S. Mark me, then, my lads. When Lady Laura sang, ‘I don’t think much,’ Says her fine coachman, ’of your manners here. We drove eleven miles in the dark, it rained, And ruts in your cross roads are deep. We’re here, My lady sings, they sit all open-mouthed, And when she’s done they never give one cheer.’
Old man. Be folks to clap if they don’t like the song?
S. Certain, for manners.
Enter VICAR, wife, various friends with violins and a flute. They come to a piano, and one begins softly to tune his violin, while the Vicar speaks.
V. Friends, since there is a place where
you must hear
When I stand up to speak, I would not now
If there were any other found to bid
You welcome. Welcome, then; these with me ask
No better than to please, and in good sooth
I ever find you willing to be pleased.
When I demand not more, but when we fain
Would lead you to some knowledge fresh, and ask
Your careful heed, I hear that some of you
Have said, ’What good to know, what good to us?
He puts us all to school, and our school days
Should be at end. Nay, if they needs must teach,
Then let them teach us what shall mend our lot;
The laws are strict on us, the world is hard.’
You friends and neighbours, may I dare to speak?
I know the laws are strict, and the world hard,
For ever will the world help that man up
That is already coming up, and still
And ever help him down that’s going down.
Yet say, ’I will take the words out of thy mouth,
O world, being yet more strict with mine own life.
Thou law, to gaze shall not be worth thy while
On whom beyond thy power doth rule himself.’
Yet seek to know, for whoso seek to know
They seek to rise, and best they mend their lot.
Methinks, if Adam and Eve in their garden days
Had scorned the serpent, and obediently
Continued God’s good children, He Himself
Had led them to the Tree of Knowledge soon
And bid them eat the fruit thereof, and yet
Not find it apples of death.
Vicar’s wife (aside). Now, dearest John, We’re ready. Lucky too! you always go Above the people’s heads.
Young farmer stands forward. Vicar presenting him.
Sparkle of snow and of frost,
Blythe air and the joy of cold,
Their grace and good they have lost,
As print o’ her foot by the fold.
Let me back to yon desert sand,
Rose-lipped love—from the fold,
Flower-fair girl—from the fold,
Let me back to the sultry land.
The world is empty of cheer,
Forlorn, forlorn, and forlorn,
As the night-owl’s sob of fear,
As Memnon moaning at morn.
For love of thee, my dear,
I have lived a better man,
O my Mary Anne,
My Mary Anne.