THE 'SQUIRE AND THE PARSON.
1 BY his hall chimney, where in rusty grate
2 Green faggots wept their own untimely fate,
3 In elbow-chair the pensive 'Squire reclin'd,
4 Revolving debts and taxes in his mind:
5 A pipe just fill'd, upon a table near
6 Lay by the London Evening stain'd with beer,
7 With half a bible, on whose remnants torn
8 Each parish round was annually forsworn.
9 The gate now claps, as Evening just grew dark,
10 Tray starts, and with a growl prepares to bark;
11 But soon discerning with sagacious nose
12 The well known savour of the Parson's toes,
13 Lays down his head, and sinks in soft repose:
14 The Doctor entering, to the tankard ran,
15 Takes a good hearty pull, and thus began:
16 Why sit'st thou, thus forlorn and dull, my friend,
17 Now War's rapacious reign is at an end?
18 Hark, how the distant bells inspire delight!
19 See bonfires spangle o'er the veil of night!
20 What's Peace, alas! in foreign parts to me?
21 At home, nor peace, nor plenty can I see;
22 Joyless, I hear drums, bells, and fiddles sound,
23 'Tis all the same — Four shillings in the pound.
24 My wheels, tho' old, are clogg'd with a new tax;
25 My oaks, tho' young, must groan beneath the axe:
26 My barns are half unthatch'd, until'd my house,
27 Lost by this fatal sickness all my cows:
28 See, there's the bill my late damn'd lawsuit cost!
29 Long as the land contended for — and lost:
30 Ev'n Ormond's Head I can frequent no more,
31 So short my pocket is, so long the score;
32 At shops all round I owe for fifty things. —
33 This comes of fetching Hanoverian kings.
34 I must confess the times are bad indeed,
35 No wonder; when we scarce believe our creed;
36 When purblind Reason's deem'd the surest guide,
37 And heaven-born Faith at her tribunal try'd;
38 When all church-power is thought to make men slaves,
39 Saints, martyrs, fathers, all call'd fools, and knaves.
40 Come, preach no more, but drink and hold your tongue:
41 I'm for the church: — but think the parsons wrong.
42 See there! Free-thinking now so rank is grown,
43 It spreads infection thro' each country town;[Page 317]
44 Deistic scoffs fly round at rural boards,
45 'Squires, and their tenants too, profane as lords,
46 Vent impious jokes on every sacred thing;
47 Come, drink; —
47 — Here's to you then, to church and king:
48 Here's church and king, I hate the glass should stand,
49 Tho' one takes tithes, and t'other taxes land.
50 Heaven with new plagues will scourge this sinful nation,
51 Unless we soon repeal the toleration,
52 And to the church restore the convocation:
53 Plagues we should feel sufficient, on my word,
54 Starv'd by two houses, priest-rid by a third.
55 For better days we lately had a chance,
56 Had not the honest Plaids been trick'd by France.
57 Is not most gracious George our faith's defender?
58 You love the church, yet wish for the pretender!
59 Preferment, I suppose, is what you mean,
60 Turn Whig, and you, perhaps, may be a Dean:
61 But you must first learn how to treat your betters.
62 What's here? sure some strange news, a boy with letters;[Page 318]
63 O ho! here's one I see, from Parson Sly:
64 "My reverend neighbour Squab being like to die,
65 " I hope, if heaven should please to take him hence,
66 "To ask the living would be no offence.
67 Have you not swore, that I should Squab succeed?
68 Think how for this I taught your sons to read;
69 How oft discover'd puss on new-plow'd land,
70 How oft supported you with friendly hand,
71 When I could scarcely go, nor could your worship stand.
72 'Twas yours, had you been honest, wise, or civil;
73 Now ev'n go court the Bishops — or the Devil.
74 If I meant any thing, now let me die,
75 I'm blunt, and cannot fawn and cant, not I,
76 Like that old presbyterian rascal Sly.
77 I am, you know; a right true-hearted Tory,
78 Love a good glass, a merry song, or story.
79 Thou art an honest dog, that's truth indeed —
80 Talk no more nonsense then about the creed.
81 I can't, I think, deny thy first request;
82 'Tis thine; but first a bumper to the best.
83 Most noble 'Squire, more generous than your wine,
84 How pleasing's the condition you assign? [Page 319]
85 Give me the sparkling glass, and here, d'ye see,
86 With joy I drink it on my bended knee:
87 Great Queen! who governest this earthly ball,
88 And mak'st both kings, and kingdoms, rise and fall:
89 Whose wonderous power in secret all things rules,
90 Makes fools of mighty peers, and peers of fools:
91 Dispenses mitres, coronets, and stars;
92 Involves far distant realms in bloody wars,
93 Then bids the snaky tresses cease to hiss,
94 And gives them peace again —b
b Madam de P—mp—dour. nay, gav'st us this:
95 Whose health does health to all mankind impart,
96 Here's to thy much-loy'd health:
'SQUIRE, rubbing his hands.
96 — With all my heart.