Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

The kettle to the top was hoist,
And there stood fasten'd to a joist,
But with the upside down, to show
Its inclination for below:
In vain; for a superior force
Applied at bottom stops its course:
Doom'd ever in suspense to dwell,
'Tis now no kettle, but a bell.

A wooden jack, which had almost
Lost by disuse the art to roast,
A sudden alteration feels,
Increased by new intestine wheels;
And, what exalts the wonder more,
The number made the motion slower.
The flier, though it had leaden feet,
Turn'd round so quick you scarce could see't;
But, slacken’d by some secret power,
Now hardly moves an inch an hour.
The jack and chimney, near allied,
Had never left each other's side;
The chimney to a steeple grown,
The jack would not be left alone;
But, up against the steeple rear'd,
Became a clock, and still adhered;
And still its love to household cares,
By a shrill voice at noon, declares,
Warning the cook-maid not to burn
That roast meat, which it can not turn.

The groaning-chair began to crawl,
Like a huge snail, along the wall;
There stuck aloft in public view,
And with small change, a pulpit grew.

The porringers, that in a row
Hung high, and made a glittering show,
To a less noble substance changed,
Were now but leathern buckets ranged.

The ballads, pasted on the wall,
Of Joan of France, and English Moll,
Fair Rosamond, and Robin Hood,
The little Children in the Wood,
Now seem'd to look abundance better,
Improved in picture, size, and letter:

а

And, high in order placed, describe
The heraldry of every tribe.

A bedstead of the antique mode,
Compact of timber many a load,
Such as our ancestors did use,
Was metamorphosed into pews;
Which still their ancient nature keep
By lodging folks disposed to sleep.

The cottage, by such feats as these,
Grown to a church by just degrees,
The hermits then desired their host
To ask for what he fancied most.
Philemon, having paused a while,
Return’d them thanks in homely style;
Then said, “My house is grown so fine,
Methinks, I still would call it mine.
I'm old, and fain would live at ease;
Make me the parson if you please.”

He spoke, and presently he feels
His grazier's coat fall down his heels:
He sees, yet hardly can believe,
About each arm a pudding sleeve;
His waistcoat to a cassock grew,
And both assumed a sable hue;
But, being old, continued just
As threadbare, and as full of dust.
His talk was now of tithes and dues :
He smoked his pipe, and read the news;
Knew how to preach old sermons next,
Vamp'd in the preface and the text;
At christenings well could act his part,
And had the service all by heart;
Wish'd women might have children fast,
And thought whose sow had farrow'd last;
Against dissenters would repine,
And stood up firm for “right divine;"
Found his head fill'd with many a system;
But classic authors-he ne'er miss'd 'em.

Thus having furbish'd up a parson, Dame Baucis next they play'd their farce on. Instead of homespun coifs, were seen Good pinners edged with colberteen;

[ocr errors]

'T was

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Her petticoat transform'd apace,
Became black satin, flounced with lace.
“ Plain Goody" would no longer down,

Madam,” in her grogram gown.
Philemon was in great surprise,
And hardly could believe his eyes.
Amazed to see her look so prim,
And she admired as much at him.

Thus happy in their change of life,
Were several years this man and wife:
When on a day, which proved their last,
Discoursing o'er old stories past,
They went by chance, amid their talk,
To the church-yard to take a walk;
When Baucis hastily cried out,
“My dear, I see your forehead sprout!"--
“Sprout,” quoth the man; “what's this you tell us?
I hope you don't believe me jealous !
But yet, methinks I feel it true,
And really yours is budding too,
Nay—now I can not stir my foot;
It feels as if 't were taking root."

Description would but tire my Muse,
In short, they both were turn'd to yews.
Old Goodman Dobson of the green
Remembers he the trees has seen;
He'll talk of them from noon till night,
And goes with folks to show the sight;
On Sundays, after evening prayer,
He gathers all the parish there;
Points out the place of either yew,
Here Baucis, there Philemon, grew :
Till once a parson of our town,
To mend his barn, cut Baucis down;
At which, 'tis hard to be believed
How much the other tree was grieved,
Grew scrubbed, died a-top, was stunted,
So the next parson stubb'd and burnt it.

4

A DESCRIPTION OF A CITY SHOWER.

IN IMITATION OF VIRGIL'S GEORGICS.

DEAN SWIFT.

CAREFUL observers may foretell the hour,
(By sure prognostics), when to dread a shower.
While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o'er
Her frolics, and pursues her tail no more.
Returning home at night, you'll find the sink
Strike your

offended sense with double stink. If you

be wise, then, go not far to dine:
You 'll spend in coach-hire more than save in wine.
A coming shower your shooting corns presage,
Old aches will throb, your hollow tooth will rage;
Sauntering in coffee-house is Dulman seen;
He damns the climate, and complains of spleen.
Meanwhile the South, rising with dabbled wings,
A sable cloud athwart the welkin flings,
That swill’d more liquor than it could contain,
And, like a drunkard, gives it up again.
Brisk Susan whips her linen from the rope,
While the first drizzling shower is borne aslope;
Such is that sprinkling which some careless quean
Flirts on you from her mop, but not so clean:
You fly, invoke the gods; then, turning, stop
To rail; she singing, still whirls on her mop.
Not yet the dust had shunn'd the unequal strise,
But, aided by the wind, fought still for life,
And wafted with its foe by violent gust,
'T was doubtful which was rain, and which was dust.
Ah! where must needy poet seek for aid,
When dust and rain at once his coat invade?
Sole coat! where dust, cemented by the rain,
Erects the nap, and leaves a cloudy stain!
Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down,
Threatening with deluge this devoted town.
To shops in crowds the daggled females fly,
Pretend to cheapen goods, but nothing buy.
The Templar spruce, while every spout 's abroach,
Stays till ’tis fair, yet seems to call a coach.

a

The tuck'd up sempstress walks with hasty strides,
While streams run down her oil'd umbrella's sides.
Here various kinds, by various fortunes led,
Commence acquaintance underneath a shed.
Triumphant Tories, and desponding Whigs,
Forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs.
Box'd in a chair the beau impatient sits,
While spouts run clattering o'er the roof by fils,
And ever and anon with frightful din
The leather sounds; he trembles from within.
So when Troy chairmen bore the wooden steed,
Pregnant with Greeks impatient to be freed,
(Those bully Greeks, who, as the moderns do,
Instead of paying chairmen, ran them through),
Laocoon struck the outside with his

spear, And each imprison'd hero quaked for fear.

Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow, And bear their trophies with them as they go: Filth of all hues and odor, seem to tell What street they sail'd from by their sight and smell. They, as each torrent drives with rapid force, From Smithfield to St. Pulchre's shape their course, And in huge confluence join'd at Snowhill ridge, Fall from the conduit prone to Holborne bridge. Sweeping from butchers' stalls, dung, guts, and blood; Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drench'd in mud, Dead cats, and turnip-tops, come tumbling down the flood.

« PredošláPokračovať »