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First of the train the patient rustic came,
Whose callous hand had forin'd the scene, Bending at once with sorrow and with age,
160 With many a tear, and many a sigh between : “And where,” he cried, “ shall now my babes have bread,
Or how shall age support its feeble fire ? No lord will take me now, my vigour fled,
Nor can my strength perform what they require: 165 Each grudging master keeps the labourer bare, A sleek and idle race is all their care. My noble mistress thought not so:
Her bounty, like the morning dew, Unseen, though constant, us’d to flow,
And as my strength decay'd, her bounty grew.”
In decent dress, and coarsely clean,
“What now remains for me?
To ask for charity ?
And shame prevents the deed,
To succour, should I need.
Were to my mistress known ;
Contented with her own.
My morning prayer, my evening song;
A life that cannot last me long."
SONG.-BY A WOMAN.
My morning and my evening song;
My children shall the note prolong.
Scarr'd, mangled, maim'd in every part,
In nought entire—except his heart :
O’er Afric's sandy plain,
Along the billow'd main :
SONG.–BY A MAN.-BASSO, SPIRITOSO.
To do thy memory right:
For thine and Britain's wrongs they feel,
And wish th' avenging fight."
Next appear'd a lovely maid-
225 Every grace that grief dispenses,
Every glance that warms the soul,
While pity harmoniz'd the whole. « The garland of beauty,"—'tis thus she would say - 230
“No more shall my crook or my temples adorn; I'll not wear a garland-AUGUSTA's away
I'll not wear a garland until she return. But, alas! that return I never shall see:
The echoes of Thames shall my sorrows proclaim, 235 There promised a lover to come-but, ah me!
'Twas death—'twas the death of my mistress that came. But ever, for ever, her image shall last:
I'll strip all the Spring of its earliest bloom; On her grave shall the cowslip and primrose be cast, 240
And the new-blossom'd thorn shall whiten her tomb."
SONG.–BY A WOMAN.-PASTORALE. With garlands of beauty the Queen of the May
No more will her crook or her temples adorn; For who'd wear a garland when she is away,
When she is remov'd, and shall never return ?
On the grave of Augusta these garlands be plac'd,
We'll rifle the Spring of its earliest bloom ;
And the new blossom'd thorn shall whiten her tomb.
1 These six lines are almost word for word the same as are lines 3036 of Collins' "Ode to a Lady, on the death of Col. Ross.' See also note 1 on next page. -ED.
CHORUS. —ALTRO MODO. On the grave of Augusta this garland be placed, 250
We'll rifle the Spring of its earliest bloom ;1 And there shall the cowslip and primrose be cast,
And the tears of her country shall water her tomb.2
LETTER, IN PROSE AND VERSE, TO
[Written in 1772, according to Sir Henry Bunbury, when he first published the piece through Prior's edition of the poet's works, 1837; but when, in the following year, Sir Henry included it in his “Cor. respondence,' &c., of his kinsman Sir T. Hanmer, he said that it was “ probably written in 1773 or 1774.” The letter was in reply to a rhyming invitation to visit the Bunburys (Mr. and Mrs. H. Bunbury) at Barton, their country seat in Suffolk. -Ed.]
MADAM: I READ your letter with all that allowance which critical candour could require, but after all find so much to object to, and so much to raise my indignation, that I cannot help giving it a serious answer. I am not so ignorant, Madam, as not to see there are many sarcasms contained in it, and solecisms also, (solecism is a word that comes from the town of Soleis, in Attica, among the Greeks, built by Solon, and applied as we use the word Kidderminster for curtains from a town also of that name; but this is learning you have no taste for !)-I say, Madam, there are
1 Here there seems to be a recollection of Collins's Cymbeline Dirge:
“ Each opening sweet, of earliest bloom,
And rifle all the breathing Spring.” And similar echoes of Collins, and others, will be found elsewhere in this poem. The haste attendant upon its production, however, and the author's own admission in his “ Advertisement” (p. 97) that it is " a compilation rather than a poem” will excuse these shortcomings.-ED.
2 *There are three texts of this work-(1) That of the printed pamphlet of 1772 (used by Mr. B. Corney, and adopted also by us in the main); (2) That of the Cradock MS. (used by Chalmers); and (3) That of the copy owned by Isaac Reed (which Prior mostly adhered to). -ED.
sarcasms in it, and solecisms also. But, not to seem an ill-natured critic, I'll take leave to quote your own words, and give you my remarks upon them as they occur. You begin as follows:
“I hope, my good Doctor, you soon will be here,
To open our ball the first day in the year.” Pray, Madam, where did you ever find the epithet “good” applied to the title of Doctor? Had you called me learned Doctor, or grave Doctor, or noble Doctor, it might be allowable, because they belong to the profession. But, not to cavil at trifles, you talk of my“ spring-velvet coat,'' and advise me to wear it the first day in the year, that is in the middle of winter !-a spring-velvet in the middle of winter!!! That would be a solecism indeed! and yet, to increase the inconsistence, in another part of your letter you call me a beau. Now on one side or other, you must be wrong. If I am a beau I can never think of wearing a spring-velvet in winter; and if I am not a beau-whythen—that explains itself. But let me go on to your two next strange lines :
“And bring with you a wig that is modish and gay,
To dance with the girls that are makers of hay." The absurdity of making hay at Christmas you yourself seem sensible of; you say your sister will laugh, and so indeed she well may! The Latins have an expression for a contemptuous sort of laughter, Naso contemnere adunco; that is to laugh with a crooked nose; she may laugh at you in the manner of the ancients, if she thinks fit.-But now I am come to the most extraordinary of all extraordinary propositions, which is, to take your and your sister's advice in playing at loo. The presumption of the offer raises my indignation beyond the bounds of prose; it inspires me at once with verse and resentment. I take advice! And from whom? You shall hear.
First let me suppose, what may shortly be true,