« PreviousContinue »
See from the great metropolis they rush,
Th’industrious vulgar: they, like prudent bees,
In Kent's wide garden roam, expert to crop
The flow'ry hop, and provident to work,
Ere winter numb their sunburnt hands, and winds
Engoal them, murmuring in their gloomy cells.
From these, such as appear the rest t' excel
In strength and young agility, select.
These shall support with vigour and address
The bin-man's weighty office; now extract
From the sequacious earth the pole, and now
Unmarry from the closely clinging vine.
O'er twice three pickers, and no more, extend
The bin-man's sway; unless thy ears can bear
The crack of poles continual, and thine eyes
Behold unmov'd the hurrying peasant tear
Thy wealth, and throw it on the thankless ground.
But first the careful planter will consult
His quantity of acres, and his crop,
How many and how large his kilns; and then
Proportion’d to his wants the hands provide.
But yet of greater consequence and cost,
One thing remains unsung, a man of faith
And long experience, in whose thund'ring voice
Lives hoarse authority, potent to quell
The frequent frays of the tumultuous crew.
He shall preside o'er all thy hop-land store,
Severe dictator! his unerring hand,
And ey e inquisitive, in heedful guise,
Shall to the brink the measure fill, und fair
On the twin registers the work record.
And yet I've known them own a female reign,
And gentle Marianne's * soft Orphean voice
Has hymn'd sweet lessons of humanity
To the wild brutal crew. Oft her command
Has say'd the pillars of the hop-land state,
The lofty poles from ruin, and sustain'd
Like Anna, or Eliza, her domain,
With more than manly dignity. Oft I've seen,
E'en at her frown the boist'rous uproar cease,
And the mad pickers, tam'd to diligence,
Cull from the bin the sprawling sprigs, and leaves
That stain the sample, and its worth debase.
All things thus settled and prepar’d, what now
Can stop the planter's purposes ? unless
The heav'ns frown dissent, and ominous winds
Howl through the concave of the troubled sky:
And oft, alas ! the long-experienc'd wights,
Oh! could they too prevent them,--storms foresee,
For, as the storm rides on the rising clouds,
Fly the fleet wild-geese far away, or else
The heifer towards the zenith rears her head,
And with expanded nostrils snuffs the air :
The swallows too their airy circuits weave,
And screaming skim the brook : and fen-bred frogs
Forth from their hoarse throats their old grudge recite :
Or from her earthly coverlets the ant
Heaves her huge eggs along the narrow way:
Or bends Thaumantia's variegated bow
A thwart the
of heav'n : or sable crows Obstreperous of wing, in clouds combine : Besides, unnumber'd troops of birds marine, And Asia's feather'd flocks, that in the muds
of flow'ry edged Cayster wont to prey, Now in the shallows duck their speckled heads, And lust to lave in vain ; their unctious plumes Repulsive balk their efforts : hearken next How the curs'd raven, with her harmful voice, Invokes the rain, and croaking to herself, Struts on some spacious solitary shore. Nor want thy servants and thy wife at home Signs to presage the show'r; for in the hall Sheds Niobe her prescient tears, and warns Beneath the leaden tubes to fix the vase, And catch the falling dew-drops, which supply Soft water and salubrious, far the best To soak thy hops, and brew thy generous beer. But though bright Phoebus smile, and in the skies The purple-rob'd serenity appear; Though every cloud be fled, yet if the rage Of Boreas, or the blasting east prevail, The planter has enough to check his hopes, And in due bonds confine his joys; for see The ruffian winds in their abrupt career, Leave not a hope behind, or at the best Mangle the circl’ing vine, and intercept The juice nutricious : fatal means, alas ! Their colour and condition to destroy. Haste then, ye peasants; pull the poles, the hops : Where are the bins ? run, run, ye nimble maids, Move ev'ry muscle,' ev'ry nerve extend, To save our crop from ruin, and ourselves. Soon as bright chanticleer explodes the night With flutt ring wings, and hymns the new-born day, The bugle-horn inspire, whose clam'rous bray Shall rouse from sleep the rebel rout, and tune
To temper for the labours of the day.
Wisely the several stations of the bins
By lot determine; justice this, and this
Fair prudence does demand; for not without)
A certain method could'st thou rule the mob
Irrational, por every where alike
Fair hangs the hop to tempt the picker's hand,
Now see the crew mechanic might and main
Labour with lively diligence, inspir'd
By appetite of gain and lust of praise :-*
What mind so petty, servile, so debas'd,
As not to know ambition ? Her great sway
From Colin Clout to Emp'rors she exerts.
To err is human, human to be vain;
Tis vanity and mock desire of fame,
That prompts the rustic on the steeple top
Sublime, to mark the area of his shoe,
And in the outline to engrave his name.
With pride of heart the churchiwarden surveys,
High o'er the bellfry, girt with birds and flow'rs,
His story wrote in capitals : -" 'Twas I
That bought the font, and I repair’d the pews.".
With pride like this, the emulating mob
Strive for the mastery--who first may fill
The bellying bin, and cleanest cull the hops ;
Nor ought retards, unless invited out
By Sol's declining, and the evening's calm,
Leander leads Letitia to the scene
Of shade and fragrance--then th' exulting band
Of pickers male and female, seize the fair
Reluctant, and with boistr'ous force and brute,
By cries unmov'd, they bury her i'th' bin :
Nor does the youth escape-him too they seize,
And in such posture place as best way serve
To hide his charmer's blushes; Then with shouts
They rend the echoing air, and from them both,
So custom has ordain'd,-a largess claim.
Thus much be sung of picking ;-next succeeds
The important care of curing :-quit the field,
And at the kiln th' instructive muse attend.
On your hair-cloth, eigbt inches deep, nor more, Let the green hops lie lightly; next expand The smoothest surface with the toothy rake. Thus far is just above; but more it boots "That charcoal flames burn equally below; The charcoal fames, which from thy corded wood, Or antiquated poles, with wond'rous skill, The sable priests of Vulcan shall prepare. Constant and moderate let the heat ascend; Which to effect, there are who with success Place in the kiln the ventilating fan. Hail, learned, useful man!whose head and heart Conspire to make us happy ; deign t'accept One honest versc; and if thy industry Has sery'd the hop-land cause, the muse forebodes This sole invențion both in use and fame, The mystic fan of Bacchus shall exceed.
When the fourth hour expires, with careful hand The half-bak'd hops turn over.
Soon as time Has well exhausted twice two glasses more, They'll leap and crackle with their bursting seeds, For use domestic, or for sale mature.
There are, who in the choice of clothenfold Their wealthy crop, the viler, coarser sort,