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Fann'd by each gale that cools the fervid sky,
With this in ragged luxury they lie.
Oft at the sun the dusky Elfins strain
The sable eye, then snugging, sleep again;
Oft as the dews of cooler evening fall,
For their prophetic mother's mantle call.
Far other cares that wand'ring mother wait,
The mouth, and oft the minister of fate!
From her to hear, in ev'ning's friendly shade,
Of future fortune, flies the village-maid,
Draws her long-hoarded copper from its hold,
And rusty halfpence purchase hopes of gold.
But, ah! ye maids, beware the gypsy's lures!
She opens not the womb of time, but yours.
Oft has her hands the hapless Marian wrung,
Marian, whom Gay in sweetest strains has sung !
The parson's maid-sore cause had she to rue
The gypsy's tongue; the parson's daughter too.
Long had that anxious daughter sigh'd to know
What Vellum's sprucy clerk, the valley's beau,
Meant by those glances which at church he stole,
Her father nodding to the psalm's slow drawl;
Long had she sigh'd ; at length a prophet came,
By many a sure prediction known to fame,
To Marian known, and all she told, for true:
She knew the future, for the past she knew.
Appeal for the industrious Poor-Rapacity of Clerks and Over
Scene of actual misery, which the Author had witnessed.
But still, forgot the grandeur of thy reign,
Descend to duties meaner crowns disdain
That worst excrescency
power forego, That pride of kings, humanity's first foe.
Let age no longer toil with feeble strife, Worn by long service in the war of life; Nor leave the head, that time hath whiten'd, bare To the rude insults of the searching air ; Nor bid the knee, by labour harden'd, bend, O thou, the poor man's hope, the poor man's friend !
If, when from heav'n severer seasons fall,
Fled from the frozen roof and mouldering wall,
Each face the picture of a winter day,
More strong than Teniers' pencil could pourtray;
If then to thee resort the shivering train,
Of cruel days, and cruel man complain,
Say to thy heart (remembering him who said)
“ These people come from far, and have no bread."
Nor leave thy venal clerk empower'd to hear;
The voice of want is sacred to thy ear.
He where no fees his sordid pen invite,
Sports with their tears, too indolent to write ;
Like the fed monkey in the fable, vain
To hear more helpless animals complain.
But chief thy notice shall one monster claim;
A monster furnish'd with a human frame,
The parish-officer !—though verse disdain
Terms that deform the splendour of the strain;
It stoops to bid thee bend the brow severe
On the sly, pilfering, cruel, overseer ;
The shuffling farmer, faithful to no trust,
Ruthless as rocks, insatiate as the dust!
When the poor hind, with length of years decay'd,
Leans feebly on his once subduing spade,
Forgot the service of his abler days,
His profitable toil, and honest praise,
Shall this low wretch abridge his scanty bread,
This slave, whose board his former labours spread ?
When harvest's burning suns and sickening air
From labour's unbrac'd hand the grasp'd hook tear,
Where shall the helpless family be fed,
That vainly languish for a father's bread?
See the pale mother, sunk with grief and care,
To the proud farmer fearfully repair ;
Soon to be sent with insolence away,
Referr'd to vestries, and a distant day!
Referr'd-to perish !-Is my verse severe?
Unfriendly to the human character?
Ah! to this sigh of sad experience trust:
The truth is rigid, but the tale is just.
If in thy courts this caitiff wretch appear,
Think not that patience were a virtue here.
His low-born pride with honest rage controul ;
Smite his hard heart, and shake his reptile soul.
But, hapless ! oft through fear of future woe,
And certain vengeance of th' insulting foe,
Oft, ere to thee the poor prefer their pray'r,
The last extremes of penury they bear,
Wouldst thou then raise thy patriot office higher,
To something more than magistrate aspire ?
And, left each poorer, pettier chase behind,
Step nobly forth, the friend of human kind ?
The game I start courageously pursue !
Adieu to fear! to insolence adieu !
And first we'll range this mountain's stormy side,
Where the rude winds the shepherd's roof de-
ride, As meet no more the wint’ry blast to bear, And all the wild hostilities of air. -That roof have I remember'd many a year ; It once gave refuge to a hunted deerHere, in those days, we found an aged pair ;But time untenants-hah! what seest thou there? “ Horror !—by Heav'n, extended on a bed “ Of naked fearn, two human creatures dead ! “ Embracing as alive!-ali, no ! -no life! “ Cold, breathless !"
'Tis the shepherd and his wife. I knew the scene, and brought thee to behold What speaks more strongly than the story told. They died through want
“ By every power I swear, “ If the wretch treads the earth, or breathes the
“ Through whose default of duty, or design, “ These victims fell, he dies.”
They fell by thine. “ Infernal !-Mine !-by-"
Swear on no pretence : A swearing justice wants both grace and sense.
A CASE WHERE MERCY SHOULD HAVE MITIGATED
UNNUMBER'D objects ask thy honest care,
Beside the orphan's tear, the widow's prayer:
Far as thy power can save, thy bounty bless,
Unnumber'd evils call for thy redress.
Seest thou afar yon solitary thorn,
Whose aged limbs the heath's wild winds have torn?
While yet to cheer the homeward shepherd's eye,
A few seem straggling in the evening sky!
Not many suns have hastened down the day,
Or blushing moons immers'd in clouds their
Since there, a scene that stain’d their sacred light,
With horror stopp'd a felon in his flight;
A babe just born that signs of life exprest,
Lay naked o'er the mother's lifeless breast.
The pitying robber, conscious that, pursu'd,
He had no time to waste, yet stood and view'd;
To the next cot the trembling infant bore,
And gave a part of what he stole before;