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156 THE GOLDFINCHES, OR THE FAITHFUL FRIEND.

And Dick felt some desires,
Which, after many an effort vain,
Instructed him at length to gain

A pass between his wires.
The open windows seem'd t'invite
The freeman to a farewell flight;

But Tom was still confin'd ;
And Dick, altho' his way was clear,
Was much too generous and sincere

To leave his friend behind.

For, settling on his grated roof,
He chirp'd and kiss'd him, giving proof

That he desired 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.

FABLE LIV.

THE HERMIT,

OR, THE MORALIZER CORRECTED.

By Cowper.

A HERMIT (or, if 'chance you hold That title now too trite and old) A man, once young, who liv'd retir'd As Hermit could have well desir'd, His hours of study clos'd at last, And finish'd his concise repast, Stoppled his cruse, replac'd his book Within its customary nook, And, staff in hand, set forth to share The sober cordial of sweet air, Like Isaac with a mind applied To serious thought at evening-tide. Autumnal rains had made it chill, And from the trees that fring'd the hill, Shades slanting at the close of day Chilld more his else-delightful way. Distant a little mile he spied A western bank's still sunny side, And right towards the favour'd place Proceeding with his nimblest pace, In hope to bask a little yet, Just reach'd it when the sun was set.

Your Hermit, young and jovial Sirs ! Learns something from whate'er occursAnd · Hence,' he said, 'my mind computes · The real worth of man's pursuits. • His object chosen, wealth or fame, • Or other sublunary game, · Imagination to his view • Presents it deck'd with every hue * That can seduce him not to spare . His powers of best exertion there, * But youth, health, vigour to expend * On so desirable an end. • Ere long approach life's evening shades, * The glow that fancy gave it fades ; * And, earn’d too late, it wants the grace, " Which first engag'd him in the chace.'

One, seeming an angelic guide,
Attendant at the Senior's side,
In friendly accents thus replied-

• But, whether all the time it cost
• To urge the fruitless chase he lost,
• Must be decided by the worth
• Of that which call'd his ardour forth.

Trifles pursu'd, whate'er the event, • Must cause him shame or discontent; • A vicious object still is worse, cu

Successful there he wins a curse; • But he, whom, e'en in life's last stage, • Endeavours laudable engage,

• Is paid, at least in peace of mind,

And sense of having well design'd; * And, if, ere he attáin his end, • His sun precipitate descend, • A brighter prize than that he meant Shall recompense his mere intent. No virtuous wish can bear a date • Either too early or too late.'

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An Oyster, cast upon the shore;
Was heard, tho' never heard before,
Complaining in a speech well-worded,
And worthy thus to be recorded

"Ah, hapless wretch ! condemn’d to dwell • For ever in my native shell; * Ordain'd to move when others please,

Not for my own content and ease ; . . • But toss'd and buffeted about,

Now in the water, and now out ; - "Twere better to be born a stone, Of ruder shape and feeling none,. .

· Than with a tenderness like mine,
• And sensibilities so fine !
• I envy that unfeeling shrub,
• Fast-rooted against every rub.'
The plant he meant grew not far off,
And felt the sneer with scorn enough;
Was hurt, disgusted, mortified,
And with asperity replied.

• When,' cry the botanists, and stare,
• Did plants callid Sensitive grow there?
No matter when-a poet's muse is
To make them grow just where she chuses.

• You shapeless nothing in a dish, • You that are but almost a fish,

I scorn your coarse insinuation, • And have most plentiful occasion • To wish myself the rock I view,

Or such another dolt as you : * For many a grave and learned clerk, • And many a gay unletter'd spark, · With curious touch examines me, • If I can fret as well as he ; . And, when I bend, retire and shrink,

Says—Well, 'tis more than one would think! • Thus life is spent (oh, fie upon 't) • In being touch'd, and crying-Don't!'

A Poet, in his evening walk, O’erheard, and check'd this idle talk. * And your fine sense,' he said, ' and your's, • Whatever evil it endures,

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