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Are natives of these holy places,
The tears arising from the sight As Ver-Vert witness'd every day.
Of such an unexpected woe, No human parrot of the court
Too bitter fruit, alas! to grow
From the soft root of dear delight!
In such a school, a bird of sense
Would soou acquire, it is confess'd,
For, save his meals and hours of rest, Of some young damsel not profess'd;
His tongue was always occupied: This nicety at board and bed
And no good treatise could excel, Show'd he was nobly born and bred.
In phrases ready cut and dried, When the young female anchorite,
His doctrines about living well. Whom all the rest with envy view'd,
He was not like those parrots rude Had fix'd him for the coming night,
Whom dangling in a public cage Perch'd on her Agnus box he stood,
The common manners of the age Silent in undisturb'd repose
Have render'd conversably lewd; Till Venus' warning-star arose:
Who, doctor'd by the worldly tribe And when at morn the pious maid
With frail concupiscence endued, Her toilette's mysteries display'd,
Each human vanity describe. He freely saw whate'er was done;
Our Ver-Vert was a saint in grain, I say the toilette, for I've read,
A soul with innocency fraught, But speak it in a lower tone,
Who never utter'd word profane, That virgins, in a cloyster bred,
Who never had immodest thought. Their looks and languishings review
But in the room of ribbald wit In mirrors to their eyes as true
Each mystic colloquy he knew, As those, that serve to show the faces
And many a text in holy writ Of dames who faunt in gems and laces.
With prayers and collects not a fer; For, as in city or at court
Could psalms and canticles repeat Some certain taste or mode prevails,
And bencdicite complete; There is among the godly sort
He could petition Heaven for grace A taste in putting on their vails;
With sanctimonious voice and eyes, There is an art to fold with grace,
And at a proper time and place Round a young vestal's blooming face,
Religiously soliloquise Plain crape or other simple stuff,
Each belp he had in this learn'd college With happy negligence enough.
That could conduce to sacred knowledge. Often the sportive Loves in swarms,
For many virgins had retreated Which to the monasteries repair,
Through grace to this religious fold, Spread o'er the holy fillets charms
Who, word for word, by rote repeated And tie them with a killing air;
Each Christmas carol, new and old, In short, the nuns are never seen
From frequent lessons every day In parlour or at grate below,
The scholar grew as leam'd as they; Ere at the looking-glass they've been,
Their very tone of speaking too To steal a decent glance or so.
In pious drawlings he expressid, This softly whisper'd, friends between,
The same religious sighs he drew Farther digression we adjourn,
Deep heaving from the godly breast, And to our hero now return.
And languid notes in which these doves Safe in this unmolested scene
Mournfully chant their mystic lores. Ver-Vert, amidst a life of bliss,
In short, the bird perform'd his part Uurivali'd reign’d on every part;
In all the psalmodising art. Her slighted sparrows took amiss
Such merit could not be coufind This change in sister Thecla's heart;
Within a cloyster's narrow bound, Four finches through mere rage expir'd
But few, for Fame is swift as wind, At his advancement mortified,
The neighbouring territories round; And two Grimalkins late admir'd,
Through Nevers' town from morn to night, With envy languish'd, droop'd and died.
Scarce any other talk was leard,
But of discourses exquisite
And e'en from Moulins numbers came
Ver-Vert, the parlour's boasted glory, When this same idol of their hearts
Whitst all that came were told his story, Should stand the mark, by cruel doom,
Perch'd proud upon his favourite stand, Of horrour's most envenom'd darts?
S ster Melania's ivory hand, But stop, my Muse, forbid to tlow..
Who pointed out each excellence
Of mind or body he possessid,
Is the possession of renown! His sweet mild temper, polish'd sense,
Obscurity is sooner blest, And various colours on his breast,
From his sad fate it will be shown; When bis engaging aspect won
Too much success and brilliant parts Each visiter be look'd upon;
Have often ruin'd virtuous hearts. But beauty the most exquisite
Thy talents, Ver-Vert, and thy name, Was, iu our tender proselyte,
To these lone walls were not confin'd; The least his qualities anong,
As far as Nants the voice of fame For all forgot his feathery pride
Proclaim'd th' endowments of thy mind. And every outward charm beside
At Nants, 'tis known, the Visitation The moment that they heard his tongue,
Of reverend sisters has a fold, With various righteous graces Gill'd,
Who there, as elsewhere through the nation, By the good sisterhood instill'd,
Know first whate'er by Fame is told. Th’illustrious bird his speech began,
With other news, each holy dame, At every turn allusions new,
This parrot's merit having heard, Conceptions fine, and doctrines true,
Had longings to behold the bird. In streams of honey'd language ran.
