[Page 302]


1 A raven while with glossy breast,
2 Her new-laid eggs she fondly press'd,
3 And on her wicker-work high mounted
4 Her chickens prematurely counted,
5 (A fault philosophers might blame
6 If quite exempted from the same)
7 Enjoy'd at ease the genial day,
8 'Twas April as the bumkins say,
9 The legislature call'd it May.
10 But suddenly a wind as high
11 As ever swept a winter sky,
12 Shook the young leaves about her ears,
13 And fill'd her with a thousand fears,
14 Lest the rude blast should snap the bough,
15 And spread her golden hopes below.
16 But just at eve the blowing weather,
17 And all her fears were hush'd together:
18 And now, quoth poor unthinking Ralph,
19 'Tis over, and the brood is safe;
[Page 303]
20 (For ravens though as birds of omen,
21 They teach both conj'rers and old women
22 To tell us what is to befall,
23 Can't prophecy, themselves, at all.)
24 The morning came, when neighbour Hodge,
25 Who long had mark'd her airy lodge,
26 And destin'd all the treasure there
27 A gift to his expecting fair,
28 Clim'b like a squirrel to his dray,
29 And bore the worthless prize away.


30 'Tis providence alone secures
31 In every change, both mine and your's.
32 Safety consists not in escape
33 From dangers of a frightful shape,
34 An earthquake may be bid to spare
35 The man that's strangled by a hair.
36 Fate steals along with silent tread,
37 Found oft'nest in what least we dread,
38 Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
39 But in the sunshine strikes the blow.


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Title (in Source Edition): A FABLE.
Themes: providence
Genres: fable

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Cowper, William, 1731-1800. Poems: by William Cowper, of the Inner Temple, Esq. London: printed for J. Johnson, 1782, pp. 302-303. [4],367,[1]p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T14895; OTA K027775.000) (Page images digitized by the University of California Libraries.)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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