1828
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Fleurette.

Fleurette, and other Rhymes.

John C. M'Call


A chivalric tale in 59 Spenserians, "Founded on an anonymous story of Henry the Great of France." Henry IV of Navarre (1553-1610) had figured in the fifth book of the Faerie Queene under the guise of Sir Burbon, the lover of Flourdelis. While John C. M'Call's story concerns a rose and not a lily, the topic is still the inconstancy of the prince who, abjuring Protestantism, declared that "Paris is worth a Mass." Fleurette is written with a smattering of archaisms and much mock sententious commentary delivered in the Spenser's pokerfaced manner. The tone of this sardonic tale, though doubtless present in the source, owes much to Byron.

Little is recorded of John Cadwallader M'Call, a Philadelphia lawyer who was evidently a man of independent means.

The poem opens with a description of the dashing Prince Henry and the amorous court of Navarre. One day the court sallies forth to attend an archery match between King Charles and the young prince. After Charles misses the mark, the other contestants dutifully miss the target in deference to the monarch. But not Henry: "Careless, the youthful archer to the head | The light dart drew; — unerring was its bound, | Like to a sun-beam on its way it fled, | And cleft, quite through, the hanging orange, as it sped" pp. 9-10. Laughing off their mortification, the courtiers propose another trial.

When the King refuses to participate, the Duke de Guise steps forward: "For Huguenot to bear away the prize | From gay Parisian and from Cath'lic true, | Had been disgrace forever in his eyes, | So rousing all his art, the thong he drew" pp. 12-13. The Duke cleaves the target, which as it happens is the last orange to be had. It is replaced with a blooming rose from the bosom of a lovely peasant maiden. Henry cleaves the rose, which he then restores whence it came: "No summer cloud e'er slept with lovelier blush | Than that which seemed with maddening joy to bound | To Fleurette's front, and, with delight's wild gush, | Temple and brow and cheek to dye with rapture's flush" p. 17.

Henry is likewise smitten, and being untouched by aristocratic pride, the two become lovers. But the course of true love never runs smoothly: Henry, vowing his constancy, is called away as the heir presumptive to the throne of France. He quickly proves unfaithful, and Fleurette is distraught. Encountering his peasant-love a year later, the Prince is abashed, and begs a rendezvous. Fleurette agrees, but in the event he finds only the withered rose, for his lover had drowned herself in despair. The poem concludes with sardonic remarks on human pride.



O'er all Navarre's gay court bright Pleasure hung:
Wild sports prevailed and th' ardent chase by day;
Bewitching love was made, gay ditties sung,
And dance threw out her lures, when night held sway.—
A royal guest within Nerac made stay,
And new-born splendour lit her ancient halls
With all the colours of the dying day,
Streaming in brightness from the costly walls,
Where happy art had wrought her work that never palls.

Bearn's young prince, e'en then his country's boast,
Henry, the model of a knight and king,
From Charles of France and all his high-born host,
Of famous names, too numerous to sing,
Bore off the honours of saloon and ring.—
Courteous and brave, with happiest skill
The sword he wielded, gave the arrow wing,
Subdued the fiery courser to his will,
That foamed and neighed and champed the bit, while yielding still.

The noble horse, of man the friend and slave,
Meets, like all friends, ingratitude's keen sting.
With heart and vigour broke, — denied a grave,
O'er his death scene the raven flaps her wing,
Unscared by groans that the poor courser wring.
He dies unpitied, — and in some lone dell
Or rocky nook, his stiffened corse they fling—
Ere many days, dragged far from where they fell,
His bleached remains his true and mournful tale may tell.

Yet was his steed from Arab sire bred;
With round, bright eye that flashed a gladsome gleam,
High front, sharp, moving ears and graceful head,
Large, fiery nostrils, with their smoky stream;
Fit to be harnessed with Apollo's team.—
With short, curved back, long swelling neck, broad chine,
Legs lean and flat, and arms that fleshy seem,
With cheerful aspect, mane strong, thin and fine,
Broad chest, high tail, thick thighs, and hoofs we smooth define.

Such are the steeds that o'er the Desert sand
Flee like the night-wind 'long the burning waste,
Whose yellow, livid tinge imbues the land,
The sky, the sun, — as wild wit quick in haste,
Or glimpse of joy th' unhappy sometime taste.—
Such are the barbs that bear the Prophet's son
O'er seas of rolling; scorching sand, ne'er graced
By dew, or plant, or rock, or cooling run,
With nerve and will unyielding, till his journey's done.

