What's Mine's Mind - vol.1

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Gentle vagrant, stumping over
Several verdant fields of clover! Subject of unnumbered knockings! Tattered' coat and ragged stockings, Slouching hat and roving eye,
Tell of SETTLED vagrancy!
Wretched wanderer, can it be The poor laws have leaguered thee? Hear'st thou, in thy thorny den, Tramp of rural policemen,
Inly fancying, in thy rear
Coats of blue and buttons clear, While to meet thee, in the van Stalks some vengeful alderman?-- Each separate sense bringing a notion Of forms that teach thee locomotion! Beat and battered altogether, By fellow-men, by wind and weather; Hounded on through fens and bogs, Chased by men and bit by dogs: And, in thy weakly way of judging, So kindly taught the art of trudging; Or, with a moment's happier lot, Pitied, pensioned, and forgot-- Cutty-pipe thy regium donum;
Poverty thy summum bonum;
Thy frigid couch a sandstone stratum; A colder grave thy ultimatum;
Circumventing, circumvented;
In short, excessively tormented, Everything combines to scare
Charity's dear pensioner!
--Say, vagrant, can'st thou grant to me A slice of thy philosophy?
Haply, in thy many trudgings, Having found unchallenged lodgings, Thy thoughts, unused to saddle-crupper, Ambling no farther than thy supper-- Thou, by the light of heaven-lit taper, Mendest thy prospective paper! Then, jolly pauper, stitch till day; Let not thy roses drop away,
Lest, begrimed with muddy matter, Thy body peep from every tatter, And men--a charitable dose--
Should physic thee with food and clothes! Nursling of adversity!
'Tis thy glory thus to be
Sinking fund of raggery!
Thus to scrape a nation's dishes, And fatten on a few good wishes! Or, on some venial treason bent, Frame thyself a government,
For thy crest a brirnless hat, Poverty's aristocrat!
Nonne habeam te tristem,
Planet of the human system?
Comet lank and melancholic
--Orbit shocking parabolic--
Seen for a little in the sky
Of the world of sympathy--
Seldom failing when predicted, Coming most when most restricted, Dragging a nebulous tail with thee Of hypothetic vagrancy--
Of vagrants large, and vagrants small, Vagrants scarce visible at all! Matchless oracle of woe!
Anarchy in embryo!
Strange antipodes of bliss!
Parody on happiness!
Baghouse of the great creation! Subject meet for strangulation, By practice tutored to condense The cautious inquiry for pence, And skilful, with averted eye, To hide thy latent roguery--
Lo, on thy hopes I clap a stopper! Vagrant, thou shalt have no copper! Gather thy stumps, and get thee hence, Unwise solicitor of pence!

Alister, who all but worshipped Ian, and cherished every scrap from his pen, had not until quite lately seen this foolish production, as Ian counted it, and was delighted with it, as he would have been had it been much worse. Ian was vexed that he should like it, and now spent the greater part of an hour trying to show him how very bad in parts, even senseless it was. Profusion of epithets without applicability, want of continuity, purposelessness, silliness, heartlessness--were but a few of his denunciations. Alister argued it was but a bit of fun, and that anybody that knew Ian, knew perfectly he would never amuse himself with a fellow without giving him something, but it was in vain; Ian was bent on showing it altogether unworthy. So, not to waste the night, they dropped the dispute, and by the light of the blazing heather, turned to a chapter of Boethius.

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