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Shades flanting at the close of day
Chill'd more his elfe delightful way.
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still funny fide,
And right toward the favour'd place
Proceeding with his nimbleft pace,
In hope to bak a little yet,
Just reach'd it when the sun was set.
Your Hermit, young and jovial Sirs!
Learns something from whate'er occurs
And hence, he said, my mind computes
The real worth of man's pursuits.
His .object chosen, wealth or fame,
Or other sublunary game,
Imagination to his view
Presents it deck'd with ev'ry hue
That can seduce him not to spare
His pow'rs of best exertion there,
But youth, health, vigour to expend
On fo desirable an end.
E’er long, approach Life's evening shades,
The glow that Fancy gave it fades;
And, earn’d too late, it wants the grace
Which first engag'd him in the chase.
True, answer'd an angelic guide,
Attendant at the senior's fide
But whether all the time it coft
the fruitless chase be lost,
Must be decided by the worth
Of that which call'd his ardour forth.
Trifles pursu'd, whate'er th' event,
Must cause him Thame or discontent;
A vicious object ftill is worse,
Successful there, he wins a curse;
But he, whoin ev'n in life's last stage!
Endeavours laudable engage,
Is paid, at least in peace of mind,
And sense of having well design'd;
And if, e'er he attain his end,
His fun precipitate descend,
A brighter prize than that he meant
Shall recompense his mere intent.
No virtuous with can bear a date
Either too early or too late.
* I shall not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau,
If birds confabulate or no;
'Tis clear that they were always able
To hold discourse, at least, in fable ;
And ev'n the child, who knows no better,
Than to interpret by the letter,
A story of a cock and bull,
Must have a most uncommon skull.
It chanc'd then, on a winter's day,
But warm and bright, and calm as May,
The birds conceiving a design,
To forestal sweet St. Valentine ;
In many an orchard, copfe and grove,
Assembled on affairs of love,
And with much twitter and much chatter,
Began to agitate the matter.
At length a Bulfinch, who could boaft,
More years and wisdom than the moft,
Entreated, op'ning wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And, silence publicly enjoin'd,
Deliver'd briefly thus his mind.
* It was one of the whimsical speculations of this philosophery, that all fables which afcribe reason and speech to animals should be withheld from children, as being only vehicles of deception. But what child was ever deceived by them, or can be, against the evidence of his fenfes ?
My friends! be cautious how ye treat
The subject upon which we meet ;
1 fear we shall have winter yet.
A Finch, whose tongue knew no controul,
With golden wing and fattin pole,
A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
What marriage nieans, thus pert replied.
Methinks the gentleman, quoth she,
Opposite in the apple-tree,
By his good will, would keep us fingle
"Till yonder heav'n and earth shall mingle,
Or, (which is likelier to befall)
'Till death exterminate us all.
without more ado,
My dear Dick Redcap, what say you !
Dick heard, and tweedling, ogling, bridling,
Turning short round, ftrutting and sideling,
Attested, glad, his approbation
of an immediate conjugation.
Their sentiments fo well express'd,
Influenced mightily the rest,
All pair'd, and cach pair built a neft.
But though the birds were thus in haste,
The leaves came on not quite so fast,
And destiny, that sometimes bears
An aspect ftern on man's affairs,
Not altogether smil'd on theirs.
The wind, of late breath'd gently forth,
Now shifted east and east by north ;
Bare trees and Trubs but ill,
Could shelter them from rain or snow,