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And ev'n the child who knows no better
Than to interpret by the letter,
A story of a cock and bull,
Must have a moft 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 fweet St. Valentine,
In many an orchard, cople, and grove,
Assembled on affairs of love,
And with much twitter and much chattes
Began to agitate the matter.
At length a Bulfinch, who could boast
years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, op'ning wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And, filence 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.
A Finch, whose tongue knew no control,
With golden wing and fatin pole,
A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
What marriage means,
pert replied: Methinks the gentleman, quoth fhe, Opposite in the apple tree, By his good will, would keep us single 'Till yonder heav'n and earth shall mingle, Or, (which is likelier to befal,) '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, ftrutting and fideling,
Attested, glad; his approbation
Of an immediate conjugation.
Their sentiments fo well express'd,
Influenc'd mightily the rest,
All pair'd, and each pair built a neft.
But though the birds were thus in hafte,
The leaves came on not quite so fast,
And destiny, that sometimes bears.
An aspect ftern on man's affairs,
Not altogether (mild on theirs.
The wind, of late breath'd 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 ev'ry 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 wiférý,
Than to neglect a good adviser,
Misses! the tale that I relate,
This lefson seems to carry
Choose not alone a proper mate,
time to marry..
THE NEEDLESS ALARM.
There is a field through which I often pafs,
Thick overspread with moss and filky grass,
Adjoining close to Kilwick's echoing wood,
Where oft the bitch-fox hides her hapless brood,
Reserv'd to folace many a neighb'ring 'squire,
That he may follow them through brake and brier,
Contufion hazarding of neck.or spine,
Which rural gentlemen call sport divine.
A narrow brook, by rushy banks cuncealid,
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 fopes to its wat'ry bourn,.
Wide yawns a golf belide a ragged thorn;
Bricks line the sides, but shiver'd long ago,
And horrid brambles interwine-below ;
A hollow scoop'd, I judge, in ancient time;
For baking earth, or burning rock to lime.
Nor yet the hawthorn bore her berries red,
With which the fieldfare, wint'ry guest, is sed ;
Nor autumn yet had brush'd from ev'ry spray,
With her chill·land, the mellow leaves away ;
But corn was hous’d, and beans were in the stack,
Now, therefore, issued forth the spotted pack,
With tails high mounted; ears hung low, and throats.
With a whole gamut fillid of heav'nly notes,
For which, alas! my destiny fevere,
Though ears she gave me two, gave me no ear:
The sun, accomplishing his early march,
His lamp now planted onheav'n's topmost arch,
When, exercise and air my only aim,
And heedless whither, to that field I came;
Ere yet with ruthlefs joy the happy hound
Told hill and dale that Reynard's track was found;
Or with the high-rais’d horns' melodious clang
All Kilwick * and all Dingle-derry * rang.
Sheep graz'd the field; fome with soft bosom press'd The herb as foft, while nibbling stray'd the rest'; * Two woods belonging to John Throckmorton, Esge
Nor noise was heard but of the hafty brook,
Struggling, detain'd in many a pretty nook.
All seem'd so peaceful, that from them convey'd
To me their peace by kind contagion spread.
But when the huntsinan, with distended cheek,
Gan make his instrument of music speak,
And from within the wood that crash was heard,
Though not a hound from whom it burst appear'd.
The sheep recumbent, and the sheep that graz’d,
All huddling into phalanx, stood and gaz'd,
Admiring, terrified, the novel ftrain,
Then cours'd the field around, and cours’d it round again;
But, recollecting with a fudden thought,
That flight in circles urg'd advanc'd them nought,
They gather'd close around the old pit's brink,
And thought again-but knew not what to think.
The man to solitude accuftom'd long,
Perceives in ev'ry thing that lives a tongue ;
Not animals alone, but fhrubs and trees,
Have speech for him, and understood with ease;
After long drought, when rains abundant fall,
He hears the herbs and flow'rs rejoicing all;
Knows what the freshness of their hue implies,
How glad they catch the largess of the skies;
But, with precision nicer fill, the mind
He scans of ev'ry loco motive kind;
Birds of all feather, beafts of ev'ry name,
That serve mankind, or thun them, wild or tame;
The looks and gestures of their griefs and fears
Have, all, articulation in his ears:
He spells them true by intuition's light,
And needs no glossary to set him right.
'This truth premis'd was needful as a text, To win due credence to what follows next.
Awhile they mus’d ; surveying ev'ry face,
Thou hadit fuppos’d them of superior race ;
Their perriwigs of wool, and fears combin'd,
Stamp'd on each countenance such marks of mind,
'That sa e 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 thas a mutton, statelier than the rest,
A ram, the ewes and wethers fad address’d.
Friends! we have liv'd too long. I never heard
Sounds such as these, so worthy to be fear'd.
Could I be.ieve, 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 compos'd, nor should appear
For such a cause to feel the lightest fear.
Yourselves have føen, what time the thunder roll'd
All night, me refting quiet in the fold.
Or heard we that tremendous bray alone,
I should expound the melancholy tone;
Should deem it by our old companion made,
The ass; for he, we know, has lately stray'd,
And being loft, perhaps, and wandering wide,
Might be suppos’d to clamour for a guide.
But ah! those dreadful yells.what foul can hear,
That owns a carcase, and not quake for fear?
Dæmons produce them, doubtless, brazen-claw'd
And fang'd with brass, the dæmons are abroad;
I hold it, therefore, wisest and most fit,
That life to save, we leap into the pit.
Him answer'd then his loving mate and true,
But more discreet than he, a Cambrian ewe.