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To let them joy, and purposes, in thought
Elate, to make her night excel their day.
The black-bird whiftles from the thorny brake;
The mellow bullfinch answers from the grove:
Nor are the linnets, o'er the flowering furze
Pour'd out profufely, filent. Join'd to thefe,
Innumerous fongsters, in the freshening fhade
Of new-fprung leaves, their modulations mix
Mellifluous. The jay, the rook, the daw,
And each harsh pipe, difcordant heard alone,
Aid the full concert: while the ftock-dove breathes
A melancholy murmur thro' the whole.
'Tis love creates their melody, and all
This waste of mufic is the voice of love;
That even to birds, and beafts, the tender arts
Of pleafing teaches. Hence the gloffy kind
Try every winning way inventive love
Can dictate, and in courtship to their mates
Pour forth their little fouls. First, wide around,
With distant awe, in airy rings they rove,
Endeavouring by a thousand tricks to catch
The cunning, confcious, half-averted glance
Of their regardless charmer. Should the feem
Softening the leaft approvance to bestow
Their colours burnifh, and by hope infpir'd,
They brifk advance; then, on a fudden ftruck,
Retire diforder'd; then again approach;
In fond rotation fpread the fpotted wing,
And fhiver every feather with defire.
Connubial leagues agreed, to the deep woods
They hafte away, all as their fancy leads,
Pleafure, or food, or fecret fafety prompts;
That Nature's great command may be obey'd:
Nor all the sweet fenfations they perceive
Indulg'd in vain. Some to the holly-hedge
Neftling repair, and to the thicket fome;
Some to the rude protection of the thorn
Commit their feeble off-fpring: the cleft tree
Offers its kind concealment to a few,
Their food its infects, and its mofs their nefts.
Others apart far in the graffy dale,
Or roughening wafte, their humble texture weave.
. But most in woodland folitudes delight,
In unfrequented glooms, or fhaggy banks,
Steep, and divided by a babbling brook,
Whofe murmurs foothe them all the live-long day,
When by kind duty fix'd. Among the roots
Of hazel, pendant o'er the plaintive stream,
They frame the first foundation of their domes;
Dry fprigs of trees, in artful fabric laid,
And bound with clay together. Now 'tis nought.
But reftlefs hurry thro' the busy air,
Beat by unnumber'd wings. The fwallow sweeps
The flimy pool, to build his hanging house
Intent. And often, from the careless back
Of herds and flocks, a thousand tugging bills
Pluck hair and wool; and oft, when unobferv'd,
Steal from the barn a straw: till foft and warm,
Clean, and compleat, their habitation grows.
As thus the patient dam affiduous fits,
Not to be tempted from her tender task,
Or by fharp hunger, or by fmooth delight,
Tho' the whole loofen'd fpring around her blows,
Her fympathizing lover takes his ftand
High on th' opponent bank, and ceafelefs fings
The tedious time away; or else fupplies
Her place a moment, while fhe fudden flits
To pick the fcanty meal. Th' appointed time
With pious toil fulfill'd, the callow young,
Warm'd and expanded into perfect life,
Their brittle bondage break, and come to light,
A helplefs family, demanding food
With conftant clamour: O what paffions then,
What melting fentiments of kindly care,
On the new parents feize! Away they fly
Affectionate, and undefiring bear
The most delicious morfel to their young;
Which equally diftributed, again
The fearch begins. Even fo a gentle pair,
By fortune funk, but form'd of generous mold,
And charm'd with cares beyond the vulgar breast,
In fome lone cott amid the diftant woods,
Suftain'd alone by providential heaven,.
Oft, as they weeping eye their infant train,
Check their own appetites and give them all."
Nor toil alone they fcorn; exalting love,
By the great Father of the Spring infpir'd,
Gives inftant courage to the fearful race,
And to the fimple art. With ftealthy wing,
Should some rude foot their woody haunts moleft,
Amid a neighbouring bufh they filent drop,
And whirring thence, as if alarm'd, deceive
Th' unfeeling fchool-boy. Hence, around the head
Of wandering fwain, the white-wing'd plover wheels
Her founding flight, and then directly on
In long excurfions fkims the level lawn,
To tempt him from her neft. The wild duck, hence,
O'er the rough mofs, and o'er the tracklefs wafte
The heath-hen flutters, (pious fraud !) to lead
The hot pursuing fpaniel far aftray.
Be not the Mufe afham'd, here to bemoan
Her brothers of the grove, by tyrant man
Inhuman caught, and in the narrow cage
From liberty confin'd, and boundless air.
