Taking Orders. A Tale, Founded On Fact.

A poem by Thomas Gent

A parson once--and poorer he
Than ever parson ought to be;
Yet not so proud as some from College,
Who fancy they alone have knowledge;
Who only learn to dress and drink,
And, strange to say, still seem to think
That no real talent's to be found
Except within their classic ground;
Yet prove that Cam's nor Oxon's plains
Can't furnish empty skulls with brains.
But for my tale--Our churchman came,
And, in religion's honour'd name,
Sought Cam's delightful classic borders,
To be prefer'd to Holy Orders.
Chance led him to the Trav'llers' Inn,
Where living's cheap, and often whim
Enlivens many a weary soul,
And helps, in the o'erflowing bowl,
In spite of fogs, and threatening weather,
To drown both grief and gloom together:--
(Oh, Wit! thou'rt like a little blue,
Soft cloud, in summer breaking through
A frowning one, and lighting it
Till darkness fadeth bit by bit;
And Whim to thee is near allied,
And follows closely at thy side;
So oft, oh, Wit! I'm told that she
By some folks is mista'en for thee;
Yet I may say unto my eyes,
Just whereabouts the difference lies;
One's diamond quite, and, to my taste,
The other is but Dovey's Paste.)--
He there a ready welcome found
From one who travell'd England round:
"Sir, your obedient--quite alone?
I'm truly happy you are come:
Pray, sir, be seated;--business dull;--
Or else this room had now been full;
Orders and cash are strangers here,
And every thing looks dev'lish queer;
Bad times these, sir, sad lack of wealth;
Must hope for better;--Sir, your health!"
Then added, with inquiring face,
"Come to take Orders in this place?"

"Yes, sir, I am," replied the priest:
"With that intent I came at least."
"Ha! ha! I knew it very well;
We business-men can others tell:
Often before I've seen your face,
Though memory can't recal the place--
Ah! now I have it; head of mine!
You travel in the button line?"

"Begging your pardon, sir, I fear
Some error has arisen here;
You have mista'en my trade divine,
But, sir, the worldly loss is mine--
I travel in a much worse line."

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