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Yet suffer me, thou bard of wondrous meed,
Amid thy bays to weave this rural weed.
Now the Sun drove adown the western road,
And oxen, laid at rest, forgot the goad, 20
The clown, fatigued, trudg’d homeward with his
spade,
Across the meadows stretch'd the lengthen'd shade;
When Sparabella, pensive and forlorn,
Alike with yearning love and labour worn,
Lean'd on her rake, and straight with doleful guise
Did this sad plaint in mournful notes devise:
“Come Night, as dark as pitch, surround my head,
From Sparabella Bumkinet is fled;
The ribbon that his valorous cudgel won,
Last Sunday happier Clumsilis put on.
Sure if he'd eyes, (but Love, they say, has none)
I whilom by that ribbon had been known.
Ah, well-a-day! I'm shent with baneful smart,
For with the ribbon he bestow'd his heart.
“My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid,
'Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.’
“Shall heavy Clumsilis with me compare?
View this, ye lovers, and like me despair.
Her blubber'd lip by smutty pipes is worn,
And in her breath tobacco whiffs are borne !
The cleanly cheese-press she could never turn,
Her awkward fist did ne'er employ the churn;
If e'er she brew'd, the drink would straight go sour,
Before it ever felt the thunder's power;
No huswifery the dowdy creature knew ;
To sum up all, her tongue confess'd the shrew.
“My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid,
“'Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.’
“I’ve often seen my visage in yon lake,
Nor are my features of the homeliest make:
Though Clumsilis may boast a whiter dye,
Yet the black sloe turns in my rolling eye;
And fairest blossoms drop with every blast,
But the brown beauty will like hollies last.
Her wan complexion's like the wither'd leek,
While Katharine pears adorn my ruddy cheek.
Yet she, alas ! the witless lout hath won,
And by her gain poor Sparabell's undone!
Let hares and hounds in coupling straps unite,
The clucking hen make friendship with the kite;
Let the fox simply wear the nuptial noose,
And join in wedlock with the waddling goose;
For love hath brought a stranger thing to pass,
The fairest shepherd weds the foulest lass.
“My plaint, yelasses, with this burthen aid,
‘'Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.’

30

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Ver. 17. Meed, an old word for fame, or renown. Ver. 18. — Hanc sine tempora circum Inter victrices hederam tibi serpere lauros. Ver. 25. VIRG. Incumbenstereti Damon sic coepit olivae. Wing. Ver. 33 Shent, an old word, signifying hurt, or harmed. Ver. 37. Mopso Nisa datur, quid non speremus amantes? Ver. 49. VIRG. Nec sum adeo informis, nuper me in littore vidi. Ver. 53. VIRG. Alba ligustra cadunt, vaccinis nigra leguntur. VIRG. Ver. 59. Jungentur jam gryphes equis; avoque sequenti Cum canibus timidi venient ad pocula damar. Wing.

“Sooner shall cats disport in waters clear, And speckled mackrel graze the meadows fair; Sooner shall screech-owls bask in sunny day, And the slow ass on trees, like squirrels, play; Sooner shall snails on insect pinions rove; Than I forget my shepherd's wonted love. “My plaint, yelasses, with this burthen aid, “'Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.’ “Ah! didst thou know what proffers I withstood, When late I met the squire in yonder wood To me he sped, regardless of his game, While all my cheek was glowing red with shame; My lip he kiss'd, and prais'd my healthful look, Then from his purse of silk a guinea took, Into my hand he forc'd the tempting gold, While I with modest struggling broke his hold. He swore that Dick, in livery strip'd with lace, Should wed me soon, to keep me from disgrace; But I nor footmen priz'd, nor golden fee; For what is lace or gold, compar'd to thee? “My plaint, ye lasses, with this burthen aid, • 'Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.’ “Now plain I ken whence Love his rise begun; Sure he was born some bloody butcher's son, 90. Bred up in shambles, where our younglings slain Erst taught him mischief, and to sport with pain. The father only silly sheep annoys, The son the sillier shepherdess destroys. Does son or father greater mischief do? The sire is cruel, so the son is too. “My plaint, yelasses, with this burthen aid, • 'Tis hard so true a damsel dies a maid.' “Farewell, ye woods, ye meads, ye streams that flow ; A sudden death shall rid me of my woe. This penknife keen my windpipe shall divide. What! shall I fall as squeaking pigs have dy'd? No-To some tree this carcass I'll suspend. But worrying curs find such untimely end I'll speed me to the pond, where the high stool On the long plank hangs o'er the muddy pool; That stool, the dread of every scolding quean; Yet, sure a lover should not die so mean There plac'd aloft, I’ll rave and rail by fits, Though all the parish say I’ve lost my wits; 110 And thence, if courage holds, myself I'll throw, And quench my passion in the lake below. “Ye lasses, cease your burthen, cease to moan, And, by my case forewarn'd, go mind your own.”

