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WHAT is there in the vale of life
Half so delightful as a wife,

When friendship, love, and peace, combine
To stamp the marriage bond divine?
The stream of pure and genuine love
Derives its current from above;
And earth a second Eden shows
Where'er the healing water flows:
But ah, if from the dykes and drains
Of sensual nature's feverish veins,
Lust like a lawless headstrong flood,
Impregnated with ooze and mud,
Descending fast on every side,
Once mingles with the sacred tide,
Farewell the soul-enlivening scene!
The banks that wore a smiling green,
With rank defilement overspread,
Bewail their flowery beauties dead.
The stream polluted, dark and dull,
Diffused into a Stygian pool,
Through life's last melancholy years
Is fed with ever flowing tears:
Complaints supply the zephyr's part,
And sighs that heave a breaking heart.



SHALL not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau
If birds confabulate or no;

'Tis clear, that they were always able
To hold discourse-at least in fable;
And e'en the child that knows no better
Than to interpret by the letter
A story of a cock and bull

Must have a most uncommon skull.
It chanced then on a winter's day,
But warm and bright, and calm as May,
The birds, conceiving a design

To forestall sweet St. Valentine,

In many an orchard, copse, and grove,
Assembled on affairs of love,

And with much twitter, and much chatter,

Began to agitate the matter.

At length a Bulfinch, who could boast
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, opening wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And silence publicly enjoin'd,
Deliver'd briefly thus his mind:

My friends! be cautious how ye treat
The subject upon which we meet ;
I fear we shall have winter yet.



A Finch, whose tongue knew no control,
With golden wing and satin poll,

A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
What marriage means, thus pert replied:
Methinks the gentleman, quoth she,
Opposite in the apple tree,

By his good will would keep us single
Till yonder heaven and earth shall mingle,

Or (which is likelier to befall)

Till death exterminate us all.


marry without more ado;

My dear Dick Redcap, what say you?

Dick heard, and tweedling, ogling, bridling,
Turning short round, strutting and sidling,
Attested, glad, his approbation

Of an immediate conjugation.
Their sentiments so well express'd
Influenced mightily the rest;

All pair'd, and each pair built a nest.

But though the birds were thus in haste,

The leaves came on not quite so fast;
And Destiny, that sometimes bears
An aspect stern on man's affairs,
Not altogether smiled on theirs.
The wind, of late breathed gently forth,
Now shifted east, and east by north;
Bare trees and shrubs but ill, you know,
Could shelter them from rain or snow;
Stepping into their nests, they paddled,
Themselves were chill'd, their eggs were addled;

Soon every father bird and mother

Grew quarrelsome, and peck'd each other,
Parted without the least regret,

Except that they had ever met,
And learn'd in future to be wiser
Than to neglect a good adviser.


MISSES! the tale that I relate

This lesson seems to carry—
Choose not alone a proper mate,
But proper time to marry.



A HERMIT (or if chance you hold
That title now too trite and old)
A man, once young, who lived retired,
As hermit could have well desired,
His hours of study closed at last,
And finish'd his concise repast,
Stoppled his cruse, replaced his book
Within its customary nook,

And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Isaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at eveningtide.
Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees that fringed his hill,
Shades slanting at the close of day
Chill'd more his else delightful way.
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still sunny side,
And right toward the favour'd place,
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask a little yet,

Just reach'd it when the sun was set.
Your hermit, young and jovial sirs!
Learns something from whate'er occurs—
And hence, he said, my mind computes
The real worth of man's pursuits.
His object chosen, wealth or fame,

Or other sublunary game,

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