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REAS’NING at ev'ry step he treads,
Man yet mistakes his way,
While meaner things, whom instinct leads,
Are rarely known to stray.
One silent eve I wander'd late,
And heard the voice of love;
The turtle thus address'd her mate,
And sooth'd the list’ning dove:
Our mutual bond of faith and truth
No time shall disengage,
Those blessings of our early youth
Shall cheer our latest age:
While innocence without disguise,
And constancy sincere,
Shall fill the circles of those eyes,
And mine can read them there;
Those ills, that wait on all below,
Shall ne'er be felt by me,
Or gently felt, and only so,
As being shar'd with thee.
When lightnings flash among the trees,
Or kites are hov'ring near,
I fear lest thee alone they seize,
And know no other fear.
VII. "Tis then I feel myself a wife,
And press thy wedded side, Resolv'd an union form’d for life
Death never shall divide.
But oh! if, fickle and unchaste,
(Forgive a transient thought) Thou could become unkind at last, And scorn thy present lot,
No need of lightnings 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 lesson for mankind.
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 wintry sky, Shook the young leaves about her ears, And fill'd her with a thousand fears,
Lest the rude blast should spap 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,
'Tis over, 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.)
The 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 danegrs 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,
No wealth 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 never flow 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.