The Parish Register Transcribed by Mark Sherwood, e-mail: mark.sherwood@btinternet.com THE PARISH REGISTER, by GEORGE CRABBE (1754-1832) {1} IN THREE PARTS. PART I. Tum porro puer (ut saevis projectus ab undis,...


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The Parish Register

Transcribed by Mark Sherwood, e-mail: mark.sherwood@btinternet.com THE PARISH REGISTER, by GEORGE CRABBE (1754-1832) {1} IN THREE PARTS. PART I. Tum porro puer (ut saevis projectus ab undis, Navita) nudus humi jacet infans indigus omni Vitali auxilio, - Vagituque locum lugubri complet, ut aequum est, Cui tantum in vita restat transire malorum. LUCRETIUS, De Rerum Natura, lib.5 THE ARGUMENT. The Village Register considered, as containing principally the Annals of the Poor - State of the Peasantry as meliorated by Frugality and Industry - The Cottage of an industrious Peasant; its Ornaments - Prints and Books - The Garden; its Satisfactions - The State of the Poor, when improvident and vicious - The Row or Street, and its Inhabitants - The Dwellings of one of these - A Public House - Garden and its Appendages - Gamesters; rustic Sharpers &c. - Conclusion of the Introductory Part. BAPTISMS. The Child of the Millers Daughter, and Relation of her Misfortune - A frugal Couple; their Kind of Frugality - Plea of the Mother of a natural Child; her Churching - Large Family of Gerard Ablett: his apprehensions: Comparison between his state and that of the wealthy Farmer his Master: his Consolation - An Old Mans Anxiety for an Heir: the Jealousy of another on having many - Characters of the Grocer Dawkins and his Friend; their different Kinds of Disappointment - Three Infants named - An Orphan Girl and Village School-mistress - Gardeners Child: Pedantry and Conceit of the Father: his botanical Discourse: Method of fixing the Embryo-fruit of Cucumbers - Absurd Effects of Rustic Vanity: observed in the names of their Children - Relation of the Vestry Debate on a Foundling: Sir Richard Monday - Children of various Inhabitants - The poor Farmer - Children of a Profligate: his Character and Fate - Conclusion. The year revolves, and I again explore The simple Annals of my Parish poor; What Infant-members in my flock appear, What Pairs I blessd in the departed year; And who, of Old or Young, or Nymphs or Swains, Are lost to Life, its pleasures and its pains. No Muse I ask, before my view to bring The humble actions of the swains I sing. - How passd the youthful, how the old their days; Who sank in sloth, and who aspired to praise; Their tempers, manners, morals, customs, arts, What parts they had, and how they mployd their parts; By what elated, soothed, seduced, depressd, Full well I know-these Records give the rest. Is there a place, save one the poet sees, A land of love, of liberty, and ease; Where labour wearies not, nor cares suppress Th eternal flow of rustic happiness; Where no proud mansion frowns in awful state, Or keeps the sunshine from the cottage-gate; Where young and old, intent on pleasure, throng, And half mans life is holiday and song? Vain search for scenes like these! no view appears, By sighs unruffled or unstaind by tears; Since vice the world subdued and waters drownd, Auburn and Eden can no more be found. Hence good and evil mixed, but man has skill And power to part them, when he feels the will! Toil, care, and patience bless th abstemious few, Fear, shame, and want the thoughtless herd pursue. Behold the Cot! where thrives th industrious swain, Source of his pride, his pleasure, and his gain; Screend from the winters wind, the suns last ray Smiles on the window and prolongs the day; Projecting thatch the woodbines branches stop, And turn their blossoms to the casements top: All need requires is in that cot containd, And much that taste untaught and unrestraind Surveys delighted; there she loves to trace, In one gay picture, all the royal race; Around the walls are heroes, lovers, kings; The print that shows them and the verse that sings. Here the last Louis on his throne is seen, And there he stands imprisond, and his Queen; To these the mother takes her child, and shows What grateful duty to his God he owes; Who gives to him a happy home, where he Lives and enjoys his freedom with the free; When kings and queens, dethroned, insulted, tried, Are all these blessings of the poor denied. There is King Charles, and all his Golden Rules, Who proved Misfortunes was the best of schools: And there his Son, who, tried by years of pain, Proved that misfortunes may be sent in vain. The Magic-mill that grinds the grannams young, Close at the side of kind Godiva hung; She, of her favourite place the pride