Within one room being large and long,
There stood two hundred looms full strong:
Two hundred men the truth is so,
Wrought in these looms all in a row.
And in another place hard by
A hundred women merrily,
Were carding hard with joyful cheer,
Who singing sat, with voices clear,
And in a chamber close beside,
Two hundred maidens did abide
In petticoats of stammell red
And milk-white kerchers on their head.
These pretty maids did never lin
But in that place all day did spin;
And spinning so with voices meet,
Like nightingales they sung full sweet,
Then to another room came they.
Where children were in poor array:
And everyone sat picking wool,
The finest from the coarse to cull.
A dye-house likewise had he then,
Wheein he kept full forty men;
And likewise in his fulling mill,
Full twenty persons kept he still.
First cast your eye upon a rustic seat,
Built strong and plain, yet well contrived and neat,
And situated on a healthy soil,
YUielding much wealth with little cost or toil,
Near by it stand the barns framed to contain:
Enriching stores of hay, pulse, corn and grain;
With bartons large, and places where to feed
Your oxen, cows, swine, poultry, with their breed.
On the other side hard by the house, you see
The appiary for the industrious bee,
Walk on a little farther, and behold
A pleasant garden from high winds and bold
Defended (by a spreading fruitful wall
With rows of lime, and fir-trees straight and tall),
Full fraught with necessary flowers and fruits,
And nature's choicest sorts of plants and roots.
Beyond the same are crops of beans and pease,
Saffron, and liquorice, or such as these.
Then orchards so enriched with fruitful store,
Nature could give (nor they receive) no more,
Each tree stands bending with the weight it bears
Of cherries some, of apples, plums and pears.
Of cider fruits, near unto which there flows
A gliding stream; the next place you discover
Is where St.Foyn, La Lucern, hops and clover
Are propagated. Near unto those fields,
Stands a lare wood, mast, fuel, timber yields
In yonder vale hard by the river stands
A water-engine, which the wind commands
To fertilize the meads, on the other side
A Persian wheel is placed both large and wide
To the same intent. Then do the fields appear
Clothed with corn, and grain, for the ensuing year,
The pastures stocked with beasts, the downs with sheep
The cart, the plough, and all, good order keep.
Plenty unto the husbandman, and gains
Are his rewards for's industry and pains.
The Workhouse is my present theme,
And some things therein I will name;
Here I will spend a Leisure hour,
Perhaps it may be three or four.
Once we did in the barracks dwell,
None in the house could it excel;
We from our rooms had a full view
Of field, which did our health renew.
Each day the rooms are all wash'd clean,
And by spectators may be see;
The beds in them are uniform.
To keep from winter's cold and storm.
Lest the poor people come to harm,
They have good fires to keep them warm.
The washing-house you'll see below,
Where men and women weekly go;
While women wash, men turn the dolly
Some singing - others melancholy;
And all for the poor people's sake;
The barracks end - their bread they bake.
The dining-room I'll mention next,
Where all are in good order fixt;
Each man sits there - has off his hat,
First broth is serv'd, both good and fat,
The master then doth nimbly work,
And handles well his knife and fork:
Cuts lumps of beef - lays on each plate,
Enough for any one to eat;
Potatoes, greens, or good turnips,
All moist and sweet unto the lips,
That easy down the throat it slips:
Then pudding good, both sweet and mild,
With dip for every little child.
Soon as the serving is all done,
The master quickly say's, - "walk on,"
Upon the sitting-room there's cost,
A fire is kept, a sheep might roast:
Here people more than twenty-four,
Where they the brass and copper scour.
The barber here waits on the men,
And shaves above three-score and ten;
Here breakfast, dinner, supper serv'd,
I'm well assured not one is starv'd
Each morning have milk porridge good,
To cheer the heart and warm the blood;
And twice a week good bread and chees,
As any gentlman might please;
And milk there is for children young,
Lest cheese and beer should smart their tongue
And that the children all may thrive,
The bell doth ring again at five;
They all have good milk porridge then,
And bread and wholesome beer for men;
Both men and women, who are able
Sit together at the table;
There, thrice each week, all thither flock,
And each feed like a fighting cock;
Yet, though such plenty is provided,
Some basely have the house derided.
I am so dull of apprehension,
Or all the trades here I would mention:-
The tailors here do measure take
Of men and boys, their clothes to make:
And shoemakers their tools do use.
To make for them the best of shoes;
And every week about are sending
To see if any shoes want mending:
And many youngsters in the place,
Are learning fast to run their lace.
There's spinning, seaming, sewing, knitting,
And other business, too, most fitting.
Another trade our notice claims.
So many useful stocking frames.
