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He sought, as shelter from the shower,
The only tree that graced the plain,
Whose leaves ill turned the pelting rain.
The sky once more serene above,
On flew our drenched and dripping dove,
And dried his plumage as he could.
Next, on the borders of a wood,
He spied some scattered grains of wheat,
Which one, he thought, might safely eat;
For there another dove he saw. -
He felt the snare around him draw!
This wheat was but a treacherous bait
To lure poor pigeons to their fate.
The snare had been so long in use,
With beak and wings he struggled loose:
Some feathers perished while it stuck;
But what was worst in point of luck,
A hawk, the cruelest of foes,
Perceived him clearly as he rose,
Off dragging, like a runaway,
A piece of string. The bird of prey
Had bound him, in a moment more,
Much faster than he was before;
But from the clouds an eagle came,
And made the hawk himself his game.
By war of robbers profiting,
The dove for safety plied the wing,
And lighting on a ruined wall,
Believed his dangers ended all.
A roguish boy had there a sling,
We must confess,)
And by a most unlucky fling,
Half killed our hapless dove;
Who now, no more in love
With foreign traveling,
And lame in leg and wing,
Straight homeward urged his crippled flight;
Fatigued, but glad, arrived at night,
In truly sad and piteous plight.
The doves rejoined: I leave you all to say,
What pleasure might their pains repay.
Ah, happy lovers, would you roam?
Pray, let it not be far from home.
To each the other ought to be
A world of beauty ever new; In each the other ought to see
The whole of what is good and true.
Myself have loved; nor would I then, For all the wealth of crownèd men, Or arch celestial, paved with gold, The presence of those woods have sold, And fields and banks and hillock which Were by the joyful steps made rich, And smiled beneath the charming eyes Of her who made my heart a prize, – To whom I pledged it, nothing loath, And sealed the pledge with virgin oath. Ah, when will time such moments bring again? To me are sweet and charming objects vain My soul forsaking to its restless mood?
Oh, did my withered heart but dare
To kindle for the bright and good, Should not I find the charms still there? Is love, to me, with things that were ?
THE RAVEN AND THE FOX.
PERCHED on a lofty oak,
Sir Raven held a lunch of cheese;
Sir Fox, who smelt it in the breeze,
Thus to the holder spoke:
"Ha! how do you do, Sir Raven?
Well, your coat, sir, is a brave one!
So black and glossy, on my word, sir,
With voice to match, you were a bird, sir,
Well fit to be the Phoenix of these days."
Sir Raven, overset with praise,
Must show how musical his croak.
Down fell the luncheon from the oak;
Which snatching up, Sir Fox thus spoke :
"The flatterer, my good sir,
Aye liveth on his listener;
Which lesson, if you please,
Is doubtless worth the cheese."
A bit too late, Sir Raven swore
The rogue should never cheat him more.
THE FROG THAT WISHED TO BE AS BIG AS THE OX.
THE tenant of a bog,
An envious little frog
Not bigger than an egg,
A stately bullock spies,
And, smitten with his size,
Attempts to be as big.
With earnestness and pains
She stretches, swells, and strains,
says, "Sir Frog, look here! see me!
Is this enough?" "No, no."
"Well, then, is this?" "Poh! poh!
Enough! you don't begin to be."
And thus the reptile sits,
Enlarging till she splits.
The world is full of folks
Of just such wisdom:
The lordly dome provokes
The cit to build his dome;
And, really, there is no telling
How much great men set little ones a swelling.
THE CITY RAT AND THE COUNTRY RAT.
A CITY rat, one night,
Did, with a civil stoop,
A country rat invite
To end a turtle soup.
Upon a Turkey carpet
They found the table spread,
And sure I need not harp it
How well the fellows fed.
The entertainment was
A truly noble one;
But some unlucky cause
Disturbed it when begun.
It was a slight rat-tat
That put their joys to rout:
Out ran the city rat;
His guest, too, scampered out.
The fare was light, was nothing, sooth to say, Requiring knife and fork.
That sly old gentleman, the dinner-giver,
Was, you must understand, a frugal liver.
This once, at least, the total matter
Was thinnish soup served on a platter,
For madam's slender beak a fruitless puzzle,
Till all had passed the fox's lapping muzzle.
But, little relishing his laughter,
Old gossip Stork, some few days after,
Returned his Foxship's invitation.
Without a moment's hesitation,
He said he'd go, for he must own he
Ne'er stood with friends for ceremony.
And so, precisely at the hour,
He hied him to the lady's bower;
Where, praising her politeness,
He finds her dinner right nice.
Its punctuality and plenty,
Its viands, cut in mouthfuls dainty,
Its fragrant smell, were powerful to excite,
Had there been need, his foxish appetite.
But now the dame, to torture him,
Such wit was in her,
Served up her dinner
In vases made so tall and slim,
They let their owner's beak pass in and out,
But not, by any means, the fox's snout!
All arts without avail,
With drooping head and tail,
As ought a fox a fowl had cheated,
The hungry guest at last retreated.
Ye knaves, for you is this recital,
You'll often meet Dame Stork's requital.
THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE.
To win a race, the swiftness of a dart Availeth not without a timely start. The hare and tortoise are my witnesses. Said tortoise to the swiftest thing that is, "I'll bet that you'll not reach so soon as I
The tree on yonder hill we spy."
"So soon! Why, madam, are you frantic?" Replied the creature, with an antic;
"Pray take, your senses to restore,
A grain or two of hellebore."
"Say," said the tortoise, "what you will;
I dare you to the wager still.”
'Twas done; the stakes were paid,
And near the goal tree laid,
Of what, is not a question for this place,
Nor who it was that judged the race.
Our hare had scarce five jumps to make,
Of such as he is wont to take,
When, starting just before their beaks,
He leaves the hounds at leisure,
Thence till the kalends of the Greeks,
The sterile heath to measure.
Thus having time to browse and doze,
And list which way the zephyr blows,
He makes himself content to wait,
And let the tortoise go her gait
In solemn, senatorial state.
She starts; she moils on, modestly and lowly,
And with a prudent wisdom hastens slowly;
But he, meanwhile, the victory despises,
Thinks lightly of such prizes,
Believes it for his honor
To take late start and gain upon her.