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The Borough. Letter VIII: Trades

George Crabbe 1754 (Aldborough) – 1832 (Trowbridge)

OF manufactures, trade, inventions rare,
Steam-towers and looms, you'd know our Borough's

share -
'Tis small: we boast not these rich subjects here,
Who hazard thrice ten thousand pounds a-year;
We've no huge buildings, where incessant noise
Is made by springs and spindles, girls and boys;
Where, 'mid such thundering sounds, the maiden's

Is 'Harmony in Uproar' all day long.
Still common minds with us in common trade,
Have gain'd more wealth than ever student made;
And yet a merchant, when he gives his son
His college-learning, thinks his duty done;
A way to wealth he leaves his boy to find,
Just when he's made for the discovery blind.
Jones and his wife perceived their elder boy
Took to his learning, and it gave them joy;
This they encouraged, and were bless'd to see
Their son a fellow with a high degree;
A living fell, he married, and his sire
Declared 'twas all a father could require;
Children then bless'd them, and when letters came,
The parents proudly told each grandchild's name.
Meantime the sons at home in trade were placed,
Money their object--just the father's taste;
Saving he lived and long, and when he died,
He gave them all his fortune to divide:
'Martin,' said he, 'at vast expense was taught;
He gain'd his wish, and has the ease he sought.'
Thus the good priest (the Christian scholar!)

'What estimate is made by vulgar minds;
He sees his brothers, who had every gift
Of thriving, now assisted in their thrift;
While he, whom learning, habits, all prevent,
Is largely mulct for each impediment.
Yet let us own that Trade has much of chance,
Not all the careful by their care advance;
With the same parts and prospects, one a seat
Builds for himself; one finds it in the Fleet.
Then to the wealthy you will see denied
Comforts and joys that with the poor abide:
There are who labour through the year, and yet
No more have gain'd than--not to be in debt:
Who still maintain the same laborious course,
Yet pleasure hails them from some favourite source,
And health, amusements, children, wife, or friend,
With life's dull views their consolations blend.
Nor these alone possess the lenient power
Of soothing life in the desponding hour;
Some favourite studies, some delightful care,
The mind with trouble and distresses share;
And by a coin, a flower, a verse, a boat,
The stagnant spirits have been set afloat;
They pleased at first, and then the habit grew,
Till the fond heart no higher pleasure knew;
Till, from all cares and other comforts freed,
Th' important nothing took in life the lead.
With all his phlegm, it broke a Dutchman's

At a vast price, with one loved root to part;
And toys like these fill many a British mind,
Although their hearts are found of firmer kind.
Oft have I smiled the happy pride to see
Of humble tradesmen, in their evening glee;
When of some pleasing fancied good possess'd,
Each grew alert, was busy, and was bless'd:
Whether the call-bird yield the hour's delight,
Or, magnified in microscope the mite;
Or whether tumblers, croppers, carriers seize
The gentle mind, they rule it and they please.
There is my friend the Weaver: strong desires
Reign in his breast; 'tis beauty he admires:
See! to the shady grove he wings his way,
And feels in hope the raptures of the day -
Eager he looks: and soon, to glad his eyes,
From the sweet bower, by nature form'd, arise
Bright troops of virgin moths and fresh-born

Who broke that morning from their half-year's

To fly o'er flowers where they were wont to creep.
Above the sovereign oak, a sovereign skims,
The purple Emp'ror, strong in wing and limbs:
There fair Camilla takes her flight serene,
Adonis blue, and Paphia silver-queen;
With every filmy fly from mead or bower,
And hungry Sphinx who threads the honey'd flower;
She o'er the Larkspur's bed, where sweets abound.
Views ev'ry bell, and hums th' approving sound;
Poised on her busy plumes, with feeling nice
She draws from every flower, nor tries a floret

He fears no bailiff's wrath, no baron's blame,
His is untax'd and undisputed game:
Nor less the place of curious plant he knows;
He both his Flora and his Fauna shows;
For him is blooming in its rich array
The glorious flower which bore the palm away;
In vain a rival tried his utmost art,
His was the prize, and joy o'erflow'd his heart.
'This, this! is beauty; cast, I pray, your eyes
On this my glory! see the grace! the size!
Was ever stem so tall, so sto
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:03 min read

George Crabbe

George Crabbe was an English poet, surgeon, and clergyman. more…

All George Crabbe poems | George Crabbe Books

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