Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ON THE DEATH OF MRS. (NOW LADY) THROCKMORTON'S BULLFINCH, by             Poem Explanation     Poet's Biography
First Line: Ye nymphs! If e'er your eyes were red
Last Line: The cruel death be died.
Subject(s): Bullfinches

YE nymphs! if e'er your eyes were red
With tears o'er hapless favourites shed,
O share maria's grief!
Her favourite, even in his cage,
(What will not hunger's cruel rage?)
Assassined by a thief.

Where Rhenus strays his vines among,
The egg was laid from which he sprung,
And though by nature mute,
Or only with a whistle blest,
Well-taught, he all the sounds expressed
Of flageolet or flute.

The honours of his ebon poll
Were brighter than the sleekest mole;
His bosom of the hue
With which Aurora decks the skies,
When piping winds shall soon arise
To sweep up all the dew.

Above, below, in all the house,
Dire foe, alike to bird and mouse,
No cat had leave to dwell;
And Bully's cage supported stood,
On props of smoothest-shaven wood,
Large-built and latticed well.

Well-latticed--but the grate, alas!
Not rough with wire of steel or brass,
For Bully's plumage sake,
But smooth with wands from Ouse's side,
With which, when neatly peeled and dried,
The swains their baskets make.

Night veiled the pole--all seemed secure--
When led by instinct sharp and sure,
Subsistence to provide,
A beast forth sallied on the scout,
Long-backed, long-tailed, with whiskered snout,
And badger-coloured hide.

He, entering at the study-door,
Its ample area 'gan explore;
And something in the wind
Conjectured, snifting round and round,
Better than all the books he found,
Food, chiefly, for the mind.

Just then, by adverse fate impressed
A dream disturbed poor Bully rest;
In sleep he seemed to view
A rat, fast-clinging to the cage,
And, screaming at the sad presage,
Awoke and found it true.

For, aided both by ear and scend,
Right to his mark the monster went--
Ah, Muse! forbear to speak
Minute the horrors that ensued;
His teeth were strong, the cage was wood--
He left poor Bully's beak.

He left it--but he should have ta'er
That beak, whence issued many a strain
Of such mellifluous tone.
Might have repaid him well, I wote,
For silencing so sweet a throat,
Fast set within his own.

Maia weeps--The Muses mourn--
So, when by Bacchanalians torn,
On Thracian hebrus' side
The tree-enchanter Orpheus fell;
His head alone remained to tell
The cruel death be died.

Discover our poem explanations - click here!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net