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She now of this or that inquires,
Drawn by the music of the groves,
Along the winding gloom he roves:
From tree to tree the warbling throats
Prolong the sweet alternate notes;
But, where he past, he terrour threw,
The song broke short, the warblers flew ;
The thrushes chatter'd with affright,
And nightingales abhorr'd his sight;
All animals before him ran,
To shun the hateful sight of man.
"Whence is this dread of every creature? Fly they our figure, or our nature!"
As thus he walk'd in musing thought,
His car imperfect accents caught;
With cautious step he nearer drew,
By the thick shade conceal'd from view.
High on the branch a Pheasant stood,
Around her all her listening brood;
Proud of the blessings of her nest,
She thus a mother's care express'd:
"No dangers here shall circumvent,
Within the woods enjoy content.
Sooner the hawk or vulture trust
Than man, of animals the worst.
In him ingratitude you find,
A vice peculiar to the kind.
The sheep, whose annual fleece is dy'd
To guard his health, and serve his pride,
Forc'd from his fold and native plain,
Is in the cruel shambles slain.
The swarms, who with industrious skill,
His hives with wax and honey fill,
In vain whole summer-days employ'd,
Their stores are sold, the race destroy'd.
What tribute from the goose is paid!
Does not her wing all science aid?
Does it not lovers' hearts explain,
And drudge to raise the merchant's gain?
What now rewards this general use?
He takes the quills, and eats the goose.
Man then avoid, detest his ways,
So safety shall prolong your days.
When services are thus acquitted,
Be sure we Pheasants must be spitted."
THE PIN AND THE NEEDLE.
A PIN, who long had serv'd a beauty, Proficient in the toilette's duty, Had form'd her sleeve, confin'd her hair, Or given her knot a smarter air, Now nearest to her heart was plac'd, Now in her manteau's tail disgrac'd: But could she partial Fortune blame, Who saw her lovers serv'd the same?
At length from all her honours cast, Through various turns of life she past; Now glitter'd on a taylor's arm, Now kept a beggar's infant warm; Now, rang'd within a miser's coat, Contributes to his yearly groat; Now, rais'd again from low approach, She visits in the doctor's coach: Here, there, by various fortune tost, At last in Gresham-hall was lost. Charm'd with the wonders of the show, On every side, above, below,
What least was understood admires.
'Tis plain, each thing so struck her mind, Her head's of virtuoso kind.
"And pray what's this, and this, dear sir?" A Needle," says th' interpreter.
She knew the name; and thus the fool
Address'd her as a tailor's tool.
"A Needle with that filthy stone,
Quite idle, all with rust o'ergrown!
You better might employ your parts,
And aid the sempstress in her arts;
But tell me how the friendship grew
Between that paltry flint and you."
Friend," says the Needle," cease to blame; I follow real worth and fame.
Know'st thou the loadstone's power and art,
That virtue virtues can impart ?
Of all his talents I partake:
Who then can such a friend forsake?
'Tis I direct the pilot's hand
To shun the rocks and treacherous sand:
By me the distant world is known,
And either India is our own.
Had I with milliners been bred,
What had I been? the guide of thread,
And drudg'd as vulgar Needles do,
Of no more consequence than you."
THE SHEPHERD'S DOG AND THE WOLL
A WOLF, with hunger fierce and bold,
Ravag'd the plains, and thinn'd the fold;
Deep in the wood secure he lay,
The thefts of night regal'd the day.
In vain the shepherd's wakeful care
Had spread the toils, and watch'd the snare;
In vain the Dog pursued his pace,
The fleeter robber mock'd the chase.
As Lightfoot rang'd the forest round,
By chance his foe's retreat he found.
"Let us a while the war suspend,
And reason as from friend to friend."
"A truce?" replies the Wolf. "Tis done.
The Dog the parley thus begun.
"How can that strong intrepid mind Attack a weak defenceless kind? Those jaws should prey on nobler food, And drink the boar's and lion's blood. Great souls with generous pity melt, Which coward tyrants never felt. How harmless is our fleecy care! Be brave, and let thy mercy spare. "Friend," says the Wolf," the matter weigh Nature design'd us beasts of prey; As such, when hunger finds a treat, 'Tis necessary Wolves should eat. If, mindful of the bleating weal, Thy bosom burn with real zeal, Hence, and thy tyrant lord beseech; To him repeat the moving speech: A Wolf eats sheep but now and then, Ten thousands are devour'd by men. An open foe may prove a curse, But a pretended friend is worse."
THE PAINTER WHO PLEASED NOBODY AND EVERY BODY.
