And there, at Sun-rise, knelt and pray’d.
For near, there liv’d a civil friend,
Than FARMER TWYFORD somewhat stouter,
And he would oft his counsel lend,
And pass the wintry hours away
In harmless play;
But MISTRESS BRIDGET was so chaste,
So much with pious manners grac’d,
That none could doubt her!
One night, or rather morn, ’tis said
The wily neighbour chose to roam,
And (FARMER TWYFORD far from home),
He thought he might supply his place;
And, void of ev’ry spark of grace,
Upon HIS pillow, rest his head.
The night was cold, and FATHER PETER,
Sent his young neighbour to entreat her,
That she would make confession free
To Him, his saintly deputy.
Now, so it happen’d, to annoy
The merry pair, a little boy
The only Son of lovely Bridget,
And, like his daddy, giv’n to fidget,
Enquir’d who this same neighbour was
That took the place his father left
A most unworthy, shameless theft,
A sacrilege on marriage laws!
The dame was somewhat disconcerted
For, all that she could say or do,
The boy his question would renew,
Nor from his purpose be diverted.
At length, the matter to decide,
“‘Tis FATHER PETER” she replied.
“He’s come to pray.” The child gave o’er,
When a loud thumping at the door
Proclaim’d the Husband coming! Lo!
Where could the wily neighbour go?
Where hide his recreant, guilty head
But underneath the Farmer’s bed?
NOW MASTER TWYFORD kiss’d his child;
And straight the cunning urchin smil’d :
“Hush father! hush! ’tis break of day
“And FATHER PETER’S come to pray!
“You must not speak,” the infant cries
“For underneath the bed he lies.”
Now MISTRESS TWYFORD shriek’d, and fainted,
And the sly neighbour found, too late,
The FARMER, than his wife less sainted,
For with his cudgel he repaid
The kindness of his faithless mate,
And fiercely on his blows he laid,
‘Till her young lover, vanquish’d, swore
He’d play THE CONFESSOR no more!
Tho’ fraud is ever sure to find
Its scorpion in the guilty mind:
Yet, PIOUS FRAUD, the DEVIL’S treasure,
Is always paid, in TENFOLD MEASURE.