The Sparrow And The Dove

: Moores Fables For Girls

It was, as learn'd traditions say,

Upon an APRIL'S blithsome day,

When PLEASURE, ever on the wing,

Return'd, companion of the SPRING,

And cheer'd the birds with am'rous heat,

Instructing little hearts to beat;

A SPARROW, frolic, gay, and young,

Of bold address, and flippant tongue,

Just left his lady of a night,

Like him, to follow new delight.

The youth, of many a conquest vain,

Flew off to seek the chirping train;

The chirping train he quickly found,

And with a saucy ease bow'd round.

For every she his bosom burns,

And this, and that, he woos by turns;

And here a sigh, and there a bill,

And here--those eyes! so form'd to kill!

And now, with ready tongue, he strings

Unmeaning, soft, resistless things;

With vows, and dem-me's, skill'd to woo,

As other pretty fellows do.

Not that he thought this short essay

A prologue needful to his play;

No, trust me, says our learned letter,

He knew the virtuous sex much better;

But these he held as specious arts,

To shew his own superior parts,

The form of decency to shield,

And give a just pretence to yield.

Thus finishing his courtly play,

He mark'd the fav'rite of a day;

With careless impudence drew near,

And whisper'd HEBREW in her ear:

A hint which, like the MASON'S sign,

The conscience can alone divine.

The flutt'ring nymph, expert at feigning,

Cry'd, "Sir, pray sir, explain your meaning!

Go prate to those that may endure ye--

To me this rudeness! I'll assure ye!"

Then off she glided like a swallow,

As saying--you guess where to follow.

To such as know the party set,

'Tis needless to say where they met;

The PARSON'S barn, as authors mention,

Confess'd the fair had apprehension.

Her honour there, secure from stain,

She held all farther trifling vain;

No more affected to be coy,

But rush'd, licentious, on the joy.

'Hist, love!' the male companion cry'd,

'Retire awhile, I fear we're 'spy'd:'

Nor was the caution vain; he saw

A TURTLE rustling in the straw,

While o'er her callow brood she hung,

And fondly thus address'd her young:

"Ye tender objects of my care!

Peace, peace, ye little helpless pair;

Anon he comes, your gentle sire,

And brings you all your hearts require.

For us, his infants and his bride,

For us, with only love to guide,

Our lord assumes an EAGLE'S speed,

And, like a LION, dares to bleed.

Nor yet by wintry skies confin'd,

He mounts upon the rudest wind,

From danger tears the vital spoil,

And with affection sweetens toil.

Ah! cease, too vent'rous--cease to dare,

In thine, our dearer safety spare!

From him, ye cruel FALCONS, stray;

And turn, ye FOWLERS, far away.

"Should I survive to see the day,

That tears me from myself away;

That cancels all that heav'n could give,

The life, by which alone I live;

Alas! how more than lost were I,

Who in the thought already die!

"Ye pow'rs, who men and birds obey,

Great rulers of your creatures, say,

Why mourning comes, by bliss convey'd,

And ev'n the sweets of love allay'd?

Where grows enjoyment, tall and fair,

Around it twines entangling care;

While fear, for what our souls possess,

Enervates ev'ry pow'r to bless;

Yet FRIENDSHIP forms the bliss above,

And LIFE, what art thou, without LOVE?"--

Our HERO, who had heard apart,

Felt something moving in his heart;

But quickly, with disdain, suppress'd

The virtue rising in his breast;

And, first, he feign'd to laugh aloud,

And next, approaching, smil'd and bow'd.

'MADAM, you must not think me rude,

Good manners never can intrude;

I vow I came through pure good-nature;

(Upon my soul a charming creature!)

Are these the comforts of a wife?

This careful, cloister'd, moping life?

No doubt, that odious thing, call'd duty,

Is a sweet province for a beauty.

Thou pretty ignorance! thy will

Is measur'd to thy want of skill;

That good old-fashion'd dame, thy mother,

Has taught thy infant years no other.

The greatest ill in the creation

Is, sure, the want of education!

'But think ye (tell me without feigning)

Have all these charms no farther meaning?

Dame NATURE, if you don't forget her,

Might teach your ladyship much better.

For shame, reject this mean employment,

Enter the world, and taste enjoyment;

Where time, by circling bliss we measure,

Beauty was form'd alone for pleasure;

Come, prove the blessing, follow me;

Be wise, be happy, and be free.'

"Kind sir," reply'd our MATRON chaste,

"Your zeal seems pretty much in haste;

I own the fondness to be blest,

Is a deep thirst in every breast;

Of blessings too I have my store,

Yet quarrel not, should heav'n give more;

Then prove the change to be expedient,

And think me, sir, your most obedient."

