Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PLURALIST AND OLD SOLDIER, by JOHN COLLIER (1708-1786)

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

First Line: A soldier maimed and in the beggar's list
Last Line: With the rough soldier, to eternity.
Subject(s): Pensions

A SOLDIER maimed and in the beggars' list
Did thus address a well-fed pluralist:
Sol. At Guadeloupe my leg and thigh I lost,
No pension have I, though its right I boast;
Your reverence, please some charity bestow,
Heav'n will pay double—when you're there, you know.
Plu. Heav'n pay me double! Vagrant—know that I
Ne'er give to strollers, they're so apt to lie:
Your parish and some work would you become,
So haste away—or constable's your doom.
Sol. May't please your reverence, hear my case, and then
You'll say I'm poorer than the most of men:
When Marlbro siegèd Lisle, I first drew breath,
And there my father met untimely death;
My mother followed, of a broken heart,
So I've no friend or parish, for my part.
Plu. I say, begone.
—With that, he loudly knocks,
And Timber-toe begins to smell the stocks.
Away he stumps—but, in a rood or two,
He cleared his weasand and his thoughts broke through:
Sol. This 'tis to beg of those who sometimes preach
Calm charity, and ev'ry virtue teach;
But their disguise to common sense is thin:
A pocket buttoned—hypocrite within.
Send me, kind heav'n, the well-tanned captain's face,
Who gives me twelvepence and a curse, with grace;
But let me not, in house or lane or street,
These treble-pensioned parsons ever meet;
And when I die, may I still numbered be
With the rough soldier, to eternity.

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