Misc Poems.

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Misc. Poems by

Thomas Hood.

INDEX

1.

Ode to the Moon.

2.

A Singular Exhibition at
Somerset House.

3.

To a Cold Beauty.

4.

Ode to W. Kitchener M.D.

5.

The Forge.

6.

The Supper Superstition.

7.

A Parental Ode to my Son Aged
Three Years and Five Months.

8.

The Duel.

9.

The Dead Robbery.

10.

The Lay of the Labourer


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ODE TO THE MOON.


MOTHER of light! how fairly dost thou go
Over those hoary crests, divinely led!—
Art thou that huntress of the silver bow,
Fabled of old?   Or rather dost thou tread
Those cloudy summits thence to gaze below,
Like the wild Chamois from her Alpine snow,
Where hunter never climb'd,—secure from dread?
How many antique fancies have I read
Of that mild presence! and how many wrought!
            Wondrous and bright,
            Upon the silver light,
Chasing fair figures with the artist, Thought!

What art thou like?   Sometimes I see thee ride
A far-bound galley on its perilous way,
Whilst breezy waves toss up their silvery spray;—
            Sometimes behold thee glide,
Cluster'd by all thy family of stars,
Like a lone widow, through the welkin wide,
Whose pallid cheek the midnight sorrow mars;—
Sometimes I watch thee on from steep to steep,
Timidly lighted by thy vestal torch,
Till in some Latmian cave I see thee creep,
To catch the young Endymion asleep,—
Leaving thy splendour at the jagged porch!—

Oh, thou art beautiful, howe'er it be!
Huntress, or Dian, or whatever named;
And he, the veriest Pagan, that first framed
A silver idol, and ne'er worshipp'd thee!—
It is too late—or thou should'st have my knee—
Too late now for the old Ephesian vows,
And not divine the crescent on thy brows!—
Yet, call thee nothing but the mere mild Moon,
            Behind those chestnut boughs,
Casting their dappled shadows at my feet;
I will be grateful for that simple boon,
In many a thoughtful verse and anthem sweet,
And bless thy dainty face when'er we meet.

In nights far gone,—ay, far away and dead,—
Before Care-fretted, with a lidless eye,—
I was thy wooer on my little bed,
Letting the early hours of rest go by,
To see thee flood the heaven with milky light,
And feed thy snow-white swans, before I slept;
For thou wert then purveyor of my dreams,—
Thou wert the fairies' armourer, that kept
Their burnish'd helms, and crowns, and corslets
    bright,
            Their spears, and glittering mails;
And ever thou didst spill in winding streams
            Sparkles and midnight gleams,
For fishes to new gloss their ardent scales!—

Why sighs?—why creeping tears?—why clasped
    hands?—
Is it to count the boy's expended dow'r?
That fairies since have broke their gifted wands?
That young Delight, like any o'erblown flower,
Gave, one by one, its sweet leaves to the ground?—
Why then, fair Moon, for all thou mark'st no hour,
Thou art a sadder dial to old Time
            Than ever I have found
On sunny garden-plot, or moss-grown tow'r,
Motto'd with stern and melancholy rhyme.

Why should I grieve for this?—Oh I must yearn
Whilst Time, conspirator with Memory,
Keeps his cold ashes in an ancient urn,
Richly emboss'd with childhood's revelry,
With leaves and cluster'd fruits, and flow'rs eterne,—
(Eternal to the world, though not to me),
Aye there will those brave sports and blossoms be,
The deathless wreath, and undecay'd festoon,
            When I am hears'd within,—
Less than the pallid primrose to the Moon,
That now she watches through a vapour thin.

So let it be:—Before I lived to sigh,
Thou wert in Avon, and a thousand rills,
Beautiful Orb! and so, whene'er I lie
Trodden, thou wilt be gazing from thy hills.
Blest be thy loving light, where'er it spills,
And blessed thy fair face, O Mother mild!
Still shine, the soul of rivers as they run,
Still lend thy lonely lamp to lovers fond,
And blend their plighted shadows into one:—
Still smile at even on the bedded child,
And close his eyelids with thy silver wand!


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A SINGULAR EXHIBITION AT SOMERSET HOUSE.

"Our Crummie is a dainty cow."—Scotch Song.


ON that first Saturday in May,
    When Lords and Ladies, great and grand,
Repair to see what each R.A.
    Has done since last they sought the Strand,
In red, brown, yellow, green, or blue,
In short, what's called the private view,—
Amongst the guests—the deuce knows how
She got in there without a row—
There came a large and vulgar dame,
With arms deep red, and face the same,
Showing in temper not a Saint;
No one could guess for why she came,
Unless perchance to "scour the Paint."

From wall to wall she forced her way,
Elbowed Lord Durham—poked Lord Grey—
Stamped Stafford's toes to make him move,
And Devonshire's Duke received a shove;
The great Lord Chancellor felt her nudge,
She made the Vice, his Honour, budge,
And gave a pinch to Park, the judge.
As for the ladies in this stir,
The highest rank gave way to her.

From number one and number two,
She searched the pictures through and through,
On benches stood, to inspect the high ones,
And squatted down to see the shy ones.

And as she went from part to part,
A deeper red each cheek became,
Her very eyes lit up in flame,
That made each looker-on exclaim,
"Really an ardent love of art!"
Alas! amidst her inquisition,
Fate brought her to a sad condition;
She might have run against Lord Milton,
And still have stared at deeds in oil.
But ah! her picture-joy to spoil,
She came full butt on Mr. Hilton.

The Keeper mute, with staring eyes,
Like a lay-figure for surprise,
At last this stammered out, "How now?
Woman—where, woman, is your ticket,
That ought to have let you through our wicket?"
Says woman, "Where is David's Cow?"
Said Mr. H—— with expedition,
"There's no Cow in the Exhibition."
    "No Cow!"—but here her tongue in verity,
        Set off with steam and rail celerity—


