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The birds, conceiving a design
And with much twitter and much chatter,
Began to agitate the matter.
My friends! be cautious how
A Finch, whose tongue knew no control, With golden wing and satin pole, A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried What marriage means, thus pert replied.
Methinks the gentleman, quoth she,
Till death exterminate us all.
I marry without more ado,
Dick heard, and tweedling, ogling, bridling,
Influenc'd 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 breath'd gently forth,
Stepping into their nests, they paddled,
Parted without the least regret,
Except that they had ever niet,
There is a field through which I often pass, Thick overspread with moss and silky grass, , Adjoining close to Kilwick's echoing wood, Where oft the bitch-fox hides her hapless brood, Reserv’d to solace many a neighb'ring 'squire, That he
may follow them through brake and briar, Contusion hazarding of neck or spine, Which rural gentlemen call sport divine. A narrow brook, by rushy banks conceald, Runs in a bottom, and divides the field; Oaks intersperse it, that had once a head,
But now wear crests of oven-wood instead;
And where the land slopes to its wat’ry bourn, Wide yawns a gulph beside a ragged thorn;
Bricks line the sides, but shiver'd long ago,
And horrid brambles intertwine below;
A hollow scoop'd, I judge in ancient time,
Not yet the hawthorn bore her berries red,
The sun, accomplishing his early march, His lamp now planted on heav'n's topmast arch, When, exercise and air my only aim, And heedless whither, to that field I came, Ere yet with ruthless joy the happy hound Told hill and dale that Reynard's track was found,