The Masters Elegy, Over a Departed Servant


T HOUGH it was Edward's fault alone,
That saddles fail'd, and I was thrown;
Though seldom he has kept his word,
Or Truth to Falsehood has preferr'd;
Though, in the memory of Time,
Our tablets never yet could chime;
Though like a ruffian he would scold,
When of neglect or folly told;
Though Disobedience, bold and proud,
For penal judgement cry'd aloud:
The heart, alas! was born to feel,
Before the head its doom could seal.
It may give sentence — and it must,
Against the Judge, for being just .
If Ned was rude, it is not clear,
That I was never too severe:
If He could lie — though Truth 's a jewel,
It may have been too harsh and cruel:
His virtues cross me in my way,
And rise in all their stern array.
Besides — in age I should remember,
It has been May, though now December.
There was a time when Love and Zeal
On Toil impress'd their glowing seal.
The Morn was bright, and gay the Noon,
Then is a Servant's honey-moon;
But separation is a curse,
And " better " should redeem the worse .
His faults are scatter'd in their flight;
His worth for ever in my sight.
Except in girts — a better groom
Is not alive in Edward's room:
To me sometimes he has been tart,
But still my horses won his heart:
A sans-culottes , perhaps, he 'd have me,
But like an Angel he could shave me .
For many an hour he 'd not be seen;
But, when he came, I saw him clean;
He read my letters on the table,
Which in decyphering made him able.
To Lawyers, Taylors, Cooks, and Jews,
He took and sent my billets-doux .
He told me that I could not ride,
But he display'd the horseman's pride.
Though he could write, he could not spell;
But none have drest my hair so well:
Though now and then he 'd laugh at me,
'Twas my indulgence made him free.
He was, too, sharp as a debater,
But an incomparable waiter.
In short, a little more observant,
He would have been a charming Servant.
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