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Full Online Book HomePoemsThe Magpye's Nest Or A Lesson Of Docility
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The Magpye's Nest Or A Lesson Of Docility Post by :yetticyy Category :Poems Author :Charles Lamb Date :July 2011 Read :3533

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The Magpye's Nest Or A Lesson Of Docility

When the arts in their infancy were,
In a fable of old 'tis exprest,
A wise Magpye constructed that rare
Little house for young birds, call'd a nest.

This was talk'd of the whole country round,
You might hear it on every bough sung,
"Now no longer upon the rough ground
Will fond mothers brood over their young.

"For the Magpye with exquisite skill
Has invented a moss-cover'd cell,
Within which a whole family will
In the utmost security dwell."

To her mate did each female bird say,
"Let us fly to the Magpye, my dear;
If she will but teach us the way,
A nest we will build us up here.

"It's a thing that's close arch'd over head,
With a hole made to creep out and in;
We, my bird, might make just such a bed,
If we only knew how to begin."

To the Magpye soon every bird went,
And in modest terms made their request,
That she would be pleas'd to consent
To teach them to build up a nest.

She replied, "I will shew you the way,
So observe every thing that I do.
First two sticks cross each other I lay--"
"To be sure," said the Crow; "why, I knew,

"It must be begun with two sticks,
And I thought that they crossed should be."
Said the Pye, "Then some straw and moss mix,
In the way you now see done by me."

"O yes, certainly," said the Jack Daw,
"That must follow of course, I have thought;
Though I never before building saw,
I guess'd that without being taught."

"More moss, straw, and feathers, I place,
In this manner," continued the Pye.
"Yes, no doubt, Madam, that is the case;
Though no builder myself, even I,"

Said the Starling, "conjectur'd 'twas so;
It must of necessity follow:
For more moss, straw, and feathers, I know,
It requires, to be soft, round, and hollow."

Whatever she taught them beside,
In his turn every bird of them said,
Though the nest-making art he ne'er tried,
He had just such a thought in his head.

Still the Pye went on shewing her art,
Till a nest she had built up half way;
She no more of her skill would impart,
But in anger went flutt'ring away.

And this speech in their hearing she made,
As she perched o'er their heads on a tree,
"If ye all were well skill'd in my trade,
Pray, why came ye to learn it of me?"--

When a scholar is willing to learn,
He with silent submission should hear.
Too late they their folly discern;
The effect to this day does appear:

For whenever a Pye's nest you see,
Her charming warm canopy view,
All birds' nests but hers seem to be
A Magpye's nest just cut in two.


(The end)
Charles Lamb's poem: Magpye's Nest Or A Lesson Of Docility

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