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THE YEARLY DISTRESS,
TITHING TIME AT STOCK, IN ESSEX.
Verses addressed to a country clergyman, complaining of the disagreeableness of the day annually appointed
for receiving the dues at the parsonage.
COME, ponder well, for 'tis no jest,
To laugh it would be wrong,
The burden of my song.
This priest he merry is, and blithe
Three quarters of a year,
When tithing time draws near.
He then is full of fright and fears,
As one at point to die,
He heaves up many a sigh.
For then the farmers come jog, jog,
Along the miry road,
To make their payments good.
In sooth, the sorrow of such days
Is not to be express'd, When he that takes and he that pays
Are both alike distress’d.
Now all unwelcome at his gates
The clumsy swains alight,
He trembles at the sight.
And well he may, for well he knows
Each bumpkin of the clan, Instead of paying what he owes,
Will cheat him if he can.
So in they come-each makes his leg,
And Alings his head before, And looks as if he came to beg,
And not to quit a score.
“And how does miss and madam do,
“ The little boy and all?" “All tight and well. And how do you,
“Good Mr. What-d'ye-call?”
The dinner comes, and down they sit:
Were e’er such hungry folk? There's little talking, and no wit; . It is no time to joke.
One wipes his nose upon his sleeve,
One spits upon the floor,
Holds up the cloth before.
The punch goes round, and they are dull
And lumpish still as ever;
They only weigh the heavier.
At length the busy time begins.
“Come, neighbours, we must wag" The money chinks, down drop their chins,
Each lugging out his bag.
One talks of mildew and of frost,
And one of storms of hail, And one of pigs that he has lost
By maggots at the tail.
Quoth one, “A rarer man than you
“In pulpit none shall hear: “But yet, methinks, to tell you true,
“ You sell it plaguy dear.”
O why are farmers made so coarse,
Or clergy made so fine? A kick, that scarce would move a horse,
May kill a sound divine.
Then let the boobies stay at home;
"Twould cost him, I dare say, Less trouble taking twice the sum,
Without the clowns that pay.
HENRY COWPER, ESQ.
On his emphatical and interesting delivery of the defence of
Warren Hastings, Esq. in the House of Lords.
COWPER, whose silver voice, task'd sometimes hard,
Legends prolix delivers in the ears (Attentive when thou read’st) of England's peers,
Let verse at length yield thee thy just reward. Thou wast not heard with drowsy disregard, Expending late on all that length of plea Thy gen'rous pow'rs, but silence honour'd thee, Mute as e'er gaz'd on orator or bard. Thou art not voice alone, but hast beside
Both heart and head; and couldst with music sweet Of Attic phrase and senatorial tone, Like thy renown'd forefathers, far and wide
Thy fame diffuse, prais'd not for utt'rance meet Of others' speech, but magic of thy own.