let us have a bottle of the best gooseberry wine, to keep up our spirits. I have wept so much at all sorts of elegies of late, that without an enlivening glass, I am sure this will overcome me; and Sophy, love, take your guitar and thrum in with the boy a little.
AN ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A MAD DOG
Give ear unto my song,
And if you find it wondrous short,
It cannot hold you long.
Of whom the world might say,
That still a godly race he ran,
Whener he went to pray.
To comfort friends and foes;
The naked every day he clad,
When he put on his clothes.
As many dogs there be,
Both mongrel, puppy, whelp, and hound,
And curs of low degree.
But when a pique began,
The dog, to gain some private ends,
Went mad and bit the man.
The wondering neighbours ran,
And swore the dog had lost his wits,
To bite so good a man.
To every Christian eye;
And while they swore the dog was mad,
They swore the man would die.
That showd the rogues they lied,
The man recoverd of the bite,
The dog it was that dyd.
A very good boy, Bill, upon my word, and an elegy that may truly be called tragical. Come, my children, heres Bills health, and may he one day be a bishop.
With all my heart, cried my wife; and if he but preaches as well as he sings, I make no doubt of him. The most of his family, by the mothers side, could sing a good song: it was a common saying in our country, that the family of the Blenkinsops could never look straight before them, nor the Hugginsons blow out a candle; that there were none of the Grograms but could sing a song, or of the Marjorams but could tell a story.However that be, cried I, the most vulgar ballad of them all generally pleases me better than the fine modern odes, and things that petrify us in a single stanza; productions that we at once detest and praise. Put the glass to your brother, Moses. The great fault of these elegiasts is, that they are in despair for griefs that give the sensible part of mankind very little pain. A lady loses her muff, her fan, or her lap-dog, and so the silly poet runs home to versify the disaster.
That may be the mode, cried Moses, in sublimer compositions; but the Ranelagh songs that come down to us are perfectly familiar, and all cast in the same mould: Colin meets Dolly, and they hold a dialogue together; he gives her a fairing to put in her hair, and she presents him with a nosegay; and then they go together to church, where they give good advice to young nymphs and swains to get married as fast as they can.
And very good advice too, cried I, and I am told there is not a place in the world where advice can be given with so much propriety as there; for, as it persuades us to marry, it also furnishes us with a wife; and surely that must be an excellent market, my boy, where we are told what we want, and supplied with it when wanting.
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