Ankrem Couch
Rogue’s Hollow: A Satire
23rd Sep 2021Posted in: Ankrem Couch, The Confederation Poets 0

ROGUES’ HOLLOW:

A Satire.

By ANKREM COUCH.

[illustration]

TORONTO:

PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR.

1879.

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PREFACE.

That the pride and vanity of the petty aristocracy which flourishes in every place of any size throughout the land, has been carried beyond the bounds of propriety, and a large proportion of their actions beyond those of decency; and that the unblushing impudence and bare-faced robbery by the swarm of lawyers and officials who over-run the land, and of whom the aristocracy is chiefly composed, is a source of poverty, wretchedness, strife and hatred, is apparent to all; and these with other reasons, I think, fully justify the appearance of this poem before the public.

    Had it been directed against the aristocracy in general instead of that of one particular place, I might have some reason for expecting its success; but. as it is, my hope must be slim, as few are so interested in characters of whom they know nothing as to take the trouble of reading anything concerning them. Yet, characters similar to those delineated, are to be found all over, and there are, doubtless, other places to which it will be equally as applicable. However, a portion of it is general.

    I have neither taken from, nor added to, the virtues and vices of any of the characters, but have given them as they are known and read of men. True, some are so well cloaked with affected politeness, that their true characters are only known to those who come in daily contact with them behind the scenes; but these are the few, the characters of the many being too visible and too often keenly felt.

    I am well aware of its many defects; but, if it is read in the spirit in which it was written, there will be neither notice taken of its roughness, nor pause made to criticize its defects.

THE AUTHOR.                        

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ROGUES’ HOLLOW.

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ROGUES’ HOLLOW.

___

How various are, in every land the same,

The things that curse it and that mar its name;

Not only when they live, nor in one age;

But to the end, enshrined in History's page;

From which, though past, their poison still they pour,

And curse again the nation as before.

But those in page remembered are, of all,

A fraction only, and exceeding small;

And more there are that, there unknown, will live

In bosoms chaffed that never will forgive,

Or on the pages of the memory long,

Engraven by the iron hand of wrong;

For individuals suffer most by them,

And only they who suffer will condemn.

It is of these I'd sing, and cause a spot

To live in verse—in other page forgot.

   "Rogues' Hollow," so this famons place was called,

When first the traveller stood at it appalled;

A milder name of late Its patrons claim,

And one divested of the tithe of shame;

But 'neath the former name my rhyme shall run,

For't suits as well as light becomes the sun.

    The country's ruin and its own disgrace,

Is this infernal ever famous place;

For deeds corrupting daily there are done,

And fools unbridled in their folly run,

And villians rule while honest men are slaves,

And rogues are moralists, and moralists are knaves.

Where since its ways are scarcely ever right, [unnumbered page]

And cannot bless, they certainly must blight;

And aids the country while it is its curse;

And makes it prosperous as it makes it worse.

Yet it has ministers and men of God,

Who ever strive to shed the truth abroad;

And churches there in great abundance rise.

Whose sloping spires extend towards the skies;

And places large for prayer and places small,

And means of grace are numerous for all;

But what are these beside a damning curse,

That spreads still wider and that grows still worse;

For it has men, like every other town,

Who by their hellish vices drag it down;

And these it is by whom the place is curst,

Who, while they are the foremost, are the worst;

And years ago from truth and honor fell,

The annals of the rogue and sot to swell;

Or sprang from poverty to practice arts

That hell instills into corrupted hearts;

And in their thirst for wealth sought out a place

Where they might rule and rob the human race;

[Illegible] widow's houses and make orphans cry,

Then bid them cease and beg their bread or die;

While they led on the substance gained by fraud,

And heard vain fools their deviltry applaud;

Bowed to their gods— Lust, Avarice and Pride,

And marched for hell, with Satan side by side.

Who are, since of morality effaced,

To Truth repugnant and by Error graced;

With hearts the very dens of filthiness,

And amphietheatres of devils' bliss,

Where Satan hies to spend his leisure hours,

And win again the smile the preacher sours.

Who, by the law empowered, delight to make

The backs of good industrious laborers break.

