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THE POET, THE OYSTER, AND
An Oyster, cast upon the shore,
Ah, hapless wretch! condemn'd to dwell
Was hurt, disgusted, mortified,
And with asperity replied.
When, cry the botanists, and stare,
Did plants call'd sensitive grow there?
No matter when—a poet's muse is
To make them grow just where she chooses. You shapeless nothing in a dish,
You that are but almost a fish, '*
I scorn your coarse insinuation,
And have most plentiful occasion,
To wish myself the rock I view,
Or such another dolt as you:
For many a grave and learned clerk,
And many a gay unletter'd spark,
With curious touch examines me,
If I can feel as well as he;
And when I bend, retire, and shrink,
Says—Well, 'tis more than one would think!
Thus life is spent (oh fie upon't!)
In being touch'd, and crying—Don't!
A poet, in his ev'ning walk,
Deserves not, if so soon offended,
You, in your grotto-work enclos'd,
And as for you, my Lady Squeamish,
His censure reach'd them as he dealt it, And each by shrinking show'd he felt it.
WEITTEN IN A TIME OF AFFLICTION. I.
Oh, happy shades—to me unblest!
Friendly to peace, but not to me!
And heart, that cannot rest, agree!
II. This glassy stream, that spreading pine,
Those alders quiv'ring to the breeze, Might sooth a soul less hurt than mine,
And please, if any thing could please.
But fix'd unalterable Care
Foregoes not what she feels within, Shows the same sadness ev'ry where,
And slights the season and the scene. Vol. I. x
For all that pleas'd in wood or lawn,
Her animating smile withdrawn,
The saint or moralist should tread
They seek like me the secret shade.
Me fruitful scenes and prospects waste
These tell me of enjoyments past,