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Why is our food so very sweet?—
Because we earn before we eat.
Why are our wants so very few ?—
Because we Nature's calls pursue.
Whence our complacency of mind?—
Because we act our parts assign'd.
Have we incessant tasks to do?
Is not all Nature busy too?
Doth not the sun with constant pace
Persist to run his annual race?
Do not the stars which shine so bright
Renew their courses every night?
Doth not the ox obedient bow
His patient neck, and draw the plough?
Or when did e'er the generous steed
Withhold his labour or his speed?

If

you all Nature's system scan, The only idle thing is man.'

A wanton Sparrow long'd to hear This sage discourse, and straight drew near. The bird was talkative and loud, And very pert, and very proud; As worthless and as vain a thing, Perhaps, as ever wore a wing. She found, as on the spray she sat, The little friends were deep in chat; That virtue was their favourite theme, And toil and probity their scheme : Such talk was hateful to her breast, She thought them arrant prudes at best. When to display her naughty mind, Hunger with cruelty combined; She view'd the Ant with savage eyes, And hopp'd, and hopp'd to snatch her prize.

The Bee, who watch'd her opening bill,
And guess'd her fell design to kill;
Ask'd her from what her anger rose,
And why she treated ants as foes?'
The Sparrow her reply began;
And thus the conversation ran-
'Whenever I'm disposed to dine,
I think the whole creation mine;
That I'm a bird of high degree,
And every insect made for me.
Hence oft I search the emmet brood,
For emmets are delicious food.
And oft in wantonness and play,
I slay ten thousand in a day:
For truth it is, without disguise,
That I love mischief as my eyes.'

Oh! fie (the honest Bee replied),
I fear you make base man your guide;
Of every creature sure the worst,
Though in creation's scale the first!
Ungrateful man! 'tis strange he thrives,
Who burns the Bees to rob their hives!
I hate his vile administration,
And so do all the emmet nation.
What fatal foes to birds are men,
Quite from the eagle to the wren !
Oh! do not men's example take,
Who mischief do for mischief's sake;
But spare the Ant-her worth demands
Esteem and friendship at your hands.
A mind with every virtue bless'd
Must raise compassion in your breast.'
Virtue! (rejoin'd the sneering bird)
Where did you learn that gothic word?

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Since I was hatch'd I never heard
That virtue was at all revered.
But say it was the ancients' claim,
Yet moderns disavow the name.
Unless, my dear, you read romances,
I cannot reconcile your fancies.
Virtue in fairy tales is seen
To play the goddess or the queen;
But what's a queen without the power,
Or beauty, child, without a dower?
Yet this is all that virtue brags;
At best 'tis only worth in rags.
Such whims my very heart derides;
Indeed you make me burst my sides.
Trust me, Miss Bee-to speak the truth,
I've copied man from earliest youth;
The same our taste, the same our school,
Passion and appetite our rule;
And call me bird, or call me sinner,
I'll ne'er forego my sport or dinner.'

A prowling cat the miscreant spies, And wide expands her amber eyes. Near and more near Grimalkin draws, She wags her tail, protends her paws; Then springing on her thoughtless prey, She bore the vicious bird away.

Thus in her cruelty and pride, The wicked, wanton Sparrow died,

II.

That true virtue consists in action, and not in speculation.

THE SCHOLAR AND THE CAT.

LABOUR entitles man to eat;
The idle have no claim to meat.
This rule must every station fit,
Because 'tis drawn from sacred writ.
And yet to feed on such condition,
Almost amounts to prohibition.
Rome's priesthood would be doom'd, I fear,
To eat soup maigre all the year.
And would not Oxford's cloister'd son

By this hard statute be undone ?

In truth, your poet, were he fed
No oftener than he earns his bread,
The vengeance of this law would feel,
And often
go without a meal.

It seem'd a Scholar and his Cat
Together join'd in social chat.
When thus the letter'd youth began—
'Of what vast consequence is man!
Lords of this nether globe we shine,
Our tenure's held by right divine.
Here independence waves its plea,
All creatures bow the vassal knee.
Nor earth alone can bound our reign,
Ours is the empire of the main.

True-man's a sovereign prince-but say, What art sustains the monarch's sway.

Say from what source we fetch supplies;
"Tis here the grand inquiry lies.
Strength is not man's-for strength must suit
Best with the structure of a brute.
Nor craft nor cunning can suffice;
A fox might then dispute the prize.
To godlike Reason 'tis we owe
Our ball and sceptre here below.

'Now your associate next explains
To whom precedence appertains.
And sure 'tis easy to divine
The leaders of this royal line.
Note, that all tradesmen I attest
But petty princes at the best.
Superior excellence you'll find
In those who cultivate the mind.
Hence heads of colleges, you'll own,
Transcend the' assessors of a throne.
Say, Evans, have you any doubt?
You can't offend by speaking out.

With visage placid and sedate,
Puss thus address'd her learned mate-
'We're told that none in Nature's plan
Disputes preeminence with man.
But this is still a dubious case
To me, and all our purring race.
We grant indeed to partial eyes
Men may appear supremely wise,
But our sagacious rabbies hold,
That" all which glitters is not gold."
Pray, if your haughty claims be true,
Why are our manners aped by you?
Whene'er you think all cats agree,
You shut your optics, just as we.

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