Sketches of Village Life and Character.

Si natura negas, facit indignatio versum.”

The Village Politician.

Thrice happy land, where order keeps the rein,1
Tho’ faction fret, and fierce sedition strain,2
Where “ public weel,” regardless of her ire,3
Sees private discontent in fumes expire ;4
Where every meanest subject, Briton-born,5
May hold his Prince’s ministers in scorn,6
Canvas their measures, praise or censure lend,7
Attack, refute, investigate, defend ;8
In chair of judgment seated, fix the doom9
Of Whig and Tory, Castlereagh, or Brougham,10
On King and Queen, as whim or conscience draw,11
Impress the “ηαλα” and the “ αγαθα12
Far hence the time when turbulence shall cease,13
And terror’s death-like silence shall be peace,14
When all the foul fire damp of rage shall ly15
In muttered threats, and vengeance-sparkling eye,16
And Britons shall be Frenchmen—dark and still17
(Like thunder cloud that hung upon the hill18
In breathless silence lours), till waked at once19
The wasting passions howl—the murderous weapons glance.20
A Galen’s head, amid the rotten thatch,21
Exalted thus for “ customers” to watch,22
The window stoned with vials red and green,23
Where lizard, snake, and swimming fish are seen,24
These emblems speak, than “ lettered board,” more clear,25
That “ Allan Breck” is “ surgeon druggist”—here.26
He is the Horn-book of this village small,27
Itch, rheumatism, bats, he cures them all,—28
For rats and other vermin, mixes doses29
For coughs and colds, a pectoral pill composes30
And thus, so great the reach of Allan’s skill,31
He can, as suits you best, or cure or kill.32
The “ Scotsman” here by nightly guest is read,33
And proofs of state-delinquency are led.—34
Our king has servants, harbingers of woe,35
To whom, so he decrees it, we must bow ;36
Our means they basely pilfer, we must say37
God bless the hind that reaves our means away.38
Our freedom is disposed of, we must stand39
To see corruption subjugate the land,—40
Or if we dare to murmur, underneath41
Oppression’s load, ’tis banishment and death ;42
They tell us of our rights—and will they feed43
Our starving children that implore for bread ;44
They boast of their protection !— thus the Ass45
Is kept for drudgery and fed on grass.46
Base beast of burden, loaded, beat, and starved,47
And only for its usefulness preserved.48
The harvest comes ; o’er many a fruitful field,49
Whose labour taught, the sullen soil to yield ?50
The splendid mansion proves the right of those51
By whose laborious art the mansion rose ;52
Let us withdraw our labours, we shall find53
The great more humble, and the rich more kind.54
Where mere ‘ equality,’ blest state of man,55
Primeval state ere misery began,56
Ere princes, lords, and ministers combined57
To mar the happiness of human mind.58
Ere ‘ wealth’ erected high her pillared dome,59
And ‘ power’ declared the stately hall his home,60
Drove o’er the free-born soul his hateful way,61
And cursed mankind with ‘ an imperial sway.’62
Our priests are leeches swelling into blood ;63
Where now the spare thin ‘ holy man of God ?’64
They fatten on our ignorance, and speak,65
Just what they think will gull us, week by week ;66
Whilst we, dull fools, with lengthened visage hear,67
Subjected to their purposes by fear68
Of hell—by hope of everlasting bliss69
What madness half so desperate as this70
’Tis time we stir us powerfully, and thus,71
As I this stopper, cast their cords from us ;72
Who would not die, oppression’s bonds to break73
Who would not !— let him die,” says Allan Breck.74
Thus reasons “ Allan Breck,” whilst every eye75
Beams “ insubordination” in reply ;76
The grinding teeth, and trembling lip compressed,77
The curse and furious rap, proclaim the rest.78