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For me, by adverfe fortune plac'd
Far from the colleges of tafte,
I jostle no poetic name;
I envy none their proper fame;
And if fometimes an eafy vein,
With no defign, and little pain,
Form'd into verfe, hath pleas'd a while,
And caught the reader's tranfient smile,
My muse hath answer'd all her ends,
Pleafing herself, while pleas'd her friends;
But, fond of liberty, difdains
To bear reftraint, or clink her chains;
Nor would, to gain a Monarch's FAVOUR,
Let dulnefs, or her fons, enflave her. *
*These two laft lines were added by the Editor; to whom the piece was originally addreffed on a particular occafion.
THE SPIRIT OF CONTRADICTION.
THE very fillieft things in life
Create the moft material ftrife.
What fcarce will fuffer a debate,
Will oft produce the bittereft hate.
It is, you fay; I fay 'tis not
-Why you grow warm - and
you are hot.
Thus each alike with paffion glows,
And words come first, and, after, blows.
Friend JERKIN had an income clear,
Some fifteen pounds, or more, a year,
And rented, on the farming plan,
Grounds at much greater fums per ann.
A man of confequence, no doubt,
'Mongst all his neighbours round about;
He was of frank and open mind,
Too honeft to be much refin'd,
Would smoke his pipe, and tell his tale,
Sing a good fong, and drink his ale.
His wife was of another mould;
Her age was neither young nor old;
Her features ftrong, but fomewhat plain;
Her air not bad, but rather vain ;
Her temper neither new nor strange,
A woman's, very apt to change;
What fhe moft hated was conviction,
What fhe most lov'd, flat CONTRADICTION.
A charming housewife ne'ertheless ; -Tell me a thing fhe could not drefs, Soups, hafhes, pickles, puddings, pies, Nought came amifs-fhe was fo wife. For fhe, bred twenty miles from town, Had brought a world of breeding down, And Cumberland had seldom feen
A farmer's wife with fuch a mein;
She could not bear the found of Dame;
-No-Miftrefs JERKIN was her name.
She could harangue with wond'rous grace
On gowns and mobs, and caps and lace;
But tho' fhe ne'er adorn'd his brows,
She had a vaft contempt for spouse,
As being one who took no pride,
And was a deal too countrified.
Such were our couple, man and wife;
Such were their means and ways of life.
Once on a time, the feafon fair For exercife and chearful air,
It happen'd in his morning's roam,
He kill'd his birds, and brought them home.
-Here, CICELY, take away my gun-
How fhall we have these starlings done?
Done! what my love? Your wits are wild;
Starlings, my dear; they're thrushes child.
Nay now but look, confider, wife,
They're ftarlings-No-upon my life:
Sure I can judge as well as you,
I know a thrush and starling too.
Who was it shot them, you or I ?
They're ftarlings-thrufhes-zounds you
Pray, Sir, take back your dirty word,
I fcorn your language as your bird;
It ought to make a husband blush,
To treat a wife fo 'bout a thrush.
Thrufh, Cicely!-Yes-a ftarling-No,
The lie again, and then a blow.
Blows carry ftrong and quick conviction,
And mar the pow'rs of contradiction.
Peace foon enfued, and all was well:
It were imprudence to rebel,
Or keep the ball up of debate
Against these arguments of weight.
A year roll'd on in perfect ease,
'Twas as you like, and what you please,
'Till in its courfe and order due,
Came March the twentieth, fifty two.
Quoth Cicely, this is charming life,
No tumults now, 'no blow, no ftrife.
What fools we were this day last year!
Lord, how you beat me then, my dear!
-Sure it was idle and abfurd
To wrangle fo about a bird;
A bird not worth a single rush-
A ftarling-no, my love, a thrush,
That I'll maintain that I'll deny.
-You're wrong, good husband - wife, you lie.
Again the self-fame wrangle rofe,
Again the lye, again the blows.
Thus every year (true man and wife)
Enfues the fame domeftic ftrife.