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But none inquired how Peter used the rope, Or what the bruise, that made the stripling stoop; None could the ridges on his back behold, None sought him shiv'ring in the winter's cold; None put the question,-“ Peter, dost thou give “ The boy his food ? —What, man! the lad must live: “ Consider, Peter, let the child have bread, " He'll serve thee better if he's stroked and fed.” None reason'd thus—and some, on hearing cries, Said calmly, “ Grimes is at his exercise." Pinn'd, beaten, cold, pinch’d, threatend, and
abused His efforts punish'd and his food refused, Awake tormented,-soon aroused from sleep,— Struck if he wept, and yet compell’d to weep, The trembling boy dropp'd down and strove to pray, Received a blow, and trembling turn'd away, Or sobb’d and hid his piteous face;—while he, The savage master, grinn'd in horrid glee: He'd now the power he ever loved to show, A feeling being subject to his blow.
Thus lived the lad, in hunger, peril, pain, His tears despised, his supplications vain: Compell’d by fear to lie, by need to steal, His bed uneasy and unbless'd his meal,
For three sad years the boy his tortures bore,
“ How died he, Peter ?” when the people said, He growl'd—“ I found him lifeless in his bed ;" Then tried for softer tone, and sigh'd, “ Poor Sam is
Another boy with equal ease was found,
“ Yes ! so it was,” said Peter, “ in his play, “ (For he was idle both by night and day,) “ He climb'd the main-mast and then fell below;" — Then show'd his corpse and pointed to the blow: 6 What said the jury ?”—they were long in doubt, But sturdy Peter faced the matter out: So they dismiss'd him, saying at the time, “ Keep fast your hatchway when you've boys who
This hit the conscience, and he colour'd more
Thus all his fears the verdict set aside,
Then came a boy, of manners soft and mild, Our seamen's wives with grief beheld the child; All thought (the poor themselves) that he was one Of gentle blood, some noble sinner's son, Who had, belike, deceived some humble maid, Whom he had first seduced and then betray'd : However this, he seem'd a gracious lad, In grief submissive and with patience sad.
Passive he labour'd, till his slender frame Bent with his loads, and he at length was lame: Strange that a frame so weak could bear so long The grossest insult and the foulest wrong; But there were causes
in the town they gave Fire, food, and comfort, to the gentle slave; And though stern Peter, with a cruel hand, And knotted rope, enforced the rude command, Yet he consider'd what he'd lately felt, And his vile blows with selfish pity dealt.
One day such draughts the cruel fisher made, He could not vend them in his borough-trade, But sail'd for London-mart: the boy was ill, But ever humbled to his master's will;
And on the river, where they smoothly sail'd,
he “ spied
The pitying women raised a clamour round,
Now the stern man was summond to the hall,
gave th'account; profess'd the lad he loved, And kept his brazen features all unmoved.
The mayor himself with tone severe replied, -
Alas! for Peter not a helping hand,
To hold a rope or hear a curse was none,-
Thus by himself compellid to live each day,
When tides were neap, and, in the sultry day,