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TRUE POLITENESS; OR, THE CAT O' NINE TAILS. 1. Once on a time, as I've heard say,
(I neither know the year nor day,)
The rain distill'd from many a cloud,
The night was dark, the wind was loud:
A country squire, without a guide,
Where roads were bad, and heath was wide,
Attended by his servant Jerry,
Was trav'ling towards the town of Bury.
The 'squire had ne'er been bred in courts;
But yet was held, as fame reports,
Though he to wit made no pretense,
A squire of more than common sense.
Jerry, who courage could not boast,
Thought every sheep he saw, a ghost;
And most devoutly prayed he might
Escape the terrors of that night.
2. As they approached the common's side,
A peasant's cottage they espied;
There riding up, our weary squire
Held it most prudent to inquire,
Being nothing less than wet to skin,
Where he might find a wholesome inn.
“ No inns there are,” replied the clown,
“ 'Twixt this and yonder market town,
Seven miles north-west, across the heath;
And wind and rain are in your teeth.
Warm stabling, too, and corn and hay;
Yet not a penny will you pay :
'Tis true, sir, I have heard it said,"
And here he grinn’d and scratch'd his head,
“The gentleman that keeps the house,
Though every freedom he allows,
And uses folks so very civil,
You'd think he never dream'd of evil,
Orders next morn his servant John,
With cat o' nine tails to lay on
Full twenty strokes, most duly counted,
On man and master ere they're mounted.”
4. “With cat o'nine tails! oh,” cried Jerry, “ That I were safe at Edmund's Bury !"
Our squire spurr'd on, as clown directed;
This offer might not be rejected :
Poor Jerry's prayers could not dissuade.
The squire, more curious than afraid,
Arrives, and rings; the footman runs;
The master and his wife and sons
Descend the hall, and bid him enter;
Give him dry clothes, and beg he'll venture
To take a glass of brandy old,
That he might thus escape a cold.
5. The liquor drank, the garments chang'd,
The family round the fire arrang’d,
The mistress begg'd to know, if he
Chose coffee, chocolate, or tea?
“ A dish of coffee and a toast !"
The mistress smil'd: th' enraptur'd host
Cried, “Sir, I like your frankness much;
This house is yours; pray think it such,
While here you stay ; 'tis my request,
And you shall be a welcome guest !
Sans ceremony I would live,
And what I have I freely give.”
Tea ended; once again our host
Demanded—“Sir, of boil'd or roast,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, do you prefer
For supper ?”—“Why, indeed, good sir,
Roast duck I love”- -“ With good green peas ?"
“Yes, dearest madam, if you please."
6. But now to close my lengthen'd tale,
Whether the 'squire drank wine or ale,
Or how he slept, or what he said,
Or how much gave to man and maid ;
Or what the while became of Jerry,
'Mong footmen blithe, and maidens merry ;
Description here we can't admit,
For brevity's the soul of wit.
Suffice to say, the morn arrived,
Jerry, of senses half deprived,
Horses from stable saw led out,
Trembled and skulked and peer'd about,
And felt already every thwack
Of cat o' nine tails on his back.
7. When now they're on the point of starting,
To bid them kind adieu in parting
Out came the host and hostess, too,
With every mark of friendship true.
8. Mutual civilities repaid,
The squire had turn'd his horse's head,
To gallop off; yet his desire
Grew every moment higher and higher;
While bidding thus his last adieu,
To ask if what he heard was true :
So drawing to his host quite near,
He said, half doubting, half in fear :-
“ Last night a peasant told me, here,
As I have found, was noble cheer ;
But added, ere this morn I went,
You'd drub me to my heart's content;
have not put in act;
Is it a fiction, or a fact,
After the kindness you've expressed,
You take your leave thus of each guest?
And how, if still a rule you've kept it,
Have I deserv'd to be excepted ?"
9. Sir,” answer'd he, “ 'tis very true;
No stranger e'er went hence, but you,
Who bore not, on his well-marked back,
Of cat o' nine tails full many a crack.
None yet deserv'd, or I'm mistaken,
That I should pity, and spare their bacon: :
A set of tiresome, troublesome knaves;
Of bowing, fawning, lying slaves !
If a man ask'd what they prefer,
Oh, I love anything, good sir !
Would you choose coffee, sir, or tea?
'Dear ma'am, it's all the same to me!
For beef or mutton, give your voice :
“Upon my honor, I've no choice !
There's Cheshire, sir, and Gloster cheese;
Which shall I send you ? “Which you please.'
10. “Plague on their cringing complaisance !
I've tutor'd some of them to dance
Such steps as they ne'er learn'd in France.
But you, good sir, or I misdeem,
Deserve an honest man's esteem.
Your frankness, sir, I call polite;
I never spent a happier night ;
And whensoe'er this road you come,
I hope you'll make my house your home:
Nay, more; I likewise hope, henceforth
To rank a man of so much worth
Among my friends.”—“Sir," said the squire,
6 'Tis what I ardently desire :
Not twenty miles from hence my house,
At which your sons, yourself, and spouse,
Shall find such hospitality,
As kindly here you've shown to me.”
11. This being done, the squire and Jerry,
Again proceed for town of Bury.
And now the reader may,
Extract this moral, if he please :
Politeness can not e'er become
Impertinent and troublesome :
His breeding good he soonest proves,
Who soonest tells you what he loves ;
And who, in rapid eloquence,
Their wordy compliments dispense,
Have more civility than sense.
CONVERSATION OF THE VULTURES.DR. SAM. JOHNSON.
1. “My children,” said the vulture, “you have seen me snatch from the farm the household fowl, seize the leveret in the bush, and the kid in the pasture. But you remember the taste of more delicious food—I have often regaled you with the flesh of man.” “Tell us," said the young vultures,
MAN” “where man may be found, and how he may be known; his flesh is surely the natural food of a vulture. Why have you