Young, laughing damsels, lovely as e'er shone
The nymph ideal of a brilliant dream,
(That flits as swift as th' echo of a tone
From winded horn, at eve o'er glassy stream,)
Gazed on the warlike games as though they'd deem
The victor in the mimic war above
Heroes and Gods, in whom all virtues teem.
While, as she waved a kerchief or a glove,
Some maid would startling feel the sudden wound of love.

Alack! how mischievous the urchin-god
Plays idle pranks and ruffles ladies' hearts
Certes he richly merits the sharp rod,
Who shoots so wildly with his poisoned darts,
And cares but little how the deep wound smarts.
Cannot some tortured maiden catch the boy,
Ere from his dreamy couch, at morn, he starts,
And scourge the saucy child, in very joy,
For all the pranks he's played on nymphs hair-brained and coy?

I'm told he is a vengeful cunning imp,
Quite given o'er to flattery, fraud, and lies;
And often he'll be blind and seem to limp
Till he has made his wound: then swift he flies,
And laughs to scorn his victim's groans and cries.
Few e'er escape, 'tis said, his wicked aim,
Alike he hits the king, the fool, the wise,
One only tribe can sweet assurance claim,
They who for gold give heart and soul, withouten shame.

One day, — there breathed a cool and balmy morn;
Fair Nature laughed, and every living thing
Looked forth in smiles, that vice can e'en adorn
And veil her ugliness and venomed sting.
The flowers waved and odours seemed to fling,
With bounteous prodigality around,
Lavishing essence of the jocund spring
O'er all the teeming bosom of the ground,
O'er green and velvet mead, cool stream and rocky mound.

Weather, for table-talk is pretty food;
A dish of which the giver ne'er is tired;
'Tis so polite to say "the day is good;"
Such prattle we can use like horses hired,
'Tis no great matter if they're lamed or mired.
Dunce and wit it puts upon a level,
Like the deep grave, when men have once expired,
A lasting dwelling, though the walls be bevil,
'Twill serve till robbed by doctors or the devil.

One day their skill in archery to try,
The royal Charles, young Henry and their suite,
Met in a dell, whose riv'let, flowing nigh,
Lent the morn's air a freshness, as with fleet
Meanders, wandering 'long its margin sweet,
Its babbling murmurs drowsy Echo roused
The lonely musing shepherd from the heat
His cool repose here found or deep caroused;
While bathed the panting herds or 'long the green banks browsed.

Ah me! the quiet joyance of the clown,
Who no ambition knows nor envious hate,
The curse of most who dwell within the town,
Mad with ambition in the Church or State,
Is little rocked by those who fortune wait,
Low bending 'neath the patron's lying smile,
Hell's most productive, most enticing bait;—
The thoughtless hind or eats or sleeps the while,
Blissful in happy ignorance of men and bile.

Within the shadows of this dreamy dell
The target stood: while lords of lineage long,
And dames, who did with magic beauty spell,
More potent far than baleful syren's song,
Or talked, or wound the murmuring brook along;
The rough-hewn peasants with their bashful mates
Looked on in silence and amazement strong,
While kings and peers prepared to try their fates,
With arrows, keen as those of wit the dullard hates.

Ladies in fardingale and courtly run;
Decked with the ruby and the sapphire gem
Blazing o'er velvet and rich golden stuff,
And cobweb lace that bound the garment's hem,
As woven moon-beams light and rich as them,
Gave smiles for hearts and thought the exchange too dear;
Lovers' deep vows they heard with well-bred phlegm,
With rapture caught the sigh, beheld the tear,
Torn from a rival, or from love-sick cavalier.

Young gallants, wild with pleasure and with health,
The tough bow bent or poised the feathered dart;
Exchanged the furtive glance with subtle stealth;
While rival hope swelled every manly heart.—
The royal Charles first played his kingly part:
The whizzing arrow clove the sighing air.—
With flashing eye and anger's sudden start,
The monarch saw it fail; with all his care
The mark still proudly rose, untouched, erect and fair.

Full many a courtier then advanced,
And each his arrow to the barb'd head drew
With eager eye it followed while it glanced
In eagle flight, with check of heightened hue.—
Alas each wilful dart still erring flew!
For none could hit when once a king had failed.
To win at most games is a monarch's due:
On such rich diet they have long regaled
To beat a king, at least, uncourteous had been hailed.

