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Warm through the vital air, and on the heart
Harmonious seizes, the gay troops begin,
In gallant thought to plume the painted wing:
And try again the long-forgotten strain,
At firft faint-warbled. But no sooner grows
The soft infusion prevalent and wide,

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Than, all alive, at once their joy o'erflows
In music unconfin'd. Up-Springs the lark,
Shrill-voic'd, and loud, the messenger of morn;
Ere yet the shadows fly, he mounted sings
Amid the dawning clouds, and from their haunts 590
Calls up the tuneful nations. Every copfe
Deep-tangled, tree irregular, and bush
Bending with dewy moisture, o’er the heads
Of the coy quiristers that lodge within,
Are prodigal of harmony. The thrush

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

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A melancholy murmur through the whole.

"Tis love creates their melody, and all
This waste of music is the voice of love;
That ev'n to birds, and beasts, the tender arts
Of pleasing teaches. Hence the glossy kind
Try every winning way inventive love
Can dictate, and in courtship to their mates
Pour forth their little souls. First, wide around,
With diftant awe, in airy rings they rove,
Endeavouring by a thousand tricks to catch
The cunning, conscious, half-averted glance
Of their regardless charmer. Should she seem
Softening the least approvance to bestow,
Their colours burnish, and, by hope inspir’d,
They brisk advance; then, on a sudden struck,
Retire disorder'd; then again approach;
In fond rotation spread the spotted wing,
And shiver every feather with desire.

Connubial leagues agreed, to the deep woods
They haste away, all as their fancy leads,
Pleasure, or food, or secret safety prompts ;
That Nature's great command may be obey'd :
Nor all the sweet sensations they perceive
Indulg'd in vain. Some to the holly-hedge
Nestling repair, and to the thicket some;
Some to the rude protection of the thorn
Commit their feeble offspring : the cleft tree
Offers its kind concealment to a few,
Their food its insects, and its moss their nests.
Others apart far in the grassy dale,

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Or roughening waste, their humble texture weave. 640
But most in woodland folitudes delight,
In unfrequented glooms, or shaggy banks,
Steep, and divided by a babbling brook,
Whose murmurs soothe them all the live-long day,
When by kind duty fix’d. Among the roots
Of hazel, pendent o'er the plaintive stream,
They frame the first foundation of their domes;
Dry sprigs of trees, in artful fabric laid,
And bound with clay together. Now 'tis nought
But restless hurry through the busy air,

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Beat by unnumber'd wings. The swallow sweeps
The flimy pool, to build his hanging house
Intent. And often, from the careless back
Of herds and focks a thousand tugging bills
Pluck hair and wool; and oft, when unobserv’d, 655
Steal from the barn a straw : till soft and warm,
Clean, and complete, their habitation grows.

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,

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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

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Her

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

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