and joy, Of charms at once most lavish and most coy, By wanton act the purest fame could raise, And give the boldest deed the chastest praise. There stands the stoutest Ox in England fed; There fights the boldest Jew, Whitechapel bred; And here Saint Mondays worthy votaries live, In all the joys that ale and skittles give. Now, lo! on Egypts coast that hostile fleet, By nations dreaded and by NELSON beat; And here shall soon another triumph come, A deed of glory in a deed of gloom; Distressing glory! grievous boon of fate! The proudest conquest at the dearest rate. On shelf of deal beside the cuckoo-clock, Of cottage reading rests the chosen stock; Learning we lack, not books, but have a kind For all our wants, a meat for every mind. The tale for wonder and the joke for whim, The half-sung sermon and the half-groand hymn. No need of classing; each within its place, The feeling finger in the dark can trace; First from the corner, farthest from the wall, Such all the rules, and they suffice for all. There pious works for Sundays use are found; Companions for that Bible newly bound; That Bible, bought by sixpence weekly saved, Has choicest prints by famous hands engraved; Has choicest notes by many a famous head, Such as to doubt have rustic readers led; Have made them stop to reason why? and how? And, where they once agreed, to cavil now. Oh! rather give me commentators plain, Who with no deep researches vex the brain; Who from the dark and doubtful love to run, And hold their glimmering tapers to the sun; Who simple truth with nine-fold reasons back, And guard the point no enemies attack. Bunyans famed Pilgrim rests that shelf upon; A genius rare but rude was honest John; Not one who, early by the Muse beguiled, Drank from her well the waters undefiled; Not one who slowly gained the hill sublime, Then often sippd and little at a time; But one who dabbled in the sacred springs, And drank them muddy, mixd with baser things. Here to interpret dreams we read the rules, Science our own! and never taught in schools; In moles and specks we Fortunes gifts discern, And Fates fixd will from Natures wanderings learn. Of Hermit Quarll we read, in island rare, Far from mankind and seeming far from care; Safe from all want, and sound in every limb; Yes! there was he, and there was care with him. Unbound and heapd, these valued tomes beside, Lay humbler works, the pedlars pack supplied; Yet these, long since, have all acquired a name: The Wandering Jew has found his way to fame; And fame, denied to many a labourd song, Crowns Thumb the Great, and Hickathrift the strong. There too is he, by wizard-power upheld, Jack, by whose arm the giant-brood were quelld: His shoes of swiftness on his feet he placed; His coat of darkness on his loins he braced; His sword of sharpness in his hand he took, And off the heads of doughty giants stroke: Their glaring eyes beheld no mortal near; No sound of feet alarmd the drowsy ear; No English blood their Pagan sense could smell, But heads dropt headlong, wondering why they fell. These are the Peasants joy, when, placed at ease, Half his delighted offspring mount his knees. To every cot the lords indulgent mind Has a small space for garden-ground assignd; Here - till return of morn dismissd the farm - The careful peasant plies the sinewy arm, Warmd as he works, and casts his look around On every foot of that improving ground : It is his own he sees; his masters eye Peers not about, some secret fault to spy; Nor voice severe is there, nor censure known; - Hope, profit, pleasure, - they are all his own. Here grow the humble cives, and, hard by them, The leek with crown globose and reedy stem; High climb his pulse in many an even row, Deep strike the ponderous roots in soil below; And herbs of potent smell and pungent taste, Give a warm relish to the nights repast. Apples and cherries grafted by his hand, And clusterd nuts for neighbouring market stand. Nor thus concludes his labour; near the cot, The reed-fence rises round some favrite spot; Where rich carnations, pinks with purple eyes, Proud hyacinths, the least some florists prize, Tulips tall-stemmd and pounced auriculas rise. Here on a Sunday-eve, when service ends, Meet and rejoice a family of friends; All speak aloud, are happy and are free, And glad they seem, and gaily they agree. What, though fastidious ears may shun the speech, Where all are talkers, and where none can teach; Where still the welcome and the words are old, And the same stories are for ever told; Yet theirs is joy that, bursting from the heart, Prompts the glad tongue these nothings to impart; That forms these tones of gladness we despise, That