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Accept our praise, our daily prayer;
Smile on our fields, and bless the year."
A Cloud, who mock'd his grateful tongue,
The day with sudden darkness hung;
With pride and envy swell'd, aloud
A voice thus thunder'd from the Cloud:
"Weak is this gaudy god of thine,
Whom I at will forbid to shine.
Shall I nor vows nor incense know?
Where praise is due, the praise bestow."
With fervent zeal the Persian mov❜d,
Thus the proud calumny reprov'd:
"It was that god, who claims my prayer,
Who gave thee birth, and rais'd thee there;
When o'er his beams the veil is thrown,
Thy substance is but plainer shown:
A passing gale, a puff of wind,
Dispels thy thickest troops combin’d.”
The gale arose; the vapour, tost
(The sport of winds) in air, was lost;
The glorious orb the day refines.
Thus envy breaks, thus merit shines.
THE FOX AT THE POINT OF DEATH.
A Fox, in life's extreme decay,
Weak, sick, and faint, expiring lay:
All appetite had left his maw,
And age disarm'd his mumbling jaw.
His numerous race around him stand,
To learn their dying sire's command:
He rais'd his head with whining moan,
And thus was heard the feeble tone:
"Ah! sons! from evil ways depart ;
My crimes lie heavy on my heart.
See, see, the murder'd geese appear!
Why are those bleeding turkeys there?
Why all around this cackling train,
Who haunt my ears for chicken slain?"
The hungry Foxes round them star'd,
And for the promis'd feast prepar'd.
"Where, sir, is all this dainty cheer? Nor turkey, goose, nor hen, is here! These are the phantoms of your brain; And your sons lick their lips in vain."
"O gluttons!" says the drooping sire, "Restrain inordinate desire,
Your liquorish taste you shall deplore,
When peace of conscience is no more,
Does not the hound betray our pace,
And gins and guns destroy our race?
Thieves dread the searching eye of Power ;
And never feel the quiet hour.
Old age (which few of us shall know)
Now puts a period to my woe.
Would you true happiness attain,
Let honesty your passions rein;
So live in credit and esteem,
And the good name you lost redeem."
"The counsel's good," a Fox replies,'
"Could we perform what you advise.
Think what our ancestors have done;
A line of thieves from son to son.
To us descends the long disgrace,
And infamy hath mark'd our race,
Though we, like harmless sheep, should feed,
Houest in thought, in word, and deed,
Whatever hen-roost is decreas'd,
We shall be thought to share the feast.
The change shall never be believ'd.
A lost good name is ne'er retriev'd."
"Nay, then," replies the feeble Fox, "(But, hark! I hear a hen that clucks) Go; but be moderate in your food; A chicken, too, might do me good."
THE SETTING DOG and the PARTRIDGE.
THE ranging Dog the stubble tries,
And searches every breeze that flies;
The scent grows warm; with cautious fear
He creeps, and points the covey near;
The men in silence, far behind,
Conscious of game, the net unbind.
A Partridge, with experience wise,
The fraudful preparation spies;
She mocks their toils, alarms her brood,
The covey springs, and seeks the wood;
But, ere her certain wings she trics:
Thus to the creeping Spaniel cries:
"Thou fawning slave to man's deceit,
Thou pimp of luxury, sneaking cheat,
Of thy whole species thou disgrace;
Dogs should disown thee of their race!
For, if I judge their native parts,
They're born with honest open hearts;
And, ere they serv'd man's wicked ends,
Were generous foes, or real friends."
When thus the Dog, with scornful smile:
"Secure of wing, thou dar'st revile.
Clowns are to polish'd manners blind;
How ignorant is the rustic mind!
My worth sagacious courtiers see,
And to preferment rise, like me.
The thriving pimp, who beauty sets,
Hath oft enhanc'd a nation's debts:
Friend sets his friend, without regard,
And ministers his skill reward:
Thus train'd by man, I learnt his ways;
And growing favour feasts my days."
"I might have guess'd," the Partridge said, "The place where you were train'd and fed; Servants are apt, and in a trice
Ape to a hair their master's vice.
You came from court, you say. Adieu !"
She said, and to the covey flew.
Nor love, nor honour, wealth, nor power,
Can give the heart a cheerful hour,
When health is lost. Be timely wise:
With health all taste of pleasure flies."
