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VIII.

AN ENIGMA.

A NEEDLE small as small can be,
In bulk and use surpasses me,

Nor is my purchase dear;
For little, and almost for naught,
As many of my kind are bought

As days are in the year.

Yet though but little use we boast,
And are procured at little cost,

The labour is not light;
Nor few artificers it asks,
All skilful in their several tasks,

To fashion us aright.

One fuses metal o'er the fire,
A second draws it into wire,

The shears another plies,
Who clips in lengths the brazen thread
For him who, chafing every shred,
Gives all an equal size.

A fifth prepares, exact and round,
The knob with which it must be crown'd;

His follower makes it fast:
And with his mallet and his file,
To shape the point, employs a while

The seventh and the last.

253

SPARROWS SELF DOMESTICATED.
Now therefore, Edipus! declare
What creature, wonderful and rare,

A process, that obtains
Its purpose with so much ado,
At last produces !-tell me true,

And take me for your pains !

IX.

SPARROWS SELF DOMESTICATED

IN TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.

NONE ever shared the social feast,
Or.as an inmate or a guest,
Beneath the celebrated dome
Where once Sir Isaac had his home,
Who saw not (and with some delight
Perhaps he view'd the novel sight)
How numerous, at the tables there,
The sparrows beg their daily fare.
For there, in every nook and cell
Where such a family may dwell,
Sure as the vernal season comes,
Their nests they weave in hope of crumbs,
Which, kindly given, may serve with food
Convenient their unfeather’d brood;
And oft as with its summons clear
The warning bell salutes their ear,
Sagacious listeners to the sound,

They flock from all the fields around,
· To reach the hospitable hall,
None more attentive to the call.

Arrived, the pensionary band,
Hopping and chirping, close at hand,
Solicit what they soon receive,
The sprinkled, pienteous donative.
Thus is a multitude, though large,
Supported at a trivial charge;
A single doit would overpay
The' expenditure of every day,
And who can grudge so small a grace
To suppliants, natives of the place ?

X.

FAMILIARITY DANGEROUS, As in her ancient mistress' lap

The youthful tabby lay,
They gave each other many a tap,

Alike disposed to play.
But strife ensues. Puss waxes warm,
· And with protruded claws
Ploughs all the length of Lydia's arm,

Mere wantonness the cause. At once, resentful of the deed,

She shakes her to the ground, With many a threat that she shall bleed

With still a deeper wound.
But, Lydia, bid thy fury rest;

It was a venial stroke;
For she that will with kittens jest,

Should bear a kitten's joke.

XI.

INVITATION TO THE REDBREAST.
Sweet bird, whom the winter constrains-

And seldom another it can -
To seek a retreat, while he reigns,

In the well shelter'd dwellings'of man,

Who never can seem to intrude, i

Though in all places equally free, Come, oft as the season is rude,

Thou art sure to be welcome to me.

At sight of the first feeble ray,

That pierces the clouds of the east, To’inveigle thee every day

My windows shall show thee a feast..

For, taught by experience, I know

Thee mindful of benefit long; And that, thankful for all I bestow,

Thou wilt pay me with many a song.

Then, soon as the swell of the buds.

Bespeaks the renewal of spring,
Fly hence, if thou wilt, to the woods,

Or where it shall please thee to sing :
And shouldst thou, compell’d by a frost,

Come again to my window or door, Doubt not an affectionate host,

Only pay as thou paidst me before. .

Thus music must needs be confess'd

To flow from a fountain above; Else how should it work in the breast

Unchangeable friendship and love?

And who on the globe can be found,

Save your generation and ours, That can be delighted by sound,

Or boasts any musical powers?

· XII.

STRADA'S NIGHTINGALE. The shepherd touch'd his reed; sweet Philomel

Essay'd, and oft essay'd to catch the strain, And treasuring, as on her ear they fell,

The numbers echo'd note for note again.

The peevish youth, who ne'er had found before

A rival of his skill, indignant heard,
And soon (for various was his tuneful store)

In loftier tones defied the simple bird.

She dared the task, and rising, as he rose,

With all the force that passion gives inspired, Return'd the sounds awhile, but, in the close,

Exhausted fell, and at his feet expired. Thus strength, not skill prevail'd. O fatal strise,

By thee, poor songstress, playfully begun; And 0, sad victory, which cost thy life, · And he may wish that he had never won!

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