Page images




Of all the callings and the trades

Which in our land abound,
The miller's is as useful, sure,

As can on earth be found.

The lord or squire of high degree

Is needful to the state,
Because he lets the land he owns

In farms both small and great.

The farmer, he manures the land,
Or else what corn could grow 1

The ploughman cuts the furrow deep
Ere he begins to sow.

And though no wealth he has, except

The labor of his hands,
Yet honest industry's as good

As houses or as lands.

The thresher, he is useful too

To all who like to eat;
Unless he winnowed well the corn,

The chaff would spoil the wheat.

But vain the squire's and farmer's care,

And vain the thresher's toil;
And vain would be the ploughman's pains,

Who harrows up the soil;

And vain, without the miller's aid,
The sowing and the dressing:

Then sure an honest miller, he
Must be a public blessing.

And such a miller now I make

The subject of my song,
Which, though it shall be very true,

Shall not be very long.

This miller lives in Glo'stershire:

I shall not tell his name;
For those who seek the praise of God,

Desire no other fame.

In last hard winter—who forgets

The frost of ninety-five ?— Then was all dismal, scarce, and dear,

And no poor man coold thrive.

Then husbandry long time stood still,

And work was at a stand;
To make the matter worse, the mills

Were froze throughout the land.

Our miller dwelt beside a stream,

All underneath the hill; Which flowed amain when others froze,

Nor ever stopped the mill.

The clam'rous people came from far

This favored miU to find;
Both rich and poor our miller sought,

For none but he could grind.

His neighbors cried, "Now, miller, seize

The time to heap up store, Since thou of young and helpless babes

Hast got full half a score."

For folks, when tempted to grow rich,

By means not over nice,
Oft make their numerous babes a plea

To sanctify the vice.

Our miller scorned such counsel base;

And when he ground the grain,
With steadfast hand refused to touch

Beyond his lawful gain.
Vol. i. 34

"When God afflicts the land," said hej

"Shall I afflict it more?
And watch for times of public wo,

To wrong both rich and poor?

"Thankful to that Almighty Power
Who makes my river flow,

I'll use the means he gives to soothe
A hungry neighbor's wo.

"My river flows when others freeze,

But 'tis at his command;
For rich and poor I'll grind alike;

No bribe shall stain my hand!"

So all the country who had corn
Here found their wants redressed;

May every village in the land
Be with such millers blessed!





There was a heathen man, sir,

Belonging to a king;
And still it was his plan, sir,

To covet every thing.

And if you don't believe me,
I'll name him, if you please;

For let me not deceive ye,
'Twas one Squire Damocles,

He thought that jolly living
Must every joy afford;

His heart knew no misgiving,
While round the festive board.

He wanted to be great, sir,
And feed on fare delicious,

And have his feasts in state, sir,
Just like King Dionysius.

The king, to cure his longing,
Prepared a feast so fine,

That all the court were thronging
To see the courtier dine.

And there, to tempt his eye, sir,
Was fish, and flesh, and fowl;

And when he was a-dry, sir,
There stood the brimming bowl.

Nor did the king forbid him
From drinking all he could;

The monarch never chid him,
But filled him with his food.

O then to see the pleasure
Squire Damocles expressed

'Twas joy beyond all measure:
Was ever man so blessed ?

With greedy eyes the squire
Devoured each costly dainty;

You'd think he did aspire
To eat as much as twenty.

But, just as he prepared, sir,
Of bliss to take a swing,

O, how the man was scared, sir,
By this so cruel king !

When he to eat intended,
Lo! just above his head,

He spied a sword suspended
All by a single thread.

How did it change the feasting
To wormwood and to gall,

To think, while he was tasting,
The pointed sword might fall!

Then in a moment's time, sir,

He loathed the luscious feast; And dreaded as a crime, sir, The brimming bowl to taste.

Now, if you're for applying

The story I have told,
I think there's no denying

'Tis worth its weight in gold.

Ye gay, who view this stranger,

And pity his sad case;
And think there was great danger

In such a fearful place;

Come, let this awful truth, sir,
In all your minds be stored;

To each intemperate youth, sir,
Death is that pointed sword.

And though you see no reason
To check your mirth at all,

In some licentious season
The sword on you may fall.

So learn, while, at your ease, sir,
You drink down draughts delicious,

To think of Damocles, sir,
And old King Dionysius.

« PreviousContinue »