ODE TO A SINGING BIRD.
1 O Thou that glad'st my lonesome hours
2 With many a wildly warbled song,
3 When Melancholy round me low'rs,
4 And drives her sullen storms along;
5 When fell Adversity prepares
6 To lead her delegated train,
7 Pale Sickness, Want, Remorse, and Pain,
8 With all her host of carking cares —
9 The fiends ordain'd to tame the human soul,
10 And give the humbled heart to Sympathy's controul.
11 Sweet soother of my misery, say,
12 Why dost thou clap thy joyous wing?
13 Why dost thou pour that artless lay?
14 How canst thou, little prisoner, sing? [Page 142]
15 Hast thou not cause to grieve
16 That man, unpitying man! has rent
17 From thee the boon which Nature meant
18 Thou should'st, as well as he, receive?
19 The power to woo thy partner in the grove,
20 To build where instinct points; where chance directs, to rove.
21 Perchance, unconscious of thy fate,
22 And to the woes of bondage blind,
23 Thou never long'st to join thy mate,
24 Nor wishest to be unconfin'd;
25 Then how relentless he,
26 And fit for every foul offence,
27 Who could bereave such innocence
28 Of life's best blessing, Liberty!
29 Who lur'd thee, guileful, to his treacherous snare,
30 To live a tuneful slave, and dissipate his care.
31 But why for thee this fond complaint?
32 Above thy master thou art blest:
33 Art thou not free? — Yes; calm Content,
34 With olive sceptre, sways thy breast:
35 Then deign with me to live;
36 The falcon with insatiate maw,
37 With hooked bill and griping claw,
38 Shall ne'er thy destiny contrive:
39 And every tabby foe shall mew in vain,
40 While pensively demure she hears thy melting strain.
41 Nor shall the fiend, fell Famine, dare
42 Thy wiry tenement assail;
43 These, these shall be my constant care,
44 The limpid fount, and temperate meal:
45 And when the blooming Spring
46 In checquer'd livery robes the fields
47 The fairest flowrets Nature yields
48 To thee officious will I bring;
49 A garland rich thy dwelling shall entwine,
50 And Flora's freshest gifts, thrice happy bird, be thine.
51 From drear Oblivion's gloomy cave
52 The powerful Muse shall wrest thy name,
53 And bid thee live beyond the grave —
54 This meed she knows thy merits claim;
55 She knows thy liberal heart
56 Is ever ready to dispense
57 The tide of bland Benevolence,
58 And Melody's soft aid impart;
59 Is ready still to prompt the magic-lay,
60 Which hushes all our griefs, and charms our pains away.
61 Erewhile when brooding o'er my soul
62 Frown'd the black daemons of Despair,
63 Did not thy voice that power controul,
64 And oft suppress the rising tear?
65 If Fortune should be kind,
66 If e'er with affluence I'm blest,
67 I'll often seek some friend distrest,
68 And when the weeping wretch I find,[Page 144]
69 Then, tuneful moralist, I'll copy thee,
70 And solace all his woes with social sympathy.