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,
That kindles up the skies,
Gives him a modicum of light
Proportioned to his size.

Perhaps indulgent Nature meant,
By such a lamp bestowed,
To bid the traveller, as he went,
Be careful where he trod:

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
Is legible and plain,
'Tis power almighty bids him shine,
Nor bids him shine in vain.

Ye proud and wealthy, let this theme
Teach humbler thoughts to you,
Since such a reptile has its gem,
And boasts its splendour too.


THERE is a bird, who by his coat,
And by the hoarseness of his note,
Might be supposed a crow;
A great frequenter of the church,
Where bishop-like he finds a perch,
And dormitory too.

Above the steeple shines a plate,
That turns and turns, to indicate

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,
Thither he wings his airy flight,
And thence securely sees
The bustle and the rareeshow
That occupy mankind below
Secure and at his ease.

You think, no doubt, he sits and muses
On future broken bones and bruises,
If he should chance to fall.
No; not a single thought like that
Employs his philosophic pate,
Or troubles it at all.

He sees that this great roundabout,
The world, with all its motley rout,
Church, army, physic, law,
Its customs, and its business,
Is no concern at all of his,

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.

LITTLE inmate, full of mirth,
Chirping on my kitchen hearth,
Wheresoe'er be thine abode,
Always harbinger of good,
Pay me for thy warm retreat
With a song more soft and sweet;
In return thou shalt receive
Such a strain as I can give.

Thus thy praise shall be expressed,
Inoffensive, welcome guest!
While the rat is on the scout,
And the mouse with curious snout,
With what vermin else infest
Every dish, and spoil the best;
Frisking thus before the fire,
Thou hast all thine heart's desire.

Though in voice and shape they be
Formed as if akin to thee,
Thou surpassest, happier far,
Happiest grasshoppers that are;
Theirs is but a summer's song,
Thine endures the winter long,
Unimpaired, and shrill, and clear,
Melody throughout the year.
Neither night, nor dawn of day,
Puts a period to thy play:
Sing then and extend thy span
Far beyond the date of man.
Wretched man whose years are spent
In repining discontent,

Lives not, aged though he be,
Half a span, compared with thee.


IN painted plumes superbly dressed,
A native of the gorgeous east,

By many a billow tossed,
Poll gains at length the British shore,
Part of the captain's precious store,
A present to his toast.

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;
And listening close with both his ears,
Just catches at the sound;
But soon articulates aloud,
Much to th' amusement of the crowd,
And stuns the neighbours round.

A querulous old woman's voice
His humorous talent next employs;
He scolds, and gives the lie.
And now he sings, and now is sick,
Here, Sally, Susan, come, come quick,
Poor Poll is like to die!

Belinda and her bird! 'tis rare

To meet with such a well-matched pair,
The language and the tone,
Each character in every part
Sustained with so much grace and art,
And both in unison.

When children first begin to spell,
And stammer out a syllable,

We think them tedious creatures;
But difficulties soon abate,
When birds are to be taught to prate,
And women are the teachers.


THRACIAN parents, at his birth,
Mourn their babe with many a tear,
But with undissembled mirth

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,
And this pleasure would they trace,
Even they might somewhat learn
From the savages of Thrace.



ANDROCLES from his injured lord, in dread
Of instant death, to Libya's desert fled.
Tired with his toilsome flight, and parched with

He spied, at length, a cavern's cool retreat;
But scarce had given to rest his weary frame
When hugest of his kind, a lion came:
He roared approaching: but the savage din
To plaintive murmurs changed, arrived within,
And with expressive looks his lifted paw
Presenting, aid implored from whom he saw.
The fugitive, through terror at a stand,
Dared not awhile afford his trembling hand,
But bolder grown, at length inherent found
A pointed thorn, and drew it from the wound.
The cure was wrought; he wiped the sanious

And firm and free from pain the lion stood,
Again he seeks the wilds, and day by day,
Regales his inmate with the parted prey.
Nor he disdains the dole, though unprepared,
Spread on the ground, and with a lion shared.
But thus to live-still lost-sequestered still-
Scarce seemed his lord's revenge a heavier ill.
Home! native home! O might he but repair!
He must-he will, though death attends him

He goes, and doomed to perish, on the sands
Of the full theatre unpitied stands:
When lo! the self-same lion from his cage
Flies to devour him, famished into rage.
He flies, but viewing in his purposed prey
The man, his healer, pauses on his way,
And softened by remembrance into sweet
And kind composure, crouches at his feet.

Mute with astonishment th' assembly gaze:
But why, ye Romans? Whence your mute amaze?
All this is natural: nature bade him rend
An enemy; she bids him spare a friend.


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:
And, things with words compared,
Who needs be told, that has his brains,
Which merits most regard?

