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Originally published May 1810 in The Poetical Magazine, pp. 241-248.

[Continued from Vol. III. p. 200.]
With an Engraving. Plate XI.1
Let Grandeur blush, and think how few
Of all the many-colour’d crew,
The motley groupe of fools and knaves,
Who hourly prove themselves its slaves,
However Fashion gild the dress,
Attain th’ expected happiness!
Let Grandeur blush, and blushing own
How seldom is to greatness known
That pure and unimbitter’d lot
Which often cheers the peasant’s cot;
The hallow’s bliss, the nameless charm,
That decorates this fertile farm.

Thus Syntax ponder’d as his eye
Survey’d the cheerful family;
Who, ’round the breakfast-table seated,
With one accord his entrance greeted:
At the same time, they all express’d
Much sorrow that their rev’rend guest
Had order’d Grizzle to the door,
In order to pursue his tour.
“Doctor, I’m griev’d so soon to part,”
Burst from the yeoman’s friendly heart;
“Yet hope, whene’ever this way you come,
You’ll not forget you have a home:––
You see how we poor farmers live,––
A welcome’s all we have to give;
But that’s sincere,––so come and try.”
A starting tear was the reply.

Syntax once more his beast bestrode;
He bade farewell, and off he rode.
Now Nature’s beauties caught his eye,
Array’d in gay simplicity;
And, as he pass’d the road along,
The blackbird’s note, the thrush’s song,
With musical and native mirth,
Seem’d to do homage to his worth.
The vary’d landscape here combin’d
To fascinate the eye and mind,
To charm the gazer’s ev’ry sense
From the commanding eminence.
Th’ expanding plain, with plenty crown’d,
Diffuses health and fragrance round;
While, on a lofty, craggy height,
A castle rises to the sight,
Which, in its day of strength and pride,
The arms of threat’ning foes defy’d.
Beneath the mouldering abode
In mazy course a riv’let flow’d,
And, free from the tempestous gale,
Its silent stream refresh’d the vale.
The vale the scatter’d hamlet cheer’d,
And many a straw-roof’d cot appear’d;
While smiling groups at ev’ry door
Spoke grief a stranger to the poor.
With pious thought, and eye serence,
Syntax survey’d the enchanting scene,
And thus in grateful mood began:––
“So deals the Omnipotent with man.
Such are thy gifts, all-gracious Pow’r!
To us, the creatures of an hour;
And yet how oft we barter these,
The joys of peace, of health, and ease,
Thy best beqest, thy choicest treasure,
For images we christen pleasure;
In Folly’s giddy vortex hurl’d,
Pursue th’ allurements of the world,
And, slaves to vanity and art,
Check the best feelings of the heart.
How the scene charms my ravish’d eye!
I cannot, will not, pass it by,”
He said,––and from his pocket took
The pencil, and the sketching-book;
While Grizzle, in contented mood,
Close by her busy master stood;
When, lo! a novelty draws nigh;
A dusty whirlwind rides the sky;
And choking clouds proclaim th’ approach
Of something Syntax deem’d a coach.
Four wheels in truth it had to boast,
Altho’ what it resembled most
Were hard to say:––suffice, this tub
Was built in London, where a club
Yelept Four-Horse, is now the rage,
And fam’d for whims in equipage.
Dashers! who once a month assemble;
Make creditors and coachmen tremble;
And, dress’d in colours vastly fine,
Drive to some public house to dine;
There game, and drink, and swear, and then––
Drive in full gallop back again.

