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THE CHAMELEON.

BY JAMES MERRICK.--1720 1766.

[Ar once amusing in verse and instructive in moral, this popular fable deserves a place in our volume ; and although not of the highest character of poetry, yet it commends itself to selection by its old association with our school days and its favourite place in all Juvenile Speakers, its author, moreover, was a distinguished scholar. He took orders and became tutor to Lord North, but was obliged to abandon hope of preferment from delicate health. He is author of several hymns and a version of the Psalms. ]

OFT has it been my lot to mark

A proud, conceited, talking spark,
With eyes that hardly served at most
To guard their master 'gainst a post :
Yet round the world the blade has been,
To see whatever could be seen.
Returning from his finished tour,
Grown ten times perter than before ;
Whatever word you chance to drop,
The travelled fool your mouth will stop :
“Sir, if my judgment you'll allow-.
I've seen—and sure I ought to know."
So begs you'd pay a due submission,
And acquiesce in his decision.
Two travellers of such a cast,
As o'er Arabia's wilds they passed,
And on their way, in friendly chat,
Now talked of this, and then of that ;
Discoursed awhile, 'mongst other matter,
Of the Chameleon's form and nature.
“A stranger animal,” cries one,
“Sure never lived beneath the sun !
A lizard's body lean and long,
A fish's head, a serpent's tongue,
Its foot with triple claw disjoined;
And what a length of tail behind !

How slow its pace! and then its hueWho ever saw so bright a blue?” “Hold there,” the other quick replies; “ 'Tis green--I saw it with these eyes, As late with open mouth it lay, And warmed it in the sunny ray; Stretched at its ease, the beast I viewed, And saw it eat the air for food.” “ I've seen it, sir, as well as you, And must again affirm it blue ; At leisure I the beast surveyed, Extended in the cooling shade.” “ 'Tis green, 'tis green, sir, I assure ye.” “Green !” cries the other in a fury; “Why, sir, d'ye think I've lost my eyes?” “ 'Twere no great loss,” the friend replies ; “For if they always serve you thus, You'll find them but of little use." So high at last the contest rose, From words they almost came to blows : When luckily came by a third ; To him the question they referred : And begged he'd tell them, if he knew, Whether the thing was green or blue. “Sirs,” cries the umpire, “cease your pother; The creature's neither one nor t’other. I caught the animal last night, And viewed it o'er by candle-light: I marked it well ; 'twas black as jet-You stare—but, sirs, I've got it yet And can produce it.” “Pray, sir, do; I'll lay my life the thing is blue.” “And I'll be sworn, that when you've seen The reptile, you'll pronounce him green.” “Well, then, at once to cease the doubt,” Replies the man, “I'll turn him out, And when before your eyes I've set him, If you don't find him black I'll eat him.” He said ; and full before their sight

Produced the beast, and lo! 'twas white.

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Both stared; the man looked wondrous wise.
“ My children,” the Chameleon cries-
Then first the creature found a tongue-
“You all are right, and all are wrong :
When next you talk of what you view,
Think others see as well as you :
Nor wonder if you find that none
Prefers your eyesight to his own.”

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[The editor of the celebrated “ Reliques of Ancient English Poetry" was born at Bridgenorth, in Shropshire, educated at Christchurch, Oxford, and held the vicarage of Easton Maudit, in Northamptonshire, for nearly twenty-five years. In 1782 he was appointed Bishop of Dromore, in Ireland, which office he held at the time of his death. “The Hermit of Warkworth” is another of his most noteworthy poems ; but he will always be known more by his collection of ballads than anything else. His family hold the original MSS. from which his editions were made, and a verbatim reprint of these will be shortly published by the Early English Text Society.]

TT was a friar of orders gray
1 Walked forth to tell his beads;
And he met with a lady fair

Clad in a pilgrim's weeds.

" Now Christ thee save, thou reverend friar,

I pray thee tell to me,
If ever at yon holy shrine

My true love thou didst see.”

" And how should I know your true-love

From many another one?”
"O, by his cockle hat, and staff,

And by his sandal shoon.

“ But chiefly by his face and mien,

That were so fair to view ;
His flaxen locks that sweetly curled,

And eyes of lovely blue."
“O lady, he's dead and gone!

Lady, he's dead and gone !
And at his head a green-grass turf,

And at his heels a stone.
“Within these holy cloisters long

He languished, and he died, Lamenting of a lady's love,

And 'plaining of her pride.
“Here bore him barefaced on his bier

Six proper youths and tall,
And many a tear bedewed his grave

Within yon kirk-yard wall.” * And art thou dead, thou gentle youth !

And art thou dead and gone ! And didst thou die for love of me?

Break, cruel heart of stone !”
“ O weep not, lady, weep not so ;

Some ghostly comfort seek :
Let not vain sorrow rive thy heart,

Nor tears bedew thy cheek.” “O) do not, do not, holy friar,

My sorrow now reprove;
For I have lost the sweetest youth

That e'er won lady's love.
“And now, alas ! for thy sad loss

I'll evermore weep and sigh : For thee I only wished to live,

For thee I wish to die." “Weep no more, lady, weep no more,

Thy sorrow is in vain ; For violets plucked, the sweetest showers

Will ne'er make grow again.

“Our joys as winged dreams do fly;

Why then should sorrow last? Since grief but aggravates thy loss,

Grieve not for what is past.”
“O say not so, thou holy friar;

I pray thee, say not so;
For since my true love died for me,

'Tis meet my tears should flow. “And will he never come again ?

Will he ne'er come again ?
Ah! no, he is dead and laid in his grave :

For ever to remain.
“His cheek was redder than the rose ;

The comeliest youth was he!
But he is dead and laid in his grave :

Alas, and woe is me!”
“Sigh no more, lady, sigh no more,

Men were deceivers ever : One foot on sea and one on land, · To one thing constant never. “Hadst thou been fond, he had been false,

And left thee sad and heavy;
For young men ever were fickle found,

Since summer trees were leafy.”
“Now say not so, thou holy friar,

I pray thee say not so;
My love he had the truest heart-

O he was ever true ! “ And art thou dead, thou much-loved youth,

And didst thou die for me? Then farewell home ; for evermore

A pilgrim I will be.
“But first upon my true love's grave

My weary limbs I'll lay,
And thrice I'll kiss the green-grass turf

That wraps his breathless clay.”

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