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Translations from Vincent Bourne.


BENEATH the hedge, or near the stream,

A worm is known to stray,
That shows by night a lucid beam,

Which disappears by day.

Disputes have been, and still prevail,

From whence his rays proceed; Some give that honour to his tail,

And others to his head.

But this is sure—the hand of Might,

That kindles up the skies, Gives him a modicum of light

Proportion'd to his size.

Perhaps indulgent Nature meant,

By such a lamp bestow'd,
To bid the traveller, as he went,

Be careful where he trod:

Nor crush a worm, whose useful light

Might serve, however small,
To show a stumbling stone by night,

And save him from a fall.

Whate'er she meant, this truth divine

Is legible and plain, 'Tis power Almighty bids him shine,

Nor bids him shine in vain. ' Ye proud and wealthy, let this theme

Teach humbler thoughts to you, Since such a reptile has its gem,

And boasts its splendour too.


THERE is a bird, who by his coat,
And by the hoarseness of his note,

Might be supposed a crow;
A great frequenter of the church,
Where bishoplike he finds a perch,

And dormitory too.

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Above the steeple shines a plate,
That turns and turns, to indicate

From what point blows the weather. Look up-your brains begin to swim, 'Tis in the clouds--that pleases him, · He chooses it the rather.

Fond of the speculative height,
Thither he wings his airy flight,

And thence securely sees
The bustle and the rareeshow
That occupy mankind below,

Secure and at his ease.

You think, no doubt, he sits and muses
On future broken bones and bruises,

If he should chance to fall.
No; not a single thought like that
Employs his philosophic pate,

Or troubles it at all.

He sees that this great roundabout,
The world, with all its motley rout,

Church, army, physic, law,
Its customs, and its businesses,
Is no concern at all of his,

And says—what says he? --Caw.

Thrice happy bird! 1 too have seen Much of the vanities of men;

And, sick of having seen them, Would cheerfully these limbs resign For such a pair of wings as thine,

And such a head between them.


Little inmate, full of mirth,
Chirping on my kitchen hearth,
Wheresoe’er be thine abode,
Always harbinger of good,
Pay me for thy warm retreat
With a song more soft and sweet;
In return thou shalt receive
Such a strain as I can give.

Thus thy praise shall be express'd,
Inoffensive, welcome guest!
While the rat is on the scout,
And the mouse with curious snout,
With what vermin else infest
Every dish, and spoil the best;
Frisking thus before the fire,
Thou hast all thine heart's desire.


Though in voice and shape they be,
Form’d as if akin to thee,
Thou surpassest, happier far,
Happiest grasshoppers that are;
Theirs is but a summer's song,
Thine endures the winter long,
Unimpair'd, and shrill, and clear,
Melody throughout the year.

Neither night nor dawn of day
Puts a period to thy play:
Sing then--and extend thy span
Far beyond the date of man.
Wretched man, whose years are spent
In repining discontent,
Lives not, aged though he be,
Half a span, compared with thee.




In painted plumes superbly dress’d,
A native of the gorgeous East,

By many a billow toss’d;
Poll gains at length the British shore,
Part of the captain's precious store,

A present to his toast.

Belinda's maids are soon preferr’d,
To teach him now and then a word,

As Poll can master it;
But ’tis her own important charge
To qualify him more at large,

And make him quite a wit.

Sweet Poll! his doting mistress cries, Sweet Poll! the mimic bird replies,

And calls aloud for sack. She next instructs him in the kiss; 'Tis now a little one, like Miss,

And now a hearty smack.

At first he aims at what he hears,
And, listening close with both his ears,

Just catches at the sound;
But soon articulates aloud,
Much to the amusement of the crowd,

And stuns the neighbours round.

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