CHUSING A NAME
I have got a new-born sister;
I was nigh the first that kiss’d her.
When the nursing woman brought her
To Papa, his infant daughter,
How Papa’s dear eyes did glisten!—
She will shortly be to christen:
And Papa has made the offer,
I shall have the naming of her.
Now I wonder what would please her,
Charlotte, Julia, or Louisa.
Ann and Mary, they’re too common;
Joan’s too formal for a woman;
Jane’s a prettier name beside;
But we had a Jane that died.
They would say, if ’twas Rebecca,
That she was a little Quaker,
Edith’s pretty, but that looks
Better in old English books;
Ellen’s left off long ago;
Blanche is out of fashion now.
None that I have nam’d as yet
Are so good as Margaret.
Emily is neat and fine.
What do you think of Caroline?
How I’m puzzled and perplext
What to chuse or think of next!
I am in a little fever.
Lest the name that I shall give her
Should disgrace her or defame her
I will leave Papa to name her.
A bird appears a thoughtless thing,
He’s ever living on the wing,
And keeps up such a carolling,
That little else to do but sing
A man would guess had he.
No doubt he has his little cares,
And very hard he often fares,
The which so patiently he bears,
That, list’ning to those cheerful airs,
Who knows but he may be
In want of his next meal of seeds?
I think for that his sweet song pleads.
If so, his pretty art succeeds.
I’ll scatter there among the weeds
All the small crumbs I see.
THE ROOK AND THE SPARROWS
A little boy with crumbs of bread
Many a hungry sparrow fed.
It was a child of little sense,
Who this kind bounty did dispense;
For suddenly it was withdrawn,
And all the birds were left forlorn,
In a hard time of frost and snow,
Not knowing where for food to go.
He would no longer give them bread,
Because he had observ’d (he said)
That sometimes to the window came
A great blackbird, a rook by name,
And took away a small bird’s share.
So foolish Henry did not care
What became of the great rook,
That from the little sparrows took,
Now and then, as ’twere by stealth,
A part of their abundant wealth;
Nor ever more would feed his sparrows.
Thus ignorance a kind heart narrows.
I wish I had been there; I would
Have told the child, rooks live by food
In the same way that sparrows do.
I also would have told him too,
Birds act by instinct, and ne’er can
Attain the rectitude of man.
Nay that even, when distress
Does on poor human nature press,
We need not be too strict in seeing
The failings of a fellow being.