PEACOCK AT HOME;
PRINTED FOR JOHN MURRAY,
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD; AND
MANNERS AND MILLER,
By Harding and Wright, St. John's-Square.
[Pages [i] and [ii] duplicated in numbering.]
favour with which the little poem,
intitled "T HE
been received in its juvenile form, has induced
me to re-publish it, in one more worthy of
those who have expressed a desire to see it
transplanted from the nursery, to a more
honourable station. It is also in compliance
with the opinion of others, that I have added
notes to the present edition, which, although
it had been before recommended, I had con-
sidered as unnecessary; for as the Poem was
written expressly for the amusement of very
young readers, it was rather my wish to excite than to satisfy curiosity, by inducing
them to apply to other books for that information, which a short note can very imperfectly
supply. For those which are now subjoined,
I am indebted chiefly to Wood's Zoography,
Bewick's British Birds, and Bingley's Animal
It is necessary to observe, that many of the
small poems have appeared before, in one of
the last, but not least admirable, of the works
of the late Mrs. Smith, the "Conversations for
the Use of young Persons," and which her
partiality considered as not unworthy of a
place among the superior productions of her
own pen: but, conscious of the disadvantage
with which they must appear under such a
companion, I have been permitted by the
liberality of Mr. Johnson, the publisher, to
reclaim, and add them to the present volume;
and being principally on subjects of Natural
History, they may be considered as no improper accompaniment to the "Peacock at
The Peacock at Home 3
The Cankered Rose
The Glow Worm
The Captive Fly
To the Lady Bird
The Humming Bird
The Hot-house Rose
The Dormouse just taken
The Robin's Petition
An Oriental Apologue
Written in Southampton, in 1806
To a Friend, who asserted that Life had no
Pleasure after early Youth
Address to the Moon
The Recluse and the Bear
Line 100, p. 11, for fins
168, p. 17, for birds
PEACOCK AT HOME
PEACOCK AT HOME.
the B UTTERFLY
burst from her chrysalis state,
And gave to the Insects a Ball and a Fête;
When the G RASSHOPPER
's minstrelsy charm'd every ear,
And delighted the guests with his mirth and good cheer;
The fame spread abroad of their revels and feasts,
And excited the spleen of the birds and the beasts;
For the gilded-wing'd D RAGON
made it his theme,
And the G NAT
blew his horn as he danc'd in the beam;
The Gossip whose chirping beguil'd the long night,
By the cottage fireside told the tale of delight;
While, suspending his labours, the B EE
left his cell,
To murmur applause in each blossom and bell:
It was humm'd by the B EETLE
, and buzz'd by the F LY
And sung by the myriads that sport thro' the sky.
The quadrupeds listen'd in sullen displeasure;
But the tenants of air were enrag'd beyond measure.
resplendent, unfurl'd his broad fan,
And addressing his mates, thus indignant began :
"Ye people of plume! whether dwellers in woods,
Whether wading thro' marshes, or diving in floods,
Will you suffer the Insects, the birth of a day,
To be talk'd of as all that is tasteful and gay?
And shall we like domestic, inelegant fowls,
Unpolish'd as G EESE
, and more stupid than O WLS
Sit tamely at home tête-a-tête with our spouses,
While the offspring of grub-worms throw open their houses?
Forbid it, ye powers, o'er our Class who preside,
And help me to humble the B UTTERFLY
It provokes me to see such pretenders to fashion,
Cousin T URKEY
, well may you quiver with passion!
When such pitiful beings affect to compare
With us! the legitimate children of air!
Some bird of high should his talents exert
In the general cause, and our honour assert.
But the E AGLE
, while soaring thro' Ether on high,
Overlooks what is passing in our nether sky;
The S WAN
calmly sails down the current of life,
Without ruffling a plume in the national strife;
And the O STRICH
--for birds who on iron are wont
Their breakfast to make, can digest an affront.
But, if ever I suffer such airs to prevail,
May J UNO
pluck out all the eyes in my tail!
To revenge our disgrace, I'll for once lead the way,
And send out my cards for St. Valentine's Day,
Round my standard to rally each order and genus,
From the E AGLE
of J OVE
to the S PARROW
of V ENUS
This determin'd, six fleet C
To invite all the Birds to Sir A RGUS
The nest-loving T URTLE
, simple recluse,
Pleaded family-duties, and sent an excuse;
With matron importance Dame P ARTLET
That her numerous progeny scarcely were fledg'd;
The T URKEY
, poor soul! was confin'd to the rip,
For all her young brood had just fail'd with pip.
The P ARTRIDGE
was ask'd; but a neighbour hard by,
Had engag'd a snug party to meet in a pye;
And the W HEATEAR
declin'd--recollecting, her cousins
Last year to a feast were invited by dozens;
But, alas! they return'd not:--and she had no taste
To appear in a costume
of Vine-leaves or paste.
The W OODCOCK
preferr'd his lone haunt on the moor;
And the traveller S WALLOW
was still on his tour;
While the C UCKOO
, who should have been one of the guests,
Was rambling on visits to other birds' nests:
But the rest all accepted the kind invitation,
And much bustle prevail'd in the Plumed Creation.
Such ruffling of feathers, such pruning of coats,
Such chirping, such whistling, such clearing of throats,
Such polishing bills, and such oiling of pinions,
Had never been known in the biped dominions!
offer'd to make up new cloaths,
For all the young birdlings who wish'd to be beaux;
He made for the R OBIN
a doublet of red,
And a new velvet cap for the G OLDFINCH
He added a plume to the W REN
's golden crest,
And spangled with silver the G UINEA
While the H ALCYON
bent over the streamlet to view,
How pretty she look'd, in her boddice of blue,
Thus equipp'd, they set off for the P EACOCK
With the guide I NDICATOR
, who shew'd them the road.
From all points of the compass flock'd birds of all feather,
And the P ARROT
can tell who and who were together.
There was Lord C
, and General F LAMINGO
And Don P EROQUITO
, escap'd from Domingo.
From his high rock-built eyrie the E AGLE
And the Dutchess of P TARMIGAN
flew from the North:
The G REBE
and the E IDER
came up by water,
With the S WAN
, who brought out the young C YGNET
, her daughter:
From his woodland abode came the P HEASANT
, to meet
Two kindred arriv'd by the last India fleet;
The one like a Nabob, in habit most splendid,
Where gold, with each hue of the rainbow, was blended;
In silver and black, like a fair pensive maid
Who mourns for her love, was the other array'd.
The C HOUGH
came from Cornwall, and brought up his wife;
The G ROUSE
travell'd South from his lairdship in Fife;
The B UNTING
forsook her soft nest in the reeds,
And the W IDOW
came, tho' she still wore her weeds.
A veteran D ECOY
, whose falsehoods and wiles
Had ensnar'd all the youth of the fins in her toils,
Swam in, full of hope some new conquest to make,
Tho' captive unnumber'd sail'd close in her wake.
Next enter'd a party of P UFFINS
and S MEWS
And the D ODO
--who chapron'd the two Miss C USHEWS
Sir John H
, of the Lakes, strutted in a grand pas
But no card had been sent to the pilfering D AW
As the P EACOCK
kept up his progenitor's quarrel,
Which Æsop relays, about cast-off apparel:
For birds are like men in their contests together,
And in questions of right can dispute for a feather.
The P EACOCK
Imperial, the pride of his race,
Receiv'd all his guests with an infinite grace;
Wav'd high his blue neck, and his train he display'd,
Embroyder'd with gold and with sapphires inlaid;
Then led to a bow'r, where the musical throng,
Amateurs and professors, were all in full song:
A holly-bush form'd the orchestra, and in it
Sat the B LACKBIRD
, the T HRUSH
, the L ARK
, and the L INNET
, a captive almost from the nest,
Just escap'd from his cage, and, with liberty blest,
In a sweet mellow tone join'd the lessons of art,
With the accents of nature which flow'd from his heart.
The C ANARY
, a much-admir'd foreign musician,
Condescended to sing to the fowls of condition:
While the N IGHTINGALE
warbled and quaver'd so fine,
That they all clapp'd their wings and pronounc'd it divine.