A lay-maid's wish is like a flame; But what was singularly new,
But, when a nun has such desire, In this uncominon gift of speech,
'Tis fifty times a fiercer fire. And scarce will be reputed true,
Their curious hearts already burn'd, Not any whilst they heard him preach
Their thoughts to distant Nevers few, Did ever feel (his powers were such)
And many a holy head was turn'd, Ecclesiastic lethargy,
The feather'd prodigy to view. From soporific sanctity;
Immediately upon the spot What orator can boast as much?
To the good abbess of the place Much was he prais'd and much caressid,
A female secretary wrote, Whilst he, familiaris'd to fame,
Beseeching her to have the grace Convinc'd 'twas only a mere naine,
To Nants, by water down the Loire, His head on his projected breast
To send the bird so fam'd for sense, With priestly gentleness reelin'd,
That all the female Nantine choir And always modestly express'd
Might hear and see his excellence. The inward triumph of his mind.
The letter goes : all question, when When he had utter'd to the crowd
The bearer will return again? His treasur'd scientific store,
'Twill be eleven days at least, He mutter'd something not aloud,
An age to any female breast! And sunk in cadence more and more,
They send each day fresh invitation, Till, with an aspect sanctified,
Depriv'd of sleep through expectation. At last in silence down he sate,
Howe'er at length to Nevers came And left his audience edified
This letter of importance great. On what bad pass'd to ruminate.
At once the convent's in a tlame, These eloquent harangues would Aow
And the whole chapter's summon'd straight. With choice of sweetest phrases fraught,
“ Lose Ver-Vert? Heaven! send rather death! Except a trifling word or so,
What comfort will with us be left, Which accidentally he caught,
These solitary towers beneath, Of scandal, at the grate below,
When of the darling bird bereft ?” Or some small syllable of haste,
Thus spoke the nuns of blooming years, Which gentle nuns will, by the by,
Whose hearts, fatigu'd with holy leisure, At one another sometimes cast,
Preferr'd to penance and to tears When none but holy ears are nigh.
Soft sentiments of harmless pleasure. Thus liv'd in this delightful cage,
In truth, a holy flock, at least, As saint, as master, or as sage,
So close confin'd, might fairly claim Good father Ver-Vert, dear to more
To be by one poor bird caress’d, Than of veil'd Hebes half a score,
Since there no other parrot came As any cloyster'd monk as fat,
Fledgid or unfledy'd to cheer their nest. As reverend too in holy state,
Yet 'twas th' opinion of the dames Learn'd as an abbe town-approv'd,
Who, by their age superior, sate And fair as youths by brides caress'd,
Rulers in senatorial state, For lovely he was always lov’d,
Whose hearts resisted passion's flames, Perfum’d, well-bred, in fashion dress'd;
That, for a fortnight's space or so, In short, had he not hapless ror'd
Their dear disciple straight should go; To ste the world, completely bless'd.
For, prudence overweighing love, But soon the tatal moments came
Th' infatuated state decreed Of ever-mournful memory,
A stubborn negative might prove Destructive to our hero's fame.
The cause of mutual hate, and breed Voyage of crimes and misery,
For ever after much bad blood Oi sad remorse, and endless shame!
'Twixt theirs and Nante's sisterhood. Would foresight in a former age
Soon as the ladies, in conclusion, Had torn it from th' historic pare!
O'th' upper house the bill had passid, Ah! what a dangerous good at beso
The commons were in great coníusion;
Young Seraphina ery'd in haste,
In the same passage-boat, that bore
This bird of holiness from shore, Another, though reputed sage,
There happen'd the same time to sail Grew pale at what she heard them say;
Two nymphs of constitution frail, No council could her grief assuage,
A nurse loquacious, two gascoons, She trembled, wept, and swoond away.
