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Our farmers round, well pleased with constant gain,
Like other farmers, flourish and complain,These are our groups; our portraits next appear,
And close our exhibition for the year.
With evil omen we that year begin: A Child of Shame, stern Justice adds, of Sin,
Is first recorded;-I would hide the deed, But vain the wish; I sigh and I proceed: And could I well th' instructive truth convey, 'Twould warn the giddy and awake the gay. Of all the nymphs who gave our village grace,
The Miller's daughter had the fairest face: Proud was the Miller; money was his pride; He rode to market, as our farmers ride, And 'twas his boast, inspired by spirits, there, His favourite Lucy should be rich as fair; But she must meek and still obedient prove, And not presume, without his leave, to love. A youthful Sailor heard him;—Ha! quoth he,
This Miller's maiden is a prize for me; Her charms I love, his riches I desire, And all his threats but fan the kindling fire; My ebbing purse no more the foe shall fill, But Love's kind act and Lucy at the mill. Thus thought the youth, and soon the chase began,
Stretch'd all his sail, nor thought of pause or plan:
His trusty staff in his bold hand he took,
There saw the maid, and was with pleasure
Then talk'd of love, till Lucy's yielding heart Confess'd 'twas painful, though 'twas right, to part:
For ah! my father has a haughty soul;
A kind of sorrow for a wife at rest:-
His slave and boast, his victim and his pride.
Cheer up, my lass! I'll to thy father go, The Miller cannot be the Sailor's foe;"
In the stretch'd canvas and the piping shroud; The rash of winds, the flapping sails above, And rattling planks within, are sounds we love;
Calms are our dread; when tempests plough the deep,
We take a reef, and to the rocking sleep. Ha! quoth the Miller, moved at speech so rash, Art thou like me? then where thy notes and cash?
Away to Wapping, and a wife command, With all thy wealth, a guinea, in thine hand;
There with thy messmates quaff the muddy cheer,
And leave my Lucy for thy betters here.
To bind in law the couple bound by love. What sought these lovers then by day, by night?
But stolen moments of disturb'd delight; Soft trembling tumults,terrors dearly prized, Transports that pain'd, and joys that agonized:
Till the fond damsel,pleased with lad so trim, Awed by her parent, and enticed by him, Her lovely form from savage power to save, Gave-not her hand-but ALL she could, she gave.
Then came the day of shame, the grievous night,
The varying look, the wandering appetite; The joy assumed, while sorrow dimm'd the eyes,
The forced sad smiles that follow'd sudden sighs;
And every art, long used, but used in vain. To hide thy progress, Nature, and thy pain. Too eager caution shows some danger's
The bully's bluster proves the coward's fear; His sober step the drunkard vainly tries, And nymphs expose the failings they disguise, First, whispering gossips were in parties
Then louder Scandal walk'd the villagegreen;
Next babbling Folly told the growing ill,
My William seeks a portion for his bride.—
The higgler's cottage be thy future home;
There with his ancient shrew and care abide, | Few were their acres, - but, with these And hide thy head,-thy shame thou canst not hide.
Day after day was pass'd in pains and grief; Week follow'd week,—and still was no relief: Her boy was born-no lads nor lasses came To grace the rite or give the child a name; Nor grave conceited nurse, of office proud, Bore the young Christian roaring through the crowd:
In a small chamber was my office done, Where blinks through paper'd panes the setting sun;
Where noisy sparrows, perch'd on penthouse
Chirp tuneless joy, and mock the frequent tear;
Bats on their webby wings in darkness move, And feebly shriek their melancholy love. No Sailor came; the months in terror fled! Then news arrived—He fought, and he was DEAD!
At the lone cottage Lucy lives, and still Walks for her weekly pittance to the mill; A mean seraglio there her father keeps, Whose mirth insults her, as she stands and weeps;
They were, each pay-day, ready with their
And few their wishes-what their farm denied,
The neighbouring town, at trifling cost, supplied.