"No Cow! there an't no Cow, then the more's the shame and
        pity,
Hang you, and the R.A.'s, and all the Hanging Committee!
No Cow—but hold your tongue—for you needn't talk to me—
You can't talk up the Cow, you can't, to where it ought to be—
I haven't seen a picture high or low, or anyhow,
Or in any of the rooms, to be compared with David's Cow!
You may talk of your Landseers, and of your Coopers and your
        Wards,
Why, hanging is too good for them, and yet here they are on
        cords!
They're only fit for window frames, and shutters and street
        doors,
David will paint 'em any day at Red Lions or Blue Boars,—
Why, Morland was a fool to him,—at a little pig or sow—
It's really hard it an't hung up,—I could cry about the Cow!
But I know well what it is, and why—they're jealous of David's
        fame,
But to vent it on the Cow, poor thing, is a cruelty and a shame,—
Do you think it might hang by and by, if you cannot hang it
        now?
David has made a party up, to come and see his Cow
If it only hung three days a week, for an example to the learners—
Why can't it hang up, turn about, with that picture of Mr.
        Turner's?
Or do you think from Mr. Etty you need apprehend a row,
If now and then you cut him down to hang up David's Cow!
I can't think where their tastes have been, to not have such a
        creature,
Although I say, that should not say, it was prettier than nature!
It must be hung—and shall be hung—for, Mr. H——, I vow
I daren't take home the catalogue, unless it's got the Cow!
As we only want it to be seen, I should not so much care,
If it was only round the stone man's neck, a coming up the stair.
Or down there in the marble room where all the figures stand,
Where one of them three Graces might just hold it in her hand—
Or maybe Baily's Charity the favour would allow,
It would really be a charity to hang up David's Cow.
We haven't nowhere else to go if you don't hang it here,
The Water Colour place allows no oilman to appear—
And the British Gallery sticks to Dutch, Teniers and Gerard
        Douw,
And the Suffolk Gallery will not do—it's not a Suffolk Cow:
I wish you'd seen him painting her, he hardly took his meals
Till she was painted on the board, correct from head to heels:
His heart and soul was in his Cow, and almost made him 
        shabby,
He hardly whipped the boys at all,—or helped to nurse the
        babby,
And when he had her all complete and painted over red,
He got so grand, I really thought him going off his head.
Now hang it, Mr. Hilton, do just hang it anyhow,
Poor David, he will hang himself, unless you hang his Cow.
And if it's inconvenient and drawn too big by half—
David shan't send next year except a very little calf!"


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TO A COLD BEAUTY.


LADY, wouldst thou heiress be
    To Winters cold and cruel part?
When he sets the rivers free,
    Thou dost still lock up thy heart;—
Thou that shouldst outlast the snow,
But in the whiteness of thy brow?

Scorn and cold neglect are made
    For winter gloom and winter wind,
But thou wilt wrong the summer air,
    Breathing it to words unkind,—
Breath which only should belong
To love, to sunlight, and to song!

When the little buds unclose.
    Red, and white, and pied, and blue,
And that virgin flow'r, the rose,
    Opes her heart to hold the dew,
Wilt thou lock thy bosom up
With no jewel in its cup?

Let not cold December sit
    Thus in Love's peculiar throne:
Brooklets are not prison'd now,
    But crystal frosts are all agone,
And that which hangs upon the spray,
It is no snow, but flow'r of May!


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ODE TO W. KITCHENER, M.D.


AUTHOR OF "THE COOK'S ORACLE," "OBSERVATIONS ON VOCAL MUSIC,"
"THE ART OF INVIGORATING AND PROLONGING LIFE," "PRACTICAL
OBSERVATIONS ON TELESCOPES, OPERA-GLASSES, AND SPECTACLES,"
"THE HOUSEKEEPER'S LEDGER," AND "THE PLEASURE OF MAKING A WILL."


"I rule the roast, as Milton says! "—Caleb Quotem.


                OH! multifarious man!
Thou Wondrous, Admirable Kitchen Crichton!
                Born to enlighten
The laws of Optics, Peptics, Music, Cooking—
Master of the Piano—and the Pan—
As busy with the kitchen as the skies!
                Now looking
At some rich stew thro' Galileo's eyes,—
Or boiling eggs—timed to a metronome—
                As much at home
In spectacles as in mere isinglass—
In the art of frying brown—as a digression
On music and poetical expression,
Whereas, how few of all our cooks, alas!
Could tell Calliope from "Calliopee!"
                How few there be
Could leave the lowest for the highest stories,
                (Observatories,)
And turn, like thee, Diana's calculator,
However cook's synonymous with Kater!*
                Alas! still let me say,
                    How few could lay
The carving knife beside the tuning fork,
Like the proverbial Jack ready for any work!

Oh, to behold thy features in thy book!
Thy proper head and shoulders in a plate,
                How it would look!
With one rais'd eye watching the dial's date,
And one upon the roast, gently cast down—
                Thy chops—done nicely brown—
The garnish'd brow—with "a few leaves of bay"—
                The hair—"done Wiggy's way!"
And still one studious finger near thy brains,
                As if thou wert just come
                From editing some
New soup—or hashing Dibdin's cold remains;
Or, Orpheus-like,—fresh from thy dying strains
Of music,—Epping luxuries of sound,
                As Milton says, "in many a bout
                Of linked sweetness long drawn out,"
Whilst all thy tame stuff'd leopards listen'd round!

Oh, rather thy whole proper length reveal,
Standing like Fortune,—on the jack—thy wheel.
(Thou art, like Fortune, full of chops and changes,
Thou hast a fillet too before thine eye!)
Scanning our kitchen, and our vocal ranges,
As tho' it were the same to sing or fry—
Nay, so it is—hear how Miss Paton's throat
                Makes "fritters" of a note!
And how Tom Cook (Fryer and Singer born
By name and nature) oh! how night and morn
                He for the nicest public taste doth dish up
The good things from that Pan of music, Bishop!
And is not reading near akin to feeding,
    Or why should Oxford Sausages be fit
                Receptacles for wit?
    Or why should Cambridge put its little, smart,
                Minc'd brains into a Tart?
Nay, then, thou wert but wise to frame receipts,
                Book-treats,
Equally to instruct the Cook and cram her—
        Receipts to be devour'd, as well as read,
                The Culinary Art in gingerbread—
            The Kitchen's Eaten Grammar!

    Oh, very pleasant is thy motley page—
        Aye, very pleasant in its chatty vein—
        So—in a kitchen—would have talk'd Montaigne,
That merry Gascon—humorist, and sage!
Let slender minds with single themes engage,
    Like Mr. Bowles with his eternal Pope,—
Or Haydon on perpetual Haydon,—or
    Hume on "Twice three make four,"
Or Lovelass upon Wills,—Thou goest on
Plaiting ten topics, like Tate Wilkinson!
    Thy brain is like a rich Kaleidoscope,
Stuff'd with a brilliant medley of odd bits,
    And ever shifting on from change to change,
Saucepans—old Songs—Pills—Spectacles—and Spits!
    Thy range is wider than a Rumford Range!
Thy grasp a miracle!—till I recall
Th' indubitable cause of thy variety—
Thou art, of course, th' Epitome of all
That spying—frying—singing—mix'd Society
Of Scientific Friends, who used to meet
Welch Rabbits—and thyself—in Warren Street!