A vagrant monk, and three dragoons, All mourn'd departing Ver-Vert's fate,
Which, for a youth of piety, Presaging, from I know not what,
Was worshipful society! This tour would prove unfortunate.
Ver-Vert, unpractis'd in their ways, In horrid dreams the night they spent,
As folks in foreign countries do, The morn redoubled horrours sent.
Stood silently in fix'd amaze; Too vain regret! the mournful hour
Their thoughts and language both were new, Already 's come, within their view
The style he did not understand; The boat is waiting at the shore,
It was not, like the Scriptures, phras'd The Fates command to bid adieu,
In dialect of holy land, And to his absence, for a while,
With sacred eastern figures rais'd; Their throbbing bosoms reconcile.
Nor that, in wbich the vestal band Already every sister pin'd
Of nuns their Maker pray'd and prais'd; Like the soft turtle of the grove,
But full of, what the birl surpris'd, To grief before-hand self-resign'd
Big words not over Christianis'd; For the lone hours of widow'd love.
For the dragoons, a wordy race, What tender kisses were bestow'd
Not burthen'd with religious grace, On Ver-Vert leaving this abode!
Spoke fluently the sutler's tongue, What briny streams of sorrow flow'd!
Saint Bacchus only they ador'd, The nearer bis departure drew
To whom libations oft they pour'd They doted on him more and more,
For pastime as they sail'd along; And found each moment genius new
The gascoons and the female three And beauties never seen before.
Convers'd in idioms which belong At length he leaves their wishful eyes,
To Venus's great mystery; Love with him from the convent flies.
On t' other hand the sailc-s swore, "Ah! go, my child; my dearest, haste,
Curs'd and blasphem'd each heavenly power, Where honour calls thee from my arms;
Whose voices, not in flowers of speech, But, O! return, thy exile past,
But words sonorous, us'd to deal, rever true, and full of charms!
Roundly articulated each, May Zephyrs with their airy plumes
Nor lost the smallest, syllable. Waft thee securely on thy way!
In this variety of sound Whilst I, amidst these dreary tombs,
And unintelligible prate, In anguish waste the tardy day,
Ver-Vert, surpris d at all around, And sadly, solitary mourn
Sad, silent, and embarrassid sate; Uncomforted till thy return.
He fear'd his ignorance to betray, O Ver-Vert, dearest soul! adieu,
And knew not what to think or say. Avd, whilst thy journey happy proves,
The monk, to satisfy the crowd, May all, thy beauteous form who view,
Who long'd to hear his thoughts aloud, Think thee the eldest of the Loves!”
To talk the pensive stranger press'd; Such were the words and parting scene
The girls in words too debonpair, Of one young lately-veiled fair,
Unus'd at penance, or in prayer, Who oft, to dissipate chagrin,
The melancholy bird caress'd: In bed niade many a fervent prayer,
Here by the sex he lov'd address'd Learnt from the manuel of Racine;
The Parrot (whilst his look benign And who with all her heart, no doubt,
With usual light religious glisters) Would, for sweet Ver-Vert's company,
In sacred sighs and nunnery whine Have left the holy monastery,
Answers, “ God save you, holy sisters !" Aud follow'd bim the world throughout.
At this “God save you," we'll suppose, But now the droll is put on board,
An universal laugh arose: At present virtuous and sincere,
In ridicule the words aloud And modest too in deed and word:
Were echo'd through the noisy crowd. 0! may his bosom erery where,
Thus mock'd, abash'd the novice stood, By prudence guarded, still retain
And ivly chew'd the mental cud. That worth, and bring it home again!
He found what he had said was wrong Be that however, as it may,
And saw 'twas needful to endeavour The boat's already on its way;
To speak the language of the throng, The noise of waves beneath the prow
If e'er he hop'd to gain their favour: Re-echoes in the air above;
His heart, by nature, fond of praise, The Zephyrs favourably blow,
Which had been pourish'd all his days, And Nevers backward seems to more.
Till then, with dattery's incense full,
Now could, alas! sustain no more
Sate sullen at the gloomy grate; Of constancy tbe modest power
Nay, what the sex shuns every where, Against th' assaults of ridicule;
Silence herself came almost there. Here first, by sour impatience cross'd,
Ab! cease your vows, for Ver-Vert's grown Ver-Vert his innocency lost.
