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.