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Dares he with me dispute the prize? I leave it to impartial eyes."
Provok'd, the Juggler cry'd," "Tis done;
In science I submit to none."
Thus said, the cups and balls he play'd;
By turns this here, that there, convey'd.
The cards, obedient to his words,
Are by a fillip turn'd to birds.
His little boxes change the grain:
Trick after trick deludes the train.
He shakes his bag, he shows all fair;
His fingers spread, and nothing there;
Then bids it rain with showers of gold;
And now his ivory eggs are told;
But, when from thence the hen he draws,
Amaz'd spectators hum applause.
Vice now stept forth, and took the place,
With all the forms of his grimace.
"This magic looking-glass;" she cries, "(There, hand it round) will charm your eyes." Each eager eye the sight desir'd, And every man himself admir'd.
Next, to a senator addressing,
"See this bank-note; observe the blessing,
Breathe on the bill. Heigh, pass! "Tis gone."
Upon his lips a padlock shown.
A second puff the magic broke ;
The padlock vanish'd, and he spoke.
Twelve bottles rang'd upon the board,
All full, with heady liquor stor❜d,
By clean conveyance disappear,
And now two bloody swords are there.
A purse she to a thief expos'd;
At once his ready fingers clos'd.
He opes his fist, the treasure's fled;
He sees a halter in its stead.
She bids Ambition hold a wand;
He grasps a hatchet in his hand.
A box of charity she shows.
"Blow here ;" and a church-warden blows.
"Tis vanish'd with conveyance neat,
And on the table smokes a treat.
She shakes the dice, the board she knocks,
And from all pockets fills her box.
She next a meagre rake addrest.
"This picture see; her shape, her breast!
What youth, and what inviting eyes!
Hold her, and have her." With surprise,
His hand expos'd a box of pills,
And a loud laugh proclaim'd his ills.
A counter, in a miser's hand,
Grew twenty guineas at command
She bids his heir the sum retain,
And 'tis a counter now again.
A guinea with her touch you see
Take every shape but Charity;
And not one thing you saw, or drew,
But chang'd from what was first in view.
The Juggler now, in grief of heart,
With this submission own'd her art.
"Can I such matchless sleight withstand!
How practice hath improv'd your hand!
But now and then I cheat the throng;
You every day, and all day long."
THE COUNCIL OF HORSES.
UPON a time a neighing Steed, Who graz'd among a numerous breed,
With mutiny had fir'd the train,
And spread dissension through the plain.
On matters that concern'd the state
The Council met in grand debate.
A Colt, whose eye-balls flam'd with ire,
Elate with strength and youthful fire,
In haste stept forth before the rest,
And thus the listening throng addrest.
"Good gods! how abject is our race,
Condemn'd to slavery and disgrace!
Shall we our servitude retain,
Because our sires have borne the chain?
Consider, friends! your strength and might;
"Tis conquest to assert your right.
How cumbrous is the gilded coach!
The pride of nan is our reproach.
Were we design'd for daily toil,
To drag the plough share throughthe soil,
To sweat in harness through the road,
To groan beneath the carrier's load?
How feeble are the two-legg'd kind!
What force is in our nerves combin'd!
Shall then our nobler jaws submit
To foam and champ the galling bit?
Shall haughty man my back bestride?
Shall the sharp spur provoke my side?
Forbid it, Heavens! Reject the rein;
Your shame, your infamy, disdain.
Let him the lion first control,
And still the tiger's famish'd growl.
Let us, like them, our freedom claim,
And make him tremble at our name."
A general nod approv'd the cause,
And all the circle neigh'd applause.
When, lo! with grave and solemn pace,
A Steed advanc'd before the race,
With age and long experience wise;
Around he cast his thoughtful eyes,
And, to the murmurs of the train,
Thus spoke the Nestor of the plain.
"When I had health and strength, like you, The toils of servitude I knew ; Now grateful man rewards my pains, And gives me all these wide domains. At will I crop the year's increase; My latter life is rest and peace. I grant, to man we lend our pains, And aid him to correct the plains; But doth not he divide the care, Through all the labours of the year? How many thousand structures rise, To fence us from inclement skies! For us he bears the sultry day, And stores up all our winter's hay. He sows, he reaps, the harvest's gain; We share the toil, and share the grain. Since every creature was decrced To aid each other's mutual need, Appease your discontented mind, And act the part by Heaven assign'd."