Thus said, the Phantom disappears.
The wary counsel wak'd his fears.
He now from all excess abstains,
With physic purifies his veins;
And, to procure a sober life,
Resolves to venture on a wife.
But now again the Sprite ascends,
Where'er he walks, his ear attends,
Insinuates that beauty's frail,
That perseverance must prevail;
With jealousies his brain inflames,
And whispers all her lovers' names.
In other hours she represents
His household charge, his annual rents,
Increasing debts, perplexing duns,
And nothing for his younger sons.
Straight all his thought to gain he turns,
And with the thirst of lucre burns.
But, when possess'd of Fortune's store,
The Spectre haunts him more and more;
Sets want and misery in view.
Bold thieves, and all the murdering crew;
Alarms him with eternal frights,
Infests his dreams, or wakes his nights.
How shall he chase this hideous guest?
Power may, perhaps, protect his rest.
To power he rose. Again the Sprite
Besets him morning, noon, and night;
Talks of Ambition's tottering seat,
How Envy persecutes the great;
Of rival hate, of treacherous friends,
And what disgrace his fall attends.
The court he quits, to fly from Care,
And seeks the peace of rural air;
His groves, his fields, amus'd his hours;
He prun'd his trees, he rais'd his flowers.
But Care again his steps pursues,
Warns him of blasts, of blighting dews,
Of plundering insects, snails, and rains,
And droughts that starv'd the labour'd plains.
Abroad, at home, the Spectre's there;
In vain we seek to fly from Care.
At length he thus the Ghost addrest :
"Since thou must be my constant guest,
Pe kind, and follow me no more;
For Care, by right, should go before."
"Right. Athens was the seat of learning,
And truly wisdom is discerning.
Besides, on Pallas' helm we sit,
The type and ornament of wit:
But now, alas! we're quite neglected,
And a pert Sparrow's more respected."
A Sparrow, who was lodg'd beside,
O'erhears them soothe each other's pride;
And thus he nimbly vents his heat:
"Who meets a fool must find conceit. I grant you were at Athens grac'd, And on Minerva's helm were plac'd; But every bird that wings the sky, Except an Owl, can tell you why: From hence they taught their schools to know How false we judge by outward show; That we should never looks esteem, Since fools as wise as you might seem. Would ye contempt and scorn avoid, Let your vain-glory be destroy'd: Humble your arrogance of thought, Pursue the ways by Nature taught: So shall you find delicious fare, And grateful farmers praise your care; So shall sleek mice your chase reward, And no keen cat find more regard."
THE COURTIER AND PROTEUS.
WHENEVER a Courtier's out of place,
The country shelters his disgrace;
Where, doom'd to exercise and health
His house and gardens own his wealth.
He builds new schemes, in hope to gain
The plunder of another reign;
Like Philip's son, would fain be doing,
And sighs for other realms to ruin.
As one of these, (without his wand)
Pensive along the winding strand,
Employ'd the solitary hour,
In projects to regain his power,
The waves in spreading circles ran,
Proteus arose, and thus began:
"Came you from court? for in your mien A self-important air is seen."
He frankly own'd his friends had trick'd him, And how he fell his party's victim.
"Know," says the god, "by matchless skill, I change to every shape at will;
But yet, I'm told, at court you see
Those who presume to rival me."
Thus said: a Snake, with hideous trail,
Proteus extends his scaly mail.
Know," says the man, "though proud in place,
All Courtiers are of reptile race.
Like you, they take that dreadful form,
Bask in the sun, and fly the storm;
With malice hiss, with envy glote,
And for convenience change their coat;
With new-got lustre rear their head,
Though on a dunghill born and bred."
Sudden the god a Lion stands;
He shakes his inane, he spurns the sands.
Now a fierce Lynx, with fiery glare;
A Wolf, an Ass, a Fox, a Bear."
"Had I ne'er liv'd at court," he cries, "Such transformation might surprise;
But there, in quest of daily gamè,
Each able Courtier acts the same;
Wolves, Lions, Lynxes, while in place,
Their friends and fellows are their chase.
They play the Bear's and Fox's part,
Now rob by force, now steal with art.
They sometimes in the senate bray,
Or, chang'd again to beasts of prey,
Down from the Lion to the Ape,
Practise the frauds of every shape."
So said upon the god he flies,
In cords the struggling captive ties.
