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For which the clerk his father was disgrac'd,
And in his benefice another plac'd.

Now sing, my lord, if not for love of me,
the sake of sweet saint Charity;

Yet

Make hills and dales, and Earth and Heaven rejoice, And emulate your father's angel voice."

The cock was pleas'd to hear him speak so fair, And proud beside, as solar people are ; Nor could the treason from the truth descry,

So was he ravish'd with this flattery:

So much the more, as, from a little elf,
He had a high opinion of himself;
Though sickly, slender, and not large of limb,
Concluding all the world was made for him.

Ye princes, rais'd by poets to the gods,
And Alexander'd up in lying odes,
Believe not every flattering knave's report,
There's many a Reynard lurking in the court;
And he shall be receiv'd with more regard
And listen'd to, than modest Truth is heard.

This Chanticleer, of whom the story sings, Stood high upon his toes, and clapp'd his wings; Then stretch'd his neck, and wink'd with both his

eyes,

Ambitious, as he sought th' Olympic prize.
But, while he pain'd himself to raise his note,
False Reynard rush'd, and caught him by the throat.
Then on his back he laid the precious load,
And sought his wonted shelter of the wood;
Swiftly he made his way, the mischief done,
Of all unheeded, and pursu'd by none.
Alas, what stay is there in human state,
Or who can shun inevitable fate?

The doom was written, the decree was past,
Ere the foundations of the world were cast!
In Aries though the Sun exalted stood,
His patron-planet to procure his good;
Yet Saturn was his mortal foe, and he,
In Libra rais'd, oppos'd the same degree :
The rays both good and bad, of equal power,
Each thwarting other made a mingled hour.

On Friday morn he dreamt this direful dream,
Cross to the worthy native, in his scheme!
Ah, blissful Venus, goddess of delight,
How could'st thou suffer thy devoted knight,
On thy own day to fall by foe oppress'd,

The wight of all the world who serv'd thee best?
Who, true to love, was all for recreation,
And minded not the work of propagation.
Gaufride, who could'st so well in rhyme complain
The death of Richard with an arrow slain,
Why had not I thy Muse, or thou my heart,
To sing this heavy dirge with equal art!
That I like thee on Friday might complain;
For on that day was Cœur de Lion slain.

Not louder cries, when Ilium was in flames, Were sent to Heaven by woeful Trojan dames, When Pyrrhus toss'd on high his burnish'd blade, And offer'd Priam to his father's shade,

Than for the cock the widow'd poultry made.
Fair Partlet first, when he was borne from sight,
With sovereign shrieks bewail'd her captive knight:
Far louder than the Carthaginian wife,

When Asdrubal, her husband, lost his life,
When she beheld the smouldering flames ascend,
And all the Punic glories at an end:

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Willing into the fires she plung'd her head,
With greater ease than others seek their bed;
Not more aghast the matrons of renown,
When tyrant Nero burn'd th' imperial town,
Shriek'd for the downfall in a doleful cry,
For which their guiltless lords were doom'd to die.
Now to my story I return again :

The trembling widow, and her daughters twain,
This woeful cackling cry with horrour heard,
Of those distracted damsels in the yard;
And, starting up, beheld the heavy sight,
How Reynard to the forest took his flight,
And cross his back, as in triumphant scorn,
The hope and pillar of the house was borne.

"The fox, the wicked fox!" was all the cry;
Out from his house ran every neighbour nigh:
The vicar first, and after him the crew
With forks and staves, the felon to pursue.
Ran Coll our dog, and Talbot with the band;
And Malkin, with her distaff in her hand;
Ran cow and calf, and family of hogs,
In panic horrour of pursuing dogs;

With many a deadly grunt and doleful squeak,
Poor swine, as if their pretty hearts would break.
The shouts of men, the women in dismay,
With shrieks augment the terror of the day;
The ducks, that heard the proclamation cry'd,
And fear'd a persecution might betide,
Full twenty miles from town their voyage take,
Obscure in rushes of the liquid lake.

The geese fly o'er the barn; the bees in arms
Drive headlong from their waxen cells in swarm

Jack Straw at London-stone, with all his rout,
Struck not the city with so loud a shout;
Not when with English hate they did pursue
A Frenchman, or an unbelieving Jew;

Not when the welkin rung with one and all;
And echoes bounded back from Fox's hall:
Earth seem'd to sink beneath, and Heaven above to
fall.
[fox,

With might and main they chac'd the murderous
With brazen trumpets, and inflated box,
To kindle Mars with military sounds,

Nor wanted horns t' inspire sagacious hounds.

But see, how Fortune can confound the wise,
And, when they least expect it, turn the dice.
The captive cock, who scarce could draw his breath,
And lay within the very jaws of Death;
Yet in this agony his fancy wrought,

And Fear supply'd him with this happy thought:
"Your's is the prize, victorious prince," said he,
"The vicar my defeat, and all the village see.
Enjoy your friendly fortune while you may,
And bid the churls that envy you the prey
Call back their mungril curs, and cease their cry,
See, fools, the shelter of the wood is nigh,
And Chanticleer in your despite shall die,
He shall be pluck'd and eaten to the bone."

" 'Tis well advis'd, in faith it shall be done;"
This Reynard said: but, as the word he spoke,
The prisoner with a spring from prison broke :
Then stretch'd his feather'd fans with all his might,
And to the neighbouring maple wing'd his flight ;
Whom when the traitor safe on tree beheld,
He curs'd the gods, with shame and sorrow fill'd;

Shame for his folly, sorrow out of time,
For plotting an unprofitable crime;
Yet, mastering both, th' artificer of lies
Renews th' assault, and his last battery tries. [fend,
"Though I," said he, "did ne'er in thought of-
How justly may my lord suspect his friend!
Th' appearance is against me, I confess,
Who seemingly have put you in distress:
You, if your goodness does not plead my cause,
May think I broke all hospitable laws,
To bear you
from your palace-yard by might,
And put your noble person in a fright :
This, since you take it ill, I must repent,
Though, Heaven can witness, with no bad intent:
I practis'd it, to make you taste your cheer
With double pleasure, first prepar'd by fear.
So loyal subjects often seize their prince,
Forc'd (for his good) to seeming violence,
Yet mean his sacred person not the least offence.
Descend; so help me Jove as you shall find
That Reynard comes of no dissembling kind."

"Nay," quoth the cock; "but I beshrew us both, If I believe a saint upon his oath :

An honest man may take a knave's advice,
But idiots only may be cozen'd twice:
Once warn'd is well bewar'd; not flattering lies
Shall sooth me more to sing with winking eyes
And open mouth, for fear of catching flies.
Who blindfold walks upon a river's brim,
When he should see, has he deserv'd to swim?”
"Better, sir cock, let all contention cease,

"Come down," said Reynard, "let us treat of

peace."

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