Oh, hast thou still those Conversazioni,
Where learned visitors discoursed—and fed?
                There came Belzoni,
Fresh from the ashes of Egyptian dead—
            And gentle Poki—and that Royal Pair,
            Of whom thou didst declare—
"Thanks to the greatest Cooke we ever read—
They were—what Sandwiches should be—half bred"!
There fam'd M'Adam from his manual toil
Relax'd—and freely own'd he took thy hints
                On "making Broth with Flints"—
There Parry came, and show'd thee polar oil
For melted butter—Combe with his medullary
                Notions about the Skullery,
And Mr. Poole, too partial to a broil—
There witty Rogers came, that punning elf!
                Who used to swear thy book
                        Would really look
A Delphic "Oracle," if laid on Delf
There, once a month, came Campbell and discuss'd
His own—and thy own—"Magazine of Taste"—
                There Wilberforce the Just
Came, in his old black suit, till once he trac'd
    Thy sly advice to Poachers of Black Folks,
                That "do not break their yolks"—
Which huff'd him home, in grave disgust and haste!

    There came John Clare, the poet, nor forbore
Thy Patties—thou wert hand-and-glove with Moore,
Who call'd thee "Kitchen Addison"—for why
    Thou givest rules for Health and Peptic Pills,
Forms for made dishes, and receipts for Wills,
"Teaching us how to live and how to die!"
There came thy Cousin-Cook, good Mrs. Fry—
There Trench, the Thames Projector, first brought on
                            His sine Quay non,—
There Martin would drop in on Monday eves,
Or Fridays, from the pens, and raise his breath
                'Gainst cattle days and death,—
Answer'd by Mellish, feeder of fat beeves,
    Who swore that Frenchmen never could be eager
                For fighting on soup meagre—
"And yet, (as thou would'st add,) the French have seen
                A Marshall Tureen"!

Great was thy Evening Cluster!—often grac'd
With Dollond—Burgess—and Sir Humphry Davy!
'Twas there M'Dermot first inclin'd to Taste,—
There Colborn learn'd the art of making paste
For puffs—and Accum analyzed a gravy.
Colman—the Cutter of Coleman Street, 'tis said
Came there,—and Parkins with his Ex-wise-head,
(His claim to letters)—Kater, too, the Moon's
Crony,—and Graham, lofty on balloons,—
There Croly stalk'd with holy humour heated,
(Who wrote a light-horse play, which Yates
    completed)—
        And Lady Morgan, that grinding organ,
And Brasbridge telling anecdotes of spoons,—
Madame Valbrèque thrice honour'd thee, and came
With great Rossini, his own bow and fiddle,—
The Dibdins,—Tom, Charles, Frognall,—came with
    tuns
Of poor old books, old puns!
And even Irving spar'd a night from fame,—
And talk'd—till thou didst stop him in the middle,
                To serve round Tewah-diddle!**

Then all the guests rose up, and sighed good-bye!
So let them:—thou thyself art still a Host!
    Dibdin—Cornaro—Newton—Mrs. Fry!
    Mrs. Glasse, Mr. Spec!—Lovelass—and Weber,
    Matthews in Quot'em—Moore's fire-worshipping
        Gheber—
Thrice-worthy Worthy! seem by thee engross'd!
Howbeit the Peptic Cook still rules the roast,
Potent to hush all ventriloquial snarling,—
And ease the bosom pangs of indigestion!
                Thou art, sans question,
The Corporation's love its Doctor Darling!
Look at the Civic Palate—nay, the Bed
    Which set dear Mrs. Opie on supplying
                    'Illustrations of Lying!'
Ninety square feet of down from heel to head
                It measured, and I dread
Was haunted by a terrible night Mare,
A monstrous burthen on the corporation!—
Look at the Bill of Fare for one day's share,
Sea-turtles by the score—Oxen by droves,
Geese, turkeys, by the flock—fishes and loaves
    Countless, as when the Lilliputian nation
Was making up the huge man-mountain's ration!

Oh! worthy Doctor! surely thou hast driven
The squatting Demon from great Garratt's breast—
                    (His honour seems to rest!—)
And what is thy reward?—Hath London given
Thee public thanks for thy important service?
                    Alas! not even
The tokens it bestowed on Howe and Jervis!—
Yet could I speak as Orators should speak
Before the worshipful the Common Council
(Utter my bold bad grammar and pronounce ill,)
Thou should'st not miss thy Freedom, for a week,
Richly engross'd on vellum:—Reason urges
That he who rules our cookery—that he
Who edits soups and gravies, ought to be
A Citizen, where sauce can make a Burgess!


*    Captain Kater, the Moon's Surveyor
** The Doctor's composition for a night-cap.


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THE FORGE.

A ROMANCE OF THE IRON AGE.


"Who's here, beside foul weather?"—KING LEAR.

"Mine enemy's dog, though he had bit me,
Should have stood that night against my fire"—CORDELIA


PART I


Like a dead man gone to his shroud,
The sun has sunk in a copper cloud,
And the wind is rising squally and loud
    With many a stormy token,—
Playing a wild funereal air
Through the branches bleak, bereaved, and bare,
To the dead leaves dancing here and there—
    In short, if the truth were spoken,
It's an ugly night for anywhere,
    But an awful one for the Brocken!

            For oh! to stop
            On that mountain top,
After the dews of evening drop,
    Is always a dreary frolic—
Then what must it be when nature groans,
And the very mountain murmurs and moans
    As if it writhed with the cholic—
With other strange supernatural tones,
From wood, and water, and echoing stones,
Not to forget unburied bones—
    In a region so diabolic!

A place where he whom we call Old Scratch,
By help of his Witches—a precious batch—
    Gives midnight concerts and sermons,
In a Pulpit and Orchestra built to match,
A plot right worthy of him to hatch,
And well adapted, he knows, to catch
    The musical, mystical Germans!

            However it's quite
            As wild a night
As ever was known on that sinister height
    Since the Demon-Dance was morriced—
The earth is dark, and the sky is scowling,
And the blast through the pines is howling and
        growling,
As if a thousand wolves were prowling
    About in the old BLACK FOREST!

Madly, sadly, the Tempest raves
Through the narrow gullies and hollow caves,
And bursts on the rocks in windy waves,
            Like the billows that roar
            On a gusty shore
Mourning over the mariners' graves—
Nay, more like a frantic lamentation
            From a howling set
            Of demons met
To wake a dead relation.

Badly, madly, the vapors fly
Over the dark distracted sky,
    At a pace that no pen can paint!
Black and vague like the shadows of dreams,
Scudding over the moon that seems,
Shorn of half her usual beams,
    As pale as if she would faint!

