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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 conj’rers and old women,
To tell us what is to befall,
Can't prophesy themselves at all.)
The morning came, when neighbour Hodge,
Who long had mark'd her airy lodge
And destin'd all the treasure there
A gift to his expecting fair,
Climb'd like a squirrel to his spray,
And bore the worthless prize away.
'Tis Providence alone secures
In ev'ry 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 oft'nest in what least we dread;
Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
But in the sunshine strikes the blow.
A COMPARISON. 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, no pray’rs persuade to stay ; Alike irrevocable both when past, And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
Though each resemble each in ev'ry part,
A diffrence 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.
ANOTHER. ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY. 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 destin'd course; Graceful and useful all she does, Blessing and blest where'er she goes, Pure-bosom'd as that wat’ry glass, And heav'n reflected in her face.
THE POET'S NEW-YEAR'S GIFT.
TO MRS. (NOW LADY) THROCKMORTON.
MARIA! I have ev'ry 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 blest,
To thy whole heart's desire ?
None here is happy but in part.
Full bliss is bliss divine;
There dwells some wish in ev'ry 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.
ODE TO APOLLO. ON AN INK GLASS ALMOST DRIED IN THE SUN. PATRON of all those luckless brains,
That, to the wrong side leaning,
Indite muchimetre 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 from the noon of day,
Too covetous of drink,
Apollo, hast thou stol'n away
A poet's drop of ink?
Upborne 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,
Combin'd 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.
PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED.
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 chanc'd then on a winter's day,
But warm, and bright, and calm as May,
The birds, conceiving a design
To forestal sweet St.
In many an orchard, copse,
Assembled on affairs of love,
And with much twitter and much chatter,
Began to agitate the matter.
At length a Bulfinch, who could boast
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, op'ning 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 with held from children, as being only vehicles of deception. But what child was ever doceived by them, or can be, against the evidence of his songes ?