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121.—THE GOLDFINCH STARVED IN HIS

CAGE.
Time was when I was free as air,
The thistle's downy seed my fare,

My drink the morning dew;
I perch'd at will on ev'ry spray,
My form genteel, my plumage gay,

My strains for ever new.
But gaudy plumage, sprightly strain,
And form genteel, were all in vain,

And of a transient date ;
For caught, and cag'd, and starv'd to death,
In dying sighs my little breath

Soon pass’d the wiry grate.
Thanks, gentle swain, for all my woes,
And thanks for this effectual close

And cure of every ill !
More cruelty could none express,
And I, if you had shown me less,
Had been your pris'ner still.

Cowper.

122.—THE PINE-APPLE AND THE BEE.

The pine-apples in triple row
Were basking hot, and all in blow;
A bee, of most discerning taste,
Perceiv'd the fragrance as he pass'd;
On eager wing the spoiler came,
And search'd for crannies in the frame,

Urg'd his attempt on ev'ry side,
To ev'ry pane his trunk applied :
But still in vain—the frame was tight,
And only pervious [1] to the light :
Thus having wasted half his day,
He trimm'd his flight another way.
Our dear delights are often such,
Expos’d to view, but not to touch ;
The sight our foolish heart inflames,
We long for pine-apples in frames :
With hopeless wish, one looks and lingers,
One breaks the glass and cuts his fingers;
But those whom truth and wisdom lead,
Can gather honey from a weed.

Cowper.

123.—THE WIND IN A FROLIC. The wind one morning sprung up from sleep, Saying, “Now for a frolic! now for a leap! Now for a mad-cap galloping chase! I'll make a commotion in every place!” So it swept with a bustle right through a great

town, Cracking the signs and scattering down Shutters; and whisking, with merciless squalls, Old women's bonnets and gingerbread stalls. There never was heard a much lustier shout, As the apples and oranges trundled about ; And the urchins, that stand with their thievish eyes For ever on watch, ran off each with a prize.

[1] Pervious-giving passage.

Then away to the field it went, blustering and

humming, And the cattle all wondered whatever was coming; It pluck'd by the tails the grave, matronly cows, And toss'd the colts' manes all about their brows; Till, offended at such an unusual salute, They all turn'd their backs, and stood sulky and

mute.

So on it went, capering and playing its pranks,
Whistling with reeds on the broad river's banks,
Puffing the birds as they sat on the spray,
Or the traveller grave on the king's highway.
It was not too nice to hustle the bags
Of the beggar, and flutter his dirty rags :
'Twas so bold, that it fear'd not to play its joke
With the doctor's wig or the gentleman's cloak.
Through the forest it roar'd, and cried, gaily,

“ Now,
You sturdy old oaks, I'll make you bow!”
And it made them bow without more ado,
Or it cracked their great branches through and

through.

Then it rush'd like a monster on cottage and farm,
Striking their dwellers with sudden alarm;
And they ran out like bees in a midsummer swarm;
There were dames, with their 'kerchiefs tied over

their caps, To see if their poultry were free from mishaps; The turkeys they gobbled, the geese screamed

aloud, And the hens crept to roost in a terrified crowd;

There was rearing of ladders, and logs laying on, Where the thatch from the roof threatened soon

to be gone.

But the wind had swept on, and had met in a lane With a schoolboy, who panted and struggled in

vain ; For it tossed him, and twirled him, then passed,

and he stood, With his hat in a pool and his shoes in the mud.

Then away went the wind in its holiday glee,
And now it was far on the billowy sea,
And the lordly ships felt its staggering blow,
And the little boats darted to and fro.
But lo! it was night, and it sank to rest
On the sea-bird's rock, in the gleaming west,
Laughing to think, in its fearful fun,
How little of mischief it had done.

William Howitt.

124.—THE COMPLAINTS OF THE POOR. “And wherefore do the poor complain ?" .

The rich man asked of me;-
"Come walk abroad with me,” I said,

“And I will answer thee.”

'Twas evening, and the frozen streets

Were cheerless to behold;
And we were wrapped and coated well, :

And vet we were a-cold.

We met an old, bare-headed man,

His locks were few and white ; I asked him what he did abroad

In that cold winter's night?

'Twas bitter keen, indeed, he said,

But at home no fire had he, And therefore he had come abroad

To ask for charity.

We met a young barefooted child,

And she begged loud and bold; I asked her what she did abroad

When the wind it blew so cold ?

She said her father was at home,

And he lay sick in bed ;
And therefore was it she was sent

Abroad to beg for bread.

We saw a woman sitting down

Upon a stone to rest; She had a baby at her back

And another at her breast.

I asked her why she loitered there,

When the wind it was so chill ? She turned her head, and bade the child

That screamed behind, be still.

She told us that her husband served,

A soldier, far away ;
And therefore to her parish she

Was begging back her way.

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