But when one prince against another plays
At any little game, like war or so,
To kill Ennui, that son of rainy days,
The king of every ill that's here below.
Why then the case is altered, and the bow
And sword are drawn with all due force and skill,
And foolish subjects' blood is made to flow
Like pretty water-works; the more they kill
The better sport; — kings feast, the people pay the bill.

They have that pleasure in republics too,
If joy it be, t' untie the purse's string,
And pay per diem the bamboozling few
Who take the gold, and in return then fling
Back laws, orations long, and such like thing.
Three-hour harangues, if even they're not heard
By any but the speaker, they take wing
And toward home fly like any carrier bird,
Their length redeems though every line be true absurd.

His fate to try young Henry took his stand:
Then threw a smile and piercing look around
Of mingled sweetness and of haught command.
All eyes were fixed, and hushed was every sound;
The gazers stood like statues on the ground.—
Careless, the youthful archer to the head
The light dart drew; — unerring was its bound,
Like to a sun-beam on its way it fled,
And cleft, quite through, the hanging orange, as it sped.

Some eyes burnt brightly, and some brows were knit:
Praise hummed her lulling note, and Envy's leer
Many a proud lip curled, in anger bit.
To bear defeat well often costs us dear,
'Tis 'like distasteful to the clown and peer.—
The vanquished Frenchmen laughed, and eager asked,
Another trial with the archer's gear;
Resolved that all their Gallic skill be tasked,
Meanwhile, with raillery gay, their wounded pride they masked.

Pride's the Devil in masquerade on earth.
The part he plays, too, wondrous well
Ere while, in heaven he tried it, 'fore the birth
Of Adam, — and thereby he won his hell.—
To man he's taught it ever since he fell.—
The latter is a scholar prompt and apt:
And ladies, too, will sometimes own his spell.
When decked with diamonds and in velvet wrapt,
They credit coxcombs' lies; — then see the climax capt.

The soldier, bashful lawyer, and the cit
Assinine and rich, the pale, shaven monk,
The lackland poet and the starveling wit,
The masked and modest critic, all are drunk,
At times, with pride and in the deep slough sunk.
'Tis very pity that there are so few
So very proud that vanity aye shrunk
Before their conquering pride, while breath they drew
Such are as rare, in these days, as a friend or queue.

In gay carousal fled the night away,
And bashful morn had peeped above the hill,
Though lightfoot dance and music held their sway
O'er knights and laughing dames, untired still.—
These balls are clever things dull time to kill;
And many dancers 'mong the bounding throng,
Treat time, to say the least, excessive ill.—
Some murder time, — but that is very wrong;
They who've no ears should meddle ne'er with dance or song.

Like gallant, proud and fresh, the sweet Day rose,
The far-off mountain painting with bright hues;
While burning blushes dyed the modest snows,
And fear dispersed the trembling, virgin dews;
Children of night with dread the sun imbues.—
With ardour new, the knights their games resume,
Prove the strong bow, the feathered weapon choose.
Hope and ambition every eye illume,
From haught and noble cavalier, to base born groom.

At distance fair the yellow mark was hung,
But eyes looked round, in vain, for France's king.
Again he came not. — With defeat sore stung,
For once, he felt how failure deep can wring
Such as have aye been fanned by Conquest's wing.
But in his stead young Duke de Guise now came,
Alike accomplished mid the war and ring,
A knight more gallant never wooed a dame:
Prepared he stood to win and raze the royal shame.

For Huguenot to bear away the prize
From gay Parisian and from Cath'lic true,
Had been disgrace forever in his eyes,
So rousing all his art, the thong he drew.
Shouts from his friends proclaimed his aim was due;
The golden fruit fell severed quite in twain.
Deep on the victor's front flushed pleasure's hue,
Such as no courtly art can ever stain
The cheek withal, — nor e'en coquette e'er truly feign.

On the young prince's lip a bright smile dwelt,
For noble hearts black Envy never know;
By dastards only is the foul passion felt,
Them, too, she often wrings with bitter throe.—
Pierced and destroyed the fragrant fruit lay low.
What does the archer for another butt?
Around no luscious oranges there grow:
But playful Fancy's to the trial put;
She who can equal rear a palace or a hut.

