« הקודםהמשך »
Matters at worst are sure to mend, 416
WRITTEN LONG AFTER THE TALE.
O DEAREST daughter, of two dearest friends,
Long love his person, though deplore his fate;
Seem young when old in thy dear husband's arms, * Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley.
For constant virtue has immortal charms. 6
A BALLAD,' TO THE TUNE OF KING JOHN AND THE
1 ISING not old Jason, who travelled through Greece,
2 Nor him who through Asia and Europe did roam,
3 Hang Homer and Virgill their meaning to seek, A man must have poked into Latin and Greek; Those who love their own tongue, we have reason to hope, Have read them translated by Dryden and Pope.
4 But I sing of exploits that have lately been done By two British heroes, called Matthew and John:”
1 Down-hall in the county of Essex, three miles south-east from Hatfield Broad Oak Church, beautifully seated on a rising ground, above a stream which runs through Hatfield town, having a fine prospect over the adjacent country; purchased for Prior by his friend Lord Harley.— Mr Prior, and Mr John Morley, of Halstead.
And how they rid friendly from fine London town,
5 Now ere they went out you may rightly suppose
6 And thus Matthew said, Look you here, my friend John, I fairly have travelled years thirty and one; > And, though I still carried my sovereign's warrants, & I only have gone upon other folks' errands.
& 7 And now in this journey of life I would have - A place where to bait, 'twixt the court and the grave: Where joyful to live, not unwilling to die;— Gadzooks! I have just such a place in my eye.
8 There are gardens so stately, and arbours so thick,
9 For things in this world must bylaw be made certain:
10 Quoth Matthew, I know, that, from Berwick to Dover,
11 But a word to the purpose: to-morrow, dear friend, We'll see what to-night you so highly commend; And, if with a garden and house I am blessed, Let the Devil and Coningsby' go with the rest.
12 Then answered Squire Morley; Pray get a calash, That in summer may burn, and in winter may splash; I love dirt and dust; and 'tis always my pleasure, To take with me much of the soil that I measure.
13 But Matthew thought better; for Matthew thought right, And hired a chariot so trim and so tight, That extremes both of winter and summer might pass: For one window was canvass, the other was glass.
14 Draw up, quoth friend Matthew; pull down, quoth friend John, We shall be both hotter and colder anon. Thus talking and scolding, they forward did speed; And Ralpho paced by, under Newman the Swede.
15 Into an old inn did this equipage roll, At a town they call Hodson, the sign of the Bull; Near a nymph with an urn, that divides the high way, And into a puddle throws mother of tea.
16 Come here, my sweet landlady, pray how d'ye do; Where is Cicely so cleanly, and Prudence, and Sue, And where is the widow that dwelt here below, And the ostler that sung about eight years ago? 1 Lord Coningsby was one of the members of the committee of the Privy Council, who examined Mr Prior at the accession of George I. From the
account given by the poet of what passed on that occasion, he appears to have been very roughly treated by that nobleman.
17 And where is your sister, so mild and so dear? Whose voice to her maids like a trumpet was clear. By my troth! she replies, you grow younger, I think: And pray, Sir, what wine does the gentleman drink'
18 Why now let me die, Sir, or live upon trust, If I know to which question to answer you first: Why things, since I saw you, most strangely have varied, The ostler is hanged, and the widow is married.
19 And Prue left a child for the parish to nurse;
20 Well, peace to her ashes! what signifies grief!
21 For that matter, Sir, be you squire, knight, or lord,
22 Of mutton a delicate neck and a breast Shall swim in the water in which they were drest; And, because you great folks are with rarities taken, Addle-eggs shall be next course, tossed up with rank bacon.
23 Then supper was served, and the sheets they were laid; And Morley most lovingly whispered the maid.