THEY called Thee MERRY ENGLAND, in old time;
A happy people won for thee that name
With envy heard in many a distant clime;
And, spite of change, for me thou keep'st the same
Endearing title, a responsive chime
To the heart's fond belief; though some there are
Whose sterner judgments deem that word a snare
For inattentive Fancy, like the lime
Which foolish birds are caught with. Can, I ask,
This face of rural beauty be a mask 10
For discontent, and poverty, and crime;
These spreading towns a cloak for lawless will?
Forbid it, Heaven!--and MERRY ENGLAND still
Shall be thy rightful name, in prose and rhyme!