LEST men suspect your tale untrue,
Keep probability in view.
The traveller leaping o'er those bounds,
The credit of his book confounds.
Who with his tongue hath armies routed,
Makes even his real courage doubted.
But flattery never seems absurd;
The flatter'd always take your word:
Impossibilities seem just;
They take the strongest praise on trust.
Hyperboles, though ne'er so great,
Will still come short of self-conceit.
So very like a Painter drew,
That every eye the picture knew;
He hit complexion, feature, air,
So just, the life itself was there.
No flattery with his colours laid,
To bloom restor'd the faded maid;
He gave each muscle all its strength;
The mouth, the chin, the nose's length;
His honest pencil touch'd with truth,
And mark'd the date of age and youth.
He lost his friends, his practice fail'd:
Truth should not always be reveal'd:
In dusty piles his pictures lay,
For no one sent the second pay.
Two bustos, fraught with every grace,
A Venus' and Apollo's face,
He plac'd in view; resolv'd to please,
Whoever sat he drew from these,
From these corrected every feature,
And spirited each awkward creature.
All things were set; the hour was come,
His palette ready o'er his thumb.
My lord appear'd; and seated right,
In proper attitude and light,
The Painter look'd, he sketch'd the picce,
Then dipt his pencil, talk'd of Greece,
Of Titian's tints, of Guido's air;
"Those eyes, my lord, the spirit there
Might well a Raphael's hand require,
To give them all the native fire;
The features, fraught with sense and wit,,
You'll grant, are very hard to hit ;
But yet with patience you shall view
As much as paint and art can do.”
Observe the work. My lord replied,
"Till now I thought my mouth was wide;
Besides my nose is somewhat long:
Dear sir, for me, 'tis far too young."
"Oh! pardon me," the artist cry'd;
"In this we Painters must decide.
The piece ev'n common eyes must strike,
I warrant it extremely like.
My lord examin'd it a-new;
No looking-glass seem'd half so true.
A lady came with borrow'd grace,
He from his Venus form'd her face.
Her lover prais'd the Painter's art;
So like the picture in his heart!
To every age some charm he lent;
Ev'n beauties were almost content.
Through all the town his art they prais'd;
His custom grew, his price was raic'd.
Had he the real likeness shown,
Would any man the picture own?
But, when thus happily he wrought, Each found the likeness in his thought,
THE LION AND THE CUB.
How fond are men of rule and place,
Who court it from the mean and base?
These cannot bear an equal nigh,
But from superior merit fly.
They love the cellar's vulgar joke,
And lose their hours in ale and smoke.
There o'er some petty club preside;
So poor, so paltry, is their pride!
Nay, ev'n with fools whole nights will sit,
In hopes to be supreme in wit.
If these can read, to these I write,
To set their worth in truest light.
A Lion-cub, of sordid mind,
Avoided all the Lion kind;
Fond of applause he sought the feasts,
Of vulgar and ignoble beasts;
With asses all his time he spent,
Their club's perpetual president.
He caught their manners, looks, and airs;
An ass in every thing but ears!
If e'er his highness meant a joke,
They grinn'd applause before he spoke ;
But at each word what shouts of praise!
"Good gods! how natural he brays!"
Elate with flattery and conceit,
He seeks his royal sire's retreat;
Forward and fond to show his parts,
His highness brays; the Lion starts.
"Puppy! that curs'd vociferation Betrays thy life and conversation: Coxcombs, an ever-noisy race,
Are timpets of their own disgrace."
Why so severe ?" the Cub replies; "Our senate always held me wise."
"How weak is pride!" returns the sire: "All fools are vain when fools admire! But know, what stupid asses prize, Lions and noble beasts despise."
THE OLD HEN AND THE COCK.
RESTRAIN your child; you'll soon believe
The text which says, we sprung from Eve.
As an old Hen led forth her train,
And seem'd to peck to show the grain,
She rak'd the chaff, she scratch'd the ground,
And glean'd the spacious yard around.
A giddy chick, to try her wings,
On the well's narrow margin springs,
And prone she drops. The mother's breast
All day with sorrow was possest.
A Cock she met; her son she knew ;
And in her heart affection grew.
"My son," says she, "I grant your years Have reach'd beyond a mother's cares.
I see you vigorous, strong, and bold;
I hear with joy your triumphs told.
'Tis not from Cocks thy fate 1 dread;
But let thy ever-wary tread
Avoid yon well; that fatal place
Is sure perdition to our race.