            The lightning flashes,
            The thunder crashes,
The trees encounter with horrible clashes,
While rolling up from marsh and bog,
            Rank and rich,
            As from Stygian ditch,
Rises a foul sulphureous fog,
Hinting that Satan himself is agog,—
    But leaving at once this heroical pitch,
    The night is a very bad night in which
You wouldn't turn out a dog.

Yet ONE there is abroad in the storm,
            And whenever by chance
            The moon gets a glance,
She spies the Traveller's lonely form,
    Walking, leaping, striding along,
    As none can do but the super-strong;
And flapping his arms to keep him warm,
    For the breeze from the North is a regular starver,
            And to tell the truth,
            More keen, in sooth,
And cutting than any German carver!

However, no time it is to lag,
And on he scrambles from crag to crag,
Like one determined never to flag—
            Now weathers a block
            Of jutting rock,
With hardly room for a toe to wag;
But holding on by a timber snag,
That looks like the arm of a friendly hag;
    Then stooping under a drooping bough,
Or leaping over some horrid chasm,
Enough to give any heart a spasm!
And sinking down a precipice now,
    Keeping his feet the Deuce knows how,
In spots whence all creatures would keep aloof,
Except the Goat, with his cloven hoof,
Who clings to the shallowest ledge as if
He grew like the weed on the face of the cliff!

So down, still down, the Traveller goes,
Safe as the Chamois amid his snows,
Though fiercer than ever the hurricane blows,
    And round him eddy, with whirl and whizz,
Tornadoes of hail, and sleet, and rain,
Enough to bewilder a weaker brain,
    Or blanch any other visage than his,
Which spite of lightning, thunder and hail,
The blinding sleet and the freezing gale,
            And the horrid abyss,
            If his foot should miss,
Instead of tending at all to pale,
Like cheeks that feel the chill of affright—
Remains the very reverse of white!

His heart is granite—his iron nerve
    Feels no convulsive twitches;
And as to his foot, it does not swerve,
Tho' the Screech-Owls are flitting about him that serve
    For parrots to Brocken Witches!

Nay, full in his very path he spies
The gleam of the Were Wolf's horrid eyes;
    But if his members quiver—
It is not for that—no, it is not for that
            Nor rat,
            Nor cat,
            As black as your hat,
Nor the snake that hiss'd, nor the toad that spat,
Nor glimmering candles of dead men's fat,
Nor even the flap of the Vampire Bat,
No anserine skin would rise thereat,
    It's the cold that makes Him shiver!

So down, still down, through gully and glen,
Never trodden by foot of men,
Past the Eagle's nest and the She-Wolf's den,
    Never caring a jot how steep
    Or how narrow the track he has to keep,
            Or how wide and deep
            An abyss to leap,
    Or what may fly, or walk, or creep,
Down he hurries through darkness and storm,
Flapping his arms to keep him warm—
Till threading many a pass abhorrent,
    At last he reaches the mountain gorge,
And takes a path along by a torrent—
    The very identical path, by St. George!
Down which young Fridolin went to the Forge,
With a message meant for his own death-warrant!

    Young Fridolin! young Fridolin!
So free from sauce, and sloth, and sin,
            The best of pages
            Whatever their ages,
Since first that singular fashion came in—
Not he like those modern and idle young gluttons
    With little jackets, so smart and spruce,
    Of Lincoln green, sky-blue, or puce—
    And a  little gold lace you may introduce—
    Very showy, but as for use,
Not worth so many buttons!

        Young Fridolin! young Fridolin!
    Of his duty so true a fulfiller—
        But here we need no farther go
        For whoever desires the Tale to know,
    May read it all in Schiller.

        Faster now the Traveller speeds,
    Whither his guiding beacon leads.
            For by yonder glare
            In the murky air,
He knows that the Eisen Hutte is there!
    With its sooty Cyclops, savage and grim
Hosts, a guest had better forbear,
Whose thoughts are set upon dainty fare—
    But stiff with cold in every limb,
    The Furnace Fire is the bait for Him!

Faster and faster still he goes.
Whilst redder and redder the welkin glows,
And the lowest clouds that scud in the sky
Get crimson fringes in flitting by.
Till lo! amid the lurid light,
    The darkest object intensely dark,
Just where the bright is intensely bright,
The Forge, the Forge itself is in sight,
    Like the pitch-black hull of a burning bark,
    With volleying smoke, and many a spark,
Vomiting fire, red, yellow, and white!

    Restless, quivering tongues of flame!
Heavenward striving still to go,
While others, reversed in the stream, below,
    Seem seeking a place we will not name,
    But well that Traveller knows the same,
            Who stops and stands,
            So rubbing his hands,
            And snuffing the rare
            Perfumes in the air,
For old familiar odours are there,
And then direct by the shortest cut,
Like Alpine Marmot, whom neither rut,
Rivers, rocks, nor thickets rebut,
Makes his way to the blazing Hut!



PART II.


Idly watching the Furnace-flames,
            The men of the stithy
            Are in their smithy,
Brutal monsters, with bulky frames,
Beings Humanity scarcely claims,
But hybrids rather of demon race,
Unbless'd by the holy rite of grace,
Who never had gone by Christian names,
Mark, or Matthew, Peter, or James—
Naked, foul, unshorn, unkempt,
From touch of natural shame exempt,
Things of which Delirium has dreamt—
But wherefore dwell on these verbal sketches,
    When traced with frightful truth and vigour,
    Costume, attitude, face, and figure,
Retsch has drawn the very wretches!

        However, there they lounge about,
The grim, gigantic fellows,
        Hardly hearing the storm without,
        That makes so very dreadful a rout,
            For the constant roar
            From the furnace door.
And the blast of the monstrous bellows!

        Oh, what a scene
        That Forge had been
    For Salvator Rosa's study!
With wall, and beam, and post, and pin,
And those ruffianly creatures, like Shapes of Sin,
Hair, and eyes, and rusty skin,
    Illumed by a light so ruddy
The Hut, and whatever there is therein,
    Looks either red-hot or bloody!

And, oh! to hear the frequent burst
    Of strange, extravagant laughter,
        Harsh and hoarse,
        And resounding perforce
    From echoing roof and rafter!
        Though curses, the worst
        That ever were curst,
And threats that Cain invented the first,
    Come growling the instant after!

But again the livelier peal is rung,
    For the Smith, hight Salamander,
In the jargon of some Titanic tongue,
Elsewhere never said or sung,
With the voice of a Stentor in joke has flung
        Some cumbrous sort
        Of sledge-hammer retort
    At Red Beard, the crew's commander.