To glut their pride, their appetite appease,

Nurse all their lusts and fatten them at ease;

For their foul carcasses arrayed in wealth,

Obtained by villiany and earned by stealth, [page 8]

Are raised above the level of the race,

Where day and night alternately they grace

With gambling, revelry, adulteries, oathes,

And every dirty crime that heaven loathes;

And dwell in palaces themselves have built,

With corner-stones of pride, and laid in guilt;

And rise amid green lawns and waving trees—

Apparent spots of luxury and ease—

Whose walls magnificant suffice to hide

The deeds corrupting and the vice inside:

There virtue hides her blooming face for shame,

So long neglected by the maid and dame,

Who bustling by with proud and giddy air,

And painted face, and false or powdered hair,

Sneer at the nymph whene'er they chance to meet,

Or trample it in scorn beneath their feet.

There Bacchus cheers the idiotic rabble,

Until the mansion has become a stable:

And every brute, blessed with a nobler form,

With liquor stupid and with lusts as warm,

Grown tired of his stall– the easy chair,

Seeks on the floor a wider berth than there.

And where the devil does with them engage

To harm the simple and pollute the age;

Nor come to hell alone but bring a throng,

Who felt through them the malady of wrong,

   But, these unknown, the stranger who beholds

The wealth and joys—apparent—it unfolds;

And lords polite who strut with smiling faces,

(For each has two for different times and places,

As suits his pocket best) struck with surprise,

Thinks o'er and o'er the thought that it supplies:

"Strange, is it not, how some win wealth with ease,

While others who have more propensities

To gather gold, yet benefit mankind,

Are to the bounds of poverty confined;

Or, won at all, by days and nights of toil,

And e'er enjoyed the grave has claimed its spoil: [page 9]

For these men revel in the midst of wealth,

Comparatively young, with moderate health,

And are looked up to and respected by

Their fellows who behold with envious eye."

     "Strange!" — rather strange that God has not destroyed

These wretched men, whose lives have been employed

To gratify their lusts and serve the devil,

Despise their God and at religion cavil;

And exercise for hell the powers given

To vanquish evil and direct to heaven.

   "Judge not so rashly lest you judge amiss,"

Should some one say, "and still remember this:

The man who never seeks his faults to find,

Views with an evil eye all human kind;

But he who o'er his heart doth often brood,

Thinks himself evil, and his neighbor good."

   But, granting that as truth, does it prevent

The giving to the honest feelings vent;

And dubbing others' crimes and evil skill,

When to avoid the sight's impossible;

Nor is it charity to hide their crime,

And, since they're villains, call them saints in rhyme

Nor for their rescue bring the flattering plea,

It comes through their incapability;

For, though our Maker, ever just and kind,

Made never two alike in taste and mind;

Nor when he gives the bad in double store,

Not always gives the good as much, or more;

Nor gives to all alike propensities,

With equal powers to offend or please;

He gives to each sufficient power of will

To rule himself for good or else for ill.

Thus from the lowest reveller In sin,

Depraved without and more corrupt within; [page 10]

Upto the wretch who soars on wings of gold,

More desperate far and fifty times more bold,

All are possessed of power themselves to rule,

And imitate the wise or act the fool.

    Against these men who in their crimes rejoice.

And live for self alone, I raise my voice;

For I have learned to hate their evil ways,

And choose their curses rather than their praise.

To leave them here of all disguises shorn,

As objects worthy everybody's scorn,

Shall be my aim, though not in graceful rhyme

But rogue and wretch and fool in turn shall chime;

And he who does not yet with them conform,

And blessed with feelings capable to warm.

May feel with me an equal indignation,

When knowing how they gain their wealth and station;

And list with patience while I do rehearse,

Forgetting in the truth the blundering verse.

   * Foremost is Smug—a lawyer sly and slim;

For mischief made in heart, if not in limb,

And Beelzebub manures his cause with him.

His only aim has been to gather gold;

And view his wealth increase as he grows old;

Yet labor not for it, unless it be

The wakeful toil of plotting villiany;

And capable of thinking out a plan

To scare a devil, or to rob a man,

Devoid of charity, to feeling lost,

His heart is tender when there is no cost.

Possessed of lucre, potent still to rule,

By earth he's counted wise, by heaven a fool.

Who, since no sense of right restrains his hand,

Does every thing his rampant lusts command:

Fleeces the farmer to possess his grounds,

And earns his pennies, while he steals his pounds.

He who will risk the wretch must learn, though late,

To curse the law and shun the lawyers' bate;


* This personage has lately been elected for a seat in the Dominion Parliament.


