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O, happy plains, remote from war's alarms, And all the ravages of hostile arms ! And happy shepherds, who, secure from fear, On open downs preserve your fleecy care ! Whose spacious barns groan with increasing store, And whirling flails disjoint the cracking floor! No barbarous soldier, bent on cruel spoil, Spreads desolation o'er your fertile soil ; No trampling steed lays waste the ripened grain, Nor crackling fires devour the promised gain • No flaming beacons cast their blaze afar, The dreadful signal of invasive war : No trumpet's clangor wounds the mother's ear, And calls the lover from his swooning fair.

Nor on the velvet couch invites disease ;
Her homespun dress in simple neatness lies,
And for no glaring equipage she sighs :
Her reputation, which is all her boast,
In a malicious visit ne'er was lost ;
No midnight masquerade her beauty wears,
And health, not paint, the fading bloom repairs.
If love's soft passion in her bosom reign,
An equal passion warms her happy swain ;
No homebred jars her quiet state control,
Nor watchful jealousy torments her soul ;
With secret joy she sees her little race
Hang on her breast, and her small cottage grace ;
The fleecy ball their busy fingers cull,
Or from the spindle draw the lengthening wool.
Thus flow her hours with constant peace of mind,
Till age the latest thread of life unwind.



What happiness the rural maid attends,
In cheerful labor while each day she spends !
She gratefully receives what Heaven has sent,
And, rich in poverty, enjoys content ;

- Such happiness, and such unblemished fame,
Ne'er glad the bosom of the courtly dame :-
She never feels the spleen's imagined pains,
Nor melancholy stagnates in her veins ;
She never loses life in thoughtless ease,

Ye happy fields, unknown to noise and strife, The kind rewarders of industrious life ; Ye shady woods, where once I used to rove, Alike indulgent to the muse and love ; Ye murmuring streams that in meanders roll, The sweet composers of the pensive soul ; Farewell !— The city calls me from your bowers : Farewell ! amusing thoughts and peaceful hours.

Tusser's "March's Husbandry."

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WHITE peason, both good for the pot and the purse,
By sowing too timely, prove often the worse.
Because they be tender, and hateth the cold,
Prove March ere ye sow, for being too bold.
Spare meadow at Gregory,? marshes at Pasque.3
For fear of dry summer no longer time ask.
Then hedge them and ditch them, bestow thereon

Corn, meadow, and pasture, ask alway good fence. **
In March, at the farthest, dry season or wet,
Hop-roots, so well chosen, let skilful go set.
The goeler 4 and younger, the better I love ;
Well gutted and pared, the better they prove.
In March is good graffing, the skilful do know,
So long as the wind in the east do not blow :

From moon being changed, till past be the prime,
For graffing and cropping is very good time.
Things grafted or planted, the greatest and least,
Defend against tempest, the bird and the beast ;
Defended shall prosper, the tother is lost,
The thing with the labor, the time, and the cost.
Sow barley in March, in April and May,
The later in sand, and the sooner in clay.
What worser for barley than wetness and cold ?
What better to skilful than time to be bold?
Who soweth his barley too soon, or in rain,
Of oats and of thistles shall often complain. * *
Let barley be harrowed finely as dust,
Then workmanly trench it and fence it ye must.
This season well plied, set sowing an end,
And praise and pray God a good harvest to send.**
In March and in April, from morning to night,
In sowing and setting good housewives delight :
To have in a garden or other like plot,
To trim up their house, and to furnish their pot. **
Land falling or lying full south or south-west,
For profit by tillage, is lightly the best : * *
At spring for the Summer sow garden ye shall ;
At harvest for Winter, or sow not at all. * *

i These extracts are from that rare old Farmer's book, * Tusser's Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry,' first published in England, in Elizabeth's reign, three hundred years ago. The precepts were given in rhyme, so as to be fixed in the memory.

2 8 St. Gregory's day is the 12th of March ; Pasque, or Easter, foll about a month after.

4 Goeler, perhaps yellower.'

Rustic Ballads for Mareh.



Whan shaws been sheene, and shraddes full fayre,

And leaves both large and longe,
Itt 's merrye walkyng in the fayre forrest

To hear the small birdes songe.?
The woodweele sang and would not cease,

Sitting upon the spray,
So loud, he wakened Robin Hood,

In the greenwood where he lay.
Now, by my faye, said jolly Robin,

A sweaven I had this night ;
I dreamt me of two mighty yeomen,

That fast with me 'gan fight.
Methought they did me beat and bind,

And took my bow me froe ; If I be Robin alive in this land

I'll be wroken on them towe. Sweavens are swift, said Little John,

As the wind blows over the hill ;
For if it be never so loud this night,

To-morrow it may be still.
Buske ye, bowne ye, my merry men, all,

And John shall go with me,
For I'll go seek yond wighty yeomen,

In greenwood where they be.
They then cast on their gowns of green,

And took their bows each one ;
And they away to the green forest

A shooting forth are gone ;
Until they came to the merry groen wood

Where they had gladdest to be :
There they were ware of a wight yeoman

That leaned against a tree.
A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,

Of many a man the bane ;
And he was clad in his capull hide

Top and tayll and mayne.