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“With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.”

“Last May-day fair I search'd to find a snail, That might my secret lover's name reveal. 50 Upon a gooseberry-bush a snail I found, (For always snails near sweetest fruit abound). I seiz'd the vermine, whom I quickly sped, And on the earth the milk-white embers spread. Slow crawl'd the snail; and, if I right can spell, In the soft ashes mark'd a curious L. Oh, may this wondrous omen lucky prove' For L is found in Lubberkin and Love.

“With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.’ 60

“Two hazel nuts I threw into the flame, And to each nut I gave a sweetheart's name; This with the loudest bounce me sore amaz'd, That in a flame of brightest colour blaz'd. As blaz'd the nut, so may thy passion grow ; For 'twas thy nut that did so brightly glow.

“With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.’ 68

“As peasecods once I pluck'd, I chanc'd to see One that was closely fill'd with three times three. Which, when I cropp'd, I safely home convey'd, And o'er the door the spell in secret laid; My wheel I turn'd, and sung a ballad new, While from the spindle I the fleeces drew; The latch mov’d up, when, who should first come in, But, in his proper person — Lubberkin. I broke my yarn, surpris’d the sight to see; Sure sign that he would break his word with me. Eftsoons I join'd it with my wonted slight: So may again his love with mine unite!

“With my sharp heel I three times mark the

ground,

And turn me thrice around, around, around.'

“This lady-fly I take from off the grass, Whose spotted back might scarlet red surpass, • Fly, lady-bird, North, South, or East, or West, Fly where the man is found that I love best. He leaves my hand; see, to the West he's flown, To call my true-love from the faithless town. • With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.' 90 “I pare this pippin round and round again, My shepherd's name to flourish on the plain, I fling th' unbroken paring o'er my head, Upon the grass a perfect L is read; Yet on my heart a fairer L is seen Than what the paring makes upon the green. “With my sharp heel I three times mark the

ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.

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Is Blouzelinda dead? farewell, my glee
No happiness is now reserv'd for me.
As the wood-pigeon coos without his mate,
So shall my doleful dirge bewail her fate.
Of Blouzelinda fair I mean to tell,
The peerless maid that did all maids excel.

Henceforth the morn shall dewy sorrow shed,
And evening tears upon the grass be spread;
The rolling streams with watery grief shall flow,
And winds shallmoan aloud—when loud they blow.
Henceforth, as oft as Autumn shall return,
The drooping trees, whene'er it rains, shall mourn;
The season quite shall strip the country's pride,
For 'twas in Autumn Blouzelinda dy’d.

Where’er I gad, I Blouzelind shall view, Woods, dairy, barn, and mows, our passion knew, When I direct my eyes to yonder wood, Fresh rising sorrow curdles in my blood. Thither I’ve often been the damsel's guide, When rotten sticks our fuel have supply'd; There I remember how her faggots large Were frequently these happy shoulders' charge. Sometimes this crook drew hazel-boughs adown, And stuff"d her apron wide with nuts so brown; 50 Or when her feeding hogs had miss'd their way, Or wallowing 'mid a feast of acorns lay;

40

Latin dirige in the popish hymn, dirige gressus meas, as some pretend; but from the Teutonic dyrke, laudare, to praise and extol. Whence it is possible their dyrke, and our dirge, was a laudatory song to commemorate and applaud the dead. Cowell's Interpreter. Ver. 15. Incipe, Mopse, prior, si quos aut Phyllidis ignes Aut Alconis habes laudes, aut jurgia Codri. Vika. Ver. 27. Glee, joy; from the Dutch glooren, to

recreate.