Unworthy of your lavish loves; From thence he pour'd ungrateful curses
Ver-Vert no longer will be known Against the nuns his former nurses,
By heart as spotless as the dove's, Who never had adorn'd his mind,
By teinper softer than the down, Careless of literary merit,
By fervency of soul in prayer; With language copious and refind,
Oh! must the Muse the truth decare? Replete with elegance and spirit.
A very wretched profligate, T'acquire this great accomplishment
A scoffer of his ancient boine, Each earnest faculty be bent,
Blasphemer of your holy state, And though his prudent tongue lay still,
And loose apostate he's become; His soul of thinking had its fill.
What you such care and labour cost, But first the bird resolv'd, in pet,
Among the winds and waves is lost. All the old gew-gaws to forget
Then, fair-ones, fondly boast no more Which hitherto compos’d his creed,
His science and his docile soul, That new ideas might succeed.
Genius is vain, and learning's store, In two days by strict computation,
If virtue governs not the whole. All former knowledge he expellid;
Forget himn quite; the shameful wretch So much the present conversation
His heart has tainted with pollution, The convent dialect excell'd.
And given up all those powers of speech This first step made, within a trice,
And mighty parts to prostitution. The truly docile animal
But now to Nants, the boat's last station, (Young minds too soon are skill'd in vice!) Our hero and his friends draw nigh, In ribaldry was clerical,
Where through impatient expectation And quickly learn'd to curse and swear,
The holy sisters almost die: As fast as an old devil would chatter,
For their desires the rising Sun Bound down by chains of mystic prayer,
Begins his daily course too late; Beneath a pot of holy water.
Too slow his fiery coursers run, His practice contradicted plain
To gain at eve the western gate. A maxim which old books maintain,
The tlatterer Hope, in this suspense, That none to heinous crimes can leap
For ever artful to deceive, At first, but progress step by step i
Promis'd a prodigy to give For he at once without degree
Of genius, dignity, and sense; Was doctor in iniquity.
A parrot highly-born and bred, He learnt by heart the alphabet
Possess'd of noble sentiments, Of watermen, the Loire along,
Persuasive tongne, discerning head; And when, in any stormy fit,
In short with all accomplishments: An oath escap'd a sailor's tongue;
But O! I mention it with pain, Ver-Vert, emphatically plain,
These expectations all were vain! Re-echo'd“ Damn you” back again.
At length the vessel reaches land, On this, applauded by the crew,
Where an old solemn sister sate, Proudly content with what had past,
Commission'd by the sacred band Solicitous he daily grew,
Th’arrival of the bird to wait; The shameful bonour to pursue
Who, on that errand daily sent, Of pleasing their corrupted taste;
Ere since the first epistle went, And, soon degrading to their bent,
At first approach of rising day His generous organ of discourse,
Her wandering eyes impatient cast, Became profanely eloquent.
Which seem'd, along the watery waste, Ah! why should bad examples force
To waft our hero on his way. A youthful heart, born free from evils,
The sly bird had no sooner seen From Heaven's allegiance to the Devil's?
The nun, near whom he disembark'd, Ye nymphs of Nevers' convent chaste,
But straight he knew her by the mien What did you in your cloister'd cells,
And eyes with holy prudery mark'd, Where pensive Melancholy dwells,
By the white gloves and languid tone, Whilst these unlucky moments pass'd?
The veil, and linsey-Woolsey vest, In that sad interval, no doubt,
And, what would have suffic'd alone, Nine days you spent in prayers devout,
The little cross upon her breast. Petitioning kind Heaven to give
He shudder'd at th' approaching evil, A happy journey home again
And, soldier-like, we may conclude, To the most thankless soul alive,
Sincerely wishi'd her at the devil; Who, quite regardless of your pain,
Preferring much the brotherhood Abroad engag'd in pleasures new,
Of the dragoons who spoke out plain, Spent not a single thought on you.
Whose dialect he understood, The yawning band of Tediousness
Than to return to learn again The convent round besieg'd each gate;
Prayers stutt'd with many a holy notion, And Spleen, in fanciful distress,
And ceremonials of devotion:
But the vex'd droll, by force, was fated
'Gainst which few female ears are proof. To be conducted where he hated.
