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When dear Sultana's' spirit fled,
In youthful vigour's vernal bloom,
To the dark mansions of the dead:
Then for my hero's hapless doom
Such tears might once again be shed.

One might, upon his virtues cross'd
By adverse fortune's envious rage,
And wanderings over many a coast,
Swell out the soporific page,
And other Odysseys compose
To lull the reader to repose:
One might the gods and devils raise
Of superannuated lies,

Spin out the deeds of forty days.
To volumes of dull histories,
And with a pompous
Sublimely heavy, moralize
Upon a bird, in epic dress,
Who as Æneas' self was great,
As famous too for godliness,
And each way more unfortunate;
But folios are,
in verse, excess,
Which the sweet Muses must abhor,
For they are sportive bees of spring,
Who dwell not long on any bower,
But, lightly wandering on the wing,
Collect the bloom from flower to flower,
And, when one fragrant blossom's dry,
To other sweets unrifled fly.
This truth my observation drew
From faultless nature and from you;
And may these lines, I copy, prove
I'm govern'd by the laws I love!
A lap-dog.

Should I, too faithfully portraying
Some cloister'd characters, reveal
The convent arts themselves, arraying
In pomp, with hieroglyphic skill,
Each weighty business of the grate,
Each serious nothing's mystic face,
Each trifle swell'd with holy state;
Your native humour, whilst I trace
The comic semblance, will forbear
To blame the strokes you cannot fear;
You may despise, from folly free,
What dulness is obliged to wear,
The formal mask of gravity:
Illusion's meteors never shine
To lead astray such souls as thine.
All holy arts Heaven values less
Than amiable cheerfulness.

Should Virtue her own image show
To ravish'd mortals here below,
With features fierce she'd not appear,
Nor Superstition's holy leer,
But, like the Graces, or like you,
She'd come to claim her altar's due.-
In many an author of renown
I've read this curious observation,
That by much wandering up and down,
Men catch the faults of every nation,
And lose the virtues of their own.
'Tis better, e'en where scanty fare is,
Our homely hearths and honours watching,
Under protection of our lares,

A calm domestic life to wed,
Than run about infection catching
Wherever chance and error tread;


The youth too soon who goes
Will half a foreigner become,
And bring his wondering friends a load
Of strange exotic vices home.

This truth. the hero of my tale
Exemplifies in tarnish'd glory;
Should sceptic wits the truth assail,
I call, for witness to my story,
Each cloister'd echo now that dwells
In Nevers' consecrated cells.

At Nevers, but few years ago, Among the nuns o' the' visitation, There dwelt a parrot, though a beau, For sense of wondrous reputation; Whose virtues and genteel address, Whose figure, and whose noble soul, Would have secured him from distress, Could wit and beauty fate control. Ver-Vert (for so the nuns agreed To call this noble personage) The hopes of an illustrious breed, To India owed his parentage; By an old missionary sent To this said convent for his good, He yet was young and innocent, And nothing worldly understood. Beauteous he was and debonnair, Light, spruce, inconstant, gay, and free, And unreserved, as youngsters are, Ere age brings on hypocrisy ; In short, a bird, from prattling merit, Worthy a convent to inherit.

The tender cares I need not tell Of all the sisterhood devout,

Nothing, 'tis said, each loved so well,
Leave but her ghostly father out;
Nay in some hearts, not void of grace,
One plain historian makes no doubt
The parrot of the priest took place.
He shared in this serene abode
Whate'er was loved by the profession;
On him such dainties were bestow'd
As nuns prepare against confession,
And for the sacred entrails hoard
Of holy fathers in the Lord.
Sole licensed male to be beloved,
Ver-Vert was bless'd without control,
Caressing and caress'd he roved
Of all the monastery the soul;
Except some antiquated dames,
Whose hearts, to pleasure callous grown,
Remark'd with jealous eyes the flames
Of bosoms younger than their own.
At years of reason not arrived,
A life of privilege he lived,
He said and did whate'er he would,
And what he said or did was good.
He'd peck the nuns in wanton play,
To wile their plain-work hours away;
No party ever was approved
Without his favourite company:
In him they found what females loved,
That life of bliss-variety.

He'd strut a beau in sportive rings,
Uttering pert sentences by rote,
Mimic the butterfly's light wings,
Or nightingale's complaining note;


He'd laugh, sing, whistle, joke, and leer,
And frolic, but discreetly so,
With a prudential cautious fear,
As nuns probationary do.
Question'd at once by many a tongue
Incessantly inquisitive,

He could, discordant sounds among,
To each a proper answer give;
This power from Cæsar's nothing varies,
Who did at once great plans conceive
And dictate to four secretaries.

If chronicles may be believed,
So loved the pamper'd gallant lived
That with the nuns he always dined
On rarities of every kind;
Then hoards, occasionally varied,
Of biscuits, sweetmeats, nuts, and fruit,
Each sister in her pocket carried,
Subordinately to recruit,

At leisure times, when not at table,
His stomach indefatigable.
The little Cares, with tender faces
And fond Attentions, as they say,
Are natives of these holy places,
As Ver-Vert witness'd every day.
No human parrot of the court
Was fondled half so much as he;
In indolence genteel and sport,
His hours roll'd on delightfully:
Each chamber that he fancied best
Was his the dormitory round,
And where at eve he chose to rest,
Honour'd, thrice honour'd was the ground:
And much the lucky nun was bless'd!


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