A pris’ner to the gilded cage,
For no offence confin’d;
Poor squirrel, shall tonight engage,
The Muse of pity’s mind.
Who would thy little hardships tell,
A fav’rite’s woes bewail;
Lament thy warm nest, mossy cell
And forester’s regale!
No beechwood to allure thy flight,
Or oak, or mastick tree
Look to the poplars tow’ring height;
Pine buds or liberty.
No hoarded cone or winter’s store,
Poor animal for thee!
Or shining acorns, tempt thee more,
In hollow cavity.
Remov’d from all by nature dear,
Thy woods thy furry tribe;
What shall confinement now endear;
Or soft affection bribe?
Dost thou around the brassy wires,
Some daily passport seek;
What heart shall feel thy just desires
Or hand the bondage break?
Yes — oft thy plaints are understood,
Whene’er Maria near,
Cheers thy captivity with food;
And checks each causeless fear.
Can childhood’s tender care repay
Thy native freedom lost;
Tho’ soft thy bed of freshest hay,
With milk thy viands moist.
With nuts and chestnuts still supplied,
Can’st thou a while forget;
The rural pleasures here denied,
No more the woods regret?
Then mayst thou happy pris’ner be,
No cruel torments fear,
With open’d door once more thou’st free
To play thy gambols here.
Thy mistress early taught to know,
That even Insects feel!
By kindness shall those cares bestow,
That may thy sorrows heal.
On her protection then repose,
And all thy troubles end:
Upon her bosom softly doze —
The bosom of a Friend!