The tumult ceas'd. The Colt submitted, And, like his ancestors, was bitted.
THE HOUND AND THE HUNTSMAN,
IMPERTINENCE at first is borne
With heedless slight, or smiles of scorn;
Teas'd into wrath, what patience bears The noisy fool who perseveres?
The morning wakes, the Huntsinan sounds,
At once rush forth the joyful Hounds;
They seek the wood with eager pace,
Through bush, through brier, explore the chase:
Now scatter'd wide, they try the plain,
And snuff the dewy turf in vain.
What care, what industry, what pains!
What universal silence reigns!
Ringwood, a dog of little fame,
Young, pert, and ignorant of game,
At once displays his babbling throat;
The pack, regardless of the note,
Pursue the scent; with louder strain
He still persists to vex the train.
The Huntsman to the clamour flies, The smacking lash he smartly plies. His ribs all welk'd, with howling tone The puppy thus express'd his moan:
"I know the music of my tongue Long since the pack with envy stung, What will not spite? These bitter smarts I owe to my superior parts."
"When puppies prate," the IIuntsman cry'd,
They show both ignorance and pride:
Fools may our scorn, not envy, raise;
For envy is a kind of praise,
Had not thy forward noisy tongue
Proclaim'd thee always in the wrong,
Thou might'st have mingled with the rest,
And ne'er thy foolish nose confest;
But fools, to talking ever prone,
Are sure to make their follies known."
THE POET AND THE ROSE.
I HATE the man who builds his name
On ruins of another's fame.
Thus prudes, by characters o'erthrown,
Imagine that they raise their own.
Thus scribblers, covetous of praise,
Think slander can transplant the bays,
Beauties and bards have equal pride,
With both all rivals are decry'd.
Who praises Lesbia's eyes and feature,
Must call her sister awkward creature ;
For the kind flattery's sure to charm,
When we some other nymph disarm.
As in the cool of early day
A Poet sought the sweets of May,
The garden's fragrant breath ascends,
And every stalk with odour bends;
A Rose he pluck'd, he gaz'd, admir'd,
Thus singing, as the Muse inspir'd ;
"Go, Rose, my Chloe's bosom grace;
How happy shall I prove,
Might I supply that envy'd place
With never fading love!
"There, phenix-like, beneath her eye, Involv'd in fragrance, burn and die.
Know, hapless flower! that thou shalt find
More fragrant Roses there;
I see thy withering head reclin'd
With envy and despair!
One common fate we both must prove;
You die with envy, I with love."
"Spare your comparisons," reply'd An angry Rose, who grew beside. "Of all mankind you should not flout us; What can a Poet do without us? In every love-song Roses bloom; We lend you colour and perfume: Does it to Chloe's charms conduce, To found her praise on our abuse? Must we, to flatter her, be made To wither, envy, pine, and fade?"
The cur, the horse, and the shepherd's dOG
THE lad of all-sufficient merit
With modesty ne'er damps his spirit;
Presuming on his own deserts,
On all alike his tongue exerts;
His noisy jokes at random throws,
And pertly spatters friend and foes.
In wit and war the bully race
Contribute to their own disgrace:
Too late the forward youth shall find
That jokes are sometimes paid in kind;
Or, if they canker in the breast,
He makes a foe who makes a jest.
A village Cur, of snappish race,
The pertest puppy of the place,
Imagin'd that his treble throat
Was blest with music's sweetest note
In the mid road he basking lay,
The yelping nuisance of the way;
For not a creature pass'd along,
But had a sample of his song.
Soon as the trotting steed he hears,
He starts, he cocks his dapper ears ;
Away he scowers, assaults his hoof;
Now near him snarls, now barks aloof;
With shrill impertinence attends,
Nor leaves him till the village ends.
It chanc'd, upon his evil day,
A pad came pacing down the way;
The Cur, with never-ceasing tongue,
Upon the passing traveller sprung.
The Horse, from scorn provok'd to ire,
Flung backward; rolling in the mire,
The puppy howl'd, and bleeding lay;
The pad in peace pursu'd his way.
A Shepherd's Dog, who saw the deed,
Detesting the vexatious breed,
Bespoke him thus: "When coxcombs prate,
They kindle wrath, contempt, or hate;
Thy teasing tongue had judgment try'd,
Thou hadst not like a puppy dy'd."
THE COURT OF DEATH.
DEATH, on a solemn night of state,
In all his pomp of terrour sate:
Th' attendants of his gloomy reign,
Diseases dire, a ghastly train!
