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Where India reddens to the early dawn, Winds a deep vale from vulgar eye withdrawn: Bosom'd in groves the lowly region lies, And rocky mountains round the border rise. Here, till the doom of fate its fall decreed, The empire flourish'd of the pygmy-breed; Here Industry perform'd, and Genius plann'd, And busy multitudes o'erspread the land. But now to these long bounds if pilgrim stray, Tempting through craggy cliffs the desperate way, He finds the puny mansion fallen to earth, Its godlings mouldering on th' abandon'd hearth; And starts, where small white bones are spread around, 'Or little footsteps lightly print the ground;' While the proud crane her nest securely builds, Chattering amid the desolated fields.

But different fates befel her hostile rage,
While reign'd, invincible through many an age,
The dreaded pygmy: roused by war's alarms,
Forth rush'd the madding mannikin to arms.
Fierce to the field of death the hero flies;

The faint crane fluttering flaps the ground, and dies;
And by the victor borne (o'erwhelming load!)
With bloody bill loose-dangling marks the road.
And oft the wily dwarf in ambush lay,

And often made the callow young his prey;

With slaughter'd victims heap'd his board, and smil'd,
T' avenge the parent's trespass on the child.
Oft, where his feather'd foe had rear'd her nest,
And laid her eggs and household gods to rest,
Burning for blood, in terrible array,

The eighteen-inch militia burst their way;
All went to wreck; the infant foeman fell,

Whence scarce his chirping bill had broke the shell.
Loud uproar hence, and rage of arms arose,

And the fell rancour of encountering foes;

Hence dwarfs and cranes one general havoc whelms,
And Death's grim visage scares the pygmy-realms.
Not half so furious blazed the warlike fire
Of mice, high theme of the Meonian lyre;
When bold to battle march'd th' accoutred frogs,
And the deep tumult thunder'd through the bogs,

Pierced by the javelin bulrush on the shore
Here agonizing roll'd the mouse in gore;
And there the frog (a scene full sad to see!)
Shorn of one leg, slow sprawl'd along on three :
He vaults no more with vigorous hops on high,
But mourns in hoarsest croaks his destiny.
And now the day of woe drew on apace,
A day of woe to all the pygmy-race,

When dwarfs were doom'd (but penitence was vain)
To rue each broken egg, and chicken slain.
For, roused to vengeance by repeated wrong,
From distant climes the long-bill'd legions throng:
From Strymon's lake, Cäyster's plashy meads,
And fens of Scythia, green with rustling reeds,
From where the Danube winds through many a land,
And Mareotis laves th' Egyptian strand,

To rendezvous they waft on eager wing,
And wait assembled the returning spring.

Meanwhile they trim their plumes for length of flight,
Whet their keen beaks, and twisting claws, for fight;
Each crane the pygmy power in thought o'erturns,
And every bosom for the battle burns.

When genial gales the frozen air unbind, The screaming legions wheel, and mount the wind; Far in the sky they form their long array, And land and ocean stretch'd immense survey Deep deep beneath; and, triumphing in pride, With clouds and winds commix'd, innumerous ride : 'Tis wild obstreperous clangour all, and heaven Whirls, in tempestuous undulation driven.

Nor less th' alarm that shook the world below, Where march'd in pomp of war th' embattled foe: Where mannikins with haughty step advance, And grasp the shield, and couch the quivering lance: To right and left the lengthening lines they form, And rank'd in deep array await the storm.

High in the midst the chieftain-dwarf was seen, Of giant stature, and imperial mien:

Full twenty inches tall, he strode along,

And view'd with lofty eye the wondering throng: And while with many a scar his visage frown'd, Bared his broad bosom, rough with many a wound

Of beaks and claws, disclosing to their sight
The glorious meed of high heroic might,
For with insatiate vengeance he pursued,
And never-ending hate, the feathery brood.
Unhappy they, confiding in the length

Of horny beak, or talon's crooked strength,
Who durst abide his rage; the blade descends,
And from the panting trunk the pinion rends;
Laid low in dust the pinion waves no more,
The trunk disfigured stiffens in its gore.

What hosts of heroes fell beneath his force!
What heaps of chicken carnage mark'd his course!
How oft, O Strymon, thy lone banks along,
Did wailing Echo waft the funeral song!