“ Jesu! good mother,” she exclaim'd, The careful carrier held her prize
“ This is some wicked witch, 'tis clear; In spite of all his rueful cries;
And not the bird of Nevers far'd, Though much he bit her, by the way,
To friends of our religion dear!” Upon her arms, her neck, and face,
Here, sutler-like, he cry'd aloud, And in his anger, as they say,
“ The devil seize this noisy crowd!" Would not have scrupled any place.
By turns each sister did essay At last howe'er, with much ado,
To curb the feather'd grenadier; She brought him safe to sacred ground;
And each as fast was sent away Ver-Vert's announc'd: the rumour flew
With something buzzing in her ear; Swift as the wind the convent round.
For, laughing at the younger tribe, The bell proclaims the welcome morn;
He mimick'd their loquacious rage; Straight from the choir each sister springs,
And, still more freely to describe And to the common parlour's borne
The dull grimace of scolding age, On expectation's eager wings.
He ridicui'd the dying closes All crowd this wonder to behold
Of precepts snuffled througb their noses. With longings truly female fir'd;
But, what was worse than all the rest, Nay, e'en the feeble and the old
By these dull sermons much oppress'd, With youth's warm thoughts are re-inspir'd; And with unvented choler swelling, Whilst each, regardless of her years,
He thunder'd out each horrid word, For speed forgets the load she bears;
The very tars in noise excelling, And mother Agnes, near fourscore,
Which on the river he had heard;
Cursing and swearing all along,
The sense of what they heard him speak
The younger sisters could not tell;
For they believ'd his language Greek: His figure was by all admir'd;
Next he came out with “blood! and zounds! Charm'd with a sight so fair and new,
Damnation,-brimstone, -fire, and thunder!" Their eager eyes were never tird;
The grate, at these terrific sounds
Trembling, is almost split asunder;
Crossing their throbbing bosoms, fly
Each to her cell remote from light, Improv'd it with an easy air,
Thinking the day of judgment nigh. Why, Heaven, should charms attractive glow, Wide opening her scpulchral jaws, Brilliant around a son of sin?
One ancient sister wbines, “ What evil Rather deformity should show
Have we designed, good Heaven, that draws The badness of the heart within.
Upon us this incarnate devil? To praise his looks and lovely feather
By wbat incentive is he mov'd Our sisters babbled so together,
So like the damn'd below to swear? Unheard, it would have been no wonder,
Is this that Ver-Vert so approv'da If Heaven had roll'd its loudest thunder:
Are these his faculties so rare? Mean while unmov'd th' apostate bird
But let us without farther pain Deign’d not to speak one pious word,
Send back the profligate 4gain.” But, like a lusty Carmelite,
“ Mother of God!” another cries, Roll'd his lascivious eyes about.
" What borrours are before our eyes! This gave offence: so lewd a sight
In Nevers' consecrated dome Was shocking to the band devout.
Is this the language vestals speak? Next, when the mother abbess came,
Is all their youth taught thus at home? With an authoritative look,
Home with the hateful beretic! The feather'd libertine to blame,
For, if he enters, we shall dwell Contemptuously bis tail he shook;
Iu league with all the fiends of Hell.” And, not maturely having weigh'd
In fine, bis freedom Ver-Vert lost; The horrour of the words he said,
And 'twas resolv'd, without delay, Reply'd, in military phrase,
To send the wretch cag'd-up away. " What damn’d fools nuns are now-a-days!" This end our pilgrim wish'd the most: Our history notes, that on the way
Howe'er, in form, he's cited first, These words he'd heard the sailors say.
Arraign’d, detestable declar'd, At this, with looks dernure, another,
Convicted by the court, accurst, The holy sisterhood among,
And from each charity debarr'd, (Willing to make him bold his tongue),
For having wickedly assail'd Cry'd, « Fie! for shame, my dearest brother!” The virtue of the sister's veil'd. For thanks this dearest brother swore,
All sign the sentence, yet bemoan And us'd, sagaciously enough,
The object it's inflicted on; One syllable that rhimes to more,
For pity 'tis, ere full-age blooms,