Crowd the vast court. With hollow tone,
A voice thus thunder'd from the throne:
"This night our minister we name,
Let every servant speak his claim;
Merit shall bear this ebon wand."
All, at the word, stretch'd forth their hand. Fever, with burning heat possest, Advanc'd, and for the wand addrest:
"I to the weekly bills appeal,
Let those express my fervent zeal;
On every slight occasion near,
With violence I persevere."
Next Gout appears, with limping pace,
Pleads how he shifts from place to place;
From head to foot how swift he flies,
And every joint and sinew plies;
Still working when he seems supprest,
A most tenacious stubborn guest.
A haggard spectre from the crew
Crawls forth, and thus asserts his due:
""Tis I who taint the sweetest joy,
And in the shape of Love destroy:
My shanks, sunk eyes, and noseless face,
Prove my pretension to the place."
Stone urg'd his ever-growing force;
And, next, Consumption's meagre corse,
With feeble voice, that scarce was heard,
Broke with short coughs, his suit preferr❜d :
"Let none object my lingering way,
I gain, like Fabius, by delay;
Fatigue and weaken every foe
By long attack, secure, though slow."
Plague represents his rapid power,
Who thinn'd a nation in an hour.
All spoke their claim, and hop'd the wand. Now expectation hush'd the band; When thus the monarch from the throne: "Merit was ever modest known. What, no physician speak his right! None here! but fees their toils requite. Let then Intemperance take the wand, Who fills with gold their zealous hand. You, Fever, Gout, and all the rest, (Whom wary men, as foes, detest) Forego your claim; no more pretend; Intemperance is esteem'd a friend; He shares their mirth, their social joys, And as a courted guest destroys. The charge on him must justly fall, Who finds employment for you alL”
THE GARDENER AND THE HOC.
A GARDENER, of peculiar taste, On a young Hog his favour plac'd, Who fed not with the common herd; His tray was to the hall preferr'd He wallow'd underneath the board, Or in his master's chamber snor'd, Who fondly strok'd him every day, And taught him all the puppy's play. Where'er he went, the grunting friend Ne'er fail'd his pleasure to attend.
As on a time the loving pair Walk'd forth to tend the garden's care, The master thus address'd the swine: "My house, my garden, all is thine. On turnips feast whene'er you please, And riot in my beans and pease; If the potatoe's taste delights, Or the red carrot's sweet invites,
Indulge thy morn and evening hours;
But let due care regard my flowers:
My tulips are my garden's pride:
What vast expense those beds supply'd!"
The Hog by chance one morning roam'd,
Where with new ale the vessels foam'd:
He munches now the steaming grains,
Now with full swill the liquor drains.
Intoxicating fumes arise;
He reels, he rolls his winking eyes;
Then staggering through the garden scours,
And treads down painted ranks of flowers.
With delving snout he turns the soil,
And cools his palate with the spoil.
The master came, the ruin spy'd;
"Villain! suspend thy rage," he cry'd.
"Hast thou, thou most ungrateful sot,
My charge, my only charge, forgot?
What, all my flowers!" No more he said,
But gaz'd, and sigh'd, and hung his head.
The Hog with stuttering speech returns:
Explain, sir, why your anger burns.
See there, untouch'd, your tulips strown,
For I devour'd the roots alone."
At this the Gardener's passion grows; From oaths and threats he fell to blows. The stubborn brute the blows sustains, Assaults his legs, and tears the veins.
"Ah! foolish swain! too late you find That sties were for such friends design'd!" Homeward he limps with painful pace, Reflecting thus on past disgrace: "Who cherishes a brutal mate, Shall mourn the folly soon or late,"
THE MAN AND THE FLEA.
WHETHER on earth, in air, or main, Sure every thing alive is vain!
Does not the hawk all fowls survey, As destin'd only for his prey? And do not tyrants, prouder things, Think men were born for slaves to kings? When the crab views the pearly strands, Or Tagus, bright with golden sands, Or crawls beside the coral grove, And hears the ocean roll above, "Nature is too profuse," says he, "Who gave all these to pleasure me!" When bordering pinks and roses bloom, And every garden breathes perfume; When peaches glow with sunny dyes, Like Laura's cheek when blushes rise; When with huge figs the branches bend, When clusters from the vine depend; The snail looks round on flower and tree, And cries, "All these were made for me!" "What dignity's in human nature!" Says Man, the most conceited creature, As from a cliff he cast his eye, And view'd the sea and arched sky. The Sun was sunk beneath the main; The Moon, and all the starry train, Hung the vast vault of Heaven. The Man His contemplation thus began:
"When I behold this glorious show, And the wide watery world below,
The scaly people of the main,
The beasts that range the wood or plain,
The wing'd inhabitants of air,
The day, the night, the various year;
And know all these by Heaven design'd
As gifts to pleasure human-kind;
I cannot raise my worth too high;
Of what vast consequence am I!"
