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Though till his growing time be past
Scarce ever is he seen to fast.
That hour arrived, his work begins.
He spins and weaves,
and weaves and spins;
Till circle upon circle wound
Careless around him and around,
Conceals him with a veil, though slight,
Impervious to the keenest sight.
Thus self-enclosed as in a cask,
At length he finishes his task;
And, though a worm when he was lost,
Or caterpillar at the most,
When next we see him, wings he wears,
And in papilio pomp appears ;
Becomes oviparous; supplies
With future worms and future flies
The next ensuing year-and dies !
Well were it for the world, if all
Who creep about this earthly ball,
Though shorter lived than most he be,
Were useful in their kind as he.
Not a flower can be found in the fields,
Or the spot that we till for our pleasure, From the largest to the least, but it yields
The bee, never wearied, a treasure.
Scarce any she quits unexplored
With a diligence truly exact; Yet, steal what she may for her hoard,
Leaves evidence none of the fact.
Her lucrative task she
pursues, And pilfers with so much address, That none of their odour they lose,
Nor charm by their beauty the less.
Not thus inoffensively preys
The cankerworm in-dwelling foe! His voracity not thus allays
The sparrow, the finch, or the crow.
The worm, more expensively fed,
The pride of the garden devours ; And birds peck the seed from the bed,
Still less to be spared than the flowers.
But she with such delicate skill
Her pillage so fits for her use,
That the chemist in vain with his still
Would labour the like to produce.
Then grudge not her temperate meals,
Nor a benefit blame as a theft; Since, stole she not all that she steals,
Neither honey nor wax would be left.
In this mimic form of a matron in years,
How plainly the pencil of Denner appears !
The matron herself, in whose old age we see
Not a trace of decline, what a wonder is she!
No dimness of eye, and no cheek hanging low,
No wrinkle, or deep-furrow'd frown on the brow!
Her forehead indeed is here circled around
With locks like the ribbon with which they are
While glossy and smooth, and as soft as the skin
Of a delicate peach, is the down of her chin ;
But nothing unpleasant, or sad, or severe,
Or that indicates life in its winter-is here.
Yet all is express'd with fidelity due,
Nor a pimple or freckle conceal’d from the view.
Many fond of new sights, or who cherish a taste For the labours of art, to the spectacle haste. The youths all agree, that could old age inspire The passion of love, hers would kindle the fire, And the matrons with pleasure confess that they Ridiculous nothing or hideous in thee. see The nymphs for themselves scarcely hope a decline, O wonderful woman ! as placid as thine. Strange magic of art! which the youth can en
gage To peruse, half enamour'd, the features of age;
And force from the virgin a sigh of despair, That she when as old shall be equally fair ! How great is the glory that Denner has gain'd, Since Apelles not more for his Venus obtain’d.
APELLES, hearing that his boy
Had just expired-his only joy!
Although the sight with anguish tore him,
Bade place his dear remains before him.
He seized his brush, his colours spread;
And—“ Oh! my child, accept,”—he said,
('Tis all that I can now bestow),
This tribute of a father's woe !"
Then, faithful to the twofold part,
Both of his feelings and his art,
He closed his eyes
with tender care,
And form’d at once a fellow pair.
His brow with amber locks beset,
And lips he drew not livid yet ;
And shaded all that he had done
To a just image of his son.
Thus far is well. But view again
The cause of thy paternal pain !
Thy melancholy task fulfill !
It needs the last, last touches still.
Again his pencil's powers he tries,
For on his lips a smile he spies :
And still his cheek unfaded shows
The deepest damask of the rose..
Then, heedful to the finish'd whole,
With fondest eagerness he stole,
Till scarce himself distinctly knew
The cherub copied from the true.
Now, painter, cease! Thy task is done.
Long lives this image of thy son;
Nor short lived shall the glory prove
Or of thy labour or thy love.
From right to left, and to and fro,
Caught in a labyrinth you go,
And turn, and turn, and turn again,
To solve the mystery, but in vain;
Stand still, and breathe, and take from me
A clue, that soon shall set you free!
Not Ariadne, if you meet her,
Herself could serve you with a better.
You enter'd easily-find where-
And make with ease your exit there!