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Tas Sun had chas'd the mountain snow,
His beams had pierc'd the stubborn soil, The melting streams began to flow,
And ploughmen urg'd their annual toil.
'Twas then, amidst the vocal throng,
Whom Nature wak'd to mirth and love, A blackbird rais'd his am'rous song,
And thus it echo'd through the grove.
“O fairest of the feather'd train !
For whom I sing, for whom I burn, Attend with pity to my strain,
And grant my love a kind return.
“For see, the wintry storms are flown,
And zephyrs gently fan the air ; Let us the genial influence own,
Let us the vernal pastime share.
“The raven plumes his jetty wing,
To please his croaking paramour, The larks responsive carols sing,
And tell their passion as they soar :
“But does the raven's sable wing
Excel the glossy jet of mine?
Than we, who strength with softness join?
“O let me then thy steps attend !
I'll point new treasures to thy sight : Whether the grove thy wish befriend,
Or edge-rows green, or meadows bright.
“I'll guide thee to the clearest rill,
Whose streams among the pebbles stray ; There will we sip, and sip our fill,
Or on the flow'ry margin play.
“ I'll lead thee to the thickest brake,
Impervious to the schoolboy's eye ; For thee the plaster'd nest I'll make,
And to thy downy bosom fly.
“When, prompted by a mother's care,
Thy warm-h shall form the imprison'd young : The pleasing task I'll gladly share,
Or cheer thy labours with a song.
“ To bring thee food I'll range the fields,
And cull the best of ev'ry kind, Whatever Nature's bounty yields,
And love's assiduous care can find.
“And when my lovely mate would stray,
To taste the summer sweets at large, I'll wait at home the live-long day,
And fondly tend our little charge.
“Then prove with me the sweets of love,
With me divide the cares of life, No bush shall boast in all the grove,
A mate so fond, so bless'd a wife."
He ceas'd his song--the plumy dame
Heard with delight the love-sick strain, Nor long conceal'd the mutual Alame,
Nor long repress’d his am'rous pain.
He led her to the nuptial bow'r,
And perch'd with triumph by her side ; What gilded roof could boast that hour
A fonder mate, or happier bride?
Next morn he wak'd her with a song,
“Behold,” he said, “the new-born day, The lark his matin-peal bas rung,
Arise, my love, and come away.”
Together through the fields they stray'd,
And to the murm’ring riv'let's side, Renew'd their vows, and hopp’d, and play'd
With artless joy, and decent pride.
When, O! with grief my Muse relates
What dire misfortune clos'd the tale, Sent by an order from the Fates,
A gunner met them in the vale,
Alarm'd, the lover cried, “ My dear,
Haste, haste away, from danger fly; Here, gunner, point thy thunder here, O spare my love, and let me die.”
At him the gunner took his aim,
Too sure the volley'd thunder flew! O had he chose some other game,
Or shot-as he was wont to do!
Divided pair! forgive the wrong,
While I with tears your fate rehearse, I'll join the widow's plaintive song,
And save the lover in my verse.
TO WILLIAM SHENSTONE, ESQ.
Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
To you, whose groves protect the feather'd choirs,
Who lend their artless notes a willing ear, To you, whom pity moves, and taste inspires,
The Doric strain belongs, O Shenstone hear.
'T'was gentle spring, when all the plumy race,
By Nature taught, in nuptial leagues combine, A goldfinch joy'd to meet the warm embrace,
And with her mate in love's delights to join. All in a garden, on a currant bush,
With wondrous art they built their airy seat; In the next orchard liv'd a friendly thrush,
Nor distant far a woodlark's soft retreat.
Here bless'd with ease, and in each other bless'd, With early songs they wak’d the neighb'ring
groves, Till time matur'd their joys, and crown'd their nest
With infant pledges of their faithful loves.
And now what transport glow'd in either's eye?
What equal fondness dealt the allotted food ? What joy each other's likeness to descry,
And future sonnets in the chirping brood !
But ah! what earthly happiness can last ?
How does the fairest purpose often fail? A truant schoolboy's wantonness could blast Their flattering hopes, and leave them both to
The most ungentle of his tribe was he,
No gen’rous precept ever touch'd his heart, With concord false, and hideous prosody,
He scrawld his task, ard blunder'd o'er his part. On mischief bent, he mark'd, with rav'nous eyes,
Where wrapp'd in down the callow songsters lay, Then rushing, rudely seiz'd the glittring prize,
And bore it in his impious hands away!
But how shall I describe, in numbers rude,
The pangs for poor Chrysomitris decreed, When from her secret stand aghast she view'd
The cruel spoiler perpetrate the deed? “O grief of griefs !" with shrieking voice she cried,
“What sight is this that I have liv'd to see! 0! that I had in youth's fair season died,
From love's false joys and bitter sorrows free.