Print this my counsel on thy breast:
To the just gods I leave the rest,"
He thank'd her care; yet day by day
His bosom burn'd to disobey;
And every time the well he saw,
Scorn'd in his heart the foolish law:
Near and more near each day he drew,
And long'd to try the dangerous view.
66 Why was this idle charge?" he cries;
"Let courage female fears despise.
Or did she doubt my heart was brave,
And therefore this injunction gave?
Or does her harvest store the place
A treasure for her younger race?
And would she thus my search prevent?
I stand resolv'd, and dare th' event."
Thus said, he mounts the margin's round, And pries into the depth profound. He stretch'd his neck; and from below, With stretching neck, advanc'd a foe: With wrath his muffled plumes he rears, The foe with ruffled plumes appears: Threat answer'd threat; his fury grew; Headlong to meet the war he flew; But, when the watery death he found, He thus lamented as he drown'd:
"I ne'er had been in this condition, But for my mother's prohibition."
THE RAT-CATCHER AND CATS.
THE Rats by night such mischief did,
Betty was every morning chid:
They undermin'd whole sides of bacon,
Her cheese was sapp'd, her tarts were taken;
Her pasties, fenc'd with thickest paste,
Were all demolish'd and laid waste:
She curs'd the Cat, for want of duty,
Who left her foes a constant booty.
An engineer, of noted skill,
Eng g'd to stop the growing ill.
From room to room he new surveys
Their haunts, their works, their secret ways;
Finds where they 'scape an ambuscade,
And whence the nightly sally's made.
An envious Cat from place to place,
Unseen, attends his silent pace:
She saw that, if his trade went on,
The purring race must be undone;
So secretly removes his baits,
And every stratagem defeats.
Again he sets the poison'd toils;
And Puss again the labour foils.
"What foe (to frustrate my designs) My schemes thus nightly countermines?" Incens'd, he cries, "this very hour The wretch shall bleed beneath my power." So said, a ponderous trap he brought, And in the fact poor Puss was caught. "Smuggler," says he, "thou shalt be made A victim to our loss of trade."
The captive Cat, with piteous méws, For pardon, life, and freedom sucs. "A sister of the science spare ;
One interest is our common care."
"What insolence!" the man reply'd; "Shall Cats with us the game divide? Were all your interloping band Extinguish'd, or expell'd the land, We Rat-catchers might raise our fecs, Sole guardians of a nation's cheese!" A Cat, who saw the lifted knife, Thus spoke, and sav'd her sister's life. "In every age and clime, we see, Two of a trade can ne'er agree. Each hates his neighbour for encroaching: 'Squire stigmatizes 'squire for poaching; Beauties with beauties are in arms, And scandal pelts each other's charms; Kings, too, their neighbour kings dethrone, In hope to make the world their own: But let us limit our desires,
Not war like beauties, kings, and 'squires; For though we both one prey pursue, There's game enough for us and you."
THE GOAT WITHOUT A BEARD
"Tis certain that the modish passions
Descend among the crowd like fashions.
Excuse me, then, if pride, conceit.
(The manners of the fair and great)
I give to monkeys, asses, dogs,
Fleas, owls, goats, butterflies, and hogs,
I say that these are proud: what then!
I never said they equal men.
A Goat (as vain as Goat can be)
Whene'er a thymy bank he found,
He roll'd upon the fragrant ground,
And then with fond attention stood,
Fix'd o'er his image in the flood.
I hate my frowzy beard," he cries,
My youth is lost in this disguise.
Did not the females know my vigour,
Well might they loath this reverend figure."
Resolv'd to smooth his shaggy face,
He sought the barber of the place.
A flippant monkey, spruce and smart,
Hard by, profess'd the dapper art:
His pole with pewter-basons hung,
Black rotten teeth in order strung,
Rang'd cups, that in the window stood,
Lin'd with red rags to look like blood;
Did well his threefold trade explain,
Who shav'd, drew teeth, and breath'd a vein.
The Goat he welcomes with an air,
And seats him in his wooden chair:
Mouth, nose, and cheek, the lather hides:
Light, smooth, and swift, the razor glides.
"I hope your custom, sir," says Pug.
"Sure never face was half so sinug!"
The Goat, impatient for applause,
Swift to the neighbouring hill withdraws.
The shaggy people grinn'd and star'd.
"Heigh-day! what's here? without a beard
Say, brother, whence the dire disgrace?
What envious hand hath robb'd your face?"
When thus the fop. with smiles of scorn,
66 Are beards by civil nations worn?
Ev'n Muscovites have mow'd their chin.
Shall we, like formal Capuchins,
Stubborn in pride, retain the mode,
And bear about the hairy load?
