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He knows that he is destined after a hard life
to die in a workhouse, and he bears his destiny,
cart-horse like, with becoming obedience. How
can a man living on eight shillings a week lay
by anything for old age? He has his rent to
pay, and perhaps four children and a wife to keep.
True, his master, Farmer Spikes, lets him have
wheat at prime cost, and he gets a little wood
and some other perquisites; but it is the most
he can do to make both ends meet, even if no
rainy weather come, in the shape of illnessand
yet it must come, to him or to his.

We want to see no ideal labourerno smooth-
faced inanity, with short sleek hair, hypocritical
demeanour, and lip-profession of all the cardinal
virtues and morewe like your red-faced,
sturdy, somewhat obstinate, heavy-moving farm-
servant, who works hard, likes his master, and
fears God. We like him for his possibilities,
and even for what he now is. We see in the
fattest-faced young Downshire rustic, the raw
material of all the Nelsons, Wellingtons, Watts,
Stephensons, Burnses, and Shakespeares that
ever were. We see in him the divine soul, the
human heart, the capability of all joy and all
sorrow. We know that these poor men, if our
England were in danger, would still perform
deeds of heroism and devotion before which the
deeds of even old Greece and Rome would pale.
We know that those hardy shepherds on our
downs would, to defend those very miserable
cottages, devote themselves by thousands to the
fire and to the sword, rather than let one yard
of dear English land be polluted by the foot of
an invader. Could their landlords shed their
blood one whit more readily?


THE whole day long had been wild and warm,
With a heavy forewarning of what was to come.
There had been, indeed, no such horrible storm
For many a year, men say, in Rome.
I remember, it burst just after the close
Of the day when the dead Pope was laid in the Dome
Of Peter, taking his last repose
To the grief of all good Christèndom.

I suppose that here, on account of the story,
It is fit I should mention that, when he died,
He was of a good old age,—grown hoary
In wearing the purple much to men's pride.
Of a truth, he had sate so long in Rome,
Sate so long in Peter's chair,
Ruling the world, that he was come
To keep his power apart from care.
His eyes were wan with the steam,
And his hair was scatter'd and white
With the hoar, of many years;
And decrepitude's misty fume,
Like the watery blunt starlight,
And thin snow, of an old March night
As its wearied face appears
Bathed cold in a clammy grey,
Before the sluggish season clears
Its winter rubbish away.
Yet winter's wine-cup cheers
The dull heart of its discontent:
And he was a jolly Pope, and a gay,
A man much given to rnerriment.
So, leaving the wolf to look after the sheep,
Whilst ever the stormy nobles raved,
And the wickedness ran over in Rome,
And sinners, grown stout, refused to be saved,
Save, now and then, by a martyrdom,
He smiled, and, warming his heart with wine,
Daily, gaily, quaff'd the cup.
Meanwhile, there were some who seem'd to opine,
By their sour faces and doggerel verses,
That the cup so quaff'd was cramm'd with curses;
And one jack-knave (for his pains hanged up),
In a pasquinade profane, each line
Of which it is certain, word for word,
The Devil, whose scribe he was, dictated
(A wretched spinner of rhymes!), averr'd
That the dreadful Vintager, as stated
By the pens of prophets still, no doubt, trod
The wine-press red with the wrath of God,
And, to claim the blood of His bruisèd vine,
Unseen, for the final signal waited
In the Pope's own palace? Who does not know
The Devil is apt to quote Scripture so?
But the poet once hang'd, the scandal abated.
And so, while those two ever-famous keys
Of the double world's due-accredited porter
From the good man's girdle hung at their ease,
And the days grew chillier, darker, shorter,
The cellar key in the cellar door,
Doing service for those same rusty twins,
Daily, gaily, all the more,
Made music among the vaults and bins.

And oh, what a Paradise was there,
Set open by that little key!
The soul of every grape fed full
From teeming Tuscan slopes, or where
In amber eves, along the lull
Of lucid lengths of ardent air
Drunken roams the droning bee
Down many a mellow Umbrian dell:
The juice of all the jollity
Of that Oscad family
Of vine-clusters stout that dwell
Round sunburnt hills that stop the swell
Of the dear, the dreamy sea,
Whose soul doth pour from a purple floor
Into hot curves of a yellow shore
Sound of summer evermore,
Bathing blue Parthenope
So warmly and so well!
All the thousand sparklets, too,
Lit with laughter thro' and thro'
In Asti's grape, the ever new:
Or from scatter'd vineyards set
Where the innumerous violet
In Castel d'Aso blooms and springs
Purpling the tombs of Tuscan kings:
Montepulciano, the master-vine;
Chiante, that comforts the Florentine:
With many a merry-hearted wine
Broach'd from bowers to Sylvan dear,
Where, in the golden fall of the year,
From each misty mountain thrashing-floor
Floats the song, as falls the flail,
Thro' happy hill-side hamlets, o'er
Dante's own delicious vale,
Whose sweetness hangs in odours frail
Of woods and flowers round many a tale
Of tears, along the lordly line
Of the scornful Ghibeline
Dante's vale, and Love's, and mine,
The pleasant vale of the Carentine!
Nor lack'd there many and many a train
Of kingly gifts, the choicest gain