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Replies a bearded chief_" Beside,
Wide he displays ; the spangled dew “ If boys can mortify thy pride,
Reflects his eyes, and various hue. “ How wilt thou stand the ridicule
His now-forgotten friend, a Snail, “ Of our whole flock? Affected fool ! Beneath his house, with slimy trail, “ Coxcombs distinguish'd from the rest, Crawls o'er the grass ; whom when he spies, “ To all but coxcombs are a jest.”
In wrath he to the gard'ner cries :
· What means yon peasant's daily toil, $ 100. FABLE XXIII. The Old Woman and her “ From choking weeds to rid the soil? Cats.
Why wake you to the morning's care?
Why with new arts correct the year? Who friendship with a knave hath made,
“Why glows the peach with crimson hue? Is judg’d a partner in the trade.
“ And why the plum's inviting blue? The matron who conducts abroad, A willing nymph, is thought a bawd;
“Were they to feast his taste design'd, And if a modest girl is seen
“ That vermin of voracious kind ?
“ Crush then the slow, the pilf'ring race ; With one who cures a lover's spleen, We guess her not extremely nice,
“ So purge thy garden from disgrace.”.
“What arrogance!" the Snail replied ; And only wish to know her price.
“ How insolent is upstart pride! ”Tis thus that on the choice of friends,
“ Had thou not thus, with insult vain, Our good or evil name depends.
“ Provok'd my patience to complain, A wrinkled Hag, of wicked fame,
I had conceal'd thy meaner birth, Beside a little smoky flame
“ Nor trac'd thee to the scum of earth. Sat hov'ring, pinch'd with age and frost :
“ For scarce nine suns had wak'd the hours Her shrivell'd hands, with veins embost,
“ To swell the fruit and paint the flow'rs, Upon her knees her weight sustains,
“Since I thy humbler life survey'd, While palsy shook her crazy brains : She mumbles forth her backward pray’rs,
In base and sordid guise array'd : An untam'd scold of fourscore years.
“ A hideous insect, vile, unclean,
“ You dragg’d a slow and noisome train ; About her swarm'd a num'rous brood
“ And from your spider-bowels drew Of Cats, who lank with hunger mew’d. Teas'd with their cries, her choler grew;
“ Foul film, and spun the dirty clue. And thus she sputter'd : “ Hence ye crew!
I own my humble life, good friend;
• Snail was I born, and Snail shall end. “ Fool that I was, to entertain
“ And what's a Butterfly? At best “ Such imps, such fiends, a bellish train;
“ He's but a caterpillar drest; “ Had ye been never hous'd and nurs’d,
“ And all thy race (a num'rous seed) " I for a witch had ne'er been curs’d.
“Shall prove of caterpillar breed." “ To you I owe that crowds of boys, “ Worry me with eternal noise ;
§ 102. FABLE xxv. The Scold and the Parrof. “ Straws laid across my pace retard ; “The horse-shoe’s naiļd (each threshold'sguard),
The husband thus reprov'd his wife :
" Who deals in slander, lives in strife. “ The stunted broom the wenches hide,
“ Art thou the herald of disgrace, “ For fear that I should up and ride ; “ They stick with pins my bleeding seat,
Denouncing war to all thy race ?
“ Can nothing quell thy thunder's rage, " And bid me show my secret teat.
“ Which spares no friend, nor sex, nor age? “ To hear you prate would vex a saint: “ Who hath most reason of complaint ?"
“ That vixen tongue of yours, my dear,
“ Alarms our neighbours far and near. Replies a Cat. “ Let's come to proof : “ Had we ne'er starv'd beneath your roof,
“Good gods ! 'tis like a rolling river, « We had, like others of our race,
“ That murm’ring flows, and Hows for ever!
“ Ne'er tir'd, perpetual discord sowing! “ In credit liv'd, as beasts of chace.
“ Like fame, it gathers strength by going, “ 'Tis infamy to serve a hag;
Heighday ! the flippant tongue replies, “ Cats are thought imps, her broom a nag; “ How solemn is the fool, how wise ! “ And boys against our lives combine,
“ Is nature's choicest gift debarr'd? “ Because 'tis said your cats have nine."
