Page images
PDF

In all her splendour, pomp and pride,
The winged gem a Boy espied;
Who, pleas'd to see how bright it shone,
Resolv'd to make the prize his own;
And straight with speed began to trace

The painted Fly from place to place : · But, conscious of some danger near,

The Butterfly her course would steer
Now high, then low, now here, now there,
To balk the aim, or shun the blow
She justly dreaded from her foe.

The Lad, still eager to pursue
The Fly that always kept in view,
Thro' many a lane and meadow went,
His soul so on the prize was bent,
Undaunted ran from morn to noon
To gain the heart-enchanting boon.

At length, when sweat bedew'd his face,
And almost weary of the chace,
The Fly in evil hour is caught,
And homewards by the conqueror brought;
Who vainly hop'd the glorious spoil
Would more than recompense his toil :
But, while, with pleasure and surprize,
Her form and beauty feast his eyes,
The Fly escapes, and mounts the skies,
With rallied force augments her flight,
And quick évades his keenest sight.
Then he, deluded youth! gave o'er
All hope to find the booty more ;

Enrag'd condemns his cruel fate,
And wept his folly-but too late.

Thus foolish mortals waste their days,
In seeking pleasures, wealth and praise ;
They hunt for honours, titles, fame,
And risk their souls to gain--a name ;
Chase ev'ry glitt'ring toy they spy,
Just as the Lad pursu'd the fly,
And ere they grasp the bauble-die.

FABLE LXIX.

THE TWO DOVES. Two Turtles, once, of gentlest kind, In softest bands by love were join'd; Till tir'd of home Columbo grew, And pensive sigh'd for something new ; For distant realms prepar'd to part,ra When spoke the partner of his heart; • Why should my dear Columbo rove, * And leave me widow'd in the grove• What ill can worse than absence prove !

O let my love attend the Spring, * And wait the zephyrs' aiding wing. · Hawks, nets and ills of ev'ry kind • Henceforth shall haunt my boding mind;

* And what does Heav'n at home deny
· Which thou can't wish, or heav'n supply ?'

These words in doubt Columbo hold
Still weakly vain, and rashly bold;
At length his restless wish prevails,
And love, and fear, and prudence fails ;
When thus he spoke with cheerful air :
• From Turturella far be care,

No more let tears those eyes distain,
• Whate'er I seek three days shall gain ;
• Returning, then, to thee I'll tell,
• Whate'er I saw, or me befell :
* Amusing thus the pensive day,
• Who little see can little say, .
• Of rich description full my tale
• Shall oft thy listening ear regale ;
• The scenes I'll paint so strong, so true,
• In fancy thou shalt travel too.'

This said, Farewell dissolves his heart, And wet with mutual tears they part.

As Turturella pensive sate, In fancy wand'ring with her mate, Far as her utmost ken she sees A bird approach by slow degrees; Nor form'd for flight he seem'd, nor song, But stopp'd by turns, and limp'd along: si Her pains who feels can tell alone, The bird for chang'd Columbo known; Her mate, with pearly tears so great, Down from her nest she flew to meet.

Awhile with silent grief oppress'd,
At length she softly him address’d:
·0! tell me, dear Columbo, tell
• What scenes you saw, what woes befell;
• Why wounded thus Columbo mourns,
. And ere the appointed day returns ?'
With fault'ring voice, Columbo cried,
* From thee no more my heart I hide-

Scarce from this peaceful grove I past,
· When sudden clouds the skies o’ercast,
• I saw the storm, for shelter sought,
• A single tree that shelter brought,
« Thin leav'd, and pervious to the show'r,

I felt the rig'rous season's power. « The cloud dissolv’d, benumb’d with cold, . Again my dripping wings unfold ;. • In neighb'ring fields some com I view, * And, hov'ring near, a turtle too; . By flatt'ring hopes deluded there, “I struggled in the fowler's snare: • The turtle tutor'd to betray, • Beneath the bait, a noose there lay. • Unwonted strength despair supplied, • I broke the snare my feet that tied; « With less than half my tail I fled, • And trail'd behind a broken thread,

A remnant of the snare, when, lo! * A vulture sees me, dreadful foe! * Just as he stoop'd to snatch the prey, ' . • From heav'n an eagle wing'd his way;.

[ocr errors]

• I, while the sons of rapine fight,
• Improv'd the lucky hour in flight;
. The ruins of a cot were near,
• I thought my dangers ended here ;
* Deceitful thought! a playful boy,

(The cruel race in sport destroy)
• Whirl'd round the sling, the rapid stone

Laid bare my pinion to the bone; • Yet reach I living this abode,

What signal mercies Heav'n bestow'd ! • Left in this grove to sigh alone What fate has Turturella known?"

More signal yet, by far,' said she, • The mercies Heav'n bestow'd on me. . * Alas! what woes, Columbo cried,

In this short absence hast thou tried ? "What near escapes to equal mine? • Amazing marks of love divine !

The woes averted from my head • Are those which thou hast felt,' she said ; • No near escapes 'twas mine to prove, • What more amazing work of love! • In ease and safety more I gain • Than life to thee, preserv'd with pain, See, then, the mercies that I meant, Which Heaven to give me, gave Content ! • Learn hence the gifts vouchsafed to prize, • And, ere misfortunes teach,- be wise.

« PreviousContinue »