lifts their steps, that sparkles in their eyes; That talks or laughs or runs or shouts or plays, And speaks in all their looks and all their ways. Fair scenes of peace! ye might detain us long, But vice and misery now demand the song; And turn our view from dwellings simply neat, To this infected Row, we term our Street. Here, in cabal, a disputatious crew Each evening meet; the sot, the cheat, the shrew; Riots are nightly heard: - the curse, the cries Of beaten wife, perverse in her replies; While shrieking children hold each threatning hand, And sometimes life, and sometimes food demand: Boys, in their first-stoln rags, to swear begin, And girls, who heed not dress, are skilld in gin: Snarers and smugglers here their gains divide; Ensnaring females here their victims hide; And here is one, the Sibyl of the Row, Who knows all secrets, or affects to know. Seeking their fate, to her the simple run, To her the guilty, theirs awhile to shun; Mistress of worthless arts, depraved in will, Her care unblest and unrepaid her skill, Slave to the tribe, to whose command she stoops, And poorer than the poorest maid she dupes. Between the road-way and the walls, offence Invades all eyes and strikes on every sense; There lie, obscene, at every open door, Heaps from the hearth, and sweepings from the floor, And day by day the mingled masses grow, As sinks are disembogued and kennels flow. There hungry dogs from hungry children steal; There pigs and chickens quarrel for a meal; Their dropsied infants wail without redress, And all is want and woe and wretchedness; Yet should these boys, with bodies bronzed and bare, High-swoln and hard, outlive that lack of care - Forced on some farm, the unexerted strength, Though loth to action, is compelld at length, When warmd by health, as serpents in the spring, Aside their slough of indolence they fling. Yet, ere they go, a greater evil comes - See! crowded beds in those contiguous rooms; Beds but ill parted, by a paltry screen Of paperd lath, or curtain dropt between; Daughters and sons to yon compartments creep, And parents here beside their children sleep: Ye who have power, these thoughtless people part, Nor let the ear be first to taint the heart. Come! search within, nor sight nor smell regard; The true physician walks the foulest ward. See on the floor, where frousy patches rest! What nauseous fragments on yon fractured chest! What downy dust beneath yon window-seat! And round these posts that serve this bed for feet; This bed where all those tatterd garments lie, Worn by each sex, and now perforce thrown by! See! as we gaze, an infant lifts its head, Left by neglect and burrowd in that bed; The Mother-gossip has the love suppressd An infants cry once wakend in her breast; And daily prattles, as her round she takes (With strong resentment), of the want she makes. Whence all these woes? - From want of virtuous will, Of honest shame, of time-improving skill; From want of care temploy the vacant hour, And want of every kind but want of power. Here are no wheels for either wool or flax, But packs of cards - made up of sundry packs; Here is no clock, nor will they turn the glass, And see how swift th important moments pass; Here are no books, but ballads on the wall, Are some abusive, and indecent all; Pistols are here, unpaird; with nets and hooks, Of every kind, for rivers, ponds, and brooks; An ample flask, that nightly rovers fill With recent poison from the Dutchmans still; A box of tools, with wires of various size, Frocks, wigs, and hats, for night or day disguise, And bludgeons stout to gain or guard a prize. To every house belongs a space of ground, Of equal size, once fenced with paling round; That paling now by slothful waste destroyed, Dead gorse and stumps of elder fill the void; Save in the centre-spot, whose walls of clay Hide sots and striplings at their drink or play: Within, a board, beneath a tiled retreat, Allures the bubble and maintains the cheat; Where heavy ale in spots like varnish shows, Where chalky tallies yet remain in rows; Black pipes and broken jugs the seats defile, The walls and windows, rhymes and recknings vile; Prints of the meanest kind disgrace the door, And cards, in curses torn, lie fragments on the floor. Here his poor bird th inhuman Cocker brings, Arms his hard heel and clips his golden wings; With spicy food th impatient spirit feeds, And shouts and curses as the battle bleeds. Struck through the brain, deprived of both his eyes, The vanquished bird must combat till he dies; Must faintly peck at his victorious foe, And reel and stagger at each feeble blow: When fallen, the savage grasps his dabbled plumes, His