"Now, Proteus! now (to truth compell'd)
Speak, and confess thy art excell'd.
Use strength, surprise, or what you will,
The Courtier finds evasions still;
Not to be bound by any ties,
And never forc'd to leave his lyes."
THOSE who in quarrels interpose,
Must often wipe a bloody nose.
A Mastiff, of true English blood,
Lov'd fighting better than his food.
When dogs were snarling for a bone,
He long'd to make the war his own,
And often found (when two contend)
To interpose obtain'd his end.
He glory'd in his limping pace;
The scars of honour seam'd his face;
In every limb a gash appears,
And frequent fights retrench'd his ears.
As on a time he heard from far
Two dogs engag'd in noisy war,
Away he scours, and lays about him,
Resolv'd no fray should be without him.
Forth from his yard a tanner flics,
And to the bold intruder cries:
"A cudgel shall correct your manners:
Whence sprung this cursed hate to tanners?
While on my dog you vent your spite,
Sirrah! 'tis me you dare not bite."
To see the battle thus perplex'd,
With equal rage a butcher, vex'd,
Hoarse-screaming from the circled crowd,
To the curs'd Mastiff cries aloud:
"Both Hockleyhole and Marybone
The combats of my dog have known:
He ne'er, like bullies, coward-hearted,
Attacks in public, to be parted.
Think not, rash fool, to share his fame;
Be his the honour, or the shame."
Thus said, they swore, and rav'd like thunder,
Then dragg'd their fasten'd dogs asunder;
While clubs and kicks from every side
Rebounded from the Mastiff's hide.
All reeking now with sweat and blood,
A while the parted warriors stood;
Then pour'd upon the meddling foe,
Who, worried, howl'd and sprawl'd below.
He rose; and limping from the fray,
By both sides mangled, sneak'd away.
THE BARLEY-MOW AND THE DUNGHILL.
How many saucy airs we meet From Temple-bar to Aldgate-street!
Proud rogues, who shared the South-sea prey,
And sprung like mushrooms in a day!
They think it mean to condescend
To know a brother or a friend;
They blush to hear their mother's name,
And by their pride expose their shame.
As cross his yard, at early day,
A careful farmer took his way,
He stopp'd; and, leaning on his fork,
Observ'd the flail's incessant work.
In thought he measur'd all his store,
His geese, his hogs, he number'd o'er ;
In fancy weigh'd the fleeces shorn,
And multiply'd the next year's corn.
A Barley-mow, which stood beside,
Thus to its musing master cry'd:
Say, good sir, is it fit or right
To treat me with neglect and slight?
Me, who contribute to your cheer,
And raise your mirth with ale and beer?
Why thus insulted, thus disgrac'd,
And that vile Dunghill near me plac'd?
Are those poor sweepings of a groom,
That filthy sight, that nauseous fume,
Meet objects here? Command it hence;
A thing so mean must give offence."
The humble Dunghill thus reply'd:
Thy master hears, and mocks thy pride:
Insult not thus the meek and low;
In me thy benefactor know;
My warm assistance gave thee birth,
Or thou hadst perish'd low in earth;
But upstarts, to support their station,
Cancel at once all obligation."
PYTHAGORAS AND THE COUNTRYMAN.
PYTHAGORAS rose at early dawn,
By soaring meditation drawn ;
To breathe the fragrance of the day,
Through flowery fields he took his way;
In musing contemplation warm,
His steps misled him to a farm,
Where on a ladder's topmost round
A Peasant stood; the hammer's sound
Shook the weak barn. "Say, friend, what care
Calls for thy honest labour there?"
The Clown, with surly voice replies,
"Vengeance aloud for justice cries.
This kite, by daily rapine fed,
My hens' annoy, my turkeys' dread,
At length his forfeit life hath paid;
See on the wall his wings display'd:
Here nail'd, a terrour to his kind,
My fowls shall future safety find;
My yard the thriving poultry feed,
And my barns' refuse fat the breed."
Friend," says the Sage," the doom is wise; For public good the murderer dies: But, if these tyrants of the air
Demand a sentence so severe,
Think how the glutton, man, devours;
What bloody feasts regale his hours!
O impudence of power and might,
Thus to condemn a hawk or kite,
When thou, perhaps, carnivorous sinner,
Hadst pullets yesterday for dinner!"
