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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 shew a love as prompt as thine

To Him who gives me all.



[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,
The egg was laid from which he sprung ;

And, though by nature mute,
Or only with a whistle blest,
Well-taught, he all the sounds express'd

Of flageolet or flute.

The honours of his ebon poll
Were brighter than the sleekest mole ;

His bosom of the hue
With which Aurora decks the skies,
When piping winds shall soon arise,

To sweep away the dew.

Above, below, in all the house,
Dire foe alike of bird and mouse,

No cat had leave to dwell ;

And Bully's cage supported stood
On props of smoothest-shaven wood,

Large-built, and latticed well.

Well-latticed but the grate, alas !
Not rough with wire of steel or brass,

For Bully's plumage sake,
But smooth with wands from Ouse's side,
With which, when neatly peeld and dried,

The swains their baskets make.

Night veild the pole, all seem'd secure:
When led by instinct sharp and sure,

Subsistence to provide,
A beast forth sallied on the scout,
Long-back'd, long-tail'd, with whiskerd snout,

And badger-colour'd hide.

He entering at the study door,
Its ample area 'gan explore;

And something in the wind
Conjectured, sniffing round and round,
Better than all the books he found,

Food chiefly for the mind.

Just then, by adverse fate impress’d,
A dream disturb'd poor Bully's rest;

In sleep he seem'd to view
A rat fast clinging to the cage,
And, screaming at the sad presage,

Awoke and found it true.

For, aided both by ear and scent,
Right to his mark the monster went-

Ah, muse! forbear to speak
Minute the horrors that ensued

; 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,
For silencing so sweet a throat,

Fast stuck within his own.

Maria weeps the Muses mourn
So when, by Bacchanalians torn,

On Thracian Hebrus' side
The tree-enchanter Orpheus fell,
His head alone remain'd to tell

The cruel death he died.


[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
To dress a room for Montague.

The Peacock sends his heavenly dyes,
His rainbows, and his starry eyes ;
The Pheasant plumes, which round enfold
His mantling neck with downy gold;
The Cock, his arch'd tail's azure show;
And, river-blanch’d, the Swan his snow.
All tribes beside of Indian name,
That glossy shine, or vivid flame,
Where rises, and where sets the day,
Whate'er they boast of rich and gay,
Contribute to the gorgeous plan,
Proud to advance it all they can.
This plumage, neither dashing shower,
Nor blasts, that shake the dripping bower,
Shall drench again or discompose,
But screen'd from every storm that blows,
It boasts a splendour ever new,
Safe with protecting Montague.

To the same patroness resort,
Secure of favour at her court,
Strong Genius, from whose forge of thought
Forms rise, to quick perfection wrought,
Which, though new-born, with vigour move,
Like Pallas springing arm'd from Jove -
Imagination scattering round
Wild roses over furrow'd ground,
Which Labour of his frown beguile,
And teach Philosophy a smile ---
Wit flashing on Religion's side,
Whose fires, to sacred Truth applied,
The gem, though luminous before,
Obtrude on human notice more,
Like sunbeams on the golden height
Of some tall temple playing bright-
Well-tutor'd Learning, from his books
Dismiss'd with grave, not haughty, looks,
Their order on his shelves exact,
Not more harmonious or compact
Than that, to which he keeps confined
The various treasures of his mind
All these to Montague's repair,
Ambitious of a shelter there.
There Genius, Learning, Fancy, Wit,
Their ruffled plumage calm refit,
(For stormy troubles loudest roar
Around their flight who highest soar)
And in her eye, and by her aid,
Shine safe without a fear to fade.

She thus maintains divided sway
With yon bright regent of the day;
The plume and poet both, we know,
Their lustre to his influence owe;
And she the works of Phoebus aiding,
Both poet saves and plume from fading.



Quod adest, memento
Componere æquus.

Cætera fluminis
Ritu feruntur.

Improve the present hour, for all beside
Is a mere feather on a torrent's tide.

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,

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