Now Syntax, with a kind of fear,
Beheld the vehicle draw near;
And, like her master, Grizzle too
Was far from happy at the view;
For a long whip had caught her eye.
Moving about most rapidly:
Tho’ little dream’d the hapless nag
The joke which the exalted wag,
Who held the reins with skilful hand,
Against both mare and master plann’d.
But now the curious Doctor spy’d
The emblem of Patrician pride;
Which on the pannels of the coach
Proclaim’d a noble Lord’s approach:
Nay (for the facts will plainly prove it)
It was a noble Lord who drove it;
For ’tis well known to men of rank
That Lords will sometimes play a prank;
And will indulge themselves in jokes
As low as those of vulgar folks.
But ’tis not easy to express
The wild surprise, the deep distress,
Which Syntax felt when this same Lord
Aim’d at his back the flaunting cord;
And when the whip, with skilfil turn,
Was well applied to Grizzle’s stern:––
That stern,––enough to make one shudder,––
Which we all know had lost its rudder,
Stung with smart, and pain acute,
Off went at speed the angry brute,
The fire flash’d from either eye,
And then she neigh’d indignantly.
Such seem’d she as when erst she bore
A trumpeter to fields of gore;
When, in the battle of heat, at large
She led whole squadrons to the charge,
Thus, while poor Grizzle snorts and flies,
Syntax, rage beaming from his eyes,
Delay’d not to soliloquize:––
“Can I in this foul conduct scan
The Peer, or well-bred Gentleman?
Or rather must not Virtue frown
On such a high-born titled clown?
Thus, then, do Nobles play the fool?––
A conduct, which, in my poor school,
If ‘mong my boys it dare appear;
If they should ape that monkey there;
They for their fun should pay full dearly;––
I’d whip the blockheads most severely.
But I’ll not waste another word
Upon this vulgar booby Lord;
For I have something else to do,––
And, Grizzle, what’s become of you?”
A farmer’s well-stor’d barn, hard by,
Attracted her observing eye,
Where many a truss of fragrant hay
Indue’d the prudent beast to stay.
Meanwhile her discontented master,
Reflecting on the late disaster,
Pac’d slowly on, brimful of care,
And wonder’d who had got his mare.
Indeed he feared she might be found
Within the precincts of a pound;
But soon he quadruped he saw,
Up to her girths in hay and straw;
While he who own’d the neighb’ring farm
Prepar’d to raise his weighty arm;
And, having just observ’d the theft,
Brandish’d a horsewhip right and left,
(Alas! it cannot be deny’d,)
To lay about on Grizzle’s hide,
Syntax beheld the harsh intent:––
“Forbear,” he cry’d, “that punishment!
Why make her feel the chast’ning thong?
She knows not she is doing wrong,
Forgive my warmth, but truly, Sir,
This suits not with the character
Of one who treads on British ground,––
A land for justice so renown’d.
I’ll pay for all the straw that’s wasted,
And all the hay that she has tasted.
Your courtesy I now invoke,
So name the cost, and spare the stroke.”

The farmer paus’d––as by a charm––
And dropp’d at once th’ uplifted arm:––
“Forgive me, Sir, for what,” he cry’d,
“Cannot, indeed, be justified:
But for my haste I’ll make amends;
And let us now, good Sir, be friends.
That is my house; you’ll enter there,
And, Thomas, take the Doctor’s mare;
I leave her to your faithful care.
Come, rev’rend Sir, I’ll lead the way:”
The Doctor did not disobey;
And soon was met, with welcome glee,
By all the farmer’s family.
At length some bus’ness of the day
Summon’d the honest host away;
So Syntax thought he’d look about
To find some curious object out;
When, lo! a dairy met his view,
Where, full of cream, in order due,
The pans, the bowls, the jugs were plac’d,
Which tempted the Divine to taste.
But he found something better there;––
A damsel who was young and fair
Attracted his admiring eye,
And, as he enter’d, heav’d a sigh.
Now, Syntax, as we all must know,
Ne’er heard a sigh, or tale of wo,
But instant wished to bring relief––
To dry the tear, and soothe the grief.
“Come here, sweet girl!” he softly said;
Tell me your grief,––nor be afraid:
Come here, and seat you by my side;
You’ll find in me a friendly guide.
Relate your sorrows,––tell the truth;––
What is it? does some perjur’d youth
Pl 21 Syntax and the Dairy Maid
Unfaithful to his promise prove,
Nor make the fond return of love?
‘Tis so, I see; but raise your eye;
On me, my lovely girl! rely:
You have my tend’rest sympathy.
Again, I say, your grief impart;––
You’ve gain’d an int’rest in ym heart:
For well I know the pangs they prove
Who grieve for unrequited love.”

The list’ning mother, who had heard
Love talk’d of, kindled at the word;
And, rushing in, expressed her rage:––
“For shame! for shame! while hoary age
Whitens your head, I see your eye
Is beaming with iniquity.
Begone, you old, you wanton goat!
Your heart is black as is your coat.
A Parson too! may Heav’n forgive
The wicked age in which we live!
I’ll go and tell my honest spouse
The snake he harbours in his house:
He’ll give such hypocrites their due,
I’ll warrant it;” and off she flew.
The Host arriv’d, but by that time
The false alarm, th’ imputed crime,
Nancy had ventur’d to unfold,
And mother now had ceas’d to scold;
While, the rude anger turn’d to mirth,
They all confess the Doctor’s worth.

Dinner was soon upon the table,
And Grizzle feeding in her stable;
While joyful Syntax once again
Forgot past accidents and pain;
And, when night came, repos’d his head
In peace upon the welcome bed;
But ne’er did he to sleep consign
His weary’d limbs till to the shrine
Of Heav’n he had address’d the pray’r
Which ever finds admittance there.

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1. Heading omitted in 1812a and 1812b.