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ODE ON THE DEATH OF A LADY,
WHO LIVED ONE HUNDRED YEARS, AND DIED ON
HER BIRTHDAY, 1728.
ANCIENT dame, how wide and vast,
To a race like ours appears, Rounded to an orb at last,
All thy multitude of years ! We, the herd of humankind,
Frailer and of feebler powers; We, to narrow bounds confined,
Soon exhaust the sum of ours. Death's delicious banquet-we
Perish even from the womb, Swifter than a shadow flee,
Nourish'd but to feed the tomb. Seeds of merciless disease
Lurk in all that we enjoy; Some that waste us by degrees,
Some that suddenly destroy. And if life o'erleap the bourn,
Common to the sons of men, What remains, but that we mourn,
Dream, and dote, and drivel then ? Fast as moons can wax and wane,
Sorrow comes; and, while we groan, Pant with anguish, and complain,
Half our years are fled and gone. VOL. II.
If a few (to few 'tis given),
Lingering on this earthly stage, Creep and halt, with steps uneven,
To the period of an age,
Wherefore live they, but to see
Cunning, arrogance, and force, Sights lamented much by thee,
Holding their accustom'd course?
Oft was seen, in ages past,
All that we with wonder view; Often shall be to the last;
Earth produces nothing new.
Thee we gratulate; content,
Should propitious Heaven design Life for us, as calmly spent,
Though but half the length of thine.
THE CAUSE WON.
Two neighbours furiously dispute ;
No term but yields some fair pretence
Defendant thus becomes a name,
The beams of April, ere it
goes, A worm scarce visible disclose; All winter long content to dwell The tenant of his native shell. The same prolific season gives The sustenance by which he lives, The mulberry leaf, a simple store, That serves him—till he needs no more! For, his dimensions once complete, Thenceforth none ever sees him eat; Though, till his growing time be pass’d, Scarce ever is he seen to fast. That hour arrived, his work begins; He spins and weaves, and weaves and spins; Till circle upon circle wound Careless around him and around, Conceals him with a veil, though slight, Impervious to the keenest sight. Thus self enclosed, as in a cask, At length he finishes his task:
And though a worm, when he was lost,
THE INNOCENT THIEF.
Not a flower can be found in the fields,
Or the spot that we till for our pleasure, From the largest to least, but it yields
The Bee, never wearied, a treasure.
Scarce any she quits unexplored,
With a diligence truly exact;
Leaves evidence none of the fact.
Her lucrative task she pursues,
And pilfers with so much address That none of their odour they lose,
Nor charm by their beauty the less,
Not thus inoffensively preys
The canker-worm, indwelling foe!
the finch, or the crow.
The worm, more expensively fed,
T'he pride of the garden devours;
Still less to be spared than the flowers.
But she, with such delicate skill,
Her pillage so fits for her use
Would labour the like to produce.
Then grudge not her temperate meals,
Nor a benefit blame as a theft;
Neither honey nor wax would be left.
DENNER’S OLD WOMAN.
In this mimic form of a matron in years,