The peasant, the Hen, and young Ducks
                  A FABLE

A HEN of all the midden crew
The fairest, stateliest to view,
Of laying tir'd, she fondly begs
Her keeper's leave to hatch her eggs:
He, dunn'd with the incessant cry,
Was forc'd for peace' sake to comply;
And in a month the downy brood
Came chirping round the hen for food,
Who view'd them with parental eyes
Of pleasing fondness and surprise,
And was not at a loss to trace
Her likeness growing in their face,
Tho' the broad bills could declare

That they another offspring were;
So strong will prejudices blind,
And lead astray the easy mind.
  To the green margin of the brook
The hen her fancied children took;
Each young one shakes his unfledg'd wings,
And to the flood by instinct springs;

With willing strokes they gladly swim,
Or dive into the glassy stram,
While the fond mother vents her grief,
And prays the peasant's kind relief.
The peasant heard the bitter cries,
And thus in terms of rage replies,
"You fool! give o'er your useless moan,
"Nor mourn misfortunes not your own;
"But learn in wisdon to forsake

"The offspring of the duck and drake."
To whom the hen, with angry crest
With scornful looks, herself addrest;
"If reason were my constant guide
"(Of man the ornament and pride),
"Then should I boast a cruel heart,
"And foreign feeling all depart;
"But since poor I, by instinct blind,
"Can boast no feelings so refin'd,
"'Tis hop'd your reason will excuse,
"Tho' I your counsel sage refuse,
"And from the perils of the flood
"Attempt to save another's brood."
When pity, gen'rous nymph possest,
And mov'd at will the human breast,
No tongue its distant sufferings told,
But she assisted, she condol'd,
And willing bore her tender part
In all the feelings of the heart;
But now fron her our hearts decoy'd,
To sense of others woes destroyed,
Act only from a selfish view,
Nor give the aid to pity due.