Page images

Thus, as their hours glideon, with pleasure fraught Their careful masters brood the painful thought; Much in their mind they murmur and lament, That one fair day should be so idly spent ; And think that Heaven deals hard, to tithe their store And tax their time for preachers and the poor.

Yet still, ye humbler friends, enjoy your hour, This is your portion, yet unclaim'd of

This is Heaven's gift to weary men oppress’d,
And seems the type of their expected rest :

alas' are joys that soon decay ;
Frail joys, begun and ended with the day ;
Or yet, while day permits those joys to reign,
The village vices drive them from the plain.

See the stout churl, in drunken fury great,
Strike the bare bosom of his teeming mate !
His naked vices, rude and unrefined,
Exert their open empire o'er the mind ;
But can we less the senseless rage despise,
Because the savage acts without disguise ?

Yet here Disguise, the city's vice, is seen,
And Slander steals along and taints the Green :
At her approach domestic peace is gone,
Domestic broils at her approach come on ;
She to the wife the husband's crime conveys,
She tells the husband when his consort strays;
Her busy tongue, through all the little state,
Diffuses doubt, suspicion, and debate ;
Peace, tim’rous goddess I quits her old domain,
In sentiment and song content to reign.

Nor are the nymphs that breathe the rural air
So fair as Cynthia's, nor so chaste as fair :

These to the town afford each fresher face,
And the clown's trull receives the peer's embrace ;
From whom, should chance again convey her down,
The peer's disease in turn attacks the clown.

Here too the 'squire, or 'squire-like farmer, talk,
How round their regions nightly pilferers walk ;
How from their ponds the fish are borne, and all
The rip’ning treasures from their lofty wall ;
How meaner rivals in their sports delight,
Just right enough to claim a doubtful right ;(
Who take a licence round their fields to stray,
A mongrel race! the poachers of the day.

And hark! the riots of the Green begin, That sprang at first from yonder noisy inn; What time the weekly pay was vanish'd all, And the slow hostess scored the threat’ning wall ; What time they ask'd, their friendly feast to close, A final


and that will make them foes ; When blows ensue that break the arm of toil, And rustic battle ends the boobies' broil.

Save when to yonder Hall they bend their way, Where the grave Justice ends the grievous fray ; He who recites, to keep the poor The law's vast volume--for he knows the law :To him with anger or with shame repair The injured peasant and deluded fair.

Lo! at his throne the silent nymph appears, Frail by her shape, but modest in her tears ;

in awe,

(1) [Original MS. :

How their maids languish, while their men run loose,
And leave them scarce a damsel to seduce.]

And while she stands abash’d, with conscious eye,
Some favourite female of her judge glides by,
Who views with scornful glance the strumpet's fate,
And thanks the stars that made her keeper great:
Near her the swain, about to bear for life
One certain evil, doubts 'twixt war and wife ;
But, while the falt'ring damsel takes her oath,
Consents to wed, and so secures them both.

Yet why, you ask, these humble crimes relate,
Why make the Poor as guilty as the Great ?
To show the great, those mightier sons of pride,
How near in vice the lowest are allied ;
Such are their natures and their passions such,
But these disguise too little, those too much :(')
So shall the man of power and pleasure see
In his own slave as vile a wretch as he ;
In his luxurious lord the servant find
His own low pleasures and degenerate mind :

(1) (“ It is good for the proprietor of an estate to know that such things are, and at his own doors. He might have guessed, indeed, as a general truth, even whilst moving in his own exclusive sphere, that many a story of intense interest might be supplied by the annals of his parish. Crabbe would have taught him thus much, had he been a reader of that most sa. gacious of observers, most searching of moral anatomists, most graphic of poets; and we reverence this great writer not less for his genius than for his patriotism, in bravely lifting up the veil which is spread between the upper classes and the working-day world, and letting one half of mankind know what the other is about. This effect alone gives a dignity to his poetry, which poems constructed after a more Arcadian model would never have in our eyes, however pleasingly they may babble of green fields. But such wholesome incidents reach the ears of the landlord in his own particular case, most commonly through the clergyman - they fall rather within his department than another's - they lie upon his beat - through his representations the sympathies of the landlord are profitably drawn out, and judiciously directed to the individual - and another thread is added to those cords of a man, by which the owner and occupant of the soil are knit together, and society is interlaced.” - Quarterly Review, 1833.]

