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Say, what Assurance canst thou give,
That I with Birds a Bird Ihall live :
For cou'd I trust thy pleasing Tale,
No wanton Wish shou'd e'er prevail :
For what that Worms obtain, can vie
With Bliss of Birds that wing the Sky?'
-“ Believe my Words, th’ Adviser said,
Since not of private Int'rest bred;
Not on thy Life or Death depend
My Pleasure or my Pain-Attend !
Like thee, to all the future blind,
I knew not Wings for Worms design'dan
Till last yon Sun's ascending Light
Remov'd the dusky Shades of Night.
Soon as his Rays, from Heav'n sublime,
Shone on that Leaf you wish to climb;
That Leaf, which shades, in earlieft Hours,
This less conspicuous Spot of ours :
Surpriz’d, a lovely Form I saw,
That touch'd me with Delight and Awe;
'Twas near, and while my Looks betray'd
My Wonder, thus the Stranger said:
“ If view'd by thee, with wond’rous Eyes,
My graceful Shape and vary'd dies;
Wonder still prepare to feel,
Amazing Truths my Words reveal :
For know, like thine my humble Birth;
Like thee, I crawlid a Worm on Earth.”
" Ah! mock me not, said I, nor seek
A worthless Triumph o'er the Weak.
Canst thou, thy Form with Down o'erspread,
By Nature crown'd thy regal Head?
Canst thou my reptile Shape have worn ?
My reptile Shape, of all the Scorn!
Haft thou ! whole gorgeous Wings display
Each vary'd Tint that drinks the Day;
More bright than Drops of orient Dew,
More gay than Flow'rs of gaudieft Hue;
With Purple edg’d, and fring’d with Gold,
Like Light, too splendid to behnld!
Haft thou, an abject Worm like me,
Crawl'd prone on Earth ? it cannot be."
« O! cease thy Doubts, the Stranger cry'd,
To Faith thy Happiness ally'd
Not thrice the Morn these Eyes have view'd,
Since genial Spring my Life renew'd:
From Death-like Slumbers wak'd, I found
A guardian Shell invest me round.
The circling Shield I broke, nor knew
How long my Safety thence I drew;
But soon perceiv'd, and knew the Spot,
Where once, a Worm, I fix'd my Lot:
The past, with Wonder, touch'd my Breaft,
More Wonder still the now imprest;
With Pleasure mixt, -- the Pleasure grew,
At ev'ry Thought, at ev'ry View :
Transform’d, my unknown Pow'r I try,
I wave my Wings ! I rife! I Aly!
Enraptur’d with the blissful Change,
From Field to Field I wanton rage;
From Flow'r to Flow'r, from Tree to Tree,
And see whate'er I wish to see.
Now glide along the daisy'd Ground,
Now wheel in wanton Circles round;
Now mount aloft, and sport in Air,
Transported, when I will, and where.
Still present to whate'er invites,
Each Moment brings me new Delights:
Nor Fear allays the Joy I know,
The Dangers scorn'd that lurk below;
No trampling Hoof, my former Dread,
Can crush me, mangled, to the Dead.
Ev'n Man himself pursues, in vain,
My sportive Circuit o'er the Plain.”
He said, and raptur'd with the Thought,
New Charms his brightning Plumage caught,
He clapp'd his Wings, his rapid Flight
I trac'd, with fond defiring Sight;
O! glorious State reserv'd to this,
I risk not Life for reptile Bliss :
O! catch the glowing Wish from me,
The same the Bliss referv'd for thee:
Defist from ev'ry rash Design,
And Beauty, Plumes, and Wings are thine.
He ceas'd, th’ Advent'rer thus reply'd ;
By thee the fansied Change be try'd,
The now is mine, the now alone,
The future Fate's a dark unknown!
To Nature's Voice my Ears incline;
All lovely, loving, all divine !
To Joy she courts, she points the Way,
And chides this cold, this dull Delay.
Farewel— let Hope thy Bliss supply,
And count thy Gains with Fancy's Eye.
Be thine the Wings that Time fhall send,
Believing and obliging Friend
He said, and sneering fly Disdain,
The neighb'ring Leaf attempts to gain;
He falls-- all bruis'd on Earth he lies;
Too late repents, and groans, and dies.
His friendly Monitor, with Care,
Avoids each . Pleasure-baited Snare;
False Pleasure, false, and fatal too!
Superior Joys he keeps in View :
They come, the genial Spring supplies
The Wings he hop'd, and, lo! he flies !
Tastes all that Summer Suns prepare,
And all the Joys of Earth and Air !
To bis Grace the Duke of MONTAGUE.
1 AY, shall the Brave like common Mortals
die, And Acts of Virtue in Oblivion lie? The Muse forbids, who, in recording Lays, Gives ever to Desert the Song of Praise. What, tho' the Tale is not to Anstis known ? Whate'er the Muse recalls she makes her own; Who, conscious of thy Worth, would give to
Fame Thy Charms Matilda, and Carvilior's Flame. Attend, my Lord, while I the Tale restore; Protect the Poet, and he asks no more ; Refuse not to regard this humble Strain, Thou just Presider o'er th' illustr'ous Train.
E're the first Cæfar did our Isle subdue, When Britons nought but British Virtue knew, Cingetorix, in his Domains content, Confin'd his Empire to the Bounds of Kent. No Luft of Pow'r drives him to Realms un
known, To rob his Neighbours, and enlarge his own.