« VorigeDoorgaan »
Disputes have been, and still prevail, From whence his rays proceed; Some give that honour to his tail, And others to his head.
But this is sure the hand of night,
Perhaps indulgent Nature meant,
Nor crush a worm, whose useful light Might serve, however small,
To show a stumbling-stone by night, And save him from a fall.
Whate'er she meant, this truth divine
Ye proud and wealthy, let this theme
II. THE JACKDAW.
THERE is a bird, who by his coat,
Above the steeple shines a plate,
From what point blows the weather. Look up your brains begin to swim, "Tis in the clouds-that pleases him, He chooses it the rather.
Fond of the speculative height,
You think, no doubt, he sits and muses
He sees that this great roundabout,
And says-what says he?-Caw. Thrice happy bird! I too have seen Much of the vanities men;
And, sick of having seen 'em, Would cheerfully these limbs resign For such a pair of wings as thine, And such a head between 'em.
III. THE CRICKET.
Thus thy praise shall be expressed,
Though in voice and shape they be
Lives not, aged though he be,
IV. THE PARROT.
IN painted plumes superbly dressed,
By many a billow tossed,
Belinda's maids are soon preferred, To teach him now and then a word,
As Poll can master it; But 'tis her own important charge, To qualify him more at large,
And make him quite a wit.
Sweet Poll! his doating mistress cries, Sweet Poll! the mimic bird replies;
And calls aloud for sack.
She next instructs him in the kiss; 'Tis now a little one, like Miss, And now a hearty smack.
At first he aims at what he hears;
A querulous old woman's voice
Belinda and her bird! 'tis rare
To meet with such a well-matched pair,
When children first begin to spell,
We think them tedious creatures;
V. THE THRACIAN.
THRACIAN parents, at his birth,
Place him breathless on his bier.
Greece and Rome, with equal scorn, 'O the savages!' exclaim, 'Whether they rejoice or mourn, Well entitled to the name!'
But the cause of this concern,
VI. RECIPROCAL KINDNESS.
THE PRIMARY LAW OF NATURE.
ANDROCLES from his injured lord, in dread
He spied, at length, a cavern's cool retreat;
And firm and free from pain the lion stood,
He goes, and doomed to perish, on the sands
Mute with astonishment th' assembly gaze:
VII. A MANUAL.
More ancient than the Art of Printing, and not to be found in any Catalogue.
THERE is a book, which we may call
(Its excellence is such) Alone a library, though small;
The ladies thumb it much.
Words none, things numerous it contains:
Ofttimes its leaves of scarlet hue
Nor name, nor title, stamped behind,
But all within 'tis richly lined,
The whitest hands that secret hoard
Oft visit: and the fair
As with a miser's care.
Thence implements of every size,
(They need but to consult their eyes) They readily produce.
The largest and the longest kind
Or nearly such from age.
The full-charged leaf, which next ensues,
The third, the fourth, the fifth supply
But still with regular decrease
From size to size they fall, In every leaf grow less and less; The last are least of all.
O! what a fund of genius, pent
It leaves no reader at a loss
Or posed, whoever reads: No commentator's tedious gloss, Nor even index needs.
Search Bodley's many thousands o'er,
Nor book is treasured there,
Of this was ever seen,
Or, that contents could justly boast, So brilliant and so keen.
VIII. AN ENIGMA.
A NEEDLE small as small can be,
Nor is my purchase dear;
As days are in the year.
Yet though but little use we boast,
One fuses metal o'er the fire,
Who clips in lengths the brazen thread,
A fifth prepares, exact and round,
And with his mallet and his file
The seventh and the last.
Now, therefore, Edipus! declare
IX. SPARROWS SELF-DOMESTI
IN TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
NONE ever shared the social feast,
The warning bell salutes the ear,
Sagacious listeners to the sound,
And who can grudge so small a grace
X. FAMILIARITY DANGEROUS.
As in her ancient mistress' lap
But strife ensues. Puss waxes warm,
At once, resentful of the deed,
She shakes her to the ground, With many a threat that she shall bleed With still a deeper wound.
