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A beast forth-sallied on the scout,
THE POET'S NEW-YEAR'S GIFT Long-backed, long-tailed, with whisker'd snout, And badger-coloured hide.
TO MRS. (NOW LADY) THROCKMORTON. He, entering at the study-door,
Maria! I have every good
For thee wished many a time,
Both sad, and in a cheerful mood,
But never yet in rhyme.
To wish thee fairer is no need,
More prudent, or more sprightly,
Or more ingenious, or more freed
From temper-flaws unsightly.
What favour then not yet possest
Can I for thee require,
In wedded love already blest,
To thy whole heart's desire?
None here is happy but in part:
Full bliss is bliss divine;
There dwells some wish in every heart, Minute the horrors that ensued;
And doubtless one in thine.
That wish on some fair future day,
Which fate shall brightly gild,
("Tis blameless, be it what it may)
I wish it all fulfilled.
PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED.
I shall not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau,
If birds confabulate or no;
'Tis clear that they were always able His head alone remained to tell
To hold discourse, at least in fable;
And e'en the child who knows no better,
Must have a most uncommon skull.
It chanced then on a winter's day,
But warm, and bright, and calm as May, Which Mary to Anna conveyed,
The birds, conceiving a design
To forestall sweet St. Valentine,
In many an orchard, copse, and grove,
Assembled on affairs of love,
Began to agitate the matter.
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, opening wide his beak, I hastily seized it, unfit as it was
A moment's liberty to speak; For a nosegay, so dripping and drown'd,
And, silence publicly enjoined, And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas!
Delivered briefly thus his mind. I snapped it, it fell to the ground.
My friends! be cautious how ye treat
The subject upon which we meet;
I fear we shall have winter yet.
A Finch, whose tongue knew no control,
With golden wing, and satin pole, Already to sorrow resigned.
A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
What marriage means, thus pert replied.
By his good will would keep us single,
He sees that this great roundabout
But 'tis her own important charge The world, with all its motley rout,
To qualify him more at large, Church, army, physic, law,
And make him quite a wit. Its customs, and its businesses,
Sweet Poll! his doating mistress cries, Is no concern at all of his,
Sweet Poll! the mimic bird replies; And says—what says he ?-Caw.
And calls aloud for sack. Thrice happy bird! I too have seen
She next instructs him in the kiss; Much of the vanities of men;
'Tis now a little one, like Miss, And, sick of having seen 'em,
And now a hearty smack. Would cheerfully these limbs resign
At first he aims at what he bears; For such a pair of wings as thine,
And, listening close with both his ears,
Just catches at the sound;
Much to the amusement of the crowd,
And stuns the neighbours round.
A querulous old woman's voice
His humorous talent next employs, Pay me for thy warm retreat
He scolds and gives the lie. With a song more soft and sweet;
And now he sings, and now is sick, In return thou shalt receive
Here Sally, Susan, come, come quick, Such a strain as I can give.
Poor Poll is like to die!
Belinda and her bird ! 'tis rare
To meet with such a well-matched pair,
The language and the tone, And the mouse with curious snout,
Each character in every part With what vermin else infest
Sustained with so much grace and art,
And both in unison.
When children first begin to spell,
And stammer out a syllable,
We think them tedious creatures; Though in voice and shape they be
But difficulties soon abate, Formed as if akin to thee,
When birds are to be taught to prate,
And women are the teachers.
HISTORY OF JOHN GILPIN,
He soon replied, I do admire
Then over all, that he might be Of womankind but one,
Equipped from top to toe, And you are she, my dearest dear,
His long red cloak, well brushed and neat, Therefore it shall be done.
He manfully did throw. I am a linen-draper bold,
Now see him mounted once again As all the world doth know,
Upon his nimble steed, And my good friend the calender
Full slowly pacing o'er the stones, Will lend his horse to go.
With caution and good heed. Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, That's well said;
But finding soon a smoother road And, for that wine is dear,
Beneath his well-shod feet, We will be furnished with our own,
The snorting beast began to trot, Which is both bright and clear.
Which galled him in his seat. John Gilpin kissed his loving wife;
So, fair and softly, John he cried, O'erjoyed was he to find
But John he cried in vain; That, though on pleasure she was bent,
That trot became a gallop soon,
In spite of curb and rein.
Who cannot sit upright,
He grasped the mane with both his hands, Should say that she was proud.
And eke with all his might. So three doors off the chaise was stayed,
His horse, who never in that sort Where they did all get in;
Had handled been before, Six precious souls, and all agog
What thing upon his back had got To dash through thick and thin.
Did wonder more and more. Smack went the whip, round went the wheels, Away went Gilpin, neck or nought; Were never folk so glad,
Away went hat and wig;
He little dreamt when he set out,
Of running such a rig.
The wind did blow, the cloak did fly Seized fast the flowing mane,
Like streamer long and gay,
Till, loop and button failing both,
At last it flew away.
Then might all people well discern
The bottles he had slung;
A bottle swinging at each side,
As hath been said or sung.
The dogs did bark, the children screamed, Although it grieved him sore;
Up flew the windows all; Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,
And every soul cried out, Well done! Would trouble him much more.
As loud as he could bawl. 'Twas long before the customers
Away went Gilpin—who but he ?
His fame soon spread around,
He carries weight! he rides a race! “ The wine is left behind!”
