Of Music’s pleasing torture. Irus’ self,
The staff-propt Beggar, his thin gotten pelf
Brings out from pouch, where squalid farthings rest,
And boldly claims his ballad with the best.
An old Dame only lingers. To her purse
The penny sticks. At length, with harmless curse,
“Give me,” she cries. “I’ll paste it on my wall,
While the wall lasts, to show what ills befall
Fond hearts, seduced from Innocency’s way;
How Maidens fall, and Mariners betray.”
[Footnote 1: Seven Dials]
* * * * *
TO DAVID COOK,
OF THE PARISH OF ST. MARGARET’S, WESTMINSTER, WATCHMAN.
For much good-natured verse received from
A loving verse take in return from me.
“Good-morrow to my masters,” is your cry;
And to our David “twice as good,” say I.
Not Peter’s monitor, shrill Chanticleer,
Crows the approach of dawn in notes more clear,
Or tells the hours more faithfully. While night
Fills half the world with shadows of affright,
You with your lantern, partner of your round,
Traverse the paths of Margaret’s hallow’d bound.
The tales of ghosts which old wives’ ears drink up,
The drunkard reeling home from tavern cup,
Nor prowling robber, your firm soul appall;
Arm’d with thy faithful staff, thou slight’st them all.
But if the market gard’ner chance to pass,
Bringing to town his fruit, or early grass,
The gentle salesman you with candor greet,
And with reit’rated “good-mornings” meet.
Announcing your approach by formal bell,
Of nightly weather you the changes tell;
Whether the Moon shines, or her head doth steep
In rain-portending clouds. When mortals sleep
In downy rest, you brave the snows and sleet
Of winter; and in alley, or in street,
Relieve your midnight progress with a verse.
What though fastidious Phoebus frown averse
On your didactic strain—indulgent Night
With caution hath seal’d up both ears of Spite,
And critics sleep while you in staves do sound
The praise of long-dead Saints, whose Days abound
In wintry months; but Crispin chief proclaim:
Who stirs not at that Prince of Cobblers’ name?
Profuse in loyalty some couplets shine,
And wish long days to all the Brunswick line!
To youths and virgins they chaste lessons read;
Teach wives and husbands how their lives to lead;
Maids to be cleanly, footmen free from vice:
How death at last all ranks doth equalize;
And, in conclusion, pray good years befall,
With store of wealth, your “worthy masters all.”
For this and other tokens of good will
On boxing-day may store of shillings fill
Your Christmas purse; no householder give less,
When at each door your blameless suit you press:
And what you wish to us (it is but reason)
Receive in turn—the compliments o’ th’ season!