Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FARMER AND THE COUNSELLOR, by HORACE SMITH



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THE FARMER AND THE COUNSELLOR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A counsel in the common pleas
Last Line: "but not so many as when you were there!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Farm Life; Law & Lawyers; Agriculture; Farmers


A COUNSEL in the Common Pleas,
Who was esteemed a mighty wit,
Upon the strength of a chance hit
Amid a thousand flippancies,
And his occasional bad jokes
In bullying, bantering, browbeating,
Ridiculing, and maltreating
Women, or other timid folks,
In a late cause resolved to hoax
A clownish Yorkshire farmer -- one
Who, by his uncouth look and gait,
Appeared expressly meant by Fate
For being quizzed and played upon:
So having tipped the wink to those
In the back rows,
Who kept their laughter bottled down,
Until our wag should draw the cork,
He smiled jocosely on the clown,
And went to work.

"Well, Farmer Numscull, how go calves at York?"
"Why -- not, sir, as they do wi' you,
But on four legs, instead of two."
"Officer!" cried the legal elf,
Piqued at the laugh against himself,
"Do pray keep silence down below there.
Now look at me, clown, and attend;
Have I not seen you somewhere, friend?"
"Yees -- very like -- I often go there."
"Our rustic's waggish -- quite laconic,"
The counsel cried, with grin sardonic;
"I wish I'd known this prodigy,
This genius of the clods, when I
On circuit was at York residing.
Now, Farmer, do for once speak true --
Mind, you're on oath, so tell me, you,
Who doubtless think yourself so clever,
Are there as many fools as ever
In the West Riding?"
"Why -- no, sir, no; we've got our share,
But not so many as when you were there!"





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