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Warm through the vital air, and on the heart
595 And wood-lark, o'er the kind-contending throng Superior heard, run through the sweetest length Of notes; when listening Philomela deigns To let them joy, and purposes, in thought Elate, to make her night excel their day.
600 The black-bird whistles from the thorny brake; The mellow bullfinch answers from the grove : Nor are the linnets, o'er the flowering furze Pour'd out profusely, filent. Join'd to these Innumerous fongsters, in the freshening shade Of new-sprung leaves, their modulations mix Mellifluous. The jay, the rook, the daw, And each harsh pipe, discordant heard alone, Aid the full concert: while the stock-dove breathes
A melancholy murmur through the whole.
"Tis love creates their melody, and all
Connubial leagues agreed, to the deep woods
Or roughening waste, their humble texture weave. 640
As thus the patient dam afsiduous fits, Not to be tempted from her tender talk, Or by sharp hunger, or by smooth delight, 660 Though the whole loosen'd Spring around her blows. Her sympathizing lover takes his stand High on th' opponent bank, and ceaseless sings The tedious time away; or else fupplies Her place a moment, while she sudden flits To pick the scanty meal. Th’appointed time With pious toil fulfil'd, the callow young, Warm’d and expanded into perfect life, Their brittle bondage break, and come to light,
A helpless family, demanding food
670 With constant clamour: 0 what passions then, What melting sentiments of kindly care, On the new parents feize! Away they fly Affectionate, and undefiring bear The most delicious morsel to their young; Which equally distributed, again The search begins. Ev'n so a gentle pair, By fortune sunk, but form’d of generous mold, And charm’d with cares beyond the vulgar breast, In fome lone cot amid the distant woods,
680 Sustain’d alone by providential Heaven, Oft, as they weeping eye their infant train, Check their own appetites, and give them all.
Nor toil alone they scorn : exalting love, By the great Father of the Spring inspir’d, Gives instant courage to the fearful race, And to the simple art. With stealthy wing, Should some rude foot their woody haunts moleft, Amid a neighbouring bush they filent drop, And whirring thence, as if alarm’d, deceive Th’unfeeling school-boy. Hence, around the head Of wandering swain, the white-wing'd plover wheels Her founding flight, and then directly on In long excursion skims the level lawn, To tempt him from her nest. The wild-duck, hence, O'er the rough moss, and o'er the trackless waste The heath-hen Autters, pious fraud ! to lead The hot pursuing spaniel far aftray.
Be not the Mufe afham’d, here to bemoan
Her brothers of the grove, by tyrant man
700 Inhuman caught, and in the narrow cage From liberty confin'd, and boundless air. Dull are the pretty slaves, their plumage dull, Ragged, and all its brightening lustre lost; Nor is that sprightly wildness in their notes,
705 Which, clear and vigorous, warbles from the beech. O then, ye friends of love and love-taught song, Spare the foft tribes, this barbarous art forbear; If on your bofom innocence can win, Music engage, or piety persuade.
710 But let not chief the nightingale lament Her ruin'd care, too delicately frain'd To brook the harsh confinement of the
cage. Oft when, returning with her loaded bill, Th' astonish'd mother finds a vacant neft,
715 By the hard hand of unrelenting clowns Robb’d, to the ground the vain provision falls ; Her pinions ruffle, and, low-drooping, scarce Can bear the mourner to the poplar shade ; Where, all abandon'd to despair, she sings 120 Her forrows through the night; and, on the bough, Sole-fitting, still at every dying fall Takes up again her lamentable strain Of winding woe; till, wide around, the woods Sigh to her song, and wit!: her wail resound.
725 But now the feather'd youth their former bounds, Ardent, disdain ; and, weighing oft their wings, Demand the free possession of the sky: This one glad office more, and then dissolves