Stand still, master, quoth Little John,

Under this tree so green,
And I will go to yond wight yeoman

To know what he doth mean.
Ah ! John, by me thou sett'st no store,

And that I farley find :
How often send I my men before,

And tarry myself behind ?
It is no cunning a knave to ken,

An a man but hear him speak;
An it were not for bursting of my bow,

John, I thy head would break.
As often words they breeden bale,

So they parted Robin and John ; And John is going to Barnesdale :

The gates he knoweth each one.
But when he came to Barnesdale,

Great heaviness there he had,
For he found two of his own fellowes

Were slain both in a slade.
And Scarlette he was flying afoot

Fast over stock and stone, For the proud sheriffe with seven score men

Fast after him is gone.
One shoote now, I will shoote, quoth John,

With his might and mayne ;
I'll make yond sheriff that wends so fast,

To stop he shall be fain.
Then John bent up his long bend bow,

And settled him to shoot ;
The bow was made of tender bough,

And fell down at his foot.
Woe worth, woe worth thee, wicked wood,

That ever thou grew on tree ; For now this day thou art my bale,

My boote when thou should be. His shoote it was but loosely shot,

Yet flew not the arrow in vain,
For it met one of the sheriff's men,

And William a Trent was slain.
It had been better of William a Trent

To have been abed with sorrow,
Than to be that day in the greenwood slade,

To meet with Little John's arrow. For is it was said, when men be met,

Five can do more than three, The sheriff hath taken Little John

And bound him fast to a tree.

1 About the year 1190, in Richard First's reign, were many outlaws, among whom Robin Hood and Little John were most renowned. Robin, says Stowe, 'entertained an hundred tall men, and good archers, with such spoils and thefts as he got, upon whom four hundred (were they ever so strong) durst not give the onset.' He suffered no woman to be molested, sparing poor men's goods, and relieving them with what he got from abbeys and the rich. Maior calls him of all theeves the prince and most gentle theef.'

? The antique spelling of this old English ballad, of uncertain, but quite ancient date, is retained in this first verse.


Thou shalt be drawn by dale and down,

And hanged high on a hill.
But thou mayest fail of thy purpose, quoth John,

If it be Christ his will.
Let us leave talking of Little John,

And think of Robin Hood,
How he is gone to the wight yeoman,

Where under the leaves he stood.
Good-morrow, good fellow, said Robin so fair,

Good-morrow, good fellow, quo' he : Methinks, by this bow thou bears in thy hand,

A good archer thou should'st be.
I am wilfulle of my way, quo' the yeoman,

And of my morning tyde.
I'll lead thee through the wood, said Robin :

Good fellow, I'll be thy guide.
I seek an outlàwe, the stranger said,

Men call him Robin Hood;
Rather I'd meet with that proud outlawe,

Than forty pound so good.
Now come with thou wighty yeoman,

And Robin thou soon shalt see :
But first let us some pastime find

Under the greenwood tree.
First let us some masterye make

Among the woods so even ;
We may chance to meet with Robin Hood

Here at some unsett steven.
They cut them down two summer shroggs,

That grew both under a breere,
And set them three-score rod in twain,

To shoot the prickes y-fere.
Lead on, good fellow, quoth Robin Hood,

Lead on, I do bid thee.
Nay, by my faith, good fellow, he said,

My leader thou shalt be.
The first time Robin shot at the pricke,

He mist but an inch it fro :
The yeoman he was an archer good,

But he could never do so.
The second shoote had the wighty yeoman,

He shot within the garland :
But Robin he shot far better than he,

For he clave the good pricke-wande.
A blessing upon thy heart, he said ;

Good fellow, thy shooting is good ;
For an thy heart be as good as thy hand,

Thou wert better than Robin Hood.
Now tell me thy name, good fellow, said he,

Under the leaves of lyne.
Nay, by my faith, quoth bold Robin,

Till thou have told me thine.
I dwell by dale and down, quoth he,

And Robin to take I'm sworn ;
And when I am called by my right name

I am Guy of good Gisborne.

