Ode [to Simplicity]; William Penn, Nathan, and the Bailiff, a Tale


Simplicity, I dote upon thy tongue;
And thee, O white-rob’d Truth, I’ve rev’renc’d long—
 I’m fond too of that flashy varlet Wit,
Who skims earth, sea, heav’n, hell, existence o’er,
To put the merry table in a roar,
 And shake the sides with laugh-convulsing fit.

O yes! in sweet Simplicity I glory—
To her we owe a charming little story. 


AS well as I can recollect,
 It is a story of fam’d William Penn, 
By bailiffs oft beset, without effect,
 Like numbers of our Lords and Gentlemen—

William had got a private hole to spy
 The folks who came with writs, or ‘How d’ye do?’
Possessing, too, a penetrating eye,
 Friends from his foes the Quaker quickly knew.

A bailiff in disguise one day,
 Though not disguis’d to our friend Will,
Came, to Will’s shoulder compliments to pay,
 Conceal’d the catchpole thought, with wond’rous skill.

Boldly he knock’d at William’s door,
 Drest like a gentleman from top to toe,
Expecting quick admittance to be sure——
      But no!

Will’s servant, Nathan, with a strait-hair’d head,
 Unto the window gravely stalk’d, not ran—
“Master at home?”—the Bailiff sweetly said—
 “Thou canst not speak to him,” replied the Man.

“What,” quoth the Bailiff, “won’t he see me then?”
 “Nay,” snuffled Nathan, “let it not thus strike thee,
“Know, verily, that William Penn
 “Hath seen thee, but he doth not like thee.”