Fancy's an architect of power rare;
Domes like Aladdin's swell before her wand;
And marble temples float along the air,
Too rich and tasteful e'er to touch the land,
Mounting like exhalations, at command.
Music breathes within; — perfumes and rare delight
Hang o'er the senses of the happy band,
That through the gilded chambers, morn and night,
Stroll, idly, dreaming visions of unmixed delight.

Alack! these gorgeous castles of the air
Melt quick away as frost before the sun.
As whim or longing of a ball-room fair,
Or memory of a favour, erewhile done,
As frail a cobweb as e'er spider spun.—
Yet 'tis a winning way to while an hour,
Building these towers 'neath an evening sun,
Taking for granted always we've the power
The Persian glassman's fate to shun, at which a dreamers cower.

Within th' excited crowd that stood around
And breathless watched their noble betters' play,
The archer's falcon-glance a new mark found,
A full-blown rose, milk-white that quiet lay
Secure upon a breast of fairer clay.—
Just where a peasant had her kerchief crost,
She'd pinned the flower, 'mid th' embroidery gay,
Nor dreamt the fragrant blossom e'er would cost
A treasure ne'er regained when once 'tis haply lost.

The laughing damsel was a sweet brunette.
Amorous, the Sun had kissed her glowing cheek:
Blue were her eyes, her hair as black as jet,
Flowing her neck adown in ringlets sleek,
Shadowing a brow as pure Madonna's meek.—
But when, at times, the treacherous silk betrayed
Its envied trust, and, in audacious freak,
With winds more wanton, a disclosure made,
Fairer than arctic snow a bosom they displayed.

Tapering her fingers were, with dimples set,
Polished and round her arms of glowing white,
Slender her waist where all the Graces met,
Just rose her form the happy middling height
Given the Queen of beauty and delight.
Low fell her tones as flute upon the wave,
By lover breathed at sullen dead of night,
When save his lay all's quiet as the grave,
That dark sojourn and silent, that, th' unhappy crave.

The rose from where it nestled in a nook,
Purer and softer than its own pale leaves,
With grace and winning air the young prince took.
These airs and graces oft prove cunning thieves,
Through hearts they pierce like water pure thro' sieves,
Where nought remains but some sad, fruitless tears
More subtle nets the foul one never weaves.
But see, the flower on the targe appears;
The contest new again excites new hopes and fears.

Who first drew bow was haughty Lord de Guise;
Trembled the rose, so near the arrow flew
Just grazed the feather 'long the fragrant prize,
Ruffling the slumber of th' incumbent dew.
Unharmed yet hung the flower to the view.
Flight to his shaft then royal Henry lent,
Its course was rapid as its aim was true;
Pierced by the dart the lovely flower bent,
While th' air around, with shouts, the loyal people rent.

The arrow, burthened with the wounded rose,
Then raised the princely archer from the ground,
And with the ease that from pure courtesy flows,
(Blest in itself and blessing all around,)
Laid both where first he had the flower found.
No summer cloud e'er slept with lovelier blush
Than that which seemed with maddening joy to bound
To Fleurette's front, and, with delight's wild gush,
Temple and brow and cheek to dye with rapture's flush.

What tremor shook the young plebeian maid?
To say 'twas e'en delirium of delight,
Were not to call in dazzling Fancy's aid,
She who wraps all within her veil of light,
Brilliant as mantle of the gorgeous Night.
Eyes filled with love on eyes as ardent shone,
Heralds and lineage were forgotten quite;
He as he gazed ne'er thought on crown or throne,
She as she sighed dreamt rank and poverty were flown.

Hell boasts no scourge like Poverty on earth,
Of every ill the lean and hungry sire;
While fell Disease his mate, at each foul birth,
Yields sons and daughters, as their parents dire.
If man has e'er a foretaste of the fire,
The lot of crime within the other world,
He feels the actual cautery of the pyre,
When some rich ass, his Midas-ears well curled,
In wealth's protection safe, has proud defiance hurled.

One night, one starry and delicious night,
There hung Venitian moonlight o'er the land
With balm was th' air and richest perfume dight;
She, with her gentle breath the foliage fanned,
And all around ruled Quiet, deep and bland.
Beside a fountain, mirror to the moon,
That walked through heaven, o'er her pathway grand,
Two lovers sat and seemed to beg no boon,
Save Night her reign t' extend, nor cede to Day so soon.

