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The Parish Register   By: (1754-1832)

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Transcribed by Mark Sherwood, e mail: mark.sherwood@btinternet.com

"THE PARISH REGISTER", by GEORGE CRABBE (1754 1832) {1} IN THREE PARTS.

PART I.

Tum porro puer (ut saevis projectus ab undis, Navita) nudus humi jacet infans indigus omni Vitali auxilio, Vagituque locum lugubri complet, ut aequum est, Cui tantum in vita restat transire malorum. LUCRETIUS, De Rerum Natura, lib.5

THE ARGUMENT.

The Village Register considered, as containing principally the Annals of the Poor State of the Peasantry as meliorated by Frugality and Industry The Cottage of an industrious Peasant; its Ornaments Prints and Books The Garden; its Satisfactions The State of the Poor, when improvident and vicious The Row or Street, and its Inhabitants The Dwellings of one of these A Public House Garden and its Appendages Gamesters; rustic Sharpers &c. Conclusion of the Introductory Part.

BAPTISMS.

The Child of the Miller's Daughter, and Relation of her Misfortune A frugal Couple; their Kind of Frugality Plea of the Mother of a natural Child; her Churching Large Family of Gerard Ablett: his apprehensions: Comparison between his state and that of the wealthy Farmer his Master: his Consolation An Old Man's Anxiety for an Heir: the Jealousy of another on having many Characters of the Grocer Dawkins and his Friend; their different Kinds of Disappointment Three Infants named An Orphan Girl and Village School mistress Gardener's Child: Pedantry and Conceit of the Father: his botanical Discourse: Method of fixing the Embryo fruit of Cucumbers Absurd Effects of Rustic Vanity: observed in the names of their Children Relation of the Vestry Debate on a Foundling: Sir Richard Monday Children of various Inhabitants The poor Farmer Children of a Profligate: his Character and Fate Conclusion.

The year revolves, and I again explore The simple Annals of my Parish poor; What Infant members in my flock appear, What Pairs I bless'd in the departed year; And who, of Old or Young, or Nymphs or Swains, Are lost to Life, its pleasures and its pains. No Muse I ask, before my view to bring The humble actions of the swains I sing. How pass'd the youthful, how the old their days; Who sank in sloth, and who aspired to praise; Their tempers, manners, morals, customs, arts, What parts they had, and how they 'mploy'd their parts; By what elated, soothed, seduced, depress'd, Full well I know these Records give the rest. Is there a place, save one the poet sees, A land of love, of liberty, and ease; Where labour wearies not, nor cares suppress Th' eternal flow of rustic happiness; Where no proud mansion frowns in awful state, Or keeps the sunshine from the cottage gate; Where young and old, intent on pleasure, throng, And half man's life is holiday and song? Vain search for scenes like these! no view appears, By sighs unruffled or unstain'd by tears; Since vice the world subdued and waters drown'd, Auburn and Eden can no more be found. Hence good and evil mixed, but man has skill And power to part them, when he feels the will! Toil, care, and patience bless th' abstemious few, Fear, shame, and want the thoughtless herd pursue. Behold the Cot! where thrives th' industrious swain, Source of his pride, his pleasure, and his gain; Screen'd from the winter's wind, the sun's last ray Smiles on the window and prolongs the day; Projecting thatch the woodbine's branches stop, And turn their blossoms to the casement's top: All need requires is in that cot contain'd, And much that taste untaught and unrestrain'd Surveys delighted; there she loves to trace, In one gay picture, all the royal race; Around the walls are heroes, lovers, kings; The print that shows them and the verse that sings. Here the last Louis on his throne is seen, And there he stands imprison'd, and his Queen; To these the mother takes her child, and shows What grateful duty to his God he owes; Who gives to him a happy home, where he Lives and enjoys his freedom with the free; When kings and queens, dethroned, insulted, tried, Are all these blessings of the poor denied... Continue reading book >>




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