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The Convent Gardener Of Lamporechio
by [?]

WHEN Cupid with his dart, would hearts assail,
The rampart most secure is not the VEIL;
A husband better will the FAIR protect,
Than walls or lattices, I much suspect.
Those parents, who in nunneries have got
Their daughters (whether willingly or not),
Most clearly in a glaring error prove,
To fancy God will round their actions move;
‘Tis an abuse of what we hold divine;
The Devil with them surely must combine.
Besides, ’twere folly to suppose that vice
Ne’er entered convent walls, and nuns were ice.
A very diff’rent sentiment I hold:
Girls, who in publick move, however bold,
Have greater terrors lest they get a stain;
For, honour lost, they never fame regain.
Few enemies their modesty attack;
The others have but one their minds to rack.
TEMPTATION, daughter of the drowsy dame,
That hates to move, and IDLENESS we name,
Is ever practising each wily art,
To spread her snares around the throbbing heart;
And fond DESIRE, the child of lorn CONSTRAINT,
Is anxious to the soul soft scenes to paint.
If I’ve a worthy daughter made a nun,
Is that a reason she’s a saint?–Mere fun!
Avaunt such folly!–three in four you’ll find,
Of those who wear the veil–have changed their mind;
Their fingers bite, and often do much worse:
Those convent vows, full soon, become a curse;
Such things at least have sometimes reached my ear
(For doubtless I must speak from others here);
Of his Boccace a merry tale has told,
Which into rhyme I’ve put, as you’ll behold.

WITHIN a nunnery, in days of yore,
A good old man supplied the garden-store;
The nuns, in general, were smart and gay,
And kept their tongues in motion through the day.
Religious duties they regarded less,
Than for the palour* to be nice in dress
Arranging ev’ry article to please,
That each might captivate and charm at ease;
The changes constantly they rang around,
And made the convent-walls with din resound.
Eight sisters and an abbess held the place,
And strange to say–there DISCORD you might trace.
All nine had youth, and many beauty too:
Young friars round the place were oft in view,
Who reckoned ev’ry step they took so well,
That always in the proper road they fell.
Th’ aged gard’ner, of whom ere now we spoke,
Was oft bewildered, they would so provoke;
Capricious, whimsical, from day to day,
Each would command and try to have her way;
And as they ne’er agreed among themselves,
He suffered more than if with fifty elves;
When one was pleased, another soon complained:
At length to quit the nuns he was constrained.
He left them, poor and wretched as he came;
No cross, pile, money:–e’en his coat the same.

A YOUTH of Lamporechio, gay and bold,
One day this gard’ner met as I am told;
And after conversation ’bout the place,
Said, he should like nun’s service to embrace,
And that he wished sincerely to be hired:
He’d gratis do whatever was required.
‘Twas clear indeed his object was not pelf;
He thought however he might reward himself;
And as the sisters were not over wise,
A nun he now and then might make his prize;
Proceed from one to more with like address,
Till with the whole he’d had complete success.
Said Nuto (such we find the gard’ner’s name),
Believe me, friend, you will be much to blame;
Some other service seek, I recommend;
These convent-dames will ne’er their whimseys end.
I’d rather live without or soup or bread,
Than work for them, however nicely fed.