Some frightful jest—who knows how wild,
Or obscene, from a monster so defiled,
And a horrible mouth, of such extent,
From flapping ear to ear it went,
And show'd such tusks whenever it smiled—
The very mouth to devour a child!

But fair or foul the jest gives birth
To another bellow of demon mirth,
    That far outroars the weather,
As if all the Hyænas that prowl the earth
    Had clubb'd their laughs together!

    And lo! in the middle of all the din,
    Not seeming to care a single pin,
        For a prospect so volcanic,
    A Stranger steps abruptly in,
        Of an aspect rather Satanic:
    And he looks with a grin at those Cyclops grim,
    Who stare and grin again at him
        With wondrous little panic.

Then up to the Furnace the Stranger goes,
Eager to thaw his ears and nose,
And warm his frozen fingers and toes—
    While each succeeding minute,
Hotter and hotter the Smithy grows,
        And seems to declare,
        By a fiercer glare,
On wall, roof, floor, and everywhere,
    It knows the Devil is in it!

            Still not a word
            Is utter'd or heard,
But the beetle-brow'd Foreman nods and winks,
Much as a shaggy old Lion blinks,
            And makes a shift
            To impart his drift
To a smoky brother, who, joining the links,
Hints to a third the thing he thinks;
            And whatever it be,
            They all agree
    In smiling with faces full of glee,
As if about to enjoy High Jinks.

What sort of tricks they mean to play
By way of diversion, who can say,
Of such ferocious and barbarous folk,
Who chuckled, indeed, and never spoke
Of burning Robert the Jäger to coke,
Except as a capital practical joke!
    Who never thought of Mercy, or heard her,
Or any gentle emotion felt;
But hard as the iron they had to melt,
    Sported with Danger and romp'd with Murder!

        Meanwhile the Stranger—
            The Brocken Ranger,
Besides another and hotter post,
That renders him not averse to a roast,—
Creeping into the Furnace almost,
Has made himself as warm as a toast—
    When, unsuspicious of any danger,
And least of all of any such maggot
As treating a body like a faggot,
All at once he is seized and shoven
            In pastime cruel,
            Like so much fuel,
Headlong into the blazing oven!

    In he goes! with a frightful shout
Mock'd by the rugged ruffianly band,
As round the Furnace mouth they stand,
Bar, and shovel, and ladle in hand,
    To hinder their Butt from crawling out,
    Who making one fierce attempt, but vain,
            Receives such a blow
            From Red-Beard's crow
As crashes the skull and gashes the brain,
And blind, and dizzy, and stunn'd with pain,
    With merely an interjectional "oh!"
Back he rolls in the flames again.

"Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho!"    That second fall
Seerns the very best joke of all,
            To judge by the roar,
            Twice as loud as before,
That fills the Hut, from the roof to the floor,
And flies a league or two out of the door,
Up the mountains and over the moor—
But scarcely the jolly echoes they wake
            Have well begun
            To take up the fun,
Ere the shaggy Felons have cause to quake,
    And begin to feel that the deed they have done,
    Instead of being a pleasant one,
Was a very great error—and no mistake.

            For why?—in lieu
            Of its former hue,
    So natural, warm, and florid,
The Furnace burns of a brimstone blue,
And instead of the couleur de rose it threw,
With a cooler reflection,—justly due—
Exhibits each of the Pagan crew,
    Livid, ghastly, and horrid!
But vainly they close their guilty eyes
    Against prophetic fears;
Or with hard and horny palms devise
    To dam their enormous ears—
            There are sounds in the air,
            Not here or there,
Irresistible voices everywhere,
    No bulwarks can ever rebut,
            And to match the screams
            Tremendous gleams,
Of Horrors that like the Phantoms of dreams,
    They see with their eyelids shut!
For awful coveys of terrible things,
With forked tongues and venomous stings,
On hagweed, broomsticks, and leathern wings,
    Are hovering round the Hut!

Shapes, that within the focus bright
    Of the Forge, are like shadows and blots;
But farther off, in the shades of night,
Clothed with their own phosphoric light,
    Are seen in the darkest spots.

Sounds! that fill the air with noises,
Strange and indescribable voices,
From Hags, in a diabolical clatter—
Cats that spit curses, and apes that chatter
Scraps of cabalistical matter—
    Owls that screech, and dogs that yell—
Skeleton hounds that will never be fatter—
    All the domestic tribes of Hell,
Shrieking for flesh to tear and tatter,
            Bones to shatter,
            And limbs to scatter,
And who it is that must furnish the latter
    Those blue-looking Men know well!
Those blue-looking men that huddle together,
    For all their sturdy limbs and thews
    Their unshorn locks, like Nazarene Jews,
And buffalo beards, and hides of leather,
Huddled all in a heap together,
Like timid lamb, and ewe, and wether,
            And as females say,
            In a similar way,
Fit for knocking down with a feather!

In and out, in and out,
The gathering Goblins hover about,
Ev'ry minute augmenting the rout;
            For like a spell
            The unearthly smell
That fumes from the Furnace, chimney and mouth,
    Draws them in—an infernal Legion
From East, and West, and North, and South,
    Like carrion birds from ev'ry region,
            Till not a yard square
            Of the sickening air
But has a Demon or two for its share,
Breathing fury, woe, and despair,
Never, never was such a sight!
It beats the very Walpurgis Night,
Displayed in the story of Doctor Faustus,
            For the scene to describe
            Of the awful tribe,
If we were two Göthes, would quite exhaust us!

Suffice it, amid that dreary swarm,
There musters each foul repulsive form
That ever a fancy overwarm
    Begot in its worst delirium;
Besides some others of monstrous size,
Never before revealed to eyes,
    Of the genus Megatherium!

Meanwhile the demons, filthy and foul,
Gorgon, Chimera, Harpy, and Ghoul,
Are not contented to jibber and howl
    As a dirge for their late commander;
But one of the bevy—witch or wizard,
Disguised as a monstrous flying lizard,
    Springs on the grisly Salamander,
Who stoutly fights, and struggles, and kicks.
And tries the best of his wrestling tricks,
            No paltry strife,
            But for life, dear life.
But the ruthless talons refuse to unfix,
    Till far beyond a surgical case,
    With starting eyes, and black in the face,
Down he tumbles as dead as bricks!

A pretty sight for his mates to view!
Those shaggy murderers looking so blue,
            And for him above all,
            Red-bearded and tall,
With whom, at that very particular nick,
There is such an unlucky crow to pick,
As the one of iron that did the trick
    In a recent bloody affair—
No wonder feeling a little sick,
With pulses beating uncommonly quick,
And breath he never found so thick,
    He longs for the open air!

