MARRIAGE A-LA-MODE. OR THE TWO SPARROWS.
A FABLE. From Mons. DE LA MOTTE, Book iv. Fable 21.
1 A Grove there was, by nature made,
2 Of trees that form'd a pleasing shade;
3 Where warbled, ever free from care,
4 The wing'd musicians of the air.
5 Here tun'd the Nightingale her throat;
6 The Thrush there thrill'd her piercing note;
7 The Finch, Lark, Linnet, all agree
8 To join the sylvan harmony.
9 Two amorous Sparrows chose this place;
10 The softest of the feather'd race:
11 The MARS and VENUS of the grove;
12 Less fam'd for singing than for love.
13 The songsters warbled sweet; while they
14 As sweetly bill'd their time away.
15 So closely seated were the two,
16 Together you wou'd think they grew:
17 The twig was tender where they sate,
18 And bent beneath their little weight;[Page 206]
19 But scarcely in their lives was known
20 To bear the one, when one was flown.
21 When hunger call'd, they left the wood,
22 Together sought the field for food;
23 When thirsty, in the shallow rills
24 Together dip'd their little bills.
25 When PHOEBUS sitting in the west,
26 And thick'ning shades invite to rest,
27 They homeward bent their mutual flight:
28 Thus pass'd their day, thus pass'd their night.
29 The castle, where these lovers lay;
30 Was in a hollow oak, they say:
31 There, side by side, all night they kept;
32 Together walk'd, together slept:
33 And mixing amorous disport,
34 They made their winter-evening short.
35 Tho' free, 'twas left to other's mind,
36 To chuse a mate from all their kind,
37 She only lov'd the loving he;
38 He only lov'd the lovely she.
39 Pure JOY, poor mortals seldom find;
40 Her footman, SORROW, waits behind:
41 And FATE impartial deals to all
42 The honey'd potion mix'd with gall.
43 This pair, on an unhappy day,
44 Too far together chanc'd to stray;
45 Benighted, and with snares beset,
46 Our MARS and VENUS in a net,[Page 207]
47 Alas! were caught. — O change of state!
48 A little cage is now their fate.
49 No more they seek the spacious grove:
50 No more they burn with mutual love:
51 Their passion changes with their life;
52 And soon they fall from love to strife.
53 Their little souls with growing rage
54 High swell; they flutter round the cage:
55 Forget the slender twig, where late
56 Close side by side in love they sate;
57 One perch is now too small to hold
58 The fiery mate and chirping scold:
59 They peck each other o'er their food;
60 And thirst to drink each other's blood.
61 Two cages must the pair divide;
62 Or death the quarrel will decide.
63 A picture this of human life!
64 The modern husband, and the wife.
65 Who e'er in courtship saw a pair,
66 So kind as he, as she so fair?
67 The kisses that they gave each other,
68 You'd think had seal'd their lips together;
69 Each vows to each a mutual flame;
70 And dreams, 'twill always last the same;
71 But fix them once in HYMEN'S chains,
72 And each alternately complains.
73 The honey-moon is scarce declin'd,
74 But all the honey of their mind
75 Is gone; and leaves the sting behind.[Page 208]
76 The scene of love is vanish'd quite:
77 They pout, grow peevish, scold, and fight.
78 Two tables feed each parted guest;
79 Two beds receive the pair to rest:
80 And law alone can end the strife,
81 With separate-maintenance for life.