Two Gardeners (The) by Hannah More


By Hannah More

Two gardeners once beneath an oak
Lay down to rest, when Jack thus spoke—
“You must confess, dear Will, that Nature
Is but a blundering kind of creature;
And I—nay, why that look of terror?
Could teach her how to mend her error.”
“Your talk,” quoth Will, “is bold and odd;
What you call Nature, I call God.”
“Well, call him by what name you will.”
Quoth Jack, “he manages but ill;
Nay, from the very tree we’re under,
I’ll prove that Providence can blunder.”
Quoth Will, “Through thick and thin you dash;
I shudder, Jack, at words so rash;
I trust to what the Scriptures tell—
He hath done always all things well.”
Quoth Jack, “I’m lately grown a wit,
And think all good a lucky hit.
To prove that Providence can err,
Not words, but facts, the truth aver.
To this vast oak lift up thine eyes,
Then view that acorn’s paltry size;
How foolish, on a tree so tall,
To place that tiny cup and ball!
Now look again; yon pompion see;
It weighs two pounds at least, nay three;
Yet this large fruit, where is it found?
Why, meanly trailing on the ground.
Had Providence asked my advice,
I would have changed it in a trice;
I would have said, at Nature’s birth,
‘Let acorns creep upon the earth;
But let the pompion, vast and round,
On the oak’s lofty boughs be found.’”
He said—and as he rashly spoke,
Lo! from the branches of the oak,
A wind, which suddenly arose,
Beat showers of acorns on his nose.

“O! O!” quoth Jack, “I’m wrong, I see,
And God is wiser far than me.
For did a shower of pompions large
Thus on my naked face discharge,
I had been bruised and blinded quite;
What Heaven appoints I find is right;
Whene’er I’m tempted to rebel,
I’ll think how light the acorns fell;
Whereas on oaks had pompions hung,
My broken skull had stopped my tongue.