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MISCELLANIES

OR

ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS IN PROSE AND VERSE.

THE THREE WARNINGS.

A TALE.

THE tree of deepest root is found
Least willing still to quit the ground;
'Twas therefore said by ancient sages,
That love of life increased with years.
So much, that in our latter stages,
When pains grow sharp and sickness rages,
The greatest love of life appears.

This great affection to believe,
Which all confess but few perceive,
If old affections can't prevail,

Be pleased to hear a modern tale.

When sports went round, and all were gay,
On neighbour Dobson's wedding day,

* Under this head I have printed only those which were found detached. The majority of her fugitive pieces and occasional verses are contained in the Letters.

Death call'd aside the jocund groom,
With him into another room:
And looking grave, You must, says he,
Quit your sweet bride, and come with me.
With you, and quit my Susan's side?
With you! the hapless husband cried :
Young as I am; 'tis monstrous hard;
Besides, in truth, I'm not prepared:
My thoughts on other matters go,
This is my wedding night, you know.
What more he urg'd, I have not heard,
His reasons could not well be stronger,
So Death the poor delinquent spared,
And left to live a little longer.

Yet calling up a serious look,

His hour glass tumbled while he spoke, Neighbour, he said, farewell. No more Shall Death disturb your mirthful hour, And further to avoid all blame

Of cruelty upon my name,

To give you time for preparation,
And fit you for your future station,
Three several warnings you shall have
Before you're summon'd to the grave:
Willing, for once, I'll quit my prey,
And grant a kind reprieve;
In hopes you'll have no more to say
But when I call again this way,
Well pleas'd the world will leave.
To these conditions both consented,
And parted perfectly contented.

What next the hero of our tale befell,

How long he lived, how wise, how well,
How roundly he pursued his course,
And smok'd his pipe, and strok'd his horse,
The willing muse shall tell:

He chaffer'd then, he bought, he sold,

Nor once perceived his growing old,
Nor thought of Death as near;
His friends not false, his wife no shrew,
Many his gains, his children few,

He pass'd his hours in peace;

But while he view'd his wealth increase,
While thus along life's dusty road,
The beaten track content he trod,
Old Time whose haste no mortal
Uncall'd, unheeded, unawares,

Brought him on his eightieth year.
And now one night in musing mood,
As all alone he sate,

Th' unwelcome messenger of fate
Once more before him stood.
Half stilled with anger and surprise,
So soon returned! old Dobson cries.
So soon, d' ye call it! Death replies :
Surely, my friend, you 're but in jest;
Since I was here before

spares

'Tis six-and-thirty years at least,

And you are now fourscore.

So much the worse, the clown rejoin'd,
To spare the aged would be kind;

However, see your search be legal,
And your authority-Is 't regal?
Else you are come on a fool's errand,
With but a secretary's warrant.
Besides, you promised me three warnings,

Which I have looked for nights and mornings;

But for that loss of time and ease

I can recover damages.

I know, cries Death, that at the best,
I seldom am a welcome guest;

But don't be captious, friend, at least;
I little thought you'd still be able
To stump about your farm and stable;
Your years have run to a great length,
I wish you joy tho' of your strength.
Hold, says the farmer, not so fast,
I have been lame these four years past.
And no great wonder, Death replies ;
However, you still keep your eyes,
And sure to see one's loves and friends,
For legs and arms would make amends.
Perhaps, says Dobson, so it might,
But, latterly, I've lost my sight.
This is a shocking story, faith,

Yet there's some comfort still, says Death;

Each strives your sadness to amuse,

you I have all the news.

I warrant
There's none, cries he, and if there were,
I'm grown so deaf, I could not hear,

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