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Might have repaid him well, I wote,
Fast stuck within his own.
Maria weeps—the Muses mourn-
On Thracian Hebrus' side
The cruel death he died.
THE NEEDLESS ALARM.
HERE is a field through which I often pass,
Adjoining close to Kilwick's echoing wood,
Not yet the hawthorn bore her berries red,
The sun accomplishing his early march,
Sheep grazed the field ; some with soft bosom pressed
But when the huntsman, 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 grazed, All huddling into phalanx, stood and gazed, Admiring, terrified, the novel strain, Then coursed the field around, and coursed it round
again : But recollecting with a sudden thought, That flight in circles urged advanced them nought,
They gathered close around the old pit's brink, And thought again—but knew not what to think.
The man to solitude accustomed long, Perceives in everything that lives a tongue ; Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees Have speech for him, and understood with ease ; After long drought, when rains abundant fall, He hears the herbs and flowers rejoicing all ; Knows what the freshness of their hue implies, How glad they catch the largess of the skies ; But, with precision nicer still, the mind He scans of every locomotive kind; Birds of all feather, beasts of every name, That serve mankind, or shun 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 premised was needful as a text, To win due credence to what follows next.
Awhile they mused ; surveying every face, Thou hadst supposed them of superior race ; Their periwigs of wool and fears combined, Stamped on each countenance such marks of mind, That sage they seemed, 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 addressed: "Friends ! we have lived too long. I never heard Sounds such as these, so worthy to be feared. 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,
; for he, we know, has lately strayed,
Him answered 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 happiness were small; 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 uttered, 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 Reynard, close attended at his heels By panting dog, tired man, and spattered horse, Through mere good fortune, took a different course. The flock grew calm again, and I, the road Following that led ine to my own abode, Much wonder'd that the silly sheep had found Such cause of terror in an empty sound, So sweet to huntsman, gentleman, and hound.
Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
ON THE RECEIPT OF MY MOTHER'S PICTURE,
OUT OF NORFOLK,
THE GIFT OF MY COUSIN, ANNE BODHAM.
THAT those lips had language! Life has passed
Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,