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THE NIGHTINGALE,

OWL, AND CUCKOW.

A FABLE.

ADDRESSED TO DAVID GARRICK, ESQ.

ON THE REPORT OF HIS RETIRING FROM THE STAGE,

DECEMBER 1760.

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Critics, who like the scarecrows stand
Upon the poet's common land,
And with severity of sense,
Drive all imagination thence,
Say that in truth lies all sublime,
Whether you write in prose or rhyme.
And yet the truth may lose it's grace,
If blurted to a person's face;
Especially if what you speak
Shou'd crimson o'er the glowing cheek:
For when you throw that slaver o'er him,
And tumble out your praise before him,
However just the application,
It looks a-squint at adulation.

I would be honest and sincere, But not a flatterer, or severe. Need I be surly, rough, uncouth, That folks may think I love the truth? And She, good dame, with Beauty's Queen, Was not at all times naked seen : For every boy, with Prior, knows, By accident she lost her cloaths, When Falshood stole them to disguise Her misbegotten brood of lies. Why should the prudish Goddess dwell Down at the bottom of a well, But that she is in pitious fright, Lest, rising up to mortal sight, The modest world shou'd fleer and flout her, With not a rag of cloaths about her? Yet she might wear a proper dress And keep her essence ne'ertheless. So Delia's bosom still will rise, And fascinate her lover's eyes, Tho'round her ivory neck she draws, The decent shade of specious gauze..

I hear it buzz'd about the table, What can this lead to ? - Sirs,

A FABLE.

When Birds allow'd the Eagle's sway,
Ere Eagles turn'd to fowls of prey,
His Royal Majesty of Air
Took Music underneath his care;
And, for his queen and court's delight,
Commanded Concerts ev'ry night.
Here every Bird of Parts might enter,
The Nightingale was niade Precentor;
Under whose care and just direction,
Merit was sure to meet protection.
The Lark, the Blackbird, and the Robin,
This concert always bore a bob in :
The best performers all were in it,
The Thrush, Canary-bird, and Linnet.

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But Birds, alas! are apt to aim At things, to which they've smallest claim. The staring Owl, with hideous hoot, Offer'd his service for a flute. The Cuckow needs would join the band ; “ The Thrush is but a paltry hand: And I can best supply that place, " For I've a shake, a swell, a grace."

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The Manager their suit preferr'd :
Both tun'd their pipes, and both were heard;
Yet each their several praises miss'd,
For both were heard, and both were hiss’d.

The Cuckow hence, with rancour stirr'd, (A kind of periodic bird, Of nasty hue, and body scabby, No would-be-play-wright half so shabby) Reviles, abuses, and defames, Screams from a branch, and calls hard names, And strikes at Nightingale or Lark, Like Lisbon ruffians, in the dark.

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The Owl harangues the gaping throng On Pow'rs, and excellence of song, “ The Blackbird's note has lost it's force; “ The Nightingale is downright hoarse; “ The Linnet's harsh ; the Robin shrill ; “ – The Sparrow has prodigious skill.”

At length they had what they desir'd:
The skilful Nightingale retir’d.
When Folly came, with wild Uproar,
And Harmony was heard no more.

THE POET.

AN EPISTLE TO

C. CHURCHILL.

Well-shall I wish you joy of fame,
That loudly echoes CHURCHILL's name,
And sets you on the Muses' throne,
Which right of conquest made your own!
Or shall I (knowing how unfit
The world esteems a man of wit,
That wheresoever he appears,
They wonder if the knave has ears)
Address with joy and lamentation,
CONDOLENCE and CONGRATULATION,
As colleges, who duly bring
Their mess of verse to every king,
Too æconomical in taste,
Their sorrow or their joy to waste;

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