THE FARMER'S WIFE AND THE RAVEN.
"WHY are those tears? why droops your head?
Is then your other husband dead?
Or does a worse disgrace betide?
Hath no one since his death apply'd?"
"Alas! you know the cause too well;
The salt is spilt, to me it fell;
Then, to contribute to my loss,
My knife and fork were laid across;
On Friday too! the day I dread!
Would I were safe at home in bed!
Last night (I vow to Heaven 'tis true)
Bounce from the fire a coffin flew.
Next post some fatal news shall tell:
God send my Cornish friends be well!
"Unhappy Widow, cease thy tears,
Nor feel affliction in thy fears;
Let not thy stomach be suspended;
Eat now, and weep when dinner's ended;
And, when the butler clears the table,
For thy desert I'll read my Fable."
Betwixt her swagging panniers' load
A Farmer's Wife to market role,
And, jogging on, with thoughtful care,
Summ'd up the profits of her ware;
When, starting from her silver dream,
Thus far and wide was heard her scream.
"That Raven on yon left-hand oak
(Curse on his ill-betiding croak!)
Bodes me no good." No more she said,
When poor blind Ball, with stumbling tread,
Fell prone; o'erturned the pannier lay,
And her mash'd eggs bestrow'd the way.
She, sprawling in the yellow road,
Each little speck and blemish find;
To our own stronger errours blind.
A Turkey, tir'd of common food,
Forsook the barn, and sought the wood;
Behind her ran an infant train,
Collecting here and there a grain.
Draw near, my birds! the mother cries,
This hill delicious fare supplies;
Behold the busy negroe race,
See millions blacken all the place!
Fear not; like me, with freedom eat;
An Ant is most delightful meat.
How bless'd, how envy'd, were our life,
Could we but 'scape the poulterer's knife ¡
But man, curs'd man, on Turkeys preys,
And Christmas shortens all our days.
Sometimes with oysters we combine,
Sometimes assist the savoury chine;
From the low peasant to the lord,
The Turkey smokes on every board,
Sure men for gluttony are curs'd,
Of the seven deadly sins the worst."
An Ant, who climb'd beyond his reach, Thus answer'd from the neighbouring beech: "Ere you remark another's sin,
Bid thy own conscience look within;
Control thy more voracious bill,
Nor for a breakfast nations kill."
THE FATHER AND JUPITER.
THE Man to Jove his suit preferr'd; He begg'd a wife: his prayer was heard. Jove wonder'd at his bold addressing; For how precarious is the blessing!
A wife he takes: and now for heirs Again he worrics Heaven with prayers. Jove nods assent: two hopeful boys And a fine girl reward his joys.
Now more solicitous he grew, And set their future lives in view; He saw that all respect and duty
Were paid to wealth, to power, and beauty.
"Once more," he cries," accept my prayer;
Make my lov'd progeny thy care:
Rail'd, swore, and curs'd: "Thou croaking toad, Let my first hope, my favourite boy,
A murrain take thy whoreson throat!
I knew misfortune in the note."
"Dame," quoth the Raven, "spare your oaths,
Unclench your fist, and wipe your clothes.
But why on me those curses thrown?
Goody, the fault was all your own ;
For, had you laid this brittle ware
On Dun, the old sure footed mare,
Though all the Ravens of the hundred
With croaking had your tongue out-thundered,
Sure-footed Dun had kept her legs,
And you, good woman, sav'd your eggs."
THE TURKEY AND THE ANT.
In other men we faults can spy, And blame the mote that dims their eye, ! Garth's Dispensary.
All Fortune's richest gifts enjoy.
My next with strong ambition fire;
May favour teach him to aspire,
Till he the step of power ascend,
And courtiers to their idol bend!
With every grace, with every charm,
My daughter's perfect features arm.
If Heaven approve, a Father 's bless'd."
Jove smiles, and grants his full request.
The first, a miser at the heart,
Studious of every griping art,
Heaps hoards on hoards with anxious pain,
And all his life devotes to gain.
He feels no joy, his cares increase,
He neither wakes nor sleeps in peace;
In fancy'd want (a wretch complete)
He starves, and yet he dares not eat.
The next to sudden honours grew;
The thriving art of courts he knew ;
He reach'd the height of power and place,
Then fell the victim of disgrace.
