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182 ON THE DEATH OF A BULFINCH.
The honours of his ebon poll
Were brighter than the sleekest mole,
His bosom of the hue
With which Aurora decks the skies,
When piping winds shall soon arise
To sweep up all the dew.
Above, below, in all the house,
Dire foe alike to bird and mouse,
No cat had leave to dwell;
And Bully's cage supported stood
On props of smoothest shaven wood,
Large-built and latticed well.
Well-latticed-but the grate, alas!
Not rough with wire of steel or brass,
For Bully's plumage sake,
But smooth with wands from Ouse's side,
With which, when neatly peeled and dried,
The swains their baskets make.
Night veiled the pole. All seemed secure.
When led by instinct sharp and sure,
Subsistence to provide,
A beast forth sallied on the scout,
Long-backed, long-tailed, with whiskered snont,
And badger-coloured hide.
He, entering at the study-door,
Its ample area ’gan explore;
And something in the wind
Conjectured, sniffing round and round,
Better than all the books he found,
Food chiefly for the mind.
Just then, by adverse fate impressed,
A dream disturbed poor Bully's rest;
In sleep he seemed to view
A rat, fast clinging to the cage,
And screaming at the sad presage,
Awoke and found it true.
For, aided both by ear and scent,
Right to his mark the monster went-
Ah, muse! forbear to speak !
Minute the horrors that ensued;
His teeth were strong, the cage was wood-
He left poor Bully's beak.
He left it-but he should have ta’en;
That beak, whence issued many a strain
Of such mellifluous tone,
Might have repaid him well, I wote,
For silencing so sweet a throat,
Fast set within his own.
Maria weeps—The Muses mourn-
So, when by Bacchanalians torn,
On Thracian Hebrus' side
The tree enchanter Orphets fell;
His head alone remained to tell
The cruel death he died.
The rose had been washed, jast washed in a shower,
Which Mary to Anna conveyed;
The plentiful moisture encumbered the flower,
And weighed down its beautiful head.
The cup was all filled, and the leaves were all wet,
And it seemed to a fanciful view, To weep
for the buds it had left with regret, On the flourishing bush where it grew.
I bastily seized it, unfit as it was,
For a nosegay, so dripping and drowned,
And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas !
I snapped it, it fell to the ground.
And such, I exclaimed, is the pitiless part
Some act by the delicate mind,
Regardless of wringing and breaking a heart
Already to sorrow resigned.
This elegant rose, had I shaken it less,
Might have bloomed with its owner awhile, And the tear, that is wiped with a little address,
May be followed perhaps by a smile.
REASONING at every step he treads,
Man yet mistakes his way,
While meaner things, whom instinct leads,
Are rarely known to stray.
One silent eve I wandered late,
And heard the voice of love ;
The turtle thus addressed her mate,
And soothed the listening dove:
Our mutual bond of faith and truth
No time shall disengage,
Those blessings of our early youth
Shall cheer our latest age:
While innocence without disguise,
And constancy sincere,
Shall fill the circles of those eyes,
And mine can read them there;
Those ills, that wait on all below,
Shall ne'er be felt by me,
Or gently felt, and only so,
As being shared with thee.
When lightnings flash among the trees,
Or kites are hovering near,
I fear lest thee alone they seize,
And know no other fear.
'Tis then I feel myself a wife,
And press thy wedded side, Resolved an union formed for life
Death never shall divide.
But oh! if fickle and unchaste
(Forgive a transient thought), Thou couldst become unkind at last,
And scorn thy present lot;
No need of lightning from on high,
Or kites with cruel beak;
Denied th’ endearments of thine eye,
This widowed heart would break.
Thus sang the sweet sequestered bird,
Soft as the passing wind, And I recorded what I heard,
A lesson for mankind.
FABLE. A RAVEN, while with glossy breast Her new-laid eggs she fondly pressed, And on her wicker-work high mounted, Her chickens prematurely counted
(A fault philosophers might blame
If quite exempted from the same),
Enjoyed at ease the genial day;
'Twas April as the bumpkins say,
The legislature called it May.
But suddenly a wind as high,
As ever swept a winter sky,
Shook the young leaves about her ears,
And filled her with a thousand fears,
Lest the rude blast should snap the bough,
And spread her golden hopes below.
But just at eve the blowing weather
And all her fears were hushed together :
And now, quoth poor unthinking Ralph,
'Tis over, and the brood is safe ;
(For ravens, though as birds of omen
They teach both conjurors and old women
To tell us what is to befall,
Can't prophesy themselves at all.)
The morning came when neighbour Hodge,
Who long had marked her airy lodge,
And destined all the treasure there,
A gift to his expecting fair,
Climbed like a squirrel to his dray,
And bore the worthless prize away.
'Tis Providence alone secures
In every change both mine and yours :
Safety consists not in escape
From dangers of a frightful shape;
An earthquake may be bid to spare
man that's strangled by a hair.