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They best can judge a poet's worth,
Who oft themselves have known
The pangs of a poetic birth
By labours of their own.
We therefore pleased extol thy song,
Though various yet complete,
Rich in embellishment as strong,
And learned as 'tis sweet.
No envy mingles with our praise;
Though, could our hearts repine
At any poet's happier lays,
They would-they must at thine.
But we, in mutual bondage knit
Of friendship's closest tie,
Can gaze on even Darwin's wit
With an unjaundiced eye;
And deem the Bard, whoe'er he be,
And howsoever known,
Who would not twine a wreath for thee,
Unworthy of his own.
MRS. MONTAGU'S FEATHER HANGINGS.
THE Birds put off their every hue,
To dress a room for Montagu.
The Peacock sends his heavenly dyes,
His rainbows and his starry eyes;
The Pheasant, plumes which round infold
His mantling neck with downy gold;
The Cock his arch'd tail's azure show;
And, river blanch'd, the Swan his snow.
All tribes beside of Indian name,
That glossy shine, or vivid flame,
Where rises and where sets the day,
Whate'er they boast of rich and gay,
Contribute to the gorgeous plan,
Proud to advance it all they can.
This plumage neither dashing shower,
Nor blasts that shake the dripping bower,
Shall drench again or discompose,
But, screen'd from every storm that blows,
It boasts a splendour ever new,
Safe with protecting Montagu.
To the same patroness resort, Secure of favour at her court, Strong Genius, from whose forge of thought Forms rise, to quick perfection wrought, Which, though newborn, with vigour move, Like Pallas springing arm'd from Jove; Imagination scattering round Wild roses over furrow'd ground, Which Labour of his frown beguile, And teach Philosophy a smile; Wit flashing on Religion's side, Whose fires, to sacred truth applied, The gem, though luminous before, Obtrudes on human notice more, Like sunbeams on the golden height Of some tall temple playing bright;
Well-tutor❜d Learning, from his books
Dismiss'd with grave, not haughty looks,
Their order on his shelves exact,
Not more harmonious or compact
Than that, to which he keeps confined
The various treasures of his mind;
All these to Montagu's repair,
Ambitious of a shelter there.
There Genius, Learning, Fancy, Wit,
Their ruffled plumage calm refit,
(For stormy troubles loudest roar
Around their flight who highest soar,)
And in her eye, and by her aid,
Shine safe without a fear to fade.
She thus maintains divided sway
With yon bright regent of the day;
The plume and Poet both, we know,
Their lustre to his influence owe;
And she, the works of Phoebus aiding,
Both Poet saves and plume from fading.
DEATH OF MRS. THROCKMORTON'S BULLFINCH.
YE Nymphs, if e'er your eyes were red
With tears o'er hapless favourites shed,
O, share Maria's grief!
Her favourite, even in his cage,
(What will not hunger's cruel rage?)
Assassin'd by a thief.
Where Rhenus strays his vines among,
The egg was laid from which he sprung,
And though by nature mute,
Or only with a whistle bless'd,
Well-taught he all the sounds express'd
Of flageolet or flute.
The honours of his ebon poll
Were brighter than the sleekest mole,
His bosom of the hue
With which Aurora decks the skies,
When piping winds shall soon arise
To sweep away the dew.
Above, below, in all the house,
Dire foe alike of bird and mouse,
No cat had leave to dwell;
And Bully's cage supported stood
On props of smoothest-shaven wood,
Large built and latticed well.
Well latticed, but the grate, alas!
Not rough with wire of steel or brass,
For Bully's plumage sake,
But smooth with wands from Ouse's side,
With which, when neatly peel'd and dried,
The swains their baskets make.
Night veil'd the pole: all seem'd secure:
When, led by instinct sharp and sure,
Subsistence to provide,
A beast forth sallied on the scout,
Long back'd, long tail'd, with whisker'd snout, And badger-colour'd hide.
He, entering at the study door,
Its ample area 'gan explore;
And something in the wind
Conjectured, sniffing round and round,
Better than all the books he found,
Food chiefly for the mind.
Just then, by adverse fate impress'd,
A dream disturb'd poor Bully's rest;
In sleep he seem'd to view
A rat fast clinging to the cage,
And, screaming at the sad presage,
Awoke and found it true.
For, aided both by ear and scent,
Right to his mark the monster went,—
Ah, Muse! forbear to speak
Minute the horrors that ensued;
His teeth were strong, the cage was wood,— He left poor Bully's beak.
O, had he made that too his
That beak, whence issued many a lay
Of such mellifluous tone,
Might have repaid him well, I wote,
For silencing so sweet a throat,
Fast stuck within his own.
Maria weeps, the Muses mourn ;-
So, when by Bacchanalians torn,
On Thracian Hebrus' side
The tree-enchanter Orpheus fell,
His head alone remain'd to tell
The cruel death he died.