The S KY
, in extasy, sang from a cloud;
And C HANTICLEER
crow'd, and the Y AFFIL
The dancing began when the music was over;
A D OTTEREL
first open'd the Ball with the P LOVER
, in a waltz, was allow'd to excell,
With his beautiful partner the fair D EMOISELLE
And newly fledg'd G OSLING
, so slim and genteel,
A minuet swam with the spruce Mr. T EAL
A London-bred S PARROW
, a pert forward cit,
Danc'd a reel with Miss W AGTAIL
and little T OMTIT
The Sieur G UILLEMOT
next perform'd a pas seul
While the elderly Bipeds were playing a pool.
The Dowager lady T OUCAN
first cut in,
With old Dr. B UZZARD
and Adm'ral P ENGUIN
From ivy-bush tow'r came dame O WLET
And Counsellor C ROSSBILL
sat by to advise.
But the Rook, who protested 'twas all mighty dull,
propos'd to the P IGEON
and G ULL
And next day it was whispered, he kept them so late,
That the P IGEON
had mortgag'd the pease-cod estate;
And the G ULL
, who, it seems, nothing more had to lose,
Had made his escape, and sail'd out on a cruize.
Some birds, past their prime, o'er whose heads it was fated
Should pass many St. Valentines, yet be unmated,
Sat by and remark'd, that the prudent and sage
Were quite overlook'd in this frivolous age,
When birds scarce pen-feather'd were brought to a rout,
Forward chits from the egg-shell but newly come out;
In their youthful days they ne'er witness'd such frisking;
And how wrong in the G REENFINCH
to flirt with the S ISKIN
So thought Lady M ACKAW
, and her friend C OCKATOO
And the R AVEN
foretold that no good would ensue.
They censur'd the B ANTAM
for strutting and crowing
In those vile pantaloons, which he fancied look'd knowing:
And a want of decorum caus'd many demurs
Against the G AME
, for coming in spurs.
To the P EACOCK
's acquaintance 'twas wrong to object,
Yet they hop'd his next party would be more select;
For admitting the B
, in his pinions of leather,
Was a shocking intrusion on people of feather:
Doubtful characters might be excluded at least,
And creatures that class not with birds nor with beast.
The M AGPIE
, renown'd for discretion and candour,
Who always profess'd an abhorrence to slander,
Was much griev'd that the P ELICAN
--meaning no ill,
So unkindly was peck'd by each ill-natured bill,
For attempting some delicate bits to secrete
For her young ones, at home, just by way of a treat;
And before they were safe in her ridicule
She was caught by the sharp sighted H AWK
in the fact.
Old Alderman C
, for supper impatient,
At the eating-room door for an hour had been station'd,
Till a J AY
, in rich liv'ry, the banquet announcing,
Gave the signal long-wish'd-for of clamouring and pouncing.
At the well-furnish'd board all were eager to perch,
But the little Miss C REEPERS
were left in the lurch.
Description must fail, and the pen is unable
To recount all the lux'ries which cover'd the table.
Each delicate viand that taste could denote,
Wasps à la sauce piquant
, and flies en compôte
Worms and frogs en friture
for the web-footed fowl,
And a barbecued mouse was prepar'd for O WL
Nuts, grain, fruit, and fish, to regale every palate,
And groundsel and chickweed serv'd up in a sallad.
The R AZORBILL
carv'd for famishing group,
And the S POONBILL
obligingly ladled the soup:
While such justice was done to the dainties before 'em,
That the tables were clear'd with the utmost decorum.
When they gaily had carroll'd till peep of the dawn,
The L ARK
gently hinted, 'twas time to be gone;
And his clarion so shrill gave the company warning
That C HANTICLEER
scented the gales of the morning:
So they chirp'd in full concert a friendly adieu,
And, with hearts beating light as the plumage that grew
On their merrythought bosoms, away they all flew.
Then long live the P EACOCK
in splendour unmatch'd,
shall be talk'd of by birds yet unhatch'd;
His fame let the T RUMPETER
And the G OOSE
lend her quill to transmit it to fame!
9. The House-Cricket.
] A well-known
insect, inhabiting the chimneys of farm-houses and
39. The Ostrich (Struthio,)
] whose power
of digestion is so strong, that it is said to devour
iron, stones, and other hard substances.
53 A machine used in poultry-yards, under
which it is usual to confine the mother bird with
the young brood, till it has acquired strength to
follow her; The word is derived from the Saxon,
Hrip, meaning a covering, or protection, for the
71. The Taylor-Bird (Motacilla Sutoria).
] So called from the singular manner in which
it constructs its nest, which is composed of two
leaves, sewed together with wonderful skill, by
the little taylor, whose bill serves him for a needle,
and the fine fibres of leaves furnishes him with a
substitute for thread, and by which means he attaches a dead leaf to a living one, growing at the
end of a branch. The nest is formed like a pouch,
open at the top; a lining of some soft kind of
vegetable down, and a few feathers, complete the
simple habitation, which, with the whole family,
is so light that the slenderest twig is sufficient to
support its weight. The Taylor-Bird is an inhabitant of India; but not being distinguished by
any thing except the singular manner in which it
constructs its nest, has not been frequently noticed.
Mr. Pennant gives the figure, and a slight description, in his Indian Zoology.
75. The Golden-crested Wren (Motacilla
] Is the smallest of the British birds;
it takes its name from a circle of gold-coloured
feathers, bordered with black, forming an arch
above its eyes, which it has the power of raising or
depressing; it is a native of every part of Europe,
and is also to be found in Asia and America.
77. Halcyon, or Kingfisher, (Alcedo-irpedo).
] Esteemed the most beautiful of our
native birds; and its claim to that distinction is
indisputable, as far as depends on the brilliancy
of its plumage, which displays a variety of the most
vivid colours, amongst which blue predominates;
but its form is clumsy, and its bill very disproportionate to its size. It inhabits the banks of
rivers and streams, where it will sit for hours, on
a projecting branch, watching for its prey. The
ancients relate many fabulous stories of this bird,
as that of its laying its eggs in the depth of winter,
and that during the time of its incubation the
weather remains perfectly calm, whence the expression Halcyon Days. The fable of Ceyx and
Alcione is well known; and it seems that, from
the earliest times to the present, these birds have
been regarded as particular objects of superstitious
veneration. It is said that the Tartars and Ostiacs
are in the habit of carrying the feathers, beak, and
claws of the Kingfisher about their persons, which
they imagine to be a preservative against all evil;
and Foster, in his Second Voyage to the South Sea
Islands, relates, that, having shot one of them, he
was met by the chief and his family, who were
walking on the beach with Captain Cook. The
chief did not observe, says he, the bird I had in
my hand; but his daughter wept for the death of
her Ealau, or genius, and fledfrom
me; her mother,
and the women who were with her, seemed also
much concerned at the accident. The chief,
mounting on his canoe, requested us, in a serious
tone, to spare the Kingfishers and Herons of his
: we could not discover the meaning of this
80. Cuculus lndicator.
] A bird of the
Cuckow kind, inhabiting the interior parts of
Africa, whose singular manners might be deemed
fabulous, were they not well authenticated by travelers of unquestionable veracity. This little creature is so expert in discovering to the natives the
nests of the wild bees, that it has obtained the specific
name of Indicator; and is also called by the European inhabitants of Africa Honey-bird. We
are told, that the Indicator no sooner discovers a
nest of wild honey, than it flies to the first human
being it can find, and by its fluttering, and a particular note resembling the word cher cher, which
it continues to repeat, invites the person to follow,
when it leads the way before him, flying from bush
to bush, or from one elevated spot to another.
If the person does not follow fast enough to
please him, he returns, increases his chirping noise,
and endeavours by every means in his power to
attract his attention: when arrived at the spot, he
takes his station on a neighbouring bough, preserving a profound silence while his companion
is plundering the nest; after which he receives
the reward of his sagacity, and feasts on a portion
of the honey, which is always reserved for him.
Dr. Sparman relates, that he has frequently assisted
at the talking of the bees' nests in this manner.