Th'untoward creatures to the stye I drove,
And whistled all the way — or told my love.
If by the dairy's hatch I chance to hie,
I shall her goodly countenance espy;
For there her goodly countenance I've seen,
Set off with kerchief starch'd and pinners clean,
Sometimes, like wax, she rolls the butter round
Or with the wooden lily prints the pound.
Whilom I've seen her skim the clouted cream,
And press from spungy curds the milky stream:
But now, alas ! these ears shall hear no more
The whining swine surround the dairy door;
No more her care shall fill the hollow tray,
To fat the guzzling hogs with floods of whey.
Lament, ye swine, in grunting spend your grief,
For you, like me, have lost your sole relief.
When in the barn the sounding flail I ply,
Where from her sieve the chaff was wont to fly; 70
The poultry there will seem around to stand,
Waiting upon her charitable hand.
No succour meet the poultry now can find,
For they, like me, have lost their Blouzelind.
Whenever by yon barley-mow I pass,
Before my eyes will trip the tidylass.
I pitch'd the sheaves, (oh, could I do so now !)
Which she in rows pil'd on the growing mow.
There every deale my heart by love was gain'd,
There the sweet kiss my courtship has explain'd. 80
Ah, Blouzelind ' that mow I ne'er shall see,
But thy memorial will revive in me.
Lament, ye fields, and rueful symptoms show;
Henceforth let not the smelling primrose grow;
Let weeds, instead of butter-flowers, appear,
And meads, instead of daisies, hemlock bear;
For cowslips sweet let dandelions spread;
For Blouzelinda, blithsome maid, is dead!
Lament, ye swains, and o'er her grave bemoan,
And spell ye right this verse upon her stone:
“Here Blouzelinda lies—Alas, alas !
Weep shepherds—and remember flesh is grass.”

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How shall I, void of tears, her death relate, When on her darling's bed her mother satel These words the dying Blouzelinda spoke, And of the dead let none the will revoke: “Mother,” quoth she, “let not the poultry need, And give the goose wherewith to raise her breed : Be these my sister's care — and every morn Amid the ducklings let her scatter corn; The sickly calf that's hous’d be sure to tend, Feed him with milk, and from bleak colds defend. Yet ere I die—see, mother, yonder shelf, There secretly I’ve hid my worldly pelf. Twenty good shillings in a rag I laid; Be ten the parson's, for my sermon paid. The rest is yours — my spinning-wheel and rake Let Susan keep for her dear sister's sake; My new straw hat, that's trimly lin'd with green, Let Peggy wear, for she's a damsel clean. My leathern bottle, long in harvests try'd, Be Grubbinol's — this silver ring beside: Three silver pennies, and a nine-pence bent, A token kind to Bumkinet is sent.” 130 Thus spoke the maiden, while the mother cry'd; And peaceful, like the harmless lamb, she dy'd. To show their love, the neighbours far and near Follow’d with wistful look the damsel's bier. Sprig'd rosemary the lads and lasses bore, While dismally the parson walk'd before. Upon her grave the rosemary they threw, The daisy, butter-flower, and endive blue, After the good man warn'd us from his text, 139 That none could tell whose turn would be the next; He said, that Heaven would take her soul, no doubt, And spoke the hour-glass in her praise— quite out. To her sweet memory, flowery garlands strung, O'er her now empty seat aloft were hung. With wicker rods we fenc'd her tomb around, To ward from man and beast the hallow'd ground; Lest her new grave the parson's cattle raze, For both his horse and cow the church-yard graze. Now we trudg’d homeward to her mother's farm, To drink new cyder mull'd, with ginger warm. 150 For Gaffer Treadwell told us, by the by, “Excessive sorrow is exceeding dry.” While bulls bear horns upon their curled brow, Or lasses with soft stroakings milk the cow; While paddling ducks the standing lake desire, Or battening hogs roll in the sinking mire; While moles the crumbled earth in hillocks raise; So long shall swains tell Blouzelinda's praise. Thus wail'd the louts in melancholy strain, Till bonny Susan sped across the plain. They seized the lass in apron clean array'd, And to the ale-house forc'd the willing maid; In ale and kisses they forget their cares, And Susan Blouzelinda's loss repairs.

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120

160

Ver. 153. Dum juga montis aper, fluvios dum piscis amabit, Dumque thymo pascentur apes, dum rore cicadae, Semper honos, nomenque tuum, laudesque manebunt. - VIRG.