Spoke they in murmurs soft as rained the dew
E'en to the dregs Love's magic cup they drank,
Nor thought the nectar ever weaker grew,
Though Hecate fair, beneath th' horizon sank,
And bathed her glories in the fountain dank,
Fleurette and Henry were the happy pair,
By mystic passion equalled now in rank:
He was the suitor, — she the granting fair,
The wooer told his tale and won a jewel rare.

Months fled away and yet they lived on love,
The sweetest manna that on earth o'er fell.
Strong was the net that passion round them wove,
When e'er they met within the bushy dell,
Vows to repeat and hidden thoughts to tell.
But true love's stream, alas! has ne'er flowed fair;
O'er wounding rocks for ever did it well
Who follows it, must meet fell Pain and Care,
Nor, think to swell his sail with mild and kindly air.

Deeper's the courtier's ken than eagle glance;
Rarely amour of royal heir's unknown;
'Twas sudden found the air of courtly France
(Than in the south sure sweeter ne'er was blown)
Would suit the young expectant of the throne.
Old heads regard it for a maxim true,
Absence cures love if not too old 't be grown;
If so, — th' old passion cedes to love more new;
The wound a black eye makes is cured by one of blue.

When came the eve Fleurette was forced to say
"Farewell," a sad and bitter word at best,
She wept and trembling on his bosom lay;
His heart she murmured ne'er would hide the test
Of parting, — since the flood, true love's worst pest.—
Deep oaths and many swore the youthful knight
No novel beauty could his heart invest,
His peasant-girl should aye maintain her right
His willing heart to rule, in very absence' spite.

None heard the echo of their fond adieu;
The silent moon and welling fountain save;
One veiled her light in anger from their view,
And one swift fled, low murmuring, with her wave,
Sounds deep as those that float above the grave.
"When you return," the falt'ring maiden said,
"If poor Fleurette may yet remembrance crave,
Seek me along the fountain's grassy bed,
For here alive I'll weep, and here I'll haunt when dead."

The magic rod bends toward the hidden spring,
That clad in darkness' mantle vainly weeps,
In awe and silence mutely worshipping
The lymph that 'neath the verdant hillock sleeps,
Envying the torrent's wild and daring leaps.
So leaned the swelling heart of young Fleurette
On Henry's image, with the throb that keeps
The mind's eye waking and the maid's cheek wet,
When first she feels Love's power, nor comprehends it yet.

She starts, — she weeps, — she sobs, — she knows not why,
The rose is changed for melancholy rue;
Laugh and gay frolic cede both to the sigh,
The bright and burning blush to paleness' hue;
Shuddering she feels a pang as sharp as new.—
Moody and sad for solitude she pines,
And courts the quiet Evening when her dew
Falls cool and fragrant, as the sun declines,
Dashing the fiery west with gold and purple lines.

To gray-beard Time, wild Joy his bright wings lent
The dazzling pinions bore him 'long like thought;
Nor was their vigour for a moment spent.—
The wingless boy, in France, D'Albret had caught,
In vain t' elude his clutch the angel sought.
Meanwhile in borrowed plumes Time soared aloft,
Content to wear what he would ne'er have bought,
And knowing well the guise must soon be doft,
Light flew the fiend o'er round erewhile he limped o'er oft.

For false and pallid, waning moons a score,
The sun had travelled o'er his zodiack-way,
Ere Henry trod again his palace-floor:
But o'er his heart the fair D'Ayelle held sway,
Sweeter than breath and look of fresh-born May.
Blind with her beauty, charm-bound by her wit,
Locked in her toils, the ardent D'Albret lay.
What though the image of Fleurette did flit
His memory o'er, ne'er was the first-born flame relit.

Man ne'er is constant but with one sad view:
Self is the star that guides him on his way;
On that he gloats, like steel to magnet true,
From beardless youth to whining dotage gray,
His dream it haunts by night, his mind by day.
His very love is but base love of self,
Self's in his thought e'en when he kneels to pray;
For this he'll bow to calf, or stock, or elf;
Nor yields this master-love save to the love of pelf.

Death's younger brother, blind, soft, lazy Sleep,
Now shunned the eyelids of the poor Fleurette.—
His gentle daughter's Dreams could only weep
And hover o'er her, waking, when they met.—
Wandered she, listless, for her hope had set.
Dull grief clung to her like a deadly shroud,
And if she ne'er complained, her eyes were wet
With heavy tears, — and deep sighs, if not loud,
Told her heart was breaking, though for lament too proud.