] A large singular bird,
found in the island of Java, in Africa, and
the southern parts of India. The head of this bird
is armed with a kind of natural helmet, extending
from the base of the bill to near half way over the
head. Was it as formidable in disposition as in
appearance, it might prove a very destructive crea-
ture; but it never attacks other animals, and when
attacked, instead of availing itself of the powers
which nature has given it, it only beats down and
tramples on his adversary.
84. Flamingo Phoenicopterus.
] A bird of
the crane kind, but web-footed, whose plumage is of
a bright scarlet; when standing erect, it measures
above six feet, though its body is not larger than
that of a goose. The great length of its legs and
neck gives it a singularly disproportionate appearance. These birds live in a state of society, and
are very shy of mankind; they have been observed
to approach rivers, from whence they procure
their food, drawn up in regular ranks, appearing at a distance like a body of soldiers. One
of the company performs the duty of a centinel,
and gives the alarm to the troop, on the first appearance of danger, by uttering a harsh cry resembling the sound of a trumpet; on hearing which,
they all fly off, filling the air with their screams.
Those birds are natives of Africa, Persia, and
South America, where they are become scarce.
The negroes have a very particular respect and
attachment to the Flamingo, and never suffer it to
be molested; so that they are found in considerate
numbers in Africa, and perch on trees near villages.
86. Ptarmigan. (Tetrao).
] The white
grous, or white game, inhabits the Highlands of Scotland and the Western Islands: it prefers the coldest
situations on the highest mountains, where it burrows under the snow. It changes its feathers twice
in the year and about the end of February puts
on its summer dress of dusky brown, ash, and
orange-coloured feathers; which it loses in winter
for a plumage perfectly white, except a black line
between the bill and the eye. The legs and toes
are warmly clothed with a thick long coat of soft
89. Pheasant. (Phasianusanus Colchicus).
A bird too well known to require a description. The
golden or painted pheasant alluded to in line 90, is
remarkable for the splendor of its plumage. The
black and white or pencilled pheasant, of China,
is a more modest beauty; but as both are common
in menageries a particular description is thought
95. The Chough. (Corvus Graculus).
This bird, which is about the size of the daw, has a
long curved bill, sharp at the point, which, as well
as the legs and feet, is of a bright scarlet, contrasting beautifully with its black plumage which varies
as the light falls on it, to a deep purple or violet;
the iris of the eye is composed of two circles, the
inner one light blue, the outer one red, as are the
eyelids: the elegance of its figure, and its being a
lively active bird, and susceptible of being domesticated, renders it interesting. It builds in the
crevices of high cliffs near the sea, and is most
frequent on the Devonshire and Cornish coast,
and is usually called the Cornish chough, though
there are a few of them old inhabitants of the cliffs
near Dover, as has been remarked by Shakespear:
"The crows, and choughs seem scarce as gross as beetles."
96. The Grouse, or Moor Cock. (Tetrao
] A well-known bird abounding in the
heathy mountainous tracts in the North. It is,
however, a poetical licence to make it the proprietor of a Fife lairdship; that county, among its
many excellencies, does not number the grouse,
which is only to be seen there on the hospitable
tables of its inhabitants.
97. Bunting, or Reed Sparrow. (Emberizo).
] A gregarious bird, of which there are several species inhabiting Great Britain; the one
above alluded to is the Reed Bunting, and builds,
as its name implies, among reeds, on four of which
it suspends its nest, somewhat in the form of a
hammock, a few feet above the water.
98. The Widow, or Whidah-Bird.
also a species of Bunting, a native of Angola
and other parts of Africa. And is remarkable for
the feathers of its tail. The two middle ones are
about four inches long, and ending in a long thread,
the two next are thirteen inches in length, broad
and narrowing towards the points, from these
proceed another long thread. Travellers assert
that birds of this species construct a nest of two
stories; the upper is occupied by Monsieur, and
the lower by Madame.
103. The Puffin (Alea Artica.)
sea bird, inhabiting the rocky cliffs, on the coast
of Great Britain, Ireland, and the surrounding
Islands in incredible numbers; they first assemble
in April, and remain til they have hatched and
reared their young; which business is accomplished
about the middle of August, when the whole associated party migrate at once, pursuing their route
to other countries, better adapted to their future
exigencies. It probably derives its name from the
feathers of the cheeks being very much puffed out,
so as to make the head appear large and round;
the bill is singular, and looks as if a sheath was
slipped over both mandibles.
103. Smew (Mergus Albellus).
called the White Nun
. Is a sea bird, also frequenting the coasts in the North; this species is
distinguished from the rest of the Mergi, by its black and white piebald appearance.
104. The Dodo (Didus).
] The existence of this very uncouth bird has been disputed,
but it is now ascertained that it is not an imaginary
creature: it is represented as of a heavy form, its
legs short and clumsy; the head is covered with
a sort of veil, and its two large black eyes, each
surrounded by a circle of white; the gape of its
strangely formed hooked bill, reaching beyond the
eyes; the wings are short, and useless for flying;
the feathers of the tail are curled like those of
the Ostrich, and stand up from the bottom of the
back. They are said to be found in the Islands of
the Indian Ocean.
104. Cushew (Crax.)
] A species of
Curassow, natives of South America. It is a
bird of most elegant form, its plumage is of a glossy
purplish black, the under parts of the body and
the tail feathers white. Some of this species are
kept in a tame state in America as turkeys are in
128. Yaffil, the Woodpecker (Picus Viridus).
] The name Yaffil is provincial, but is so
very expressive of the noise it continually makes,
that I have preferred it on that account. It is a
beautiful bird, and is sometimes called the English
parrot; the colour of its plumage, green, yellow,
and scarlet, giving it some resemblance to that
bird. It is extraordinary that Mons. Buffon should
describe the Wood-pecker as a solitary and melancholy bird; it is certainly not considered so in
England. The late Sir Asheton Lever once told
me that in his county it was called the Laugher; and
its noise certainly resembles that of a person laughing very heartily.--
Shrill screams the Stare, and long and loud
The Yaffil laughs from Aspen gray.
Mrs. CHARLOTTE SMITH.
Dr. Hurdis, a most accurate observer of nature,
The Golden Woodpecker--who, like the fool,
Laughs loud at nothing.
131. Stork (Ardea Cicinia).
] A migratory bird which appears in Germany about the
beginning of May; they build in high trees and
on the tops of houses, where in Holland it is customary to place boxes for their accommodation, and
where they are always received as welcome visitors,
from the great use they are of in devouring frogs,
snakes, and other reptiles; all the birds of this species are remarkable for the stateliness and dignity
of their walk, which is always in measured steps.
132. The Demoiselle.
] A name by which
the Numidian Crane ( Ardia Vigro
) is distinguished
by the French naturalists on account of its elegant
form, beautiful turn and singular carriage. It
walks with the lightness and grace of a stage-dancer, bending its head and leaping, as if practising steps: this propensity is so striking, that all
authors who have mentioned this bird, from the
earliest times to the present, have remarked it.
137. Guillemot (Colymbus).
] A seabird, of which there are several species numerously
spread over the northern world; from whence they
come towards winter to the British shores and remain till they have reared their young: it is sometimes called the foolish Guillemot from its stupidity:
for when their companions are shot one after another, they have so little sense of danger, that they
make a small circuit, and then return and settle in
the same place, to share the same fate.
139. Toucan (Ramphastos).
] A native of America, where it builds in the hollows of
trees, and sits at the entrance, ready to peck at the
monkeys, who often endeavour to destroy and eat
the young. It is about the size of a Magpie, but
the head large in proportion, to enable it to support
its immense bill, which is six inches and one half
in length, but extremely thin. It is a mild inoffensive bird, and easily tamed, but cannot endure
the cold of our climate; the feathers of the breast
are highly esteemed by the natives.
140. Penguin (Alca Impermis).
Auk or Gair-fowl. A sea-bird, which, from its inability to fly, is seldom seen out of the water.
