BAUCIS AND PHILEMON.
Imitated, From the Eighth Book of OVID.
1 In antient Times, as Story tells,
2 The Saints would often leave their Cells.
3 And strole about, but hide their Quality,
4 To try good People's Hospitality.
5 IT happen'd on a Winter Night,
6 As Authors of the Legend write;[Page 378]
7 Two Brother Hermits, Saints by Trade,
8 Taking their Tour in Masquerade;
9 Disguis'd in tatter'd Habits, went
10 To a small Village down in Kent;
11 Where, in the Strolers Canting Strain,
12 They beg'd from Door to Door in vain;
13 Try'd ev'ry Tone might Pity win,
14 But not a Soul would let them in.
15 OUR wand'ring Saints in woful State,
16 Treated at this ungodly Rate,
17 Having thro' all the Village pass'd,
18 To a small Cottage came at last;
19 Where dwelt a good old honest Yeoman,
20 Call'd, in the Neighbourhood, Philemon.
21 Who kindly did the Saints invite
22 In his Poor Hut to pass the Night;
23 And then the Hospitable Sire
24 Bid Goody Baucis mend the Fire;[Page 379]
25 While He from out of Chimney took
26 A Flitch of Bacon off the Hook;
27 And freely from the fattest Side
28 Cut out large Slices to be fry'd;
29 Then stept aside to fetch 'em Drink,
30 Fill'd a large Jug up to the Brink;
31 And saw it fairly twice go round;
32 Yet (what is wonderful) they found,
33 'Twas still replenished to the Top,
34 As if they ne'er had toucht a Drop,
35 The good old Couple was amaz'd,
36 And often on each other gaz'd;
37 For both were frighted to the Heart,
38 And just began to cry; — What ar't
39 Then softly turn'd aside to view,
40 Whether the Lights were burning blue.
41 The gentle Pilgrims soon aware on't,
42 Told 'em their Calling, and their Errant:
43 Good Folks, you need not be afraid,
44 We are but Saints, the Hermits said;[Page 380]
45 No Hurt shall come to You, or Yours;
46 But, for that Pack of churlish Boors,
47 Not fit to live on Christian Ground,
48 They and their Houses shall be drown'd:
49 Whilst you shall see your Cottage rise,
50 And grow a Church before your Eyes.
51 THEY scarce had Spoke; when, fair and soft,
52 The Roof began to mount aloft;
53 Aloft rose ev'ry Beam and Rafter,
54 The heavy Wall climb'd slowly after
55 THE Chimney widen'd, and grew higher,
56 Became a Steeple with a Spire.
57 THE Kettle to the Top was hoist,
58 And there stood fast'ned to a Joist:
59 But with the Upside down, to shew
60 Its Inclinations for below;
61 In vain; for a Superior Force
62 Apply'd at Bottom, stops its Course,[Page 381]
63 Doom'd ever in Suspence to dwell,
64 'Tis now no Kettle, but a Bell.
