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Death's delicious banquet, we
Perish even from the womb, Swifter than a shadow flee,
Nourished 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.
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 accustomed 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;
'Twere hard to tell who covets most
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 past, 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-inclosed, as in a cask, At length he finishes his task : And, though a worm when he was lost, Or caterpillar at the most, When next we see him, wings he wears, And in papilio-pomp appears; Becomes oviparous; supplies With future worms and future flies The next ensuing year-and dies ! Well were it for the world, if all Who creep about this earthly ball, Though shorter-lived than most he be, Were useful in their kind as he,
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 duly 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! His voracity not thus allays
The sparrow, the finch, or the crow.
The worm, more expensively fed,
The pride of the garden devours ; And birds peck the seed from the bed,
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; Since, stole she not all that she steals,
Neither honey nor wax would be left.
DENNER's Old WOMAN
In this mimic form of a matron in years
Many, fond of new sights, or who cherish a taste
Strange magic of art! which the youth can engage To peruse, half-enamoured, the features of age ; And force from the virgin a sigh of despair, That she, when as old, shall be equally fair ! How great is the glory that Denner has gained, Since Apelles not more for his Venus obtained !
THE TEARS OF A PAINTER
APELLES, hearing that his boy
Thus far is well. But view again
Thy melancholy task fulfil !
Now, painter, cease! Thy task is done.
From right to left, and to and fro,
To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,