            Three paces, or four,
            And he gains the door;
    But ere he accomplishes one,
The sound of a blow comes, heavy and dull,
And clasping his fingers round his skull—
    However the deed was done,
            That gave him that florid
            Red gash on the forehead—
With a roll of the eyeballs perfectly horrid,
            There's a tremulous quiver,
            The last death-shiver,
    And Red-Beard's course is run!

            Halloo! Halloo!
            They have done for two!
But a heavyish job remains to do!
    For yonder, sledge and shovel in hand,
Like elder Sons of Giant Despair,
    A couple of Cyclops make a stand,
And fiercely hammering here and there,
Keep at bay the Powers of Air—
But desperation is all in vain!—
    They faint—they choke,
    For the sulphurous smoke
Is poisoning heart, and lung, and brain,
They reel, they sink, they gasp, they smother.
One for a moment survives his brother,
Then rolls a corpse across the other!

            Halloo! Halloo!
            And Hullabaloo!
There is only one more thing to do—
And seized by beak, and talon, and claw,
Bony hand, and hairy paw,
Yea, crooked horn, and tusky jaw,
The four huge Bodies are haul'd and shoven
Each after each in the roaring oven!

*            *             *             *             *            *
*            *             *             *             *            *
That Eisen Hutte is standing still,
Go to the Hartz whenever you will,
And there it is beside a hill,
And a rapid stream that turns many a mill;
The self-same Forge,—you'll know it at sight—
Casting upward, day and night,
Flames of red, and yellow, and white!

Ay, half a mile from the mountain gorge,
There it is, the famous Forge,
With its Furnace,—the same that blazed of yore,—
Hugely fed with fuel and ore;
But ever since that tremendous Revel,
    Whatever Iron is melted therein,—
    As Travellers know who have been to Berlin—
Is all as black as the Devil!


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THE SUPPER SUPERSTITION.

A PATHETIC BALLAD.

"Oh flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified!"—Mercutio.


'Twas twelve o'clock by Chelsea chimes,
    When all in hungry trim,
Good Mister Jupp sat down to sup
    With wife, and Kate, and Jim.

Said he, "Upon this dainty cod
    How bravely I shall sup"—
When, whiter than the tablecloth,
    A GHOST came rising up!

"O father dear, O mother dear,
    Dear Kate, and brother Jim—
You know when some one went to sea—
    Don't cry—but I am him!"

"You hope some day with fond embrace
    To greet your absent Jack,
But oh, I am come here to say
    I'm never coming back!"

"From Alexandria we set sail,
    With corn, and oil, and figs,
But steering 'too much Sow,' we struck
Upon the Sow and Pigs!"

"The ship we pumped till we could see
    Old England from the tops;
When down she went with all our hands,
    Right in the Channel's Chops."

"Just give a look in Norey's chart,
    The very place it tells;
I think it says twelve fathom deep,
    Clay bottom, mixed with shells."

"Well, there we are till 'hands aloft,'
    We have at last a call;
The pug I had for brother Jim,
    Kate's parrot too, and all."

"But oh, my spirit cannot rest
    In Davy Joneses sod,
Till I've appeared to you and said—
    Don't sup on that 'ere Cod!"

"You live on land, and little think
    What passes in the sea;
Last Sunday week, at 2 P.M.,
    That Cod was picking me!"

"Those oysters, too, that look so plump,
    And seem so nicely done,
They put my corpse in many shells,
    Instead of only one."

"Oh, do not eat those oysters then,
    And do not touch the shrimps;
When I was in my briny grave,
    They sucked my blood like imps!"

"Don't eat what brutes would never eat,
    The brutes I used to pat,
They'll know the smell they used to smell,
    Just try the dog and cat!"

The spirit fled—they wept his fate,
    And cried, Alack, alack!
At last up started brother Jim,
    "Let's try if Jack, was Jack!"

They called the Dog, they called the Cat,
    And little Kitten too,
And down they put the Cod and sauce,
    To see what brutes would do.

Old Tray licked all the oysters up,
    Puss never stood at crimps,
But munched the Cod—and little Kit
    Quite feasted on the shrimps!

The thing was odd, and minus Cod
    And sauce, they stood like posts;
Oh, prudent folks, for fear of hoax,
    Put no belief in Ghosts!


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A PARENTAL ODE TO MY SON,
AGED THREE YEARS AND FIVE MONTHS.


        Thou happy, happy elf!
(But stop,—first let me kiss away that tear)—
        Thou tiny image of myself!
(My love, he's poking peas into his ear!)
        Thou merry, laughing sprite!
        With spirits feather-light,
Untouch'd by sorrow, and unsoil'd by sin—
(Good heav'ns! the child is swallowing a pin!)

        Thou little tricksy Puck!
With antic toys so funnily bestuck,
Light as the singing bird that wings the air—
(The door! the door! he'll tumble down the stair!)
        Thou darling of thy sire!
(Why, Jane, he'll set his pinafore a-fire!)
        Thou imp of mirth and joy!
In Love's dear chain so strong and bright a link,
Thou idol of thy parents—(Drat the boy!
        There goes my ink!)

        Thou cherub—but of earth;
Fit playfellow for Fays, by moonlight pale,
        In harmless sport and mirth,
(That dog will bite him if he pulls its tail!)
    Thou human humming-bee, extracting honey
From ev'ry blossom in the world that blows,
    Singing in Youth's Elysium ever sunny,
(Another tumble!—that's his precious nose!)

        Thy father's pride and hope!
(He'll break the mirror with that skipping-rope!)
With pure heart newly stamp'd from Nature's mint—
(Where did he learn that squint?)
        Thou young domestic dove!
(He'll have that jug off, with another shove!)
    Dear nurseling of the hymeneal nest!
    (Are those torn clothes his best?)
        Little epitome of man!
(He'll climb upon the table, that's his plan!)
Touch'd with the beauteous tints of dawning life—
        (He's got a knife!)

        Thou enviable being!
No storms, no clouds, in thy blue sky foreseeing,
        Play on, play on,
        My elfin John!
Toss the light ball—bestride the stick—
(I knew so many cakes would make him sick!)
With fancies, buoyant as the thistle-down,
Prompting the face grotesque, and antic brisk,
        With many a lamb-like frisk,
(He's got the scissors, snipping at your gown!)

        Thou pretty opening rose!
(Go to your mother, child, and wipe your nose!)
Balmy and breathing music like the South,
(He really brings my heart into my mouth!)
Fresh as the morn, and brilliant as its star,—
(I wish that window had an iron bar!)
Bold as the hawk, yet gentle as the dove,—
        (I'll tell you what, my love,
I cannot write, unless he's sent above!)


