’Tis now no kettle, but a bell.
A wooden jack, which had almost
Lost, by disuse, the art to roast,
A sudden alteration feels,
Increas’d by new intestine wheels;
And strait against the steeple rear’d,
Became a clock, and still adher’d;
And, now, in love to household cares,
By a shrill voice the hour declares,
Warning the housemaid not to burn
The roast-meat which it cannot turn.
The easy chair began to crawl,
Like a huge snail along the wall;
There, stuck aloft in public view,
And, with small change, a pulpit grew.
A bed-stead of the antique mode,
Made up 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
Grown to a church by just degrees,
The hermits then desir’d their host
Old goodman Dobson of the green,
Remembers, he the trees has seen;
He’ll talk of them from morn to night,
And goes with folks to shew the sight.
On Sundays, after ev’ning 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 scrubby, died a-top, was stunted;
“So the next parson stubb’d, and burnt it.”
Oh happiness! our being’s
end and aim;
Good, pleasure, ease, content! whate’er they name,
That something still which prompts the eternal sigh,
For which we bear to live, or dare to die:
Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies,
O’erlook’d, seen double, by the fool, and wise:
Plant of celestial seed! if drop’d below,
Say, in what mortal soil thou deign’st to grow:
Fair op’ning to some court’s propitious shrine;
Or deep with di’monds in the flaming mine?
Twin’d with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield,
Or reap’d in iron harvests of the field?
Where grows? where grows it not? If vain our toil,
We ought to blame the culture, not the soil.
Fix’d to no spot is happiness sincere?
’Tis no where to be found, or every where.
Order is heaven’s first
law: and this confest,
Some are, and must be, greater than the rest;
More rich, more wise. But, who infers from hence
That such are happier, shocks all common sense;
Heaven to mankind impartial we confess,
If all are equal in their happiness.
But mutual wants this happiness increase;
All natures difference keeps all natures peace.
Condition, circumstance, is not the thing;
Bliss is the same, in subject, or in king;
In who obtain defence, or who defend;
In him who is, or him who finds a friend.