Hid by the umbrage of the loaded vine,
Unseen, the sorrowing maid oft watched the pair;
Felt aching envy, fervid love combine,
Too much for human power, at once, to bear
Their eyes to meet, yet could she never dare.
Time to his form had added new-born grace,
While every beauty crowned the rival fair.
The heart-broke rustic, as she conned her face,
Sobbed and confessed her worthy of a king's embrace.

"She cannot love him though as I have done;
Ne'er can her sum of love half equal mine,"
Low murmured forth the poor, forsaken one;
Then fled away in solitude to pine,
Or pray for death, the healing gift divine.
Thou, last, best gift of heaven to frail man,
Proud Deity! all-worthy of thy shrine,
Who'st flown, unconquered, since the world began,
I hail thee, Death! — nor dread thy dart, nor aspect wan.

In front an ivied cot, a young maid sat,
Plying, one eve, her lowly, humming wheel.
Around in rest all lay: — alone, the bat,
On leathern wing, pursued his whirling reel;
While 'gan the moon above the wood to steal.
The lulling night-air sometime woke a leaf,
And th' heavenly calm tried every ill to heal.
Yet in the maiden's breast there dwelt a grief,
That healing, soft repose ne'er knew, however brief.

The path along soon passed a cavalier
Wild pleasure beaming 'bout his haughty brow,
Frighting alike the sullen frown and tear;
For strangers were they to the young knight now,
Howe'er to earth they made the damsel bow.
Onward he strode, — then sudden stopt and stared.
One look the peasant gave, then fell, full low,
Her streaming eye; — his fixed and wildly glared,
As though an airy being had him crossed and dared.

"Still-loved Fleurette," with faltering tongue he said,
"Meet me, yet once, beside the fountain dear."
Sadly, she smiled and bent her lovely head,
Her blue eye glistening with the swelling tear,
Whispered, "At wonted hour, you'll find me there."
Down o'er his brow the falling plume he drew,
And vanished quick within the thicket near.
The sluggish hours on lagging pinions flew;
Impetuous D'Albret cursed their speed and fev'rish grew.

Beamless, the blood-red sun dropped 'neath the wood,
Nor moved the purple foliage, while the stream,
With plaining ripple, idly poured its flood,
And hung, far off, the blue fog in its dream.
While every sound did low and mellow seem.
The woodman's ditty and the dog's deep bay
Harmonious fell, in lonely hearer's deem,
And coining Fancy, looking round, might say.
She saw, in tangled wood's dark maze, the wild fays play.

Came on the hour: — the prince impatient sped
Of former joy, again, the scene he sought.—
O'er all reign'd solitude, the while he read
That book of light, (the moon,) and thought
On one, with every tender feeling fraught.
She came not. — But his piercing, wandering eye
The well-remembered rose and dart then caught.
Like magic-wand it stood, and planted nigh
The fount, — witness of broken plight and love gone by.

The withered flower, with a blush, he raised,
And starting saw a billet to it bound.
Thus ran the letter as he read amazed:
"You love no more, — the fatal truth I've found.
Yet of reproach from me you'll ne'er hear sound.
May I meet mercy as I pardon you,
And each rich blessing in thy path redound.
Seek, — and you'll find I've kept my promise true."
Deep 'neath the fountain's wave, her corse then met his view.

Now, gentle Reader, let me say, "farewell."
If thou'rt a lady, with a ruby lip,
May women envy, men all hail thee belle;
For that's the cup, I think, you'd like to sip.
If thou'rt M. D. in poisons fond to dip,
May'st thou rich fees and ne'er thy medicines take.
A merchant? may you never wreck a ship,
For friends endorse, nor bungling bargains make,
Your very soul, to win all these, would you not stake?

Art thou a farmer? Oh! then may thy grain,
Thy bullocks, sheep and ruta-baga sell,
And may militia-honours on thee rain.
If thou hast drunk at Coke's refreshing well,
May verdicts, writs, and fees, — such as ne'er fell
To lot of lawyer, veil black conscience' hue,
And drown all fear, if thou deserv'st a hell.
Art thou, my Reader sweet, a critic true?
Then may — but no! — I bid defiance and adieu.

[pp. 1-28]