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And for our ease, o'er turnpike-ways,
To travel down in my post-chaise.
By learned men it is agreed,
Poets should ride the winged steed;
And therefore, thus says Betty Martin,
“ Thou art no poet, that's most certain."
Thro’ Kentish-town, up Highgate-hill,
Our horses move against their will;
And, while they snuff the wholesome wind,
We cast a parting look behind,
Pleas'd t' have left yon sable cloud,
That buries millions in its shroud;
Alas! they toil, the sons of care !
And never breathe the purer air.
Thy common, Finchley, next we measure,
Whose woodland views would give us pleasure,
But that they many a wretch exhibit,
Too near the high road, on a gibbet ;
Hence men may guess, without much skill,
Here have been rogues--and may be still.
High Barnet pass'd, we reach the plain,
Where Warwick, haughty earl, was slain :
So perish all, as Warwick fell,
Who 'gainst their lawful liege rebel!
Ah! passing strange, that one sweet flower
Should kindle all the rage of power!
Yet England oft has wail'd her woes,
And wept the colors of the rose.
With hungry appetites we hie on,
Where Hatfield shows the Silver Lion;
But, lo! nice steaks from rump of beef
Will soon afford us kind relief ;
Of good old Port we drink a quart,
Discharge our reckoning, and depart.
Thro’ sandy lanes, and deep defiles,
of Phoebus never smiles, (Save on that beam-illumin'd dwelling, Where Young delights the Muse at Welling) We march as gently as we can, And reach at Stevenage the Swan : A well-fed pullet, roasted nice, And of high-season'd ham a slice, Of suppers could not prove the worst Warm negus gratified our thirst: At ten the welcome down we prest, And wooed the kindly Power of rest.
With early dawn we mount the chaise,
And Phoebus smiles in friendly rays:
O'er finest turnpike-road we bowl,
The wheels, the numbers gently roll,
Speed swift to Baldock down the hill,
Where liv'd sweet Polly of the Mill,
But now the lovely Polly's gone,
Rival of Venus!--so drive on.
Thro' villages, o'er plains we ride,
Where Ouze conducts his silver tide;
So slow his winding waters stray,
He seems to linger on his way,
As loth to leave the pleasing scene
Of woods, corn-fields, and pastures green:
Thus man, low-grovelling, like the river,
Would loiter in this life for ever;
So beautiful these scenes appear,
He thinks it better to be here,
Than try that country, from whose bourn
No pale-eyed travellers return.
At Eaton next, by twelve-a-clock,
We bait our horses at the Cock :
Then leave awhile the public road,
To take with friends a night's abode :
This visit comes in due succession,
And therefore deem it no digression.
Thence cross corn-fields our way explore,
Where chariots never went before;
Thro’rushy swamps, and bogs we past,
And came to Beggary at last :
Even then we did not know our doom,
For worse misfortunes were to come:
Fain would we thro' the pastures ride ;
Our entrance gates and locks denied :
Thro’ that deep lane, where many a slough
Would spoil a horse, or hide a cow,
Pass on we must, if we intend
To pay our visit to a friend :
True friendship has a bias strong,
It drove us thro' the mire along,
O'er banks and ridges, till, at last,
It fairly set the carriage fast-
What's to be done ?—with might and main
We haul'd it on the land again :
At length, with fear and wild amaze,
We crawl'd thro' safely with the chaise ;
Now on the precipice's edge,
Now bounc'd against a quickset hedge,
And, by a wondrous kind of fate,
By four arriv'd at Pointer's gate ;
Whose entertainment, neat and kind,
Soon put these dangers out of mind :
With social friends we past the day,
And gaily laugh'd our cares away
At six we march, but first provide, To shun bad roads, a faithful guide ; And shortly, o'er the rising steep, We saw the spire of Bugden peep : At breakfast near an hour we waste, 'Twas coffee, grateful to the taste, With dulcet cream, and nut-brown toast; Then bid a Valeas to our host. O’er level roads we drive amain, Roads as the well-roll’d terrace plain, And soon reach Stilton safe and wellWe chose the inn that bears the Bell. On mutton, charming food! we dine, And cheer our hearts with generous wine ; But long, alas ! we must not stay Life Alies with rapid wing away ;
'Tis but a march that we must make;
'Tis but a journey we must take :
Here we can fix no firm abode,
Nor loiter long upon the road;
But must, with vigilance, attend
Still to our journey, and its end.
At Stamford next, with spirits light,
The Bull receives us for the night ;
Smelts and a rabbet was our food;
The bill was cheap, the wine was good.
Our wheels next morning early sound
O'er rough, thro' truly Roman ground;
Th’immense Vestigia, still compleat,
Prove that the Romans once were great :
Grantham we admire
The noble church, the lofty spire;
Sarum's alone is two feet higher.
Here, what before I ne'er had seen,
I saw fair Venus, Beauty's Queen ;
Sweetly she smil'd with graceful look,
In shape of Lady Mary Coke.
Our breakfast done, in haste we went
To Newark on the banks of Trent;
There staid a little to regale
On cold roast-beef and humming ale.
Thence thro' a tedious, sandy way
We labor'd, and at Carlton lay :
With friends we drain'd the cheerful bowl,
And supt on mutton and broil'd fowl,
And eels that gave us much content,