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[Top of page]

THE DUEL.

A SERIOUS BALLAD

'Like the two Kings of Brentford smelling at one nosegay.'


In Brentford town, of old renown,
    There lived a Mister Bray,
Who fell in love with Lucy Bell,
    And so did Mr. Clay.

To see her ride from Hammersmith,
    By all it was allow'd,
Such fair outsides are seldom seen,
    Such Angels on a Cloud.

Said Mr. Bray to Mr. Clay,
    You choose to rival me,
And court Miss Bell, but there your court
    No thoroughfare shall be.

Unless you now give up your suit,
    You may repent your love;
I who have shot a pigeon match,
    Can shoot a turtle dove.

So pray before you woo her more,
    Consider what you do;
If you pop aught to Lucy Bell,—
    I'll pop it into you.

Said Mr. Clay to Mr. Bray,
    Your threats I quite explode;
One who has been a volunteer
    Knows how to prime and load.

And so I say to you unless
    Your passion quiet keeps,
I who have shot and hit bulls' eyes,
    May chance to hit a sheep's.

Now gold is oft for silver changed,
    And that for copper red;
But these two went away to give
    Each other change for lead.

But first they sought a friend a-piece,
    This pleasant thought to give
When they were dead, they thus should have
    Two seconds still to live.

To measure out the ground not long
    The seconds then forebore,
And having taken one rash step,
    They took a dozen more.

They next prepared each pistol-pan
    Against the deadly strife,
By putting in the prime of death
    Against the prime of life.

Now all was ready for the foes,
    But when they took their stands,
Fear made them tremble so they found
    They both were shaking hands.

Said Mr. C. to Mr. B.,
    Here one of us may fall,
And like St. Paul's Cathedral now
    Be doom'd to have a ball.

I do confess I did attach
    Misconduct to your name;
If I withdraw the charge, will then
    Your ramrod do the same?

Said Mr. B., I do agree—
    But think of Honour's Courts!
If we go off without a shot,
    There will be strange reports.

But look, the morning now is bright,
    Though cloudy it begun;
Why can't we aim above, as if
    We had call'd out the sun?

So up into the harmless air
    Their bullets they did send;
And may all other duels have
    That upshot in the end!


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THE DEAD ROBBERY.

'Here's that will sack a city.'—Henry the IVth.


Or all the causes that induce man­kind
To strike against themselves a mortal docket,
Two eminent above the rest we find
To be in love, or to be out of pocket:
Both have made many melancholy martyrs,
But p'rhaps, of all the felonies de se,
By ponds, and pistols, razors, ropes and garters,
Two thirds have been through want of £. s. d.!

    Thus happen'd it with Peter Bunce;
Both in the dumps and out of them at once, 
From always drawing blanks in For­tune's lottery,
At last, impatient of the light of day,
He made his mind up to return his clay
Back to the pottery.
Feigning a raging tooth that drove him mad,
    From twenty divers druggists' shops
He begg'd enough of laudanum by drops
T' effect the fatal purpose that he had;
He drank them, died, and while old
Charon ferried him,
The Coroner convened a dozen men,
Who found his death was phial-ent—and then
            The Parish buried him!

        Unwatch'd, unwept,
As commonly a Pauper sleeps, he slept;
There could not be a better opportunity
For bodies to steal a body so ill kept,
        With all impunity:
In fact, when Night o'er human vice and folly
Had drawn her very necessary curtains,
Down came a fellow with a sack and spade,
Accustom'd many years to drive a trade,
With that Anatomy more Melancholy
        Than Burton's!

    The Watchman in his box was dozing;
The Sexton drinking at the Cheshire Cheese;
No fear of any creature interposing,
The human jackal work'd away at ease:
        He toss'd the mould to left and right,
        The shabby coffin came in sight,
    And soon it open'd to his double-knocks,—
    When lo! the stiff'un that he thought to meet
Starts sudden up, like Jacky-in-a-box,
        Upon his seat!

        Awaken'd from his trance,
    For so the laudanum had wrought by chance,
Bunce stares up at the moon, next looking level,
He spies a shady Figure, tall and bony,
Then shudders out these words 'Are—you—the—Devil?'
'The Devil a bit of him,' says Mike Mahoney,
'I'm only com'd here, hoping no affront,
To pick up honestly a little blunt—'
'Blunt!' echoes Bunce, with a hoarse croak of laughter,—
Why, man, I turn'd life's candle in the socket,
        Without a rap in either pocket,
For want of that same blunt you're looking after!'
    'That's true,' says Mike, 'and many a pretty man
Has cut his stick upon your very plan,
Not worth a copper, him and all his trumps,
And yet he 's fetch'd a dacent lot stuff,
Provided he was sound and fresh enough,
        And dead as dumps.'

        'I take,' quoth Bunce, with a hard wink, 'the fact is,
You mean a subject for a surgeon's practice,—
I hope the question is not out of reason,
But just suppose a lot of flesh and bone,
        For instance, like my own,
What might it chance to fetch now, at this season?'
'Fetch is it? ' answers Mike, 'why prices differ,—
But taking this same small bad job of ours,
        I reckon, by the pow'rs!
I've lost ten pound by your not being stiffer!'

    'Ten pounds!' Bunce echoes in a sort of flurry,
                'Odd zounds!
                Ten pounds,
            How sweet it sounds,
                Ten pounds!'
And on his feet upspringing in a hurry—
It seem'd the operation of a minute—
        A little scuffle—then a whack—
And then he took the Body Snatcher's sack
        And poked him in it!

        Such is this life!
    A very pantomime for tricks and strife!
See Bunce, so lately in Death's passive stock,
Invested, now as active as a griffin,
Walking—no ghost—in velveteens and smock,
        To sell a stiff'un!

    A flash of red, then one of blue,
At last, like lighthouse, came in view;
Bunce rang the nightbell; wiped his highlows muddy;
    His errand told; sack produced;
And by a sleepy boy was introduced
To Dr. Oddy, writing in his study.
The bargain did not long take time to settle,
                'Ten pounds,
                Odd zounds!
            How well it sounds,
                Ten pounds,'
Chink'd into Bunce's palm in solid metal.

        With joy half-crazed,
It seem'd some trick of sense, some airy gammon,
        He gazed and gazed,
At last, possess'd with the old lust of Mammon,
Thought he, 'With what a very little trouble,
This little capital I now might double—'
Another scuffle of its usual brevity,—
­And Doctor Oddy, in his suit of black,
        Was finishing, within the sack,
        His 'Thoughts upon Longevity!'