Beauty with early bloom supplies His daughter's cheeks, and points her eyes. The vain coquette each suit disdains, And glories in her lovers' pains. With age she fades, each lover flies; Contemn'd, forlorn, she pines and dies. When Jove the Father's grief survey'd, And heard him Heaven and Fate upbraid, Thus spoke the god: "By outward show Men judge of happiness and woe. Shall ignorance of good and ill Dare to direct th' eternal will? Seek virtue; and, of that possest, To Providence resign the rest."
"Brother," the grinning mate replies, In this I grant that man is wise: While good example they pursue, We must allow some praise is due ; But, when they strain beyond their guide, I laugh to scorn the mimic pride; For how fantastic is the sight, To meet men always bolt upright, Because we sometimes walk on two! I hate the imitating crew."
THE learned, full of inward pride,
The fops of outward show deride;
The fop, with learning at defiance,
Scoffs at the pedant and the science:
The Don, a formal solemn strutter,
Despises Monsieur's airs and flutter;
While Monsieur mocks the formal fool,
Who looks, and speaks, and walks, by rule.
Britain, a medley of the twain,
As pert as France, as grave as Spain,
In fancy wiser than the rest,
Laughs at them both, of both the jest.
Is not the poet's chiming close
Censur'd by all the sons of prose?
While bards of quick imagination
Despise the sleepy prose narration.
Men laugh at apes: they men contemn;
For what are we but apes to them?
Two Monkies went to Southwark fair;
No critics had a sourer air:
They forc'd their way through draggled folks,
Who gap'd to catch Jack Pudding's jokes ;
Then took their tickets for the show,
And got by chance the foremost row.
To see their grave observing face,
Provok'd a laugh through all the place.
"Brother," says Pug, and turn'd his head,
"The rabble's monstrously ill-bred."
Now through the booth loud hisses ran,
Nor ended till the show began.
The tumbler whirls the flip-flap round,
With somersets he shakes the ground;
The cord beneath the dancer springs,
Aloft in air the vaulter swings;
Distorted now, now prone depends,
Now through his twisted arms ascends;
The crowd, in wonder and delight,
With clapping hands applaud the sight.
With smiles, quoth Pug," If pranks like these
The giant apes of reason please,
How would they wonder at our arts!
They must adore us for our parts.
High on the twig I've seen you cling,
Play, twist, and turn in airy ring:
How can those clumsy things, like me,
Fly with a bound from tree to tree?
But yet, by this applause, we find
These emulators of our kind
Discern our worth, our parts regard,
Who our mean mimics thus reward."
THE OWL AND THE FARMER.
AN Owl of grave deport and mien,
Who (like the Turk) was seldom seen,
Within a barn had chose his station,
As fit for prey and contemplation:
Upon a beam aloft he sits,
And nods, and seems to think by fits.
So have I seen a man of news
Or Post-boy or Gazette peruse,
Smoke, nod, and talk with voice profound,
And fix the fate of Europe round.
Sheaves pil'd on sheaves hid all the floor:
At dawn of morn to view his store
The Farmer came. The hooting guest
His self-importance thus exprest:
"Reason in man is mere pretence:
How weak, how shallow, is his sense!
To treat with scorn the bird of night,
Declares his folly or his spite.
Then, too, how partial is his praise!
The lark's, the linnet's, chirping layɛ,
To his ill-judging ears, are fine
And nightingales are all divine:
But the more knowing feather'd race
See wisdom stamp'd upon my face.
Whene'er to visit light I deign,
What flocks of fowl compose my train!
Like slaves, they crowd my flight behind,
And own me of superior kind."
The Farmer laugh'd, and thus reply'd:
"Thou dull important lump of pride,
Dar'st thou with that harsh grating tongue
Depreciate birds of warbling song?
Indulge thy spleen: know men and fowl
Regard thee, as thou art, an Owl.
Besides, proud blockhead! be not vain
Of what thou call'st thy slaves and train:
Few follow Wisdom or her rules;
Fools in derision follow fools."
A JUGGLER long through all the town Had rais'd his fortune and renown; You'd think (so far his art transcends) The devil at his fingers' ends.
Vice heard his fame, she read his bill; Convinc'd of his inferior skill, She sought his booth, and from the crowd Defy'd the man of art aloud.
"Is this then he so fam'd for sleight? Can this slow bungler cheat your sight?