Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Village Greatness
By William Ray (1771–1826)
 
IN every country village, where
Ten chimney smokes perfume the air,
  Contiguous to a steeple,
Great gentlefolks are found, a score,
Who can’t associate, any more,        5
  With common “country people.”
 
Jack Fallow, born amongst the woods,
From rolling logs, now rolls in goods,
  Enough awhile to dash on—
Tells negro stories—smokes segars—        10
Talks politics—decides on wars—
  And lives in stylish fashion.
 
Tim Ox-goad, lately from the plough,
A polish’d gentleman is now,
  And talks of “country fellows;”        15
But ask the fop what books he ’s read—
You ’ll find the brain-pan of his head
  As empty as a bellows.
 
Miss Faddle, lately from the wheel,
Begins quite lady-like to feel,        20
And talks affectedly genteel,
  And sings some tasty songs, too;
But my veracity impeach,
If she can tell what part of speech
  Gentility belongs to.        25
 
Without one spark of wit refined,
Without one beauty of the mind—
  Genius or education,
Or family, or fame, to boast,
To see such gentry rule the roast,        30
  Turns patience to vexation.
 
To clear such rubbish from the earth,
Though real genius—mental worth,
  And science to attend you,
You might as well the sty refine,        35
Or cast your pearls before the swine,
  They ’d only turn and rend you.
 
 
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