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Whate'er Pythagoras may say
(For each, you know, will have his way),
With great submission I pronounce,
That people die no more than once :
But once is sure : and death is common
To bird and man, including woman ;
From the spread eagle to the wren,
Alas ! no mortal fowl knows when ;
All that wear feathers first or last
Must one day perch on Charon's mast;
Must lie beneath the cypress shade,
Where Strada's nightingale was laid;
Those fowl who seem alive to sit,
Assembled by Dan Chaucer's wit,
In prose have slept three hundred years:
Exempt from worldly hopes and fears,
And, laid in state upon their hearse,
Are truly but embalm'd in verse;
As sure as Lesbia’s sparrow I,
Thou sure as Prior's dove," must die,
And ne'er again from Lethe's streams,
Return to Adige, or to Thames.
T. I therefore weep Columbo dead,
My hopes bereav'd, my pleasures fled;
“I therefore must for ever moan
My dear Columbo dead and gone.”
S. Columbo never sees your tears,
Your cries Columbo never hears;
A wall of brass, and one of lead,
Divide the living from the dead,
Repell’d by this, the gather'd rain
Of tears beats back to earth again;
In toother the collected sound
Of groans, when once receiv'd, is drown'd.
'Tis therefore vain one hour to grieve,
What time itself can ne'er retrieve.
By nature soft, I know a dove
Can never live without her love;
Then quit this flame, and light another;
Dame, I advise you like a brother.
T. What, I to make a second choice
In other nuptials to rejoice
S. Why not, by bird?
T. No, sparrow, no l
Let me indulge my pleasing woe:
Thus sighing, cooing, ease my pain,
But never wish, nor love, again:
Distress'd for ever, let me moan
“My dear Columbo, dead and gone.”
S. Our winged friends through all the grove
Contemn thy mad excess of love:
I tell thee, dame, the other day
I met a parrot and a jay,
Who mock'd thee in their mimic tone,
And “wept Columbo, dead and gone.”
T. Whate'er the jay or parrot said,
My hopes are lost, my joys are fled;
And I for ever must deplore “Columbo dead and gone.”—S. Encore ? For shame! forsake this Bion-style, We'll talk an hour, and walk a mile. Does it with sense or health agree, To sit thus moping on a tree ? To throw away a widow's life, When you again may be a wife 2 Come on I'll tell you my amours; Who knows but they may influence yours; “Example draws where precept fails, And sermons are less read than tales.” T. Sparrow, I take thee for my friend, As such will hear thee: I descend; Hop on, and talk; but, honest bird, Take care that no immodest word May venture to offend my ear. S. Too saint-like turtle, never fear : By method things are best discours'd, Begin we then with wife the first : A handsome, senseless, awkward fool, Who would not yield, and could not rule: Her actions did her charms disgrace, And still her tongue talk'd of her face: Count me the leaves on yonder tree, So many different wills had she, And, like the leaves, as chance inclin'd, Those wills were chang'd with every wind: She courted the beau-monde to-night, L'assemblée, her supreme delight: VOL. II. 15
The next she sat immur'd, unseen,
And in full health enjoy'd the spleen;
She censur'd that, she alter'd this,
And with great care set all amiss;
She now could chide, now laugh, now cry,
Now sing, now pout, all, God knows why .
Short was her reign, she cough’d and died.
Proceed we to my second bride;
Well born she was, genteely bred,
And buxom both at board and bed;
Glad to oblige, and pleas'd to please,
And, as Tom Southern wisely says,
“No other fault had she in life,
But only that she was my wife.”
O widow turtle I every she
(So Nature's pleasure does decree)
Appears a goddess till enjoy’d ;
But birds, and men, and gods, are cloy'd.
Was Hercules one woman's man
Or Jove for ever Leda's swan
Ah! madam, cease to be mistaken,
Few married fowl peck Dunmow-bacon.
Variety alone gives joy,
The sweetest meats the soonest cloy.
What sparrow-dame, what dove alive,
Though Venus should the chariot drive,
But would accuse the harness weight,
If always coupled to one mate;
1 See “The Wife's Excuse, a comedy.”
And often wish the fetter broke 2
'Tis freedom but to change the yoke.
T. Impious ! to wish to wed again,
Ere death dissolv'd the former chain
S. Spare your remark, and hear the rest;
She brought me sons; but (Jove be blest 1)
She died in childbed on the nest.
Well, rest her bones quoth I, she's gone;
But must I therefore lie alone *
What I am I to her memory tied ?
Must I not live, because she died ?
And thus I logically said
('Tis good to have a reasoning head ()
Is this my wife? Probatur, not;
For death dissolv'd the marriage-knot;
She was, concedo, during life;
But, is a piece of clay a wife 2
Again; if not a wife, d'ye see,
Why then no kin at all to me:
And he, who general tears can shed
For folks that happen to be dead,
May e'en with equal justice mourn
For those who never yet were born.
T. Those points indeed you quaintly prove :
But logic is no friend to love.
S. My children then were just pen-feather'd :
Some little corn for them I gather'd,
And sent them to my spouse's mother ;
So left that brood, to get another:
And, as old Harry whilom said,