The Hern

Communicated by Mr Porden

A pamper’d hern of lofty mien, in state
Strutting along upon a river’s brink,
Pleas’d with her won majestic air and gait,
Wou’d scarce vouchsafe to bow her head to drink.

The glorious planet that revives the earth,
Shone with full lustre on the crystal streams,
Which made the wanton fishes in their mirth
Roll to the shore to bask in his bright beams.

Our hern might now have taken pike or carp,
They seem’d to court her by their near access,
But she, forsooth, her stomach not being sharp,
Now pass’d them by and slighted their address:

It is not yet, said she, my hour to eat,
My stomach is too nice, I must have better meat,
So they went off, and tench themselves present;
This sorry fish t’affront me sure was sent,
Cried she, and toss’d her nose up with disdain.
I ne’er can eat a tench, cried she, and toss’d her nose again.

So they pass’d off as pike and carp had done,
As they retir’d, gudgeons in shoals came on:
A hern eat gudgeons! No t’shall ne’er be said
That I to such low diet have been bred,
One of my birth eat gudgeons, no thank Fate,
My stomach is not so sharp set.

Then from them straight she turn’d away with rage,
But quickly after found her stomach’s edge;
Then to the shore she went in hopes of one,
But when she came the gudgeons too were gone:
With hunger press’d she look’d around for food,
But cou’d not find one tenant of the flood.
At length a snail upon the bank she spied
Welcome, delicious bait, rejoicing cried,
And gorg’d the nauseous thing for all her pride.