« AnteriorContinuar »
What transport in her bosom grew, When first the Horse appear'd in view! "Let me," says she, "your back ascend, And owe my safety to a friend. You know my feet betray my flight: To friendship every burthen's light." The Horse replied, "Poor honest Puss, It grieves my heart to see thee thus: Be comforted, relief is near, For all your friends are in the rear."
She next the stately Bull implor'd; And thus replied the mighty lord:
Since every beast alive can tell
You know, all other things give place.
The Goat remark'd, her pulse was high, Her languid head, her heavy eye:
My back," says he, "may do you harm; The Sheep's at hand, and wool is warm."
The Sheep was feeble, and complain'd, His sides a load of wool sustain'd; Said he was slow, confess'd his fears; For Hounds eat Sheep as well as Hares. She now the trotting Calf address'd, To save from Death a friend distress'd. "Shall I," says he, "of tender age, In this important care engage? Older and abler pass'd you by; How strong are those! how weak am I! Should I presume to bear you hence, Those friends of mine may take offence. Excuse me, then; you know my heart; But dearest friends, alas! must part. How shall we all lament! Adieu; For, see, the Hounds are just in view."
THE SHEPHERD'S WEEK,
IN SIX PASTORALS.
WITH THE AUTHOR'S NOTES. -Libeat mihi sordida rura, Atque humiles habitare casas.-Virg.
PROLOGUE, TO THE RIGHT HON.
As lads and lasses stood around
"That queen," he said, "to whom we owe
At this, in tears was Cicely seen,
For me, when as I heard that Death
While thus we stood as in a stound,
They said, had wrought this blessed deed.
Quoth I, "Please God, I'll hie with glee To court, this Arbuthnot to see."
I sold my sheep, and lambkins too,
So forth I far'd to court with speed
There saw I ladies all a-row,
There many a worthy wight I've seen,
There saw I St. John, sweet of mien Full stedfast both to church and queen; With whose fair name I'll deck my strain; St. John, right courteous to the swain. For thus he told me on a day, "Trim are thy sonnets, gentle Gay
And, certes, mirth it were to see
Lo, here thou hast mine eclogues fair,
MONDAY; OR, THE SQUABBLE.
Lobbin Clout, Cuddy, Cloddipole.
THY younglings, Cuddy, are but just awake,
Lo, yonder, Cloddipole, the blithesome swain,
That pricking corns foretold the gathering rain.
See this tobacco-pouch, that's lin'd with hair,
Begin thy carols then, thou vaunting slouch! Be thine the oaken staff, or mine the pouch
My Blouzelinda is the blithest lass,
Ah, Lobbin Clout! I ween, my plight is guess'd, Than daisy, marigold, or king-cup rare.
If swains belie not, thou hast prov'd the smart,
Ah, Blouzelind! I love, thee more by half,
Hold, witless Lobbin Clout, I thee advise, Lest blisters sore on thy own tongue arise.
My brown Buxoma is the featest maid,
Sweet is my toil when Blouzelind is near;
Ver. 3. Welkin, the same as welken, an old Saxon word, signifying a cloud; by poetical license it is frequently taken for the element, or sky, as may appear by this verse in the Dream of Chaucer
Ne in all the welkin was no cloud.
Ver. 6. Rear, an expression, in several counties of Eng. land, for early in the morning.
As with Buxoma once I work'd at hay,
Ver. 25. Erst; a contraction of ere this: it signifies
Ver. 7. To ween, derived from the Saxon, to think, or sometime ago, or formerly.
Ver. 56. Deft, an old word, signifying brisk, or nimble
As once I play'd at blindman's buff, it hapt
As at hot-cockles once I laid me down,
I'll frankly own thee for a cunning wight.
What flower is that which royal honor craves, Adjoin the virgin, and 'tis strown on graves?"
Forbear, contending louts, give o'er your strains!
TUESDAY; OR, THE DITTY.
YOUNG Colin Clout, a lad of peerless meed,
Ver. 69. Eftsoons, from eft, an ancient British word, signifying soon. So that eftsoons is a doubling of the word soon; which is, as it were, to say twice soon, or very soon. Ver. 79. Queint has various significations in the ancient English authors. I have used it in this place in the same sense as Chaucer hath done in his Miller's Tale. "As clerkes being full subtle and queint," (by which he means arch, or waggish); and not in that obscene sense wherein he useth it in the line immediately following.
Populus Alcidæ gratissima, vitis Iaccho,
Cicely, the western lass, that tends the kee,
"Ah, Colin! canst thou leave thy sweetheart true?
What I have done for thee, will Cicely do?
"Where'er I gad, I cannot hide my care, My new disasters in my look appear. White as the curd my ruddy cheek is grown, So thin my features, that I'm hardly known. Our neighbors tell me oft, in joking talk, Of ashes, leather, oatmeal, bran, and chalk; Unwittingly of Marian they divine, And wist not that with thoughtful love I pine. Yet Colin Clout, untoward shepherd swain, Walks whistling blithe, while pitiful I plain. "Whilom with thee 'twas Marian's dear delight To moil all day, and merry-make at night. If in the soil you guide the crooked share, Your early breakfast is my constant care; And when with even hand you strow the grain, I fright the thievish rooks from off the plain. In misling days, when I my thresher heard, With nappy beer I to the barn repair'd; Lost in the music of the whirling flail, To gaze on thee I left the smoking pail : In harvest, when the Sun was mounted high, My leathern bottle did thy draught supply; Whene'er you mow'd, I follow'd with the rake, And have full oft been sun-burnt for thy sake: When in the welkin gathering showers were seen, I lagg'd the last with Colin on the green; And when at eve returning with thy car, Awaiting heard the jingling bells from far, Straight on the fire the sooty pot I plac'd, To warm thy broth I burnt my hands for haste. When hungry thou stood'st staring, like an oaf, I slic'd the luncheon from the barley-loaf; With crumbled bread I thicken'd well thy mess. Ah, love me more, or love thy pottage less!
