Hear, then, ye happy sons of needless trade!
Swains! quit the plough, resign the useless spade!
Lo! Burns and Bloomfield, nay, a greater far,
Gifford was born beneath an adverse star,
Forsook the labours of a servile state,
Stemmed the rude storm, and triumphed over Fate:
Then why no more? if Phœbus smiled on you,781
Bloomfield! why not on brother Nathan too?
Him too the Mania, not the Muse, has seized;
Not inspiration, but a mind diseased:
And now no Boor can seek his last abode,
No common be inclosed without an ode.
Oh! since increased refinement deigns to smile
On Britain's sons, and bless our genial Isle,
Let Poesy go forth, pervade the whole,
Alike the rustic, and mechanic soul!790
Ye tuneful cobblers! still your notes prolong,
Compose at once a slipper and a song;
So shall the fair your handywork peruse,
- See Nathaniel Bloomfield's ode, elegy, or whatever he or any one else chooses to call it, on the enclosures of "Honington Green." [Nathaniel Bloomfield, as a matter of fact, called it a ballad.—Poems (1803).]
Bloomfield (1766-1823), who was born at Honington, near Lofft's estate of Throston, Suffolk. Robert Bloomfield was brought up by his elder brothers—Nathaniel a tailor, and George a shoemaker. It was in the latter's workshop that he composed The Farmer's Boy, which was published (1798) with the help of Lofft. He also wrote Rural Tales (1802), Good Tidings; or News from the Farm (1804), The Banks of the Wye (1811), etc. (See Hints from Horace, line 734, notes 1 and 2.)]