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• Me (humbler lot!) let blameless bliss engage,

Free from the noble mob's ambitious strife, Free from the muckworm miser's lucrous rage,

In calm contentment's cottaged vale of life. • If frailties there (for who from them is free ?)

Through error's maze my devious footsteps lead, Let them be frailties of humanity,

And my heart plead the pardon of my head.
Let not my reason impiously require,
What Heaven has placed beyond its narrow

span;
But teach me to subdue each fierce desire,

Which wars within this little empire, man. • Teach me, what all believe, but few possess,

That life's best science is ourselves to know; The first of human blessings is to bless;

And happiest he who feels another’s woe. • Thus cheaply wise and innocently great,

While time's smooth sand shall regularly pass, Each destined atom's quiet course I'll wait,

Nor rashly break nor wish to stop the glass. • And when in death my peaceful ashes lie,

If e'er some tongue congenial speaks my name, Friendship shall never blush to breathe a sigh,

And great ones envy such an honest fame.'

VER-VERT:

OR,

THE NUNNERY PARROT.

An Heroic Poem in four Cantos.

INSCRIBED TO THE ABBESS OF D

(TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF MONSIEUR GRESSET.)

CANTO I.
O you, round whom at virtue's shrine
The solitary graces shine,
With native charms all hearts engage,
And reign without religious rage;
You whose congenial soul by Heaven
A pleasing guide to truth was given,
Uniting, with the family
Of rigid duties, harmless Mirth,
Daughter of social Liberty,
Twin-born with Humour at a birth;
And every other power to please,
Taste, fancy, elegance, and ease;
O! since

you
bid
your

bard relate
A noble bird's disastrous fate,
In notes of sympathetic woe,
Be you my muse, my soul inspire,
And teach my numbers how to flow
Like those which trembled from your lyre
In soft and sorrow-soothing sound,
Whilst listening Cupids wept around,

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

tediousness,
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 !

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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 swelld 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

abroad
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,

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