blood-staind arms, for other deaths assumes; And damns the craven-fowl, that lost his stake, And only bled and perished for his sake. Such are our Peasants, those to whom we yield Praise with relief, the fathers of the field; And these who take from our reluctant hands What Burn advises or the Bench commands. Our Farmers round, well pleased with constant gain, Like other farmers, flourish and complain. - These are our groups; our Portraits next appear, And close our Exhibition for the year. ------------- WITH evil omen we that year begin: A Child of Shame, - stern Justice adds, of Sin, Is first recorded; - I would hide the deed, But vain the wish; I sigh, and I proceed: And could I well thinstructive truth convey, Twould warn the giddy and awake the gay. Of all the nymphs who gave our village grace, The Millers daughter had the fairest face: Proud was the Miller; money was his pride; He rode to market, as our farmers ride, And twas his boast, inspired by spirits, there, His favourite Lucy should be rich as fair; But she must meek and still obedient prove, And not presume, without his leave, to love. A youthful Sailor heard him; - Ha! quoth he, This Millers maiden is a prize for me; Her charms I love, his riches I desire, And all his threats but fan the kindling fire; My ebbing purse no more the foe shall fill, But Loves kind act and Lucy at the mill. Thus thought the youth, and soon the chase began, Stretchd all his sail, nor thought of pause or plan: His trusty staff in his bold hand he took, Like him and like his frigate, heart of oak; Fresh were his features, his attire was new; Clean was his linen, and his jacket blue: Of finest jean his trousers, tight and trim, Brushd the large buckle at the silver rim. He soon arrived, he traced the village-green, There saw the maid, and was with pleasure seen; Then talkd of love, till Lucys yielding heart Confessd twas painful, though twas right to part. For ah! my father has a haughty soul; Whom best he loves, he loves but to control; Me to some churl in bargain hell consign, And make some tyrant of the parish mine: Cold is his heart, and he with looks severe Has often forced but never shed the tear; Save, when my mother died, some drops expressed A kind of sorrow for a wife at rest: - To me a masters stern regard is shown, Im like his steed, prized highly as his own; Stroked but corrected, threatened when supplied, His slave and boast, his victim and his pride. Cheer up, my lass! Ill to thy father go, The Miller cannot be the Sailors foe; Both live by Heavens free gale, that plays aloud In the stretchd canvass and the piping shroud; The rush of winds, the flapping sails above, And rattling planks within, are sounds we love; Calms are our dread; when tempests plough the deep, We take a reef, and to the rocking sleep. Ha! quoth the Miller, moved at speech so rash, Art thou like me? then where thy notes and cash? Away to Wapping, and a wife command, With all thy wealth, a guinea in thine hand; There with thy messmates quaff the muddy cheer, And leave my Lucy for thy betters here. Revenge! revenge! the angry lover cried, Then sought the nymph, and Be thou now my bride. Bride had she been, but they no priest could move To bind in law the couple bound by love. What sought these lovers then by day by night? But stolen moments of disturbd delight; Soft trembling tumults, terrors dearly prized, Transports that paind, and joys that agonised; Till the fond damsel, pleased with lad so trim, Awed by her parent, and enticed by him, Her lovely form from savage power to save, Gave - not her hand - but ALL she could she gave. Then came the day of shame, the grievous night, The varying look, the wandering appetite; The joy assumed, while sorrow dimmd the eyes, The forced sad smiles that followd sudden sighs; And every art, long used, but used in vain, To hide thy progress, Nature, and thy pain. Too eager caution shows some dangers near, The bullys bluster proves the cowards fear; His sober step the drunkard vainly tries, And nymphs expose the failings they disguise. First, whispering gossips were in parties seen, Then louder Scandal walkd the village - green; Next babbling Folly told the growing ill, And busy Malice droppd it at the mill. Go! to thy curse and mine, the Father said, Strife and confusion stalk around thy bed; Want and a wailing brat thy portion be, Plague to thy fondness, as thy fault to me; - Where skulks the villain? - On the ocean wide My William seeks a portion for his bride. - Vain be his search; but, till the traitor come, The higglers cottage be thy future home; There with his ancient shrew and care abide, And hide thy head, - thy shame thou