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This season quite shall strip the country's pride,
For 'twas in autumn Blouzelinda died.
Where’er I gad, I Blouzelind shall view,
Woods, dairy, barn, and mows, our passion knew.
When I direct my eyes to yonder wood,
Fresh rising sorrow curdles in my blood.
Thither I’ve often been the damsel's guide,
When rotten sticks our fuel have supplied;
There I remember how her faggots large,
Were frequently these happy shoulders' charge.
Sometimes this crook drew hazel boughs adown,
And stuff'd her apron wide with nuts so brown;
Or when her feeding hogs had miss'd their way,
Or wallowing mid a feast of acorns lay,
The untoward creatures to the sty. I drove,
And whistled all the way—or told my love.
If by the dairy's hatch I chance to hie,
I shall her goodly countenance espy,
For there her goodly countenance I’ve seen,
Set off with kerchief starch'd and pinners clean.
Sometimes, like wax, she rolls the butter round,
Or with the wooden lily prints the pound.
Whilom I've seen her skim the clouted cream,
And press from spungy curds the milky stream.
But now, alas! these ears shall hear no more
The whining swine surround the dairy door,
No more her care shall fill the hollow tray,
To fat the guzzling hogs with floods of whey.
Lament, ye swine! in grunting spend your grief,
For you, like me, have lost your sole relief.
When in the barn the sounding flail I ply,
Where from her sieve the chaff was wont to fly,
The poultry there will seem around to stand,
Waiting upon her charitable hand:
No succour meet the poultry now can find,
For they, like me, have lost their Blouzelind.
Whenever by yon barley-mow I pass,
Before my eyes will trip the tidy lass.
I pitch'd the sheaves (oh could I do so now)
Which she in rows pil'd on the growing mow,
There every deale my heart by love was gain'd, There the sweet kiss my courtship has explain'd: Ah! Blouzelind! that mow I ne'er shall see, But thy memorial will revive in me. Lament, ye fields! and rueful symptoms show, Henceforth let not the smelling primrose grow; Let weeds instead of butter-flowers appear, And meads instead of daisies hemlock bear; For cowslips sweet let dandelions spread, For Blouzelinda, blithsome maid is dead. Lament, ye Swains! and o'er her grave bemoan, And spell ye right this verse upon her stone; “Here Blouzelinda lies—Alas, alas ! Weep, shepherds !—and remember flesh is grass.” Grub. Albeit thy songs are sweeter to mine ear Than to the thirsty cattle rivers clear, Or winter porridge to the labouring youth, Or buns and sugar to the damsel's tooth; Yet Blouzelinda's name shall tune my lay ; Of her I'll sing for ever and for aye. When Blouzelind expir'd, the wether's bell Before the drooping flock toll'd forth her knell; The solemn death-watch click'd the hour she died, And shrilling crickets in the chimney cried; The boding raven on her cottage sate, And with hoarse croaking warn'd us of her fate; The lambkin, which her wonted tendance bred, Dropp'd on the plains that fatal instant dead ; Swarm'd on a rotten stick the bees I spied, Which erst I saw when Goody Dobson died. How shall I, void of tears, her death relate 2 While on her darling's bed her mother sate, These words the dying Blouzelinda spoke, And of the dead let none the will revoke:‘Mother (quoth she) let not the poultry need; And give the goose wherewith to raise her breed; Be these my sister's care—and every morn Amid the ducklings let her scatter corn; The sickly calf that's hous'd, be sure to tend, Feed him with milk, and from bleak colds defend.
Yet ere I die-see, Mother, yonder shelf, ” -
There secretly I've hid my worldly pelf.
Twenty good shillings in a rag I laid,
Be ten the parson's, for my sermon paid :
The rest is your's—my spinning-wheel and rake,
Let Susan keep for her dear sister's sake:
My new straw hat that's trimly lin'd with green
Let Peggy wear, for she's a damsel clean :
My leathern bottle, long in harvests tried,
Be Grubbinol's—this silver ring beside :
Three silver pennies and a nine-pence bent,
A token kind to Bumkinet is sent.”
Thus spoke the maiden, while her mother cried,
And peaceful, like the harmless lamb, she died.
To show their love, the neighbours far and near
Follow'd, with wistful look, the damsel's bier.
