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166 THE DOG AND THE WATER-LILY.
Parted without the least regret,
Except that they had ever met,
And learned in future to be wiser,
Than to neglect a good adviser.
Misses! the tale that I relate
This lesson seems to carry---
Choose not alone a proper mate,
But proper time to marry.
THE noon was shady, and soft airs
Swept Ouse's silent tide,
When 'scaped from literary cares,
I wandered on his side.
My spaniel, prettiest of his race,
And high in pedigree,
(Two nymphs* adorned with every grace
That spaniel found for me.)
Now wantoned lost in flags and reeds,
Now starting into sight,
Pursued the swallow o'er the meads
With scarce a slower flight.
It was the time when Ouse displayed
His lilies newly blown!
Their beauties I intent surveyed,
And one I wished my own.
* Sir Robert Gunning's daughters:
With cane extended far I sought
To steer it close to land;
But still the prize, though nearly caught, Escaped my eager hand.
Beau marked my unsuccessful pains
With fixed considerate face,
And puzzling sat his puppy brains
To comprehend the case.
But with a chirrup clear and strong,
Dispersing all his dream,
I thence withdrew, and followed long
The windings of the stream.
My ramble finished, I returned;
Beau tottering far before,
The floating wreath again discerned,
And plunging left the shore.
I saw him with that lily cropped
Impatient swim to meet
My quick approach, and soon he dropped
The treasure at my feet.
Charmed at 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 show a love as prompt as thine
To Him who gives me all.
THE POET, THE OYSTER, AND SENSITIVE
AN Oyster, cast upon the shore,
Was heard, though never heard before,
Complaining in a speech well worded,
And worthy thus to be recorded---
Ah, hapless wretch! condemned to dwell
For ever in my native shell;
Ordained to move when others please,
Not for my own content or ease;
But tossed and buffetted about,
Now in the water and now out.
"Twere better to be born a stone,
Of ruder shape, and feeling none,
Than with a tenderness like mine,
And sensibilities so fine!
I envy that unfeeling shrub,
Fast-rooted against every rub.
The plant he meant grew not far off,
And felt the sneer with scorn enough;
Was hurt, disgusted, mortified,
And with asperity replied.
When, cry the botanists, and stare,
Did plants called sensitive grow there?
No matter when---a poet's muse is
To make them grow just where she chooses.
You shapeless nothing in a dish,
You that are but almost a fish,
scorn your coarse insinuation,
And have most plentiful occasion
To wish myself the rock I view,
Or such another dolt as you :
For many a grave and learned clerk,
And many a gay unlettered spark,
With curious touch examines me,
If I can feel as well as he;
And when I bend, retire, and shrink,
Says---Well, 'tis more than one would think!
Thus life is spent (oh fie upon it!)
In being touched, and crying---Don't!
A poet, in his evening walk,
O'erheard and checked this idle talk.
And your fine sense, he said, and your's,
Whatever evil it endures,
Deserves not, if so soon offended,
Much to be pitied or commended.
Disputes, though short, are far too long,
Where both alike are in the wrong;
Your feelings, in their full amount,
Are all upon your own account.
You, in your grotto-work enclosed,
Complain of being thus exposed;
Yet nothing feel in that rough coat,
Save when the knife is at your throat,
Wherever driven by wind or tide,
Exempt fron every ill beside.
And as for you, my Lady Squeamish,
Who reckon every touch a blemish,
If all the plants that can be found
Embellishing the scene around,
Should droop and wither where they grow,
You would not feel at all---not you.
The noblest minds their virtue prove
By pity, sympathy, and love:
These, these are feelings truly fine,
And prove their owner half divine.
His censure reached them as he dealt it,
And each by shrinking showed he felt it.
WRITTEN IN A TIME OF AFFLICTION.
OH, happy shades---to me unblest!
Friendly to peace, but not to me!
How ill the scene that offers rest,
And heart, that cannot rest, agree!
This glassy stream, that spreading pine,
Those alders quivering to the breeze,
Might sooth a soul less hurt than mine,
And please, if any thing could please.
But fix'd unalterable care
Foregoes not what she feels within,
Shows the same sadness every where,
And slights the season and the scene.
For all that pleased in wood or lawn,
While peace possessed these silent bowers,
Her animating smile withdrawn,
Has lost its beauties and its powers.
The saint or moralist should tread
This moss-grown alley musing slow;
They seek like me the secret shade,
But not like me to nourish woe!
Me fruitful scenes and prospects waste
Alike admonish not to roam;
These tell me of enjoyments past,
And those of sorrows yet to come.
WHAT nature, alas! has denied
To the delicate growth of our isle,
Art has in a measure supplied,
And winter is decked with a smile.
See, Mary, what beauties I bring
From the shelter of that sunny shed,
Where the flowers have the charms of the spring, Though abroad they are frozen and dead.
"Tis a bower of Arcadian sweets,
Where Flora is still in her prime,
A fortress to which she retreats
From the cruel assaults of the clime.