Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A DIALOGUE ABOUT COMPELLING A PERSON TO TAKE OATHS TO THE GOVERNMENT, by JOHN BYROM



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A DIALOGUE ABOUT COMPELLING A PERSON TO TAKE OATHS TO THE GOVERNMENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Why so grave, harry? What's the matter, pray?
Last Line: At present, sur, god bless ye! And fareweel!
Subject(s): John Paul Ii, Pope; Oaths; Popes; Religion; Wojtyla, Karol Jozef; Papacy; Theology


SIR JOHN JOBSON AND HARRY HOMESPUN.

SIR J. WHY so grave, Harry?—What's the matter, pray?
What makes thee look so sorrowful to-day?
HARRY. Whoy, Sur, I geet sore trubbled i' my moind,
At whot yon foke hand toud me wheer I doind.
SIR J. Prithee, what's that?
HARRY. They touden me, Sur John,
That yo han sent a summons to a mon
To tak an ooath,—a meety long on too;
An they aw sen its moor till he can do.
SIR J. Do or not do, what bus'ness is 't of thine?
HARRY. "Bus'ness?"—whoy, he's a naibor, Sur, o' mine;
An yo han hard, beloike, aoor pairson tell
'At one mun love their naibor as theirsel;
Besoides at he's a sarviseable felly
As onny at we han o' th' busness, welly.
And then, an ooath yo shanno hyear come aoot
O that mons maooth, Sur John, the year abaoot;
And if he be i' th' moind at he has been,
Yo'n foind it mich ado to cram one in.
SIR J. Harry, that matter we shall soon discuss;
Trial of skill is now 'twixt him and us.
We must and will subdue him, if we can;—
He's a refractory, seditious man.
HARRY. Nay, if ye bin for giving aoot o'hond
Hard words, Sur, at one cannot understond,
I'll say no moor;—or else I ha taen a wauk
That yo and I mit'n have a bit o' tauk.—
But happen naoo yo're not i'th' humour—
SIR J. Yes;
Talk what thou wilt—
HARRY. And yo'n no' tak't amiss?
SIR J. No;—
HARRY. Then I'll tell oo, mester, whot I think.
SIR J. Sit thee down first;—wilt have a little drink?
HARRY. Now; nor yo noather; we'n be soaber booath.
God willing, Sur, and tauk abaoot this ooath.
SIR J. What dost thou know about it?
HARRY. Whoy, no mich,
That's true enough,—thank God!—I'm no so rich;
But I con guex abaoot it weel enough:
Foke at han tan it, sen it's weary tough.
There's monny a one that would ha gen a craoon,
With aw his heart, he neer had leet it daoon.
SIR J. But it shall cost this fellow more than so
If he don't take it;—that I'll let him know.
HARRY. Win ye, Sur?
SIR J. Yes, I will.
HARRY. And if yo win,
Sur John, yo're guilty of a wicked sin.
SIR J. Am I? How so?
HARRY. Whoy, dunnot yo maintain
At mon may tak God's holy name i' vain?
SIR J. No; indeed don't I;—'tis what I abhor.
HARRY. Then pray ye naoo; whot is this Summons for?
Is is not sent to mak a mon to swear
Summot abaoot the King and his reet Heir?
And ar not yo weel satisfy'd, to boot,
'At he mun tak God's name i' vain to do't?
SIR J. That's his affair to look to, and not ours;
We act according to the legal pow'rs.
If private conscience slight the public call,
It must e'en take the consequence;—that's all.
HARRY. Marry, enough o'conscience, and good feeake,
Too mich by hauf, if consciences may speeak.
What mak han yo—to mak another mon
T'swear agen his?—What cawn ye that, Sur John?
SIR J. We cannot make him, man, unless he will.
HARRY. Sur, Sur, it comes to the same mischief still,
Or warse, if ooather;—for, if he fears God,
And winno swear, then yo tan up the rod.
Here's a commandment kept that God has spokken,
And he mun pay for one o' yo'rs that's brokken.
I say agen that, shift it haoo yo win,
Sur John, yo're guilty of a wicked sin.
SIR J. Harry, as Justice of the peace I'm ty'd
For public peace and safety to provide;
So are my brethren;—now with this intent
The law directs our summons to be sent;—
If disaffected persons will not give
The constitution under which they live
Proper security, they must be made
To feel the force of what they would evade.
If we should suffer these nonjuring knaves,
We shall in time be Papists all and slaves.
