Our village, that’s to say, not Miss Mitford’s village, but our village of Bullock Smithy,
Is come into by an avenue of trees, three oak pollards, two elders, and a withy;
And in the middle there’s a green, of about not exceeding an acre and a half;
It’s common to all and fed off by nineteen cows, six ponies, three horses, five asses, two foals, seven pigs, and a calf!
Besides a pond in the middle, as is held by a similar sort of common law lease,
And contains twenty ducks, six drakes, three ganders, two dead dogs, four drowned kittens, and twelve geese.
Of course the green’s cropt very close, and does famous for bowling when the little village boys play at cricket;
Only some horse, or pig, or cow, or great jackass, is sure to come and stand right before the wicket.
There’s fifty-five private houses, let alone barns and workshops, and pigsties, and poultry huts, and such-like sheds,
With plenty of public-houses — two Foxes, one Green Man, three Bunch of Grapes, one Crown, and six King’s Heads.
The Green Man is reckoned the best, as the only one that for love or money can raise
A postillion, a blue jacket, two deplorable lame white horses, and a ramshackle “neat post-chaise!”
There’s one parish church for all the people, whatsoever may be their ranks in life or their degrees,
Except one very damp, small, dark, freezing cold, a little Methodist Chapel of Ease;
And close by the churchyard, there’s a stone-mason’s yard, that when the time is seasonable
Will furnish with afflictions sore and marble urns and cherubims, very low and reasonable.
There’s a cage, comfortable enough; I’ve been in it with Old Jack Jeffery and Tom Pike;
For the Green Man next door will send you in ale, gin, or anything else you like.
I can’t speak of the stocks, as nothing remains of them but the upright post;
But the pound is kept in repair for the sake of Cob’s horse as is always there almost.
There’s a smithy of course, where that queer sort of a chap in his way, Old Joe Bradley,
Perpetually hammers and stammers, for he stutters and shoes horses very badly.
There’s a shop of all sorts that sells everything, kept by the widow of Mr. Task;
But when you go there it’s ten to one she’s out of everything you ask.
You’ll know her house by the swarm of boys, like flies, about the old sugary cask:
There are six empty houses, and not so well papered inside as out,
For bill-stickers won’t beware, but stick notices of sales and election placards all about.
That’s the Doctor’s with a green door, where the garden pots in the window is seen;
A weakly monthly rose that don’t blow, and a red geranium, and a teaplant with five black leaves, and one green.
As for hollyhocks at the cottage doors, and honeysuckles and jasmines, you may go and whistle;
But the Tailor’s front garden grows two cabbages, a dock, a ha’porth of pennyroyal, two dandelions, and a thistle!
There are three small orchards — Mr. Busby’s the school-master’s is the chief —
With two pear trees that don’t bear; one plum, and an apple that every year is stripped by a thief.
There’s another small day-school too, kept by the respectable Mrs. Gaby,
A select establishment for six little boys, and one big, and four little girls and a baby;
There’s a rectory with pointed gables and strange odd chimneys that never smokes,
For the Rector don’t live on his living like other Christian sort of folks;
There’s a barber’s once a week well filled with rough black-bearded, shock-headed churls,
And a window with two feminine men’s heads, and two masculine ladies in false curls;
There’s a butcher’s, and a carpenter’s, and a plumber’s, and a small greengrocer’s, and a baker,
But he won’t bake on a Sunday; and there’s a sexton that’s a coal merchant besides, and an undertaker;
And a toyshop, but not a whole one, for a village can’t compare with the London shops;
One window sells drums, dolls, kites, carts, bats, Clout’s balls, and the other sells malt and hops,
And Mrs. Brown in domestic economy not to be a bit behind her betters,
Lets her house to a milliner, a watchmaker, a rat-catcher, a cobbler, lives in it herself, and it’s the post-office for letters.
Now I’ve gone through all the village — ay, from end to end, save and except one more house,
But I haven’t come to that — and I hope I never shall — and that’s the Village Poor House!
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09