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So settling on his cage, by play,
You must not live alone;
Return'd him to his own.
Fandango, ball, and rout!
To liberty without.
THE NEEDLESS ALARM.
A TALE. 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, Reserved to solace many a neighbouring squire, That he may follow them through brake and brier, Contusion hazarding of neck or spine, Which rural gentlemen call sport divine. A narrow brook, by rushy banks conceal’d, 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 watery bourn Wide yawns a gulf 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, For baking earth, or burning rock to lime.
Not yet the hawthorn bore her berries red, With which the fieldfare, wintry guest, is fed ; Nor Autumn yet had brush'd from every spray, With her chill hand, the mellow leaves away; But corn was housed, and beans were in the stack; Now therefore issued forth the spotted pack,
With tails high mounted, ears hung low, and throats
The sun, accomplishing his early march,
Sheep grazed the field; some with soft bosom The herb as soft, while nibbling stray'd the rest; Nor noise was heard but of the hasty brook, Struggling, detain’d in many a petty nook. All seem'd so peaceful, that from them convey'd, To me their peace by kind contagion spread.
But when the huntsman, with distended cheek,
The man to solitude accustom'd long,
* Two woods belongivg to John Throckmorton, Esq.
But, with precision nicer still, the mind
This truth premised was needful as a text,
Awhile they mused; surveying every face, Thou hadst supposed them of superior race; Their periwigs of wool and fears combined, Stamp'd on each countenance such marks of mind, That sage they seem'd, as lawyers o'er a doubt, Which, puzzling long, at last they puzzle out; Or academic tutors, teaching youths, Sure ne'er to want them, mathematic truths ; When thus a mutton statelier than the rest, A ram, the ewes and wethers sad address’d:
“ Friends! we have lived too long. I never heard Sounds such as these, so worthy to be fear’d. Could I believe, that winds for ages pent In earth's dark womb have found at last a vent, And from their prison-house below arise, With all these hideous howlings to the skies, I could be much composed, nor should appear, For such a cause, to feel the slightest fear. Yourselves have seen what time the thunders roll'd All night, me resting quiet in the fold. Or heard we that tremendous bray alone, I could expound the melancholy tone; Should deem it by our old companion made, The ass; for he, we know, has lately stray'd, And being lost, perhaps, and wandering wide, Might be supposed to clamour for a guide. But ah! those dreadful yells what soul can hear, That owns a carcass, and not quake for fear ? Demons produce them doubtless, brazen-claw'd, And fang'd with brass, the deinons are abroad ;
I hold it therefore wisest and most fit
Him answer'd then his loving mate and true,
“How ! leap into the pit our life to save ? To save our life leap all into the grave ? For can we find it less ? Contemplate first The depth how awful ! falling there, we burst : Or should the brambles interposed our fall In part abate, that ness were 1; For with a race like theirs no chance I see Of peace or ease to creatures clad as we. Meantime, noise kills not. Be it Dapple's bray, Or be it not, or be it whose it may, And rush those other sounds, that seem by tongues Of demons utter'd, from whatever lungs, Sounds are but sounds, and, till the cause appear, We have at least commodious standing here. Come fiend, come fury, giant, monster, blast From earth or hell, we can but plunge at last.”
While thus she spake, I fainter heard the peals,
FOR THE TOMB OF MR. HAMILTON.
Pause here, and think ; a monitory rhyme
Consult life's silent clock, thy bounding vein ; Seems it to say—“Health here has long to reign ?” Hast thou the vigour of thy youth ? an eye That beams delight ? a heart untaught to sigh ? Yet fear! Youth ofttimes healthful and at ease, Anticipates a day it never sees; And many a tomb, like Hamilton's, aloud Exclaims “ Prepare thee for an early shroud !”
EPITAPH ON MRS. M. HIGGINS, OF WESTON.
1791. Laurels may flourish round the conqueror's tomb, But happiest they who win the world to come: Believers have a silent field to fight, And their exploits are veil'd from human sight. They in some nook, where little known they dwell, Kneel, pray in faith, and rout the hosts of hell; Eternal triumphs crown their toils divine, And all those triumphs, Mary, now are thine.
THE RETIRED CAT.