HARRY. "Papists and slaves!" Whoy, good Sur John, the Pope,
The Deel himsel can do no more, I hope,
Then tempt a mon to utter with his tung
I' th' name o' God whot he believes is rung.
Mun we be Papists, if we dunnot make
A mon belye his Maker for aoor sake?
Mun we be slaves, except we forcen foke
To come and put their necks into aoor yoke?
SIR J. Thou dost not, Harry, understand the laws—
HARRY. Whoy, han they, Sur, sich desperate lung claws,
That a mon's conscience hid within his hairt
Mun be scratch'd aoot on't by um? For my pairt,
Laws or noa laws, I'm sure we shidden do
As we aw wishen to be done unto.
SIR J. Good faith! thou preachest tolerably well:
But wouldst thou have thy neighbour to rebel?
To make disturbances in Church and State,
And not be punish'd till it is too late?
Magistrates, man, must have a care in time,
And in the bud must nip the sprouting crime.
HARRY. "Nip it i' th' bud?—And so it mun be doon,
Yo thinken then, by punishing too soon?
Magistrates, Sur, so haesty and and so hard,
Maen aw th' Rebellions at thir ar i' th' ward.
Let foke be quiet when they ar so, Sur,
And noather Church nor State will mak a stur.
But, to be made to pay, or be forsworn,
Vexes 'em boath, as sure as yo ar baurn.
Whoy mun yo mak my naibor pay sich scores?
His soul is his, as weel as yoars is yoars.
SIR. J. The law, not I, obliges him to pay.
HARRY. Whoy win yo tak that low agen him, hay?
If yo mun do't whether yo win or not,
Are yo a Papist, or a slave, or whot?
Tell me, (if this faoo play be not yoar ooan)
What mun yo pay for letting him alooan?
SIR J. I pay?—No law obliges me to that.
What is it, Harry, that thou wouldst be at?
HARRY. Whoy, Sur, at this,—When laws maen mich adoo,
Monny a wise mon is made into a foo;
Freeten'd o' th' sudden aoot of his reet sense,
He'll sell his wits and aw to save his pence.
But, pray, whot mon with hauf o' yoar good thout
Would do his naibor an ill turn for nout,
When he himsel gets nere a farthing by't
But shaum of hurting aoot of arrant spite?
This is the wark, if yo'n consider weel,
Not of a mon, Sur John, but of a Deel.
If one cud tak a look at that mon's breast,
We shudden see him what they cawn "possest."
SIR J. Thou mak'st a Devil of me.—Very well!
HARRY. Now, now; its yo that maen one o' yorsel.
I'd mak a mon o' ye, Sur, if I cud,
A gradely mon, that seeches to do good,
And not to labbor books and sarch a cawse
For hately doings in hard favor'd laws.
SIR J. Thou "sarches" me, I'm sure.—Where hast thou had
This same book-searching information, lad?
We have, 'tis true, been studying in what shape
We best might catch thy neighbour in a scrape.
But, by thy talking, we might spare the pains,
And better bus'ness might employ our brains—
HARRY. Ay marry, meeght it.—Thooas that letten aoot
Their breeans to mischief mit as weel be baoot;
Whoile they done so it con be no great news
That fokes shid caw um summat warse then foos.
SIR J. Harry, thou'rt got into a talking cue.
HARRY. Yo gin me leeaf, do not ye?—
SIR J. I do.—
Now, prithee, tell me then and talk away,
Nor mince the matter,—what do people say?
HARRY. I'll tell oo, Sur;—"Aoor Justices," they sen,
"That tan themselves to be sich loyal men.
"Makken moor enemies to th' King and Craoon
"Till onny twenty men besoide i' th' taoon.
"They praisen mich this Government of aoors
"Becose it has no harbittary paoors;
"For trade, religion, liberties enjoy'd,
"It sheds aw th' Governments i' th' ward besoide;
"His aoon oppinion e'ry mon may take;
"Noa parsecution int for conscience' sake.
"Monny sich WORDS they han as smooth as oil,
"And DEEDS as sharp as Alegar aw th' whoile.
"They getten to a corner by 'umsels,
"And there they done, i' th' ward o' God, nowt elz
"But tan their books, their bacco, and their beer,
"And conjurn up poor fellies to appear;
"And then the gost'ling—what'n ye caw it?—Corum
"Mun huff, and ding, and carry aw before um."
SIR J. A fine description, truly! and quite free!
But, Harry, how did it appear to thee?
Couldst thou not find, where thou hast been to dine,
One word to say for an old friend of thine?