142. Cross-Bill (Loxia.)
] So called
because the two mandibles cross each other in different directions: they feed chiefly on the seeds of
fir-trees; the singular construction of their bills
being admirably adapted to separate the seeds
of the cones. The pips of apples is also a favorite
food, and to obtain them, they split the apple with
one stroke of their bill; they are consequently
found to be very injurious to orchards. It has been
observed that they have been more frequently seen
in England since the Fir-tree has been generally
more planted, than formerly.
144. Chicken Hazard.
] The game of
Hazard is so called when played for a comparatively
156 Siskin (Fringilla Spinus).
migratory bird which is seen in the Southern parts
of England at the time of the barley harvest, and is
sometimes called the Barley-bird. It has a pleasing
note, and is sold as a singing-bird in the London
bird-shops by the name of the Aberdevine. The
accusation of its flirtation with the Greenfinch is to
be understood pure scandal, the most prying
naturalist never having discovered any particular
attachment between them.
171. Pelican (Pelicanus).
] A large
unwieldy bird, exceeding the Swan in size. Its
greatest singularity is its enormous pouch or bag,
attached to each side of the lower mandible of the
bill. It subsists almost wholly on fish, and makes
long excursions out to sea for the purpose of pro-
curing its food. When it espies a fish near enough
the surface of the water, it darts upon it with unerring aim, and deposits it in its pouch; and then
looks out for another, continuing to fish till it has
sufficiently replenished its bag; when it returns to
its haunts to macerate its food at leisure. The ancients have attributed many amiable qualities to
this bird; as of its feeding its young with its blood
and carrying water for them in its pouch; but
these stories are considered as unfounded by modern naturalists.
] A small bird of the
Genus Picæ, which breeds in hollow trees: they are
formed for climbing, and run up and down the
trunks and branches of trees with their backs
downwards, in search of insects, which constitute
their only food.
191. Razor-bill (Alea).
] A migratory
sea-bird which visits the Northern shores in spring,
and leaves them in winter; they lay a single egg
on the ledges of the rocks without any nest, and
on which it is said to be fixed by a cement.
192. Spoonbill (Platea).
] So called
from the construction of the bill, which is flat the
whole length, but widens towards the end in the form
of a spoon or spatula; and it is equally remarkable in
its substance, not being hard like bone, but flexible
like whalebone; they feed on snakes, worms,
frogs, and fish, even on shellfish which they first
break with their bills.
204. Agami (Or Trumpeter).
called from the singular noise it makes, resembling the instrument from which its name is taken.
It is a native of South America, and is capable of
being domesticated. It is remarkable for its attachment and gratitude for its masters, whom it always distinguishes from other people. When it takes
a dislike to any person, it follows them, biting their
legs, and shewing other marks of displeasure. It
likes to be caressed, and will offer its head to be
stroked, but will suffer no other favourite to be noticed by his master.
blow the western breezes,
Sweetly shines the evening sun;
But you, Mimosa! nothing pleases,
You, what delights your comrades teases,
What they enjoy you try to shun.
Alike annoy'd by heat or cold,
Ever too little or too much,
As if by heaviest winds controul'd,
Your leaves before a zephyr fold,
And tremble at the slightest touch.
Flutt'ring around, in playful rings,
A gilded fly your beauty greeted;
But, from his light and filmy wings,
As if he had lanc'd a thousand stings,
Your shuddering folioles retreated!
Those feathery leaves are like the plume,
Pluck'd from the bird of Indian skies;
But should you therefore thus presume,
While others boast a fairer bloom,
All that surrounds you to despise?
The rose, whose blushing blossoms blow,
Pride of the vegetal creation,
The air and light disdains not so,
And the fastidious pride you show,
Is not reserve, but affectation.
THE CANKERED ROSE.
As Spring to Summer hours gave way,
And June approach'd, beneath whose sway
My lovely Fanny saw the day,
I mark'd each blossom'd bower,
And bade each plant its charms display,
To crown the favour'd hour.
The favour'd hour to me so bright,
When Fanny first beheld the light.
And I should many a bloom unite,
A votive wreath to twine,
And with the lily's virgin white,
More glowing hues combine.
A wreath that, while I hail'd the day,
All the fond things I meant, might say,
(As Indian maids their thoughts array,
By artful quipo's wove;)
And fragrant symbols thus convey
My tenderness and love.
For this I sought where long had grown,
A rosarie I call'd my own,
Whose rich unrivall'd flowers were known
The earliest to unclose,
And where I hop'd would soon be blown,
The first and fairest Rose.
An infant bud there cradled lay,
'Mid new born leaves; and seem'd to stay
Till June should call, with warmer ray,
Its embryo beauty forth;
Reserv'd for that propitious day
That gave my Fanny birth.
At early mourning's dewy hour,
I watched it in its leafy bower,
And heard with dread the sleety shower,
When eastern tempests blew;
But still unhurt my favourite flower
With fairer promise grew.
From rains and breezes sharp and bleak
Secur'd, I saw its calyx break,
And soon a lovely blushing streak
The latent bloom betray'd;
(Such colours on my Fanny's cheek,
Has cunning Nature laid.)
Illusive hope! The day arriv'd,
I saw my cherish'd rose-- It liv'd,
But of its early charms depriv'd,
No odours could impart;
And scarce with sullied leaves, surviv'd
The canker at its heart.
There unsuspected, long had fed
A noxious worm, and mining spread
The dark pollution o'er its head,
That drooping seem'd to mourn
Its fragrance pure, and petals red,
Destroy'd ere fully born.
Unfinish'd now, and incomplete,
My garland lay at Fanny's feet,
She smil'd;--ah could I then repeat
What youth so little knows,
How the too trusting heart must beat
With pain, when treachery and deceit
In some insidious form, defeat
Its fairest hopes; as cankers eat
The yet unfolded rose.
insect! that on humid leaves and grass
Light'st up thy fairy lamp; as if to guide
The steps of labouring swains that homeward pass,
Well pleas'd to see thee chear the pathway side,
Betokening cloudless skies and pleasant days;
While he whom evening's sober charms invite
In shady woodlanes, often stops to gaze,
And moralizing hails thy emerald light!
On the fair tresses of the roseate morn,
Translucent dews, as precious gems appear,
Not less dost thou the night's dark hour adorn,
"Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear."
Though the rude bramble, or the fan-like ferns,
Around thee their o'ershadowing branches spread,
Steady and clear thy phosphor brilliance burns,
And thy soft rays illuminate the shade.
Thus the calm brightness of superior minds
Makes them amid misfortune's shadow blest,
And thus the radiant spark of Genius shines,
Though skreen'd by Envy, or by Pride oppress'd.
THE CAPTIVE FLY.
by idle change and luxury,
See in vain struggles the expiring Fly,
He perishes! for lo, in evil hour,
He rush'd to taste of yonder garish flower,
Which in young beauty's loveliest colours drest,
Conceals destruction in her treacherous breast,
While round the roseate chalice odours breathe,
And lure the wanderer to voluptuous death.
Ill-fated vagrant! did no instinct cry,
Shun the sweet mischief?--No experienc'd Fly
Bid thee of this fair smiling fiend beware,
And say, the false Apocynum is there?
Ah! wherefore quit for this Circean draught
The Bean's ambrosial flower, with incense fraught,
Or where with promise rich, Fragaria spreads
Her spangling blossoms on her leafy beds?
Could thy wild flight no softer blooms detain?
And tower'd the Lilac's purple groups in vain?
Or waving showers of golden blossoms, where
Laburnum's pensile tassels float in air,
When thou within those topaz keels might'st creep
Secure, and rock'd by lulling winds to sleep.
But now no more for thee shall June unclose
Her spicy Clove-pink, and her Damask Rose;
Not for thy food shall swell the downy Peach,
Nor Raspberries blush beneath the embowering Beech.
In efforts vain thy fragile wings are torn,
Sharp with distress resounds thy small shrill horn,
While thy gay happy comrades hear thy cry,
Yet heed thee not, and careless frolic by,
Till thou, sad victim, every struggle o'er,
Despairing sink, and feel thy fate no more.
An insect lost should thus the Muse bewail?