[page 11]

For with a greedy hand he grasps the farm;

Nor trembles at his deed, nor feels alarm;

But turns his face towards heaven with a whim,

And thanks the Lord for what He's done for him.

Surveys the scores of farms he stole, or worse,

And feels their worth already in his purse;

Completes new schemes while by his wine-pots lolling.

(Well qualified to follow such a calling)

Then plants the germ and cooly waits the bud—

The darkest villain has the coolest blood.

   Cursed be the man by whom the sons of toil

Are made to greed and avarice a spoil;

Who, robbed of all, are coldly cast adrift,

Like beggars, through a heartless world to shift.

What though prosperity on him may smile,

And all go well, or seem to, for a while:

Mountains of vengeance, clouds on clouds of wrath,

Threatening destruction, lower o'er his path;

And every farm is, he has won so well,

A millstone round his neck, to drag him down to hell.

Add to thy store this simple lesson, sir,

Wealth never blesses him who worships her.

   How different from the man whom God makes rich.

He loves all men, the class—no matter which

Nor thinks himself exaulted o'er the rest;

Nor scorns the man whom God has not so blessed.

Prides not in wealth, nor glories in his fame;

But gives to God (the source from which it came)

The rich and poor alike, his friendship share,

And servants as his own delight his care.

To man's infirmities his feelings cling;

He loves the beggar as he loves the king:

Consults his neighbors' interests as his own,

And when offending offers to atone;

Mourns o'er man's miseries, aids when he can,

And always proves himself a gentleman. [page 12]

   Pass on to Smuggle, then from bad to worse;

With Smug an equal, and the next in course;

But here portrayed is but a shadow, thin,

Of that foul thing half devil and half man;

For words must fail his character to tell:

It only is portrayed aright in hell.

    A wish acknowledged o'er and o'er grows strong,

And, once confirmed, as with a stubborn thong,

Binds the affections to the living source

From which it springs, and, growing, gains its force.

Thus, be the object good, the wish is pure,

And with't compared the objects self is poor;

For pure desires, like the brilliant stars

That "wheel through heaven in their golden cars,"

Are so beyond all other things and rare,

That they alone can with themselves compare.

But his were vile, and through his wretched frame

He felt the growing power of the claim,

And strove but faintly, if he strove at all,

To cause an enemy so great to fall;

But freed himself and blamed his evil heart,

And cleaving to the wish bade good depart.

Then he to realize tries foulest means—

For 'tis to such his nature always leans:

Crime after crime, now bad and now still worse,

Step after step he takes the downward course

With burning heart, for evil flames consume,

Yet hope elated—onward to his doom,

With even pace, till quickened by the deeds

That make the path more slippery, still he speeds;

And glories while a passing look is cast,

For brighter is the future than the past;

Nor far it seems, nor paved with crimes the way,

And, gained, shall crown the efforts of the day.

But, lo! the prize with every step recedes,

And still to crimes the mystic pathway leads.

Still conscious of the deeds the devil fits,

And prompts to, e'er his bashful hand commits, [page 13]

He quiets conscience, for he still intends;

Once all is realized, to make amends ;

But since delay has chafed his fired brain,

And kindled frenzy spread through every vein,

All are forgotten with the name of grace,

And he's a devil in the headlong race.

    Him fate had driven here where folly grows,

A beggar in a borrowed suit of clothes;

With every needful power to create

Disturbances 'twixt men, and woe and hate;

He's king of mean extortioners, and lord

Of every tribe by honest men abhorred.

His every word and action is controlled

By love of popularity and gold;

And not a principle or man is spared,

If by their sacrifice they may be shared.

Where e'er he goes his trace is left behind:

The victims of an artful plotting mind;

And cursing God when e'er his thoughts he bothers,

Grows rich upon the poverty of others;

And spends the Sabbath hunting with his hounds,

In forest glens and unfrequented grounds:

Breaking the silence with the fitful crack

Of fire arms and howling of his pack.

And so devoid of manliness is he,

And shame, too, not to speak of charity,

That even the ravenous dog that trots behind,

Out does him far in nobleness of mind.

   Yet, in our daily dealings with mankind,

How many of this wretched class we find;

The same wherever found, at home, abroad,

Men who neglected then dispised their God,

Whose moral laws they both reject and loath,

Nor ever speak His name save in an oath.

And yet the world respects such men as these,

And courts their friendship by her acts to please;

O'erlooks their faults, or praises in a test,

And spreads their virtues with uncommon zest. [page 14]

Or, if the envied treasure has been gained.

