, erst so dearly won,
Appear to British elf more gladsome then the sun.
Enjoy, poor imps! enjoy your sportive trade,
And chase gay flies, and cull the fairest flow'rs,
For when my bones in grass-green sods are laid,
For never may ye taste more careless hours
In knightly castles or in ladies' bow'rs.
O vain to seek delight in earthly thing!
But most in courts, where proud Ambition tow'rs :
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 saunt'ring 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 sav'ry 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 tull sore the unmoney'd wight, are seen,
And goosb'rie clad in liv'ry red or green;
And here of lovely dye the cath'rine 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 while in tempting posies ty'd,
Scatt'ring like blooming maid their glances round,
With pamper'd look draw little eyes aside,
And must be bought, tho' penury beţide;
The plum all azure, and the nut all brown,
And here each season do those cakes abide,
Whose honor'd names the inventive city own,
Rend'ring thro’Britain'sisleSalopia's praises known.*
Admir'd Salopia! that with venial pride
Eyes her bright form in Severn's ambient wave,
Fam'd for her loyal cares in perils try'd,
Her daughters lovely, and her striplings brave:
Ah! 'midst the rest, may flow'rs, adorn his grave,
Whose art did first these dulcet cakes display!
A motive fair to Learning's imps he gave,
Who cheerless o'er her dark'ling region stray,
Till Reason's morn arise and light them on their way,