THE CHILD BIRTH.

in the manner of GAY.

The doleful dumps I sing, and tearful woes,
Of marian teeming with unlawful throes:
The sheenest lass in Berkshire was she known,
Of all that butter sell to Reading town:
Not the seven sisters could o'er her prevail,
The golden farmer's daughters of the vale,
Tho' every Oxford muse their charms has sung
And gravest doctors join'd the tuneful throng.
Ye peers! who careless of ambition, chuse
To court the labours of the past'ral muse;
And all the wond'rous bards who try the lay
Where black Cam rolls, or Isis' eddies play,
Assist the labours of an humble swain,
Rude to the pipe, and novice on the plain.
Nine months successive now had rolled round,
Since marian first the pleasing mischief found;
In vain her hands had cull'd th' abortive weed,
Nor aught avail'd the 'pothecary's aid.
 Her womb began with fatal size to swell,
And sick'ning qualms the blushful secret tell:
Then all in sad despair she made her moan,
Lodona's waters echoed groan for groan.
"Ah! faithless colin clout! ah, luckless I!
"And canst thou, cruel! from thy marian fly?
"How often hast thou suck'd my panting breath?
"How often swore to love me true till death?
"But to the Justice I'll reveal my plight,
"And with a constable pursue thy flight.
"Ah! how unequal, as our parson preaches,
"Are this world's goods! and sure he rightly teaches;
"For what to maidens brings eternal stain,
"(Sad management!) gives honour to the swain.
"'Twas on the blithest morn of all the year,
"When new-born May bids every shepherd chear;
"When artful maids their rival fancies shew,
"And well-wrought garlands bloom on ev'ry bough;
"When gaudy fairs bespangle every street,
"And lowing cows the novel pasture greet;
"Fresh rose I, marian hight, from rustic bed,
"The morning dream still hov'ring o'er my head;
"Gay shews and sweethearts had employ'd my thought,
"The kiss imprinted, and the fairing bought!
"From lavander I drew the tucker'd smock,
"And hosen boastful of a various clock;
"The silver'd knot well scollop'd on my head,
"And donn'd the sunday gown berob'd with red.
"Thus all bedight, and ready for the fair,
"I sat impatient with a wistful air,
"Expecting colin clout, my perjur'd swain,
"Who always follow'd marian on the plain:
"With him the moon-light walk I us'd to tread,
"With him I danc'd upon the sportive mead;
"That very morn had taught the snails to crawl,
"And print mysterious letters on the wall.
"At length he came, and I with joyous meed
"Mounted behind him on the pillion'd steed:
"Sweetly I sung, he whistled to the lay,
"Sweetly I sung the song, and sung the day:
"What beauteous scenes began the tuneful tale!
"And next I humm'd the sweets of Arno's vale;
"Then molly mogg, fair damsel of the Rose,
"And lovely peggy, taste of London beaux.
"And now in view gay Reading strikes our eyes,
"And all the dainties of the fair arise:
"Here Birmingham its boasted ware displays,
"There leather breeches hight, and bodice stays;
"Here posied garters flutter'd in the way,
"There painted hobby-horses seem to neigh;
"Here belles in gingerbread all gilded over,
"And little gew-gaw h——ys act the lover.
"Shepherds and nymphs from every part repair,
"All who from Oxford hills direct the share,
"Who fell the forest, or who mow the mead,
"Or drag in little boats the finny breed:
 "Her wide-mouth'd sons low-seated Henley sends,
"And smoky Okingham it's tribute lends.
"But far did marian all the rest outvie,
"No cheek so ruddy, nor so black an eye;
"Scarce dolly c——k the daughter of the may'r,
"With all the flaxen ringlets of her hair,
"With all the snowy fulness of her breast,
"In blithsome features might with me contest.
"All youths ambitiously around me strove,
"Each gave some chosen emblem of his love;
"One queintly bought the garters for my thighs,
"While simple archness sparkled in his eyes.
"But all their fairings unsuccessful prove,
"Still true to colin clout I held my love.
"——Ah! sly deceiver! you enclasp'd my arm,
"And seem'd my saviour, while you meant my harm;
"Far too unequal was the high reward,
"My maidenhead must pay thee for thy guard;
"Already warm'd with joy you win my heart,
"And stamp a little colin e'er we part.
"—Yet now, when nature fills my womb, to fly—
"Nor yet one tear to issue from thine eye—
"My slighted love to quick resentment turns;
"Lo my blood rises, and my cheek all burns!
"O I could tear thee as I tear this glove—
"Go, horrid monster! I despise thy love,
"Thy oaths I quit, thy fairings I resign,
"Forget, renounce thee, hate whate'er was thine.
 "No christian mother bound thy infant head,
"Some Turk begat thee, or some Papist bred;
"Or dropt on Cambrian hills, a squalid brat,
"Some she-goat suckled thee with savage teat.
"—Go to thy drab, whoe'er has won thy heart,
"And may the pox devouring make thee smart;
"My vengeful ghost shall haunt thee o'er the plain,
"Yes, thou shalt suffer, villain, for my pain.
"—But ah! my rage relents, my sorrow flows;
"Come colin! faithless shepherd! ease my woes.
"And must I in the sheet opprobrious stand?
"Thy plight is troth'd, ah! come and give thy hand:
"My conscience starts, whene'er I hear a knell,
"And is a little love deserving hell?
"Too hard a penance for a sin so slight!
"Ah how my heart misgives me every night!
"When sleep has clos'd my sorrow-streaming eyes,
"Then ghastly dreams, and hateful thoughts arise:
 "All unaccompany'd methinks I go
"O'er Irish bogs, a wilderness of woe!
"Ah! my wits turn! strange phantoms round me fly!
"Lo! I am chang'd into a goosb'ry pye!
"Forbear to eat me up, inhuman rabble!
"Cocks crow, ducks quake, hens cackle, turkies gabble."
Thus as she rav'd, her womb with rueful throes
Did to the light a lusty babe disclose:
Long while she doubted of the smirking boy,
Or on her knee to dandle, or destroy;
Love prompted her to save, and Pride to drown,
At length Pride conquer'd, and she dropt her son.