And wealth and popularity obtained,

The fopling world, like suppliants round a throne,

Bow to these rogues to equity unknown;

Who accept their praise, nor give them in return

And oft the prayers of their admirers spurn.

Nor is it wrong, nor yet would we condemn

This wise, though selfish, principle in them;

For these low sycophants of lying praise,

Waste all their wind to make their fire blaze;

That when it glows and sheds is rays around,

They, hitherto unseen, may then be found;

And men mistaken may their light proclaim,

Who but reflect the rogues unworthy fame;

And that it may their charity disclose,

And they be benefitted as it glows.

   Behold ye stars! nay, hide each blushing face;

Nor gaze upon your sister earth's disgrace,

Once pure and holy, now in ruin sunk,

And with excessive pride and pleasure drunk.

Lo! from the stenchful froth her mouth ejects,

Each son of aristocracy erects

In bold defiance his bespattered head;

Conceived in pride and in corruption bred;

And babbling loud and feeding on her breath,

Floats on in drunken splendor till his death.

   With head erect, amid the motley throng,

McLean the proud and pet, is borne along;

While brother snypes and silly fools spplaud,

And for his smile would kiss the ground he trod;

And he exalted on a pride-built throne.

Surveys the lands he dare not call his own;

Lifts his red firey head towards the skies,

And fain would dazzle all beholders' eyes.

   in is the show though countless rogues admire,

And fools of gazing on him never tire;

But imitate his ways, his follies bless,

His pride adore aud foulest deeds caress; [page 15]

Nor bid him learn is truth and pride combined.

Or virtue found in an apostate mind.

Vain is the show, and has its just reward,

When 'tis by all rejected aud abhorred!

Gorgeous without, all filthiness within—

A glossy coat to hide a man oi sin.

    A blundering gowk the world in him contains,

Whose character is buried 'neath its stains!

Yet, thinks, because the village fools applaud,

That all his deeds are overlooked by God;

While lucre-minded, lazy, impudent.

His useless life for prided self is spent;

And gains his living just as gains its spoil,

The subtle serpent that with slimy coil,

Slowly itself around the victim winds,

And, powerless for ever cruelly binds.

He scarce is known outside where he resides,

Or only known for what through him betides;

And ever has, since from the first consigned

To self alone, lived but to rob mankind.

    And, yet, the aristocracy is formed

Of characters like him, whose selves adorned

With polished manners and becoming grace,

Win in society the foremost place;

Yet, keep the uuprotected in alarms.

And are remembered only for their harms.

    Fat Bumper is the next — another scribe,

Acknowledged rogue, and glory of the tribe;

With arms so loving that he could embrace

The rich, if not the poor, of all the race;

With heart so tender that 'twould freely give,

(Though it were his only means by which to live)

The beggar's mite to jingle in his purse,

And call it righteousness to do no worse.

Who from the morning services divine.

Goes home to feast and giggle o'er his wine;

And shuffle cards while lighter fingers play:

And pass in revelry the hours away. [page 16]

Vile Sabbath-breaker and apostate fool,

Who, discontent in Nature's given school.

Became a rogue by leaping every rule.

Too impudent to slyly cook his meal,

And, yet, too foolish to, when cooked, conceal!

Demands his fee in court before the trial; *

When asked to plead, returns a nod and smile ;

Strokes his fat cheeks and rubs his chin the more,

Nor leaves his chair till court and case are o'er.

   What took him there to spread his hellish snare?

"Where is the prey—the birds are gathered there!"

With him 'twas starve or find a place to live;

Take every thing and yet refuse to give;

Cease to return, but never cease to borrow;

Be rogue to-day, and mournful saint to-morrow.

   His gibberage is of such a foolish kind,

It could not flow but from a childish mind:

As shallow waters make the loudest noise,

So fools can drown the voices of the wise.

Only his brother rogues his wit will praise,

For only they behold its "brilliant rays."

    Roguery and Meanness—known to man of old,

A god and goddess, lately doubly bold.

Met once, when he these words prophetic told:

"Great sister, Meanness, thou shalt bear a son,

With both our images combined in one:

A face to laugh and lie, and curl and frown;

And heart for deviltry—thou'lt call him Brown;

He'll cleave to wrong and shun the charms of right,

Being thy heart's desire and chief delight."

And soon came forth, wrapped in his windy spleen,

A spit-face rogue, and desperately mean.


