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And then the hospitable sire
Bid Goody Baucis mend the fire;
While he from out the chimney took
A flitch of bacon off the hook,
And freely from the fattest side
Cut out large slices to be fried;
Then stopp'd aside to fetch them drink,
Fill'd a large jug up to the brink,
And saw it fairly twice go round;
Yet (what is wonderful!) they found
"Twas still replenish'd to the top,
As if they ne'er had touch'd a drop.
The good old couple were amaz'd,
And often on each other gaz'd;
For both were frighten'd to the heart,
And just began to cry,-"What ar't?"
Then softly turn'd aside to view
Whether the lights were burning blue.
The gentle pilgrims, soon aware on 't,
Told them their calling, and their errand:
"Good folks, you need not be afraid,
We are but saints," the hermits said:
No hurt shall come to you or yours:
But for that pack of churlish boors,
Not fit to live on Christian ground,
They and their houses shall be drown'd;
Whilst you shall see your cottage rise,
And grow a church before your eyes."
They scarce had spoke, when fair and soft
The roof began to mount aloft;
Aloft rose every beam and rafter;
The heavy wall climb'd slowly after.
The chimney widen'd, and grew higher, Became a steeple with a spire.
The kettle to the top was hoist, And there stood fasten'd to a joist, But with the upside down, to show Its inclination for below:
In vain; for a superior force,
Applied at bottom, stops its course;
Doom'd ever in suspense to dwell,
"Tis now no kettle, but a bell.
A wooden jack, which had almost
Lost by disuse the art to roast,
A sudden alteration feels,
Increas'd by new intestine wheels;
And, what exalts the wonder more,
The number made the motion slower:
The flier, though 't had leaden feet,
Turn'd round so quick, you scarce could see 't;
But, slacken'd by some secret power,
Now hardly moves an inch an hour.
The jack and chimney near allied,
Had never left each other's side:
The chimney to a steeple grown,
The jack would not be left alone;
But, up against the steeple rear'd,
Became a clock, and still adher'd ;
And still its love to household cares,
By a shrill voice at noon, declares,
Warning the cook-maid not to burn
That roast meat which it cannot turn.
The groaning chair began to crawl, Like a huge snail, along the wall; There stuck aloft in public view, And, with small change, a pulpit grew.
The porringers, that in a row Hung high, and made a glittering show, To a less noble substance chang'd, Were now but leathern buckets rang'd.
The ballads, pasted on the wall,
Of Joan of France, and English Moll,
Fair Rosamond, and Robin Hood,
The Little Children in the Wood,
Now seem'd to look abundance better,
Improv'd in picture, size, and letter;
And, high in order plac'd, describe
The heraldry of every tribe.*
A bedstead of the antique mode,
Compact of timber many a load,
Such as our ancestors did use,"
Was metamorphos'd into pews;
Which still their ancient nature keep
By lodging folks dispos'd to sleep.
The cottage by such feats as these
Grown to a church by just degrees,
The hermits then desir'd their host
To ask for what he fancied most.
Philemon, having paus'd awhile,
Return'd them thanks in homely style:
Then said, "My house is grown so fine,
Methinks I still would call it mine:
I'm old, and fain would live at ease;
Make me the parson, if you please."
He spoke, and presently he feels
His grazier's coat fall down his heels:
He sees, yet hardly can believe,
About each arm a pudding-sleeve;
His waistcoat to a cassock grew,
And both assum'd a sable hue;
But, being old, continued just
As threadbare, and as full of dust.
His talk was now of tithes and dues :
He smok'd his pipe, and read the news;
Knew how to preach old sermons next,
Vamp'd in the preface and the text;
At christenings well could act his part,
And had the service all by heart;
Wish'd women might have children fast,
And thought whose sow had farrow'd last;
Against dissenters would repine,
And stood up firm for right divine;
Found his head fill'd with many a system;
But classic authors,-he ne'er miss'd'em.
Thus having furbish'd up a parson, Dame Baucis next they play'd their farce on Instead of home-spun coifs, were seen Good pinners edg'd with colbertecn; Her petticoat, transform'd apace, Became black satin, flounc'd with lace. Plain Goody would no longer down; "Twas Madam, in her grogram gown. Philemon was in great surprise, And hardly could believe his eyes, Amaz'd to see her look so prim; And she admir'd as much at him.
