A Parson Goldney’s Journey to Horfield

A Parson Goldney’s Journey to Horfield

(A poor little village in Gloucestershire, near Bristol),-1747

The clock struck eight, the morning clear’d

The choc’late drank, the coach appear’d,

To Horfield bound; a dirty road.

A stomach sick,hyppish load;

A jumbling coach, a grumbling wife,

With two friends more perplex’d in life.

At length arrived at Horfield—green,

No church-bell, heard, no mortal seen,

A place as wild, as cold,as bleak

As Newfoundland or Derby-Peak;

A village void of bit or scrip

To stop the vicar’s fretful hyp;

A church yard sod in watry swamp,

A puny church, a surplice damp;

The reading-desk extremely cold,

A pulpit dusty, weak and old;

A prayer-book of dull print letter,

A Bible rather worse than betters

A congregation very small;

Made but of few poor souls in all

Three ancient dames with wither’d faces

Fell fast asleep in lower places;

Two grey—hair’d dons with glove on pate

Sat just above in nodding state-

One maiden fair with yellow knot,

The only primrose on the spot:

The rest were chiefly farmers‘ men

That star’d and list’ned now and then.

The beardful clerk that sings or says,

Who’s poorly versed in musick-lays,

A psalm uprear’d in jangling notes,

Contrived for sol-fa’s growling throats,

In broken (tune, now in, now out,

Twas all confus’d, like babel’s rout.

Then came the sermon, long and dull,

Adapted right to Clod-pate’s skull,

Some snor’d, some gap’d; one sober lad

Beneath his arm a Bible had

This book-learn’d youth had wit enough

To tum to doctor’s scripture proof;

He doubled down the quoted place,

And sat demure with awkward face.

The sermon done, no dinner near,

A mile at least to cup and cheer;

Churchwarden hog not seen at church,

Left hungry parson in the lurch;

The weather chang’d to snow and sleet

Made chatt’ring teeth and chilly feet.

The youth look’d blue, the lady pale,

For want of something to regale.

Driving at length thro’ miry ground.

We reach’d the Ostrich* on the down

Where, glorious sight! by great good luck,

the stomach hour had struck,

A loin of veal in lordly dish,

And kail and bacon, all I wish,

Allay’d the grumblings of the day,

And raised our spirits up to gay:

We sat down content and snug,

With wine, and ale and cyder mug;

Yea, cups of tea, the good wife’s treat,

Appear’d to make the scene complete.

Nature refresh’d in cheerful way,

We drank and pledge’d and call’d to pay.

Then, coachman wheel’d to Clifton round.

And brought us home all safe and sound.

Horfield farewell; thou starving soil,

Not worth a preacher’s charge and toil.

To ride throw’ dirt thro’ cold with hunger keen.

To teach sad swine on ignoramus green.

*A Sign of a Public House on the Down


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