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THE IMPASSIONED WAVE.
[TUNE." Thomon um Though."
music stealing, And while the dark winds wild-ly rave, To Espressione.
catch the genuine soul of feeling; While, all around, the e-ther blue Its Espress.
dim magnetic beam is shedding, And ro- sy tints of heav'nly hue Are
THE HOP GROUND.
Introductory lelter from Mr JACOB ASHPOLE, Hopgrower, to the Editor.*
I hand you (1) four sonnets about Hops, by desire of Mr. (rabbit it, I almost popt out his name,) but you are to call him R. or Mr R. or else nothing at all, just as you like to take your choice. They were writ to pleasure me, for I was tired to death of finding your authors of poems, and epics, and ballads, and cantos, and acrostics, and sketches, and operas, and lyrics, and other sorts of verses, of which I don't know one from t'other, not I, though my daughters read a mort of them to me. I was tired, I say, of find ing the poets always harping upon the same old story. Hundreds and hundreds constantly go sowing and mowing, and reaping, and threshing into verse; but not a soul, as I ever heard tell, (2) ever came into our hop-grounds to sing a song about them-and why should'nt they, just as well? My girls have got a good many poems and pocket-books, and among 'em there's Thomson's Seasons, and Burns the Ploughman's poems, (which are very badly spelt,) and Bloomfield's Farmer's Boy; so I made 'em look 'em all well over, to see if there was anything about hopplanting anywhere in them, but not a word about it turned up. Indeed, I don't remember hearing a hist on the subject when the girls have been reading their books out loud to me of an evening; but then at those times I am apt to take a nap, for the regular sound of poetry is very composing. So I plucked up spirit one day, and asked a certain person (never mind who he is a shy cock-set down, R.-that must serve instead of a name)-well, I asked him once, when I saw him loitering by my strip of land in the Parkside grounds, whether he couldn't make a rhyme or two on the hop-picking. He rather caught at the hint, and said he'd give it a thought, and at last brought (3) these four sonnets (I am
sure he called them sonnets, though Thomson and Bloomfield, who divide their poems by the four quarters of the year, don't call theirs by any such name) but, bless my heart! to call them a full account of all that is done with us from spring to winter is a fine take-in. I civilly pointed out to him, that there was a world of hop-work left out, but got nothing but a flea in the ear by it, for he mumbled something, that " few discriminating marks were sufficient for the purposes of poetry." A word in your ear,-friend R. has a very good opinion of himself; try to make him hear reason, and he'll turn as stunt as a mule, and you may as well endeavour to make a hop-plant curl round the pole, from right to left, (which, you know, it never will do) as get him to alter a word in his verses, when he draws up and says, it's all right as it is. Now you'll see that he ha'n't said a syllable about putting plenty of compost on the land, though I should like to know what sort of plants he'd get without it. Not a word about becking the earth well-not a direction about the time for fixing the poles; for, d'ye think we set on our fellows to work, when we first see a cloud and a rain-bow in spring-time, as he seems to reckon that we do? Then who'd guess that in summer we pay women to tie fast the runners to the poles at three different heights? 'Ad whip it, now I know what a sonnet is, if I didn't think his poetship, Mr R., would be offended, I would try if I couldn't make something of this "discriminating mark" myself. Is this anything in the right style? At first they stoop, and those who can't
Get a sad crick o' the back. But at midheight
The tie is easier made, they stand upright.
But for the third, 'tis needful to ascend A pair of steps, the bines so high extend.
* We subjoin some VARIATIONS in the M.S. letter, noticed by a critical printer's levil, with a few NOTES, by the same claw.
(1) Originally, “I hand you four pockets of hops, per order of”—the words in itaics. Blotted, and corrected, as above.
(2) Mr. A. is wrong-Chr. Smart wrote a didactic poem, entitled the Hop-garden. (3) Here the words "Nos. 1-4, as per bill of parcels," were dashed out.
And this (if there be wind) reveals to
not but that a good thumping pound-
that a poet could have been mum
§ I applied to Adam M'Ingan, who is an honorary member of the Horticultural Society, for an explanation of this passage, and he laid it before the meeting at their sederunt. It appears from their benevolent communication to my friend Adam, that none of the gramina, or species of grasses, are cultivated for human food as yet, but that the word grass is here used (as is common in England) in the way of abbreviation for sparrowgrass, which itself is a corruption of asparagus. The species which hop-tops are said to resemble, is a. officinalis._
sider it, the more I am brought to think there is no knowing what R. has left out, so short has he been, and so much has he neglected. He couldn't I have had his eyes about him, one would imagine, and yet he is a prying sort of a chap too, and likes to see what's going forward, and to know the rights of things. Nevertheless, as he told me, if I chose to see the verses he gave me, in print, that I might send them to Mr Christopher North, care of Mr Blackwood, I here pack them off. (4) I can tell you this, though, that you had best print them exactly as they are set down for you, or I shall have a fine hollabaloo, for he is mighty precise, and will perhaps accuse me of having a finger in the pie, as I have already recommended a little addition, and got no good by it. So don't alter them, though you'll most likely grieve, like me, at their incompleteness; but let him have his way this once, he maybe will come round in time, and do things like other folks. I don't know whether you have a wife or no for me to send my respects
to, so if you have, she mustn't be angry. Indeed, I don't overmuch know who you yourself be, but I suppose you're a 'cute printer of ballads, and such like.(5) Only it seems to be a good way off to send to get a little job of this kind done. However, that's no business of mine. So no more at present from your humble servant to command,
JACOB ASHPOLE, Hopgrower.
Furnham, Surrey, 19th October, 1821.
P. S. Don't mind the scratchy appearance of this letter. I was forced to blot out here and there; for, being mostly used to write to my customers, I can't at once forget I have nothing in this to do with an invoice, or bill of parcels. You don't want a pocket or two of prime last year's growth, do ye? I can promise you they'd make precious stingo, with some of your Lowlant malt. I could serve you cheap if you did; for though there is a baddish crop to-year, we've got so much on hand, that prices are moderate.
THE HOP GROUND; IN FOUR SONNETS.
THIS balmy air, and yonder brimming cloud,
The vegetative power, no longer bow'd
Beneath chill winter's sway. A stirring sense,
Of gladsome times advancing, thaws the blood
The sprouting hop-plants lift their purple heads,
To drive the poles ;-this wither'd forest spreads,
BEAUTIFUL plant, sample of natural grace!
Whose bines, untrained, garland with gay festoon
Of dipping branch uplifted, fair repays
(4)" And hope they will prove fine, and request your future orders,"-erased with the pen.
(5) I am not in the actual employ of Mr North, (who indeed is not a printer,) although I frequently attend him for copy, or with proofs; nor is my name "Tipsy Thammus,' as he in joke reported it, (vol. V, p. 328,) reversing the order of the two names, and spelling them designedly amiss. THOMAS TIBBSON.
The help, by weaving o'er it with its sprays
For way-worn traveller, who, with heart foredone,
Which thou obedient climb'st-in many a ring
OUR vintage-time is come; the merry bands
Of sunnier features nurse, where one and all
THE grounds are cleared; the uprooted poles are piled
And of the hop, which lately cheer'd the wild,
Of blackening strings, trampled in scorn below.
To the grange's low-brow'd hall, where never smiled
A nutbrown beverage, flavour'd by the hop,
And to old songs and tales, no sullen stop
Is put, but tongues are loud by the good ale set free.
The rich and balmy eve;
And hopes and fears that kindle hope,
THE Moon is rising from the ebon tuft