Ah no! but 'tis the moral
points the tale
From the mild friend, who seeks with candid truth
To show its errors to presumptuous Youth;
From the fond caution of parental care,
Whose watchful love detects the hidden snare,
How do the Young reject, with proud disdain,
Wisdom's firm voice, and Reason's prudent rein,
And urge, on pleasure bent, the impetuous way,
Heedless of all but of the present day:
Then while false meteor-lights their steps entice,
They taste, they drink, the empoison'd cup of vice;
Till misery follows; and too late they mourn,
Lost in the fatal gulph, from whence there's no return.
TO THE LADY-BIRD.
! Lady-bird, Lady-bird, why dost thou roam
So far from thy comrades, so distant from home?
Why dost thou, who canst revel all day in the air,
Who the sweets of the grove and the garden canst share;
In the fold of a leaf, who canst form thee a bower,
And a palace enjoy in the tube of a flower;
Ah, why, simple Lady-bird, why dost thou venture,
The dwellings of man so familiar to enter?
Too soon you may find, that your trust is misplac'd,
When by some cruel child you are wantonly chas'd,
And your bright scarlet coat, so bespotted with black,
May be torn by his barbarous hands from your back;
And your smooth jetty corselet be pierc'd with a pin,
That the urchin may see you in agonies spin;
For his bosom is shut against pity's appeals,
has never been taught that a Lady-bird feels.
Ah, then you'll regret you were tempted to rove,
From the tall climbing hop, or the hazle's thick grove,
And will fondly remember each arbour and tree,
Where lately you wander'd contented and free;
Then fly, simple Lady-bird!--fly away home,
No more from your nest, and your children to roam.
of the feather'd kind,
Possessing every charm combin'd;
Nature, in forming thee, design'd
That thou should'st be
A proof within how little space,
She can comprise such perfect grace,
Rendering thy lowly fairy race,
Those burnish'd colours to bestow,
Her pencil in the heavenly bow
She dipp'd; and made thy plumes to glow
With every hue
That in the dancing sun-beam plays;
And with the ruby's vivid blaze,
Mingled the emerald's lucid rays
With halcyon blue.
Then plac'd thee under genial skies,
Where flowers and shrubs spontaneous rise,
With richer fragrance, bolder dyes,
By her endued;
And bade thee pass thy happy hours
In tamarind shades, and palmy bowers,
Extracting from unfailing flowers
There, lovely Bee-bird! may'st thou rove
Thro' spicy vale, and citron grove,
And woo, and win thy fluttering love
With plume so bright;
There rapid fly, more heard than seen,
'Mid orange-boughs of polish'd green,
With glowing fruit, and flowers between
Of purest white.
There feed, and take thy balmy rest,
There weave thy little cotton nest,
And may no cruel hand molest
Thy timid bride;
Nor those bright changeful plumes of thine
Be offer'd on the unfeeling shrine,
Where some dark beauty loves to shine
In gaudy pride!
Nor may her sable lover's care
Add to the baubles in her hair
Thy dazzling feathers rich and rare;
And thou, poor bird,
For this inhuman purpose bleed;
While gentle hearts abhor the deed,
And mercy's trembling voice may plead,
But plead unheard!
Oh! bid the thoughtless triflers know,
Not all the hues thy plumes can show
Become them like the conscious glow
And that not half so lovely seems
The ray that from the diamond gleams,
As the pure gem that sweetly beams
In pity's eye!
THE HOT-HOUSE ROSE.
early Rose borne from her genial bower
Met the fond homage of admiring eyes,
And while young Zephyr fann'd the lovely flower,
Nature and Art contended for the prize.
Exulting Nature cried, I made thee fair,
'Twas I that nurs'd thy tender buds in dew;
I gave thee fragrance to perfume the air,
And stole from beauty's cheek her blushing hue.
Vainly fastidious novelty affects
O'er Alpine heights and untrod wilds to roam,
From rocks and swamps her foreign plants collects,
And brings the rare but scentless treasures home.
'Midst Art's factitious children let them be
In sickly state by names pedantic known,
But taste's unbiass'd eye shall turn to thee,
And love and beauty mark thee for their own.
Cease, goddess, cease, indignant Art replied,
And ere you triumph, know that but for me
This beauteous object of our mutual pride
Had been no other than a vulgar tree.
I snatch'd her from her tardy mothers arms,
Where sun-beams scorch and piercing tempests blow;
On my warm bosom nurs'd her infant charms,
Prun'd the wild shoot, and train'd the straggling bough.
I watch'd her tender buds, and from her shade
Drew, each intruding weed, with anxious care,
Nor let the curling blight her leaves invade,
Nor worm nor noxious insect harbour there.
At length the beauty's loveliest bloom appears,
And Art from Fame shall win the promis'd boon,
While wayward April smiling through her tears
Decks her fair tresses with the wreaths of June.
Then, jealous Nature, yield the palm to me,
To me thy pride its early triumph owes;
rude workmanship produc'd the tree,
form'd the perfect Rose!
morrow, gentle Humble-bee,
You are abroad betimes, I see,
And sportive fly from tree to tree,
To take the air;
And visit each gay flower that blows;
White every bell and bud that glows,
Quite from the daisy to the rose,
Your visits share.
Saluting now the pie'd carnation,
Now on the aster taking station,
Murmuring your ardent admiration;
Then off you frisk,
Where poppies hang their heavy heads,
Or where the gorgeous sun-flower spreads
For you her luscious golden beds,
On her broad disk.
To live on pleasure's painted wing,
To feed on all the sweets of Spring,
Must be a mighty pleasant thing,
If it would last.
But you, no doubt, have wisely thought,
These joys may be too dearly bought,
And will not unprepar'd be caught.
When Summer's past.
For soon will fly the laughing hours,
And this delightful waste of flowers
Will shrink before the wint'ry showers
And winds so keen.
Alas! who then will lend you aid;
If your dry cell be yet unmade,
Nor store of wax and honey laid
Then, Lady Buzz, you will repent,
That hours for useful labour meant
Were so unprofitably spent,
And idly lost.
By cold and hunger keen oppress'd,
Say, will your yellow velvet vest,
Or the fur tippet on your breast,
Shield you from frost?
Ah! haste your winter stock to save,
That snug within your Christmas cave,
When snows fall fast and tempests rave,
You may remain.
And the hard season braving there,
On Spring's warm gales you will repair,
Elate thro' crystal fields of air,
To bliss again!
THE DORMOUSE JUST TAKEN.
on, sleep on poor captive mouse,
Oh sleep! unconscious of the fate
That ruthless spoil'd thy cosey
And tore thee from thy mate.
What barbarous hand could thus molest
A little innocent like thee,
And drag thee from thy mossy nest
To sad captivity?
Ah! when suspended life again
Thy torpid senses shall recall,
Poor guiltless prisoner! what pain
Thy bosom shall appal!
*Cosey, a Scottish expression for
When starting up in wild affright,
Thy bright round eyes shall vainly seek
Thy tiny spouse, with breast so white,
Thy whisker'd brethren sleek;
Thy snug warm nest with feathers lin'd,
Thy winter store of roots and corn;
Nor nuts nor beech-mast shalt thou find,
The toil of many a morn.
Thy soft white feet around thy cage
cling; while thou in hopeless pain
Wilt waste thy little life in rage,
To find thy struggles vain!
Yet since thou'rt fall'n in gentle hands,
Oh! captive mouse, allay thy grief,
For light shall be thy silken bands,
And time afford relief.
Warm is the lodging, soft the bed,
Thy little mistress will prepare;
By her kind hands thou shalt be fed,
And dainties be thy fare.
But neither men nor mice forget
Their native home, where'er they be,
And fondly thou wilt still regret
Thy wild woods, loves, and liberty!
Squirrel, with aspiring mind,
Disdains to be to earth confin'd,
But mounts aloft in air:
The pine-tree's giddiest height he climbs,
Or scales the beech-tree's loftiest limbs,
And builds his castle there.
