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TO ROBERT LLOYD, ESQ.
* Pitch-kettled, a favourite phrase at the time when this Epistle was written, expressive of being puzzled, or what in the Spectator's time would have been called bamboozled.
First, for a thought---since all agree--A thought---I have it---let me see--'Tis gone again---plague on't! I thought I had it---but I have it not. Dame Gurton thus, and Hodge her son, That useful thing, her needle, gone! Rake well the cinders :---sweep the floor, And sift the dust behind the door ; While eager Hodge beholds the prize In old grimalkin's glaring eyes ; And gammer finds it on her knees In every shining straw she sees. This simile were apt enough ; But l’ve another, critic-proof! The virtuoso thus, at noon, Broiling beneath a July sun, The gilded butterfly pursues, O’er hedge and ditch, through gaps and mews ; And after many a vain essay, To captivate the tempting prey, Gives him at length the lucky pat, And has him safe beneath his hat: Then lifts it gently from the ground; But ab ! 'tis lost as soon as found; Culprit his liberty regains; Flits out of sight, and mocks his pains. The sense was dark ; 'twas therefore fit With simile t' illustrate it; But as too much obscures the sight, As often as to little light, We have our similies cut short, For matters of more grave import. That Matthew's numbers run with ease Each man of common sense agrees ! All men of common sense allow, That Robert's lines are easy too : Where then the pref'rence shall we place, Or how do justice in this case ? Matthew (says Fame) with endless pains, Smoothed and refined the meanest strains; Nor suffered one ill-chosen rhyme T'escape him at the idlest time;
And thus o'er all a lustre cast,
PRIOR'S CHLOE AND EUPHELIA.
MERCATOR, vigiles occulos ut fallere possit,
Nomine sub ficto trans mare mittit opes; Lené sonat liquidumque meis Euphelia chordis,
Sed solam exoptant te, mea vota, Chlöe.
Ad speculum ornabat nitidos Euphelia crines,
Cum dixit mea lux, heus, cane, sume lyram. Namque lyram juxtà positam cum carmine vidit,
Suave quidem carmen dulcisonamque lyram.
Fila lyrä vocemque paro, suspiria surgunt,
Et miscent numeris murmura mæsta meis, Dumque tuæ memoro laudes, Euphelia, formæ,
Tota anima intereâ pendet a bore Chlöes.
Subrubet illa pudore, et contrahit altera frontem,
Me torquet mea mens conscia, psallo, tremo; Atque Cupidineâ dixit Dea cincta corona,
Heu ! fallendi artem quam didicere parum,
This tale is founded on an article of intelligence which the author found in the Buckinghamshire Herald, for Saturday, June 1, 1793, in the following words.
Glasgow, May 23. “In a block, or pulley, near the head of the mast of a gabert, now lying at the Broomielaw, there is a chaffinch's nest and four eggs. The nest was built while the vessel lay at Greenock, and was followed hither by both birds. Though the block is occasionally lowered for the inspection of the curious, the birds have not forsaken the nest. The cock, however, visits the nest but seldom, while the hen never leaves it, but when she descends to the hull for food.”
IN Scotland's realms, where trees are few,
Nor even shrubs abound;
Some better things are found :
Their union undefiled,
As hedge-rows in the wild.
The history chanced of late---
A chaffinch and his mate.
The spring drew near, each felt a breast
With genial instinct filled ;
But found not where to build.
The heaths uncovered and the moors,
Except with snow and sleet,
Could yield them no retreat.
Long time a breeding-place they sought,
Till both grew vex'd and tired ;
The good so long desired.
Afford them place of rest?
The homeless birds a nest?
Hush---silent hearers profit most--
This racer of the sea
It served them with a tree.
But such a tree! 'twas shaven deal,
The tree they call a mast, And had a hollow, with a wheel
Through which the tackle passed. Within that cavity aloft
Their roofless home they fixed, Formed with materials neat and soft,
Bents, wool, and feathers mixed.
With russet specks bedight---
And lessens to the sight.
As she had changed her kind;
Is doubtless left behind ?
No---soon as from ashore he saw
The winged mansion move,
Of never failing love.
Was briskly born along,
And cheered her with a song.