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The pineapples, in triple row,
Were basking hot, and all in blow;
A bee of most discerning taste
Perceive the fragrance as he pass'd.
On eager wing the spoiler came,
And search'd for crannies in the frame,
Urged his attempt on every side,
To every pane his trunk applied:
But still in vain, the frame was tight,
And only pervious to the light:
Thus having wasted half the day,
He trimm'd his flight another way.

Methinks, I said, in thee I find
The sin and madness of mankind.
To joys forbidden man aspires,
Consumes his soul with vain desires;
Folly the spring of his pursuit,
And disappointment all the fruit
While Cynthio ogles, as she passes,
The nymph between two chariot glasses,
She is the pineapple, and he
The silly unsuccessful bee.
The maid, who views with pensive air
The show-glass fraught with glittering ware
Sees watches, bracelets, rings and lockets,
But sighs at thought of empty pockets;
Like thine, her appetite is keen,
But all the cruel glass between!

Our dear delights are often such, Exposed to view, but not to touch ; The sight our foolish heart inflames, We long for pineapples in frames; With hopeless wish one looks and lingers, One breaks the glass and cuts his fingers : But they whom truth and wisdom lead, Can gather honey from a weed.


Book II. Ode 10.
Recove, dear friend, the truths I teach
So shalt thou live beyond the reach

Of adverse Fortune's power;
Not always tempt the distant deep,
Nor always timorously creep

Along the treacherous shore.
He that holds fast the golden mean,
And lives contentedly between

The little and the great,
Feels not the wants that pinch the poor,
Nor plagues that haunt the rich man's door,

Imbittering all his state.
The tallest pines feel most the power
Of wintry blasts ; the loftiest tower

Comes heaviest to the ground;
The bolts, that spare the mountain side,
His cloud-capp'd eminence divide,

And spread the ruin round.
The well-inform'd philosopher
Rejoices with a wholesome fear,

And hopes, in spite of pain;
If winter bellow from the north,
Soon the sweet Spring comes dancing forth,

And Nature laughs again,
What if thine heaven be overcast,
The dark appearance will not last;

Expect a brightor sky.
The god that strings the silver bow,
Awakes sometimes the muses too,

And lays bis arrows by.
If hind'rances obstruct thy way,
Thy magnanimity display,

And let thy strength be seen;
But 01 if fortune fill thy sail
With more than a propitious galo,

Take half thy canvass in.



And is this all ? Can Reason do no more
Than bid me shun the deep, and dread the shora ?
Sweet moralist I afloat on life's rough sea,
The Christian has an art unknown to thee.
He holds yo parley with unmanly fears :
Where duty bids he confidently steers,
Faces a thousand dangers at her call,
And, trusting in his God, surmounts them all.

The nymph must lose her female friend

If more admired than she
But where will fierce contention end,

If flowers can disagree?
Within the garden's peaceful scene

Appear'd two lovely foes,
Aspiring to the rank of

The Lily and the Rose.
The Rose soon redden'd into rage,

And swelling with disdain,
Appeal'd to many a poet's page

To prove her right to reign.
The Lily's height bespoke command,

A fair imperial flower;
She seem'd design'd for Flora's hand,

The sceptre of her power.
This civil bickering and debate

The goddess chanced to hear,
And flew to save, ere yet too late,

The pride of the parterre.
Yours is, she said, the noblest hue

And yours the statelier mein ;
And, till a third surpasses you,

Let each be deem'd a queen.



Thus sooth'd and reconciled, each seeks

The fairest British fair;
The seat of empire is her cheeks,

They reign united there.


Heu inimicitias quoties parit æmula forma,

Quam raro pulchræ pulchra placere potest!
Sed fines ultra solitos discordia tendit,

Cum flores ipsas bilis et ira movent.
Hortus ubi dulces præbet tacitosque recessus,

Se rapit in partes gens animosa duas;
Hic sibi regales Amaryllis candida cultus,

Ilic purpureo vindicat ore Rosa.
Ira Rosam et meritis quæsita superbia tangunt,

Multaque ferventi vix cohibenda sinu,
Dum sibi fautorum ciet undique nomina vatum,

Jusque suum, multo carmine fulta, probat.
Altior emicat illa et celso vertice nutat,

Ceu flores inter non habitura parem,
Pastiditque alios, et nata videtur in usus

Imperii, sceptrum, Flora quod ipsa gerat.
Nec Dea non sensit civilis murmura rixæ,

Cui cura est pictas pandere ruris opes,
Deliciasque suas nunquam non prompta tuen,

Dum licet et locus est, et tueatur, adest.
Et tibi forma datur procerior omnibus, inquit ;

Et tibi, principibus qui solet esse, color;
Et donec rincat quædam formosior ambas,

Et tibi reginæ nomen, et esto tibi.
His abi sedatus furor est, petit utraque nympham,

Qualem inter Veneres Anglia sola parit:
Hanc penes imperium est, nihil optant amplius, hujus

Regnant in nitidis, et sine lite, genis.

THE POPLAR FIELD. The poplars are fell’d, farewell to the shade, And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade; The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves, Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives. Twelve years have elapsed, since I last took a view Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew; And now in the grass behold they are laid, And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade. The blackbird has led to another retreat, Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat, And the scene, where his melody charm'd me before, Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more. My fugitive years are all hasting away, And I must ere long lie as lowly as they, With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head, Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead. 'Tis a sight to engage me, if any thing can, To muse on the perishing pleasures of man; Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see, Have a being less durable even than he.

POPULEÆ cecidit gratissima copia silvæ,
Conticuêre susurri, omnisque evanuit umbra.
Nullæ jam levibus se miscent frondibus auræ,
Et nulla in fluvio ramorum ludit imago.
Hei mihil bis senos dum luctu torqueor annos,
His cogor silvis suetoque carere recessu,
Cum sero rediens, stratasque in gramine cernens,
Insedi arboribus, sub queis errare solebam.

• Mr. Cowper afterward altered this last stanza in the following manner:

The change both my heart and my fancy employs,
I reflect on the frailty of man and his joys :
Short-lived as we are, yet our pleasures, we see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.

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