As Nature's wildest tenants free,
A merry forester is he,
In oak-o'ershadow'd dells,
Or glen remote, or woodland lawn,
Where the doe hides her infant fawn,
Among the birds he dwells.
Within some old fantastic tree,
Where time has worn a cavity,
His winter food is stor'd:
The cone beset with many a scale,
The chesnut in its coat of mail,
Or nuts, complete his hoard.
And of wise prescience thus possess'd,
He near it rears his airy nest,
With twigs and moss entwin'd,
And gives its roof a conic form,
Where safely shelter'd from the storm,
He braves the rain and wind.
Though plumeless, he can dart away,
Swift as the woodpecker or jay,
His sportive mate to woo:
His summer food is berries wild,
And last year's acorn cups are fill'd
For him with sparkling dew.
Soft is his shining auburn coat,
As ermine white his downy throat,
Intelligent his mien;
With feathery tail and ears alert,
And little paws as hands expert,
And eyes so black and keen.
Soaring above the earth-born herd
Of beasts, he emulates the bird,
Yet feels no want of wings:
Exactly pois'd, he dares to launch
In air, and bounds from branch to branch
With swift elastic springs.
And thus the Man of mental worth
May rise above the humblest birth,
And adverse Fate control;
If to the upright heart be join'd
The active persevering mind,
And firm unshaken soul.
southern Suns and winds prevail,
And undulate the Summer seas;
The Nautilus expands his sail,
And scuds before the fresh'ning breeze.
Oft is a little squadron seen
Of mimic ships all rigg'd complete;
Fancy might think the fairy queen
Was sailing with her elfin fleet.
With how much beauty is design'd
Each channell'd bark of purest white!
With orient pearl each cabin lin'd,
Varying with every change of light.
While with his little slender oars,
His silken sail and tapering mast,
The dauntless mariner explores
The dangers of the watery waste.
Prepar'd, should tempests rend the sky,
From harm his fragile bark to keep,
He furls his sail, his oar lays by,
And seeks his safety in the deep.
Then safe on ocean's shelly bed,
He hears the storm above him roar;
'Mid groves of coral glowing red,
Or rocks o'erhung with madrepore.
So let us catch life's favouring gale,
But if fate's adverse winds be rude,
Take calmly in th' adventurous sail,
And find repose in Solitude.
THE ROBIN's PETITION.
to your window comes,
"Who trusts your faith and fears no guile,
"He claims admittance for your crumbs,
"And reads his passport in your smile.
"For cold and cheerless is the day,
"And he has sought the hedges round;
"No berry hangs upon the spray,
"Nor worm nor ant-egg can be found
"Secure his suit will be preferr'd,
"No fears his slender feet deter;
"For sacred is the household bird
"That wears the scarlet stomacher."
Lucy the prayer assenting heard,
The feather'd suppliant flew to her,
And fondly cherish'd was the bird,
That wears the scarlet stomacher.
Embolden'd then, he'd fearless perch
Her netting or her work among,
For crumbs among her drawings search,
And add his music to her song;
And warbling on her snowy arm,
Or half entangled in her hair,
Seem'd conscious of the double charm
Of freedom, and protection there.
A graver moralist, who us'd
From all some lesson to infer,
Thus said, as on the bird she mus'd,
Pluming his scarlet stomacher--
"Where are his gay companions now,
"Who sung so merrily in Spring?
"Some shivering on the leafless bough,
"With ruffled plume, and drooping wing.
"Some in the hollow of a cave,
"Consign'd to temporary death;
"And some beneath the sluggish wave
"Await reviving nature's breath.
"The migrant tribes are fled away,
"To skies where insect myriads swarm,
"They vanish with the Summer day,
"Nor bide the bitter northern storm.
"But still is
sweet minstrel heard,
"While lours December dark and drear,
"The social, chearful, household bird,
"That wears the scarlet stomacher.
"And thus in life's propitious hour,
"Approving flatterers round us sport,
"But if the faithless prospect lour,
"They the more happy fly to court.
"Then let us to the selfish herd
"Of fortune's parasites prefer,
"The friend like this, our Winter bird,
"That wears the scarlet stomacher."
! poor degraded maid!
Doom'd to obscurity's cold shade,
The price your vanity has paid
Excites my pity.
No wonder you should take alarm,
Lest vengeance in a housewife's form,
Your fortress should attack by storm,
And raze your city.
In truth you are not much befriended,
For since with wisdom you contended,
And the stern Goddess so offended,
Each earthly Pallas
Views you with horror and affright,
Shrinks with abhorence
from your sight,
Signing your death-warrant in spite,
To pity callous.
You were not cast in Beauty's mould,
You have no shard of burnish'd gold,
No painted wing can you unfold
With gems bespotted.
Your form disgusting to all eyes,
The Toad in ugliness outvies,
And nature has her homeliest guise
To you allotted.
Yet, if with philosophic eye,
The Young would but observe you ply
Your patient toil, fortify
Spreading your net of slenderest twine,
Each artful mesh contrived to join,
Strengthening with doubled thread the line
Methinks your curious progress would
Give them a lecture full as good
As some; so little understood,
So much affected.
And as you dart upon your prey,
Might they not moralize and say,
Spiders and Men alike betray
Might you not tell the light coquette,
Who spreads for some poor youth her net,
Entangling thus without regret
Her simple lover;
That such ensnarers of the heart,
Might in contemplating your art,
Her own unworthy counterpart
In you discover?
Your sober habits then compare,
With those bright insects who repair
To sport and frolick thro' the air,
All gay and winning;
While you your household cares attend,
Your toils no vain pursuits suspend,
But carefully your nets you mend,
And mind your spinning.
The Butterfly, while life is new,
As he has nothing else to do,
May like a Bond-street beau pursue
His vagrant courses;
But nature to her creatures kind,
You to an humbler fate consign'd,
Yet taught you in yourself to find
Your own resources.
AN ORIENTAL APOLOGUE.
once in his lonely pathway found
A substance which such od'rous power possess'd;
That as he breath'd the perfume spread around,
He thus his pleasure and surprize express'd:
Whence com'st thou, soft enchanter of the sense;
What zephyr bore thee on his rosy wing;
Did chemic art thy blended sweets dispense,
Or hast thou robb'd the treasury of Spring?
Do precious gums these grateful airs diffuse,
From Musk from Amber do these scents arise?
Fell they from heav'n combin'd with purest dews?
Ah no! a soft harmonious voice replies.
Nature to me has given no inborn worth;
And if delicious odours I disclose,
I claim them not, who am but vulgar earth,
'Tis that I've liv'd the inmate of the Rose.
Where-e'er her balmy influence prevails,
Around the soul-reviving spirit spread;
And I the fragrant essence have inhal'd,
And drank the dews her crimson petals shed.
WRITTEN IN SOUTHAMPTON
didst thou smile, enchanting scene!
Thus Summer's hand in freshest green,
These oak-crown'd banks had dress'd;
So shone the sun in cloudless pride,
Such the blue heaven the sparkling tide
Reflected on its breast.
When gay of heart I sought thy strand,
To join a lov'd and social band,
In youth's delightful hours;
Joy in each bosom then beat high,
And pleasure beam'd from every eye,
And health and hope were ours.
As yonder glancing sun-beam falls,
With glowing light on Calshot's walls,
And Vesta's purple height;
Soften'd by distance, so appears
In hope's false glass our future years,
To youth's deluded sight.
As with white sail and pennants gay,
Our gallant vessel won its way,
And caught the playful wind;
We fondly thought that such wou'd be
Our voyage thro' life's tempestuous sea,
Nor reck'd the storms behind.
We thought not then of threatening skies,
Nor yet what adverse winds might rise,
To drive us from the coast;
That tempest-tost on passion's tide,
How soon--unskill'd the helm to guide,
Might shipwreck'd peace be lost.
Ah! why will memory once more,
Fond thoughts and vain regrets restore,
By time almost effac'd;
Why bid me count of that fair train,
How few! and those what wrecks,
To tell of tempests past?
Far happiest they, whose struggles o'er,
Have reach'd the port on death's safe shore,
And clos'd their troubl'ous day;
While my frail bark must still abide,
Neglect's cold winds, and sorrow's tide,
And urge her lonely way.
But dark despair can ne'er o'erwhelm,
While Fortitude still keeps the helm,
With Patience at her side;
While Hope still points to happier lands,
And Faith entrusts to mortal hands,
Her compass for their guide.
TO A FRIEND,
WHO ASSERTED THAT LIFE HAD NO PLEASURE
AFTER EARLY YOUTH.
me no more, repining Friend,
"That, Youth's gay holiday once past,
"Our false and fleeting pleasures end,
"And life has lost all zest and taste.
"That when love's bandeau time shall steal,
"The wayward boy will soon take wing,
"While taught by cold neglect we feel,
"That friendship knows no second spring.
"To sordid selfishness a prey,
"The palsied heart forgets to feel;
"Nor generous impulse can obey
"Where cautious age has set his seal."
Hence cheerless pencil! whose harsh lines
And sombre tints my soul disclaims:
Time mellows friendship, like old wines;
And tempers love's too ardent flames.
Why dress in clouds the autumn day?
Because the spring's bright dawn is fled.
Why cast the amaranth away?
Because the vernal rose is shed.
Tho' summer's fervent heat is spent,
Sweet is the evening hour of reason,
The time to gather in content,
The wholesome fruit of every season.
Wit, thou soul-enlivening ray,
Deceptive fire, that shines but to betray;
Meteor, whose blaze infatuates the sight
With brilliant but unprofitable light.
Thou rare, but fatal Gift! invidious art,
The subtle poison that corrupts the heart;
Perfidious inmate even to the breast,
Where thou'rt most fondly cherish'd and caress'd:
In thee what various qualities combine,
And who thy Proteus nature can define?
Condemn'd tho' courted--hated tho' admir'd;
Dreaded in others, by ourselves desir'd;
Shunn'd by the dull, by wisdom disapprov'd,
By most applauded, but, by few belov'd.
'Tis thine to aim the sharp envenom'd dart,
With skill unerring, at a kindred heart,
To raise, unmindful of discretion's laws,
An host of foes to gain--one fool's applause.
Thine the keen sarcasm and the quick retort,
The playful malice--that can wound in sport.
Aw'd by the piercing glances of thine eyes,
Affrighted Love expands his wings and flies;
And as a flower that shrinks beneath the blight,
Insulted friendship sickens at thy sight;
Yet when with all thy gay and sportive grace
Thou com'st to light up joy in every face,
And bring'st frank pleasantry and fancy wild,
With humour quaint, thy mirth-inspiring child;
When calm forbearance checks thy rapid tide,
And judgment deigns thy erring steps to guide;
While mild good-humour tempers every dart,
And bids thee throw thy scorpion lash apart.
Who but must yield to thy bewitching power,
And rather brave the thorn--than lose the flower,
Resentment soften'd by thy smile disarms,
And ev'n relenting wisdom owns thy charms.
Oh winning mischief, fertile source of ill,
While I condemn thee--I must love thee still
By reason prompted I would break thy chain,
But one bright look would lure me back again.
gave me birth and made my merits known,
England receiv'd and rear'd me as her own;
By her promoted to a lofty station,
I labour in the service of the nation;
And though my foreign lineage may provoke
Honest John Bull, who hates Outlandish folk,
He need not fear me--for I'm heart of oak.
Fix'd to a spot, yet constantly in motion,
I bring intelligence from land and ocean,
And without quitting my appointed place,
Scarce thought itself is quicker in the race;
The gossip Fame my throw her trumpet by,
She cannot spread reports so quick as I:
Yet I've no tongue--and few my language read,
But with my brethren I'm so well agreed,
That tho' we live full many a mile apart,
To each the same idea we impart;
So sympathize that when I silence break,
As by one impulse mov'd, the rest all speak.
Submissive I am rul'd by others' hands,
Yet fleets and armies move by my commands;
I boast no beauty--and yet Lords of State
Watch all my looks, and on my motions wait;
And tho' unvers'd in politics' deep school,
I'm of the minister a useful tool;
An Oracle whose words admit no doubts,
And credited alike by ins and outs;
To military skill I've no pretence,
Yet on the war depends my consequence.
Peace once restor'd, neglected I shall mourn
My honours lost, "my occupation gone:"
Yet why despair, for surely there remains
Some Gallic spirit yet within my veins?
And Frenchmen, ever fruitful in resources,
Can turn their talents into different courses;
Pliant can bend to ev'ry change of fate,
Whether they guide the stew-pan or the state;
So if by fierce Bellona I'm dismiss'd,
Beneath soft Cupid's banners I'll enlist.
Lovers, my graphic skill employ'd for you,
Will supersede the tell-tale billet-doux.
No more the rude Philistines of a court,
Shall turn your soft effusions into sport;
When I the love-inspiring sentence frame
In words as evanescent as your flame.
No longer shall the impatient Fair bewail
The ling'ring postman, or the tardy mail,
When I love's gentler signals to obey,
The tender wish, and ardent vow convey,
"Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul,
"And waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole.'
ADDRESS TO THE MOON.
following lines were suggested by the story of a Lady, who having had her son removed from her protection, at a very early age, adopted the same expedient of carrying an imaginary intercourse with him, as was devised by the two Lovers mentioned in one of the old French romances, viz. that of looking at the Moon at stated periods, agreed on between them. The son (who was well known to the author) has frequently assured her, that no occupation or amusement ever withheld him on moon-light nights from a dutiful observance of this her last injunction, during the short period she survived their separation, and that through life be never could look at the Moon, without associating with it the tender recollection of a beloved and unhappy mother.
! silver Moon! fair sovereign of night,
Dear to my heart is thy returning light,
Thy tranquil influence seems to soothe my pain,
For Sorrow loves thy soft and silent reign--
And as I watch thy orb serene and mild,
My soul springs forth to meet my absent child;
Yes, at this hour to sadness ever sweet,
On thy bright disk our pensive eyes shall meet;
One ray of bliss from thee I yet enjoy,
One point of union with my darling boy;
Nor time nor absence from his gentle breast
Can e'er efface his mother's last behest;
Ev'n now-- he gazes on thy trem'lous light,
Thro' the fond filial tear that dims his sight;
My faded form before his eyes appears,
He feels my touch--my languid voice he hears;
Each word endearing I was wont to speak,
While my warm kisses glow upon his cheek.
Oh! it is soothing to my soul to know,
One link yet binds us in this vale of woe.
Methinks the wandering spirits of the air
Smile as they pass and tell me he is there;
Tell me his eyes are fix'd intent on thee,
While ev'ry tender thought reverts to me.
Return, aërial Forms! return and bear
The mother's wishes, and the mother's prayer;
Tell him, my heart, with his lov'd image fraught,
Beats but for him, nor owns another thought,
Morn sees me bend before the heav'nly throne,
Night hears me pleading for my absent Son.
But him! no tender mother's anxious care
Shall teach to raise his little hands in prayer.
Instruct his tongue to lisp his Maker's praise,
Or guide his footsteps in his sacred ways.
To virtue who shall lead his erring youth?
The rugged path of science who shall smooth?
What eye, where sorrow meets parental love,
Weep for the fault, which Duty must reprove?
Whose care shall watch the couch of dire disease?
His infant griefs, what voice shall lull to peace?
Since never more to this maternal breast,
Shall the dear idol of my soul be prest.
For in the cruel hour that bade us part,
Death wing'd th' impoisn'd arrow to my heart;
And ere, bright Planet! thou shalt thrice renew
Thy crescent in yon arch of heavenly blue,
Low shall my head be laid in endless rest;
My wounded spirit, mingled with the blest
And if (when this tumultuous scene we leave,
As Fancy prompts th' enthusiast to believe)
It is permitted from the realms above
To watch the objects of our earthly love,
Sure pitying Heav'n will grant the boon I ask,
To guard my infant be my sacred task;
Round his lov'd head my sheltering wings to spread,
Glide in his path, and hover o'er his bed.
And as thro' time's dark veil my trusting eye
(Sketch'd by hope's golden pencil) can descry
The latent features of his manly mind,
By early sorrows ripen'd and refin'd,
The ardent spirit and the graceful form,
The heart with ev'ry kind affection warm;
By fond remembrance urg'd, the youth will prove
How well the child deserv'd his mother's love.
Then to these mournful scenes he will return,
And wash with tears my long-neglected urn.
And when, O lovely Moon! thy silver rays
Shall shed their tranquil light on happier days,
Thy sight shall still, with my sad image join'd,
Recall his mother's memory to his mind.
THE RECLUSE AND THE BEAR.
the wild confines of an aged wood,
A simple Swain possess'd a little spot,
On which his neat paternal mansions stood;
And hitherto contented with his lot;
He led a solitary, blameless life,
In rural occupation spent his hours;
And far from busy scenes of noise and strife,
Wooed contemplation in her woodland bow'rs.
His little garden was his only pride,
Vot'ry of Flora; and that blooming fair,
So hardly won to be Vertumnus' bride,
The kindred goddesses his homage share:
With smiles propitious they reward his toil,
And grant him fostering dews and genial showers,
Instruct him to reclaim the stubborn soil,
And how to train his shrubs and rear his flowers.
Our horticulturist with fond delight
Watch'd every opening bud and tender germ;
Shelter'd his infant plants from frost and blight,
And sought with careful hand th' insidious worm;
Hail'd the first Snow-drop, stealing from its sheath;
The early Daffodil, and Primrose pale;
And caught the bashful Violet's fragrant breath,
Or the soft-scented Lily of the Vale;
Till, fickle April past, the laughing Hours,
Dress'd in fresh garlands, led propitious May:
And now his garden bloom'd in richer flowers,
Jonquils, Anemones, Ranunculus gay,
And drooping Hyacinths, that fear to face,
Their ancient enemy's destructive breath,
So fatal to the founder of their race,
Whom Phoebus lov'd in life, and mourn'd in death.
The Woodbine round his little lattice twin'd;
The clustering Lilac and Sweet-briar among,
Like golden tresses waving in the wind
Laburnham's flexile wreaths luxuriant hung.
As thoughtful on his spade the Swain reclin'd,
And saw his flowers so fair, his shrubs so green,
At his unsocial state he first repin'd;
And sigh'd--"What pity! they must bloom unseen.
"Had I a friend", said he, "or e'en a wife,
"Who could with me my simple pleasures share;
"To break this sad monotony of life,
"Whose smiles approving--would reward my care.
"For vain the gardener's skill, the florist's art;
"Tasteless the fruit which friendship does not share;
"My flowers to me no pleasure can impart,
"Since no one says, How beautiful they are!'
These thoughts depress'd him all the summer thro',
And vague designs his wav'ring fancy fill;
For rapidly the lovely season flew,
And soon the days grew short, the evenings chill.
Then came the Equinox--The ruffian winds,
With russet leaves his late trim walks deform;
And pale and faint the cheerless sun declines:
The wreaths of autumn wither in the storm.
The Hollyoak, which tower'd the garden's glory,
Now humbled in the dust, unseemly lies;
And lovelorn Clytia, fam'd in fabled story,
Turns to the Sun no more her golden eyes.
Then to his sadden'd fancy came in view,
Hyemal horrors, dress'd in sad array;
Ere Spring his silent pleasures would renew,
How many dreary months must pass away!
The prospect so appall'd him, that one morn,
With staff and scrip he left his lone retreat;
Thro' paths which human steps had never worn,
He trod the doubtful way, with timorous feet.
It chanc'd within the forest's ample range,
A Bear, sole monarch of the desart, dwelt;
Satiate of power, and longing for a change,
He too the weariness of life had felt.
For war and hunting he had pass'd the age;
His wife was dead, his cubs were all full-grown;
So he'd a fancy now to play the sage,
Like the Fifth Charles, and abdicate his throne.
In foreign parts to travel for a while,
He left his cavern in the mountain's side;
And thought his restless humour to beguile
By sweet variety, and scenes untried.
From different points, each traveller pursued
The same wild track o'erarch'd with aged trees;
High fern obstructs the path, and brambles rude,
And the sear leaves fall rustling in the breeze.
The Hermit stopp'd, and fear'd he knew not what,
Unthought-of dangers might his steps pursue,
And half repentant turn'd towards his cot,
Just as the feline stranger came in view,
And met the trembling Swain with solemn pace
No aid was near, or prospect of retreating;
'Twas wisest then to wear a fearless face,
And seem delighted at the happy meeting.
Love at first sight, we know is nothing rare;
And may not friendship's flame as quickly glow?
Betwixt our solitary and the Bear
(The fable says,) it really happen'd so.
The one, a beast of no great observation,
Fancied he'd met the wonder of the age;
The other not much us'd to conversation,
Thought Bruin's brief remarks profoundly sage.
So on a short acquaintance, they agreed
Henceforth to live in amity eternal;
To be sworn brothers, both in word and deed,
And seal'd the bond with many a hug fraternal.
The Swain recalling now his long-lov'd cottage,
Homeward propos'd his weary steps to bend,
And press'd his new-made friend to share his pottage,
And without further toil their travels end.
With rustic frankness Bruin yields consent,
And side by side in social guise they walk;
No pair of lovers e'er were more content,
As they jogg'd on in confidential talk.
The Bear upon his power and wealth declaim'd,
Then on his ancestry, and told with pride
The constellation, Ursa Major nam'd,
Was once his grandam by the mother's side.
"O'er these domains," said he, "our powerful race,
"Longer than I can count, have held the sway:
"Most bears would be contented in my place,
"But life with me wears wearily away.
"Of mere ennui I languish in my prime,
"In cheerless solitude I waste the day;
"And ever since my lady Bruin's time,
"I've been in a sad melancholy way."
Conversing thus, they reach the cot--the Swain
Thought absence to his home new charms had lent;
His late deserted Lares hails again,
And then, "on hospitable thoughts intent,"
Brings from his hoards whate'er he has the best,
Apples and nuts, and honey from the comb,
Sir Bruin feasts, and wants not to be prest,
Happy to find himself so much at home.
In mutual acts of courtesy and love,
The friends at first liv'd on--time slid away,
And both had vanquish'd ev'ry wish to rove,
For January seem'd as blythe as May.
But novelty soon lost the power of charming;
The man now wonder'd what strange fancy caught him.
Quoth he, "This creature there is no great harm in,
"But he's not quite the personage I thought him.
"To judge by looks indeed, one might infer,
"My friend was some grave magistrate at least.
"Or some 'budge Doctor of the Stoic fur,'
"But to speak truth, he's but a stupid beast."
Then in his garden labour'd till the hour
When 'twas his custom to indulge in sleep;
And while reposing in his pleached bower,
'Twas Bruin's office watch and ward to keep.
One morning when the sun shone bright and warm,
And from each cranny rous'd the insect-youth,
With catlike zeal against the buzzing swarm,
He sought to prove himself a friend in truth,
And vow'd no straggler should escape his grasp,
Who dar'd intrude upon his friend's repose;
When, to excite his wrath, a daring wasp,
Presumptuous settled on the sleeper's nose.
"What insolence!" quoth he, and made a stroke,
Which drove the bold assailant from his station,
Who still renew'd th' attack--it would provoke
A saint! and Bruin growl'd with mere vexation;
Then fir'd with ill-judged ardour, aim'd a blow
Of weight to crush the commonwealth of flies;
It laid the winged interloper low,
But his poor comrade wak'd with two black eyes.
Thus rous'd from sleep, the Swain astound and bleeding,
Kindled with rage; but prudence check'd his arm,
As crouching on the earth the culprit pleading,
Swore on his honour, "that he meant no harm."
While in his grief some ursine tears he shed.
And hop'd a well-meant deed had not offended;
"No," said the sufferer, "when you broke my head,
"I have no doubt 'twas vastly well intended.
"But henceforth, friend of mine we'll live asunder,
"For love like yours more fatal far than hate is;
"And I most justly suffer for my blunder,
"Who could elect a Bear for my Achates