65 A wooden Jack, which had almost
66 Lost, by Disuse, the Art to Roast,
67 A sudden Alteration feels,
68 Increas'd by new Intestine Wheels:
69 And, what exalts the Wonder more,
70 The Number made the Motion slow'r:
71 The Flyer, tho't had Leaden Feet,
72 Turn'd round so quick, you scarce cou'd see't;
73 But slacken'd by some secret Power,
74 Now hardly moves an Inch an Hour.
75 The Jack and Chimney near ally'd,
76 Had never left each other's Side;
77 The Chimney to a Steeple grown,
78 The Jack wou'd not be left alone,
79 But up against the Steeple rear'd,
80 Became a Clock, and still adher'd:[Page 382]
81 And still its Love to Houshold Cares
82 By a shrill Voice at Noon declares,
83 Warning the Cook-maid, not to burn
84 That Roast-meat which it cannot turn.
85 THE Groaning Chair began to crawl
86 Like an huge Snail along the Wall;
87 There stuck aloft, in Publick View,
88 And with small Change, a Pulpit grew.
89 THE Porringers, that in a Row
90 Hung high, and made a glitt'ring Show,
91 To a less Noble Substance chang'd
92 Were now but Leathern Buckets rang'd.
93 THE Ballads pasted on the Wall,
94 Of Joan of France, and English Moll,
95 Fair Rosamond, and Robin Hood,
96 The Little Children in the Wood:
97 Now seem'd to look abundance better,
98 Improv'd in Picture, Size, and Letter;[Page 383]
99 And high in Order plac'd describe
100 The Heraldry of ev'ry Tribe.
101 A Bedstead of the Antique Mode,
102 Compact of Timber many a Load,
103 Such as our Ancestors did use,
104 Was Metamorphos'd into Pews;
105 Which still their antient Nature keep;
106 By lodging Folks dispos'd to Sleep.
107 THE Cottage by such Feats as these,
108 Grown to a Church by just Degrees,
109 The Hermits then desir'd their Host
110 To ask for what he fancy'd most:
111 Philemon, having paus'd a while,
112 Return'd 'em Thanks in homely Stile;
113 Then said; my House is grown so Fine,
114 Methinks, I still wou'd call it mine:
115 I'm Old, and fain wou'd live at Ease,
116 Make me the Parson, if you please.
117 HE spoke, and presently he feels,
118 His Grazier's Coat fall down his Heels;
119 He sees, yet hardly can believe,
120 About each Arm a Pudding-sleeve;
121 His Wastcoat to a Cassock grew,
122 And both assum'd a Sable Hue;
123 But being Old, continu'd just
124 As Thread-bare, and as full of Dust.
125 His Talk was now of Tythes and Dues,
126 Cou'd smoak his Pipe, and read the News;
127 Knew how to preach old Sermons next,
128 Vampt in the Preface and the Text;
129 At Christnings well could act his Part,
130 And had the Service all by Heart;
131 Wish'd Women might have Children fast,
132 And thought whose Sow had farrow'd last:
133 Against Dissenters wou'd repine,
134 And stood up firm for Right Divine:[Page 385]
135 Found his Head fill'd with many a System,
136 But Classick Authors — he ne'er miss'd e'em.
137 THUS having furbish'd up a Parson,
138 Dame Baucis next they play'd their Farce on:
139 Instead of Home-spun Coifs were seen,
140 Good Pinners edg'd with Colberteen:
141 Her Petticoat transform'd apace,
142 Became Black Sattin, Flounc'd with Lace,
143 Plain Goody would no longer down,
144 'Twas Madam, in her Grogram Gown.
145 Philemon was in great Surprize,
146 And hardly could believe his Eyes,
147 Amaz'd to see Her look so Prim,
148 And she admir'd as much at Him.
149 THUS, happy in their Change of Life,
150 Were serveral Years this Man and Wife,
151 When on a Day, which prov'd their last,
152 Discoursing on old Stories past,[Page 386]
153 They went by chance, amidst their Talk,
154 To the Church-yard, to take a walk;
155 When Baucis hastily cry'd out;
156 My Dear, I see your Forehead sprout:
157 Sprout, quoth the Man, What's this you tell us?
158 I hope you don't believe me Jealous:
159 But yet, methinks, I feel it ture;
160 And re'ly, Yours is budding too —
161 Nay, — now I cannot stir my Foot:
162 It feels as if 'twere taking Root.
163 DESCRIPTION would but tire my Muse:
164 In short, they both were turn'd to Yews.
165 Old Good-man Dobson of the Green
166 Remembers he the Trees has seen;
167 He'll talk of them from Noon till Night,
168 And goes with Folks to shew the Sight:
169 On Sundays, after Ev'ning Prayer,
170 He gathers all the Parish there;[Page 387]
171 Points out the Place of either Yew;
172 Here Baucis, there Philemon grew.
173 Till once, a Parson of our Town,
174 To mend his Barn, cut Baucis down;
175 At which, 'tis hard to be believ'd,
176 How much the other Tree was griev'd,
177 Grew Scrubby, dy'd a-top, was stunted:
178 So, the next Parson stub'd and burnt it.