If at the draper's window Susan cast
Bought her a Sunday-robe on her return;
Wrought double tides, and all was well again. Yet, though so prudent, there were times of joy,
The day they wed, the Christening of the boy,
When to the wealthier farmers there was shown
And sees the plenty, while compell'd to stay,
And softly lulls her infant to repose;
Next, with their boy, a decent couple came, 'And call'd him Robert, 'twas his father's
Three girls preceded, all by time endear'd, And future births were neither hoped nor fear'd:
Blest in each other, but to no excess; Health, quiet, comfort, form'd their happiness;
Love all made up of torture and delight, Was but mere madness in this couple's sight: Susan could think, though not without a sigh,
If she were gone, who should her place supply;
And Robert, half in earnest, half in jest, Talk of her spouse when he should be at
Yet strange would either think it to be told, Their love was cooling or their hearts were cold.
Among our topmost people to preside:
O'er all presiding, yet in nothing seen.
Recorded next a babe of love I trace! Of many loves, the mother's fresh disgrace.—Again, thou harlot! could not all thy pain, All my reproof,thy wanton thoughts restrain? Alas! your Reverence, wanton thoughts, I grant,
Were once my motive, now the thoughts of want;
Women, like me, as ducks in a decoy, Swim down a stream,and seem to swim in joy; Your sex pursue us, and our own disdain; Return is dreadful, and escape is vain. Would men forsake us, and would women strive
To help the fall'n, their virtue might revive. For rite of churching soon she made her way, In dread of scandal, should she miss the day :Two matrons came! with them she humbly knelt,
Their action copied and their comforts felt,
From that great pain and peril to be free, To whom his Friend: Mine greater bliss
Look'd joyful love, and softly said, Amen. Now of that vine he 'd have no more increase, Those playful branches now disturb his peace: Them he beholds around his table spread, But finds, the more the branch, the less the bread;
And while they run his humble walls about,
A farmer proud, beyond a farmer's pride,
Whose board is high up-heap'd with generous fare,
Which five stout sons and three tall daughters share:
Cease, man, to grieve, and listen to his care. A few years fled, and all thy boys shall be Lords of a cot, and labourers like thee: Thy girls unportion'd neighb'ring youths
Brides from my church, and thenceforth thou art freed:
But then thy master shall of cares complain, Care after care, a long connected train; His sons for farms shall ask a large supply, For farmers' sons each gentle miss shall sigh; Thy mistress, reasoning well of life's decay, Shall ask a chaise, and hardly brook delay; The smart young cornet who, with so much grace,
Rode in the ranks and betted at the race, While the vex'd parent rails at deed so rash, Shall d--n his luck, and stretch his hand for cash.
Sad troubles, Gerard! now pertain to thee, When thy rich master seems from trouble free;
But 'tis one fate at different times assign'd, And thou shalt lose the cares that he must find.
Ah! quoth our village-grocer, rich and old, Would I might one such cause for care behold!
Aged were both, that Dawkins, Ditchem
Who much of marriage thought, and much amiss;
Both would delay, the one, till—riches gain'd, The son he wish'd might be to honour train'd; His Friend—lest fierce intruding heirs should
To waste his hoard and vex his quiet home. Dawkins, a dealer once, on burthen'd back Bore his whole substance in a pedlar's pack; To dames discreet, the duties yet unpaid, His stores of lace and hyson he convey'd: When thus enrich'd,he chose at home to stop, And fleece his neighbours in a new-built shop; Then woo'd a spinster blithe, and hoped, when wed,
For love's fair favours and a fruitful bed. Not so his Friend ; — on widow fair and staid He fix'd his eye, but he was much afraid; Yet woo'd; while she his hair of silver hae Demurely noticed, and her eye withdrew : Doubtful he paused-Ah! were I sure, he cried,
No craving children would my gains divide; Fair as she is, I would my widow take, And live more largely for my partner's sake. With such their views some thoughtful years they pass'd,
And hoping, dreading, they were bound at last.
And what their fate? Observe them as they go,
Yet fond-Oh! give me children, or I die: | And I return—still childless doom'd to live, Like the vex'd patriarch-Are they mine to give?
Ah! much I envy thee thy boys, who ride On poplar branch, and canter at thy side; And girls, whose cheeks thy chin's fierce fondness know,
And with fresh beauty at the contact glow. Oh! simple friend, said Ditchem, wouldst thou gain
A father's pleasure by a husband's pain? Alas! what pleasure--when some vig'rous boy Should swell thy pride, some rosy girl thy joy?
A glorious boy, he cried, and what the name? Angry I growl'd-My spirit cease to teaze, Name it yourselves,—Cain, Judas, if you please;
His father's give him,-should you that explore,
The devil's or yours:—I said, and sought the door.