   * This happened about two years ago, the man for whom he was to speak finally losing the case.


[page 17]

    He, with this littleness of soul possessed,

Scouered the world, and vainly sought for rest.

One valuable joy earth could not give,

With charms enough to tempt the wretch to live,

Till thirst for wealth inspired his sluggish brain,

And sent through every nerve an anxious pain,

That daily grew increasing still its hold,

Until he trembled at the sight of gold.

Mad, greedy and forlorn, forever fated,

He wandered here both wretched and unmated;

Where, by his drudgery and affected grace,

With other wretches won an equal place;

And keeps it still by puffing brother mules—

A trump employed and blown by all the fools.

A vampire robbed of all his power to sting,

But bound to vampire nature still to cling;

And, since he cannot harm his victim, scare;

And to accomplish this is all his care.

To laugh at him is better than oppose;

Yet, give a firm command, he trembling goes;

Or, tell him what he is, he'll lick your hand,

The tamest cur, you'll swear, in all the land.

   Predominates his evil nature still,

Though oft concealed, by words and smiles, with skill.

Now, see the reptile grovelling in the dust,

And spitting fire that smells of secret lust.

Now — angered — frothing, raving round and swearing;

And snapping answers past all human bearing.

His snubby carcase trembling like a mill,

And eyes, like cartwheels rolling down a hill;

And snarling, growling, glaring like an owl—

Oh! hell contains no object half so foul.

Now, smiling sweetly, loving, docile, kind;

Affecting both a great and humble mind;

Obliging, ready to advance, retreat—

Oh! earth contains no object half so sweet.

    Incapable of either love or hate,

Need first compelled, then chance produced a mate; [page 18]

And things like him, wherever found the same,

Have neither manliness nor honest shame.

Too low for Virtue's beauties to elate,

His thoughts are never pure, nor ever great;

But, since he must keep up a constant chatter,

Sucks o'er again each day the coddled matter:

Half local boards, half parliamentary treason,

But never with an ounce of wit or reason;

Nor enters into any theme with soul,

Unless his pocket is a special goal,

Where comes the lion's share, if not the whole.

By all who know him, be they small or great,

The wretch is held unworthy of their hate:

So insignificant and low his kind,

To hate him lowers the standard of the mind;

And burning anger e'er its shaft be sped,

Is tamed and falls in pity on his head.

   McDub, a yeoman, labored on his farm;

He lived in peace nor had a thought of harm;

Bred to the plough, had guided it from youth,

And held it as his calling of a truth.

But laziness perched on his shoulders broad;

Then he no longer cared to turn the sod;

And other themes employed his restless brain,

Than weather, ploughing, seed-time and his grain.

A carrion appetite he did contain;

(A lazy love of wealth) but it had lain

Concealed by other and by nobler things;

Nor had it forced him yet to spread his wings

In search of such, if haply he might find

A spot with ease and luxury combined,

Where he might light and tap the golden vein,

And share their use without the toil to gain.

But he had friends who feasted on the same;

And when he heard the glory of their fame,

This trait arose, asserted its control,

While the vile appetite consumed his soul.

O'erpowered he yielded, nor could longer stay,

And on a tremulous wing soared soon away; [page 19]

Lit by his friends, and added one more to

The low, debased and greedy carrion crew.

    Behold the wretch to every idol bow;

As well the golden calf, the stripling cow;

And ever does the pup with pleasure play,

To men of vile though ornamented clay;

Obeys their orders, follows in the rear,

And licks their feet if privileged to draw near.

The friend of villains and the villain's friend.

Imps to adorn him all their graces lend ;

Surround their brother in an ærial band,

And wait on wings of fire at his command.

They utter first each, every, word he speaks;

Turn into brass the blush upon his cheeks;

His actions rule and all his ways direct;

Lift up his sin-cursed head and hold erect;

Oil his thick tongue, till words like honey flow;

Or melt the brass that smiles may come and go;

That other men, in heart as bad as he,

May court his friendship when his acts they see.

And little imps appointed to their place,

Perch on his shoulders and adorn his grace;

Whose firey tails form weapons for his arms,

To guard his head against approaching harms;

While Satan from afar beholds his son,

And whispers to the imp in charge, "well done."