Whene'er we through the village stray,
Are we not mock'd along the way,
Insulted with loud shouts of scorn,
By boys our beards disgrac'd and torn?"
"Were you no more with Goats to dwell,
Brother, I grant you reason well,"
Replies a bearded chief. "Beside,
If boys can mortify thy pride,
How wilt thou stand the ridicule
Of our whole flock? Affected fool!"
Coxcombs, distinguish'd from the rest,
To all but coxcombs are a jest.
THE OLD WOMAN AND HER CATS.
WHO friendship with a knave hath made,
Is judg'd a partner in the trade.
The matron, who conducts abroad
A willing nymph, is thought a bawd;
And, if a modest girl is seen
With one who cures a lover's spleen,
We guess her not extremely nice,
And only wish to know her price.
'Tis thus that on the choice of friends
Our good or evil name depends.
A wrinkled hag, of wicked fame,
Beside a little smoky flame
Sat hovering, pinch'd with age and frost;
Her shrivell'd hands, with veins emboss'd,
Upon her knees her weight sustains,
While palsy shook her crazy brains:
She mumbles forth her backward prayers,
An untam'd scold of fourscore years.
About her swarm'd a numerous brood
Of Cats, who, lank with hunger, mew'd.
Teas'd with their cries, her choler grew,
And thus she sputter'd: "Hence, ye crew!
Fool that I was, to entertain
Such imps, such fiends, a hellish train!
Had ye been never hous'd and nurs'd,
I for a witch had ne'er been curs'd.
To you I owe that crowds of boys
Worry me with eternal noise;
Straws laid across my pace retard,
The horseshoe's nail'd (each threshold's guard ;)
The stunted broom the wenches hide,
For fear that I should up and ride;
They stick with pins my bleeding seat,
And bid me show my secret teat."
"To hear you prate, would vex a saint;
Who hath most reason of complaint?"
Replies a Cat. "Let's come to proof.
Had we ne'er starv'd beneath your roof,
We had, like others of our race,
In credit liv'd as beasts of chase.
"Tis infamy to serve a hag,
Cats are thought imps, her broom a nag;
And boys against our lives combine,
Because 'tis said your Cats have nine."
THE BUTTERFLY AND THE SNAIL. ALL upstarts, insolent in place, Reinind us of their vulgar race,
As in the sunshine of the morn
A Butterfly (but newly born)
Sat proudly perking on a rose,
With pert conceit his bosom glows;
His wings (all glorious to behold)
Bedropt with azure, jet, and gold,
Wide he displays; the spangled dew
Reflects his eyes and various hue.
His now forgotten friend, a Suail,
Beneath his house, with slimy trail,
Crawls o'er the grass; whom, when he spies,
In wrath he to the gardener cries:
"What means yon peasant's daily toil,
From choking weeds to rid the soil?
Why wake you to the morning's care?
Why with new arts correct the year?
Why grows the peach with crimson hue?
And why the plumb's inviting blue?
Were they to feast his taste design'd,
That vermin of voracious kind!
Crush then the slow, the pilfering race,
So purge thy garden from disgrace,"
"What arrogance!" the Snail reply'd;
"How insolent is upstart pride!
Hadst thou not thus, with insult vain,
Provok'd my patience to complain,
I had conceal'd thy meaner birth,
Nor trac'd thee to the scum of Earth:
For scarce nine Suns have wak'd the Hours,
To swell the fruit, and paint the flowers,
Since I thy humbler life survey'd,
In base, in sordid guise array'd;
A hideous insect, vile, unclean,
You dragg'd a slow and noisome train;
And from your spider-bowels drew
Foul film, and spun the dirty clue.
I own my humble life, good friend;
Snail was I born, and Snail shall end.
And what's a Butterfly? At best,
He's but a caterpillar drest;
And all thy race (a numerous seed)
Shall prove of caterpillar breed.”
THE SCOLD AND THE PARROT.
The husband thus reprov'd his wife: "Who deals in slander, lives in strife. Art thou the herald of disgrace, Denouncing war to all thy race? Can nothing quell thy thunder's rage, Which spares nor friend, nor sex, nor age? That vixen tongue of your's, my dear, Alarms our neighbours far and near. Good gods! 'tis like a rolling river, That murmuring flows, and flows for ever! Ne'er tir'd, perpetual discord sowing! Like Fame, it gathers strength by going." "Heigh-day!" the flippant tongue replies, "How solemn is the fool! how wise! Is Nature's choicest gift debarr'd? Nay, frown not; for I will be heard. Women of late are finely ridden, A Parrot's privilege forbidden! You praise his talk, his squalling song; But wives are always in the wrong." Now reputations flew in pieces,
Of mothers, daughters, aunts, and nieces:
She ran the Parrot's language o'er,
Bawd, hussy, drunkard, slattern, whore;
On all the sex she vents her fury,
Tries and condemns without a jury.