My dwelling is in this wood, says Robin,

By thee I set right naught :
I am Robin Hood of Barnesdale,

Whom thou so long has sought.
He that had neither been kith nor kin

Might have seen a full fayre sight,
To see how together these yeomen went

With blades both brown and bright :
To see how these yeomen together they fought

Two hours of a summer's day :
Yet neither Robin Hood nor Sir Guy

Them settled to fly away.
Robin was reachles on a root,

And stumbled at that tyde ;
And Guy was quick and nimble withal,

And hit him upon the side.
Ah, deere Ladye, said Robin Hood, thou

That art both mother and may,
I think it was never man's destinye

To die before his day !
Robin thought on our Ladye deere,

And soon leapt up again ;
And straight he came with a backward stroke,

And he Sir Guy hath slayne.
He took Sir Guy's head by the hair,

And stuck it upon his bow's end :
Thou hast been a traitor all thy life,

Which thing must have an end. Robin pulled forth an Irysh knife,

And nicked Sir Guy in the face,
That he was never on woman born

Could know whose head it was.
Says, Lie there, lie there, now, Sir Guy,

And with me be not wroth :
If thou have had the worst strokes at my hand,

Thou shalt have the better cloth. Robin did off his gown of green

And on Sir Guy did throw,
And he put on that capull hide,

That clad him top to toe.
Thy bow, thy arrows, and little horn,

Now with me I will bear;
For I will away to Barnesdale,

To see how my men do fare.
Robin Hood set Guy's horn to his mouth,

And a loud blast in it did blow,
That beheard the sheriff of Nottingham,

As he leaned under a lowe.
Hearken, hearken, said the sheriff,

I hear now tidings good,
For yonder I hear Sir Guy's horn blow,

And he hath slain Robin Hood.
Yonder I hear Sir Guy's horn blow,

It blows so well in tyde ;
And yonder comes that wightye yeonian,

Clad in his capull hyde.

Come hither, come hither, thou good Sir Guy;

Ask what thou wilt of me. 0 I will none of thy gold, said Robin,

Nor I will none of thy fee :

But now I have slain the master, he says,

Let me go strike the knave; For this is all the meed I ask,

None other reward I 'll have.

Thou art a madman, said the sheriff,

Thou shouldst have had a knight's fee : But seeing thy asking has been so bad,

Well granted it shall be.

When Little John heard his master speak,

Well knew he it was his steven : Now shall I be looset, quoth Little John,

With Christ his might in heaven.

Fast Robin he hied him to Little John,

He thought to loose him blive ; The sheriff and all his company

Fast after him 'gan drive.

Stand aback, stand aback, said Robin,

Why draw you me so near ? It was never the use in our countryè

Ono's shrift another should hear.


In this our spacious isle, I think there is not one, But he hath heard some talk of him and Little John; And to the end of time the tale shall ne'er be done, Of Scarlock, George-a-Green, and Much the Miller's

son, Of Tuck the merry friar, which many a sermon made In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade.

An hundred valiant men had this same Robin Hood, Still ready at his call, that bowmen were right good, All clad in Lincoln green, with caps of red and blue; His fellows' winded horn, not one of them but knew, When setting to their lips their little beugles shrill, The warbling echoes waked from every dale and hill: Their bauldrichs set with studs, athwart their shoulders cast,

(fast, To which under their arms their sheafs were buckled A short sword at their belt, a buckler scarce a span, Who struck below the knee, not counted they a man; All made of Spanish yew, their bows were wondrous

strong, They not an arrow shot, but was as a cloth-yard long.

Of archery they had the very perfect craft; With broad-arrow, or but, or prick, or roving shaft, At marks full forty score, they used to prick and rove, Yet higher than the breast for compass never strove; Yet at the farthest mark a foot could hardly win : At long-buts, short and hoyles, each one could cleave

the pin : Their arrows finely paired for timber and for feather, With birch and brazil pieced, to fly in any weather; And shot they with the round, the square or forked pile,

(mile ; The loose gave such a twang, as might be heard a And of these archers brave there was not any one But he could kill a deer his swiftest speed upon : Which they did boil or roast in many a mighty wood, Sharp hunger the fine sauce to their more kingly food. Then taking them to rest, his merry men and he Slept many a summer's night under the greenwood tree.

(dant store, From wealthy abbots' chests, and churls' abunWhat oftentimes he took he shared among the poor : No lordly bishop came in lusty Robin's way, To hiin before he went, but for his pass must pay : The widow in distress he graciously relieved, And remedied the wrongs of many a virgin grieved: He froin the husband's bed no married woman wan, But to his mistress dear, his lovéd Marian, Was ever constant known, who, wheresoe'er she came, Was sovereign of the woods, chief lady of the game : Her clothes tucked to the knee, and dainty braided hair,

(there With bow and quiver armed, she wandered here and Among the forests wild ; Diana never knew Such pleasures, nor such harts as Mariana slew.