Thus happy in their change of life, Were several years this man and wife; When, on a day, which prov'd their last, Discoursing o'er old stories past, They went by chance, amidst their talk, To the church-yard to take a walk; When Baucis hastily cried out, "My dear, I see your forehead sprout!" "Sprout!" quoth the man; "what's this you
I hope you don't believe me jealous?
*The tribes of Israel are sometimes distinguished in country churches by the ensigns given to them by Jacob
But yet, methinks, I feel it true;
And really yours is budding too:—
Nay-now I cannot stir my foot;
It feels as if 'twere taking root."
Description would but tire my Muse;
In short, they both were turn'd to yews.
Old Goodman Dobson of the green
Remembers, he the trees has seen :
He'll talk of them from noon till night,
And goes with folks to show the sight:
On Sundays, after evening prayer,
He gathers all the parish there;
Points out the place of either yew;
Here Baucis, there Philemon, grew:
Till once a parson of our town,
To mend his barn, cut Baucis down;
At which, 'tis hard to be believ'd
How much the other tree was griev'd,
Grew scrubbed, died a-top, was stunted;
So the next parson stubb'd and burnt it.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE MORNING.
Thus argued my lady, but argued in vain;
The knight his opinion resolv'd to maintain.
Now hardly here and there an hackney-coach
Appearing, show'd the ruddy Morn's approach.
Now Betty from her master's bed had flown,
And softly stole to discompose her own;
The slipshod 'prentice from his master's door
Had par'd the dirt, and sprinkled round the floor.
Now Moll had whirl'd her mop with dextrous airs,
Prepar'd to scrub the entry and the stairs.
The youth with broomy stumps began to trace
The kennel's edge, where wheels had worn the place.
The small-coal-man was heard with cadence deep,
Till drown'd in shriller notes of chimney-sweep.
Duns at his lordship's gate began to meet;
But Hannah, who listen'd to all that was past,
And could not endure so vulgar a taste,
As soon as her ladyship call'd to be drest,
Cried, "Madam, why surely my master's possest!
Sir Arthur the malster! how fine it will sound!
I'd rather the bawn were sunk under ground.
But madam, I guess'd there would never come good,
When I saw him so often with Darby and Wood.¶
And brick-dust Moll had scream'd through half the And now my dream's out; for I was a-dream'd
The turnkey now his flock returning sees,
Duly let out a-nights to steal for fees:
The watchful bailiffs take their silent stands,
And school-boys lag with satchels in their hands.
That I saw a huge rat-O dear, how I scream'd!
And after, methought, I had lost my new shoes;
And Molly, she said, I should hear some ill news.
"Dear madam, had you but the spirit to tease,
You might have a barrack whenever you please:
And, madam, I always believ'd you so stout,
That for twenty denials you would not give out.
If I had a husband like him, I purtest,
THE GRAND QUESTION DEBATED: WHETHER HAMILTON'S BAWN SHOULD BE TURNED INTO A BARRACK OR A MALT-HOUSE. 1729.
THUS spoke to my lady the knight* full of care:
"Let me have your advice in a weighty affair.
This Hamilton's bawn,† whilst it sticks on my hand,
I lose by the house what I get by the land;
But how to dispose of it to the best bidder,
For a barrack or malt-house, we now must consider.
"First, let me suppose I make it a malt-house,
Here I have computed the profit will fall t'us;
There's nine hundred pounds for labor and grain,
I increase it to twelve, so three hundred remain;
A handsome addition for wine and good cheer,
Three dishes a day, and three hogsheads a year:
With a dozen large vessels my vault shall be stor❜d;
No little scrub joint shall come on my board;
And you and the Dean no more shall combine
To stint me at night to one bottle of wine;
Nor shall I, for his humor, permit you to purloin
A stone and a quarter of beef from my sirloin.
If I make it a barrack, the crown is my tenant!
My dear, I have ponder'd again and again on 't:
In poundage and drawbacks I lose half my rent;
Whatever they give me, I must be content,
Or join with the court in every debate;
And rather than that, I would lose my estate."