canst not hide. Day after day was passd in pains and grief; Week followd week, - and still was no relief: Her boy was born - no lads nor lasses came To grace the rite or give the child a name; Nor grave conceited nurse, of office proud, Bore the young Christian roaring through the crowd: In a small chamber was my office done, Where blinks through paperd panes the setting sun; Where noisy sparrows, perchd on penthouse near, Chirp tuneless joy, and mock the frequent tear; Bats on their webby wings in darkness move, And feebly shriek their melancholy love. No Sailor came; the months in terror fled! Then news arrived - He fought, and he was DEAD! At the lone cottage Lucy lives, and still Walks for her weekly pittance to the mill; A mean seraglio there her father keeps, Whose mirth insults her, as she stands and weeps; And sees the plenty, while compelld to stay, Her fathers pride, become his harlots prey. Throughout the lanes she glides, at evenings close, And softly lulls her infant to repose; Then sits and gazes, but with viewless look, As gilds the moon the rippling of the brook; And sings her vespers, but in voice so low, She hears their murmurs as the waters flow: And she too murmurs, and begins to find The solemn wanderings of a wounded mind. Visions of terror, views of woe succeed, The minds impatience, to the bodys need; By turns to that, by turns to this a prey, She knows what reason yields, and dreads what madness may. Next, with their boy, a decent couple came, And calld him Robert, twas his fathers name; Three girls preceded, all by time endeard, And future births were neither hoped nor feard: Blest in each other, but to no excess, Health, quiet, comfort, formd their happiness; Love all made up of torture and delight, Was but mere madness in this couples sight: Susan could think, though not without a sigh, If she were gone, who should her place supply; And Robert, half in earnest, half in jest, Talk of her spouse when he should be at rest: Yet strange would either think it to be told, Their love was cooling or their hearts were cold. Few were their acres, - but, with these content, They were, each pay-day, ready with their rent: And few their wishes - what their farm denied, The neighbouring town, at trifling cost, supplied. If at the drapers window Susan cast A longing look, as with her goods she passd, And, with the produce of the wheel and churn, Bought her a Sunday - robe on her return; True to her maxim, she would take no rest, Till care repaid that portion to the chest: Or if, when loitering at the Whitsun-fair, Her Robert spent some idle shillings there; Up at the barn, before the break of day, He made his labour for th indulgence pay: Thus both - that waste itself might work in vain - Wrought double tides, and all was well again. Yet, though so prudent, there were times of joy, (The day they wed, the christening of the boy.) When to the wealthier farmers there was shown Welcome unfeignd, and plenty like their own; For Susan served the great, and had some pride Among our topmost people to preside: Yet in that plenty, in that welcome free, There was the guiding nice frugality, That, in the festal as the frugal day, Has, in a different mode, a sovereign sway; As tides the same attractive influence know, In the least ebb and in their proudest flow; The wise frugality, that does not give A life to saving, but that saves to live; Sparing, not pinching, mindful though not mean, Oer all presiding, yet in nothing seen. Recorded next a babe of love I trace! Of many loves, the mothers fresh disgrace. - Again, thou harlot! could not all thy pain, All my reproof, thy wanton thoughts restrain? Alas! your reverence, wanton thoughts, I grant, Were once my motive, now the thoughts of want; Women, like me, as ducks in a decoy, Swim down a stream, and seem to swim in joy. Your sex pursue us, and our own disdain; Return is dreadful, and escape is vain. Would men forsake us, and would women strive To help the falln, their virtue might revive. For rite of churching soon she made her way, In dread of scandal, should she miss the day: - Two matrons came! with them she humbly knelt, Their action copied and their comforts felt, From that great pain and peril to be free, Though still in peril of that pain to be; Alas! what numbers, like this amorous dame, Are quick to censure, but are dead to shame! Twin-infants then appear; a girl, a boy, Th overflowing cup of Gerard Abletts joy: One had I named in every year that passed Since Gerard wed! and twins behold at last! Well pleased, the bridegroom smiled to hear - A vine Fruitful and spreading round the walls be thine, And branch-like be thine