And each in all the kindred vices trace,
Of a poor, blind, bewilder'd, erring race,
Who, a short time in varied fortune past,
Die, and are equal in the dust at last. (1)

And you, ye Poor, who still lament your fate,
Forbear to envy those you call the Great ;
And know, amid those blessings they possess,
They are, like you, the victims of distress;
While Sloth with many a pang torments her slave,
Fear waits on guilt, and Danger shakes the brave.

Oh! if in life one noble chief appears, Great in his name, while blooming in his years ; Born to enjoy whate'er delights mankind, And yet to all you feel or fear resign’d; Who gave up joys and hopes to you unknown, For pains and dangers greater than your own : If such there be, then let your murmurs cease, Think, think of him, and take your lot in peace. And such there was :-Oh! grief, that cheeks our

pride, Weeping we say there was, -for MANNERS died :

(1) [“ A rich man, what is he?. Has he a frame

Distinct from others? or a better name?
Has he more legs, more arms, more eyes, more brains ?
Has he less care, less crosses, or less pains ?
Can riches keep the mortal wretch from death?
Or can new treasures purchase a new breath ?
Or does Heaven send its love and mercy more
To Mammon's pamper'd sons than to the poor ?
If not, why should the fool take so much state,
Exalt himself, and others under-rate?
'Tis senseless ignorance that soothes his pride,
And makes him laugh at all the world beside;
But when excesses bring on gout or stone,
All his vain mirth and gaiety are gone :
And when he dies, for all he looks so high,
He'll make as vile a skeleton as I” – Tom BROWNĘ.]

Beloved of Heaven, these humble lines forgive,
That sing of Thee (1), and thus aspire to live.

As the tall oak, whose vigorous branches form
An ample shade and brave the wildest storm,
High o'er the subject wood is seen to grow,
The guard and glory of the trees below;
Till on its head the fiery bolt descends,
And o'er the plain the shatter'd trunk extends ;
Yet then it lies, all wond'rous as before,
And still the glory, though the guard no more :

So thou, when every virtue, every grace, Rose in thy soul, or shone within thy face ; [known When, though the son of GRANBY(?), thou wert Less by thy father's glory than thy own; When Honour loved and gave thee every charm, Fire to thy eye and vigour to thy arm; Then from our lofty hopes and longing eyes, Fate and thy virtues call’d thee to the skies ; Yet still we wonder at thy tow’ring fame, And, losing thee, still dwell upon thy name.

(1) Lord Robert Manners, the youngest son of the Marquess of Granby and the Lady Frances Seymour, daughter of Charles duke of Somerset, was born on the 5th of February, 1758; and was placed with his brother, the late duke of Rutland, at Eton school, where he acquired, and ever after retained, a considerable knowledge of the classical authors. Lord Robert, after going through the duties of his profession on board different ships, was made captain of the Resolution, and commanded her in nine different actions, besides the last memorable one on the 12th of April, 1782, when, in breaking the French line of battle, he received the wounds which termi. nated his life, in the twenty-fourth year of his age. See the Annual Re gister. - [This article in the Annual Register was written by Mr. Crabbe, and is now reprinted as an Appendix to “ The Village."]

(2) [John, Marquess of Granby, the illustrious commander-in-chief of the British forces in Germany during the Seven Years' War, died in 1770, be fore his father, the thirteenth Earl and third Duke of Rutland]

« PreviousContinue »