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For me, by adverse fortune plac’d
Far from the colleges of taste,
I jostle no poetic name ;
And if sometimes an easy vein,
With no design, and little pain,
Form'd into verse, hath pleas'd a while,
And caught the reader's transient smile,
My muse hath answer'd all her ends,
Pleasing herself, while pleas’d her friends;
But, fond of liberty, disdains
To bear restraint, or clink her chains;
Nor would, to gain a Monarch's FAVOUR,
Let dulness, or her fons, enslave her. *
* These two last lines were added by the Editor ; to whom the piece was originally addressed on a particular occasion.
THE SPIRIT OF CONTRADICTION.
The very filliest things in life
Create the most material strife.
What scarce will suffer a debate,
Will oft produce the bittereft hate.
It is, you say ; I say 'tis not
-Why you grow warm - and
Thus each alike with passion 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 sums per ann.
A man of consequence, no doubt,
'Mongst all his neighbours round about;
He was of frank and open mind,
Too honest to be much refin'd,
Would smoke his pipe, and tell his tale,
Sing a good song, and drink his ale.
His wife was of another mould ;
Her age was neither young nor old;
Her features strong, but somewhat plain ;
Her air not bad, but rather vain ;
Her temper neither new nor strange,
A woman's, very apt to change ;
What she most hated was conviction,
What the most lov'd, fat CONTRADICTION.
A charming housewife ne'ertheless;
-Tell me a thing she could not dress,
Soups, hashes, pickles, puddings, pies,
Nought came amiss—she was so wise.
For she, bred twenty miles from town,
Had brought a world of breeding down,
And Cumberland had feldom feen
A farmer's wife with such a mein;
She could not bear the sound of Dame;
-No-Mistress JERKIN was her name.
She could harangue with wond'rous grace
On gowns and mobs, and caps and lace;
But tho' she ne'er adorn'd his brows,
She had a vast 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
Once on a time, the season fair
For exercise 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 shall we have these ftarlings done?
Done! what my love? Your wits are wild ;
Starlings, my dear ; they're thrushes child.
Nay now but look, confider, wife,
They're starlings-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 starlings — thrushes - zounds you lie.
Pray, Sir, take back your dirty word,
I scorn your language as your bird ;
It ought to make a husband blush,
To treat a wife so 'bout a thrush.
Thrush, Cicely !— Yes—a starling-No,
The lie again, and then a blow.
Blows carry strong and quick conviction,
And mar the pow'rs of contradiction.
Peace soon ensued, 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 course 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 absurd To wrangle so about a bird ; A bird not worth a single rush — A starling - 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 rose,
Again the lye, again the blows.
Thus every year (true man and wife)
Ensues the same domestic ftrife.