25 MAY 1867, Page 13



Well, here's the cuckoo come again, after the barley-sowing, The duck-weed white upon the pond, all round the violets blowing, The gorse has got its coat of gold, and smells as sweet as clover, The lady-smocks are in the hedge, the primroses nigh over, And out upon the common there, you see the lambkins leaping, The very snakes crawl here and there,--but Holy Tommte's sleeping. • JACOB.

Ale, him that used to work with Bourne ! Bourne told me how he blunder'd.

He used to preach. I heard him once. Lord, how he groan'd and thunder'd I The women squeak'd like sucking-pigs, the men roared out like cattle, And my gray hair stood up on end !

• Totality.

All ignorant stuff and tattle ! He lost his head thro' meddling so with things that don't concern us; When we go questioning too close, 'tis little God will learn us : 'Tis hard enough to squeeze the crops from His dry ground about us, But as for serving 'tether world, it gets its crops without us. Ah, Tommie's was a loss that used to put me out completely No man about could plough a field or kill a pig so neatly.


That's where it lies ! We get no good by asking questions, neighbour : Parsons are sent to watch our Souls, while we are hard at labour : This world needs help to get along, for men feed one another, And what do we pay parsons for, if not to manage 'tether?


You're right! No man as grumbles so with this here world has thriven • Mutton won't drop into our mouths, altho' we gape at Heaven. Why, Tommie was a ruddy lad, as rosy as an apple, Till Methodism filled his head, and he was seen at chapel ; Found out that he'd received a call, grew dismal, dull, and surly, Read tracts when working in the fields, prayed wildly late and early, And by and by, began himself to argue with the doubting, And tho' he'd scarcely been to school began his public spouting. And soon I found—I wasn't blind—how he let matters go here,— While he was at his heavenly work, things suffered down below here : The hens dropt off for want of feed, horses grew sick and useless, For lack o' milking presently the cows grew dry and juiceless ; And when I found him out, and swore in rage and consternation, I'm hang'd if Tommie didn't cry and talk about salvation ! "Salvation's mighty well," says I, right mad with my disaster, "But since I want my farm-stock saved, you find another master !" And I was firm, and sent him off, tho' he seem'd broken-hearted; He popped a tract into my fist the morning he departed; Aye, got a place next day with Bourne, who knew the lad was clever, But dawdled still about his work, and preach'd as mach as ever.


"Why don't you be a man?" said they, "keep clean, and do your labour ?"

And what d'ye think that Tommie said?—" I don't play shilly- shally, If I'm to serve the Lord at all, 'twill be continulilly ; You think that you can grub and cheat from Sunday on to Sunday, And put the Lord Almighty off by howling out on one day ; But if you want to get to heav'n, your feelings must be stronger ;" And Holy Tommie would not go to chapel any longer. Learn'd sense ? No, no! Reform'd ? Not he ! But moped and fretted blindly, Because the blessed Methodists had used him so unkindly.

His life grew hard, his back grew bare, his brain grew dreadful airy, He thought of t'other world the more 'cause this seem'd so contrary, Went wandering on the river-side, and in the woods lay lurking, Gaped at the sky in summer time when other men were working, And once was spied a-looking up where a wild lark was winging, And tears a-shining in his eyes,—because the lark was singing ! Last harvest time he came to me, and begged for work so sadly, And vowed he had reformed so much, and look% so sick and badly, I had not heart to send him off, but put him out a-reaping, But, Lord 1 the same tale o'er again—he worked like one half- sleeping. "Be off !" says I, "you're good for naught," and all the rest stood sneering ; "Master, you may be right," says he,—" the Lord seems hard o' hearing! I thought I could fulfil below the call that I had gotten, But here's the harvest come again, and all my life seems rotten : The Methodists are little good, the High Church folk are lazy, And even when I pray alone, the ways o' Heaven seem hazy ! Religion don't appear to keep an honest lad from sad things, And tho' the world is fine to see, 'tis full of cruel bad things ; Why, I can't walk in fields and lanes, and see the flowers a-growing, And look upon the bright blue sky, or watch the river flowing, But even there, where things look fine, out creeps the speckled adder, Or silver snakes crawl by, and all at once the world looks sadder. The better I have seem'd to grow, the worse all things have gone with me, It's all a great d—d mystery! I wish the Lord was done with me!" And slowly, ever after that, Tommie grew paler, stiller, And soon he could not work at all, and quickly he grew iller, And when the early new-year rains were yellowing pool and river, He closed his eyes, and slept, and gave the puzzle up for ever,


His head was gone, that's clear enough—the chapel set it turning.


Now, this is how I look at it, altho' I have no learning : In this here world, to do like him is nothing but self-slaughter,- He went close to the edge o' life, and heard a roar like water,

His head went round, his face grew pale, his blood lost life and motion,-

'Twas just as vilets lose their scent when set beside the Ocean. But there's the Parson riding up, with Doctor Barth, his crony ; Some of these days the Parson's weight will kill that blessed pony ! Ah, he's the man to settle things that made the wits unsteady ! Wife, here's the Parson ! Draw some ale, and set the table ready.


But Bourne soon sent him packing off--Bourne's just the sort of fellow ; Why, even when the Parson calls, he grumbles and looks yellow !


Ile got another master, tho,' but soon began to tire him, His wages sunk, and by and by no farmer here would hire him ; And soon between this world and that, poor Tommie grew more mournful,

His strength and cleverness went off—the folk look'd black and scornful—

And soon the blessed Methodists grew tired, and would not hear him, And bolted when he tried to speak, and shrunk from sitting near him.


It's just the way with Methodists. Give me the High Church,. neighbour