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234

PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATEB.

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Entreated, opening wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And, silence publicly enjoined,
Delivered briefly thus his mind.

My friends! be cautious how ye treat
The subject, upon wbich 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 Redeap, 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 expressed
Influenced mightily the rest,
All paired, 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.

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The wind, of late breathed gently forth,
Now shifted east and east by north;
Bare trees and shrubs but ill, you know,
Could shelter thein from rain or snow,
Stepping into their nests, they paddled,
Themselves were chilled, their eggs were addled;
Soon every father bird and mother
Grew quarrelsome, and pecked each other,
Parted without the least regret,
Except that they had ever met,
And learned in future to be wiser,
Than to neglect a good adviser.

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The noon was shady, and soft airs

Swept Ouse's silent tide,
When, 'scaped from literary cares,

I wandered on his side,

My spaniel, prettiest of his race,

And high in pedigree, (Two nymphs* adorned with every grace

That spaniel found for me)

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Now wantoned lost in flags and reeds,

Now starting into sight
Pursued the swallow o'er the meads

With scarce a slower fight.

It was the time when Ouse displayed

His Hilies newly blown!
Their beauties I intent surveyed,

And one I wished 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,

1

Beau marked my unsuccessful pains

With fixt considerate face, And puzzling sat his puppy

brains To comprehend the case.

But with a chirrup clear and strong,

Dispersing all his dream,
I thence withdrew, and followed long

The windings of the stream.

* Sir Robert Gunning's daughters.

THE PỘET, THE OYSTER,* &c.

237

My ramble finished, I returned ;

Beau tottering får before
The floating wreath again discerned,

And plunging left the shore.

I saw him with that lily cropped

Impatient swim to meet
My quick approach, and soon he dropped
The treasure at my

feet.

Charmed 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 shew a love as prompt as thine

To Him who gives me all.?

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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! condemned to dwell
For ever in my native shell;

238

THE POBT, THE OYSTER, &c.

Ordained to move when others please,
Not for my own content or ease;
But tossed 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 called 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: For many a grave and learned clerk, And many a gay unlettered 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!

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