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But Tom was still confin'd; And Dick, although his way was clear,

, Was much too gen'rous and sincere

To leave his friend behind.

For, settling on his grated roof,
He chirp'd and kiss'd him, giving proof

That he desir'd no more;

Nor would forsake his cage at last,
Till gently seiz'd I shut him fast,

A pris'ner as before.


ye, who never knew the joys Of Friendship, satisfied with noise,

Fandango, ball and rout! Blush, when I tell you how a bird, A prison, with a friend, preferr'd

To liberty without.



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 ev’n 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 a May,

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?

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;
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 pole,
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 exterminate us all.


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 haste,
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,

Stepping into their nests, they paddled,
Themselves were chill'd, 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.

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