Dull are the pretty flaves, their plumage dull,
Ragged, and all its brightening luftre loft;
Nor is that fprightly wildnefs in their notes,
Which, clear and vigorous, warbles from the beech.
O then, ye friends of love and love-taught fong,
Spare the foft tribes, this barbarous art forbear;
If on your bofom innocence can win,
Mufic engage, or piety perfuade.
But let not chief the nightingale lament
Her ruin'd care, too delicately fram'd
To brook the harsh confinement of the
Oft, when returning with her loaded bill,
Th' aftonifh'd mother finds a vacant neft,
By the hard hand of unrelenting clowns
Robb'd, to the ground the vain provifion falls;
Her pinions ruffle, and low-drooping fcarce
Can bear the mourner to the poplar fhade;
Where, all abandon'd to defpair, the fings
Her forrows thro' the night; and, on the bough,
Sole-fitting, ftill at ev'ry dying fall
Takes up again her lamentable strain
Of winding woe; till, wide around, the woods
Sigh to her fong, and with her wail refound.
But now the feather'd youth their former bounds,
Ardent, difdain; and, weighing oft their wings,
Demand the free poffeffion of the sky:
This one glad office more, and then diffolves
Parental love at once, now needlefs grown.
Unlavish wifdom never works in vain.
'Tis on fome evening, funny, grateful, mild,
When nought but balm is breathing thro' the woods,
With yellow luftre bright, that the new tribes.
Vifit the fpacious heavens, and look abroad
On Nature's common, far as they can fee,
Or wing, their range, and pafture. O'er the boughs
Dancing about, ftill at the giddy verge
Their refolution fails; their pinions ftill,
In loofe libration ftretch'd, to trust the void
Trembling refufe: till down before them fly
The parent-guides, and chide, exhort, command,
Or push them off. The furging air receives
The plumy burden; and their felf-taught wings
Winnow the waving element. On ground
Alighted, bolder up again they lead,
Farther and farther on the lengthening flight;
Till vanifh'd every fear, and every power
Rouz'd into life and action, light in air
Th' acquitted parents fee their foaring race,
And once rejoicing never know them more.
DOMESTIC LOVE and HAPPINESS.
UT happy they! the happieft of their kind!
Whom gentler ftars unite, and in one fate
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend.
'Tis not the coarfer tie of human laws,
Unnatural oft, and foreign to the mind,
That binds their peace, but harmony itself,
Attuning all their paffions into love;
Where friendship full exerts her fofteft power,
Perfect esteem enliven'd by defire
Ineffable, and fympathy of foul;
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
With boundlefs confidence: for nought but love
Can answer love, and render blifs fecure.
Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
To blefs himself, from fordid parents buys
The loathing virgin, in eternal care,
Well merited, confume his nights and days:
Let barbarous nations, whofe inhuman love
Is wild defire, fierce as the funs they feel;
Let eastern tyrants from the light of Heaven.
Seclude their bofom flaves, meanly poffefs'd
Of a meer, lifelefs, violated form:
While thofe whom love cements in holy faith,
And equal transport, free as nature live,
Difdaining fear. What is the world to them,
Its s pomp, its pleasure, and its nonfenfe all!
Who in each other clafp whatever fair
High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wifh;
Something than beauty dearer, fhould they look:
Or on the mind, or mind-illumin'd face;!
Truth, goodnefs, honour, harmony and love,
The richest bounty of indulgent Heaven.
Mean-time a fmiling off-fpring rifes round,
And mingles both their graces. By degrees,
The human bloffom blows; and every day,
Soft as it rolls along, fhews fome new charm,
The father's luftre, and the mother's bloom,
The infant reafon grows apace, and calls
For the kind hand of an affiduous care.
Delightful tafk! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to fhoot,
To pour the fresh inftruction o'er the mind,
To breathe th' enlivening fpirit, and to fix
The generous purpofe in the glowing breast..!
Oh fpeak the joy! ye, whom the fudden tear
Surprizes often, while you look around,
And nothing ftrikes your eye but fights of blifs,
All various nature preffing on the heart:
An elegant fufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,
Eafe and alternate labour, useful life,
Progreffive virtue, and approving Heaven.
These are the matchlefs joys of virtuous love;
And thus their moments fly. The Seafons thus,
As ceafelefs round a jarring world they roll,
Still find them happy: and confenting Spring
Sheds her own rofy garland on their heads:
Till evening comes at laft, ferene and mild;
When after the long vernal day of life,
Enamour'd more, as more remembrance fwells
With many a proof of recollected love,
Together down they fink in focial fleep;
Together freed their gentle fpirits fly
To fcenes where love and blifs immortal reign.