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That poverty on sloth depends,
On poverty the loss of friends.
Hence every day the Ant is found
With anxious steps to tread the ground;
With curious search to trace the grain,
And drag the heavy load with pain.
The active Bee with pleasure saw
The Ant fulfil her parents' law.
Ah! sister-labourer, says she,
How very fortunate are we !`
Who, taught in infancy to know
The comforts which from labour flow,`-
Are independent of the great,
Nor know the wants of pride and state.
Why is our food so very sweet?
Because we earn before we eat.
Why are our wants so very few?
Because we nature's calls pursue.
Whence our complacency of mind? :
Because we act our parts assign'd.
Have we incessant tasks to do?
Is not all nature busy too?
Doth not the sun, with constant pace,
Persist to run his annual race?
Do not the stars, which shine so bright,
Renew their courses every night ?
Doth not the ox obedient bow
His patient neck, and draw the plough?
Or when did e'er the generous steed
Withhold his labour or his speed?
If you all nature's system scan,
The only idle thing is man.
A wanton Sparrow long'd to hear
Their sage discourse, and straight drew near.
The bird was talkative and loud,
And very pert and very proud;
As worthless and as vain a thing,
Perhaps, as ever wore a wing.
She found, as on a spray she sat,
The little friends were deep in chat;
That virtue was their favourite theme,
And toil and probity their scheme :
Such talk was hateful to her breast,
She thought them arrant prudes at best.
When to display her naughty mind,
Hunger with cruelty combin'd,
She view'd the Ant with savage eyes,
And hopt and hopt to snatch her prize.
The Bee, who watch'd her opening bill,
And guess'd her fell design to kill;
Ask'd her from what her anger rose,
And why she treated Ants as foes?
The Sparrow her reply began,
And thus the conversation ran.
Whenever I'm dispos'd to dine,
I think the whole creation mine;
That I'm a bird of high degree,
And every insect made for me.
Hence oft I search the emmet-brood,
For emmets are delicious food:
And oft, in wantonness and play,
Islay ten thousand in a day.
For truth it is, without disguise,
That I love mischief as my eyes.
Oh! fie, the honest Bee reply'd,
I fear you make base man your guide;
Of every creature sure the worst,
Though in creation's scale the first!
Ungrateful man! 'tis strange he thrives,
Who burns the Bees to rob their hives!
I hate his vile administration,
And so do all the emmet-nation.
What fatal foes to birds are men,
Quite to the Eagle from the Wren!
O! do not men's example take,
Who mischief do for mischief's sake;
But spare the Ant-her worth demands
Esteem and friendship at your hands:
A mind with every virtue blest,
Must raise compassion in your breast.
Virtue rejoin'd the sneering bird,
Where did you learn that gothic word?
Since I was hatch'd, I never heard
That virtue was at all rever'd.
But say it was the ancient's claim,
Yet moderns disavow the name;
Unless, my dear, you read romances,
I cannot reconcife your fancies.
Virtue in fairy tales is seen
To play the goddess or the queen ;
But what's a queen without the pow'r,
Or beauty, child, without a dow'r?
Yet this is all that virtue brags,
At best, 'tis only worth in rags.
Such whims my very heart derides,
Indeed you make me burst my sides.
Trust me, Miss Bee-
-to speak the truth,
I've copied men from earliest youth;
The same our taste, the same our school,
Passion and appetite our rule.
And call me bird, or call me sinner,
I'll ne'er forego my sport or dinner.
A prowling cat the miscreant spies,
And wide expands her amber eyes :
Near and more near Grimalkin draws,
She wags her tail, protends her paws :
Then springing on her thoughtless prey,,
She bore the vicious bird away.
Thus, in her cruelty and pride,
The wicked wanton Sparrow dy'd.
As two young bears in wanton mood,
Forth issuing from a neighbouring wood,
Came where th' industrious Bees had stor'd
In artful cells their luscious hoard;
O'erjoy'd they seiz'd with eager haste
Luxurious on the rich repast.
Alarm'd at this, the little crew:
About their ears vindictive flew.
The beasts, unable to sustain
Th' unequal combat, quit the plain:
Half-blind with rage, and mad with pain,
Their native shelter they regain; .
There sit, and now discreeter grown,`,
Too late their rashness they bemoan;
And this by dear experience gain,
That pleasure's ever bought with pain..
So when the gilded baits of vice
Are plac'd before our longing eyes,
With greedy haste we snatch our fill,
And swallow down the latent ill;
But when experience opes our eyes,
Away the fancy'd pleasure flies.
It flies, but oh! too late we find
It leaves a real sting behind.
OFT has it been my lot to mark
A proud, conceited, talking spark,
With eyes, that hardly serv'd at most
To guard their master 'gainst a post;
Yet round the world the blade has been
To see whatever could be seen.
Returning from his finish'd tour,
Grown ten times perter than before;
Whatever word you chance to drop,
The travell'd fool your mouth will stop,
"Sir, if my judgment you'll allow-
"I've seen-and sure I ought to know"-
So begs you'd pay a due submission,
And acquiesce in his decision.
Two travellers of such a cast, As o'er Arabia's wilds they past, And on their way in friendly chat, Now talk'd of this and then of that, Discours'd a while, 'mongst other matter, Of the Camelion's form and nature. "A stranger animal, cries one, "Sure never liv'd beneath the sun : "A lizard's body, lean and long, "A fish's head, a serpent's tongue, "Its tooth with triple claw disjoin'd "And what a length of tail behind! "How slow its pace! and then its hue"Who ever saw so fine a blue?"
"Hold there, the other quick replies, " "Tis green,—I saw it with these eyes, "As late with open mouth it lay, "And warm'd it in the sunny ray; "Stretch'd at its ease the beast I view'd, "And saw it eat the air for food"
"I've seen it, Sir, as well as you, "And must again affirm it blue. "At leisure I the beast survey'd "Extended in the cooling shade."
"'Tis green, 'tis green, Sir, I assure ye❞— "Green! cries the other in a fury
Why, Sir, d'ye think I've lost my eyes?" "'T were no great loss, the friend replies, "For, if they always serve you thus, "You'll find 'em but of little use." So high at last the contest rose, From words they almost came to blows : When luckily came by a thirdTo him the question they referr'd; And begg'd he'd tell 'em, if he knew, Whether the thing was green or blue.
"Sirs, cries the umpire, cease your pother; "The creature's neither one nor t'other. "I caught the animal last night, "And view'd it o'er by candle-light: "I mark'd it well-'twas black as jet"You stare-but, Sirs, I've got it yet, "And can produce it." Pray, Sir, do: "I'll lay my life, the thing is blue." "And I'll be sworn, that when you've seen "The reptile, you'll pronounce him green." "Well then, at once to ease the doubt, "Replies the man, I'll turn him out : "And when before your eyes I've set him, "If you don't find him black, I'll eat him. He said; then full before their sight Produc'd the beast, and lo!-'twas white. Both star'd, the man look'd wond'rous wiseMy children," the Camelion cries,
(Then first the creature found a tongue)
"You all are right, and all are wrong:
"When next you talk of what you view,
"Think others see, as well as you :
"Nor wonder, if you find that none
"Prefers your eye-sight to his own.”