At once the torrent of her words
Alarm'd cat, monkey, dogs, and birds:
All join their forces to confound her,
Puss spits, the monkey chatters round her;
The yelping cur her heels assaults;
The magpie blabs out all her faults;
Poll, in the uproar, from his cage,
With this rebuke outscream'd her rage:
"A Parrot is for talking priz'd,
But prattling women are despis'd.
She who attacks another's honour,
Draws every living thing upon her.
Think, madam, when you stretch your lungs,
That all your neighbours too have tongues :
One slander must ten thousand get;
The world with interest pays the debt."
THE CUR AND THE MASTIFF.
A SNEAKING Cur, the master's spy,
Rewarded for his daily lye,
With secret jealousies and fears
Set all together by the ears.
Poor Puss to-day was in disgrace,
Another cat supply'd her place;
The hound was beat, the Mastiff chid,
The monkey was the room forbid ;
Each to his dearest friend grew shy,
And none could tell the reason why.
A plan to rob the house was laid:
The thief with love seduc'd the maid,
Cajol'd the Cur, and stroked his head,
And bought his secrecy with bread;
He next the Mastiff's honour try'd,
Whose honest jaws the bribe defy'd ;
He stretch'd his hand to proffer more;
The surly dog his fingers tore.
Swift ran the Cur; with indignation
The master took his information.
"Hang him, the villain's curs'd!" he cries; And round his neck the halter ties.
The dog his humble suit preferr'd,
And begg'd in justice to be heard.
The master sate. On either hand
The cited dogs confronting stand;
The Cur the bloody tale relates,
And, like a lawyer, aggravates.
"Judge not unheard," the Mastiff cry'd, "But weigh the cause of either side. Think not that treachery can be just; Take not informers' words on trust; They ope their hand to every pay, And you and me, by turns, betray."
He spoke; and all the truth appear'd: The Cur was hang'd, the Mastiff clear'd.
THE SICK MAN AND THE ANGEL.
"Is there no hope?" the sick man said. The silent doctor shook his head,
And took his leave with signs of sorrow,
Despairing of his fee to-morrow.
When thus the Man, with gasping breath:
"I feel the chilling wound of Death.
Since I must bid the world adieu,
Let me my former life review.
I grant my bargains well were made,
But all men over-reach in trade;
'Tis self-defence in each profession :
Sure self-defence is no transgression.
The little portion in my hands,
By good security on lands,
Is well increas'd. If, unawares,
My justice to myself and heirs
Hath let my debtor rot in jail,
For want of good sufficient bail;
If I, by writ, or bond, or deed,
Reduc'd a family to need;
My will hath made the world amends,
My hope on charity depends.
When I am number'd with the dead,
And all my pious gifts are read,
By Heaven and Earth 'twill then be known,
My charities were amply shown."
An Angel came. "Ah! friend!" he cry'd,
"No more in flattering hope confide.
Can thy good deeds in former times
Outweigh the balance of thy crimes?
What widow or what orphan prays
To crown thy life with length of days?
A pious action's in thy power,
Embrace with joy the happy hour.
Now, while you draw the vital air,
Prove your intention is sincere:
This instant give a hundred pound;
Your neighbours want, and you abound."
"But why such haste?" the sick Man whines; "Who knows as yet what Heaven designs? Perhaps I may recover still.
That sum and more are in my will.”
"Fool!" says the Vision," now 'tis plain
Your life, your soul, your Heaven, was gain.
From every side, with all your might,
You scrap'd, and scrap'd, beyond your right;
And, after death, would fain atone,
By giving what is not your own."
"While there is life, there's hope," he cry'd ; "Then why such haste?" so groan'd, and dy'd.
THE PERSIAN, THE SUN, AND THE CLOUD.
Is there a bard whom genius fires,
Whose every thought the god inspires?
When Envy reads the nervous lines,
She frets, she rails, she raves, she pines;
Her hissing snakes with venom swell;
She calls her venal train from Hell:
The servile fiends her nod obey,
And all Curll's authors are in pay.
Fame calls up Calumny and Spite;
Thus shadow owes its birth to light.
As, prostrate to the god of day,
With heart devout, a Persian lay,
His invocation thus begun :
"Parent of Light! all-seeing Sun! Prolific beam, whose rays dispense The various gifts of Providence,