The Two Pidgeons

Two Pigeons — were each other's pets,
But use enjoyment soon forgets;
One , though as lov'd as lov'd could be,
Mark'd — but in cruel terms — Ennui .
In English , either said or swore ,
" That all domestic was — a bore . "
Dreamt, with an ideot's fits and starts,
Of travels into foreign parts;
And for the shell's delicious kernel,
Had thoughts of giving us a Journal —
" Why so impatient? " said the other,
" To leave at home your friend and brother?
Of all the doom that life has curst,
An absent home is far the worst;
And though it is not fear'd by thee,
At least the perils of the sea;
Or, at the best, heart-piercing Care
Will goad your spirits to despair.
'Tis Winter now: were Spring advanc'd,
Less harm, if you had thus romanc'd;
Wait for the Zephyr's halcyon wing!
I heard last night a Raven sing;
Depend upon it, he had reason,
And gave us timely hints of treason .
Alas! — no sleep will now be mine —
Till nets are burnt, and Hawks resign;
Good Heaven! it rains: — is all supply'd,
That meat and lodgings can provide? "
The sermon shook the rambler's heart,
But not his purpose to depart —
Impatient still to see the world ,
Ambition's banners he unfurl'd —
" Put up that handkerchief! " he said,
Nor of misfortunes be afraid!
Three little days, and I return;
When you shall my adventures learn;
Till then, with more expanded views,
A taste, quite harmless, I amuse.
On my return, in bed at night,
The incidents ensure delight.
He that sees nothing (soon or late)
Of course has nothing to relate .
" Here was your Brother! " I shall tell you —
" Well; and what next (you'll ask) befell you? "
" You'll think it passing in your view. " —
They sigh'd, but could not say, " adieu! "
With grief suppress'd, of love bereft,
Like Hector when his wife he left —
He darted into air with speed,
As if his laurels were decreed.
But soon a pelting shower of rain,
Seem'd his ambition to arraign;
A single tree its leaf supply'd,
A leaf that not a Wren could hide.
When it held up — he kiss'd the rod,
Though dripping as a river-god.
Apart from that insidious friend,
Though piqued so early to descend,
He saw, but half rebuk'd its treasure,
A field, commodious for his leisure;
Whose peering leaf, to birds that steal,
Gave symptoms of a copious meal.
When he had made his person clean,
And brush'd his travelling machine ,
He saw a Pigeon there, and feeding;
To join him was the pink of breeding.
In evil hour — and, quick as thought,
He look'd — he fell — and he was caught
Suborn'd, and for the Hero's grief,
His tempter was a pinion'd thief!
Compell'd his guilty race to cheat,
And cripple in the net their feet;
For all was trick, in ambush there,
Faith to cajole, and love ensnare.
This net had been so much in use,
That here and there its chain was loose;
The rage for liberty and life
Made of his beak and wings — a knife.
His efforts broke the penal string,
But left a portion of his wing.
Still against this ill-fated Bird
A host of accidents concurr'd;
A Vulture saw the culprit lame,
And mark'd him with a gunner's aim;
But Cupid's mother, I suppose,
Redeem'd and veil'd him from his foes;
An Eagle of gigantic size
Pounc'd on the Vulture as its prize.
The Pigeon was a reasoning bird,
And thought civility absurd,
When two such combatants might wish,
That He should be the victor's dish;
Behind a wall he lay conceal'd,
And his high spirit thus reveal'd:
" These are the accidents of journeys,
Inseparable as Attorneys;
They give the tour a kind of zest,
A charm to animate the rest:
But here the mis-adventures close,
The sequel 's colour'd by the Rose. "
And so he thought — for, give it scope,
There is not such a fool as Hope.
A wicked boy (that age is cruel)
To Fate's cold embers added fuel;
With stone and sling his aim he took,
Whose blow the wounded Hero shook.
With broken wing, and limping feet,
He panted for his native seat;
But in his way rebuk'd and curs'd
The folly that seduc'd him first.
Half dead, and lame perhaps till death,
With feverish pulse, and fainting breath,
He told his brother all that pass'd,
And promis'd he 'd be wise — at last.
Ye happy Lovers! when ye roam,
Let it be very near your home;
In your own hearts, a world for you,
Be ever different, ever new;
Make objects of yourselves alone,
With pride the universe disown!
The time has been that I could love —
No palace — not the realms above —
To own them would I have exchang'd,
With groves in which my Phillis rang'd;
With scenes that her appearance grac'd,
Her eyes adorn'd, her mind embrac'd;
In that monopoly of bliss,
No gems or treasures I could miss;
And shall these joys no more again
Assert their abdicated reign?
Or in the paths which Folly chose,
Ambition sleep, and Pride repose?
Deserted by the Cyprian Dove,
Am I, alas! too old for Love?
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