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Virtue no more in rural plains,
Or innocence, or peace remains;
But vice is in the cottage found,
And country girls are oft unsound:
Fierce party-rage each village fires,
With wars of justices and 'squires :
Attorneys, for a barley-straw,
Whole ages hamper folks in law :
And every neighbour's in a flame
About their rates, or tythes, or game :
Some quarrel for their hares and pigeons,
And some for diff'rence in religions:

Some hold their parson the best preacher,
The tinker some a better teacher;

These, to the Church they fight for, strangers,
Have faith in nothing, but her dangers ;
While those, a more believing people,
Can swallow all things-but a steeple.

But I, my Lord, who, as you know,
Care little how these matters go,
And equally detest the strife
And usual joys of country life,
Have by good fortune little share
Of its diversions, or its care;
For seldom I with 'squires unite,
Who hunt all day, and drink all night;
Nor reckon wonderful inviting,

A quarter-sessions, or cock-fighting:

But then no farm I occupy,
With sheep to rot and cows to die :
Nor rage I much, or much despair,
Though in my hedge I find a snare;
Nor view I, with due admiration,
All the high honors here in fashion;
The great commissions of the quorum,
Terrors to all who come before 'em ;
Militia scarlet, edg'd with gold,
Or the white staff high-sheriffs hold;
The representative's caressing,
The judge's bow, the bishop's blessing.
Nor can I for my soul delight

In the dull feast of neighb'ring knight,
Who, if you send three days before,
In white gloves meets you at the door,
With superfluity of breeding

First makes you sick, and then with feeding.
Or if with ceremony cloy'd,

You would next time such plagues avoid,

And visit without previous notice,

JOHN, JOHN, a coach!-I can't think who 'tis,
My lady cries, who spies your coach,
you the avenue approach;
Lord, how unlucky!-washing-day!
And all the men are in the hay!
Entrance to gain is something hard,
The dogs all bark, the gates are barr'd;
The yard's with lines of linen cross'd,

The hall-door's lock'd, the key is lost :
These difficulties all o'ercome,
We reach at length the drawing-room,
Then there's such trampling over-head,
Madam you'd swear was brought to-bed;
Miss in a hurry bursts the lock,

To get clean sleeves to hide her smock;
The servants run, the pewter clatters;
My lady dresses, calls, and chatters;
The cook-maid raves for want of butter,
Pigs squeak, fowls scream, and green geese

Now after three hours tedious waiting,
On all our neighbours faults debating,
And having nine times view'd the garden,
In which there's nothing worth a farthing,
In comes my lady and the pudden :
You will excuse, sir,-on a sudden-
Then, that we may have four and four,
The bacon, fowls, and colli-flow'r
Their ancient unity divide,

The top one graces, one each side;
And by and by the second course
Comes lagging like a distanc'd horse;
A salver then to church and king,
The butler sweats, the glasses ring;
The cloth remov'd, the toasts go round,
Bawdy and politics abound;

And as the knight more tipsy waxes,

We damn all ministers and taxes.
At last the ruddy sun quite sunk,
The coachman tolerably drunk,
Whirling o'er hillocs, ruts, and stones,
Enough to dislocate one's bones,
We home return, a wond'rous token

Of heaven's kind care, with limbs unbroken.
Afflict us not, ye Gods, though sinners,
With many days like this, or dinners!

But if civilities thus teaze me, Nor business, nor diversions please me, You'll ask, my Lord, how time I spend ? I answer, with a book, or friend': The circulating hours dividing "Twixt reading, walking, eating, riding: But books are still my highest joy, These earliest please, and latest cloy. Sometimes o'er distant climes I stray, By guides experienc'd taught the way; The wonders of each region view, From frozen LAPLAND to PERU; Bound o'er rough seas, and mountains bare, Yet ne'er forsake my elbow chair. Sometimes some fam'd historian's pen Recalls past ages back agen, Where all I see, through every page, Is but how men with senseless rage Each other rob, destroy, and burn,

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To serve a priest's, or statesman's turn;
Though loaded with a diff'rent aim,
Yet always asses much the same.
Sometimes I view with much delight,
Divines their holy game-cocks fight;
Here faith and works at variance set,
Strive hard who shall the victory get;
Presbytery and episcopacy

There fight so long, it would amaze ye :
Here free will holds a fierce dispute
With reprobation absolute;
There sense kicks transubstantiation,
And reason pecks at revelation.
With learned NEWTON now I fly
O'er all the rolling orbs on high,
Visit new worlds, and for a minute
This old one scorn, and all that's in it:
And now with laboring BOYLE I trace
Nature through every winding maze,
The latent qualities admire
Of vapors, water, air and fire:
With pleasing admiration see
Matter's surprising subtlety;
As how the smallest lamp displays,
For miles around, its scatter'd rays;
Or how (the case still more t' explain)
A fart that weighs not half a grain,
The atmosphere will oft perfume
Of a whole spacious drawing-room.

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