Thus ended the knight; thus began his meek wife:
“It must, and it shall be a barrack, my life.
I'm grown a mere mopus; no company comes,
But a rabble of tenants, and rusty dull Rums.§
With parsons what lady can keep herself clean?
I'm all over daub'd when I sit by the Dean.
But if you will give us a barrack, my dear,
The captain, I'm sure, will always come here;
I then shall not value his Deanship a straw,
For the captain, I warrant, will keep him in awe;
Or should he pretend to be brisk and alert,
Will tell him that chaplains should not be so pert,
That men of his coat should be minding their prayers,
And not among ladies to give themselves airs."
Sir Arthur Acheson, at whose seat this was written. ↑ A large old house, two miles from Sir Arthur's seat.
The army in Ireland is lodged in strong buildings, over the whole kingdom, called barracks. F.
Till he gave me my will, I would give him no rest;
And, rather than come in the same pair of sheets
With such a cross man, I would lie in the streets;
But, madam, I beg you contrive and invent,
And worry him out, till he gives his consent.
Dear madam, whene'er of a barrack I think,
An I were to be hang'd, I can't sleep a wink:
For if a new crotchet comes into my brain,
I can't get it out, though I'd never so fain.
I fancy already a barrack contriv'd
At Hamilton's bawn, and the troop is arriv'd;
Of this, to be sure, Sir Arthur has warning,
And waits on the captain betimes the next morning.
Now see, when they meet, how their honors behave:
Noble captain, your servant'-Sir Arthur, your
§ A cant word in Ireland for a poor country clergyman.
My lady's waiting-woman. F.
T Two of Sir Arthur's managers. N.
You honor me much'- The honor is mine.'-
The servants amaz'd are scarce ever able
'Twas a sad rainy night-But the morning is To keep off their eyes, as they wait at the table;
[service.'- And Molly and I have thrust in our nose
Pray how does my lady - My wife's at your To peep at the captain all in his fine clo'es.
'I think I have seen her picture by Jervas.'-
Dear madam, be sure he's a fine-spoken man,
'Good-morrow, good captain. I'll wait on you Do but hear on the clergy how glib his tongue ran;
And, madam,' says he, if such dinners you give,
You'll ne'er want for parsons as long as you live.
I ne'er knew a parson without a good nose;
But the Devil's as welcome wherever he goes:
G-d-n me! they bid us reform and repent,
But, zs! by their looks they never keep Lent.
Mister curate, for all your grave looks, I'm afraid
You cast a sheep's eye on her ladyship's maid:
I wish she would lend you her pretty white hand
In mending your cassoc, and smoothing your band.
(For the Dean was so shabby, and look'd like a ninny,
That the captain suppos'd he was curate to Jinny.)
Whenever you see a cassoc and gown,
A hundred to one but it covers a clown.
Observe how a parson comes into a room;
G-d-n me! he hobbles as bad as my groom;
A scholard, when just from his college broke loose,
Can hardly tell how to cry bo to a goose;
Your Noveds, and Bluturcks, and Omurs,t and stuff
By G-, they don't signify this pinch of snuff.
To give a young gentleman right education,
The army's the only good school in the nation:
My schoolmaster call'd me a dunce and a fool,
But at cuffs I was always the cock of the school;
I never could take to my book for the blood o' me,
And the puppy confess'd he expected no good o' me.
He caught me one morning coquetting his wife;
But he maul'd me, I ne'er was so maul'd in my life:
So I took to the road, and what's very odd,
The first man I robb'd was a parson, by G—.
Now, madam, you'll think it a strange thing to say.
But the sight of a book makes me sick to this day.'
"Never since I was born did I hear so much wit,
'You shan't stir a foot.'-'You'll think me a clown:' For all the world, captain—'—Not half an inch farther.'
You must be obey'd!'-' Your servant, Sir Arthur! My humble respects to my lady unknown.''I hope you will use my house as your own.'"
"Go bring me my smock, and leave off your prate, Thou hast certainly gotten a cup in thy pate."
"Pray, madam, be quiet; what was it I said?
You had like to have put it quite out of my head.
