Page images

And set their wit at work to find
What joint the prophet had in mind.
Much controversy straight arose,
These choose the back, the belly those :
By some 'tis confidently said,
#. meant not to forbid the head;
While others at that doctrine rail,
And piously prefer the tail.
Thus, conscience freed from ev’ry clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog.
You laugh—’tis ... "#. tale applied
May make you laugh on t'other side.
“Renounce the world”—the preacher cries.
“We do”—a multitude replies.
While one as innocent regards
A snug and friendly game at cards;
And one, whatever you may say,
Can see no evil in a play;
Some love a concert, or a race;
And others shooting, and the chase.
Revil'd and lov’d, renounc'd and follow’d,
Thus, bit by bit, the world is swallow’d ;
Each thinks his neighbour makes too free,
Yet likes a slice as well as he ; -
With sophistry their sauce they sweeten,
Till quite from tail to snout 'tis eaten.

[ocr errors]

Where Rhenus strays his vincs among,

The egg was laid from which he sprung;
And, though by nature mute,

Or only with a whistle blest,

Well-taught he all the sounds express'd
Of flagelet or flute.

The honours of his ebon poll
Were brighter than the sleekest mole;
His bosom of the hue
With which Aurora decks the skies,
When piping winds shall soon arise,
To sweep away the dew.
Above, below, in all the house,
Dire foe alike of bird and mouse,
No cat had leave to dwell;
And Bully's cage supported stood
On props of smoothest-shaven wood,
Large-built, and lattic'd well.

Well-latticed—but the grate, alas !
Not rough with wire of steel or brass,
For Bully's plumage sake,
But smooth with wands from Ouse's side,
With which, when neatly peel'd and dried,
The swains their baskets make.

Night veil'd the pole, all seem'd secure :
When led by instinct sharp and sure,
Subsistence to provide,
A beast forth sallied on the scout,
Long-back'd, long-tail'd, with whisker'd snout,
And badger-colour'd hide.
He, ent’ring at the study door,
Its ample area 'gan explore;
And something in the wind
Conjectur'd, ..i. round and round,
Better than all the books he found,
Food chiefly for the mind.

Just then, by adverse fate impress'd,
A dream disturb’d poor Bully's rest;
In sleep he seem'd to view
A rat fast clinging to the cage,
And, screaming at the sad presage,
Awoke and found it true.

For, aided both by ear and scent,
Right to his mark the monster went—
, muse! forbear to speak
Minute the horrors that ensued;
His teeth were strong, the cage was wood—
He left poor Bully's beak.

O, had he made that too his prey;
That beak, whence issued many a lay
Of such mellifluous tone
Might have repaid him well, I wot,
For silencing so sweet a throat,
Fast stuck within his own.

Maria weeps—the Muses mourn—
So when, by Bacchanalians torn,
On Thracian Hebrus’ side
The tree-enchanter Orpheus fell,
His head alone remained to tell
The cruel;death he died.

THE ROSE. THE rose had been wash'd, just wash’d in a show'r, Which Mary to Anna conveyed,

The plentiful moisture encumber'd the flow'r,
And weigh’d down its beautiful head.

The cup was all fill’d, and the leaves were all wet,
And it seem'd to a fanciful view,

To weep for the buds it had left with regret,
On the flourishing bush where it grew.

[ocr errors]

“And such” I exclaim’d, “is the pitiless part
Some act by the delicate mind,
Regardless of wringing and breaking a heart
lready to sorrow resign'd.

“This elegant rose, had I shaken it less, Might have bloom'd with its owner awhile;

And the tear, that is wip’d with a little address, May be follow'd, perhaps, by a smile.”


REAs’NING at ev'ry step he treads,
Man yet mistakes his way,

While meaner things, whom instinct leads,
Are rarely known to stray.

One silent eve I wander'd late,
And heard the voice of love;

The turtle thus address'd her mate,
And sooth'd the list’ming dove:

“Our mutual bond of faith and truth

s No time shall disengage,

Those blessings of our early youth
Shall cheer our latest age.

“While innocence without disguise,
And i. sincere,

Shall fill the circles of those eyes,
And mine can read them there;

“Those ills that wait on all below,
Shall ne'er be felt by me,

Or gently felt, and only so,
As being shar'd with thee.

“When light'nings flash among the trees,
Or kites are hov'ring near,

I fear lest thee alone they seize,
And know no other fear.

“'Tis then I feel myself a wife,
And press thy wedded side,

Resolv’d an union form'd for life
Death never shall divide.

“But, oh! if fickle and unchaste,
(Forgive a transient thought)

Thou could become unkind at last,
And scorn thy present lot.

“No need of lightnings from on high,
Or kites with cruel beak;

Denied th’ endearments of thine eye,
This widow’d heart would break.”

Thus sang the sweet sequester'd bird,
Soft as the passing wind;

And I recorded what I heard,
A lesson for mankind.


A RAVEN, while with glossy breast
Her new iaid eggs she fondly press'd,
And, on her wickerwork high mounted,
Her chickens prematurely counted,
so fault philosophers might blame
f quite exempted from the same),
Enjoyed at ease the genial day;
'Twas April, as the bumpkins say,
The legislature call’d it May.
But, suddenly a wind as high,
As ever swept a winter sky,
Shook the young leaves about her ears,
And fill’d her with a thousand fears,

« PreviousContinue »