"Not of th' importance you suppose,"
Replies a Flea upon his nose.
"Be humble, learn thyself to scan;
Know, pride was never made for man.
"Tis vanity that swells thy mind.
What! Heaven and Earth for thee design'd!
For thee, made only for our need,
That more important Fleas might feed."
The Sheep was feeble, and complain’á, His sides a load of wool sustain'd; Said, he was slow, confess'd his fears; For Hounds eat Sheep as well as Hares. She now the trotting Calf address'd, To save from death a friend distress'd. Shall I," says he, "of tender age, In this important care engage? Older and abler pass'd you by ; How strong are those! how weak am I ! Should I presume to bear you hence, Those friends of mine may take offence. Excuse me, then; you know my heart; But dearest friends, alas! must part. How shall we all lament! Adieu; For see, the Hounds are just in view."
THE HARE AND MANY FRIENDS.
FRIENDSHIP, like love, is but a name,
Unless to one you stint the flame.
The child, whom many fathers share,
Hath seldom known a father's care.
'Tis thus in friendships; who depend
On many, rarely find a friend.
A Hare who, in a civil way,
Comply'd with every thing, like Gay,
Was known by all the bestial train
Who haunt the wood, or graze the plain;
Her care was never to offend;
And every creature was her friend.
As forth she went at early dawn,
To taste the dew-besprinkled lawn,
Behind she hears the hunter's cries,
And from the deep-mouth'd thunder flies.
She starts, she stops, she pants for breath;
She hears the near advance of death;
She doubles, to mislead the hound,
And measures back her mazy round;
Tilt, fainting in the public way,
Half-dead with fear she gasping lay.
What transport in her bosom grew,
When first the Horse appear'd in view!
"Let me," says she, "your back ascend,
And owe my safety to a friend.
You know my feet betray my flight:
To friendship every burthen's light."
The Horse reply'd, "Poor honest Puss,
It grieves my heart to see thee thus:
Be comforted, relief is pear,
For all your friends are in the rear."
She next the stately Bull implor'd;
And thus reply'd the mighty lord:
"Since every beast alive can tell
That I sincerely wish you well,
I may, without offence, pretend
To take the freedom of a friend.
Love calls me hence; a favourite cow
Expects me near yon barley mow;
And, when a lady's in the case,
You know, all other things give place.
To leave you thus might seem unkind;
But see, the Goat is just behind."
The Goat remark'd, her pulse was high,
Her languid head, her heavy cye:
"My back," says he, " may do you harm;
The Sheep's at hand, and wool is warm."
THESE Fables were finished by Mr. Gay, and intended for the press a short time before his death, when they were left, with his other papers, to the care of his noble friend and patron the duke of Queensberry. His grace has accordingly permitted them to the press; and they are here printed from the originals in the author's own hand-writing. We hope they will please equally with his former Fables, though mostly on subjects of a graver and more political turn. They will certainly show him te have been (what he esteemed the best character) a man of a truly honest heart, and a sincere lover of his country.
KNOW you Lawyers can, with ease, Twist words and meanings as you please; That language, by your skill made pliant, Will bend to favour every client; That 'tis the fee directs the sense, To make out either side's pretence. When you peruse the clearest case, You see it with a double face : For scepticism's your profession; You hold there's doubt in all expression. Hence is the bar with fees supply'd; Hence Eloquence takes either side. Your hand would have but paltry gleaning, Could every man express his meaning. Who dares presume to pen a deed, Unless you previously are feed?
'Tis drawn; and, to augment the cost,
In dull prolixity engrost.
And now we're well secur'd by law,
Till the next brother find a flaw.
Read o'er a will. Was 't ever known
But you could make the will your own?
or, when you read, 'tis with intent To find out meanings never meant. ince things are thus, se defendendo, bar fallacious inuendo.
Sagacious Porta's skill could trace
ome beast or bird in every face.
