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YE nymphs! if e'er your eyes were red
With tears o'er hapless fav'rites shed,
Oh share Maria's grief!
Her fav'rite, even in his cage,
(What will not hunger's cruel rage?
Assassin'd by a thief.
Where Rhenus strays his vines among,
The egg was laid from which he sprung,
And though by nature mute,
Or only with a whistle blest,
Well taught, he all the sounds express'd
Of flagelet or flute..
The honours of his ebon poll
Were brighter than the sleekest mole;,
His bosom of the hue
With which Aurora decks the skies,.
When piping winds shall soon arise.
To sweep up all the dew..
Above, below, in all the house,
Dire foe, alike to bird and mouse,
No cat had leave to dwell; And Bully's cage supported stood, On props of smoothest-shaven wood Large-built and lattic'd well
Well-lattic'd-but the grate, alas!
Not rough with wire of steel or brass,
For Bully's plumage sake,
But smooth with wands from Ouse's side,
With which, when neatly peel'd and dried,
The swains their baskets make.
Night veil'd the pole. All seem'd secure
When led by instinct sharp and sure,
Subsistence to provide,
A beast forth sallied on the scent,
Long-back'd, long-tail'd, with whisker'd snout,
And badger-colour'd hide,
He, ent'ring at the study-door,
Its ample area 'gan t' explore;
And something in the wind
Conjectur'd sniffing round and round,
Better than all the books he found,
Food, chiefly, for the mind.
Just then, by adverse fate impress'd,
A dream disturb'd poor Bully's rest;
In sleep he seem'd to view
A rat, fast-clinging to his cage,
And, screaming at the sad presage,
Awoke and found it true.
For, aided both by ear and scent,
Right to his mark the monster went-
Ah, muse! forbear to speak
Minute the horrors that ensued;
His teeth were strong, the cage was wood-
He left poor Bully's beak.
He left it but he should have ta’en
That beak, whence issued many a strain
Of such mellifluous tone,
Might have repaid him well, I wrote,
For silencing so sweet a throat,
Fast set within his own.
Maria weeps-The Muses mourn—
So, when by Bacchanalians torn,
On Thracian Hebrus' side
The tree-enchanter Orpheus fell;
Mis head alone remain'd to tell
The cruel death he died.