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From every shire the pious ramblers stray,
It so befel, that season, on a day,
damn'd. Full nine and twenty more, a jovial crew, (Mine host was ravish'd at a sight so new) That night, by fair adventure sought our inn! All pilgrims, fixt upon the same design. When most with care had seen their horses fed, Happy were they who got a cleanly bed. With each I talk'd, and each by name could call, So quickly grew familiar with them all. There we resolved with speed to make our way, And all set forward at the break of day. But hold a while; 'twere requisite you knew, Ere I proceed, each pilgrim of the crew. I'll here relate their characters, their age, Describe their persons, and their equipage,
* Thomas Becket.
A Knight there was, whose early youth had shown
Plain and sincere, observant of the right;
A goodly horse he rode, well shaped, and strong;
stain ; His habit serviceable, neat, and plain. With grateful zeal devoutly he was come, To thank the saint that brought him safely home.
Next these a merry Monk appears in place,
This lordly monk, once keeper of a cell,
Too strict, and rigid ; for old dotards fit,
sweat ? This Austin humbly did : “Did he ? (saith he) Austin
may do the same again for me.” He lov'd the chase, the hounds melodious
cry, Hounds that run swiftly as the swallows Ay. His sleeves I saw, with furs all lin’d within, From Russia brought, the finest squirrels skin; (Hair-shirts, he said, provok'd the blood to sin.) His hood beneath his double chin to hold, 'Twas fasten'd with a curious clasp of gold, A love-knot at the greater end there was ; His head close shaved, and smooth as any grass. His strutting paunch was seldom disappointed; His broad, full face, shone as it were anointed, His eyes were sleepy, rolling in his head, That stream'd like furnaces of molten lead