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Why, stooping from 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 flies,
Combined with millions more,
To form an iris in the skies,
Though black and foul before.
Illustrious drop! and happy then
Beyond the happiest lot,
Of all that ever pass'd my pen,
So soon to be forgot!
Phoebus, if such be thy design,
To place it in thy bow,
Give wit, that what is left
With equal grace below.
THE lapse of time and rivers is the same,
Both speed their journey with a restless stream;
The silent pace, with which they steal away,
No wealth can bribe, no prayers persuade to stay;
Alike irrevocable both when past,
And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
Though each resemble each in every part,
A difference strikes at length the musing heart;
Streams never flow in vain; where streams abound,
How laughs the land with various plenty crown'd!
But time, that should enrich the nobler mind,
Neglected leaves a dreary waste behind.
ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY.
SWEET stream, that winds through yonder glade, Apt emblem of a virtuous maid—
Silent and chaste she steals along,
Far from the world's gay busy throng;
With gentle yet prevailing force,
her destined course;
Graceful and useful all she does,
Blessing and blest where'er she goes,
Pure bosom'd as that watery glass,
And heaven reflected in her face.
THE POET'S NEW YEAR'S GIFT. TO MRS. (NOW LADY) THROCKMORTON.
MARIA! I have every good
For thee wish'd many a time, Both sad, and in a cheerful mood, But never yet in rhyme.
To wish thee fairer is no need,
More prudent, or more sprightly,
Or more ingenious, or more freed
From temper flaws unsightly.
What favour then not yet possess'd
Can I for thee require,
In wedded love already blest,
To thy whole heart's desire?
None here is happy but in part:
Full bliss is bliss divine;
There dwells some wish in every heart,
And doubtless one in thine.
That wish on some fair future day,
Which fate shall brightly gild,
('Tis blameless, be it what it may)
I wish it all fulfill'd.
PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED.
I SHALL not ask Jean Jaques Rousseau*
If birds confabulate or no;
'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 forestal 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,
* It was one of the whimsical speculations of this philosopher, that all fables, which ascribe reason and speech to animals, should 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?
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,
Or (which is likelier to befall)
Till death exterminate us all.
I marry without more ado,
My dear Dick Redcap, what say you?
Dick heard, 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