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Pray, why like cats so wrapp'd in thought,
If you by cats were never taught?
But know, our tabby schools maintain
Worth is not centred in the brain.
Not that our sages thought despise-
No-but in action virtue lies.
We find it by experience fact,
That thought must ripen into act;
Or cat no real fame acquires,
But virtue in the bud expires.
This point your orchard can decide-
Observe its gay autumnal pride:
For trees are held in high repute,
Not for their blossoms, but their fruit.
If so, then Miller's' page decrees
Mere scholars to be barren trees.
But if these various reasons fail,
Let my example once prevail.
When to your chamber you repair,
Your property employs my care:
And while you sink in sweet repose,
My faithful eyelids never close.
When hunger prompts the mouse to steal,
Then I display my honest zeal;
True to my charge, these talons seize
The wretch who dares purloin your cheese:
Or should the thief assault your bread,
I strike the' audacious felon dead.
• Nor say I spring at smaller game,
My prowess slaughter'd rats proclaim.
I'm told your generals often fly
When danger and when death are nigh:
Nay, when nor death nor danger's near,
As your court-martials make appear.
1 Author of the Gardener's Dictionary, &c.
When in your service we engage,
We brave the pilfering villain's rage;
Ne'er take advantage of the night,
To meditate inglorious flight:
But stand resolved, when foes defy,
To conquer or to bravely die.
Hence, bookworm, learn-our duty here
Is active life in every sphere.
Know too, there's scarce a brute but can
Instruct vain supercilious man.'
That our fortitude and perseverance should be proportionate to the degree and duration of our sufferings.
NEPTUNE AND THE MARINERS.
WHEN Sore calamities we feel,
And sorrow treads on sorrow's heel;
Our courage and our strength, we say,
Are insufficient for the day.
Thus man's a poor dejected elf,
Who fain would run away from self.
Yet turn to Germany, you'll find
An Atlas of the human mind!
But here I deviate from my plan,
For Prussia's king is more than man.
Inferior beings suit my rhyme,
My scheme, my genius, and my time;
Men, birds, and beasts, with now and then
A pagan god, to grace my pen.
A vessel bound for India's coast,
The merchant's confidence and boast,
Puts forth to sea-the gentle deep
Bespeaks its boisterous god asleep.
Three cheerful shouts the sailors gave,
And zephyrs curl the shining wave.
A halcyon sky prevails a while,
The tritons and the nereids smile.
These omens fairest hopes impress,
And half insure the George success.
What casual ills these hopes destroy!
To change how subject every joy!
When dangers most remote appear,
Experience proves those dangers near.
Thus, boast of health whene'er you please,
Health is next neighbour to disease,
"Tis prudence to suspect a foe,
And fortitude to meet the blow.
In wisdom's rank he stands the first,
Who stands prepared to meet the worst.
For lo! unnumber'd clouds arise,
The sable legions spread the skies.
The storm around the vessel raves,
The deep displays a thousand graves,
With active hands and fearless hearts
The sailors play their various parts;
They ply the pumps, they furl the sails,
Yet nought their diligence avails.
The tempest thickens every hour,
And mocks the feats of human power,
The sailors now their fate deplore,
Estranged to every fear before.
With wild surprise their eyeballs glare,
Their honest breasts admit despair.
All further efforts they decline,
At once all future hopes resign;
And thus abandoning their skill,
They give the ship to drive at will.
Straight enter'd with majestic grace
A form of more than human race,
The god an azure mantle wore,
His hand a forked sceptre bore;
When thus the monarch of the main—
'How dare you deem your labours vain?
Shall man exert himself the less,
Because superior dangers press?
How can I think your hearts sincere,
Unless you bravely persevere?
Know, mortals, that when perils rise,
Perils enhance the glorious prize.
But who deserts himself shall be
Deserted by the gods and me.
Hence to your charge, and do your best,
My trident shall do all the rest.'
The mariners their task renew,
All to their destined province flew.
The winds are hush'd-the sea subsides,
The gallant George in safety rides.
The folly of passing a hasty and derogatory judgment upon the noxious animals of the creation.
THE BEAU AND THE VIPER.
ALL wise philosophers maintain
Nature created nought in vain.
Yet some with supercilious brow
Deny the truth asserted now,
What if I show that only man
Appears defective in the plan!
Say, will the sceptic lay aside
His sneers, his arrogance, and pride?
A Beau, imported fresh from France,
Whose study was to dress and dance;
Who had betimes, in Gallia's school,
Grafted the coxcomb on the fool;
Approach'd a wood one summer's day,
To screen him from the scorching ray.
And as he traversed through the grove,
Scheming of gallantry and love,
A Viper's spiry folds were seen
Sparkling with azure, gold, and green;
The Beau, indignant, weak, and proud,
With transport thus exclaim'd aloud-
'Avaunt, detested fiend of night!
Thou torture to the human sight!
To every reptile a disgrace,
And fatal to our godlike race.
Why were such creatures form'd as you,
Unless to prove my doctrine true;
That when we view this nether sphere,
Nor wisdom nor design appear?'
The Serpent raised his angry crest;
An honest zeal inflamed his breast:
His hissings struck the fopling's ear,
And shook his very soul with fear.
'Inglorious wretch! (the Viper cries),
How dare you broach infernal lies?
Is there in all creation's chain
A link so worthless and so vain?
Grant that your dress were truly thine,
How can your gold compare with mine?