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Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech
O'er-canopies the glade,
(At ease reclined in rustic state) How vain the ardour of the crowd, How low, how little are the proud,
How indigent the great !
Still is the toiling hand of Care;
The panting herds repose :
The busy murmur glows !
And float amid the liquid noon :
Quick-glancing to the sun.
To Contemplation's sober eye
Such is the race of Man :
Shall end where they began.
In Fortune's varying colours drest : Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance, Or chill'd by Age, their airy dance
They leave, in dust to rest.
Methinks I hear, in accents low,
The sportive kind reply :
A solitary fly!
No painted plumage to display :
We frolic while 'tis May.
'TWAS on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dyed
Gazed on the lake below.
Her conscious tail her joy declared :
The velvet of her paws,
She saw; and purr'd applause.
Still had she gazed ; but ʼmidst the tide
The Genii of the stream :
Betrayed a golden gleam.
The hapless nymph with wonder saw :
With many an ardent wish,
What Cat's averse to fish ?
Presumptuous maid ! with looks intent Again she stretch'd, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulf between. (Malignant Fate sat by, and smiled.) The slipp’ry verge her feet beguiled,
She tumbled headlong in.
Eight times emerging from the flood
Some speedy aid to send.
A fav’rite has no friend !