Which do so many hands employ.
Might yield them comfort and great joy.
A double pump there stands aloft,
And therein water, hard and soft,
Two men by turns do pump a share,
To wash and clean all round the square.
The laundry where they linens dress,
The mangle doth it smoothly press;
On women, men, and children see,
All of them are so neat and clean
The chapel, where each Sunday's preaching;
And chuildren there are always teaching;-
Pleasant it is to see and hear
Them all train'd up in Godly fear.
The doctor's room is nigh at hand,
Where drugs are given by his command;
There powders, pills, and laundanum keep,
To cause the sick and weak to sleep,
With bolusses of every kind,
And finest drops to break the wind;
And many drugs together mix,
From four-score to the age of six.
The hospital is very nigh,
Where all the sick together lie;
The dead-room, it is there close by.
To take them down soon as they die.
The porter in the lodge doth wait
For all the folks, to ope' the gate
Oft times he turns the key about,
To let them always in and out
Now I will make a few reflections,
On various tempers and complexions:-
Here some are lame, and others lazy
Great many old, and some are crazy;
Here, some are young and full of folly,
Some thin and lean, some fat and jolly
And some do look quite melancholy:
Some harmless, merry, full of joking
Others are stubborn - quite provoking:
And some are mild-reproofs take meekly,
Others are weak and very sickly:
And some there are oft out a falling.
They one another nicknames calling;
And some there are most horrid swearers,
And others love to be tale-bearers,
They think thereby they do gain favour,
Such characters shew ill behaviour;
Some with tale-bearers are partakers
Ne'er are content - vain mischief makers!
Now, highly-favor'd England see
Such good and wholesome laws for thee:
Thy poor and helpless comfort find,
The sick, the weak, the lame, the bland:
Not Scotland, Ireland, France, nor Spain,
Nor other places o'er the main,
Make such provision for their poor,
As England does for its procure;
In other kingdoms, wretchedness,
Misery, want, and deep distress,
For refuge have no where to fly.
Perhaps in grief and anguish die.
I cannot write without applause,
On such a good and worthy cause.
Theirs is yon House that holds the Parish Poor,
Whose walls of mud scarce bear the broken door:
There, where the putrid vapours, flagging, play,
And the dull wheel hums doleful through the day; -
There Children dwell who know no Parents' care;
Parents, who know no Children's love, dwell there !
Heart-broken Matrons on their joyless bed,
Forsaken Wives, and Mothers never wed;
Dejected Widows with unheeded tears,
And crippled Age with more than childhood fears;
The Lame, the Blind, and, far the happiest they !
The moping Idiot and the Madman gay.
Now that I've nearly done my days,
And grown too stiff to sweep or sew,
I sit and think till I'm amaze
About what lots of things I know:
Things as I've found out one by one -
And when I'm fast down in the clay.
My knowing things and how they're done
Will all be lost and thrown away.
There's things I know as won't be lost,
Things as folk write and talk about:
The way to keep your roots from frost,
And how to get your inkspots out
What medicine's good for sores and sprains
What way to salt your butter down.
What charms will cure your different pains,
And what will bright your faded gown.
But more important things than these
They can't be written in a book
How fast to boil your greens and peas.
And how good bacon ought to look;
The feel of real good wearing stuff.
The kind of apples as will keep
The look of bread that rose enough
And how to get a child to sleep.
Whether the jam is fit to pot
Whether the milk is going to turn
Whether a hen will lay or not
Is things as some folks never learn.
I know the weather by the sky.
I know what herbs grow in what lane,
And if sick men are going to die,
Or if they'll get about again.
Young wives come in, a-smiling, grave
With secrets that they itch to tell:
I know what sort of times they'll have,
And if they'll have a boy or gell,
And if a lad is ill to bind.
Or some young maid is hard to lead.
I know when you should speak 'em kind
And when it's scolding as they need.
I used to know where birds ud set
And likely spots for trout or hare,
And God may want me to forget
The way to set a line or snare;
But not the way to truss a chick
To fry a fish or baste a roast
Nor how to tell, when folk are sick
What kind of herb will ease them most.
Forgetting seems such silly waste
I know so many little things
And now the Angels will make haste
To dust it all away with wings
O God, you made me like to know
You kept the things straight in my head
Please God, if you can make it so,
Let me know something when I'm dead.
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
And still where many a garden flower grows wild;
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher's modest mansion rose,
A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year:
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change his place....
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorned the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway.
And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray.
The service passed, around the pious man,
With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran;
E'en children followed with endearing wile,
And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed.
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed;
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thought had rest in Heaven.
As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
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This page last modified on Saturday, February 17, 2007