My tender partner not a word or sigh
An orphan-girl succeeds: ere she was born Her father died, her mother on that morn: The pious mistress of the school sustains Her parents' part, nor their affection feigns, But pitying feels: with due respect and joy, I trace the matron at her loved employ; What time the striplings, wearied e'en with play,
Part at the closing of the summer's day,
But I digress, and lo! an infant-train Appear, and call me to my task again. Why Lonicera wilt thou name thy child? I ask'd the Gardener's wife, in accents mild:
We have a right, replied the sturdy dame;— And Lonicera was the infant's name. | If next a son shall yield our Gardener joy, Then Hyacinthus shall be that fair boy; And if a girl, they will at length agree, That Belladonna that fair maid shall be. High-sounding words our worthy Gardener gets,
And at his club to wondering swains repeats; He then of Rhus and Rhododendron speaks, And Allium calls his onions and his leeks; Nor weeds are now, for whence arose the weed,
Scarce plants, fair herbs, and curious flowers proceed; Where Cuckoo-pints and Dandelions sprung, (Gross names had they our plainer sires among,) There Arums, there Leontodons we view, And Artemisia grows, where Wormwood grew.
But though no weed exists his garden round, From Rumex strong our Gardener frees his ground,
Takes soft Senicio from the yielding land, And grasps the arm'd Urtica in his hand. Not Darwin's self had more delight to sing Of floral courtship, in th' awaken'd Spring, Than Peter Pratt, who simpering loves to tell
How rise the Stamens, as the Pistils swell; How bend and curl the moist - top to the spouse,
And give and take the vegetable vows; How those esteem'd of old but tips and chives, Are tender husbands and obedient wives; Who live and love within the sacred bower,That bridal bed, the vulgar term a flower. Hear Peter proudly, to some humble friend, A wondrous secret, in his science, lend :Would you advance the nuptial hour, and bring
The fruit of Autumn with the flowers of Spring;
View that light frame where Cucumis lies spread,
And trace the husbands in their golden bed, Three powder'd Anthers; - then no more delay,
But to the Stigma's tip their dust convey; Then by thyself, from prying glance secure; Twirl the full tip and make your purpose
All with the year awaked to life, delight, This known,—how food and raiment they
Then names are good; for how, without their aid,
Is knowledge,gain'd by man,to man convey'd? But from that source shall all our pleasures flow?
Shall all our knowledge be those names to know?
Then he, with memory blest, shall bear away The palm from Grew,and Middleton,and Ray: No! let us rather seek, in grove and field, What food for wonder, what for use they yield;
Some just remark from Nature's people bring,
And some new source of homage for her King.
Pride lives with all; strange names our rustics give To helpless infants, that their own may live; Pleased to be known, they'll some attention claim,
And find some by-way to the house of fame. The straightest furrow lifts the ploughman's art,
The hat he gain'd has warmth for head and heart; The bowl that beats the greater number down Of tottering nine-pins gives to fame the clown;
Or, foil'd in these, he opes his ample jaws, And lets a frog leap down, to gain applause; Or grins for hours, or tipples for a week, Or challenges a well-pinch'd pig to squeak: Some idle deed, some child's preposterous
The child was brought-What then remain'd to do?
Was 't dead or living? This was fairly proved,―
'Twas pinch'd, it roar'd, and every doubt removed.
Then by what name th' unwelcome guest to call
Was long a question, and it posed them all; For he who lent it to a babe unknown, Censorious men might take it for his own: They look'd about, they gravely spoke to all, And not one Richard answer'd to the call. Next they inquired the day, when, passing by, Th' unlucky peasant heard the stranger's cry:
Was next debated-for the rogue would live; At last, with all their words and work content,
Back to their homes the prudent Vestry went,
And duly took his beatings and his bread;
He was a footstool for the beggar's feet;
He rose in favour, when in fame he fell;
One morn they call'd him, Richard answer'd
Yet miss'd him long, as each, throughout the clan,
Found he had better spared a better man. Now Richard's talents for the world were fit, He'd no small cunning, and had some small wit; Had that calm look which seem'd to all assent, And that complacent speech which nothing
He'd but one care, and that he strove to hide, How best for Richard Monday to provide. Steel, through opposing plates, the magnet draws,
And steely atoms culls from dust and straws;
But still more surely round the world to go,