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On twigs of hawthorn he regal'd,
On pippins' russet peel,
Slic'd carrot pleas'd him well.
A Turkey carpet was his lawn, Whereon he lov'd to bound,
His frisking was at ev'ning hours,
For then he lost his fear,
Or when a storm drew near.
Eight years and five round-rolling moons He thus saw steal away, Dozing out all his idle noons, And ev'ry night at play.
I kept him for his humour's sake,
For he would oft beguile My heart of thoughts, that made it ache,
And force me to a smile. But now beneath his walnut shade He finds his long last home, And waits, in snug concealment laid, Till gentler Puss shall come.
He, still more aged, feels the shocks, From which no care can save, And, partner once of Tiney's box, Must soon partake his grave.
Hie etiam jacet, Qui totum novennium vixit, Puss. Siste paulisper, Qui praeteriturus es,
Et tecum sic reputa— Hunc neque canis venaticus,
Nee plumbum missile.
Nee imbres nimii,
Tameu mortuus est— Et moriar ego.
The following Account of the Treatment of hit Hares, was inserted by Mr. Cowper in the Gentleman's Magazine, whence it is transcribed.
In the year 1774, being much indisposed both in mind and body, incapable of diverting myself either with company or books, and yet in a condition that made some diversion necessary, I was glad of any thing, that would engage my attention without fatiguing it. The children of a neighbour of mine had a leveret given them for a plaything; it was at that time about three months old. Understanding better how to tease the poor creature than to feed it, and, soon becoming weary of their charge, they readily consented that their father, who saw it pining and growing leaner every day, should offer it to my acceptance. I was willing enough to take the prisoner under my protection, perceiving that, in the management of such an animal, and in the attempt to tame it, I should find just that sort of employment which my case required. It was soon known among the neighbours that I was pleased with the present; and the consequence was, that in a short time I had as many leverets offered to me, as would have stocked a paddock. I undertook the care of three, which it is necessary that I should here distinguish by the names I gave them—Puss, Tiney, and Bess. Notwithstanding the two feminine appellatives, I must inform you that they were all males. Immediately commencing carpenter, I built them houses to sleep in; each had a separate apartment, so contrived that their ordure would pass through the bottom of it; an earthen pan placed under each received whatsoever fell, which being duly emptied and washed, they were thus kept perfectly sweet and clean. In the day-time they had the range of a hall, and at night retired each to his own bed, never intruding into that of another.
Puss grew presently familiar, would leap into my lap, raise himself upon his hinder feet, and bite the hair from my temples. He would suffer me to take him up and to carry him about in my arms, and has more than once fallen fast asleep upon my knee. He was ill three days, during which time I nursed him, kept him apart from his fellows, that they might not molest him (for, like many other wild animals, they persecute one of their own species that is sick), and by constant care, and trying him with a variety of herbs, restored him to perfect health. No creature could be more grateful than my patient after his recovery; a sentiment which he most significantly expressed by licking my hand, first the back of it, then the palm, then every finger separately, then between all the fingers, as if anxious to leave no part of it unsalutcd; a ceremony which he never performed but once again upon a similar occasion. Finding him extremely tractable, I made it my custom to carry him always after breakfast into the garden, where he hid himself generally under the leaves of a cucumber vine, sleeping or chewing the cud till evening; in the leaves also of that vine he found a favourite