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With Paphian myrtle, or with bays
Parnassian, on my brow.
Escaped from every care,
And sleep securely there.*
So sang, in Roman tone and style,
The youthful bard ere long, Ordained to grace his native isle
With her sublimest song.
Who, then, but must conceive disdain,
Hearing the deed unblest
His dread sepulchral rest?
Ill fare the hands that heaved the stones
Where Milton's ashes lay,
And steal his dust away.
Oh ill requited bard! neglect
Thy living worth repayed, And blind idolatrous respect
As much affronts the dead.
* Forsitan et nostros ducat de marmore vultus_ Nectens aut Paphia myrti aut Parnasside lauri Fronde comas—At ego secura pace quiescam.
Founded on a Fact which happened in January, 1779.
Where Humber pours his rich commercial stream, There dwelt a wretch, who breathed but to blaspheme.
In subterraneous caves his life he led,
He wept, he trembled; cast his eyes around,
Was nigh, when he would swear as fast as they.
In Scotland's realm, where trees are few,
Nor even shrubs abound;
Some better things are found;
For husband there and wife may boast
Their union undefined;
As hedge-rows in the wild:
This history chanced of late—
A chaffinch and his mate.
With genial instinct filled;
But found not where to build.
Except with snow and sleet;
* This tale is founded on an anecdote which the author found in the Buckinghamshire Herald, for Saturday, June 1, 1793, in the following words.
In a block or pully, near the head of the mast of a gabertj now lying at the Brcomielaw, there is a chafSea-beaten rocks and naked shores
Could yield them no retreat.
'Till both grew vexed and tired;
The good so long desired.
A ship !—could such a restless thing
Afford them place to rest?
The homeless birds a nest?
This racer of the sea
It served them with a tree.
But such a tree! 'twas shaven deal;
The tree they call a mast,
Through which the tackle passed.
Their roofless home they fixt;
finch's nest and four eggs. The nest was built while the vessel lay at Greenock, and was followed hither by both birds. Though the block is occasionally lowered for the inspection of the curious, the birds have not forsaken the nest. The cock, however, visits the nest but seldom, while the hen never leaves it but when she descends to the hulk for food.