But, Lydia, bid thy fury rest;
For she that will with kittens jest,
Then, soon as the swell of the buds
Bespeaks the renewal of spring, Fly hence, if thou wilt, to the woods,
Or where it shall please thee to sing: And shouldst thou, compelled by a frost, Come again to my window or door, Doubt not an affectionate host,
Only pay as thou pay'dst me before.
Thus music must needs be confest,
To flow from a fountain above; Else how should it work in the breast
Unchangeable friendship and love! And who on the globe can be found,
Save your generation and ours, That can be delighted by sound, Or boasts any musical powers?
XII. STRADA'S NIGHTINGALE.
THE Shepherd touched his reed; sweet Philomel Essayed, and oft assayed to catch the strain, And treasuring, as on her ear they fell,
The numbers, echoed note for note again.
The peevish youth, who ne'er had found before
She dared the task, and rising, as he rose,
With all the force, that passion gives, inspired, Returned the sounds awhile, but in the close, Exhausted fell, and at his feet expired.
Thus strength, not skill, prevailed. O fatal strife,
XI. INVITATION TO THE RED. BREAST.
SWEET bird, whom the winter constrainsAnd seldom another it can
To seek a retreat, while he reigns,
In the well sheltered dwellings of man. Who never can seem to intrude,
Tho' in all places equally free, Come, oft as the season is rude,
Thou art sure to be welcome to me.
At sight of the first feeble ray,
That pierces the clouds of the east, To inveigle thee every day
My windows shall show thee a feast. For, taught by experience, I know
Thee mindful of benefit long; And that, thankful for all I bestow,
Thou wilt pay me with many a song.
ON THE DEATH OF A LADY,
Who lived one hundred years, and died on her birthday, 1725.
To a race like ours appears,
All thy multitude of years!
We, the herd of human kind,
Frailer and of feebler powers;
Soon exhaust the sum of ours.
Death's delicious banquet-we
Perish even from the womb, Swifter than a shadow flee, Nourished but to feed the tomb.
Seeds of merciless disease
Lurk in all that we enjoy; Some, that waste us by degrees, Some, that suddenly destroy.
And if life o'erleap the bourn
Common to the sons of men; What remains, but that we mourn, Dream, and doat, and drivel then?
Fast as moons can wax and wane, Sorrow comes; and while we groan, Pant with anguish and complain,
Half our years are fled and gone.
If a few, (to few 'tis given)
Lingering on this earthly stage, Creep, and halt with steps uneven,
To the period of an age.
Wherefore live they but to see Cunning, arrogance, and force, Sights lamented much by thee, Holding their accustomed course!
Oft was seen, in ages past,
All that we with wonder view; Often shall be to the last;
Earth produces nothing new.
Thee we gratulate; content,
XIV. THE CAUSE WON. Two neighbours furiously dispute: A field-the subject of the suit. Trivial the spot, yet such the rage With which the combatants engage, 'Twere hard to tell, who covets most The prize-at whatsoever cost. The pleadings swell. Words still suffice; No single word but has its price: No term but yields some fair pretence For novel and increased expense.
Defendant thus becomes a name, Which he that bore it, may disclaim; Since both, in one description blended, Are plaintiffs-when the suit is ended.
XV. THE SILKWORM. THE beams of April, ere it goes, A worm scarce visible, disclose; All winter long content to dwell The tenant of his native shell.
The same prolific season gives
The sustenance by which he lives,
That hour arrived, his work begins,
Careless around him and around,
When next we see him wings he wears,
XVI. THE INNOCENT THIEF.
NOT a flower can be found in the fields,
Or the spot that we till for our pleasure, From the largest to least, but it yields To the bee, never-wearied, a treasure.
Scarce any she quits unexplored,
With a diligence truly exact; Yet, steal what she may for her hoard, Leaves evidence none of the fact.
Her lucrative task she pursues,
And pilfers with so much address, That none of their odour they lose,
Nor charm by their beauty the less.
Not thus inoffensively preys
The sparrow, the finch, or the crow.
The worm, more expensively fed,
The pride of the garden devours; And birds pick the seed from the bed, Still less to be spared than the flowers.
But she with such delicate skill
Her pillage so fits for her use, That the chymist in vain with his still Would labour the like to produce.