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Can such offence your anger wake?
'Twas beauty caus'd the bold mistake;
Those cherry lips that breathe perfume,
That cheek so ripe with youthful bloom,
Made me with strong desire pursue
The fairest peach that ever grew.
« Strike him not, Jenny,” Doris cries, « Nor murder wasps like vulgar flies: For though he's free, to do him right, The creature's civil and polite."
In ecstasies away he posts; Where'er he came the favour boasts; Brags how her sweetest tea he sips, And shows the sugar on his lips.
The hint alarm'd the forward crew; Sure of success, away they flew. They share the dainties of the day, Round her with airy music play; And now they flutter, now they rest, Now soar again, and skim her breast. Nor were they banish’d, till she found That wasps have stings, and felt the wound.
THE SICK MAN AND THE ANGEL.
“ Is there no hope?" the sick man said ; The silent doctor shook his head, And took his leave with signs of sorrow, Despairing of his fee to-morrow.
When thus the man, with gasping breath; “ I feel the chilling wound of death: Since I must bid the world adieu, Let me my former life review. I grant, my bargains were well made, But all men over-reach in trade; 'Tis self-defence in each profession: Sure self-defence is no transgression, The little portion in my hands, By good security on lands, Is well increas'd. If unawares My justice to myself and heirs Hath let my debtor rot in jail, For want of good sufficient bail; If I by writ, or bond, or deed, Reduc'd a family to need,
My will hath made the world amends;
My hope on charity depends.
When I am number'd with the dead,
And all my pious gifts are read,
By heav'n and earth 't will then be known,
My charities were amply shown."
An angel camé. " Ah, friend!” he cry’d,
“No more in flatt'ring hope confide:
Can thy good deeds in former times
Outweigh the balance of thy crimes ?
What widow or what orphan prays
To crown thy life with length of days ?
A pious action's in thy pow'r,
Embrace with joy the happy hour.
Now, while you draw the vital air,
Prove your intention is sincere.
This instant give a hundred pound;
Your neighbours want, and you abound."
“ But why such haste?" the sick man whines, “Who knows as yet what heaven designs, Perhaps I may recover still: That sum and more are in my will."
“ Fool!” says the vision, now 'tis plain, Your life, your soul, your heav'n was gain. From ev'ry side, with all your might, You scrap’d, and scrap'd beyond your right; And after death would fain atone, By giving what is not your own.” "'While there is life, there's hope," he cry'd ; “ Then why such haste?" so groan'd-and dy'd.
THE FARMER'S WIFE AND THE RAVEN.
Why are those tears? why droops your head?
Is then your other husband dead?
Or does a worse disgrace betide,
Has no one since his death apply'd ?
Alas! you know the cause too well;
The salt is spilt, to me it fell.
Then to contribute to my loss,
My knife and fork were laid across;
On Friday too ! the day I dread!
Would I were safe at home in bed!
Last night (I vow to beav'n tis true)
Bounce froin the fire a coffin flew,
Next post some fatal news shall tell ;
I hope my Cornish friends are well!
Unhappy widow! cease thy tears,
Nor feel affliction in thy fears.
Lel not thy stomach be suspended';
Eat now, and weep when dinner's ended;
And when the butler clears the table,
For thy dessert I'll read my fable.
Betwixt her swagging panoiers' load
A farmer's wife to market rode;
And, jogging on, with thoughtful care
Summ'd up ihe profits of her ware;
When, starting from her silver dream,
Thus far and wide was heard her scream :
“That raven on yon left-hand oak
(Curse on his ill-betiding croak)
Bodes me no good.”. No more she said,
When poor blind Ball, with stumbling tread,
Fell prone; o'erturn'd the panniers lag,
And her mash'd eggs bestrew'd the way.
She, sprawling in the yellow road, Raild, swore, and curs'd: “Thou croaking toad, A murrain take thy whoreson throat ! • I knew misfortune in the note.”
Dame," quoth the raven, “ spare your oaths, Unclench your fist, and wipe your clothes. But why on me those curses throwo ? Goody, the fault was all your own; For had you laid this brittle ware On Dun, the old sure-footed' mare; Though all the ravens of the hundred, With croaking had your tongue out-thunder'd, Sure-footed Dun had kept her legs, And you, good woman, sav'd your eggs.”
THE HARE AND MANY FRIENDS.
Friendship, like love, is but a name,
Unless to one you stint the flame.
The child, whom many fathers share, de
Hath seldom known a father's care.
'Tis thus in friendship; who depend
On many rarely find a friend.
A hare, who in a civil way,
Comply'd with ev'ry thing, like Gay,
Was known by all the bestial train
That haunt the wood or graze the plain.
Her care was, never to offend,
And ev'ry creature was her friend.
As forth she went at early dawn,
To taste the dew-besprinkled lawn,
Behind she hears the hunter's cries,
And from the deep-mouth'd thunder flies.
She starts, she stops, she pants for breath;
She hears the near advance of death;
She doubles to mislead the hound,
And measures back her mazy round;
Till, fainting in the public way,
Half dead with fear she gasping lay.
What transport in her bosom grew,
When first the horse appear’d in view !
“ Let me," says she, “ your back ascend,
And owe my safety to a friend.
You know iny feet betray my flight;
To friendship every burden's light."
The horse reply'd, “ Poor honest puss,
It grieves my heart to see thee tbus.
Be comforted; relief is near,
For all your friends are in the rear."
She next the stately bul implor’d:
And thus reply'd the mighty lord;
"Since ev'ry beast alive can tell
That I sincerely wish you well,
I may, without offence, pretend
To take the freedom of a friend.
Love calls me hence; a fav’rite cow
Expects me near yon barley-mow;
And when a lady's in the case,
You know, all other things give place.
To leave you thus might seem unkind;
But see, the goat is just behind;"
The goat remark'd her pulse was high,
Her languid head, her heavy eye:
“My back," says he, “ may do you harm;
The sheep's at hand, and wool is warm."
The sheep was feeble, and complain'd.
His sides a load of wool sustain'd:
Said he was slow, confess'd his fears;
For hounds eat sheep as well as harés.
She now the trotting calf address’d,
To save from death a friend distress'd.
“ Shall'I," says be,“ of tender age,
In this important care engage?
Older and abler pass’d you by;
How strong are ihose! how weak am 1!
Should I presume to bear you hence,
Those friends of mine may take offences
Excuse ine then. You know my heart,
But dearest friends, alas ! must part.
How shall we all lament! Adieu :
For see the hounds are just in view.”
THE FATHER AND JUPITER.
The man to Jove his suit preferr’d;
He begg'd a wife: his prayer was heard,
Jove wonder'd at his bold addressing;
For how precarious is the blessing!
A wife he lakes. And now for heirs
Again he worries heav'n with pray’rs.
Jove nods assent. Two hopeful boys
And a fine girl reward bis joys.
Now, inore solicitous he grew,
And set their future lives in view;
He saw that all respect and duty
Were paid to wealth, to pow's, and beauty.
“Once more,” he cries, “accept my pray'r;
lord progeny thy care.
Let my first hope, my fay’rite boy,
All Fortune's richest gifts enjoy.
My next with strong ambition fire:
May favour teach him to aspire,
Till he the step of pow'r ascend,
And courtiers to their idol bend.
With ev'ry grace, with every charm,
My daughter's perfect features arm :
If Heav'n approve, a father's blessid
Joye smiles, and grants his full request.
The first, a miser at the heart,
Studious of ev'ry griping art,
Heaps boards on hoards with anxious pain,
And all his life devotes to gain.