A Case at Sessions

Yesterday, at the Sessions held in Buckingham,
The Reverend Simon Shutwood, famed for tucking ham
And capon into his appointed maw,
Gravely discussed a deadly breach of law,
And then committed to the county jail
(After a patient hearing) William Flail:
For that he, Flail, one day last week,
Was seen maliciously to sneak
And bend his body by the fence
Of his own garden, and from thence
Abstract, out of a noose, a hare,
Which he unlawfully found there,
Against the peace (as may be seen
In Burn and Blackstone) of the Queen.
He, questioned thereupon, in short,
Could give no better reason for't
Than that his little boys and he
Did often in the morning see
Said hare, and sundry other hares,
Nibbling on certain herbs of theirs.
Teddy, the seventh of the boys,
Counted twelve rows, fine young savoys,
Bit to the ground by them, and out
Of ne'er a plant a leaf to sprout:
And Sam, the youngest lad, did think
He saw a couple at a pink.
"Come!' cried the Reverend, "Come, confess!'
Flail answered, "I will do no less.
Puss we did catch; Puss we did eat;
It was her turn to give the treat.
Nor overmuch was there for eight o' us
With a half-gallon o' potatoes:
Eight; for our Prue lay sick abed,
And poor dear Bessy with the dead.'
"We can not listen to such idle words,'
The Reverend cried: "The hares are all my Lord's.
Have you no more, my honest friend, to say
Why we should not commit you, and straightway?'
Whereat Will Flail
Grew deadly pale,
And cried, "If you are so severe on me,
An ignorant man, and poor as poor can be,
O Mister Shutwood! what would you have done
If you had caught God's blessed only Son,
When he broke off (in land not His they say)
That ear of barley on the Sabbath-day?
Sweet Jesus! in the prison he had died,
And never for our sins been crucified.'
With the least gouty of two doeskin feet
The Reverend stamped, then cried in righteous heat,
"Constable! take that man downstairs,
He quotes the Scripture and eats hares.'
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