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Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech

O'er-canopies the glade,
Beside some water's rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think

(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 :
Yet hark, how thro' the peopled air

The busy murmur glows !
The insect-youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honied spring,

And float amid the liquid noon :
Some lightly o'er the current skim,
Some show their gaily-gilded trim

Quick-glancing to the sun.

To Contemplation's sober eye

Such is the race of Man :
And they that creep, and they that fly,

Shall end where they began.
Alike the Busy and the Gay
But flutter thro' life's little day,

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 :
Poor moralist ! and what art thou ?

A solitary fly!
Thy joys no glittering female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,

No painted plumage to display :
On hasty wings thy youth is flown ;
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone-

We frolic while 'tis May.

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'TWAS on a lofty vase's side,

Where China's gayest art had dyed
The azure flowers that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima, reclined,

Gazed on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declared :
The fair round face, the snowy beard,

The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,

She saw; and purr'd applause.

Still had she gazed ; but ʼmidst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,

The Genii of the stream :
Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue
Through richest purple to the view

Betrayed a golden gleam.

The hapless nymph with wonder saw :
A whisker first, and then a claw,

With many an ardent wish,
She stretch'd, in vain, to reach the prize.
What female heart can gold despise ?

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
She mew'd to ev'ry wat’ry God,

Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd :
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.

A fav’rite has no friend !

From hence, ye beauties, undeceived, Know, one false step is ne'er retrieved,

And be with caution bold. Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes And heedless hearts is lawful prize,

Nor all, that glisters, gold.

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