Here turning, as to one inferior,

Our gallant spoke, and smil'd superior:

'Methinks, to quit your boasted station

Requires a world of hesitation;

Where brats and bonds are held a blessing,

The case, I doubt, is past redressing:

Why, child, suppose the joys I mention

Were the mere fruits of my invention,

You've cause sufficient for your carriage,

In flying from the curse of marriage;

That sly decoy, with vary'd snares,

That takes your widgeons in by pairs;

Alike to husband, and to wife,

The cure of love, and bane of life;

The only method of forecasting

To make misfortune firm and lasting;

The sin, by heav'n's peculiar sentence,

Unpardon'd, through a life's repentance.

It is the double snake, that weds

A common tail to diff'rent heads;

That leads the carcase still astray,

By dragging each a diff'rent way.

Of all the ills that may attend me,

From marriage, mighty GODS, defend me!

'Give me frank NATURE'S wild demesne,

And boundless tract of air serene,

Where FANCY, ever wing'd for change,

Delights to sport, delights to range!

There, LIBERTY! to thee is owing

Whate'er of bliss is worth bestowing;

Delights, still vary'd, and divine,

Sweet goddess of the hills! are thine.

'What say you now, you pretty pink, you?

Have I, for once, spoke reason, think you?

You take me now for no romancer--

Come, never study for an answer;

Away, cast ev'ry care behind ye,

And fly where joy alone shall find ye.'

"Soft yet," return'd our female fencer,

"A question more, or so--and then, sir.

You've rallied me with sense exceeding,

With much fine wit, and better breeding;

But pray, sir, how do you contrive it?

Do those of your world never wive it?"

'No, no,' "How then?" 'Why dare I tell

What does the business full as well.'

"Do you ne'er love?" 'An hour at leisure.'

"Have you no friendship?" 'Yes, for pleasure.'

"No care for little ones?" 'We get 'em;

The rest the mothers mind, and let 'em.'

"Thou wretch!" rejoin'd the kindling DOVE,

"Quite lost to life, as lost to love!

Whene'er misfortunes come, how just!

And come, misfortune surely must;

In the dread season of dismay,

In that your hour of trial, say,

Who then shall prop your sinking heart?

Who bear AFFLICTION'S weightier part?

"Say, when the black-brow'd welkin bends,

And WINTER'S gloomy form impends,

To mourning turns all transient cheer,

And blasts the melancholy year;

For times at no persuasion stay,

Nor vice can find perpetual MAY;

Then where's that tongue, by FOLLY fed,

That soul of pertness, whither fled?

All shrunk within thy lonely nest,

Forlorn, abandon'd, and unbless'd;

No friends, by cordial bonds ally'd,

Shall seek thy cold unsocial side;

No chirping prattlers to delight,

Shall turn the long-enduring night;

No bride her words of balm impart,

And warm thee at her constant heart.

"FREEDOM, restrain'd by REASON'S force,

Is as the sun's unvarying course,

Benignly active, sweetly bright,

Affording warmth, affording light;

But torn from VIRTUE'S sacred rules,

Becomes a comet, gaz'd by fools,

Foreboding cares, and storms, and strife,

And fraught with all the plagues of life.

"Thou fool! by union every creature

Subsists, through universal nature;

And this, to beings void of mind,

Is wedlock of a meaner kind.

"While womb'd in space, primeval clay

A yet unfashion'd embryo lay;

The source of endless good above

Shot down his spark of kindling love;

Touch'd by the all-enliv'ning flame,

Then motion first exulting came,

Each atom sought its sep'rate class,

Through many a fair enamour'd mass;

Love cast the central charm around,

And with eternal nuptials bound.

Then FORM and ORDER, o'er the sky

First train'd their bridal pomp on high;

The SUN display'd his orb to sight,

And burn'd with HYMENEAL light.

"Hence NATURE'S virgin womb conceiv'd,

And with the genial burthen heav'd;

Forth came the oak, her first born heir,

And scal'd the breathing steep of air;

Then infant stems, of various use,

Imbib'd her soft maternal juice.

The flow'rs, in early bloom disclos'd,

Upon her fragrant breast repos'd;

Within her warm embraces grew

A race, of endless form and hue;

Then pour'd her lesser offspring round,

And fondly cloth'd their parent ground.

"Nor here alone the virtue reign'd,

By matter's cumb'rous form detain'd,

But thence, subliming, and refin'd,

Aspir'd, and reach'd its kindred mind.

Caught in the fond celestial fire,

The mind perceiv'd unknown desire;

And now with kind effusion flow'd,

And now with cordial ardours glow'd,

Beheld the sympathetic fair,

And lov'd its own resemblance there;

On all, with circling radiance, shone,

But, cent'ring, fix'd on one alone;

There clasp'd the heav'n-appointed wife,

And doubled every joy of life.

