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When to assert the wall and when resign,
I sing. Thou, Trivia, goddess, aid my song ;
Through spacious streets conduct thy bard along.
For ease and for dispatch, the morning's best;
No tides of passengers the street molest.
You 'll see a draggled damsel, here and there,
From Billingsgate her fishy traffic bear;
On doors the sallow milk-maid chalks her gains-
Ah, how unlike the milk-maid of the plains !
Before proud gates attending asses bray,
Or arrogate with solemn pace the way;
These grave physicians with their milky cheer
The lovesick maid and dwindling beau repair.
Here rows of drummers stand in martial file,
And with their vellum thunder shake the pile,
To greet the new-made bride: are sounds like these
The proper prelude to a state of peace?
Now Industry awakes her busy sons :
Full charged with news, the breathless hawker runs;
Shops open, coaches roll, carts shake the ground,
And all the streets with passing cries resound.
If clothed in black you tread the busy town,
Or if distinguished by the rev'rend gown,
Three trades avoid : oft in the mingling press
The barber's apron soils the sable dress;
Shun the perfumer's touch with cautious eye,
Nor let the baker's step advance too nigh.
Ye walkers too that youthful colours wear,
Three sullying trades avoid with equal care:
The little chimney-sweeper skulks along,
And marks with sooty stains the heedless throng;
When “Small-coal!” murmurs in the hoarser throat,
From smutty dangers guard thy threatened coat;
The dust-man's cart offends thy clothes and eyes,
When through the street a cloud of ashes flies.
But whether black or lighter dyes are worn,
The chandler's basket, on his shoulder borne,
With tallow spots thy coat; resign the way
To shun the surly butcher's greasy tray-
Butchers whose hands are dyed with blood's foul stain,
And always foremost in the hangman's train.
Let due civilities be strictly paid :
The wall surrender to the hooded maid,
Nor let thy sturdy elbow's hasty rage
Jostle the feeble steps of trembling age;
And when the porter bends beneath his load,
And pants for breath, clear thou the crowded road;
But, above all, the groping blind direct,
And from the pressing throng the lame protect.
You ʼll sometimes meet a fop, of nicest tread,
Whose mantling peruke veils his empty head;
At ev'ry step he dreads the wall to lose
And risks, to save a coach, his red-heeled shoes :
Him, like the miller, pass with caution by,
Lest from his shoulder clouds of powder fly.
But when the bully, with assuming pace,
Cocks his broad hat, edged round with tarnished lace,
Yield not the way; defy his strutting pride,
And thrust him to the muddy kennel's side;
He never turns again nor dares oppose,
But mutters coward curses as he goes.
But hark! Distress with screaming voice draws nigh'r, 65 And wakes the slumb'ring street with cries of fire. At first a glowing red enwraps the skies, And, borne by winds, the scatt'ring sparks arise; From beam to beam the fierce contagion spreads; The spiry flames now lift aloft their heads;
70 Through the burst sash a blazing deluge pours, And splitting tiles descend in rattling show'rs. Now with thick crowds th' enlightened pavement swarms; The fireman sweats beneath his crooked arms; A leathern casque his vent'rous head defends;
75 Boldly he climbs where thickest smoke ascends; Moved by the mother's streaming eyes and pray’rs, The helpless infant through the flame he bears, With no less virtue than through hostile fire The Dardan hero bore his aged sire. See forceful engines spout their levelled streams, To quench the blaze that runs along the beams; The grappling-hook plucks rafters from the walls,
And heaps on heaps the smoky ruin falls;
Blown by strong winds, the fiery tempest roars,
Bears down new walls, and pours along the floors.
The heav'ns are all ablaze; the face of night
Is covered with a sanguine, dreadful light:
'T was such a light involved thy tow'rs, O Rome,
The dire presage of mighty Caesar's doom,
When the sun veiled in rust his mourning head,
And frightful prodigies the skies o'erspread.
Hark! the drum thunders! far, ye crowds, retire:
Behold, the ready match is tipt with fire,
The nitrous store is laid, the smutty train
With running blaze awakes the barrelled grain;
Flames sudden wrap the walls; with sullen sound
The shattered pile sinks on the smoky ground.
So when the years shall have revolved the date,
Th' inevitable hour of Naples' fate,
Her sapped foundations shall with thunders shake,
And heave and toss upon the sulph'rous lake;
Earth's womb at once the fiery flood shall rend,
And in th' abyss her plunging tow'rs descend.
And now complete my gen'rous labours lie,
Finished, and ripe for immortality:
Death shall entomb in dust this mould'ring frame,
But never reach th' eternal part, my fame.
When W * and G **, mighty names, are dead,
Or but at Chelsea under custards read;
And tragedies, turned rockets, bounce in air;
High-raised on Fleet Street posts, consigned to fame,
This work shall shine, and walkers bless my name.
Life is a jest, and all things show it.
I thought so once, but now I know it.
SWEET WILLIAM’S FAREWELL TO BLACK-EYED SUSAN
All in the Downs the fleet was moored,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came aboard:
“Oh, where shall I my true love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true
If my sweet William sails among the crew ?”
William, who high upon the yard
Rocked with the billow to and fro,
Soon as her well-known voice he heard,
He sighed and cast his eyes below:
The cord slides swiftly through his glowing hands,
And, quick as lightning, on the deck he stands.
So the sweet lark, high poised in air,
Shuts close his pinions to his breast,
If chance his mate's shrill call he hear,
And drops at once into her nest.
The noblest captain in the British fleet
Mighty envy William's lip those kisses sweet.
"O Susan, Susan, lovely dear,
My vows shall ever true remain!
Let me kiss off that falling tear :
We only part to meet again.
Change as ye list, ye winds! my heart shall be
The faithful compass that still points to thee.
"Believe not what the landmen say,
Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind:
They 'll tell thee sailors, when away,
In ev'ry port a mistress find-
Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so,
For thou art present wheresoe'er I go.
“If to far India's coast we sail,
Thy eyes are seen in di'monds bright;
Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale,
Thy skin is ivory so white.
Thus ev'ry beauteous object that I view
Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.
"Though battle call me from thy arms,
Let not my pretty Susan mourn;
Though cannons roar, yet, safe from harms,
William shall to his dear return.
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly,
Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye.”
The boatswain gave the dreadful word;
The sails their swelling bosom spread; No longer must she stay aboard:
They kissed-she sighed-he hung his head. Her less'ning boat unwilling rows to land; “Adieu !” she cries, and waved her lily hand.
THE FOX AT THE POINT OF DEATH
A fox, in life's extreme decay,
Weak, sick, and faint, expiring lay;
All appetite had left his maw,
And age disarmed his mumbling jaw.
His num'rous race around him stand,
To learn their dying sire's command;
He raised his head with whining moan,
And thus was heard the feeble tone:
“Ah, sons, from evil ways depart!
My crimes lie heavy on my heart.
See, see, the murdered geese appear!
Why are those bleeding turkeys there?
Why all around this cackling train,
Who haunt my ears for chickens slain?”
The hungry foxes round them stared,
And for the promised feast prepared.
“Where, sir, is all this dainty cheer?
Nor turkey, goose, nor hen is here.
These are the phantoms of your brain,
And your sons lick their lips in vain.”
"O gluttons !" says the drooping sire,
“Restrain inordinate desire!
Your liqu'rish taste you shall deplore
When peace of conscience is no more.
Does not the hound betray our pace,