Next day, to be sure, the captain will come,
At the head of his troops, with trumpet and drum.
Now, madam, observe how he marches in state:
The man with the kettle-drum enters the gate:
Dub, dub, adub, dub. The trumpeters follow,
Tantara, tantara; while all the boys hollow.
See now comes the captain all daub'd with gold lace:
O la! the sweet gentleman! look in his face;
And see how he rides like a lord of the land,
With the fine flaming sword that he holds in his hand;
And his horse, the dear creter, it prances and rears;
With ribbons in knots at its tail and its ears:
At last comes the troop by the word of command,
Drawn up in our court; when the captain cries,
Your ladyship lifts up the sash to be seen
(For sure I had dizen'd you out like a queen).
The captain, to show he is proud of the favor,
Looks up to your window, and cocks up his beaver.
(His beaver is cock'd; pray, madam, mark that,
For a captain of horse never takes off his hat,
Because he has never a hand that is idle;
For the right holds the sword, and the left holds the And, madam, I laugh'd till I thought I should split.
So then you look'd scornful, and snift at the Dean,
As who should say, Now, am I skinny and lean ?‡
But he durst not so much as once open his lips,
And the doctor was plaguily down in the hips."
Thus merciless Hannah ran on in her talk,
Till she heard the Dean call, "Will your ladyship
Then flourishes thrice his sword in the air,
As a compliment due to a lady so fair;
(How I tremble to think of the blood it hath spilt!)
Then he lowers down the point, and kisses the hilt.
Your ladyship smiles, and thus you begin:
'Pray, captain, be pleas'd to alight and walk in.'
The captain salutes you with congee profound,
And your ladyship curtsies half-way to the ground.
'Kit, run to your master, and bid him come to us;
I'm sure he'll be proud of the honor you do us.
And, captain, you'll do us the favor to stay,
And take a short dinner here with us to-day:
You're heartily welcome; but as for good cheer,
You come in the very worst time of the year:
If I had expected so worthy a guest'
Lord! madam! your ladyship sure is in jest:
You banter me, madam; the kingdom must grant-'
You officers, captain, are so complaisant!"
Hist, hussy, I think I hear somebody coming-"
No, madam; 'tis only Sir Arthur a-humming.
To shorten my tale (for I hate a long story),
The captain at dinner appears in his glory;
The Dean and the doctor* have humbled their pride,
For the captain's entreated to sit by your side;
And, because he's their betters, you carve for him
The parsons for envy are ready to burst.
Dr. Jinny, a clergyman in the neighborhood. F.
Her ladyship answers, "I'm just coming down :"
Then, turning to Hannah, and forcing a frown,
Although it was plain in her heart she was glad,
Cried, "Hussy, why sure the wench is gone mad!
How could these chimeras get into your brains?—
Come hither, and take this old gown for your pains.
But the Dean, if this secret should come to his ears
Will never have done with his gibes and his jeers.
For your life, not a word of the matter, I charge ye.
Give me but a barrack, a fig for the clergy."
ON POETRY: A RHAPSODY. 1733.
ALL human race would fain be wits,
And millions miss for one that hits.
Young's universal passion, pride,
Was never known to spread so wide.
Say, Britain, could you ever boast,
Three poets in an age at most?
† Ovids, Plutarchs, Homers.
Nicknames for my lady.
Our chilling climate hardly bears
A sprig of bays in fifty years;
While every fool his claim alleges,
As if it grew in common hedges.
What reason can there be assign'd
For this perverseness in the mind?
Brutes find out where their talents lie:
A bear will not attempt to fly;
A founder'd horse will oft debate,
Before he tries a five-barr'd gate;
A dog by instinct turns aside,
Who sees the ditch too deep and wide.
But man we find the only creature
Who, led by folly, combats nature;
Who, when she loudly cries, forbear,
With obstinacy fixes there;
And, where his genius least inclines,
Absurdly bends his whole designs.
Not empire to the rising Sun
By valor, conduct, fortune won;
Not highest wisdom in debates
For framing laws to govern states
Not skill in sciences profound,
So large to grasp the circle round;
Such heavenly influence require,
As how to strike the Muse's lyre.