offspring! - Gerard then Lookd joyful love, and softly said Amen. Now of that vine hed have no more increase, Those playful branches now disturb his peace: Them he beholds around his tables spread, But finds, the more the branch, the less the bread; And while they run his humble walls about, They keep the sunshine of good humour out. Cease, man, to grieve! thy masters lot survey, Whom wife and children, thou and thine obey; A farmer proud, beyond a farmers pride, Of all around the envy or the guide; Who trots to market on a steed so fine, That when I meet him, Im ashamed of mine; Whose board is high upheaved with generous fare, Which five stout sons and three tall daughters share. Cease, man, to grieve, and listen to his care. A few years fled, and all thy boys shall be Lords of a cot, and labourers like thee: Thy girls unportiond neighbring youths shall lead Brides from my church, and thenceforth thou art freed: But then thy master shall of cares complain, Care after care, a long connected train; His sons for farms shall ask a large supply, For farmers sons each gentle miss shall sigh; Thy mistress, reasoning well of lifes decay, Shall ask a chaise, and hardly brook delay; The smart young cornet, who with so much grace Rode in the ranks and betted at the race, While the vexd parent rails at deed so rash, Shall d**n his luck, and stretch his hand for cash. Sad troubles, Gerard! now pertain to thee, When thy rich master seems from trouble free; But tis one fate at different times assignd, And thou shalt lose the cares that he must find. Ah! quoth our village Grocer, rich and old, Would I might one such cause for care behold! To whom his Friend, Mine greater bliss would be, Would Heavn take those my spouse assigns to me. Aged were both, that Dawkins, Ditchem this, Who much of marriage thought, and much amiss; Both would delay, the one, till - riches gaind, The son he wishd might be to honour traind; His Friend - lest fierce intruding heirs should come, To waste his hoard and vex his quiet home. Dawkins, a dealer once, on burthend back Bore his whole substance in a pedlars pack; To dames discreet, the duties yet unpaid, His stores of lace and hyson he conveyd: When thus enriched, he chose at home to stop, And fleece his neighbours in a new-built shop; Then wood a spinster blithe, and hoped, when wed, For loves fair favours and a fruitful bed. Not so his Friend; - on widow fair and staid He fixd his eye, but he was much afraid; Yet wood; while she his hair of silver hue Demurely noticed, and her eye withdrew: Doubtful he paused - Ah! were I sure, he cried, No craving children would my gains divide; Fair as she is, I would my widow take, And live more largely for my partners sake. With such their views some thoughtful years they passd, And hoping, dreading, they were bound at last. And what their fate? Observe them as they go, Comparing fear with fear and woe with woe. Humphrey! said Dawkins, envy in my breast Sickens to see thee in thy children blest: They are thy joys, while I go grieving home To a sad spouse, and our eternal gloom: We look despondency; no infant near, To bless the eye or win the parents ear; Our sudden heats and quarrels to allay, And soothe the petty sufferings of the day: Alike our want, yet both the want reprove; Where are, I cry, these pledges of our love? When she, like Jacobs wife, makes fierce reply, Yet fond - Oh! give me children, or I die: And I return - still childless doomd to live, Like the vexd patriarch - Are they mine to give? Ah! much I envy thee thy boys, who ride On poplar branch, and canter at thy side; And girls, whose cheeks thy chins fierce fondness know, And with fresh beauty at the contact glow. Oh! simple friend, said Ditchem, wouldst thou gain A fathers pleasure by a husbands pain? Alas! what pleasure - when some vigrous boy Should swell thy pride, some rosy girl thy joy; Is it to doubt who grafted this sweet flower, Or whence arose that spirit and that power? Four years Ive wed; not one has passed in vain; Behold the fifth! behold a babe again! My wifes gay friends th unwelcome imp admire, And fill the room with gratulation dire: While I in silence sate, revolving all That influence ancient men, or that befall; A gay pert guest - Heavn knows his business - came; A glorious boy! he cried, and what the name? Angry I growld, - My spirit cease to tease, Name it yourselves, - Cain, Judas, if you please; His fathers give him, - should you that explore, The devils or yours: - I said, and sought the door. My tender partner not a word or sigh Gives to my wrath, nor to my speech reply; But takes her comforts, triumphs in my pain, And looks undaunted for a