Page:Fables by La Fontaine translated by Elizur Wright.djvu/22

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XVI PREFACE TO THE PRESENT EDITION. And hence the birds, to shun the pest, Upon a pear-tree built their nest. Though there it cost them vastly more, 'T was vastly better than before. And Gaffer Thrush directly found His throat, when raised above the ground, Gave forth a softer, sweeter sound. New tunes, moreover, he had caught, By perils and afflictions taught, And found new things to sing about : New scenes had brought new talents out. So, while, improved beyond a doubt. His own old song more clearly rang, Far better than themselves he sang The chants and trills of other birds ; He even mocked Grimalkin's words With such delightful humour that He gained the Christian name of Cat. Let Genius tell, in verse and prose, How much to praise and friends it owes. Good sense may be, as I suppose. As much indebted to its foes. In 1 844 Mr. Wright wrote the Preface to the first collected edition of the works of the poet J. G. Whittier ; and soon after he seems to have become completely absorbed in politics, and in the mighty anti-slavery struggle, which constituted the greater part of the politics of the United States in those and