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6 Was it for this, alas! with weary bill,
Was it for this I pois'd the' unwieldy straw? For this I bore the moss from yonder hill,
Nor shun'd the pond'rous stick along to draw ?
“ Was it for this I pick'd the wool with care,
Intent with nicer skill our work to crown? For this, with pain, I bent the stubborn hair,
And lin'd our cradle with the thistle's down?
“ Was it for this my freedom I resign'd,
And ceas'd to rove at large from plain to plain? For this I sat at home whole days confin'd,
To bear the scorching heat, and pealing rain ?
“ Was it for this my watchful eyes grow dim?
For this the roses on my cheek turn pale ? Pale is my golden plumage, once so trim !
And all my wonted mirth and spirits fail!
“ O plund'rer vile! O more than adders fell !
More murth’rous than the cat, with prudish face! Fiercer than kites in whom the furies dwell,
And thievish as the cuckoo's pilf’ring race!
“ May juicy plums for thee forbear to grow,
For thee no flow'r unveil its charming dies; May birch-trees thrive to work thee sharper woe,
And list'ning starlings mock thy frantic cries."
Thus sang the mournful bird her piteous tale,
The piteous tale her mournful mate return'd, Then side by side they sought the distant vale,
And there in secret sadness inly mourn'd.
ERE yellow autumn from our plains retir'd,
And gave to wintry storms the varied year, The swallow race with prescient gift inspir’d, To southern climes prepar'd their course to
On Damon's roof a large assembly sate,
His roof a refuge to the feather'd kind! With serious look he mark'd the grave debate,
And to his Delia thus address'd his mind :
“ Observe yon twitt'ring flock, my gentle maid!
Observe, and read the wondrous ways of Heav'n! With us through summer's genial reign they stay'd,
And food and sunshine to their wants were giv'n.
“But now, by secret instinct taught, they know
The near approach of elemental strife,
With every pang and scourge of tender life., “ Thus warn’d they meditate a speedy flight,
For this ev'n now they prune their vig'rous wing, For this each other to the toil excite,
And prove their strength in many a sportive ring. “No sorrow loads their breast, or dims their eye,
To quit their wonted haunts, or native home, Nor fear they launching on the boundless sky,
In search of future settlements to roam.
“ They feel a pow'r, an impulse all divine,
That warns them hence; they feel it, and obey; To this direction all their cares resign, Unknown their destin'd stage, unmark'd their
“Peace to your flight! ye mild, domestic race !
0! for your wings to travel with the Sun ! Health brace your nerves, and zephyrs aid your
pace, Till your long voyage happily be done. “See, Delia, on my roof your guests to-day,
To-morrow on my roof your guests no more, Ere yet 'tis night with haste they wing away,
To-morrow lands them on some happier shore."
How just the moral in this scene convey'd !
And what without a moral ? would we read!
And with his lesson register the deed.
So threats the winter of inclement age,
And Nature's changeful scenes the shifting stage! And does no friendly pow'r to man dispense
The joyful tidings of some happier clime ? Find we no guide in gracious Providence
Beyond the gloomy grave, and short-liv'd time? Yes, yes, the sacred oracles we hear,
That point the path to realms of endless joy, That bid our trembling hearts no danger fear,
Though clouds surround, and angry skies annoy. Then let us wisely for our flight prepare,
Nor count this stormy world our fix'd abode, Obey the call, and trust our leader's care, To smooth the rough, and light the darksom.
Moses, by grant divine, led Israel's host
dreary paths to Jordan's fruitful side ; But we a loftier theme than theirs can boast,
A better promise, and a nobler guide.
At length the winter's howling blasts are o'er,
Array'd in smiles the lovely spring returns, Now fuel'd hearths attractive blaze no more,
And every breast with inward fervour burns.
Again the daisies peep, the violets blow,
Again the vocal tenants of the grove, Forgot the patt'ring hail or driving snow,
Renew the lay to melody and love.
“ And see, my Delia, see o'er yonder stream,
Where, on the bank, the lambs in gambols play, Alike attracted by the sunny gleam,
Again the swallows take their wonted way.
“ Welcome, ye gentle tribe, your sports pursue,
Welcome again to Delia and to me, Your peaceful councils on my roof renew,
And plan new settlements from danger free.
“ Again I'll listen to your grave debates,
Again I'll hear your twittring songs unfold What policy directs your wand'ring states,
What bounds are settled, and what tribes enrollid. “ Again I'll hear you tell of distant lands,
What insect nations rise from Egypt's mud, What painted swarms subsist on Libya’s sands, What Ganges yields, and what the' Euphratean
“ Thrice happy race! whom Nature's call invites
To travel o'er her realms with active wing, To taste her various stores, her best delights,
The summer's radiance, and the sweets of spring.
“ While we are doom'd to bear the restless change
Of varying seasons, vapours dank and dry, Forbid like you in milder climes to range,
When wintry storms usurp the low’ring sky. “ Yet know the period to your joys assign'd,
Know ruin hovers o'er this earthly ball, As lofty tow'rs stoop prostrate to the wind,
Its secret props of adamant shall fall.
“ But when yon radiant Sun shall shine no more,
The spirit, freed from sin's tyrannic sway, On lighter pinions borne than yours, shall soar
To fairer realms, beneath a brighter ray.
“ To plains ethereal, and celestial bow'rs,
Where wintry storms no rude access obtain, Where blasts no lightning, and no tempest low'rs,
But ever-smiling spring and pleasure reign."