1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Richard Mant?, in The Simpliciad (1808) 29-33.



The village boasts its busy, busy bees;
Old road-menders who dine on bread and cheese;
Poachers, who go, when trade in England fails,
To drink their grog and curse in New South Wales;
Goodies who boil their pottage one and one
By the same fire; and some, who dwell alone;
Beggars, on lies and impudence who thrive,
And cottage girls, who don't know seven from five.
If from such arduous tasks you shrink dismay'd,
Play with your cat, apostrophize your spade:
Or should some donkey cross you on the way,
(Not such as wends with crimson housing gay,
The conscious palfrey of a high-born lass,
But a poor, half-starv'd, plodding, vulgar ass)
'Tis but with gentle hand to give him bread,
And clap his ragged coat, and pat his head,
Lament his sad prophetic fears, approve
His patient merit, and his filial love,
Converse a little with his asking feet,
And praise his hoarse bray, musically sweet;
Then in despite of scornful folly's pother,
Ask him to live with you, and hail him Brother!