The head, the eye, the nose's shape,
Prov'd this an owl, and that an ape.
Vten, in the sketches thus design'd,
Resemblance brings some friend to mind,
You show the piece, and give the hint,
and find each feature in the print;
So monstrous like the portrait's found,
All know it, and the laugh goes round,
Like him I draw from general nature;
s't I or you then fix the satire?
So, sir, I beg you, spare your pains n making comments on my strains. All private slander I detest,
I judge not of my neighbour's breast:
Party and prejudice I hate,
And write no libels on the state.
Shall not my fable censure vice,
Because a knave is over-nice?
And, lest the guilty hear and dread,
Shall not the decalogue be read?
If I lash Vice in general fiction,
's 't I apply, or self-conviction?
Brutes are my theme. Am I to blame,
if men in morals are the same.
I no man call or ape or ass;
Tis his own conscience holds the glass.
Thus void of all offence I write :
Who claims the fable, knows his right.
A shepherd's Dog unskill'd in sports,
Pick'd up acquaintance of all sorts;
Among the rest a Fox he knew;
3y frequent chat their friendship grew.
Says Reynard, "'Tis a cruel case,
That man should stigmatise our race.
No doubt, among us rogues you find,
As among dogs and human kind;
And yet (unknown to me and you)
There may be honest men and true.
f'hus slander tries whate'er it can
To put us on the foot with man.
"Let my own actions recommend;
No prejudice can blind a friend :
You know me free from all disguise;
My honour as my life I prize."
By talk like this, from all mistrust
The Dog was cur'd, and thought him just.
As on a time the Fox held forth
On conscience, honesty, and worth,
Sudden he stopp'd; he cock'd his ear;
Low dropt his brushy tail with fear.
"Bless us! the hunters are abroad:
What's all that clatter on the road!"
"Hold," says the Dog, "we're safe from harm,
Twas nothing but a false alarm.
At yonder town 'tis market-day;
Some farmer's wife is on the way;
Tis so (I know her pyebald mare),
Dame Dobbins with her poultry ware."
Reynard grew huff. Says he,
From you I little thought to hear:
Your meaning in your looks I see.
Pray, what's Dame Dobbins, friend, to me?
Did I e'er make her poultry thinner!
Prove that I owe the dame a dinner."
Friend," quoth the Cur, " I meant no har:n;
Then why so captious? why so warm?
My words, in comnon acceptation,
Could never give this provocation.
No lamb (for aught I ever knew)
May be more innocent than you."
At this, gall'd Reynard winc'd, and swore
Such language ne'er was given before.
"What's lamb to me? this saucy hint
Shows me, base knave, which way you squint.
If th' other night your master lost
Three lambs, am I to pay the cost?
Your vile reflections would imply
That I'm the thief. You dog, you lye."
"Thou knave, thou fool!" (the Dog reply'd)
"The name is just, take either side;
Thy guilt these applications speak :
Sirrah, 'tis conscience makes you squeak."
So saying, on the Fox he flies:
The self-convicted felon dies.
THE VULTURE, THE SPARROW, AND OTHER BIRDS.
TO A FRIEND IN THE COUNTRY.
ERE I begin, I must premise,
Our ministers are good and wise;
So, though malicious tongues apply,
Pray what care they, or what care I?
If I am free with courts, be 't known,
I ne'er presume to mean our own.
If general morals seem to joke
On ministers, and such-like folk,
A captious fool may take offence;
What then? He knows his own pretence,
I meddle with no state-affairs,
But spare my jest to save my ears.
Our present schemes are too profound
For Machiavel himself to sound :
To censure them I've no pretension;
I own they're past my comprehension.
You say your brother wants a place,
('Tis many a younger brother's case)
And that he very soon intends
To ply the court, and tease his friends.
If there his merits chance to find
A patriot of an open mind,
Whose constant actions prove him just
To both a king's and people's trust,
May he, with gratitude, attend,
And owe his rise to such a friend!
You praise his parts, for business fit,
His learning, probity, and wit;
But those alone will never do,
Unless his patron have them too.
I've heard of times (pray God defend us?
We're not so good but he can mend us)
When wicked ministers have trod
On kings and people, law and God;
With arrogance they girt the throne,
And knew no interest but their own.
Then virtue, from preferment barr'd
Gets nothing but its own reward.
A gang of petty knaves attend 'em,
With proper parts to recommend 'em.
Then, if his patron burn with lust,
The first in favour 's pimp the first,