HARRY. Yoi, Sur, I said as mich as ere I could;
But whaint ado I had to mak it good.
This summons, Sir, this summons! Fie upon't!
Whot argufi'd my TUNG agen yoar HONDT?
Whene'er they thrutten that into my dish,
It strick me dumb aootreet as onny fish.
Had I gooan on,—I know, Sur, whot I know,—
They'd soon ha' said I wur as bad as yo.
Yo conno think,—if I may be believ'd,—
Yo conno think, Sur, haoo my heart wus griev'd.
I'd fain ha' yo belov'd, Sur, in yoar turn
As aw yoar anciters before ye wurn;
And I believe that none o' th' race before,
Be who they win, could ere desarve it moor,
If thooas good qualities that God has gin ye,
Mit but appear withaoot as they are in ye.
But i' this one faoo pleck, I need mun say,
Yo generaten fro' um quite away.
I hope yo tan it i' good part, Sur John:—
I meean to sarve ye—
SIR J. Honest lad! Go on,
I think thou dost. Thee I shall sooner heed
Than twenty prating wiseacres.—Proceed.
HARRY. Whoy then, Sur John, if I may be so boud,
Good-will when getten is as good as goud.
Yoar faither left ye here a foine estate;
He sout his naibors' love and not their hate;
His principles wurn of annother mack
From thooas at yo han been advois'd to tak.
This greet lung ooath he neer could understond;
If yo bin wiser, naoo yo han his lond,
Better for yo;—and yet I conno skill
Haoo it shid happen;—but be that as 'twill,
Yet for yoar faither's seeake 'ats deead and gone,
Yo shid'n consider wi' yoar sel, Sur John,
Whether its hondsom for his Son and Heir
To foorce loike-moinded men to come and swear;
Monny han said that seen ye so behave,
"Sur John here tramples on his faither's grave."
If when th' oud mester wur alive himsel,
The Justices for feear he shid rebel
Had usend him as yo done other foke,
Yoar wheels had wanted monny a pratty spoke.
Had he been made agen his ooan consent
A Papish, Sur, by Act o' Parliament,
Yo wouldn ha' caw'd um by their proper name
That did the thing, tho' naoo yo done the same.
Th' oud mon's hard yoozitch would ha' rais'd yoar blood—
SIR J. So really, Harry, I believe it would:
I should not quietly have sitten still,
Had any of them us'd my father ill.
HARRY. Whoy, Sur, and conno' yo think at it, then,
And show some marcy naoo to other men?
Suppose this mon, becose he conno' think
Just as yo done, had nooather meeat nor drink,
Could no', becose 'at laws ma'en sich a paoose,
Wark in his bus'ness and maintain his haoose;
But aw his childer wurn to beg i' th' street,—
Woulden yo think it sich a blessed seet?
Would no' yo say at seeing rags and ruin,
"The Deel wus in me!—What wus I adoing?"—
Yo gan me leeaf to tauk, Sur—
SIR J. So I did,
And must confess that I am fairly chid;
Thy honest bluntness oft has made me smile,
Harry, but I ne'er hed thee all the while:
Now I believe that thou hast gain'd thy end,
And I, a better temper tow'rds thy friend.
HARRY. Eh! Sur! God send it!—If yoar heart wur oppen'd
To loving thouts, haoo naibors would be gloppen'd!
Before this Justicing made sich a pother,
Haoo naiburly we liven'd with t'one t'other!
But naoo—
SIR J. Well, Harry, thou hast said enough:
I hope I shan't herereafter be so rough,
Nor sharpen, when they come within my sphere,
Laws, of themselves sufficiently severe.
When thou shalt see him, tell thy friend from me,
If he'll be quiet, quiet he shall be.
Tell all thy neighbours that the thing is done,—
The father's mem'ry shan't reproach the son;
Though all his thoughts and mine were not the same,
His worth and virtues shall direct my aim.
And, now I have confess'd to thee, friend Harry,
We'll call another cause if thou canst tarry;
This thou hast richly merited to win:—
Here!—who's in waiting?—Bring a tankard in.
HARRY. Nay, Sur, yo mun excuse me, if yo pleeasen;
Yoar kindness here in harkening to reeason
Has made my hairt,—dry as a kex, Sur John,—
Weeter and leeter till gud likkor con.
I'll go mi ways, Sur, whooam afore its dark,
And let aoor naibors know o' this day's wark;
I lung to see um, feeling whot I feel;
At present, Sur, God bless ye! and fareweel!





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