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ON AN INKGLASS, ALMOST DRIED IN THE SUN,
PATRON of all those luckless brains
That, to the wrong side leaning,
Indite much metre with much pains,
And little or no meaning:
Ah why, since oceans, rivers, streams,
That water all the nations,
Pay tribute to thy glorious beams,
In constant exhalations;
Why, stooping at the noon of day,
Too covetous of drink,
Apollo, hast thou stolen away
A poet's drop of ink?
Upborne into the viewless air,
It floats a vapour now,
Impell’d through regions dense and rare
By all the winds that blow,
Ordain'd, perhaps, ere summer flics,
Combined with millions more,
To form an Iris in the skies,
Though black and foul before.
Mustrious drop! and happy then
Beyond the happiest lot,
Of all that ever pass'd my pen,
So soon to be forgot!
Phæbus, if such be thy design,
To place it in thy bow,
Give wit, that what is left may shine
With equal grace below.
I shall not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau,
If birds confabulate or uo;
"Tis clear, that they were always able
To hold discourse, at least in fable;
And e'en 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 enjoin'd,
Deliver'd 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, • It was one of the whimsical speculations of this philosopher, that all fables which ascribe reason and speech to aniinals shound be withheld from children, as being only vehicles of deception. But what child was ever deceived by them, or can be, against the evidence of his senses !
Or (which is likelier to befall)
Tin death exterminate us all.
I marry without more ado :
My dear Dick Redcap, what say you
Dick herd, and tweedling, ogling, bridling,
Turning, short round, strutting, and sideling,
Attested, glad, his approbation
Of an immediate conjugation.
Their sentiments, so well express'd,
Influenced mightily the rest;
All pair'd, 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 breath'd gently forth,
Now shifted east, and east by north;
Bare trees and shrubs but ill, you know,
Could shelter them from rain or spow;
Stepping into their nests they paddled,
Themselves were chill'd, their eggs were addled
Soon every father bird and mother
Grew quarrelsome, and peck'd each other.
Parted without the least regret,
Except that they had ever met,
And learn'd 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.
THE DOG AND THE WATER-LILY
Tas noon was shady, and soft airs
Swept Ouse's silent tide,
When, 'scap'd from literary cares,
I wander'd on his side.
190 THE DOG AND THE WATER-LILY.
My spaniel, prettiest of his race,
And high in pedigree
(Two nymphs adorn'd with every grace
That spaniel found for me).
Now wanton'd lost in flags and reeds,
Now starting into sight,
Pursued the swallow o'er the meads
With scarce a slower flight.
It was the time when Ouse display d
His lilies newly blown;
Their beauties I intent survey'd
And one I wish'd my own.
With cane extended far I sought
To steer it close to land;
But still the prize, though nearly caught,
Escaped my eager hand.
Beau mark'd my unsuccessful pains
With fix'd considerate face,
And puzzling set his puppy brains
To comprehend the case.
But with a cherup clear and strong,
Dispersing all his dream,
I thence withdrew, and follow'd long
The windings of the stream.
My ramble ended, I return'd;
Beau, trotting far before,
The floating wreath again discern'd
And plunging left the shore.
I saw him with that lily cropr'd
Impatient swim to meet
My quick approach, and soon he dropp'd
The treasure at my feet.
Charm'd with the sight, The world, I cried,
Shall hear of this thy deed :
My dog shall mortify the pride
Of man's superior breed :
• Sir Robert Gunnlag's danghters
But chief myself I will enjoin,
Awake at duty's call,
To shew a lore as prompt as thino
To Him who gives me all.
THE POET, THE OYSTER, AND SENSITIVE
An Oyster cast upon the shore,
Was heard, though never heard before,
Complaining in a speech well worded
And worthy thus to be recorded :-.
Ah, hapless wretch ! condemn'd to dwell
For ever in my native shell ;
Ordain'd to move when others please,
Not for my own content or ease;
But toss'd and buffeted about,
Now in the water and now out.
"Twere better to be born a stone,
Of ruder shape, and feeling none
Than with a tenderness like mine,
And sensibilities so fine !
I envy that unfeeling shrub,
Fast rooted against every rub.
The plant he meant grew not far off,
And felt the sneer with scorn enough ;
Was hurt, disgusted, mortified,
And with asperity replied.
-When, cry the botanists, and stare
Did plants call'd sensitive grow there?
No matter when-a poet's muse is
To make them grow just where she choose
You shapeless nothing in a dish
You that are but almost a fish,
I scorn your coarse insinuation,
And have most plentiful occasion
To wish myself the rock I view,
Or such another dolt as you :
Por many a grave and learned clerk,
And many a gay unletter'd spark,