'Tis for a thousand pound! Good lack! quoth he-yet bring it me,
And still, as fast as he drew near,
'Twas wonderful to view In which I bear my trusty sword
How in a trice the turnpike men
Their gates wide open threw.
And now, as he went bowing down
His reeking head full low,
The bottles twain behind his back
Were shattered at a blow.
Down ran the wine into the road,
Most piteous to be seen,
Which made his horse's flanks to smoke, To make his balance true.
As they had basted been.
But still he seemed to carry weight,
He held them up, and in his turn With leathern girdle braced ;
Thus showed his ready wit, For all might see the bottle-necks
My head is twice as big as yours, Still dangling at his waist.
They therefore needs must fit. Thus all through merry Islington
But let me scrape the dirt away, These gambols he did play,
That hangs upon your face; Until he came unto the Wash
And stop and eat, for well you may Of Edmonton so gay:
Be in a hungry case. And there he threw the wash about
Said John, it is my wedding-day, On both sides of the way,
And all the world would stare Just like unto a trundling mop,
If wife should dine at Edmonton, Or a wild goose at play.
And I should dine at Ware. At Edmonton his loving wife
So turning to his horse, he said, From the balcony spied
I am in haste to dine; Her tender husband, wondering much
'Twas for your pleasure you came here, To see how he did ride.
You shall go back for mine. Stop, stop, John Gilpin!—Here's the house Ah luckless speech, and bootless boast? They all at once did cry;
For which he paid full dear; The dinner waits, and we are tired:
For, while he spake, a braying ass Said Gilpin-So am I!
Did sing most loud and clear; But yet his horse was not a whit
Whereat his horse did snort, as he Inclined to tarry there;
Had heard a lion roar, For why?-his owner had a house
And galloped off with all his might, Full ten miles off, at Ware.
As he had done before. So like an arrow swift he flew,
Away went Gilpin, and away Shot by an archer strong;
Went Gilpin's hat and wig. So did he fly—which brings me to
He lost them sooner than at first, The middle of my song.
For why?—they were too big. Away went Gilpin out of breath,
Now mistress Gilpin, when she saw And sore against his will,
Her husband posting down Till at his friend the calender's
Into the country far away, His horse at last stood still.
She pulled out half a crown; The calender, amazed to see
And thus unto the youth she said, His neighbour in such trim,
That drove them to the Bell, Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,
This shall be yours when you bring back And thus accosted him.
My husband safe and well. What news? what news? your tidings tell;
The youth did ride, and soon did meet Tell me you must and shall
John coming back amain; Say why bare-headed you are come,
Whom in a trice he tried to stop, Or why you come at all?
By catching at his rein; Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,
But not performing what he meant, And loved a timely joke!
And gladly would have done, And thus unto the calender
The frighted steed he frighted more, In merry guise he spoke:
And made him faster run. I came because your horse would come;
Away went Gilpin, and away And, if I well forbode,
Went post-boy at his heels, My hat and wig will soon be here,
The post-boy's horse right glad to miss They are upon the road.
The lumbering of the wheels. The calender, right glad to find
Six gentlemen upon the road His friend in merry pin,
Thus seeing Gilpin fly, Returned him not a single word,
With post-boy scampering in the rear, But to the house went in;
They raised the hue and cry: Whence straight he came with hat and wig; Stop thief! stop thief !—a highwayman! A wig that flowed behind,
Not one of them was mute; A hat not much the worse for wear,
And all and each that passed that way Each comely in its kind.
Did join in the pursuit.
And now the turnpike gates again
Their length and colour from the locks they spare;
The elastic spring of an unwearied foot,
That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence,
That play of lungs, inhaling and again
Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes
Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me,
Mine have not pilfered yet; nor yet impaired
My relish of fair prospect; scenes that soothed
Or charmed me young, no longer young, I find
Still soothing, and of power to charm me still.
And witness, dear companiou of my walks,
Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive
Fast locked in mine, with pleasure such as love,
Confirmed by long experience of thy worth
Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long.
Thou knowest my praise of nature most sincere,
How oft upon yon eminence our pace His legs depending at the open door.
Has slackened to a pause, and we have borne Sweet sleep enjoys the curate in his desk,
The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew, The tedious rector drawling over his head;
While admiration, feeding at the eye, And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene. Of lazy nurse, who snores the sick man dead, Thence with what pleasure have we just discerned Nor his, who quits the box at midnight hour The distant plough still moving, and beside To slumber in the carriage more secure,
His labouring team, that swerved not from the track, Nor sleep enjoyed by curate in his desk,
The sturdy swain diminished to a boy! Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet,
Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain Compared with the repose the sofa yields.
Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o'er, Oh may I live exempted (while I live
Conducts the eye along his sinuous course Guiltless of pampered appetite obscene)
Delighted. There, fast rooted in their bank, From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe
Stand, never overlooked, our favourite elms, Of libertine excess. The sofa suits
That screen the herdsmau's solitary hut; The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb,
While far beyond, and overthwart the stream Though on a sofa, may I never feel:
That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale,
Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tower,
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages, remote.
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Praise justly due to those that I describe.
Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilirate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds,
That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood
Of ancient growth, make music not unlike
The dash of ocean on his winding shore,
And lull the spirit while they fill the mind;
Unnumbered branches waving in the blast, Nor sofa then I needed. Youth repairs
And all their leaves fast fluttering, all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of neighbouring fountain, or of rills that slip
Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall And not a year but pilfers as he goes
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
In matted grass, that with a livelier green