[Page 54]


A Fable, very respectfully addressed to the Hon. Mrs. E—tw—k.

1 Truth oft in fables is convey'd,
2 And morals too in tales display'd;
3 And what discretion won't express,
4 Fiction may veil in pleasing dress;
5 Thus I, when prudence dare not plead,
6 I make a bird my sermon read.
7 Ye who the modest highly prize
8 Attend a Pigeon in disguise,
9 And learn each chatterer to despise;
10 For ah! too oft the chattering tongue,
11 The heart of innocence hath stung;
12 And had the hero of my tale,
13 Permitted slander to prevail,
14 A helpless, disappointed pair,
15 Had now been victims of despair.
16 Some years ago a hawk expired,
17 Dreaded by foes, by friends admired;
18 To gain Britannia's deathless fame,
19 And immortalize his own great name,
20 Glory he made his early aim;
21 He lived unequalled, died revered,
22 To every bird was Hawk endeared;
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23 He left a son, his dearest care,
24 His hope, his blessing, honour's heir:
25 In him each milder virtue shone,
26 For goodness marked him for her own;
27 His kindness friendless birds redrest,
28 His sheltering wings the orphan blest;
29 To say the whole, his worth maintain'd,
30 The glorious name his sire had gained.
31 This noble Hawk to most endear'd,
32 Beneath his wing a pigeon rear'd:
33 From India's clime to Britain's shade,
34 The infant stranger was convey'd,
35 To early learn that genuine worth,
36 Which should distinguish birds of birth;
37 Hawk "took it up a little flower,"
38 And placed it in a kindly bower,
39 Saved him from each inclement storm,
40 His tender years secured from harm,
41 His infant mind with virtue drest,
42 A bright example taught the rest;
43 Thus happy, honoured, much improved,
44 Our Pigeon lived by Hawk beloved;
45 But when the years of reason came,
46 (Alas! what age secure from blame?)
47 Love triumphed, and he took a wife,
48 More dear than liberty or life;
49 The worthy Hawk in wonder lost,
50 Perceived his Views, his wishes crost;
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51 Yet still bestowed his guardian care,
52 And smiled delighted on the pair;
53 The Pigeons thoughtless, gay and young,
54 Believed each smoothe, betraying tongue;
55 They trusted hope, they banished fear,
56 Nor ever dream't a danger near,
57 'Till indiscretion's train advance,
58 The effects of vain extravagance:
59 Behold them then, to want exposed,
60 Each error then disclosed;
61 Regretted follies, bitter thought,
62 The lesson of experience taught.
63 Their soft complaints, their bursting sighs,
64 The tears that trembled in their eyes,
65 The Hawk with pitying glance survey'd,
66 And sent the mourners liberal aid.
67 Far from his heart, though near his nest,
68 There lived a race to birds a pest;
69 The magpies named, a chattering crew,
70 On mischief bent, about they flew;
71 The worthy held them in disdain,
72 Hawk spurn'd them from his honest train;
73 But though they ne'er approach'd his ear,
74 They still contrived that he should hear,
75 Each folly of the humble pair,
76 These favor'd pigeons of his care;
77 They tried in vain with varied art,
78 To rouse some passion turn his heart;
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79 Cries one "it moves me even to rage,
80 " That Pigeons should a Hawk engage!
81 "How better deck'd his board had been,
82 " Had he these pigeons never seen;
83 "His plumage still had been more gay,
84 " But for the gold he gives away;
85 "This, Hawks may think benevolence,
86 " But Magpies deem it want of sense. "
87 " Not too severe, "a sage one cries,
88 " The virtues of a Hawk I prize;
89 "Wou'd he the voice of prudence hear,
90 " So good a bird we must revere;
91 "Or wou'd he listen to our tale,
92 " Permit his reason to prevail,
93 "And let his gold distinguish worth,
94 " His favour grace a Magpie's birth;
95 "With gratitude our breasts should glow,
96 " What praises should our tongues bestow!
97 "But ah! my friends we speak in vain,
98 " He ever treats us with disdain;
99 "The Pigeons faults will ne'er appear,
100 " He blots each folly with a tear. "
101 " But, "adds another," sting his pride,
102 "Say Hawks and Pigeons are allied;
103 " To prove they have not any claim,
104 "(For they must suffer all the blame),
105 " He'll ne'er again their faces see,
106 "Which may make room for thee or me."
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107 But oh! they little knew his mind
108 Was generous, noble good and kind;
109 It sorrowed for the poor accused,
110 To hear their pleading ne'er refused;
111 And with great sentiments inspired,
112 He reasoned thus at eve retired:
113 "'Tis true the Pigeons may be wrong,
114 " But I'll not trust a magpie's tongue;
115 "All that e'er breathed to error's prone,
116 " In pitying theirs I veil my own;
117 "An unforgiving heart should be,
118 " Itself from imperfection free;
119 "Then mercy for the pair shall plead,
120 " T'will shield myself in hours of need;
121 "The days of youth are full of harm,
122 " Each pleasure wears a tempting charm;
123 "And when it can old birds allure,
124 " How can young Pigeons be secure?
125 "And if to give deserves such praise,
126 " Such feelings to the heart conveys,
127 "How blessed every mite that's given,
128 " So honoured here, approved by Heaven!
129 "What pleasure in an added dish,
130 " Or robe I neither want or wish;
131 "Or where the merit to bestow,
132 " That which brings joy they ne'er can know;
133 "Then I resolve the pigeon pair,
134 " Shall still my kind protection share. "
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135 He then retired to peaceful rest,
136 With an approving conscience blest;
137 Oh may his reasoning still impart,
138 A lesson to the human heart!
139 And thou bright fair! whose worth, and truth,
140 So lately blest a favoured youth,
141 And thou oh! E—tw—k so elate,
142 How kind thy stars, how blest thy fate!
143 That gave thee in the spring of life,
144 The accomplished friend, the charming wife;
145 Accept the offering of a breast,
146 With warmest gratitude imprest;
147 And oh! vouchsafe, blest pair to hear,
148 The wishes of a soul sincere;
149 Long may ye bloom, and see each grace,
150 Reflected in a lovely race!
151 And as too often cares intrude,
152 On the kind bosoms of the good,
153 May sweet domestic peace beguile,
154 And make the face of sorrow smile!
155 And when that love no more can warm,
156 Esteem shall lend a milder charm;
157 Enliven'd friendship still engage,
158 And cheer the wintry hours of age;
159 Long may ye live in joy to see,
160 An offspring from each error free;
161 And in the lengthen'd honoured line,
162 A H——ke's distinguished virtues shine!


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    Title (in Source Edition): THE HAWK, THE MAGPIES, AND THE PIGEONS. A Fable, very respectfully addressed to the Hon. Mrs. E—tw—k.
    Genres: fable

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    Kelly, Isabella, 1759-1857. Collection of Poems and Fables on Several Occasions. London: W. Richardson, 1794, pp. 54-59. 72p. (ESTC T122123) (Page images digitized from a copy at the British Library.)

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    Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

    Other works by Isabella Kelly (née Fordyce)