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FROM THE COUNTRY JUSTICE.
Duties of a Country Justice-The venerable mansions of ancient Magistrates contrasted with the fopperies of modern architec
- Appeal in behalf of Vagrants.
The social laws from insult to protect,
To cherish peace, to cultivate respect;
The rich from wanton cruelty restrain,
To smooth the bed of penury and pain;
The hapless vagrant to his rest restore,
The maze of fraud, the haunts of theft explore;
The thoughtless maiden, when subdu'd by art,
To aid, and bring her rover to her heart;
Wild riot's voice with dignity to quell,
Forbid unpeaceful passions to rebel,
Wrest from revenge the meditated harm,
For this fair Justice rais'd her sacred arm;
For this the rural magistrate, of yore,
Thy honours, Edward, to his mansion bore.
Oft, where old Air in conscious glory sails,
On silver waves that flow through smiling vales;
In Harewood's groves, where long my youth was
laid, Unseen beneath their ancient world of shade; With many a group of antique columns crown'd, In Gothic guise such mansion have I found.
Nor lightly deem, ye apes of modern race, Ye cits that sore bedizen nature's face,
Of the more manly structures here ye view;
They rose for greatness that ye never knew!
Ye reptile cits, that oft have mov'd my spleen
With Venus and the Graces on your green!
Let Plutus, growling o'er his ill-got wealth,
Let Mercury, the thriving god of stealth,
The shopman, Janus, with his double looks,
Rise on your mounts, and perch upon your books !
But spare my Venus, spare each sister Grace,
Ye cits, that sore bedizen nature's face !
Ye royal architects, whose antic taste
Would lay the realms of sense and nature waste;
Forgot, whenever from her steps ye stray,
That folly only points each other way;
Here, though your eye no courtly creature sees,
Snakes on the ground, or monkeys in the trees;
Yet let not too severe a censure fall
On the plain precincts of the ancient hall.
For though no sight your childish fancy meets, Of Thibet's dogs, or China's paroquets; Though apes, asps, lizards, things without a tail, And all the tribes of foreign monsters fail; Here shall ye sigh to see, with rust o'ergrown, The iron griffin and the sphinx of stone; And mourn, neglected in their waste abodes, Fire-breathing drakes, and water-spouting gods.
Long have these mighty monsters known disgrace, Yet still some trophies hold their ancient place; Where, round the hall, the oak’s high surbase rears The field-day triumphs of two hundred years.
Th’ enormous antlers here recal the day
That saw the forest monarch forc'd away;
Who, many a flood, and many a mountain past,
Not finding those, nor deeming these the last,
O'er floods, o'er mountains yet prepar'd to fly,
Long ere the death-drop fill’d his failing eye!
Here fam’d for cunning, and in crimes grown old,
Hangs his gray brush, the felon of the fold.
Oft as the rent-feast swells the midnight cheer,
The maudlin farmer kens him o'er his beer,
And tells his old, traditionary tale,
Though known to ev'ry tenant of the vale.
Here, where of old the festal ox has fed,
Mark'd with his weight, the mighty horns are
Some ox, O Marshall, for a board like thine,
Where the vast master with the vast sirloin
Vied in round magnitude-Respect I bear
To thee, though oft the ruin of the chair.
These, and such antique tokens that record
The manly spirit, and the bounteous board,
Me more delight than all the gewgaw train,
The whims and zigzags of a modern brain,
More than all Asia's marmosets to view,
Grin, frisk, and water in the walks of Kew.
Through these fair valleys, stranger, hast thou
By any chance, to visit Harewood's shade,
And seen with honest, antiquated air,
In the plain hall the magistratial chair?
There Herbert sat-The love of human kind,
Pure light of truth, and temperance of mind,
In the free eye the featur'd soul display'd,
Honour's strong beam, and Mercy's melting shade:
Justice that, in the rigid paths of law,
Would still some drops from Pity's fountain draw,
Bend o'er her urn with many a gen'rous fear,
Ere his firm seal should force one orphan's tear;
Fair equity, and reason scorning art,
And all the sober virtues of the heart-
These sat with Herbert, these shall best avail
Where statutes order, or where statutes fail.
Be this, ye rural magistrates, your plan:
Firm be your justice, but be friends to man.
He whom the mighty master of this ball
We fondly deem, or farcically call,
To own the patriarch's truth, however loth,
Holds but a mansion crush'd before the moth.
Frail in his genius, in his heart too frail,
Born but to err, and erring to bewail,
Shalt thou his faults with eye severe explore,
And give to life one human weakness more?
Still mark if vice or nature prompts the deed;
Still mark the strong temptation and the need:
On pressing want, on famine's powerful call,
At least more lenient let thy justice fall.
For him, who, lost to ev'ry hope of life,
Has long with fortune held unequal strife,
Known to no human love, no human care,
The friendless, homeless object of despair ;
For the poor vagrant feel, while he complains,
Nor from sad freedom send to sadder chains.
Alike, if folly or misfortune brought
Those last of woes his evil days have wrought ;
Believe with social mercy and with me,
Folly's misfortune in the first degree.
Perhaps on some inhospitable shore
The houseless wretch a widow'd parent bore ;
Who then, no more by golden prospects led,
Of the poor Indian begg'd a leafy bed.
Cold on Canadian hills, or Minden's plain,
Perhaps that parent mourn'd her soldier slain ;
Bent o'er her babe, her eye dissolv'd in dew,
The big drops mingling with the milk he drew,
Gave the sad presage of his future years,
The child of misery, baptiz'd in tears !
THE gypsy-race my pity rarely move ;
Yet their strong thirst of liberty I love.
Not Wilkes, our Freedom's holy martyr, more ;
Nor his firm phalanx of the common shore.
For this in Norwood's patrimonial groves The tawny father with his offspring roves; When summer suns lead slow the sultry day, In mossy caves, where welling waters play,