"Here, ever blessing, ever blest,

Resides this beauty of the breast;

As from his palace here the god

Still beams effulgent bliss abroad;

Here gems his own eternal round

The ring by which the world is bound;

Here bids his seat of empire grow,

And builds his little heav'n below.

"The bridal partners thus ally'd,

And thus in sweet accordance tied,

One body, heart, and spirit live,

Enrich'd by ev'ry joy they give;

Like ECHO, from her vocal hold,

Return'd in music twenty-fold.

Their union firm, and undecay'd,

Nor TIME can shake, nor POW'R invade;

But, as the stem and scion stand

Ingrafted by a skilful hand,

They check the TEMPEST'S wintry rage,

And bloom and strengthen into age.

A thousand amities unknown,

And pow'rs, perceiv'd by LOVE alone;

Endearing looks, and chaste desire,

Fan and support the mutual fire,

Whose flame, perpetual as refin'd,

Is fed by an immortal MIND.

"Nor yet the nuptial sanction ends,

Like NILE, it opens and descends,

Which, by apparent windings led,

We trace to its celestial head.

The sire, first springing from above,

Becomes the source of life and love,

And gives his filial heir to flow,

In fondness down on sons below;

Thus roll'd in one continu'd tide,

To TIME'S extremest verge they glide;

While kindred streams, on either hand,

Branch forth in blessings o'er the land.

Thee, wretch! no lisping babe shall name,

No late-returning brother claim;

No kinsman on thy road rejoice,

No sister greet thy ent'ring voice;

With partial eyes no parent see,

And bless their years restor'd in thee.

"In age rejected, or declin'd,

An ALIEN ev'n among thy kind,

The partner of thy scorn'd embrace

Shall play the wanton in thy face;

Each spark unplume thy little pride,

All friendship fly thy faithless side;

Thy name shall, like thy carcase, rot,

In sickness spurn'd, in death forgot.

"All-giving POW'R! great source of life!

O hear the parent! hear the wife!

That life thou lendest from above,

Though little, make it large in love;

O bid my feeling heart expand

To ev'ry claim, on ev'ry hand;

To those, from whom my days I drew,

To these in whom those days renew;

To all my kin, however wide,

In cordial warmth, as blood ally'd,

To friends with steely fetters twin'd,

And to the cruel, not unkind!

But chief, the lord of my desire,

My life, myself, my soul, my sire;

Friends, children, all that wish can claim,

Chaste passion clasp, and rapture name!

O spare him, spare him, GRACIOUS POW'R!

O give him to my latest hour!

Let me my length of life employ,

To give my sole enjoyment joy;

His love, let mutual love excite,

Turn all my cares to his delight,

And ev'ry needless blessing spare,

Wherein my darling wants a share.

When he with graceful action woos,

And sweetly bills and fondly coos,

Ah! deck me to his eyes alone,

With charms attractive as his own,

And in my circling wings caress'd,

Give all the lover to my breast.

Then in our chaste, connubial bed,

My bosom pillow'd for his head,

His eyes with blissful slumbers close,

And watch, with me, my lord's repose;

Your peace around his temples twine,

And love him with a love like mine.

"And, for I know his gen'rous flame,

Beyond whate'er my sex can claim,

Me, too, to your protection take,

And spare me for my husband's sake;

Let one unruffled calm delight

The loving and belov'd unite;

One pure desire our bosoms warm,

One will direct, one wish inform;

Through life one mutual aid sustain,

In death one peaceful grave contain."

While, swelling with the darling theme,

Her accents pour'd an endless stream,

The well-known wings a sound impart,

That reach'd her ear, and touch'd her heart;

Quick dropp'd the music of her tongue,

And forth, with eager joy, she sprung;

As swift her ent'ring consort flew,

And plum'd and kindled at the view;

Their wings, their souls, embracing meet,

Their hearts with answ'ring measure beat;

Half lost in sacred sweets, and bless'd

With raptures felt, but ne'er express'd.

Straight to her humble roof she led

The partner of her spotless bed;

Her young, a flutt'ring pair, arise,

Their welcome sparkling in their eyes,

Transported, to their sire they bound,

And hang with speechless action round.

In pleasure wrapt, the parents stand,

And see their little wings expand;

The sire, his life-sustaining prize

To each expecting bill applies;

There fondly pours the wheaten spoil,

With transport giv'n, though won with toil;

While all collected at the sight,

And silent, through supreme delight,

The FAIR high heav'n of bliss beguiles,

And on her lord and infants smiles.

The SPARROW, whose attention hung

Upon the DOVE'S enchanting tongue,

Of all his little slights disarm'd,

And from himself by VIRTUE charm'd,

When now he saw, what only seem'd,

A fact, so late a fable deem'd;

His soul to envy he resign'd,

His hours of folly to the wind;

In secret wish'd a TURTLE too,

And, sighing to himself, withdrew.