Winthrop Mackworth Praed.
SOME years ago, ere time and taste
Had turnd our parish topsy-turvy,
When Darnel Park
was Darnel Waste,
And roads as little known as scurvy,
The man who lost his way, between
Hill and Sandy Thicket,
Was always shown across the green,
And guided to the Parsons wicket.
Back flew the bolt of lissom lath;
Fair Margaret, in her tidy kirtle,
Led the lorn traveller up the
Through clean-clipt rows of box and myrtle;
And Don and Sancho, Tramp and Tray,
Upon the parlour
Waggd all their tails, and seemd to say
Our master knows youyoure expected.
Uprose the Reverend Dr. Brown,
Uprose the Doctors winsome marrow;
The lady laid her
Her husband claspd his ponderous Barrow;
Whateer the strangers caste or creed,
or Papist, saint or sinner,
He found a stable for his steed,
And welcome for himself, and dinner.
If, when he reachd his journeys end,
And warmd himself in Court or College,
He had not
gained an honest friend
And twenty curious scraps of knowledge,
If he departed as he came,
new light on love or liquor,
Good sooth, the traveller was to blame,
And not the Vicarage, nor the Vicar.
His talk was like a spring, which runs
With rapid change from rocks to roses:
It slipped from
politics to puns,
It passed from Mahomet to Moses;
Beginning with the laws which keep
The planets in
their radiant courses,
And ending with some precept deep
For dressing eels, or shoeing horses.
He was a shrewd and sound Divine,
Of loud Dissent the mortal terror;
And when, by dint of
page and line,
He stablishd Truth, or startled Error,
The Baptist found him far too deep;
The Deist sighd
with saving sorrow;
And the lean Levite went to sleep,
And dreamd of tasting pork to-morrow.
His sermons never said or showd
That Earth is foul, that Heaven is gracious,
on the road
From Jerome or from Athanasius:
And sure a righteous zeal inspired
The hand and head that
pennd and plannd them,
For all who understood admired,
And some who did not understand them.
He wrote, too, in a quiet way,
Small treatises, and smaller verses,
And sage remarks on chalk
And hints to noble Lordsand nurses;
True histories of last years ghost,
Lines to a ringlet, or a
And trifles for the Morning Post,
And nothings for Sylvanus Urban.
He did not think all mischief fair,
Although he had a knack of joking;
He did not make himself
Although he had a taste for smoking;
And when religious sects ran mad,
He held, in spite of all his
That if a mans belief is bad,
It will not be improved by burning.
And he was kind, and loved to sit
In the low hut or garnishd cottage,
And praise the farmers
And share the widows homelier pottage:
At his approach complaint grew mild;
And when his
hand unbarrd the shutter,
The clammy lips of fever smiled
The welcome which they could not utter.
He always had a tale for me
Of Julius Caesar, or of Venus;
From him I learnt the rule of three,
cradle, leap-frog, and Quae genus:
I used to singe his powderd wig,
To steal the staff he put such trust in,
And make the puppy
dance a jig,
When he began to quote Augustine.
Alack the change! in vain I look
For haunts in which my boyhood trifled,
The level lawn,
the trickling brook,
The trees I climbd, the beds I rifled:
The church is larger than before;
You reach it by
a carriage entry;
It holds three hundred people more,
And pews are fitted up for gentry.
Sit in the Vicars
seat: youll hear
The doctrine of a gentle Johnian,
Whose hand is white, whose tone is clear,
is very Ciceronian.
Where is the old man laid?look down,
And construe on the slab before you,
jacet GVLIELMVS BROWN,
Vir nullânon donandus lauru.