"Last Friday's eve, when as the Sun was set, I, near yon stile, three sallow gypsies met. Upon my hand they cast a poring look, Bid me beware, and thrice their heads they shook: They said, that many crosses I must prove; Some in my worldly gain, but most in love. Next morn I miss'd three hens and our old cock; And off the hedge two pinners and a smock; I bore these losses with a Christian mind, And no mishaps could feel, while thou wert kind. But since, alas! I grew my Colin's scorn, I've known no pleasure, night, or noon, or morn. Help me, ye gypsies; bring him home again, And to a constant lass give back her swain.
Ver. 21. Kee, a west-country word for kine, or cows.
"Have I not sat with thee full many a night, When dying embers were our only light, When every creature did in slumbers lie, Besides our cat, my Colin Clout, and I? No troublous thoughts the cat or Colin move, While I alone am kept awake by love.
"Remember, Colin! when at last year's wake I bought the costly present for thy sake; Couldst thou spell o'er the posy on thy knife, And with another change thy state of life? If thou forgett'st, I wot, I can repeat, My memory can tell the verse so sweet: As this is grav'd upon this knife of thine, So is thy image on this heart of mine.' But woe is me! such presents luckless prove, For knives, they tell me, always sever love."
Thus Marian wail'd, her eyes with tears brimful When Goody Dobbins brought her cow to bull. With apron blue to dry her tears she sought, Then saw the cow wellserv'd, and took a groat.
WEDNESDAY; OR, THE DUMPS.*
THE wailings of a maiden I recite,
A maiden fair, that Sparabella hight.
A while, O D'Urfey! lend an ear or twain,
And heighten her conceits with sack and ale, Or else at wakes with Joan and Hodge rejoice, Where D'Urfey's lyrics swell in every voice;
* Dumps, or dumbs, made use of to express a fit of the sullens. Some have pretended that it is derived from Dumops, a king of Egypt, that built a pyramid, and died of melancholy. So mopes, after the same manner, is thought to have come from Merops, another Egyptian king, that died of the same distemper. But our English antiquaries have conjectured that dumps, which is a grievous heaviness of spirits, comes from the word dumpling, the heaviest kind of pudding that is eaten in this country, much used in Norfolk, and other counties of England.
"Come Night, as dark as pitch, surround my head, From Sparabella Bumkinet is fled; The ribbon that his valorous cudgel won, Last Sunday happier Clumsilis put on. Sure if he'd eyes (but Love, they say, has none) I whilom by that ribbon had been known. Ah, well-a-day! I'm shent with baneful smart, For with the ribbon he bestow'd his heart. "My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid, "Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.' "Shall heavy Clumsilis with me compare? View this, ye lovers, and like me despair. Her blubber'd lip by smutty pipes is worn, And in her breath tobacco whiffs are borne ! The cleanly cheese-press she could never turn, Her awkward fist did ne'er employ the churn; If e'er she brew'd, the drink would straight go sour, Before it ever felt the thunder's power; No huswifery the dowdy creature knew; To sum up all, her tongue confess'd the shrew. "My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid, "Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.' "I've often seen my visage in yon lake, Nor are my features of the homeliest make: Though Clumsilis may boast a whiter dye, Yet the black sloe turns in my rolling eye; And fairest blossoms drop with every blast, But the brown beauty will like hollies last. Her wan complexion's like the wither'd leek, While Katharine pears adorn my ruddy cheek. Yet she, alas! the witless lout hath won, And by her gain poor Sparabell's undone ! Let hares and hounds in coupling straps unite, The clucking hen make friendship with the kite; Let the fox simply wear the nuptial noose, And join in wedlock with the waddling goose; For love hath brought a stranger thing to pass, The fairest shepherd weds the foulest lass.
"My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid, "Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.'
"Sooner shall cats disport in waters clear, And speckled mack'rel graze the meadows fair; Sooner shall screech-owls bask in sunny day, And the slow ass on trees, like squirrels, play; 70 Sooner shall snails on insect pinions rove; Than I forget my shepherd's wonted love.
My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid,
"Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.'
"My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid, "Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.' "Now plain I ken whence Love his rise begun Sure he was born some bloody butcher's son, 90 Bred up in shambles, where our younglings slain Erst taught him mischief, and to sport with pain. The father only silly sheep annoys, The son the sillier shepherdess destroys. Does son or father greater mischief do? The sire is cruel, so the son is too.
50 A sudden death shall rid me of my woe.
Ver. 33. Shent, an old word, signifying hurt, or harmed. Ver. 37.
Ye lasses, cease your burthen, cease to moan. And, by my case forewarn'd, go mind your own."
Ante leves ergo pascentur in æthere cervi, Et freta destituent nudos in littore piscesQuàm nostro illius labatur pectore vultus.
Ver. 89. To ken. Scire. Chaucer, to ken, and kende; notus A. S. cunnam. Goth. kunnam. Germanis kennen Danis kiende. Islandis kunna. Belgis kennen. This word is of general use, but not very common, though not un. known to the vulgar. Ken, for prospicere, is well known, and used to discover by the eye. Ray, F. R. S.
Nunc scio quid sit amor, &c.
-vivite sylvæ: Præceps aërii speculá de montis in undas Deferar.