   Armed and inspired, prepared for any deed,

What can withstand him, or what can't he lead;

A liar where no truth is ever found;

A rogue in politics, (and they abound);

And hypocrite, for hours at church are whiled,

So quaint, so solemn, so possessive, mild,

With such a fitting reverential awe,

That one would think some glorious saint he saw;

But this has vanished with the word "amen,"

And you behold the man of sin again.

    The scales are ready, and his rampant prid

We'll put in one, and set himself astride; [page 20]

The other one will hold his soul and mind,

And all the good he ever did combined.

How stand the balances? The wretch descends

With speed so great that nigh his life it ends!

Add Truth and Charity, sure they will stay't?

And Meekness, too— no!—yet another weight;

Then Virtue— useless, it is still the same;

The brute descends to earth from whence he came.

   One rogue may call another thief or liar,

Yet, neither dare to honesty aspire;

Each calls his brother in the trade a friend,

And each a gentleman turns in the end;

And in return for what you've done for me,

A right good fellow is what you must be.

Thus rogues in nations take the highest stand,

And live upon the fat of every land.

   The glory of the crew is "Squealing Jock."

He dwelt a featherless and famished hawk,

Where Huron's waves leap on the rugged shore,

And through the night prolong their dismal roar;

But found no pleasure gazing on the wave,

For Nature hides her beauties from the knave;

And "dunners" all around rose mountains high,

Holding the scenes delightful from his eye;

Till, soaring far above his debts one day,

Of all the land he took a long survey;

Flapped his bare wings and, guided by the sound,

Flew to the place where revellers abound;

Chose out a spot; swooped down with battle cry,

While rage and envy glistened in his eye;

O'er threw his victim and with smiling face,

Took full possession of the envied place.*


   * These lines explain themselves, and will be understood in the vicinity of this infamous place; but, I might just say for the benefit of those unacquainted with the particulars of this cowardly action, that the spot referred to is a fat County office, which he, Ahab-like, having set his heart upon, was determined to possess by hook or crook. Choosing the absence of the official as a favorable opportunity for attack, after vulgarly treating his (the official's) lady left in charge, he took possession of the books.


[page 21]

   Like his companions he has natures two,

And now he'll curse and now he'll flatter you

But equal to his blessing is his curse;

Nor one is good, nor yet the other worse.

Foremost in every scheme he shoves himself,

And will have none or else the highest shelf.

Now railway president, too drunk to speak,

Clings to the table and begins to squeak;

But, overpowered, sinks down amid th' applause

Of drunken fools and idiotic caws.*

O! when wine fools and idiots unite,

The revelry is great and wild the sight.

Now temperance speaker (influence the stake,

He cares no more for temperance than a rake)

While gifted long with brass in good supply,

To every word his heart must give the lie;

And while denouncing evils of the vine,

His breath is pregnant with the smell of wine.

   Through gluttny, heavens! what a corporation;

Were it to burst there'd be a devastation;

'Twood sweep one half his drunken friends away,

And leave the rest to tremble and to pray.

   O! glorious crew, how can they but be blest,

Since in their shining ranks he stands confessed.

Imps must be overjoyed in him to find,

The dirty traits of all the rest combined;

For, most a beast, he lacks the least control

O'er lusts that mar the man and damn the soul.

Greed prompts, though over paid, and oft he tries

Extortioning, hiding it with lies;

Gathers up riches while his neighbors fail,

For naught as proof against his tricks avail;

And every dollar thus obtained supplies

Some means to please his appetite or eyes.


   *This was on the occasion of the Toronto City Council visiting Rogues Hollow; and so beastly was his conduct, that his own friends, though drunk themselves, were disgusted.


[page 22]

   But give a fool the means, he's sure to soar,

Disgrace himself and be a secret boar;

For they who flatter like his wings the best,

And, while they praise him, in their hearts detest.

Were he not rich, the lowest man that walks

The streets, and in the vilest language talks,

Would rise and in his fallen manhood stand,

And grow indignant as he raised his hand,

If called an equal with so foul a wretch,

Or told he lay beside him in the ditch;

But wealth will dandle fools on princes' laps,

And draw the milk for rogues from royal paps;

And wealth, without a principle at all.

Will keep a man from going to the wall.

   Behold him now, (it happened in a splutter,

Nor blame him reader) lo! he's in the gutter;

And hugs the mud, for scarcely yet awake,

He quits the bed where harlots are at stake;

Now, starting up, stares round and wonders where

On earth he is and how he happened there;

Now wallowing and floundering—all in vain!

