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But, slacken'd by some secret power,
Now hardly moves an inch an hour.
The jack and chimney, near allied,
Had never left each other's side :
The chimney to a steeple grown,
The jack would not be left alone;
But, up against the steeple rear'd,
Became a clock, and still adher'd;
And still its love to household cares,
Ry a shrill voice at noon, declares,
Warning the cookmaid not to burn
That roast-meat which it cannot turn.
The groaning-chair began to crawl,
Like a huge snail, along the wall;
There stuck aloft in public view,
And, with small change, a pulpit grew.
The porringers, that in a row Hung high, and made a glittering show, To a less noble substance chang'd, Were now but leathern buckets rang'd.
The ballads, pasted on the wall, Of Joan of France, and English Moll, Fair Rosamond, and Robin Hood, The Little Children in the Wood, Now seem'd to look abundance better, Improv'd in picture, size, and letter; And, high in order plac'd, describe The heraldry of every tribe.
A bedstead of the antique mode, Compact of timber many a load,
Such as our ancestors did use,
Was metamorphos’d into pews ;
Which still their ancient nature keep
By lodging folks dispos'd to sleep.
The cottage by such feats as these
Grown to a church by just degrees,
The hermits then desir'd their host
To ask for what he fancied most.
Philemon, having paus'd a while,
Return’d them thanks in homely style:
Then said, My house is grown so fine,
Methinks I still would call it mine ;
I'm old, and fain would live at ease;
Make me the parson, if you please.
He spoke, and presently he feels
His grazier's coat fall down his heels :
He sees, yet hardly can believe,
About each arm a pudding-sleeve;
His waistcoat to a cassock grew,
And both assum'd a sable hue;
But, being old, continued just
As thread-bare, and as full of dust.
His talk was now of tithes and dues :
He smok’d his pipe, and read the news;
Knew how to preach old sermons next,
Vamp'd in the preface and the text;
At christenings well could act his part,
And had the service all by heart;
Wish'd women might have children fast,
And thought whose sow had farrow'd last;
Against dissenters would repine,
And stood up firm for right divine;
Found his head fill'd with many a system:
But classic authors,-he ne'er miss'd 'em.
Thus having furbish'd up a parson,
Dame Baucis next they play'd their farce on.
Instead of homespun coifs, were seen
Good pinners edg'd with colberteen;
Her petticoat, transform'd apace,
Became black satin flounc'd with lace.
Plain Goody would no longer down;
'Twas Madam, in her grogram gown.
Philemon was in great surprise,
And hardly could believe his eyes,
Amaz'd to see her look so prim;
And she admir'd as much at him.
Thus happy in their change of life Were several
years this man and wife; When on a day, which prov'd their last, Discoursing o'er old stories past, They went by chance, amidst their talk, To the church-yard to take a walk; When Baucis hastily cried out, My dear, I see your forehead sprout ! Sprout! quoth the man; what's this you tell us ? I hope you don't believe me jealous ! But yet, methinks, I feel it true; And really yours is budding tooNay,-now I cannot stir my foot; It feels as if 'twere taking root.
Description would but tire my Muse; In short, they both were turn’d to yews.
Old Goodman Dobson of the green Remembers, he the trees has seen; He 'll talk of them from noon till night, And goes with folks to show the sight: On Sundays, after evening-prayer, He gathers all the parish there; Points out the place of either yew; Here Baucis, there Philemon, grew : Till once a parson of our town, To mend his barn, cut Baucis down; At which, 'tis hard to be believ'd, How much the other tree was griev'd, Grew scrubbed, died a-top, was stunted; So the next parson stubb’d and burnt it.
ALL human race would fain be wits,
And millions miss for one that hits.
Young's universal passion, pride,
Was never known to spread so wide.
Say, Britain, could you ever boast
Three poets in an age at most?
Our chilling climate hardly bears
A sprig of bays in fifty years ;
While every fool his claim alleges,
As if it grew in common hedges.
What reason can there be assign'd
For this perverseness in the mind ?
Brutes find out where their talents lie:
A bear will not attempt to fly;
A founder'd horse will oft debate
Before he tries a five-barr'd gate;
A dog by instinct turns aside,
Who sees the ditch too deep and wide.
But man we find the only creature,
Who, led by folly, combats Nature;
Who, when she loudly cries, Forbear,
With obstinacy fixes there;
And, where his genius least inclines, -
Absurdly bends his whole designs.
Not empire to the rising sun
By valour, conduct, fortune won;
Not highest wisdom in debates
For framing laws to govern states;
Not skill in sciences profound,
So large to grasp the circle round;
Such heavenly influence require,
As how to strike the Muse's lyre.
Not beggar's brat on bulk begot;
Not bastard of a pedlar Scot;
Not boy brought up to cleaning shoes,
of Bridewell or the stews; Not infants dropt, the spurious pledges Of gipsies littering under hedges;