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Yet, by his ear directed, guessed
Something imprisoned in the chest,
And, doubtful what, with prudent care
Resolved it should continue there.
At length a voice which well he knew,
A long and melancholy mew,
Saluting his poetic ears,
Consoled him and dispelled his fears:
He left his bed, he trod the floor,
He 'gan in haste the drawers explore,
The lowest first, and without stop
The rest in order to the top.
For 'tis a truth well known to most,
That whatsoever thing is lost,
We seek it, ere it come to light,
In every cranny but the right.
Forth skipped the cat, not now replete
As erst with airy self-conceit,
Nor in her own fond apprehension
A theme for all the world's attention
But modest, sober, cured of all
Her notions hyperbolical,
And wishing for a place of rest
Anything rather than a chest.
Then stepped the poet into bed,
With this reflection in his head.
Beware of too sublime a sense
Of your own worth and consequence:
The man who dreams himself so great
And his importance of such weight,
That all around, in all that's done,
Must move and act for him alone,
Will learn in school of tribulation
The folly of his expectation.
EPITAPH ON A FREE BUT TAME
A FAVOURITE OF MISS SALLY HURDIS.
THESE are not dewdrops, these are tears,
And tears by Sally shed,
For absent Robin, who she fears,
With too much cause, is dead.
One morn he came not to her hand
As he was wont to come,
And, on her finger perched, to stand
Picking his breakfast-crumb.
Alarmed, she called him, and perplexed
She sought him,. but in vain-
That day he came not, nor the next,
Nor ever came again.
She therefore raised him here a tomb,
Though where he fell, or how,
None knows, so secret was his doom,
Nor where he moulders now.
Had half a score of coxcombs died
In social Robin's stead,
Poor Sally's tears had soon been dried,
Or haply never shed.
But Bob was neither rudely bold
Nor spiritlessly tame;
Nor was, like theirs, his bosom cold,
But always in a flame.
TO MRS. UNWIN.
MARY! I want a lyre with other strings,
Such aid from Heaven as some have feigned they drew,
An eloquence scarce given to mortals, new,
And undebased by praise of meaner things,
That, ere through age or woe I shed my wings,
I may record thy worth with honour due,
In verse as musical as thou art true,
Verse that immortalizes whom it sings!
But thou hast little need. There is a book
By seraphs writ with beams of heavenly light,
On which the eyes of God not rarely look,
A chronicle of actions just and bright;
There all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine,
And, since thou ownest that praise, I spare thee mine.
IN Scotland's realm, where trees are few,
Nor even shrubs abound;
But where, however bleak the view,
Some better things are found.
For husband there and wife may boast
Their union undefiled,
And false ones are as rare almost
As hedgerows in the wild.
In Scotland's realm, forlorn and bare,
This history chanced of late-
This history of a wedded pair,
A chaffinch and his mate.
The spring drew near, each felt a breast
With genial instinct filled;
They paired, and would have built a nest,
But found not where to build.
The heaths uncovered and the moors
Except with snow and sleet,
Sea-beaten rocks and naked shores
Could yield them no retreat.
Long-time a breeding-place they sought,
Till both grew vexed and tired;
At length a ship arriving brought
The good so long desired.
A ship! Could such a restless thing
Afford them place of rest?
Or was the merchant charged to bring
The homeless birds a nest?
Hush-silent hearers profit most-
This racer of the sea
Proved kinder to them than the coast,
It served them with a tree.
But such a tree! 'twas shaven deal,
The tree they call a mast,
And had a hollow with a wheel
Through which the tackle passed.
Within that cavity aloft
Their roofless home they fixed, Formed with materials neat and soft, Bents, wool, and feathers mixed.
Four ivory eggs soon pave its floor
With russet specks bedight-
The vessel weighs, forsakes the shore,
And lessens to the sight.