from "The Parish"

Here shines the man of morals Farmer Finch
Smooth tongued & fine an angel every inch
In outward guise & never known as yet
To run in Taverns Brothels or in debt
In public life all punctual honest true
& flattery gives his graces double due
For pitys gifts are never public made
But there his name & guinea is displayed

In double views to answer prides desire
To purchase praise & to be dubbed Esquire
A sunday never comes or foul or fair
That misses him at church throughout the year
The priest himself boasts as the mans reward
That he near preached a sermon but he heard
Such is the man in public all agree
That saints themselves no better men could be

But now of private life lets take the view
—In that same church & in that very pew
Where he each sabbath sings & reads & prays
He joins the vestry upon common days
Cheating the poor with leveys doubly laid
On their small means that wealth may be defrayed
To save his own & others his compeers
He wrongs the poor whom he has wrongd for years

Making the house of prayer the house of sin
& placing Satan as high priest within
Such is this good church going morral man
This man of morrals on deseptions plan
So knaves by cant steer free from sins complaints
& flatterys cunning coins them into saints
Tho justice Terror who the peace preserves
Meets more of slander then his deeds deserves

A blunt opinionated odd rude man
Severe & selfish in his every plan
Or right or wrong his overreasoning heart
Believes & often overacts his part
Tho pleading want oft meets with harsh replies
& truths too often listend too as lies
Altho he reigns with much caprice & whim
The poor can name worse governers then him

His gifts at Christmass time are yearly given
No doubt as toll fees on the road to heaven
Tho charity or looses byt or wins
Tis said to hide a multitude of sins
& wether wealth-bought-hopes shall fail or speed
The poor are blest & goodness marks the deed
Tho rather leaning to the stronger side
He preaches often on the sins of pride

(lines 1370 to 1417)

The Poems of John Clare
ed. J. W. Tibble (2 volumes, Dent, 1935)

No comments: