Water Wagtail


SOLILOQUY

OF

A WATER WAGTAIL,

ON

THE WALLS OF YORK CASTLE.


I.

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.

II.

“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!

III.

“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!

IV.

“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!

V.

“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!

VI.

“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!

VII.

“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!

VIII.

“’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!”

IX.

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.