A WATER WAGTAIL,
THE WALLS OF YORK CASTLE.
ON the walls that guard my prison,
Swelling big with little pride,
Brisk and merry as the season,
I, a feathered Coxcomb, spied:
When the little, hopping elf
Gayly thus amused himself.
“Hear your sovereign’s proclamation,
“All good subjects, young and old!
“I’m the Lord of the Creation;
“I— a Water Wagtail bold!
“All around, and all you see,
“All the world was made for ME!
“Yonder sun, so proudly shining,
“Rises— when I leave my nest;
“And, behind the hills declining,
“Sets— when I retire to rest:
“Morn and evening, thus you see,
“Day and night, were made for ME!
“Vernal gales to love invite me;
“Summer sheds, for me, her beams;
“Autumn’s jovial scenes delight me;
“Winter paves, with ice, my streams:
“All the year is mine, you see;
“Seasons change, like moons, for ME!
“On the giant heads of mountains,
“Or beneath the shady trees;
“By the banks of warbling fountains,
“I enjoy myself at ease:
“Hills and vallies, thus you see,
“Groves and rivers, made for ME!
“Boundless are my vast dominions;
“I can hop, or swim, or fly;
“When I please, my towering pinions
“Trace mine empire through the sky;
“Air and elements, you see,
“Heaven and earth, were made for me!
“Birds and insects, beasts and fishes,
“All their humble distance keep;
“Man, subservient to my wishes,
“Sows the harvest, which I reap:
“Mighty man himself, you see,
“All that breathe, were made for ME!
“’Twas for my accommodation,
“Nature rose when I was born;
“Should I die— the whole creation
“Back to nothing would return:
“Sun, moon, stars, the world, you see,
“Sprung— exist— will fall with ME!”
Here the pretty prattler ending,
Spread his wings to soar away;
But a cruel Hawk, descending,
Pounced him up— an helpless prey!
— Couldst thou not, poor Wagtail! see,
That the Hawk was made for THEE?
Castle of York, April 5, 1796.