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MRS. (now LADY) THROCKMORTON'S BULLFINCH.
YE nymphs! if e'er your eyes were red
With tears o'er hapless favourites shed,
O share Maria's grief!
Her favourite, even in his cage,
(What will not hunger's cruel rage?)
Assassin'd by a thief.
Where Rhenus strays his vines among,
The egg was laid from which he sprung;
And, though by nature mute,
Or only with a whistle bless'd,
Well taught, he all the sounds express'd
Of flageolet or flute.
The honours of his ebon poll
Were brighter than the sleekest mole;
His bosom of the hue
With which Aurora decks the skies,
When piping winds shall soon arise,
To sweep away the dew.
Above, below, in all the house,
Dire foe alike of bird and mouse,
No cat had leave to dwell;
And Bully's cage supported stood
On props of smoothest shaven wood,
Large built, and latticed well.
Well-latticed-but the grate, alas!
Not rough with wire of steel or brass,
For Bully's plumage' sake,
But smooth with wands from Ouse's side,
With which, when neatly peel'd and dried,
The swains their baskets make.
LADY THROCKMORTON'S BULLFINCH. 173
Night veil'd the pole, all seem'd secure :
When led by instinct sharp and sure,
Subsistence to provide,
A beast forth sallied on the scout,
Long-back'd, long-tail'd, with whisker'd snout,
And badger-colour'd hide.
He, entering at the study door,
Its ample area 'gan t' explore;
And something in the wind
Conjectured, sniffing round and round,
Better than all the books he found,
Food chiefly for the mind.
Just then, by adverse fate impress'd,
A dream disturb'd poor Bully's rest;
In sleep he seem'd to view
A rat fast clinging to the cage,
And, screaming at the sad presage,
Awoke, and found it true.
For, aided both by ear and scent,
Right to his mark the monster went-
Ah, muse! forbear to speak
Minute the horrors that ensued;
His teeth were strong, the cage was wood-
He left poor Bully's beak.
O had he made that too his prey;
That beak, whence issued many a lay
Of such mellifluous tone,
Might have repaid him well, I wot,
For silencing so sweet a throat,
Fast stuck within his own.
Maria weeps the Muses mourn-
So when, by Bacchanalians torn,
On Thracian Hebrus' side
The tree-enchanter Orpheus fell,
His head alone remain'd to tell
The cruel death he died.
THE rose had been wash'd, just wash'd in a shower,
Which Mary to Anna convey'd,
The plentiful moisture encumber'd the flower,
And weigh'd down its beautiful head.
The cup was all fill'd, and the leaves were all wet,
And it seem'd to a fanciful view,
To weep for the buds it had left with regret
On the flourishing bush where it grew.
I hastily seized it, unfit as it was
For a nosegay, so dripping and drown'd;
And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas!
I snapp'd it-it fell to the ground.
And such, I exclaim'd, is the pitiless part
Some act by the delicate mind,
Regardless of wringing and breaking a heart
Already to sorrow resign'd.
This elegant rose, had I shaken it less,
Might have bloom'd with its owner awhile;
And the tear that is wiped with a little address,
May be follow'd perhaps by a smile.
REASONING at every step he treads,
Man yet mistakes his way,
While meaner things, whom instinct leads
Are rarely known to stray.
One silent eve I wander'd late,
And heard the voice of love;
The turtle thus address'd her mate,
And soothed the listening dove:
Our mutual bond of faith and truth
No time shall disengage,
Those blessings of our early youth
Shall cheer our latest age:
While innocence without disguise,
And constancy sincere,
Shall fill the circles of those eyes,
And mine can read them there;
Those ills, that wait on all below,
Shall ne'er be felt by me,
Or gently felt, and only so,
As being shar'd with thee.
When lightnings flash among the trees, Or kites are hovering near,
I fear lest thee alone they seize,
And know no other fear.
'Tis then I feel myself a wife,
And press thy wedded side,
Resolv'd a union form'd for life
Death never shall divide.
But oh! if fickle and unchaste,
(Forgive a transient thought)
Thou could become unkind at last,
And scorn thy present lot,
No need of lightnings from on high,
Or kites with cruel beak;
Denied the endearments of thine eye,
This widow'd heart would break.
Thus sang the sweet sequester'd bird,
Soft as the passing wind;
And I recorded what I heard,
A lesson for mankind.
A RAVEN, while with glossy breast
Her new-laid eggs she fondly press'd,
And, on her wicker-work high mounted,
Her chickens prematurely counted,
(A fault philosophers might blame
If quite exempted from the same),
Enjoy'd at ease the genial day;
'Twas April, as the bumpkins say,
The legislature call'd it May.
But suddenly a wind as high,
As ever swept a winter sky,
Shook the young leaves about her ears,
And fill'd her with a thousand fears,
Lest the rude blast should snap the bough,
And spread her golden hopes below.
But just at eve the blowing weather
And all her fears were hush'd together:
And now, quoth poor unthinking Ralph,
'Tis over, and the brood is safe;
(For ravens, though as birds of omen
They teach both conjurers and old women
To tell us what is to befall,
Can't prophesy themselves at all.)