Once on a time, as hist’ry’s page relates,
A lord, possessed of many large estates,
Was angry with a poor and humble clod,
Who tilled his grounds and feared his very nod.
Th’ offence (as often happens) was but small,
But on him, vowed the peer, his rage should fall—
Said he, a halter, rascal, you deserve;
You’ll never from the gallows-turnpike swerve:
Or, soon or late you swinging will be found
Who, born for hanging, ever yet was drowned?
Howe’er you’ll smile to hear my lenient voice;
Observe, three punishments await your choice;
Take which you will.—The first is, you shall eat,
Of strongest garlick, thirty heads complete;
No drink you’ll have between, nor sleep, nor rest;
You know a breach of promise I detest.
Or, on your shoulders further I propose,
To give you, with a cudgel, thirty blows.
Or, if more pleasing, that you truly pay,
The sum of thirty pounds without delay.
Thepeasant ’gan to turn things in his mind:—
Said he, to take the heads I’m not inclined;
No drink, you say, between; that makes it worse;
To eat the garlick thus, would prove a curse.
Nor can I suffer on my tender back,
That, with a cudgel, thirty blows you thwack.
Still harder thirty pounds to pay appeared;
Uncertain how to act, he hanging feared.
The noble peer he begged, upon his knees,
His penitence to hear, and sentence ease.
But mercy dwelled not with the angry lord
Is this, cried he, the answer?—bring a cord.
The peasant, trembling lest his life was sought;
The garlick chose, which presently was brought.
Upon a dish my lord the number told; Clod no way liked the garlick to behold. With piteous mien the garlick head he took, Then on it num’rous ways was led to look, And grumbling much, began to spit and eat, just like a cat with mustard on her meat, To touch it with his tongue he durst not do; He knew not how to act or what pursue. The peer, delighted at the man’s distress, The garlick made him bite, and chew, and press, Then gulp it down as if delicious fare; The first he passed; the second made him swear; The third he found was every whit as sad, He wished the devil had it, ’twas so bad. In short, when at the twelfth our wight arrived, He thought his mouth and throat of skin deprived. Said he, some drink I earnestly intreat; What, Greg’ry, cried my lord, dost feel a heat; In thy repasts dost love to wet thy jaws? Well! well! I won’t object; thou know’st my laws; Much good may’t do thee; here, some wine, some wine! Yet recollect, to drink, since you design, That afterward, my friend, you’ll have to choose The thirty blows, or thirty pounds to lose. But, cried the peasant, I sincerely pray, Your lordship’s goodness,