But Robin pulled forth an Irish knife,

And loosed John hand and foot, And gave him Sir Guy's bow in his hand,

And bade it be his boote.

Then John he took Guy's bow in his hand,

His bolts and arrows each one ; When the sheriff saw Little John bend his bow,

He settled him to be gone.

Towards his house in Nottingham town

He fled full fast away : And so did all the company :

Not one behind would stay. * * *


Shaws, groves ; sheene, shining, in best array ; woodweele, woodwale ; faye, faith ; sweaven, dream; wighty, stalwart, active ; froe, from ; wroken, revenged ; bowne, get ready ; yond, yonder ; had gladdest, were most glad, had far rather ; ware, aware ; capull hyde, horse-hide ; top, tayl, and mayne, from top to toe ; farley, strange ; an, if ; bale, misfortune, trouble; gates, ways, paths, passes ; slade, slaughter ; stocke, bush ; wends, goes ; fain, willing ; worth, betide ; boote, gooil, good luck, cause of joy, help ; wilful, mistrustful; quo', said ; tyde, time, season ; masterye, trial of skill ; unsett steven, without previous appointment ; breere, brier ; prickes, pointed weapons; y-fere, together, in company ; prick-wande, peeled twig or rod set up for a mark ; lyne, linden, lime-tree ; kith, relation; fayre, fair ; reachles, reckless, careless, unmindful ; may, maiden ; nicked, gashed ; knave, man, serving-man í blive, belike, you may well believe, forthwith.

Goldsmith's "Deserted Village."


And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall ; SWEET Auburn ! loveliest village of the plain,

And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand, Where health and plenty cheered the laboring swain, Far, far away, thy children leave the land. Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,


SMALL FREEHOLDS COMMENDED ; CHANGES THROCGH AVAAnd parting summer's lingering blooms delayed.

Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,
How often have I loitered o'er thy green,

Where wealth accumulates, and men decay ;

Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade ; Where humble happiness endeared each scene !

A breath can make them, as a breath has made : How often have I paused on every charm, The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,

But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, The never-failing brook, the busy mill,

When once destroyed can never be supplied.

A time there was, ere England's griefs began, The decent church that topt the neighboring hill, The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,

When every rood of ground maintained its man ;

For him light labor spread her wholesome store, For talking age and whispering lovers made !

Just gave what life required, but gave no more ; VILLAGE PASTIMES ; DANCING ; SPORTIVE INNOCENCE. His best companions, innocence and health ; How often have I blest the coming day,

And his best riches, ignorance of wealth. When toil remitting lent its turn to play,

But times are altered ; trade's unfeeling train And all the village train, from labor free,

Usurp the land and dispossess the swain ; Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree ;

Along the lawn, where scattered hamlets rose,

Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose ; While many a pastime circled in the shade,

And every want to luxury allied,
The young contending as the old surveyed ;

And every pang that folly pays to pride.
And many a gambol frolicked o'er the ground,
And sleights of art and feats of strength went round.

These gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,

Those calm desires that asked but little room, And still as each repeated pleasure tired,

Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful scene, Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired ;

Lived in each look, and brightened all the green ; The dancing pair that simply sought renown,

ese, far departing, seek a kinder shore, By holding out, to tire each other down ;

And rural mirth and manners are no more.
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter tittered round the place ;

The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love,

Sweet Auburn ! parent of the blissful hour, The matron's glance that would those looks reprove.

Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power. These were thy charms, sweet village ! sports like Here, as I take my solitary'rounds, these,

Amidst thy tangling walks, and ruined grounds, With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please ; And, many a year elapsed, return to view These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed, Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew, These were thy charms- but all these charms are fled. Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,

Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain. DESOLATING EFFECTS OF LAND-MONOPOLY ON THE VILLAGE.

In all my wanderings round this world of care, Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, In all my griefs — and God has given my shareThy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn ; I still had hopes my latest hours to crown, Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down ; And desolation saddens all thy green :

To husband out life's taper at the close, One only master grasps the whole domain,

And keep the flame from wasting by repose : And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain.

I still had hopes, for pride attends us still, No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,

Amidst the swains to show my book-learned skill, But, choked with sedges, works its weedy way ; Around my fire an evening group to draw, Along thy glades, a solitary guest,

And tell of all I felt, and all I saw ; The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest; And, as a hare whom hounds and horns pursue Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,

Pants to the place from whence at first she few, And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.

I still had hopes, my long vexations past, Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,

Here to return - and die at home at last.

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