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- Tales - 6/52 -


Where are my children?"--Judith grieves to hear How the soul works in sorrows so severe; Assiduous all his wishes to attend, Deprived of much, he yet may boast a friend; Watch'd by her care, in sleep, his spirit takes Its flight, and watchful finds her when he wakes. 'Tis now her office; her attention see! While her friend sleeps beneath that shading tree, Careful, she guards him from the glowing heat, And pensive muses at her Allen's feet. And where is he? Ah! doubtless in those scenes Of his best days, amid the vivid greens. Fresh with unnumber'd rills, where ev'ry gale Breathes the rich fragrance of the neighb'ring vale. Smiles not his wife, and listens as there comes The night-bird's music from the thick'ning glooms? And as he sits with all these treasures nigh, Blaze not with fairy-light the phosphor-fly, When like a sparkling gem it wheels illumined by? This is the joy that now so plainly speaks In the warm transient flushing of his cheeks; For he is list'ning to the fancied noise Of his own children, eager in their joys: All this he feels, a dream's delusive bliss Gives the expression, and the glow like this. And now his Judith lays her knitting by, These strong emotions in her friend to spy For she can fully of their nature deem - But see! he breaks the long protracted theme, And wakes, and cries--"My God! 'twas but a dream."

TALE III.

THE GENTLEMAN FARMER.

Pause then, And weigh thy value with an even hand; If thou beest rated by thy estimation, Thou dost deserve enough. SHAKESPEARE, Merchant of Venice.

Because I will not do them wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none: and the fine is (for which I may go the finer), I will live a bachelor. Much Ado about Nothing.

Throw physic to the dogs, I'll none of it. Macbeth.

His promises are, as he then was, mighty; And his performance, as he now is, nothing. Henry VIII.

-------------------

Gwyn was a farmer, whom the farmers all, Who dwelt around, "the Gentleman" would call; Whether in pure humility or pride, They only knew, and they would not decide. Far different he from that dull plodding tribe Whom it was his amusement to describe; Creatures no more enliven'd than a clod, But treading still as their dull fathers trod; Who lived in times when not a man had seen Corn sown by drill, or thresh'd by a machine! He was of those whose skill assigns the prize For creatures fed in pens, and stalls, and sties; And who, in places where improvers meet, To fill the land with fatness, had a seat; Who in large mansions live like petty kings, And speak of farms but as amusing things; Who plans encourage, and who journals keep, And talk with lords about a breed of sheep. Two are the species in this genus known; One, who is rich in his profession grown, Who yearly finds his ample stores increase, From fortune's favours and a favouring lease; Who rides his hunter, who his house adorns; Who drinks his wine, and his disbursements scorns; Who freely lives, and loves to show he can, - This is the Farmer made the Gentleman. The second species from the world is sent, Tired with its strife, or with his wealth content; In books and men beyond the former read To farming solely by a passion led, Or by a fashion; curious in his land; Now planning much, now changing what he plann'd; Pleased by each trial, not by failures vex'd, And ever certain to succeed the next; Quick to resolve, and easy to persuade, - This is the Gentleman, a farmer made. Gwyn was of these; he from the world withdrew Early in life, his reasons known to few; Some disappointments said, some pure good sense, The love of land, the press of indolence; His fortune known, and coming to retire, If not a Farmer, men had call'd him 'Squire. Forty and five his years, no child or wife Cross'd the still tenour of his chosen life; Much land he purchased, planted far around, And let some portions of superfluous ground To farmers near him, not displeased to say "My tenants," nor "our worthy landlord," they. Fix'd in his farm, he soon display'd his skill In small-boned lambs, the horse-hoe, and the drill; From these he rose to themes of nobler kind, And show'd the riches of a fertile mind; To all around their visits he repaid And thus his mansion and himself display'd. His rooms were stately, rather fine than neat, And guests politely call'd his house a Seat; At much expense was each apartment graced, His taste was gorgeous, but it still was taste; In full festoons the crimson curtains fell, The sofas rose in bold elastic swell; Mirrors in gilded frames display'd the tints Of glowing carpets and of colour'd prints: The weary eye saw every object shine, And all was costly, fanciful, and fine. As with his friends he pass'd the social hours, His generous spirit scorn'd to hide its powers; Powers unexpected, for his eye and air Gave no sure signs that eloquence was there; Oft he began with sudden fire and force, As loth to lose occasion for discourse; Some, 'tis observed, who feel a wish to speak, Will a due place for introduction seek; On to their purpose step by step they steal, And all their way, by certain signals, feel; Others plunge in at once, and never heed Whose turn they take, whose purpose they impede; Resolved to shine, they hasten to begin, Of ending thoughtless--and of these was Gwyn. And thus he spake: - "It grieves me to the soul, To see how man submits to man's control; How overpower'd and shackled minds are led In vulgar tracks, and to submission bred; The coward never on himself relies, But to an equal for assistance flies; Man yields to custom, as he bows to fate, In all things ruled--mind, body, and estate; In pain, in sickness, we for cure apply To them we know not, and we know not why; But that the creature has some jargon read, And got some Scotchman's system in his head; Some grave impostor, who will health ensure, Long as your patience or your wealth endure, But mark them well, the pale and sickly crew, They have not health, and can they give it you? These solemn cheats their various methods choose, A system fires them, as a bard his muse: Hence wordy wars arise; the learn'd divide, And groaning patients curse each erring guide. "Next, our affairs are govern'd, buy or sell, Upon the deed the law must fix its spell; Whether we hire or let, we must have still The dubious aid of an attorney's skill; They take a part in every man's affairs, And in all business some concern is theirs; Because mankind in ways prescribed are found Like flocks that follow on a beaten ground. Each abject nature in the way proceeds, That now to shearing, now to slaughter leads. Should you offend, though meaning no offence, You have no safety in your innocence; The statute broken then is placed in view, And men must pay for crimes they never knew; Who would by law regain his plunder'd store, Would pick up fallen merc'ry from the floor; If he pursue it, here and there it slides, He would collect it, but it more divides; This part and this he stops, but still in vain, It slips aside, and breaks in parts again; Till, after time and pains, and care and cost, He finds his labour and his object lost. But most it grieves me (friends alone are round), To see a man in priestly fetters bound; Guides to the soul, these friends of Heaven contrive, Long as man lives, to keep his fears alive: Soon as an infant breathes, their rites begin; Who knows not sinning, must be freed from sin; Who needs no bond, must yet engage in vows; Who has no judgment, must a creed espouse: Advanced in life, our boys are bound by rules, Are catechised in churches, cloisters, schools, And train'd in thraldom to be fit for tools: The youth grown up, he now a partner needs, And lo! a priest, as soon as he succeeds. What man of sense can marriage-rites approve? What man of spirit can be bound to love? Forced to be kind! compell'd to be sincere! Do chains and fetters make companions dear? Pris'ners indeed we bind; but though the bond May keep them safe, it does not make them fond:


Tales - 6/52

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