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But in his common garb a coat he wore,
A faithful coat that long its lord had known, black, but now was black no more
That once was black,
Attinged by various colours not its own. All from his nostrils was the front imbrown'd, And down the back ran many a greasy line, While, here and there, his social moments own'd The generous signet of the purple wine.
Brown o'er the bent of eld his wig appear'd, Like fox's trailing tail by hunters sore affeir'd.
One only maid he had, like turtle true,
But not like turtle gentle, soft, and kind; For many a time her tongue bewray'd the shrew And in meet words unpack'd her peevish mind Ne form'd was she to raise the soft desire
That stirs the tingling blood in youthful vein, Ne form'd was she to light the tender fire,
By many a bard is sung in many a strain : Hook'd was her nose, and countless wrinkles told What no man durst to her, Iween, that she was old.
When the clock told the wonted hour was come
When from his nightly cups the wight withdrew, Right patient would she watch his wending home, His feet she heard, and soon the bolt she drew. If long his time was past, and leaden sleep
O'er her tir'd eye-lids 'gan his reign to stretch, Oft would she curse that men such hours should keep, And many a saw 'gainst drunkenness would preach; Haply if potent gin had arm'd her tongue,
All on the reeling wight a thundering peal she rung.
For tho' the blooming queen of Cyprus' isle
Such beverage to own if Bacchus deign:
Oft would a cholic-pain her bowels enthrall;
So as in single animals he joy'd,
One cat, and eke one dog, his bounty fed ; The first the cate-devouring mice destroy'd,
Thieves heard the last, and from his threshold fled : All in the sun-beams basked the lazy cat,
Her mottled length in couchant posture laid; On one accustomed chair while Pompey sat,
And loud he bark'd should Puss his right invade.
The human pair oft mark'd them as they lay, And haply sometimes thought like cat and dog were they.
A room he had that faced the southern ray,
Where oft he walk'd to set his thoughts in tune,
Pensive he paced its length an hour or tway,
All to the music of his creeking shoon.
And at the end a darkling closet stood,
Where books he kept of old research and new, In seemly order rang'd on shelves of wood,
And rusty nails and phials not a few:
Thilk place a wooden box beseemeth well,
And papers squar'd and trimm'd for use unmeet to tell,
For still in form he placed his chief delight,
And oft with careful eye their ranks review'd;
Himself and maiden-minister eschew'd:
One path he trod, nor ever would decline
A hair's unmeasur'd breadth from off the even line.
A Club select there was, where various talk
And warm'd to mirth by wine's enlivening pow'r.
If a pipe lent its thought-begetting fume,
For men like him they were of like consort,
And bless'd their stars that kept the curse from them! No honest love they knew, no melting smile
That shoots the transports to the throbbing heart! Thilk knew they not but in a harlot's guile
Lascivious smiling thro' the mask of art:
And so of women deem'd they as they knew,
But most abhorr'd they Hymeneal rites,
Their mirth should quail, or damp their generous flame: Then pledged their hands, and toss'd their bumpers o'er, And Io! Bacchus! sung, and own'd no other pow'r.