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A LEGENDARY TALE.
“THE work is done, the structure is complete, Long may this produce of my humble toil Uninjur'd stand, and echo long repeat,
Round the dear walls, Benevolence and MOYLE.*"
So Richard spake, as he survey'd
The dwelling he had rais'd;
And, in the fullness of his heart,
Him Moyle o'erheard, whose wand'ring step
The workman's mien he ey'd intent,
My mind, I see, misgave me not,
Thou oughtest not, in poor attire,
Sir Thomas Moyle, possessor of Eastwell Place, in the county of Kent, in the year 1546, gave Richard Plantagenet (who for many years had been his chief bricklayer) a piece of ground and permission to build himself a house thereon. The poem opens just when Richard is supposed to have finished this task. Eastwell Place has since been in the possession of the Earls of Winchelsea.
"To drudgery, and servile toil,
Thou could'st not be decreed
"Is it not so? That crimson glow,
"Oft have I mark'd thee, when unseen
"Hast thou not shunn'd thy untaught mates, And to some secret nook,
With drooping gait, and musing eye,
"There hath not thy attention dwelt
Lost, as it seem'd to all beside,
"And wouldst thou not, with eager haste,
"Oft have I deem'd thou couldst explore
"But sorrow, greedy, grudging, coy,
Its treasur'd cares, and to the world
All as the Miser's heaped hoards,
They serve, at once, to sooth and pain
"Me had capricious fortune doom'd
Long, long ere now, I had desir'd
"But who their worldly honours wear With meekness chaste and due, Decline to ask, lest the request
Should bear commandment's hue.
"Yet now thy tongue hath spoke aloud Thy grateful piety,
No longer be thy story kept'
"Give me to know thy dawn of life;
"Now, late in life, 'tis time, I ween,
"Here shalt thou find a quiet rest,
For all thy days to come,
"Hast thou a wish, a hope to frame, Beyond this neat abode ?
Is there a good, a higher bliss,
"Is there within thy aged breast The smallest aching void? "Give me to know thy longings all, And see them all supply'd.
"All I entreat, in lieu, is this,
So gen'rous Moyle intent bespake
The long enduring man,*
RECITETH HIS TALE.
HARD task to any, but thyself, to tell
The story of my birth and treach'rous fate, Or paint the tumults in my breast that swell, At recollection of my infant state!
Oft have I labour'd to forget my birth,
And check'd remembrance, when, in cruel wise, From time's abyss she would the tale draw forth, And place my former self before my eyes.
Yet I complain not, tho' I feel anew,
All as I speak, fell fortune's bitter spite, Who once set affluence, grandeur, in my view, Then churlish snatch'd them from my cheated sight.
And yet it may be-is-nay, must be best,
Whate'er heav'n's righteous laws for man ordain; Weak man who lets one sigh invade his breast, For earthly grandeur, fugitive as vain!
* He served near sixty years at Eastwell.