Sprigg'd rosemary the lads and lasses bore,
While dismally the parson walk'd before :
Upon her grave the rosemary they threw,
The daisy, butter-flower, and endive blue.
After the good man warn'd us from his text,
That none could tell whose turn would be the next,
He said that Heaven would take her soul, no doubt,
And spoke the hour-glass in her praise—quite out.
To her sweet memory flowery garlands strung,
O'er her now empty seat aloft were hung;
With wicker rods we fenc'd her tomb around,
To ward from man and beast the hallow'd ground,
Lest her new grave the parson's cattle raze;
For both his horse and cow the church-yard graze.
Now we trudg’d homeward to her mother's farm,
To drink new cyder mull'd, with ginger warm;
For Gaffer Treadwell told us, by the bye,
Excessive sorrow is exceeding dry.
While bulls bear horns upon their curled brow,
Or lasses with soft strokings milk the cow;
While paddling ducks the standing lake desire,
Or battening hogs roll in the sinking mire;
While moles the crumbled earth in hillocks raise,
So long shall swains tell Blouzelinda's praise.
Thus wail'd the louts in melancholy strain, Till bonny Susan sped across the plain : They seiz'd the lass, in apron clean array'd, And to the alehouse forc'd the willing maid. In ale and kisses they forget their cares, And Susan, Blouzelinda's loss repairs.”
SUBLIMER strains, O rustic Muse! prepare ;
Forget a-while the barn and dairy's care ;
Thy homely voice to loftier numbers raise,
The drunkard's Flights require sonorous lays;
With Bowzybeus' songs exalt thy verse,
While rocks and woods the various notes rehearse.
'Twas in the season when the reapers' toil
Of the ripe harvest 'gan to rid the soil;
Wide through the field was seen a goodly rout,
Clean damsels bound the gather'd sheaves about;
The lads with sharpen'd hook and sweating brow
Cut down the labours of the winter-plough.
To the near hedge young Susan steps aside,
She feign'd her coat or garter was untied ;
Whate'er she did, she stoop'd adown unseen,
And merry reapers what they list will ween.
Soon she rose up, and cried with voice so shrill,
That Echo answer'd from the distant hill;
The youths and damsels ran to Susan's aid,
Who thought some adder had the lass dismay’d.
When fast asleep they Bowzybeus spied, His hat and oaken staff lay close beside; That Bowzybeus who could sweetly sing, Or with the rosin'd bow torment the string;
That Bowzybeus who with finger's speed
Could call soft warblings from the breathing reed;
That Bowzybeus who with jocund tongue,
Ballads, and roundelays, and catches sung.
They loudly laugh to see the damsel's fright,
And in disport surround the drunken wight.
Ah! Bowzybee, why didst thou stay so long 2
The mugs were large, the drink was wondrous strong!
Thou shouldst have left the fair before 'twas night,
But thou sats toping till the morning light.
Cic'ly, brisk maid, steps forth before the rout,
And kiss'd with smacking lip the snoring lout;
For custom says, whoe'er this venture proves,
For such a kiss demands a pair of gloves.
By her example Dorcas bolder grows,
And plays a tickling straw within his nose.
He rubs his nostril, and in wonted joke
The sneeringswains with stammering speech bespoke;
“To you, my lads, I'll sing my carols o'er;
As for the maids—I’ve something else in store.”
No sooner 'gan he raise his tuneful song,
But lads and lasses round about him throng,
Not ballad-singer plac'd above the crowd -
Sings with a note so shrilling sweet and loud;
Nor parish-clerk who calls the psalm so clear,
Like Bowzybeus soothes the attentive ear.
Of Nature's laws his carols first begun,
Why the grave owl can never face the sun;
For owls, as swains observe, detest the light,
And only sing and seek their prey by night:
How turnips hide their swelling heads below,
And how the closing coleworts upward grow ;
How Will-a-wisp misleads night-faring clowns
O'er hills, and sinking bogs, and pathless downs:
Of stars he told, that shoot with shining trail,
And of the glow-worm's light that gilds his tail:
He sung where woodcocks in the summer feed,
And in what climates they renew their breed;
Some think to northern coasts their flight they tend,
Or to the moon in midnight hours ascend: