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THE NEEDLESS ALARM.
There is a field, through which I often pass,
Not yet the hawthorn bore her berries red,
The Sun, accomplishing his early march,
Sheep grazed the field; some with soft bosom
The herb as soft, while nibbling stray'd the rest;
But when the huntsman with distended cheek
round again; But, recollecting, with a sudden thought, That flight in circles urged advanced them nought, They gather'd close around the old pit's brink, And thought again--but knew not what to think.
The man to solitude accustom'd long Perceives in every thing that lives a tongue; Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees Have speech for him, and understood with ease; After long drought, when rains abundant fall, He hears the herbs and flowers rejoicing all: Knows what the freshness of their hue implies, How glad they catch the largess of the skies; · Two woods belonging to John Throckmorton, Esq.
But, with precision nicer still, the mind
This truth premised was needful as a text,
Awhile they mused; surveying every face, Thou hadst supposed them of superior race; Their periwigs of wool and fears combined, Stamp'd on each countenance such marks of mind That sage they seem'd as lawyers o'er a doubt, Which, puzzling long, at last they puzzle out; Or academic tutors, teaching youths, Sure ne'er to want them, mathematic truths ; When thus a mutton, statelier than the rest, A ram, the ewes and wethers sad address'dFriends! we have lived too long. I never
heard Sounds such as these, so worthy to be fear'd. Could I believe, that winds for ages pent In Earth's dark womb have found at last a vent, And from their prisonhouse below arise, With all these hideous howlings to the skies, I could be much composed, nor should appear, For such a cause, to feel the slightest fear. Yourselves have seen, what time the thunders : rollid All night, me resting quiet in the fold. Or heard we that tremendous bray alone, I could expound the melancholy tone;
Should deem it by our old companion made,
Him answer'd then his loving mate and true, But more discreet than he, a Cambrian ewe.
How, leap into the pit our life to save? To save our life leap all into the grave? For can we find it less? Contemplate first The depth, how awful! falling there, we burst: Or should the brambles, interposed, our fall In part abate, that happiness were small ? . For with a race like theirs no chance I see Of peace or ease to creatures clad as we. Meantime, noise kills not. Be it Dapple's bray, Or be it not, or be it whose it may, And rush those other sounds, that seem by tongues Of demons utter'd, from whatever lungs, Sounds are but sounds, and, till the cause appear, We have at least commodious standing here. Come, fiend, come, fury, giant, monster, blast From earth or hell, we can but plunge at last.
While thus she spake, I fainter heard the peals, For Reynard, close attended at his heels By panting dog, tired man, and spatter'd horse, Through mere good fortune took a different course, The flock grew calm again, and I, the road Following that led me to my own abode,
ON SOME NAMES OF LITTLE NOTE. 241 Much wonder'd that the silly sheep had found Such cause of terror in an empty sound, So sweet to huntsman, gentleman, and hound.
MORAL. Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day, Live till to-morrow, will have pass’d away.
SOME NAMES OF LITTLE NOTE
Oh, fond attempt to give a deathless lot
So when a child, as playful children use,