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Charm’d with the sight, the world, I cried,
Shall hear of this thy deed : My dog shall mortify the pride
Of man's superior breed :
But chief myself I will enjoin,
Awake at duty's call,
To Him who gives me all.
ON THE DEATH OF
LADY THROCKMORTON'S BULFINCH.
[Cowper relates this event in a letter to Rose.]
September 25, 1788. Ye nymphs, if e'er your eyes were red With tears o'er hapless favourites shed,
O share Maria's grief ! Her favourite, even in his cage, (What will not hunger's cruel rage?)
Assassin'd by a thief.
Where Rhenus strays his vines among,
And, though by nature mute,
Of flageolet or flute.
The honours of his ebon poll
His bosom of the hue
To sweep away the dew.
Above, below, in all the house,
No cat had leave to dwell ;
And Bully's cage supported stood
Large-built, and latticed well.
Well-latticed but the grate, alas !
For Bully's plumage sake,
The swains their baskets make.
Night veild the pole, all seem'd secure:
Subsistence to provide,
And badger-colour'd hide.
He entering at the study door,
And something in the wind
Food chiefly for the mind.
Just then, by adverse fate impress’d,
In sleep he seem'd to view
Awoke and found it true.
For, aided both by ear and scent,
Ah, muse! forbear to speak
; His teeth were strong, the cage was wood
He left poor Bully's beak.
O had he made that too his
prey ; That beak, whence issued many a lay
Of such mellifluous tone,
Might have repaid him well, I wot,
Fast stuck within his own.
Maria weeps the Muses mourn
On Thracian Hebrus' side
The cruel death he died.
ON MRS MONTAGUE'S FEATHER HANGINGS.
[This is the lady at whose house the Blue Stocking Club used to meet, in Leicester Square. Her maiden name was Robison, she was born at York, 1720, educated under the care of Dr Conyers Middleton, and married into the Sandwich family. She died 1800, wrote Letters and Dialogues of the Dead, and proved a most kind patroness of literary merit ; but she is now best known as having written the admirable defence of Shakespeare. She was a particular friend of Lady Hesketh, at whose suggestion the present verses appear to have been written.
The birds put off their every hue
The Peacock sends his heavenly dyes,
To the same patroness resort,
She thus maintains divided sway
FOR THE YEAR 1788.
Quod adest, memento
Could I, from Heaven inspired, as sure presage
To whom the rising year shall prove his last ; As I can number in my punctual page,
And item down the victims of the past ;
How each would trembling wait the mournful sheet,
On which the press might stamp him next to die ; And, reading here his sentence, how replete
With anxious meaning, heaven-ward turn his eye!
Time then would seem more precious than the joys
In which he sports away the treasure now; And prayer more seasonable than the noise
Of drunkards, or the music-drawing bow.
Then doubtless many a trifler, on the brink
Of this world's hazardous and headlong shore, Forced to a pause, would feel it good to think,
Told that his setting sun must rise no more.
Ah, self-deceived ! Could I prophetic say
Who next is fated, and who next, to fall, The rest might then seem privileged to play ;
But, naming none, the Voice now speaks to ALL.
Observe the dappled foresters, how light
They bound, and airy, o'er the sunny gladeOne falls -- the rest, wide-scatter'd with affright,
Vanish at once into the darkest shade.
Had we their wisdom, should we, often warn'd,
Still need repeated warnings, and at last,