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S. Dame Turtle, this runs soft in rhyme, 79 But neither suits the place nor time; The fowler's hand, whose cruel care For dear Columbo set the snare, The snare again for thee may set; Two birds may perish in one net, Thou shouldst avoid this cruel field, And sorrow should to prudence yield. 'Tis sad to die!—
T. — It may be so; 'Tis sadder yet to live in woe.
S. When widows use this canting strain, go They seem resolved to wed again.
T. When widowers would this truth disprove, They never tasted real love.
S. Love is soft joy and gentle strife, His efforts all depend on life. When he has thrown two golden darts, And struck the lovers' mutual hearts; Of his black shafts let death send one, Alas! the pleasing game is done: Ill is the poor survivor sped, 100 A corpse feels mighty cold in bed. Venus said right—“Nor tears can move, Nor plaints revoke the will of Jove.’
All must obey the general doom, Down from Alcides to Tom Thumb. Grim Pluto will not be withstood By force or craft. Tall Robinhood, As well as Little John, is dead (You see how deeply I am read). With Fate's lean tipstaff none can dodge, 110 He'll find you out where'er you lodge. Ajax, to shun his general power,
In vain absconded in a flower; 113
An idle scene Tythonus acted,
When to a grasshopper contracted;
Death struck them in those shapes again,
As once he did when they were men.
For reptiles perish, plants decay;
Flesh is but grass, grass turns to hay;
And hay to dung, and dung to clay. 120
Thus heads extremely nice discover,
That folks may die some ten times over;
But oft, by too refined a touch,
To prove things plain, they prove too much.
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; 130
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 Don Chaucer's wit,
In prose have slept three hundred years;
Exempt from worldly hopes and fears, 140
And, laid in state upon their hearse,
Are truly but embalmed 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,
1 See the Dove.
Return to Adige, or to Thames. 146
T. I therefore weep Columbo dead,
My hopes bereaved, 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,
Repelled by this, the gathered rain
Of tears beats back to earth again;
In the other the collected sound
Of groans, when once received, is drowned.
'Tis therefore vain one hour to grieve,
What time itself can ne'er retrieve. 160
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, my bird?
T. No, sparrow, no!
Let me indulge my pleasing woe:
Thus sighing, cooing, ease my pain, 170
But never wish, nor love, again:
Distressed 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 mocked thee in their mimic tone,
And ‘wept Columbo, dead and gone.’
T. Whate'er the jay or parrot said, 180
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!
Come on! I'll tell you my amours; 190
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 discoursed, 200
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 talked of her face:
Count me the leaves on yonder tree,
So many different wills had she,
And, like the leaves, as chance inclined,
Those wills were changed with every wind:
She courted the beau-monde to-night, 210
The assembly, her supreme delight;
The next she sat immured, unseen,
And in full health enjoyed the spleen;
She censured that, she altered this, +1+
• 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 coughed, and died.
Proceed we to my second bride;
Well born she was, genteelly bred, 2:3
And buxom both at board and bed;
Glad to oblige, and pleased 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! every she
(So Nature's pleasure does decree)
Appears a goddess till enjoyed;
But birds, and men, and gods, are cloyed.
Was Hercules one woman's man? 230
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;
And often wish the fetter broke? 240
'Tis freedom but to change the yoke.
T. Impious! to wish to wed again,
Ere death dissolved the former chain!
S. Spare your remark, and hear the rest;
She brought me sons; but (Jove be blessed!)
She died in childbed on the nest.