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And even 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 chanced then on a winter's day,
But warm and bright and calm as May,
The birds conceiving a design
To forestall sweet St. Valentine,
In many an orchard, copse, and grove
Assembled on affairs of love,
And with much twitter and much chatter
Began to agitate the matter.
At length a Bullfinch, who could boast
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, opening wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And silence publicly enjoined,
Delivered 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 satin poll, A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried What marriage means, thus pert replied :

“Methinks the gentleman,” quoth she, Opposite in the apple tree, By his good will would keep us single Till yonder heaven and earth shall mingle ; Or (which is likelier to befall) Till death exterminate us all. I marry without more ado; My dear Dick Redcap, what say you ? "

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Dick heard, and tweedling, ogling, bridling, Turning short round, strutting, and sideling, Attested, glad, his approbation Of an immediate conjugation. Their sentiments so well expressed, Influenced mightily the rest ; All paired, and each pair built a nest.

But though the birds were thus in haste, The leaves came on not quite so fast, And destiny, that sometimes bears An aspect stern on man's affairs, Not altogether smiled on theirs. The wind, of late breathed 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 chilled, their eggs were addled ; Soon every father bird and mother Grew quarrelsome, and pecked each other, Parted without the least regret, Except that they had ever met, And learned in future to be wiser Than to neglect a good adviser.


Misses ! the tale that I relate

This lesson seems to carry
Choose not alone a proper mate,

But proper time to marry.




Nor swifter greyhound follow, Whose foot ne'er tainted morning dew,

Nor ear heard huntsman's halloo. Old Tiney, surliest of his kind,

Who, nursed with tender care, And to domestic bounds confined,

Was still a wild Jack hare. Though duly from my hand he took

His pittance every night, He did it with a jealous look,

And, when he could, would bite. His diet was of wheaten bread,

And milk, and oats, and straw; Thistles, or lettuces instead,

With sand to scoar his maw.
On twigs of hawthorn he regaled,

On pippin's russet peel,
And, when his juicy salads failed,

Sliced carrot pleased him well.
A Turkey carpet was his lawn,

Whereon he loved to bound, To skip and gambol like a fawn,

And swing his rump around.
His frisking was at evening hours,

For then he lost his fear,
But most before approaching showers,

Or when a storm drew near.

Eight years and five round rolling moons

He thus saw steal away,
Dozing out all bis idle noons,

And every night at play.
I kept him for his humour's sake,

For he would oft beguile
My heart of thoughts that made it ache,

And force me to a smile.

But now beneath his walnut shade

He finds his long last home,
And waits, in snug concealment laid,

Till gentler Puss shall come.
He, still more agèd, feels the shocks

From which no care can save,
And, partner once of Tiney's box,

Must soon partake his grave.




EEM not, sweet rose, that bloom'st 'midst many

a thorn,
Thy friend, though to a cloister's shade consigned,
Can e'er forget the charms he left behind,
Or pass unheeded this auspicious morn!
In happier days to brighter prospects born,
Oh, tell thy thoughtless sex, the virtuous mind,
Like thee, content in every state may find,
And look on Folly's pageantry with scorn

To steer with nicest art betwixt the extreme
Of idle mirth, and affectation coy ;
To blend good sense with elegance and ease ;
To bid Affiction's eye no longer stream;
Is thine ; best gift the unfailing source of joy,
The guide to pleasures which can never cease !


HINK, Delia, with what cruel haste

Nor heedless thus in sorrow waste

The moments due to love;
Be wise, my fair, and gently treat

These few that are our friends;
Think, thus abused, what sad regret

Their speedy flight attends !
Sure in those eyes I loved so well,

And wished so long to see,
Anger I thought could never dwell,

Or anger aimed at me.
No bold offence of mine I knew

Should e'er provoke your hate ;
And, early taught to think you true,

Still hoped a gentler fate.
With kindness bless the present hour,

Or oh ! we meet in vain !
What can we do in absence more

Than suffer and complain ?

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