1769
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Country Cousins. A New Song.

Lloyd's Evening Post (21 August 1769) 172.

Anonymous


A burlesque pastoral ballad in three double-quatrain stanzas signed "Old Cockney, Bow Church." The misanthropic poet complains of playing host to his uninvited visitors: "We talk'd of hops, cows, corn, and hay, | Of which they declar'd a great plenty, | I ask'd 'em how long they could stay? | Some talk'd of ten days, and some twenty." While Lloyd's Evening Post published pastoral poetry, it seems to have been strongly averse to the anapestic variety — because it was associated with country cousins? A set of answering verses signed "Old Rural" appeared on 4 September.



My Cousins from Country came,
My comical Country Cousins,
I'd count them all over by name,
But cannot, they come in such dozens.
Each aukwardly bow'd down his head
When at my house-door they alighted,
I, thunder-struck, wish'd 'em all dead,
The devil of one I invited.

We talk'd of hops, cows, corn, and hay,
Of which they declar'd a great plenty,
I ask'd 'em how long they could stay?
Some talk'd of ten days, and some twenty;
I'm glad on't, said I (though I ly'd,)
(By visits like these a man's undone)
I wish'd on the road they had died,
Or the plague wou'd drive all out of London.

Since Sutton's o'ercome the small-pox,
Rustics ramble all over the nation,
I wish he had been in the stocks,
Both him and his Inoculation.
'Tis horrid to have so much kin,
Yet our Country Cousins, poor souls,
Would be welcome to come now and then,
Would they bring but their pigs, ducks, and fowls.

[p. 172]