birth again. Heirs thus denied afflict the pining heart, And thus afforded, jealous pangs impart; Let, therefore, none avoid, and none demand These arrows numberd for the giants hand. Then with their infants three, the parents came, And each assignd - twas all they had - a name; Names of no mark or price; of them not one Shall court our view on the sepulchral stone, Or stop the clerk, th engraven scrolls to spell, Or keep the sexton from the sermon bell. An orphan-girl succeeds: ere she was born Her father died, her mother on that morn: The pious mistress of the school sustains Her parents part, nor their affection feigns, But pitying feels: with due respect and joy, I trace the matron at her loved employ; What time the striplings, wearied een with play, Part at the closing of the summers day, And each by different path returns the well-known way Then I behold her at her cottage-door, Frugal of light; - her Bible laid before, When on her double duty she proceeds, Of time as frugal - knitting as she reads: Her idle neighbours, who approach to tell Some trifling tale, her serious looks compel To hear reluctant, - while the lads who pass, In pure respect, walk silent on the grass: Then sinks the day, but not to rest she goes, Till solemn prayers the daily duties close. But I digress, and lo! an infant train Appear, and call me to my task again. Why Lonicera wilt thou name thy child? I ask the Gardeners wife, in accents mild: We have a right, replied the sturdy dame; - And Lonicera was the infants name. If next a son shall yield our Gardener joy, Then Hyacinthus shall be that fair boy; And if a girl, they will at length agree That Belladonna that fair maid shall be. High-sounding words our worthy Gardener gets, And at his club to wondering swains repeats; He then of Rhus and Rhododendron speaks, And Allium calls his onions and his leeks; Nor weeds are now, for whence arose the weed, Scarce plants, fair herbs, and curious flowers proceed, Where Cuckoo-pints and Dandelions sprung (Gross names had they our plainer sires among), There Arums, there Leontodons we view, And Artemisia grows where wormwood grew. But though no weed exists his garden round, From Rumex strong our Gardener frees his ground, Takes soft Senecio from the yielding land, And grasps the armd Urtica in his hand. Not Darwins self had more delight to sing Of floral courtship, in th awakend Spring, Than Peter Pratt, who simpering loves to tell How rise the Stamens, as the Pistils swell; How bend and curl the moist-top to the spouse, And give and take the vegetable vows; How those esteemd of old but tips and chives, Are tender husbands and obedient wives; Who live and love within the sacred bower, - That bridal bed, the vulgar term a flower. Hear Peter proudly, to some humble friend, A wondrous secret, in his science, lend: - Would you advance the nuptial hour and bring The fruit of Autumn with the flowers of Spring; View that light frame where Cucumis lies spread, And trace the husbands in their golden bed, Three powderd Anthers; - then no more delay, But to the stigmas tip their dust convey; Then by thyself, from prying glance secure, Twirl the full tip and make your purpose sure; A long-abiding race the deed shall pay, Nor one unblest abortion pine away. Tadmire their Mends discourse our swains agree, And call it science and philosophy. Tis good, tis pleasant, through th advancing year, To see unnumbered growing forms appear; What leafy-life from Earths broad bosom rise! What insect myriads seek the summer skies! What scaly tribes in every streamlet move; What plumy people sing in every grove! All with the year awaked to life, delight, and love. Then names are good; for how, without their aid, Is knowledge, gaind by man, to man conveyd? But from that source shall all our pleasures flow? Shall all our knowledge be those names to know? Then he, with memory blest, shall bear away The palm from Grew, and Middleton, and Ray: No! let us rather seek, in grove and field, What food for wonder, what for use they yield; Some just remark from Natures people bring, And some new source of homage for her King. Pride lives with all; strange names our rustics give To helpless infants, that their own may live; Pleased to be known, theyll some attention claim, And find some by-way to the house of fame. The straightest furrow lifts the ploughmans art, The hat he gained has warmth for head and heart; The bowl that beats the greater number down Of t ......Buy Now (To Read More)

Product details

Ebook Number: 5208
Author: Crabbe, George
Release Date: Mar 1, 2004
Format: eBook
Language: English

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