Not beggar's brat on bulk begot;
Not bastard of a pedler Scot;
Not boy brought up to cleaning shoes,
The spawn of Bridewell or the stews;
Not infants dropt, the spurious pledges
Of gypsies littering under hedges;
Are so disqualified by fate
To rise in church, or law, or state,
As he whom Phoebus in his ire
Hath blasted with poetic fire.
What hope of custom in the fair,
While not a soul demands your ware?
Where you have nothing to produce
For private life, or public use?
Court, city, country, want you not;
You cannot bribe, betray, or plot.
For poets, law makes no provision;
The wealthy have you in derision:
Of state affairs you cannot smatter;
Are awkward when you try to flatter:
Your portion, taking Britain round,
Was just one annual hundred pound;
Now not so much as in remainder,
Since Cibber brought in an attainder;
For ever fix'd by right divine
(A monarch's right) on Grub-street line.
Poor starveling bard, how small thy gains!
How unproportion'd to thy pains!
And here a simile comes pat in:
Though chickens take a month to fatten,
The guests in less than half an hour
Will more than half a score devour.
So, after toiling twenty days
To earn a stock of pence and praise,
Thy labors, grown the critic's prey,
Are swallow'd o'er a dish of tea;
Gone to be never heard of more,
Gone where the chickens went before.
How shall a new attempter learn Of different spirits to discern, And how distinguish which is which, The poet's vein, or scribbling itch? Then hear an old experienc'd sinner Instructing thus a young beginner.
Consult yourself; and if you find A powerful impulse urge your mind, Impartial judge within your breast What subject you can manage best; Whether your genius most inclines To satire, praise, or humorous lines, To elegies in mournful tone,
Or prologue sent from hand unknown.
Then, rising with Aurora's light,
The Muse invok'd, sit down to write;
Blot out, correct, insert, refine,
Enlarge, diminish, interline;
Be mindful, when invention fails,
To scratch your head, and bite your
Your poem finish'd, next your care
Is needful to transcribe it fair.
In modern wit, all printed trash is
Set off with numerous breaks and dashes.
To statesmen would you give a wipe,
You print it in italic type.
When letters are in vulgar shapes,
"Tis ten to one the wit escapes:
But, when in capitals exprest,
The dullest reader smokes the jest:
Or else perhaps he may invent
A better than the poet meant;
As learned commentators view
In Homer more than Homer knew.
Your poem in its modish dress,
Correctly fitted for the press,
Convey by penny-post to Lintot,
But let no friend alive look into 't
If Lintot thinks 'twill quit the cost,
You need not fear your labor lost:
And how agreeably surpris'd
Are you to see it advertis'd!
The hawker shows you one in print,
As fresh as farthings from the mint:
The product of your toil and sweating;
A bastard of your own begetting.
Be sure at Will's, the following day,
Lie snug, and hear what critics say;
And, if you find the general vogue
Pronounces you a stupid rogue,
Damns all your thoughts as low and little,
Sit still, and swallow down your spittle.
Be silent as a politician,
For talking may beget suspicion :
Or praise the judgment of the town,
And help yourself to run it down.
Give up your fond paternal pride,
Nor argue on the weaker side:
For poems read without a name
We justly praise, or justly blame;
And critics have no partial views,
Except they know whom they abuse:
And, since you ne'er provoke their spite,
Depend upon't, their judgment's right.
But if you blab, you are undone :
Consider what a risk you run:
You lose your credit all at once;
The town will mark you for a dunce;
The vilest doggrel Grub-street sends,
Will pass for yours with foes and friends;
And you must bear the whole disgrace,
Till some fresh blockhead takes your place.
Your secret kept, your poem sunk, And sent in quires to line a trunk, If still you be dispos'd to rhyme, Go try your hand a second time.
Again you fail: yet Safe's the word;
Take courage, and attempt a third.
