No. XXII.

Ode to a Bullfinch.


Little wanton flutterer, say,

Whither wouldst thou wing thy way?

Why those airy circles make?

All untried the thorny brake.

Wintry clouds deform the scene;

Faintly glows the sickly green;

Piercing winds, and chilling showers

Rudely blight the opening flowers:

Scarce a blossom dares expand,

Nipp’d by boreas’ icy hand:

Slowly from her native bed

The violet rears her lovely head,

And to the northern blast expos’d;

Folds her leaves, ere half disclos’d.

See the wily fowler laid

Close beneath the hawthorn shade;

Mark his tyrannous intent,

Full on schemes of murder bent:

For within that rugged breast,

Meek-eyed pity ne’er would rest;

Nor the softer powers of love,

Ere that stoic heart could move. [259]

Various dangers lurking lie

In the guise of liberty.

Little trembler, hither fly,

In my bosom safely lie;

Sympathy, and tenderness,

Do that bosom still possess!

There thy glossy plumes unfold,

Plumes of azure, and of gold;

While secure from every harm,

Pining want, and rude alarm,

A willing captive still remain,

Nor wish thy liberty to gain.

Whisp’ring nature prompts to fly,

Seeking sweet society;

Or the gentler voice of love,

Bids thee range the mazy grove.

Ah! thy fond intent forbear,

Transient joys, which end in care:

All a parent’s anxious woe

Soon thy downy breast would know,

Lest the truant school-boys eye

Should thy tender young descry!

Lest the ruder vernal storm,

Should thy little nest deform! [260]

Hither, then thou wanton fly!

Bless thy soft captivity.

And lull with notes of soothing sound,

The pangs which do my bosom wound.