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Each night, when be returned from work,
His wife, so meek and mild,
His little supper gladly dressed,
While he caressed his child.
One blooming babe was all he had,
His only darling dear,
The object of their equal love,
The solace of their care.
O what could ruin such a life,
And spoil so fair a lot?
O what could change so kind a heart,
And every virtue blot ?
With grief the cause I must relate,
The dismal cause reveal;
'Twas EVIL COMPANY and DRINK,
The source of every ill.
A cooper came to live hard by,
Who did his fancy please;
An idle, rambling man was he,
Who oft had crossed the seas.
This man could tell a merry tale,
And sing a merry song;
And those who heard him sing or talk,
Ne'er thought the evening long.
But vain and vicious was the song,
And wicked was the tale;
And every pause he always filled
With cider, gin, or ale.
Our carpenter delighted much
To hear the cooper talk,
And with him to the ale-house oft
Would take his evening walk.
At first he did not care to drink,
But only liked the fun;
But soon he from the cooper learnt
The same sad course to run.
He said the cooper's company
Was all for which he cared; But soon he drank as much as he
To swear like him soon dared.
His hammer now neglected lay;
For work he little cared;
Half-finished wheels and broken tools
Were strewed about the yard.
To get him to attend his work,
No prayers could now prevail ;
His hatchet and his plane forgot,
He never drove a nail.
His cheerful evenings now no more
With peace and plenty smiled;
No more he sought his pleasing wife,
Nor hugged his smiling child.
For not his drunken nights alone
Were with the cooper passed;
His days were at the Angel spent,
And still he staid the last.
No handsome Sunday suit was left,
Nor decent holland shirt;
No nosegay marked the Sabbath morn,
But all was rags and dirt.
No more his church he did frequent,
A symptom ever sad;
Where once the Sunday is misspent,
The week-days must be bad.
The cottage mortgaged for its worth,
The favorite orchard sold,
He soon began to feel th’ effects
Of hunger and of cold.
The pewter dishes one by one
Were pawned, till none were left;
And wife and babe at home remained,
Of every help bereft.
By chance he called at home one night,
And in a surly mood
He bade his weeping wife go get
Immediately some food.
His empty cupboard well he knew
Must needs be bare of bread;
No rasher on the rack he saw ;
Whence could he then be fed?
His wife* a piteous sigh did heave,
And then before him laid
A basket covered with a cloth,
But not a word she said ;
Then to her husband gave a knife,
With many a silent tear :
In haste he tore the cover off,
And saw his child lie there!
“ There lies thy babe,” the mother said,
"Oppressed with famine sore !
O kill us both—'twere kinder far-
We could not suffer more."
The carpenter, struck to the heart,
Fell on his knees straightway;
He wrung his hands, confessed his sins,
And did both weep and pray.
From that same hour the cooper more
He never would behold;
Nor would he to the ale-house go,
Had it been paved with gold.
His wife forgave him all the past,
And soothed his sorrowing mind,
And much he grieved that e'er he wronged
The worthiest of her kind.
By laboring hard, and working late,
By industry and pains,
His cottage was at length redeemed,
And saved were all his gains.
His Sundays now at church were spent,
His home was his delight;
The following verse himself he made,
And read it every night :-
The drunkard murders child and wife,
Nor matters it a pin,
Whether he stabs them with his knife,
Or starves them with his gin.
* See Berquin's Gardener.
HALF A LOAF IS BETTER THAN NO BREAD.
NA DIALOGUE BETWEEN JACK ANVIL AND TOM HOD.
TO THE TUNE OF-"A COBBLER THERE WAS."
Written in Ninety-five, a Year of Scarcity and Alarm.
“Come, neighbors, no longer be patient and quiet,
Come, let us go kick up a bit of a riot;
I'm hungry, my lads, but I've little to eat,
So we'll pull down the mills, and we'll seize all the meat:
I'll give you good sport, boys, as ever you saw;
So a fig for the justice, a fig for the law.
Derry down." Then his pitchfork Tom seized.--"Hold a moment,” says
“ I'll show thee thy blunder, brave boy, in a crack.
And if I don't prove we had better be still,
I'll assist thee straightway to pull down every mill;
I'll show thee how passion thy reason does cheat,
Or I'll join thee in plunder for bread and for meat.
“What a whimsey to think thus our bellies to fill!
For we stop all the grinding by breaking the mill !
What a whimsey to think we shall get more to eat
By abusing the butchers who get us the meat!
What a whimsey to think we shall mend our spare diet
By breeding disturbance, by murder and riot!
Derry down. “ Because I am dry, 'twould be foolish, I think, To pull out my tap, and to spill all my drink; Because I am hungry and want to be fed, That is sure no wise reason for wasting my bread: And just such wise reasons for mending their diet Are used by those blockheads who rush into riot. VOL. 1. 18
“ I would not take comfort from others' distresses,
But still I would mark how God our land blesses ;
For though in Old England the times are but sad,
Abroad, I am told, they are ten times as bad;
In the land of the pope there is scarce any grain,
And 'tis worse still, they say, both in Holland and Spain.
“ Let us look to the harvest our wants to beguile;
See the lands with rich crops how they every where smile!
Meantime to assist us, by each western breeze,
Some corn is brought daily across the salt seas.
Of tea we'll drink little, of gin none at all,
And we'll patiently wait, and the prices will fall.
Derry down. “ But if we're not quiet, then let us not wonder If things grow much worse by our riot and plunder ; And let us remember, whenever we meet, The more ale we drink, boys, the less we shall eat. On those days spent in riot, no bread you brought home; Had you spent them in labor, you must have had some.
“ A dinner of herbs,' says the wise man, 'with quiet,
Is better than beef amid discord and riot.'
If the thing could be helped, I'm a foe to all strife,
And I pray for a peace every night of my life;
But in matters of state not an inch will I budge,
Because I conceive I'm no very good judge.
“But though poor, I can work, my brave boy, with the best;
Let the king and the parliament manage the rest;
I lament both the war and the taxes together,
Though I verily think they don't alter the weather.
The king, as I take it, with very good reason,
May prevent a bad law, but can't help a bad season.
“ The parliament men, although great is their power,
Yet they cannot contrive us a bit of a shower;
And I never yet heard, though our rulers are wise,
That they know very well how to manage the skies;
For the best of them all, as they found to their cost,
Were not able to hinder last winter's hard frost.