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Schli MER strains, O rustic Muse! prepare; Forget awhile the barn and dairy's care; Thy homely voice to loftier numbers raise, The drunkard's flights require sonorous lays; With Bowzybeus' songs exalt thy verse, While rocks and woods the various notes rehearse. 'Twas in the season when the reapers' toil Of the ripe harvest 'gan to rid the soil; Wide through the field was seen a goodly rout, Clean damsels bound the gather'd sheaves about; 10 The lads, with sharpen'd hook and sweating brow, Cut down the labours of the winter plough. To the near hedge young Susan steps aside, She feign'd her coat or garter was unty'd; Whate'er she did, she stoop'd adown unseen, And merry reapers what they list will ween. Soon she rose up, and cry'd with voice so shrill, That Echo answer'd from the distant hill; The youths and damsels ran to Susan's aid, Who thought some adder had the lass dismay’d. 20 When fast asleep they Bowzybeus spy'd, His hat and oaken staff lay close beside; That Bowzybeus who could sweetly sing, Or with the rosin'd bow torment the string; That Bowzybeus who, with fingers speed, Could call soft warblings from the breathing reed; That Bowzybeus who, with jocund tongue, Ballads and roundelays and catches sung : They loudly laugh to see the damsel's fright, And in disport surround the drunken wight. 30 “Ah, Bowzybee, why didst thou stay so long? The mugs were large, the drink was wondrous strong ! Thou should'st have left the fair before 'twas night; But thou sat'st toping till the morning light.” Cicely, brisk maid, steps forth before the rout, And kiss'd with smacking lip the snoaring lout: (For custom says, “Whoe'er this venture proves, For such a kiss demands a pair of gloves.”) By her example Dorcas bolder grows, And plays a tickling straw within his nose. 4O He rubs his nostril, and in wonted joke [spoke: The sneering swains with stammering speech be“To you, my lads, I'll sing my carols o'er, As for the maids — I've something else in store.” No sooner 'gan he raise his tuneful song, But lads and lasses round about him throng. Not ballad-singer plac'd above the crowd Sings with a note so shrilling sweet and loud ; Nor parish-clerk, who calls the psalm so clear, Like Bowzybeus soothes th’ attentive ear. 50 Of Nature's laws his carols first begun, Why the grave owl can never face the Sun.

Ver. 22. Serta procul tantum capiti delapsa jacebant. Viac. Ver. 40. Sanguineis frontem moris et tempora pingit. Viac. Ver. 43. Carmina, quae vultis, cognoscite carmina vobis; Huic aliud mercedis erit. Vikg. Ver. 47. Nectantum Phoebo gaudet Parnassia rupes: Nectantum Rhodope mirantur et Ismarus Orphea. Ving.

For owls, as swains observe, detest the light, And only sing and seek their prey by night. How turnips hide their swelling heads below: And how the closing coleworts upwards grow ;

How Will-o-wisp misleads night-faring clowns

O'er hills, and sinking bogs, and pathless downs.
Of stars he told, that shoot with shining trail,
And of the glow-worm's light that gilds his tail. 60
He sung where woodcocks in the Summer feed,
And in what climates they renew their breed, [tend,
(Some think to northern coasts their flight they
Or to the Moon in midnight hours ascend);
Where swallows in the Winter's season keep,
And how the drowsy bat and dormouse sleep,
How Nature does the puppy's eyelid close
Till the bright Sun has nine times set and rose;
(For huntsmen by their long experience find,
That puppies still nine rolling suns are blind.)
Now he goes on, and sings of fairs and shows,
For still new fairs before his eyes arose.
How pedlars' stalls with glittering toys are laid,
The various fairings of the country maid.
Long silken laces hang upon the twine,
And rows of pins and amber bracelets shine;
How the tight lass knives, combs, and scissars spies,
And looks on thimbles with desiring eyes.
Of lotteries next with tuneful note he told,
Where silver spoons are won, and rings of gold. so
The lads and lasses trudge the street along,
And all the fair is crowded in his song.
The mountebank now treads the stage, and sells
His pills, his balsams, and his ague-spells;
Now o'er and o'er the nimble tumbler springs,
And on the rope the venturous maiden swings;
Jack Pudding in his party-colour'd jacket
Tosses the glove, and jokes at every packet.
Of raree-shows he sung, and Punch's feats,
Of pockets pick'd in crowds, and various cheats. 90
Then sad he sung the Children in the Wood :
(Ah, barbarous uncle, stain'd with infant blood :)
How blackberries they pluck'd in deserts wild,
And fearless at the glittering falchion smil'd ;
Their little corpse the robin-red-breasts found,
And strow'd with pious bill the leaves around.
(Ah, gentle birds' if this verse lasts so long,
Your names shall live for ever in my song.)
For Buxom Joan he sung the doubtful strife,
How the sly sailor made the maid a wife. 100
To louder strains he rais'd his voice, to tell
What woeful wars in Chevy-chace befell,
When Percy drove the deer with hound and horn,
Wars to be wept by children yet unborn
Ah, Witherington! more years thy life had crown'd,
If thou hadst never heard the horn or hound !
Yet shall the 'squire, who fought on bloody stumps,
By future bards be wail'd in doleful dumps.
All in the land of Essex next he chants, 109
How to sleek mares starch quakers turn gallants:
Ver. 51. Our swain had possibly read Tusser,
from whence he might have collected these philoso-
phical observations:
Namgue canebat, uti magnum per inane coacta, &c.
Ver. 97.
Fortunati ambo, si quid mea carmina possunt,
Nulla dies unquam memori vos eximet avo. Wing.
Ver. 99. A song in the comedy of Love for Love,
beginning “A soldier and a sailor,” &c.
Ver. 109. A song of Sir J. Denham's. Sce
his poems.

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