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PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED.
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
An aspect stern on man's affairs,
Not altogether smiled on theirs.
The wind, of late breathed gently forth,
Now shifted east, and east by north;
Bare trees and shrubs but ill, you know,
Could shelter them from rain or snow;
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.
THE noon was shady, and soft airs
Swept Ouse's silent tide,
When, 'scaped from literary cares,
I wander'd on his side.
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 1 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.
* Sir Robert Gunning's daughters.
My ramble ended, I return'd;
Beau, trotting far before,
The floating wreath again discern'd,
Aud plunging left the shore.
I saw him with that lily cropp'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:
But chief myself I will enjoin,
Awake at duty's call,
To show a love as prompt as thine
To Him who gives me all.
THE POET, THE OYSTER, AND SENSITIVE PLANT.
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 chooses.
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:
192 THE POET, THE OYSTER, &c.
For many a grave and learned clerk,
And many a gay unletter'd spark,
With curious touch examines me,
If I can feel as well as he ;
And when I bend, retire, and shrink,
Says-Well, 'tis more than one would think!
Thus life is spent (oh fie upon't!)
In being touch'd, and crying-Don't!
A poet, in his evening walk,
O'erheard and check'd this idle talk.
And your fine sense, he said, and yours,
Whatever evil it endures,
Deserves not, if so soon offended,
Much to be pitied or commended.
Disputes, though short, are far too long,
Where both alike are in the wrong;
Your feelings, in their full amount,
Are all upon your own account.
You, in your grotto-work enclosed,
Complain of being thus exposed;
Yet nothing feel in that rough coat,
Save when the knife is at your throat,
Wherever driven by wind or tide,
Exempt from every ill beside.
And as for you, my Lady Squeamish,
Who reckon every touch a blemish,
If all the plants that can be found
Embellishing the scene around,
Should droop and wither where they grow,
You would not feel at all-not you.
The noblest minds their virtue prove
By pity, sympathy, and love:
These, these are feelings truly fine,
And prove their owner half divine.
His censure reach'd them as he dealt it,
And each by shrinking show'd he felt it.