« PreviousContinue »
STARVED TO DEATH IN HIS CAGE.
TIME was when I was free as air,
The Thistle's downy seed my fare,
My drink the morning dew;
I perch'd at will on every spray,
My form genteel, my plumage gay,
My strains for ever new.
But gaudy plumage, sprightly strain,
And form genteel, were all in vain,
And of a transient date;
For caught and caged and starved to death
In dying sighs my little breath
Soon pass'd the wiry grate.
Thanks, gentle swain, for all my woes,
And thanks for this effectual close
And cure of every ill;
More cruelty could none express;
And I, if you had shewn me less,
Had been your prisoner still,
THE pineapples, in triple row,
Were basking hot, and all in blow;
A bee of most discerning taste,
Perceived the fragrance as he pass'd,
On eager wing the spoiler came,
And search'd for crannies in the frame,
Urged his attempt on every side,
To every pane his trunk applied:
But still in vain, the frame was tight,
And only pervious to the light:
Thus having wasted half the day,
He trimm'd his flight another way.
Methinks, I said, in thee I find
The sin and madness of mankind.
To joys forbidden man aspires,
Consumes his soul with vain desires;
Folly the spring of his pursuit,
And disappointment all the fruit.
While Cynthio ogles, as he passes,
The nymph between two chariot glasses,
She is the pineapple, and he
The silly unsuccessful bee.
The maid, who views with pensive air
The show-glass fraught with glittering ware,
Sees watches, bracelets, rings, and lockets,
But sighs at thought of empty pockets;
Like thine, her appetite is keen,
But ah, the cruel glass between !
Our dear delights are often such,
Exposed to view, but not to touch;
The sight our foolish heart inflames,
We long for pineapples in frames;
With hopeless wish one looks and lingers;
One breaks the glass and cuts his fingers:
But they whom truth and wisdom lead,
Can gather honey from a weed.
RECEIVE, dear friend, the truths I teach,
So shalt thou live beyond the reach
Of adverse Fortune's power;
Not always tempt the distant deep,
Nor always timorously creep
Along the treacherous shore.
He that holds fast the golden mean,
And lives contentedly between
The little and the great,
Feels not the wants that pinch the poor,
Nor plagues that haunts the rich man's door,
Imbittering all his state.
The tallest pines feel most the power
Of wintry blasts; the loftiest tower
Comes heaviest to the ground;
The bolts, that spare the mountain's side,
His cloud-capp'd eminence divide,
And spread the ruin round.
The well-inform'd philosopher
Rejoices with a wholesome fear,
And hopes, in spite of pain;
If winter bellow from the north,
Soon the sweet Spring comes dancing forth,
And nature laughs again.
What if thine heaven be overcast,
The dark appearance will not last;
Expect a brighter sky.
The god that strings the silver bow,
Awakes sometimes the muses too,
And lays his arrows by.
If hindrances obstruct thy way,
Thy magnanimity display,
And let thy strength be seen;
But O! if fortune fill thy sail
With more than a propitious gale,
Take half thy canvass in.
AND is this all? Can Reason do no more,
Than bid me shun the deep, and dread the shore?
Sweet moralist! afloat on life's rough sea,
The Christian has an art unknown to thee.
He holds no parley with unmanly fears:
Where duty bids he confidently steers,
Faces a thousand dangers at her call,
And, trusting in his God, surmounts them all.
THE nymph must lose her female friend,
If more admired than she-
But where will fierce contention end,
If flowers can disagree?
Within the garden's peaceful scene
Appear'd two lovely foes,
Aspiring to the rank of queen,
The Lily and the Rose.
The Rose soon redden'd into rage,
And swelling with disdain,
Appeal'd to many a poet's page
To prove her right to reign.
The Lily's height bespoke command,
A fair imperial flower;
She seem'd design'd for Flora's hand,
The sceptre of her power.
This civil bickering and debate
The goddess chanced to hear, And flew to save ere yet too late, The pride of the parterre.
Yours is, she said, the noblest hue,
And yours the statelier mien;
And, till a third surpasses you,
Let each be deem'd a queen.