But first with care employ your thoughts
Where critics mark'd your former faults;
The trivial turns, the borrow'd wit,
The similes that nothing fit;
The cant which every fool repeats,
Town jests and coffee-house conceits:
Descriptions tedious, flat and dry,
And introduc'd the Lord knows why:
Or where we find your fury set
Against the harmless alphabet;
On A's and B's your malice vent,
While readers wonder whom you meant;
A public or a private robber,
A statesman, or a South-sea jobber;
A prelate who no God believes ;
A parliament, or den of thieves;
A pick-purse at the bar or bench;
A duchess, or a suburb-wench:
Or oft, when epithets you link
In gaping lines to fill a chink;
Like stepping-stones to save a stride,
In streets where kennels are too wide;
Or like a heel-piece, to support
A cripple with one foot too short;
Or like a bridge, that joins a marish
To moorlands of a different parish:
So have I seen ill-coupled hounds
Drag different ways in miry grounds.
So geographers in Afric maps
With savage pictures fill their gaps,
And o'er unhabitable downs
Place elephants for want of towns.
But, though you miss your third essay,
You need not throw your pen away.
Lay now aside all thoughts of fame,
To spring more profitable game.
From party-merit seek support;
The vilest verse thrives best at court.
A pamphlet in Sir Bob's defence
Will never fail to bring in pence:
Nor be concern'd about the sale,
He pays his workmen on the nail.
A prince, the moment he is crown'd, Inherits every virtue round, As emblems of the sovereign power, Like other baubles in the Tower; Is generous, valiant, just, and wise, And so continues till he dies: His humble senate this professes, In all their speeches, votes, addresses. But once you fix him in a tomb, His virtues fade, his vices bloom; And each perfection wrong imputed, Is fully at his death confuted. The loads of poems in his praise, Ascending, make one funeral blaze: As soon as you can hear his knell, This god on Earth turns devil in Hell: And lo! his ministers of state, Transform'd to imps, his levee wait; Where, in the scenes of endless woe, They ply their former arts below; And, as they sail in Charon's boat, Contrive to bribe the judge's vote; To Cerberus they give a sop, His triple-barking mouth to stop; Or in the ivory gate of dreams Project excise and South-sea schemes;
Or hire the party pamphleteers
To set Elysium by the ears.
Then, poet, if you mean to thrive,
Employ your Muse on kings alive:
With prudence gathering up a cluster
Of all the virtues you can muster,
Which, form'd into a garland sweet,
Lay humbly at your monarch's feet;
Who, as the odors reach his throne,
Will smile, and think them all his own;
For law and gospel both determine
All virtues lodge in royal ermine :
(I mean the oracles of both,
Who shall depose it upon oath.)
Your garland in the following reign,
Change but the names, will do again.
But, if you think this trade too base,
(Which seldom is the dunce's case,)
Put on the critic's brow, and sit
At Will's the puny judge of wit.
A nod, a shrug, a scornful smile,
With caution us'd, may serve awhile.
Proceed no further in your part,
Before you learn the terms of art;
For you can never be too far gone
In all our modern critic's jargon :
Then talk with more authentic face
Of unities, in time and place;
Get scraps of Horace from your friends,
And have them at your fingers' ends;
Learn Aristotle's rules by rote,
And at all hazards boldly quote;
Judicious Rymer oft review,
Wise Dennis, and profound Bossu;
Read all the prefaces of Dryden,
For these our critics much confide in,
(Though merely writ at first for filling,
To raise the volume's price a shilling.)
A forward critic often dupes us
With sham quotations peri hupsous;
And if we have not read Longinus,
Will magisterially outshine us.
Then, lest with Greek he overrun ye,
Procure the book for love or money,
Translated from Boileau's translation,
And quote quotation on quotation.
At Will's you hear a poem read,
Where Battus, from the table head,
Reclining on his elbow-chair,
Gives judgment with decisive air;
To whom the tribe of circling wits
As to an oracle submits.
He gives directions to the town,
To cry it up or run it down;
Like courtiers, when they send a note
Instructing members how to vote.
He sets the stamp of bad and good,
Though not a word be understood.
Your lesson learn'd, you'll be secure
To get the name of connoisseur:
And, when your merits once are known,
Procure disciples of your own.
For poets (you can never want 'em)
Spread through Augusta Trinobantum,
Computing by their pecks of coals,
Amount to just nine thousand souls:
These o'er their proper districts govern
Of wit and humor judges sovereign.
In every street a city-bard
Rules, like an alderman, his ward;