He's on his feet —O! —down he comes again;

There rolling o'er and o'er, for aid he squeals;

And, mud bespattered, slobbers his appeals,

Its wine he wants, bring't howsoever poor:

Alls well so long as dreams and it are sure.

He's in his element, there let him stay–

Hogs love the gutter, men a cleaner way.

   'Tis time such wretches labor for their bread,

And honest men at County boards be fed:

Most would be satisfied and few complain,

And their misfortune be the country's gain.

   See one who wears of pride the common yoke,

Advancing slowly in a cloud of smoke:

Knob, ever owned, and as a monarch feared;

By all admired and by all revered. [page 23]

Too proud to be an equal with the rest,

He stands aloof, yet stoops to be caressed;

Whom wine and brandy only will inspire;

And feathers please and praises set on fire;

For fools are tempted by what men dispise,

And wine and feathers is their paradise,

And he does ever over toys explode,

For childish folly still has her abode

In the resounding cavities of his great skull,

That never were with brains, nor ever will be full.

   Like some immortal geni of the skies,

He views his glory and exulting cries:

"These are my realms and my subjects these!

Each yields its fruit and each its powers to please!

Obedient at my call from every hand,

Praise follows praise, and wealth, at my command!"

   Imagining all see him on the shelf

On which pride has revealed him to himself,

His heart swells up and as his eyes survey,

He grows majestic and he soars away;

Beyond his equals and the foppling race,

For—fools will never learn to keep their place.

Still soaring on, leaves honest men behind,

And stands alone above all human kind.

Proud of himself, as peacocks always are,

He grows still prouder as he looks afar;

And, o'er delighted, is by frenzy seized,

For—fools go mad while men are only pleased.

On earth indignantly he turns his eye;

A puddle tempts him with a gaudy fly;

His eye grows brighter and, his place forgot,

The painted fly alone, is all that's sought;

And drunk as well, comes tumbling down and chattering,

Around him all his filthy slobbers scattering;

And lies with wounded pride and dirty face,

While friends surround lamenting his disgrace.

So fall their hopes when judging by the coat:

They cried an angel– 'twas an ass afloat. [page 24]

   The king is formed of dust, as well the slave;

Nor will there be distinction in the grave;

And God intended all to walk apace,

And none to be exalted o'er the race:

Not that there be no rulers and that each

Make his own laws nor others' overreach;

But that the man by every honor blest,

Should think himself no better than the rest.

But now the man with local honors crowned,

By every custom of the age is bound

To think himself as something better than

His fellow citizens or laboring man.

   See craven-hearted Coo-per, lord of mules,

And graduate of Pride and Lucer Schools,

Straining his neck, his sleeky head to hold

Aloft, and look majestically bold;

And scorning, like his brother Knob, to cast

A look upon his fellows moving past;

Who, far superior, are but denied

His unearned wealth and devil-fostered pride;

But who beholds his face may read his mind,

And all he fain would keep from human kind;

For—robe an ass or do what e'er you will,

An ass it is in brains and nature still;

And only waits a chance to make it known,

By over-doing whats already done.

    A thing of poverty, despised he lay,

Mourning his helplessness from day to day:

"O! that the aristocracy would own,

And bid me welcome as an equal son,

To share their pleasure and their high estate,

And all the joys their wealth and wines create;

This unobtained my life has been amiss;

Take virtue, all, but give, O! give me this !"

But, cursed by poverty, was doomed to lie,

While they dispised or coldly passed him by,

Until his soul was won, then 'neath the wing

Of Beelzebub he crawled, a helpless thing; [page 25]

Who robed with manners, all their laws obeying,

Aud screwed his mouth to whine, instead of braying;

Then brought him forward as a candidate,

To share their pomp, their pleasure and their fate.

   Too proud he is to condescend to know

When satisfied; with soul too dull to glow;

That stays for ever small, for ever cold;

’Twill freeze the devil e'er he get a hold;

And heart that spreads contagion through his blood,

Turning to bad the glimmering spark of good.

Though fit for any deed that lust could start,

And riches to complete it means impart;

And though his cheek's impenetrable brass,

A curb remains—in brains he is an ass;

And lacks the skill that devils do possess,

To lay their plans and make their schemes progress,

While conscious that he was by Nature slighted,

And all his prospects of a villain blighted;

And while his puny soul is chaffed to see

His neighbors prosper in their deviltry;

By fate compelled, he condescends to fill

A meaner sphere, yet be an equal still.

