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Crumble-Hall

Mary Leapor 1722 (Northamptonshire) – 1746 (Brackley)

When Friends or Fortune frown on Mira's Lay,
Or gloomy Vapours hide the Lamp of Day;
With low'ring Forehead, and with aching Limbs,
Oppress'd with Head-ach, and eternal Whims,
Sad Mira vows to quit the darling Crime:
Yet takes her Farewel, and Repents, in Rhyme.

But see (more charming than Armida's Wiles)
The sun returns, and Artemisia smiles:
Then in a trice the Resolutions fly;
[And who so frolick as the Muse and I?]
We sing once more, obedient to her Call;
Once more we sing; and 'tis of Crumble-Hall;
That Crumble-Hall, whose hospitable Door
Has fed the Stranger, and reliev'd the Poor;
Whose Gothic Towers, and whose rusty Spires,
Well known of old to Knights, and hungry Squires.
There powder'd Beef, and Warden-Pies, were found;
And Pudden dwelt within her spacious Bound:
Pork, Peas, and Bacon (good old English Fare!),
With tainted Ven'son, and with hunted Hare:
With humming Beer her Vats were wont to flow,
And ruddy Nectar in her Vaults to glow.
Here came the Wights, who battled for Renown,
The sable Friar, and the russet Clown:
The loaded Tables sent a sav'ry Gale,
And the brown Bowls were crown'd with simp'ring Ale;
While the Guests ravag'd on the smoking Stove,
Till their stretch'd Girdles would contain no more.

Of this rude Palace might a Poet sing
From cold December to returning Spring;
Tell how the Building spreads on either Hand,
And two grim Giants o'er the Portals stand;
Whose grisled Beards are neither comb'd nor shorn,
But look severe, and horribly adorn.

Then step within -- there stands a goodly Row
Of oaken Pillars -- where a gallant Show
Of mimic Pears and carv'd Pomgranates twine,
With the plump Clusters of the spreading Vine.
Strange Forms above, present themselves to View;
Some Mouths that grin, some smile, and some that spew.
Here a soft Maid or Infant seems to cry:
Here stares a Tyrant, with distorted Eye:
The Roof -- no Cyclops e'er could reach so high:
Not Polyphemus, tho' form'd for dreadful Harms,
The Top could measure with extended Arms.
Here the pleas'd Spider plants her peaceful Loom:
Here weaves secure, nor dreads the hated Broom.
But at the Head (and furbish'd once a year)
The Herald's mystic Compliments appear:
Round the fierce Dragon Honi Soit twines,
And Royal Edward o'er the Chimney shines.

Safely the Mice through yon dark Passage run,
Where the dim windows ne'er admit the sun.
Along each Wall the Stranger blindly feels;
And (trembling) dreads a Spectre at his Heels.

The sav'ry kitchen much Attention calls:
Westphalia Hams adorn the sable Walls:
The Fires blaze; the greasy Pavements fry;
And steaming Odours from the Kettles fly.

See! yon brown Parlour on the Left appears,
For nothing famous, but its leathern Chairs,
Whose shining Nails like polish'd Armour glow,
And the dull clock beat, audible and slow.

But on the Right we spy a Room more fair:
The Form -- 'tis neither long, nor round, nor square;
The Walls how lofty, and the Floor how wide,
We leave for learned Quadrus to decide.
Gay China Bowls o'er the broad Chimney shine,
Whose long Description would be too sublime:
And much might of the Tapestry be sung:
But we're content to say, The Parlour's hung.

We count the Stairs, and to the Right ascend,
Where on the Walls the gorgeous Colours blend.
There doughty George bestrides the goodly Steed;
The Dragon's slaughter'd, and the Virgin freed:
And there (but lately rescu'd from their Fears)
The Nymph and serious Ptolemy appears:
Their awkward Limbs unwieldy are display'd;
And, like a Milk-wench, [glares] the royal Maid.

From thence we turn to more familiar Rooms;
Whose Hangings ne'er wer wrought in Grecian Looms;
Yet the soft Stools, and eke the lazy Chair,
To sleep invite the Weary, and the Fair.

Shall we proceed? -- Yes, if you'll break the Wall:
If not, return, and tread once more the Hall.
Up ten stone steps now please to drag your Toes,
And a brick Passage will succeed to those.
Here the strong Doors were aptly framed to hold
Sir Wary's Person, and Sir Wary's Gold.
Here Biron sleeps, with Books encircled round;
And him you'd guess a student most profound.
Not so -- in Form the dusty Volumes stand:
There's few that wear the Mark of Biron's Hand.

Would you go farther? -- Stay a little then:
Back thro' the Passage -- [up] the Steps again;
Thro' yon dark Room -- Be careful how you tread
Up these steep Stairs -- or you may break your Head.
These Rooms are furnish'd amiably, and full:
Old shoes, and Sheep-ticks bred in
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:04 min read
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Mary Leapor

Mary Leapor was an English poet, born in Marston St. Lawrence, Northamptonshire, the only child of Anne Sharman and Philip Leapor, a gardener. She is notable for being one of the most critically well-received of the numerous labouring-class writers of the period. more…

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