Page images

The morning came, when neighbour Hodge,
Who long had mark'd her airy lodge,
And destined all the treasure there

A gift to his expecting fair,
Climb'd like a squirrel to his dray,
And bore the worthless prize away.

'Tis Providence alone secures,

In every change, both mine and yours:
Safety consists not in escape

From dangers of a frightful shape;
An earthquake may be bid to spare
The man that's strangled by a hair.
Fate steals along with silent tread,
Found oftenest in what least we dread;
Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
But in the sunshine strikes the blow.


THE lapse of time and rivers is the same,
Both speed their journey with a restless stream;
The silent pace, with which they steal away,
No wealth can bribe, nor prayers persuade to stay;
Alike irrevocable both when past,

And a wide ocean swallows both at last.

Though each resemble each in every part,

A difference strikes at length the musing heart: Streams never flow in vain; where streams abound, How laughs the land with various plenty crown'd! But time, that should enrich the nobler mind, Neglected leaves a weary waste behind.



SWEET stream, that winds through yonder glade,
Apt emblem of a virtuous maid—

Silent and chaste she steals along,
Far from the world's gay busy throng;
With gentle yet prevailing force,
Intent upon her destined course;

Graceful and useful all she does,
Blessing and bless'd where'er she goes,
Pure-bosom'd as that watery glass,
And heaven reflected in her face.



MARIA! I have every good

For thee wish'd many a time,
Both sad and in a cheerful mood,
But never yet in rhyme.

To wish thee fairer is no need,

More prudent, or more sprightly,
Or more ingenious, or more freed
From temper-flaws unsightly.
What favour then, not yet possess'd,
Can I for thee require,

In wedded love already bless'd

To thy whole heart's desire?

None here is happy but in part:

Full bliss is bliss divine:

There dwells some wish in every heart,

And doubtless one in thine.

That wish, on some fair future day,
Which Fate shall brightly gild,
('Tis blameless, be it what it may),
I wish it all fulfill'd.



PATRON of all those luckless brains,
That, to the wrong side leaning,
Indite much metre with much pains,
And little or no meaning:

Ah why, since oceans, rivers, streams,
That water all the nations,
Pay tribute to thy glorious beams,
In constant exhalations.

Why, stooping at the noon of day,
Too covetous of drink,
Apollo, hast thou stolen away
A poet's drop of ink?

Upborn into the viewless air,

It floats a vapour now,

Impell'd through regions dense and rare,
By all the winds that blow.

Ordain'd perhaps, ere summer flies,
Combined with millions more,

To form an Iris in the skies,

Though black and foul before.

Illustrious drop! and happy then
Beyond the happiest lot,

Of all that ever pass'd my pen,
So soon to be forgot!

Phoebus, if such be thy design,

To place it in thy bow,

Give wit, that what is left may shine
With equal grace below.



I SHALL not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau,*
If birds confabulate or no;

'Tis clear, that they were always able
To hold discourse, at least in fable;
And e'en the child, who knows no better
Than to interpret by the letter,
A story of a cock and bull,

Must have a most uncommon skull.
It chanced then, on a winter's day,
But warm, and bright, and calm as May,
The birds, conceiving a design

To forestall sweet St. Valentine,

In many an orchard, copse, and grove,
Assembled on affairs of love,

And with much twitter and much chatter,

Began to agitate the matter.

At length a Bullfinch, who could boast
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, opening wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And, silence publicly enjoin'd,
Deliver'd briefly thus his mind:

My friends! be cautious how ye treat
The subject upon which we meet;

I fear we shall have winter yet.

It was one of the whimsical speculations of this philosopher, that all fables which ascribe reason and speech to animals should be withheld from children, as being only vehicles of deception. But what child was ever deceived by them, or can be, against the evidence of his senses?

A finch, whose tongue knew no control,
With golden wing, and satin poll,
A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
What marriage means, thus pert replied:
Methinks the gentleman, quoth she,
Opposite in the apple-tree,

By his good will would keep us single
Till yonder heaven and earth shall mingle,
Or (which is likelier to befall)

Till death exterminate us all.
I marry without more ado:

My dear Dick Redcap what say you?

Dick heard, and tweedling, ogling, bridling, Turning short round, strutting, and sideling, Attested, glad, his approbation

Of an immediate conjugation.

Their sentiments, so well express'd,
Influenced mightily the rest;

All pair'd, and each pair built a nest.

But though the birds were thus in haste,
The leaves came on not quite so fast,
And Destiny, that sometimes bears
An aspect stern on man's affairs,
Not altogether smil'd on theirs.
The wind, of late breathed gently forth,
Now shifted east, and east by north;
Bare trees and shrubs but ill, you know,
Could shelter them from rain or snow;
Stepping into their nests, they paddled,
Themselves were chill'd, their eggs were addled;
Soon every father bird and mother

Grew quarrelsome, and peck'd each other,
Parted without the least regret,

Except that they had ever met,

And learn'd in future to be wiser

Than to neglect a good adviser.


Misses! the tale that I relate
This lesson seems to carry-
Choose not alone a proper mate,
But proper time to marry.


« PreviousContinue »