    More characters there are, but what's the use

Of rhyming still on such a weak excuse;

The wretches are unworthy of a place

In print at all, even though its to disgrace;

Nor are they benefitted by't for they,

Like other fools, refuse to mend their way.

As well go preach to yonder herd of mules

Of Egypt's lore, or ancient Athens' schools,

As talk to them of truth and manliness,

For these are traits they never will possess;

And may, since darkness oft with words increases,

Be wiser e'er one speaks than when he ceases.

  O! wretched age, with scarce a breathing place

In the depraved and more abandoned race [page 26]

That sinks still deeper as the day grows late,

And slight then curse the hand that deals their fate;

And only think themselves serenely blest,

When lulled in sin's polluting arms to rest.

O! wretched state, since in these latter days,

Men have no brains, for only fools have praise;

And few have mastered what the crowds despise:

The costly task— the knowledge to be wise.

When every chicken from an apron loos'd

Becomes a cockscomb—on a county roost.

When Truth is driven from her native grounds,

By Lust and Avarice, hell's fiercest hounds;

And while 'tis merit, only, should command

The trusts of honor in a Christian land,

All honest people have their rights denied,

Because with sense, and not with wealth supplied;

While beastly demagogues who scarcely know

When they have had enough or what they do;

And never with an ounce of will supplied,

That is not daily, nightly overtried,

To see their lusts their wanton meal denied,

Fill up, till honored seats in every place

Swarm with the off-scouring of the sunken race.

O! wretched state, when these ungodly sots—

The country's ruin and the town's plague-spots,

With hearts unfeeling and devoid of shame,

And scorning Equity's as Virtue's claim,

Are licensed by the law and left secure

To scourge the unprotected and the poor.

   Whence sprang ye from, ye herd of wretches, say?

Not from the light of Truth, or Christian day!

'Twould seem as though a besom great did sweep

The filth of all the earth into a heap;

Where growing more corrupt and growing warm,

It sprang to life and gathered into form.

A crawling mass of worms the heap became;

That, growing older, each assumed a name;

And sallied forth, as thick as autumn leaves:

A swarm of fools, extortioners and thieves. [page 27]

   Who then would wish with all their crimes expressed,

To stand among their shining ranks confessed—

To share their pleasure and accept their lot,

And damn his soul to be an honored sot?

Live then by show: they'll think it comes from wealth;

Once in, the latter may be got through stealth;

Make thy progenitors thy lot enhance,

(Though useless sots that died in gaol, perchance)

Scorn punctuality and court delays;

Light be thy talk and giddy all thy ways;

Choose all thy words and oil them well to please;

Affect thy manners yet appear at ease;

Be versed in all the etiquette of France;

Be fond of nightly gatherings and the dance;

Be posted in the various kinds of wine,

And which will dull the wit and which will shine;

Praise every draught, nor laugh at their excess;

Nor stand aloof, but join, and joining, bless;

Praise chastity in all the light of noon—

Then's when it takes, but night must change thy tune!

Stop not at Truth when it impedes thy course,

But give to every lie a double force;

Till in their minds, as well before their eyes,

You build yourself a monument— of lies.

Admire their skill and all the deeds they've done,

For— fools are easiest by flattery won;

This sect now own for the esteem of those;

To flatter these the former sect oppose;

For sects are gospel and with them will save—

Their piety begins beyond the grave;

And but a word for it and they oppose,

Denounce you Christain and proclaim your foes;

For in their eyes and by their lofty rule,

To be a Christian is to be a fool,

In short, hate when they hate, love when they love;

Do nothing they reject, all they approve;

And, armed with graces, steadily advance

Through plains of vice, and vales of ignorance;

Their hearts receive you, and their arms embrace,

And each admires as you take your place; [page 28]

And be you sot, rogue, idiot or devil,

It matters not, your only on a level

With men no better and as often worse;

And more you'll find to bless than few to curse.

 

____

   O'er all their wealth and lust and avarice.

Unnumbered crimes and boundless sea of vice,

With glad relief we hail the curtain fall;

And, heartily disgusted, leave the hall,

To bless the wind that wafts their stench away;

And wait the coming of a better day,

When Peace shall smile upon the multitude,

Where each delights to do the others good;

And Love and Charity promote their arts,

And kindred feelings dwell in all their hearts.

[illustration]

[page 29]

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