John O' the Smithy

SMITH. “ One who makes or effects anything."— WQRCESTKK.

DOWN in the vale where the mavis sings
And the brook is turning an old-time wheel,
From morning till night the anvil rings
Where John o’ the Smithy is forging steel.
My lord rides out at the castle gate,
My lady is grand in bower and hall,
With men and maidens to cringe and wait,
And John o’ the Smithy must pay for alL
The bishop rides in a coach and four,
His grooms and horses are fat and sleek ;
He has lackeys behind and lackeys before ;
He rides at a hundred guineas a week.
The anvil is singing its “ten pound ten,”
The mavis pipes from a birken spray,
And this is the song that fills the glen,
“John o’ the Smithy has all to pay.”
John has a daughter rosy and sweet,
My lord has a son with a wicked eye ;
When she hears the sound of his horses’ feet
Her heart beats quicker,—-she knows not why.
She will know very well before the end ;
She will learn to detest their rank and pride
When she has the young lord’s babe to tend,
While the bishop’s daughter becomes bis bride.
There will be the old, old story to tell
Of tyrannous wrong in places high ;
A bishop glozing the deeds of hell,
The priest and the Levite passing by.
And the father may bow his frosted head
When he sees the young bride up at the bail,
And say ’t were better his obi lei were dead ;
But John o’ the Smithy must bear it all.
The smith and his daughter will pass away,
And another shall make the anvil ring
For the daily bread and the hodden-gray :
But the profits shall go to priest and king;
And over the wide world, day by day,
The smiths shall waken at early morn,
Each to his task in the old dull way,
To tread a measure of priestly corn.
And the smiths shall live on the coarsest fare
With little that they may call their own,
While the idler is free from work and care,
For the best of all shall go to the drone.
And the smith complains of the anvil’s song,—
Complains of the years he has wrought and pined;
For the priests and rulers are swift to wrong,
And the mills of God are slow to grind.
But a clear strong voice from over the sea
Is piercing the murk of the moral night:
Time is, time was ; and time shall be
That John o’ the Smithy will have his right;
And those who have worn the mitre and crown,
Who have pressed him sore in body and soul,
Shall perish from earth when the grist is ground
And the Mighty Miller has claimed bis toll.