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And here, (from forest ambush safe at least)
To me this scanty pittance seems a feast.
I was a plough-boy once, as free from woes
And blithesome as the lark with whom I rose.
Each evening at return a meal I found;
And though my bed was hard, my sleep was sound.
One Whitsuntide, to go to fair I drest
Like a great bumpkin in my Sunday's best;
A primrose posey in my hat I stuck,
And to the revel went to try my luck.
From show to show, from booth to booth I stray,
See, stare, and wonder all the live-long day.
A sergeant to the fair recruiting came,
Skill'd in man-catching, to beat up

for

game; Our booth he enter'd and sat down by me;.. Methinks even now the very scene I see ! The canvass roof, the hogshead s running store, The old blind fiddler seated next the door, The frothy tankard passing to and fro, And the rude rabble round the puppet-show. The sergeant eyed me well; the punch-bowl comes, And as we laugh'd and drank, up struck the drums. And now he gives a bumper to his wench, God save the King! and then, God damn the French! Then tells the story of his last campaign, How many wounded and how many slain, Flags flying, cannons roaring, drums a-beating, The English marching on, the French retreating ... “ Push on .. push on, my lads! they fly before ye, March on to riches, happiness, and glory !". At first I wonder'd, by degrees grew bolder, Then cried, “ 'Tis a fine thing to be a soldier !"

“ Aye, Humphrey !” says the sergeant, .. " that's

your name? 'Tis a fine thing to fight the French for fame! March to the field, .. knock out a Mounseer's brains, And pick the scoundrel's pocket for your pains. Come, Humphrey, come ! thou art a lad of spirit; Rise to a halbert, as I did, .. by merit ! Wouldst thou believe it? even I was once As thou art now, a plough-boy and a dunce; But courage raised me to my

rank. How now, boy! Shall Hero Humphrey still be Numps the ploughboy? A proper-shaped young fellow ! tall and straight ! Why, thou wert made for glory!.. five feet eight ! The road to riches is the field of fight!.. Didst ever see a guinea look so bright? Why regimentals, Numps, would give thee grace, A hat and feather would become that face; The girls would crowd around thee to be kiss'd ... Dost love a girl ? ”. “ Odd Zounds!” I cried,

6 I'll list!” So pass'd the night; anon the morning came, And off I set a volunteer for fame. “ Back shoulders, turn out your toes, hold up your

head,
“ Stand easy !".. so I did ... till almost dead.
O how I long'd to tend the plough again,
Trudge up the field, and whistle o'er the plain,
When tired and sore, amid the piteous throng,
Hungry, and cold, and wet, I limp'd along,
And growing fainter as I pass'd and colder,
Cursed that ill hour when I became a soldier !

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In town I found the hours more gaily pass,
And time fled swiftly with my girl and glass ;
The girls were wonderous kind and wonderous fair,
They soon transferr'd me to the Doctor's care;
The Doctor undertook to cure the evil,
And he almost transferr'd me to the Devil.
'Twere tedious to relate the dismal story
Of fighting, fasting, wretchedness, and glory.
At last discharged, to England's shores I came,
Paid for my wounds with want instead of fame;
Found my fair friends, and plunder'd as they bademe;
They kiss'd me, coax'dme, robb’d me, and betray'dme.
Tried and condemn'd His Majesty transports me,
And here in peace, I thank him, he supports me.
So ends my dismal and heroic story,
And Humphrey gets more good from guilt thanglory.

Oxford, 1794.

III.

JOHN, SAMUEL, AND RICHARD.

TIME, Evening.

JOHN.

'Tis a calm pleasant evening, the light fades away,
And the sun going down has done watch for the day.
Tomy mind we live wonderous well when transported;
It is but to work, and we must be supported.
Fill the cann, Dick! Success here to Botany Bay!

RICHARD.

Success if you will, .. but God send me away!

JOHN.

You lubberly landsmen don't know when you're

well! Hadst thou known half the hardships of which I can

tell ! The sailor has no place of safety in store; From the tempest at sea, to the press-gang on shore ! When Roguery rules all the rest of the earth, God be thank'd, in this corner I've got a good berth.

SAMUEL.

Talk of hardships ! what these are the sailor don't

know;

'Tis the soldier, my friend, that's acquainted with woe;

VOL. II.

Long journies, short halting, hard work, and small pay, To be popt at like pigeons for sixpence a day!.. Thank God I'm safe quarter'd at Botany Bay.

JOHN.

Ah! you

know but little : I'll wager a pot
I have suffer'd more evils than fell to your lot.
Come, we'll have it all fairly and properly tried,
Tell story for story, and Dick shall decide.

SAMUEL.

Done.

JOHN.

Done. 'Tis a wager, and I shall be winner; Thou wilt go without grog, Sam, to-morrow at dinner.

SAMUEL.

I was trapp'd by the Sergeant's palavering pre

tences, He listed me when I was out of my senses ; So I took leave to-day of all care and all sorrow, And was drillid to repentance and reason to-morrow.

JOHN.

I would be a sailor and plough the wide ocean, But was soon sick and sad with the billows'commotion, So the boatswain he sent me aloft on the mast, And cursed me, and bademecry there,.. and hold fast!

SAMUEL.

After marching all day, faint and hungry and sore, I have lain down at night on the swamps of the moor,

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