Thomas Browne

(1771-1798 / England)

The Invasion: An Ecologue


A wanton wether had disdain'd the bounds
That kept him close confin'd to Willy's grounds;
Broke through the hedge, he wander'd far astray,
He knew not whither on the public way.
As Willy strives, with all attentive care,
The fence to strengthen and the gap repair,
His neighbour, Roger, from the fair return'd,
Appears in sight in riding-graith adorn'd;
Whom, soon as Willy, fast approaching, spies,
Thus to his friend, behind the hedge, he cries.

WILLY:

How dea ye, Roger? Hae ye been at t' fair?
How gangs things? Made ye onny bargains there?

ROGER:

I knaw not, Willy, things deant look ower weel,
Coorn sattles fast, thof beas' 'll fetch a deal.
To sell t' awd intak barley I desaagn'd,
Bud couldn't git a price to suit my maand.
What wi' rack-rents an' sike a want a' trade,
I knawn't how yan's to git yan's landloords paid.
Mair-ower all that, they say, i' spring o' t' year
Franch is intarmin'd on 't to 'tack us here.

WILLY:

Yea, mon! what are they coomin' hither for?
Depend upon 't, they'd better niver stor.

ROGER:

True, Willy, nobbud Englishmen 'll stand
By yan another o' their awwn good land.
They'll niver suffer-I's be bun' to say ?
The Franch to tak a single sheep away.
Fightin' for heame, upo' their awn fair field,
All power i' France could niver mak 'em yield.

WILLY:

Whaw! seer you cannot think, when put to t' pinch,
At onny Englishmen 'll iver flinch!
If Franch dea coom here, Roger, I'll be hang'd
An' they deant git theirsens reet soondly bang'd.
I can't bud think-thof I may be mistean ?
Not monny on 'em 'll git back agean.

ROGER:

I think nut, Willy, bud some fowk 'll say,
Oor English fleet let t' Franch ships git away,
When they were laid, thou knaws, i' Bantry Bay;
At they could niver all have gien 'em t' slip,
Bud t' English wanted nut to tak a ship.

WILLY:

Eh! that's all lees!

ROGER:

I dinnot say it's true,
It's all unknawn to sike as me an' you.
How do we knaw when fleets do reet or wrang?
I whope it's all on't fause, bud sea talks gang.
Howsiver this I knaw, at when they please,
Oor sailors always beat 'em upo' t' seas.
An' if they nobbut sharply look aboot,
T'hey needn't let a single ship coom oat.
At least they'll drub 'em weel, I dinnot fear,
An' keep 'em fairly off frae landin' here.

WILLY:

I whope sea, Roger, bud, an' if they dea
Coom owerr, I then shall sharpen my awd lea.
What thof I can bud of a laatle boast,
You knaw van wadn't hae that laatle lost.
I's send our Mally an' all t' bairns away,
An' I misen 'll by the yamstead stay.
I'll fight, if need; an' if I fall, why, then
I's suffer all the warst mishap misen.
Was I bud seer my wife an' bairns were seafe,
I then sud be to dee content eneaf.

ROGER:

Reet, Willy, mon, what an' they put us tea 't
I will misen put forrad my best feat.
What thof I's awd, I's nut sae easily scar'd;
On his awn midden an awd cock fights hard.
They say a Franchman's torn'd a different man,
A braver, better soldier, ten to yan.
Bud let the Franch be torn'd to what they will,
They'll finnd at Englishmen are English still.
O' their awn grund they'll nowther flinch nor flee,
They'll owther conquer, or they'll bravely dee.

Submitted: Thursday, October 14, 2010

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