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In every village mark'd with little spire,
Embower'd in trees, and hardly known to Fame,
There dwells in lowly shed, and mean attire,
A matron old, whom we School-mistress name;
Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame;
They grieven sore, in piteous durance pent,
Aw'd by the power of this relentless dame;

And oft-times, on vagaries idly bent,
For unkempt hair, or task unconn'd, are sorely shent.
And all

in sight doth rise a birchen tree, Which Learning near her little dome did stowe; Whilom a twig of small regard to see,

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And work the simple vassals mickle woe;
For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew,
But their limbs shudder'd, and their pulse beat low;

And as they look'd they found their horrour grew, And shap'd it into rods, and tingled at the view.

So have I seen (who has not, may conceive)
A lifeless phantom near a garden plac'd ;
So doth it wanton birds of peace bereave,
Of sport, of song, of pleasure, of repast;
They start, they stare, they wheel, they look aghast ;
Sad servitude ! such comfortless annoy
May no bold Briton's riper age e'er taste!

Ne superstition clog his dance of joy,
Ne vision empty, vain, his native bliss destroy.

Near to this dome is found a patch so green,
On which the tribe their gambols do display;
And at the door imprisoning-board is seen,
Lest weakly wights of smaller size should stray;
Eager, perdie, to bask in sunny day!
The noises intermixed, which thence resound,
Do Learning's little tenement betray ;

Where sits the dame, disguis'd in look profound,
And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel around.

Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow,
Emblem right meet of decency does yield :
Her apron dy'd in grain, as blue, I trowe,
As is the hare-bell that adorns the field :
And in her hand, for sceptre, she does wield
Tway birchen sprays; with anxious fear entwin'd,
With dark distrust, and sad repentance fill’d;

And stedfast hate, and sharp affliction join'd,
And fury uncontroul’d, and chastisement unkind.

A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown;
A russet kirtle fenc'd the nipping air ;
'T was simple russet, but it was her own;
'T was her own country bred the flock so fair!
'T was her own labour did the fleece prepare ;
And, sooth to say, her pupils, rang'd around,
Through pious awe, did term it passing rare;

For they in gaping wonderment abound,

Albeit ne flattery did corrupt her truth,
Ne pompous title did debauch her ear;
Goody, good-woman, gossip, n'aunt, forsooth,
Or dame, the sole additions she did hear;
Yet these she challenged, these she held right dear :
Ne would esteem him act as mought behove,
Who should not honour'd eld with these revere:

For never title yet so mean could prove,
But there was eke a mind which did that title love.

In elbow-chair, like that of Scottish stem
By the sharp tooth of cankering eld defac'd,
In which, when he receives his diadem,
Our sovereign prince and liefest liege is plac'd,
The matron sate; and some with rank she grac'd,
(The source of children's and of courtiers' pride!)
Redress’d affronts, for vile affronts there pass'd;

And warn’d them not the fretful to deride,
But love each other dear, whatever them betide.

Right well she knew each temper to descry;
To thwart the proud, and the submiss to raise ;
Some with vile copper-prize exalt on high,
And some entice with pittance small of praise,
And other some with baleful sprig she 'frays:
E'en absent, she the reins of power doth hold,
While with quaint arts the giddy crowd she sways:

Forewarn'd, if little bird their pranks behold, 'T will whisper in her ear, and all the scene unfold.

Lo now with state she utters the command !
Eftsoons the urchins to their tasks repair;
Their books of stature small they take in hand,
Which with pellucid horn secured are,
To save from finger wet the letters fair:
The work so gay that on their back is seen,
St. George's high achievements does declare;

On which thilk wight that has y-gazing been,
Kens the forth-coming rod, unpleasing sight, I ween!

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But now Dan Phæbus gains the middle skie,
And Liberty unbars her prison-door;
And like a rushing torrent out they fly,

With boisterous revel-rout and wild uproar;
A thousand ways in wanton rings they run,
Heaven shield their short-liv'd pastimes, I implore !

For well may freedom erst so dearly won,
Appear to British elf more gladsome than the sun.

Enjoy, poor imps ! enjoy your sportive trade,
And chase gay flies, and cull the fairest flowers ;
For when my bones in grass-green sods are laid,
For never may ye taste more careless hours
In knightly castles, or in ladies' bowers.
O vain to seek delight in earthly thing!
But most in courts where proud Ambition towers ;

Deluded wight! who weens fair Peace can spring Beneath the pompous dome of kesar or of king.

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My banks they are furnish'd with bees,

Whose murmur invites one to sleep;
My grottoes are shaded with trees,

And my hills are white over with sheep.
I seldom have met with a loss,

Such health do my fountains bestow :
My fountains all border'd with moss,

Where the hare-bells and violets grow.
Not a pine in my grove is there seen,

But with tendrils of woodbine is bound :
Not a beech's more beautiful green,
But a sweet-brier entwines it around.

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Not my fields, in the prime of the year,

More charms than my cattle unfold;
Not a brook that is limpid and clear,

But it glitters with fishes of gold.
One would think she might like to retire

To the bower I have labour'd to rear;
Not a shrub that I heard her admire,

But I hasted and planted it there.
O how sudden the jessamine strove

With the lilac to render it gay!
Already it calls for my love,

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fair;

From the plains, from the woodlands and

groves, What strains of wild melody flow! How the nightingales warble their loves

From thickets of roses that blow ! And when her bright form shall appear,

Each bird shall harmoniously join In a concert so soft and so clear,

As—she may not be fond to resign. I have found out a gift for my

I have found where the wood-pigeons breed : But let me that plunder forbear,

She will say 't was a barbarous deed. For he ne'er could be true, she averr'd, Who would rob a poor bird of its

young : And I lov'd her the more when I heard

Such tenderness fall from her tongue. I have heard her with sweetness unfold

How that pity was due to—a dove : That it ever attended the bold ;

And she call'd it the sister of love.
But her words such a pleasure convey,

So much I her accents adore,
Let her speak, and whatever she say,

Methinks I should love her the more.
Can a bosom so gentle remain

Unmov'd when her Corydon sighs ? Will a nymph that is fond of the plain,

These plains and this valley despise ? Dear regions of silence and shade!

Soft scenes of contentment and ease ! Where I could have pleasingly stray'd,

If aught, in her absence, could please. But where does my Phillida stray ?

And where are her grots and her bowers ? Are the groves and the valleys as gay,

And the shepherds as gentle as ours ? The groves may perhaps be as fair,

And the face of the valleys as fine; The swains may in manners compare,

But their love is not equal to mine.

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