And now from far the mingling clamours rise,
Loud and more loud rebounding through the skies.
From skirt to skirt of Heaven, with stormy sway,
A cloud rolls on, and darkens all the day.
Near and more near descends the dreadful shade,
And now in battailous array display'd,
On sounding wings, and screaming in their ire,
The cranes rush onward, and the fight require.
The pygmy warriors eye with fearless glare
The host thick swarming o'er the burthen'd air;
Thick swarming now, but to their native land
Doom'd to return a scanty straggling band.
When sudden, darting down the depth of Heaven,
Fierce on th' expecting foe the cranes are driven,
The kindling phrenzy every bosom warms,
The region echoes to the crash of arms:

Loose feathers from th' encountering armies fly,
And in careering whirlwinds mount the sky.
To breathe from toil upsprings the panting crane,
Then with fresh vigour downward darts again.
Success in equal balance hovering hangs.
Here, on the sharp spear, mad with mortal pangs,
The bird transfix'd in bloody vortex whirls,
Yet fierce in death the threatening talon curls;
There, while the life-blood bubbles from his wound,
With little feet the pygmy beats the ground;
Deep from his breast the short short sob he draws,
And, dying, curses the keen-pointed claws.

Trembles the thundering field, thick cover'd o'er
With falchions, mangled wings, and streaming gore,
And pygmy arms, and beaks of ample size,
And here a claw, and there a finger lies.

Encompass'd round with heaps of slaughter'd foes,
All grim in blood the pygmy champion glows,
And on th' assailing host impetuous springs,
Careless of nibbling bills, and flapping wings;
And 'midst the tumult, wheresoe'er he turns,
The battle with redoubled fury burns;
From ev'ry side th' avenging cranes amain
Throng, to o'erwhelm this terror of the plain.
When suddenly (for such the will of Jove)
A fowl enormous, sousing from above,

The gallant chieftain clutch'd, and, soaring high,
(Sad chance of battle!) bore him up the sky.
The cranes pursue, and clustering in a ring,
Chatter triumphant round the captive king.
But ah! what pangs each pygmy bosom wrung,
When, now to cranes a prey, on talons hung,
High in the clouds they saw their helpless lord,
His wriggling form still lessening as he soar'd.
Lo! yet again, with unabated rage,

In mortal strife the mingling hosts engage.
The crane with darted bill assaults the foe,
Hovering; then wheels aloft to 'scape the blow:
The dwarf in anguish aims the vengeful wound;
But whirls in empty air the falchion round.

Such was the scene, when 'midst the loud alarms
Sublime th' eternal Thunderer rose in arms.
When Briareus, by mad ambition driven,
Heaved Pelion huge, and hurl'd it high at Heaven,
Jove roll'd redoubling thunders from on high,
Mountains and bolts encounter'd in the sky;
Till one stupendous ruin whelm'd the crew,
Their vast limbs weltering wide in brimstone blue.
But now at length the pygmy legions yield,
And wing'd with terror fly the fatal field.
They raise a weak and melancholy wail,
All in distraction scattering o'er the vale.
Prone on their routed rear the cranes descend;
Their bills bite furious, and their talons rend:

With unrelenting ire they urge the chase,
Sworn to exterminate the hated race.

'Twas thus the pygmy name, once great in war,
For spoils of conquer'd cranes renown'd afar,
Perish'd. For, by the dread decree of Heaven,
Short is the date to earthly grandeur given,
And vain are all attempts to roam beyond
Where fate has fix'd the everlasting bound.
Fallen are the trophies of Assyrian power,
And Persia's proud dominion is no more;
Yea, though to both superior far in fame,
Thine empire, Latium, is an empty name.
And now with lofty chiefs of ancient time,
The pygmy heroes roam th' elysian clime.
Or, if belief to matron tales be due,

Full oft, in the belated shepherd's view,
Their frisking forms, in gentle green array'd,
Gambol secure amid the moonlight glade,
Secure, for no alarming cranes molest,
And all their woes in long oblivion rest:
Down the deep vale, and narrow winding way,
They foot it featly, ranged in ringlets gay:
'Tis joy and frolic all, where'er they rove,
And Fairy-people is the name they love.



YES, yes, I grant the sons of Earth
Are doom'd to trouble from their birth.
We all of sorrow have our share ;
But say, is yours without compare?
Look round the world; perhaps you'll find

Each individual of our kind

Press'd with an equal load of ill,

Equal at least.

Look further still,

And own your lamentable case

Is little short of happiness.

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