Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A FABLE, by WILLIAM COWPER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A FABLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A raven, while with glossy breast
Last Line: But in the sunshine strikes the blow.
Subject(s): Fate; Ravens; Destiny

A RAVEN, while with glossy breast
Her new-laid eggs she fondly pressed,
And, on her wicker-work high mounted,
Her chickens prematurely counted,
(A fault philosophers might blame,
If quite exempted from the same,)
Enjoyed at ease the genial day;
'Twas April, as the bumpkins say,
The legislature called it May.
But suddenly a wind, as high
As ever swept a winter sky,
Shook the young leaves about her ears,
And filled her with a thousand fears,
Lest the rude blast should snap the bough,
And spread her golden hopes below.
But just at eve the blowing weather
And all her fears were hushed together;
"And now," quoth poor unthinking Ralph,
"'Tis over, and the brood is safe;"
(For ravens, though, as birds of omen,
They teach both conjurers and old women
To tell us what is to befall,
Can't prophesy themselves at all).
The morning came, when neighbour Hodge,
Who long had marked her airy lodge,
And destined all the treasure there
A gift to his expecting fair,
Climbed like a squirrel to his dray,
And bore the worthless prize away.
'Tis Providence alone secures
In every change both mine and yours:
Safety consists not in escape
From dangers of a frightful shape;
An earthquake may be bid to spare
The man that's strangled by a hair.
Fate steals along with silent tread,
Found oftenest in what least we dread,
Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
But in the sunshine strikes the blow.

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