THE EAGLE and ROBIN RED-BREAST.
A FABLE. *
* Written before the year 1600.
1 THE prince of all the feather'd kind,
2 That with spread wings outflies the wind,
3 And tow'rs far out of human sight
4 To view the shining orb of light:
5 This Royal Bird, tho' brave and great,
6 And armed strong for stern debate,
7 No tyrant is, but condescends
8 Oft-times to treat inferior friends.
9 One day at his command did flock
10 To his high palace on a rock,
11 The courtiers of ilk various size
12 That swiftly swim in chrystal skies;
13 Thither the valiant tarsels doup,
14 And here rapacious corbies croup,[Page 292]
15 With greedy gleads, and sly gormahs,
16 And dimson pyes, and chattering dawes;
17 Proud peacocks, and a hundred mae,
18 Brush'd up their pens that solemn day,
19 Bow'd first submissive to my lord,
20 Then took their places at his board.
21 Meantime while feasting on a fawn,
22 And drinking blood from lamies drawn,
23 A tuneful robin trig and young,
24 Hard-by upon a burr-tree sung.
25 He sang the eagle's royal line,
26 His piercing eye, and right divine
27 To sway out-owre the feather'd thrang,
28 Who dread his martial bill and fang:
29 His flight sublime, and eild renew'd,
30 His mind with clemency endu'd;
31 In softer notes he sang his love,
32 More high, his bearing bolts for Jove.
33 The monarch bird with blitheness heard
34 The chaunting little silvan bard,
35 Call'd up a buzzard, who was then
36 His favourite and chamberlain.
37 Swith to my treasury, quoth he,
38 And to yon canty robin gie
39 As muckle of our current gear
40 As may maintain him thro' the year;
41 We can well spar't, and its his due:
42 He bade, and forth the Judas flew,
43 Straight to the branch where robin sung,
44 And with a wicked lying tongue,[Page 293]
45 Said ah! ye sing so dull and rough,
46 Ye've deaf'd our lugs more than enough,
47 His Majesty has a nice ear,
48 And no more of your stuff can bear;
49 Poke up your pipes, be no more seen
50 At court, I warn you as a frien.
51 He spake, while robin's swelling breast,
52 And drooping wings his grief exprest;
53 The tears ran hopping down his cheek,
54 Great grew his heart, he could not speak.
55 No for the tinsel of reward,
56 But that his notes met no regard:
57 Strait to the shaw he spread his wing,
58 Resolv'd again no more to sing,
59 Where princely bounty is supprest
60 By such with whom They are opprest;
61 Who cannot bear (because they want it)
62 That ought should be to merit granted.