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But oh! if, fickle and unchaste,
(Forgive a transient thought) Thou could become unkind at last,
And scorn thy present lot,
No need of lightning from on high,
Or kites with cruel beak;
Denied th' endearments of thine eye,
This widow'd heart would break.
Thus sang the sweet sequester'd bird,
Soft as the passing wind, And I recorded what I heard,
A Raven, while with glossy breast
Her new-laid eggs she fondly press’d,
And, on her wickerwork high mounted,
Her chickens prematurely counted,
(A fault philosophers might blame
If quite exempted from the same)
Enjoy'd at ease the genial day;
'Twas April as the bumpkins say,
The legislature call'd it May.
But suddenly a wind, as high
As ever swept a winter sky,
Shook the young leaves about her ears,
And fill'd her with a thousand fears,
Lest the rude blast should snap the bough,
And spread her golden hopes below.
But just at eve the blowing weather,
And all her fears were hush'd together:
And now, quoth poor unthinking Ralph,
and the brood is safe;
(For ravens, though as birds of omen
They teach both conj’rers and old women,
To tell us what is to befall,
Can't prophesy themselves at all.
T'he morning came when neighbour Hodge,
Who long had mark'd her airy lodge,
And destin'd all the treasure there
A gift to his expecting fair,
Climb'd like a squirrel to his dray,
And bore the worthless prize away.
"Tis Providence alone secures
In ev'ry change both mine and yours:
Safety consists not in escape
From dangers of a frightful shape;
An earthquake may be bid to spare
The man, that's strangled by a hair.
Fate steals along with silent tread,
Found oft'nest in what least we dread,
Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
But in the sunshine strikes the blow.
The lapse of time and rivers is the same,
Both speed their journey with a restless stream;
The silent pace,
with which they steal away,
Nowealth can bribe, no pray’rs persuade to stay;
Alike irrevocable both when past,
And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
Though each resemble each in ev'ry part,
A diff'rence strikes at length the musing heart;
Streams neverflow in vain; where streams abound How laughs the land with various plenty crown'd! But time, that should enrich the nobler mind, Neglected leaves a dreary waste behind.
ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY.
Sweet stream, that winds thro' yonder glade,
Apt emblem of a virtuous maid-
Silent and chaste she steals along,
Far froin the world's gay busy throng:
With gentle yet prevailing force,
her destin'd course;
Graceful and useful all she does,
Blessing and blest where'er she goes,
Pure-bosom'd as that wat’ry glass,
And Heav’n reflected in her face.