    The trick was done.   Without a doubt,
The sleepy boy let Bunce and burthen out;
Who coming to a lone convenient line place,
The body stripp'd; hid all the clothes, and then,
Still favoured by the luck of evil men,
Found a new customer in Dr. Case.

All more minute particulars to smother,
                Let it suffice,
            Nine guineas was the price
For which one doctor bought the other;
    As once I heard a Preacher say in Guinea,
'You see how one black sin bring on anudder,
    Like little nigger pickaninny,
A-riding pick-a-back upon him mudder!'
'Humph! ' said the Doctor, with a smile sarcastic,
                Seeming to trace
            Some likeness in the face,
'So death at last has taken old Bom­bastic!'
But in the very middle of his joking,—
The subject, still unconscious of the scoff—
Seized all at once with a bad fit of choking,
        He too was taken off!
Leaving a fragment 'On the Hooping Cough.'

        Satan still sending luck,
Another body found another buyer:
For ten pounds ten the bargain next was struck,
        Dead doctors going higher.
'Here,' said the purchaser, with smile quite pleasant
Taking a glimpse at his departed brother,
'Here's half a guinea in the way of present—
Subjects are scarce, and when you get another,
Let me be first.'—Bunce took him at his word,
And suddenly his old atrocious trick did,
        Sacking M.D, the third,
Ere he could furnish 'Hints to the Afflicted.'

        Flush'd with success,
        Beyond all hope or guess,
His new dead robbery upon his back,
Bunce plotted—such high flights am­bition takes,—
To treat the Faculty like ducks and drakes,
And sell them all ere they could utter 'Quack!'
But Fate opposed.—According to the schools,
When men become insufferably bad,
        The gods confer to drive them mad;
March hairs upon the heads of April fools!
        Tempted by the old demon avaricious,
Bunce traded on too far into the morning;
Till nods, and winks, and looks, and signs suspicious,
        Ev'n words malicious,
Forced on him rather an unpleasant warning.
Glad was he to perceive, beside a wicket,
A porter, ornamented with a ticket,
Who did not seem to be at all too busy—
        'Here, my good man,
        Just show me, if you can,
A doctor's—if you want to earn a tizzy!'

Away the porter marches,
And with grave face, obsequious pre­cedes him,
Down crooked lanes, round corners, under arches;
At last, up an old-fashion'd staircase leads him,
Almost impervious to the morning ray,
Then shows a door—'There, that a doctor's reckon'd,
A rare Top-Sawyer, let who will come second—
        Good day.'

    'I'm right,' thought Bunce, ' as any trivet;
Another venture—and then up it!'
He rings—the door, just like a fairy portal,
Opens untouch'd by mortal——
He gropes his way into a dingy room.
And hears a voice come growling through the gloom,
'Well—eh?—Who? What?—Speak out at once!'
        'I will,' says Bunce.
'I've got a sort of article to sell
Medical gemmen knows me very well—'
But think Imagination how it shocked her
To hear the voice roar out, ' Death! Devil! d——n!
        Confound the vagabond, he thinks I am
A rhubarb-and-magnesia Doctor!'
'No Doctor! ' exclaim'd Bunce, and dropp'd his jaw,
But louder still the voice began to bellow,
'Yes,—yes,—odd zounds!—I am a Doctor, fellow,
        At law!'
The word suffic'd.—Of things Bunce feared the most
        (Next to a ghost)
Was law,—or any of the legal corps,—
        He dropp'd at once his load of flesh and bone,
        And, caring for no body, save own,
Bolted,—and lived securely till four-score,
From never troubling Doctors more!


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[Top of page]
 
THE LAY OF THE LABOURER


A spade! a rake! a hoe!
A pickaxe, or a bill!
A hook to reap, or a scythe to mow,
A flail, or what ye will—
And here's a ready hand
To ply the needful tool,
And skill'd enough, by lessons rough,
In Labour's rugged school.

To hedge, or dig the ditch,
To lop or fell the tree,
To lay the swarth on the sultry field,
Or plough the stubborn lea;
The harvest stack to bind,
The wheaten rick to thatch,
And never fear in my pouch to find
The tinder or the match.

To a flaming barn or farm
My fancies never roam;
The fire I yearn to kindle and burn
Is on the hearth of Home;
Where children huddle and crouch
Through dark long winter days,
Where starving children huddle and crouch,
To see the cheerful rays,
A-glowing on the haggard cheek,
And not in the haggard's blaze!

To Him who sends a drought
To parch the fields forlorn,
The rain to flood the meadows with mud,
The blight to blast the corn,
To Him I have to guide
The bolt in its crooked path,
To strike the miser's rick, and show
The skies blood-red with wrath.

A spade! a rake! a hoe!
A pickaxe, or a bill!
A hook to reap, or a scythe to mow,
A flail, or what ye will—
The corn to trash, or the hedge to plash,
The market-team to drive,
Or mend the fence by the cover side,
And leave the game alive.

Ay, only give me work,
And then you need not fear
That I shall snare his worship's hare,
Or kill his grace's deer;
Break into his lordship's house,
To steal the plate so rich;
Or leave the yeoman that had a purse
To welter in a ditch.

Wherever Nature needs,
Wherever Labour calls,
No job I'll shirk of the hardest work,
To shun the workhouse walls;
Where savage laws begrudge
The pauper babe its breath,
And doom a wife to a widow's life,
Before her partner's death.

My only claim is this,
With labour stiff and stark,
By lawful turn, my living to earn,
Between the light and dark;
My daily bread, and nightly bed,
My bacon, and drop of beer—
But all from the hand that holds the land,
And none from the overseer!

No parish money, or loaf,
No pauper badges for me,
A son of the soil, my right of toil
Entitled to my fee.
No alms I ask, give me my task:
Here are the arm, the leg,
The strength, the sinews of a Man,
To work, and not to beg.

Still one of Adam's heirs,
Though doom'd by chance of birth
To dress so mean, and to eat the lean,
Instead of the fat of the earth;
To make such humble meals
As honest labour can,
A bone and a crust, with a grace to God,
And little thanks to man!

A spade! a rake! a hoe!
A pickaxe, or a bill!
A hook to reap, or a scythe to mow,
A flail, or what ye will—
Whatever the tool to ply,
Here is a willing drudge,
With muscle and limb, and woe to him
Who does their pay begrudge!

Who every weekly score
Docks labour's little mite,
Bestows on the poor at the temple door,
But robb'd them over night.
The very shilling he hoped to save,
As health and morals fail,
Shall visit me in the New Bastile,
The Spital, or the Gaol!

 



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