SOME years ago, ere time and taste
Had turn-d our parish topsy-turvy,
When Darnel Park was Darnel Waste,
And roads as little known as scurvy,
The man who lost his way between
St. Mary-s Hill and Sandy Thicket
Was always shown across the green,
And guided to the parson-s wicket.

Back flew the bolt of lissom lath;
Fair Margaret, in her tidy kirtle,
Led the lorn traveller up the path
Through clean-clipp-d rows of box and myrtle;
And Don and Sancho, Tramp and Tray,
Upon the parlor steps collected,
Wagg-d all their tails, and seem-d to say,
-Our master knows you; you -re expected.�

Up rose the reverend Doctor Brown,
Up rose the doctor-s -winsome marrow;�
The lady laid her knitting down,
Her husband clasp-d his ponderous Barrow.
Whate-er the stranger-s caste or creed,
Pundit or papist, saint or sinner,
He found a stable for his steed,
And welcome for himself, and dinner.

If, when he reach-d his journey-s end,
And warm-d himself in court or college,
He had not gain-d an honest friend,
And twenty curious scraps of knowledge;
If he departed as he came,
With no new light on love or liquor,-
Good sooth, the traveller was to blame,
And not the vicarage, nor the vicar.

His talk was like a stream which runs
With rapid change from rocks to roses;
It slipp-d from politics to puns;
It pass-d from Mahomet to Moses;
Beginning with the laws which keep
The planets in their radiant courses,
And ending with some precept deep
For dressing eels or shoeing horses.

He was a shrewd and sound divine,
Of loud dissent the mortal terror;
And when, by dint of page and line,
He -stablish-d truth or startled error,
The Baptist found him far too deep,
The Deist sigh-d with saving sorrow,
And the lean Levite went to sleep
And dream-d of tasting pork to-morrow.

His sermon never said or show-d
That earth is foul, that heaven is gracious,
Without refreshment on the road
From Jerome, or from Athanasius;
And sure a righteous zeal inspir-d
The hand and head that penn-d and plann-d them,
For all who understood admir-d,
And some who did not understand them.

He wrote too, in a quiet way,
Small treatises, and smaller verses,
And sage remarks on chalk and clay,
And hints to noble lords and nurses;
True histories of last year-s ghost;
Lines to a ringlet or a turban;
And trifles to the Morning Post,
And nothings for Sylvanus Urban.

He did not think all mischief fair,
Although he had a knack of joking;
He did not make himself a bear,
Although he had a taste for smoking;
And when religious sects ran mad,
He held, in spite of all his learning,
That if a man-s belief is bad,
It will not be improv-d by burning.

And he was king, and lov-d to sit
In the low hut or garnish-d cottage,
And praise the farmer-s homely wit,
And share the widow-s homelier pottage.
At his approach complaint grew mild,
And when his hand unbarr-d the shutter
The clammy lips of fever smil-d
The welcome which they could not utter.

He always had a tale for me
Of Julius Cæsar or of Venus;
From him I learn-d the rule of three,
Cat-s-cradle, leap-frog, and Quæ genus.
I used to singe his powder-d wig,
To steal the staff he put such trust in,
And make the puppy dance a jig
When he began to quote Augustine.

Alack, the change! In vain I look
For haunts in which my boyhood trifled;
The level lawn, the trickling brook,
The trees I climb-d, the beds I rifled.
The church is larger than before,
You reach it by a carriage entry:
It holds three hundred people more,
And pews are fitted for the gentry.

Sit in the vicar-s seat: you -ll hear
The doctrine of a gentle Johnian,
Whose hand is white, whose voice is clear,
Whose tone is very Ciceronian.
Where is the old man laid? Look down,
And construe on the slab before you:
-Hic jacet Gulielmus Brown,
Vir nullâ non donandus lauro.â?