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I oft had heard of Lydford law,
How, in the morn, they hang and draw,
And sit in judgment after.
At first I wonder'd at it much,
But since I find the reason such
As it deserves no laughter.
They have a castle on a hill,
I took it for an old windmill,
The vanes blown down by weather : To lie therein one night, 'tis guess'd, 'Twere better to be stoned and press’d,
Or hang'd—now choose you whether. Ten men less room within this cave Than five mice in a lanthorn have;
The keepers they are sly ones :
If any could devise by art
To get it up into a cart,
'Twere fit to carry lions.
When I beheld it, Lord ! thought I,
What justice and what clemency
Hath Lydford! When I saw all,
I knew none gladly there would stay,
But rather hang out of the way
Than tarry for a trial.
The prince a hundred pounds hath sent
To mend the leads, and planchens rent,
Within this living tomb;
Some forty-five pounds more had paid
The debts of all that shall be laid
There till the day of doom,
One lies there for a seam of malt,
Another for a peck of salt,
Two sureties for a noble :
If this be true, or else false news,
You may go ask of Master Crews*,
John Vaughan, or John Doble t.
More-to these men that lie in lurch,
Here is a bridge, there is a church;
Seven ashes and one oak;
Three houses standing, and ten down.
They say the parson has a gown,
But I saw ne'er a cloak.
Whereby you may consider well,
That plain simplicity doth dwell
At Lydford, without bravery. And in the town both young and grave Do love the naked truth to have,
No cloak to hide their knavery.
The people all within this clime
Are frozen in the winter time,
For sure I do not feign;
And when the summer is begun,
They lie like silkworms in the sun,
And come to life again.
One told me, in King Cæsar's time
The town was built of stone and lime,
But sure the walls were clay,
And they are fallen, for aught I see ;
And since the houses are got free,
The town is run away.
+ Attorneys of the court.
Oh, Cæsar! if thou there didst reign,
While one house stands come there again;
Come quickly while there is one.
If thou stay but a little bit,
But five years more, they will commit
The whole town to a prison.
To see it thus much grieved was I,
The proverb saith, “Sorrows be dry,
So was I at the matter.
Now, by good luck, I know not how,
There thither came a strange stray cow,
And we had milk and water.
To nine good stomachs, with our wig,
At last we got a roasting pig,
This diet was our bounds;
And this was just as if 'twere known
A pound of butter had been thrown
Among a pack of hounds.
One glass of drink I got by chance,
'Twas claret when it was in France,
But now from it much wider;
I think a man might make as good
With green crabs boil'd, and brasil wood,
And half a pint of cider.
I kiss'd the mayor's hand of the town,
Who, though he wear no scarlet gown,
Honours the rose and thistle.
A piece of coral to the mace,
Which there I saw to serve in place,
Would make a good child's whistle.
At six o'clock I came away,
And pray'd for those who were to stay
Within a place so arrant.
Wide and ope the winds so roar,
By God's grace I'll come there no more,
Unless by some Tin warrant.
Nec tantum Veneris, quantum studiosa culinæ.
Insensible of soft desire,
Behold Colemira prove
More partial to the kitchen fire
Than to the fire of Love.
Night's sable clouds had half the globe o'erspread,
And silence reign'd, and folks were gone to bed,
When Love, which gentle sleep can ne'er inspire,
Had seated Damon by the kitchen fire.
Pensive he lay, extended on the ground,
The little Lares kept their vigils round;
The fawning cats compassionate his case,
And pur around, and gently lick his face:
To all his plaints the sleeping curs reply,
And with hoarse snorings imitate a sigh.
Such gloomy scenes with lovers' minds agree,
And solitude to them is best society.
Could I (he cried) express how bright a grace Adorns thy morning hands and well wash'd face, Thou wouldst, Colemira, grant what I implore, And yield me love, or wash thy face no more.
• Ah! who can see, and seeing not admire,
Whene'er she sets the pots upon the fire !
Her hands outshine the fire and redder things;
Her eyes are blacker than the pots she brings.
< But sure no chamber-damsel can compare,
When in meridian lustre shines my fair,
When warm’d with dinner's toil, in pearly rills,
Adown her goodly cheek the sweat distills.
• Oh! how I long, how ardently desire,
To view those rosy fingers strike the lyre !
For late, when bees to change their climes began,
How did I see them thrum the fryingpan!
« With her! I should not envy George his queen, Though she in royal grandeur deck'd be seen; Whilst rags, just sever'd from my fair one's gown, In russet pomp and greasy pride hung down.
• Ah! how it does my drooping heart rejoice,
When in the hall I hear thy mellow voice!
How would that voice exceed the village bell,
Wouldst thou but sing, “I like thee passing well!"
"When from the hearth she bade the pointers go, How soft, how easy did her accents flow! “Get out (she cried); when strangers come to sup, One ne'er can raise those snoring devils up.”