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The open windows seem'd to invite
The freeman to a farewell flight;
But Tom was still confin'd;
And Dick, although his way was clear,
Was much too gen'rous and sincere
To leave his friend behind.
For, settling on his grated roof,
He chirp'd and kiss’d him, giving proof
That he desir'd no more ;
Nor would forsake his cage at last,
'Till gently seiz'd, I shut him fast,
A pris’ner as before.
Oh ye, who never knew the joys
Of Friendship, satisfied with noise,
Fandango, ball, and rout!
Blush, when I tell you how a bird,
A prison, with a friend, preferr’d
To liberty without.
The green-house is my summer seat;
My shrubs displac'd from that retreat
Enjoy’d the open air ;
Two goldfinches, whose sprightly song
Had been their mutual foiace long,
Liv'd happy pris'ners there.
They sang, as blithe as finches fing
That flutter loose on golden wing,
And frolic where they lift;
Strangers to liberty, 'tis true,
But that delight they never knew,
And, therefore, never miss'd.
But nature works in ev'ry breaft;,
Initinct is never quite suppress’d;
And Dick felt some desires,
Which, after many an effort vain,
Instructed him at length to gain
A pass between his wires.
At length a Bulfinch, who could boast
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, op'ning wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And, filence publicly enjoin'd,
Deliver'd briefly thus his mind.
My friends! be cautious how ye treat
The subject upon which we meet a
I fear we shall have winter yet.
A Finch, whose tongue knew no control,
With golden wing and satin poll,
A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
What marriage means, 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,
I marry without more ado,
My dear Dick Redcap, what say you ?
Dick heard, and tweedling, ogling, bridling
Turning short round, ftrutting and fideling,
Attested, glad, his approbation
Of an immediate conjugation.
Their sentiments so well express'd,
Influenc'd mightily the rest,
All pair'd, and each pair built a nest.
But though the birds were thus in hasteg.
The leaves came on not quite so fast,
And destiny, that sometimes bears
An aspect ftern on 'man's affairs,
Not altogether fmild on theirs.
The wind, of late breath'd gently forth,
Now shifted east and east by north.
Bare trees and shrubs but ill, you know,
Could shelter them from rain or snow;
Stepping into their nests, they paddled,
Themselves were chill'd, their eggs were addled;
Soon ev'ry father bird and mother
Grew quarrelsome, and peck'd each other,
Parted without the least regret,
Except that they had ever met,
And learn’d, in future, to be wiser,
Than to neglect a good adviser.
There is a field through which I often pass,
Thick overspread with moss and filky grass,
Adjoining close to Kilwick's echoing wood,
Where oft the bitch-fox hides her hapless brood,
Reserv'd to solace many a neighb'ring 'squire,
That he may follow them through brake and briar,
Contusion hazarding of neck or spine,
Which rural gentlemen call sport divine.
A narrow brook, by rushy banks conceal'd,
Ruos in a bottom, and divides the field ;
Qaks intersperse it, that had once a head,
But now wear crests of oven-wood instead;
And where the lạnd Nopes to its wat’ry bourn,
Wide yawns a gulph beside a ragged thorn
Bricks line the fides, but shiver'd long ago,
And horrid brambles intertwine below;
A hollow scoop'd, I judge in ancient time,
For baking earth, or burning rock to lime.