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Illustrious drop! and bappy 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.

PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED

A FABLE.

I shall not ask Jean Jacques 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 chanc'd 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 Bulfinch, who could boast More years and wisdom than the most, Entreated, op'ning wide his beak, A moment's liberty to speak ; * It was one of the whimsical speculations of this philosopher, that all fables, which ascribo 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 cam be, against the evidence of his senses ? Vol. XXXVI.

Y

254

PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED.

}

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 Heav'n and Earth shall mingle,
Or (which is likelier to befall)
Till death exterminates 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
Influenc'd mightily the rest,
All pair'd, and each pair built a nest.

But though the birds were thus in baste,
The leaves came on not quite so fast,
And Destiny, that sometimes bears
An aspect stern on man's affairs,
Not altogether smil'd 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 snow,

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Stepping into their nests, they paddled,
T'hemselves were chilld, their eggs were addled;
Soon ev'ry 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.

MORAL. 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.

NO FABLE.

The noon was shady, and soft airs

Swept Ouse's silent tide,
When, 'scap'd from literary cares,

I wander'd on his side.

My spaniel, prettiest of his race,

And high in pedigree, (Two nymphs* adorn’d with ev'ry 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,

Escap'd my eager hand.

• Sir Robert Gunning's daughters.

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