Ofttimes its leaves of scarlet hue
A golden edging boast;
And opened, it displays to view
Twelve pages at the most.

Nor name, nor title, stamped behind,
Adorns his outer part;

But all within 'tis richly lined,
A magazine of art.

The whitest hands that secret hoard

Oft visit: and the fair
Preserve it in their bosoms stored,

As with a miser's care.

Thence implements of every size,
And formed for various use,

(They need but to consult their eyes) They readily produce.

The largest and the longest kind
Possess the foremost page,
A sort most needed by the blind,

Or nearly such from age.

The full-charged leaf, which next ensues,
Presents, in bright array,
The smaller sort, which matrons use,
Not quite so blind as they.

The third, the fourth, the fifth supply
What their occasions ask,
Who with a more discerning eye
Perform a nicer task.

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
In narrow space, is here!
This volume's method and intent
How luminous and clear!

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,
Nor yet in Granta's numerous store,
That may with this compare.
No! Rival none in either host

Of this was ever seen,

Or, that contents could justly boast, So brilliant and so keen.


A NEEDLE small as small can be,
In bulk and use surpasses me,

Nor is my purchase dear;
For little, and almost for naught,
As many of my kind are bought

As days are in the year.

Yet though but little use we boast,
And are procured at little cost,
The labour is not light,
Nor few artificers it asks,
All skilful in their several tasks,
To fashion us aright.

One fuses metal o'er the fire,
A second draws it into wire,
The shears another plies,

Who clips in lengths the brazen thread,
For him, who, chafing every thread,
Gives all an equal size.

A fifth prepares, exact and round,
The knob with which it must be crowned;
His follower makes it fast:

And with his mallet and his file
To shape the point employs awhile

The seventh and the last.

Now, therefore, Edipus! declare
What creature, wonderful and rare,
A process that obtains
Its purpose with so much ado,
At last produces!-tell me true,
And take me for your pains!




NONE ever shared the social feast,
Or as an inmate or a guest,
Beneath the celebrated dome,
Where once Sir Isaac had his home,
Who saw not (and with some delight
Perhaps he viewed the novel sight)
How numerous, at the tables there,
The sparrows beg their daily fare.
For there, in every nook and cell,
Where such a family may dwell,
Sure as the vernal season comes
Their nests they weave in hope of crumbs,
Which kindly given, may serve, with food
Convenient, their unfeathered brood;
And oft as with its summons clear,

The warning bell salutes the ear,

Sagacious listeners to the sound,
They flock from all the fields around,
To reach the hospitable hall,
None more attentive to the call,
Arrived, the pensionary band,
Hopping and chirping, close at hand,
Solicit what they soon receive,
The sprinkled, plenteous donative.
Thus is a multitude, though large,
Supported at a trivial charge;
A single doit would overpay
Th' expenditure of every day,

And who can grudge so small a grace
To suppliants, natives of the place.


As in her ancient mistress' lap
The youthful tabby lay,
They gave each other many a tap,
Alike disposed to play.

But strife ensues. Puss waxes warm,
And with protruded claws
Ploughs all the length of Lydia's arm,
Mere wantonness the cause.

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;
It was a venial stroke;

For she that will with kittens jest,
Should bear a kitten's joke.

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?


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
A rival of his skill, indignant heard,
And soon, (for various was his tuneful store)
In loftier tones defied the simple bird.

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,
By thee, poor songstress, playfully begun;
And, O sad victory, which cost thy life,
And he may wish that he had never won!


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.



Who lived one hundred years, and died on her birthday, 1725.
ANCIENT dame how wide and vast,

To a race like ours appears,
Rounded to an orb at last,

All thy multitude of years!

We, the herd of human kind,

Frailer and of feebler powers;
We, to narrow bounds confined,

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,
Should propitious Heaven design
Life for us, has calmly spent,
Though but half the length of thine.

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,
The mulberry leaf, a simple store,
That serves him-till he needs no more;
For, his dimensions once complete,
Thenceforth none ever sees him eat;
Though, till his growing time be past,
Scarce ever is he seen to fast.

That hour arrived, his work begins,
He spins and weaves, and weaves and spins,
Till circle upon circle wound

Careless around him and around,
Conceals him with a veil, though slight,
Impervious to the keenest sight.
Thus self-enclosed, as in a cask,
At length he finishes his task:
And, though a worm, when he was lost,
Or caterpillar at the most,

When next we see him wings he wears,
And in papilio-pomp appears;
Becomes oviparous, supplies
With future worms and future flies
The next ensuing year; and dies!
Well were it for the world, if all,
Who creep about this earthly ball,
Though shorter-lived than most he be,
Were useful in their kind as he.


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 canker-worm, indwelling foe!
His voracity not thus allays

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.

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