Nay, frown not, for I will be heard. § 101. Fable xxıy. The Butterfly and Snail. A parrot's privilege forbidden !
“Women of late are finely ridden; All upstarts insolent in place
“ You praise his talk, his squalling song; Remind us of their vulgar race.
• But wives are always in the wrong." As, in the sunshine of the morn,
Now reputations flew in pieces, A Butterfly but newly born
Qf mothers, daughters, aunts, and nieces : Sat proudly perking on a rose,
She ran the parrot's language o'er, With pert conceit his bosom glows;
Bawd, hussey, drunkard, slattern, whore; His wings, all glorious to behold,
On all the sex she vents her fury ; Bedropt with azure, jet, and gold,
Tries and condemns without a jury.
At once the torrent of her words
Since I must bid the world adieu,
I grant iny bargains well were made,
'Tis self-defence in each profession : The imagpye blabs out all her faults ;
Sure self-defence is no transgression. Poll, in the uproar, from his cage,
The little portion in my hands, With this rebuke out-scream'd her
rage : By good security on lavds, “ A Parrot is for talking priz'd,
Is well increas'd. If, unawares, “ But prattling women are despis’d.
My justice to myself and heirs “ She who attacks another's honor
Hath let my debtor rot in jail, “ Draws ev'ry living thing upon her.
For want of good sufficient bail; “ Think, madam, when you stretch your lungs, If I by writ, or bond, or deed, “ 'That all your neighbours too have tongues. Reduc'd a family to need, “ One slander must ten thousand get ;
My will hath made the world amends; “ 'The world with int'rest pays the debt." My hope on charity depends.
When I am number'd with the dead, § 103. FABLE XXVI. The Cur and the Mastiff. And all my pious gifts are read,
By heaven and earth 'twill then be known A SNEAKING Cur, the master's spy, Rewarded for his daily lie,
My charities were amply shown. With secret jealousies and fears
An Angel came. Ah! friend, he cried, Set all together by the ears.
No more in Aatt'ring hope confide. Poor Puss to-day was in disgrace,
Can thy good deeds in former times Another cat supplied her place;
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 pow'r,
grew And none could tell the reason why.
Embrace with joy the happy hour. A plan to rob the house was laid :
Now, while you draw the vital air, The thief with love seduc'd the maid :
Prove your intention is sincere. Cajol'd the Cur, and strok'd his head,
This instant give a hundred pound : And bought his secrecy with bread.
Your neighbours want, and you abound. He next the Mastiff's honor tried ;
But why such haste? the sick Man whines ; Whiose honest jaws the bribe defied.
Who knows as yet what Heaven designs ? He stretch'd his hand to proffer more ;
Perhaps I may recover still ; The surly dog his fingers tore.
That sum and more are in my will. Swift ran the Cur; with indignation
Fool ! says the Vision, now 'tis plain, The master took his information.
Your life, your soul, your heaven was gain. Hang him, the villain 's curst, he cries ;
From ev'ry side, with all your might,
You scrap'd, and scrap'd beyond your right; And round his neck the halter ties.
And after death would fain atone,
By giving what is not your own.
While there is life, there's hope, he cried , The cited Dogs confronting stand.
Then why such haste? So groan'd and died. The Cur the bloody tale relates, And, like a lawyer, aggravates.
$ 105. FABLE XXVIII. The Persian, the Sun, Judge not unheard, the Mastiff cried,
and the Cloud. But weigh the cause of either side. Think not that treach'ry can be just ;
Is there a bard whom genius fires,
Whose ev'ry thought the god inspires ? Take not informers' words on trust.
When envy reads the nervous lines,
She frets, she rails, she raves, she pines;
Her hissing snakes with venoin swell;
She calls her venal train from hell : The Cur was hang’d, the Mastiff clear’d.
The servile fiends her nod obey,
And all Curl's authors are in pay. $ 104. PABLE XXVII. The Sick Man and the Fame calls up calumny and spite; Angel.
Thus shadow owes its birth to light. Is there no hope ? the sick man said ;
As prostrate to the god of day, The silent doctor shook his head,
With heart devout a Persian lay, And took his leave with signs of sorrow,
His invocation thus began :Despairing of his fee lo-morrow.
Parent of light, all-seeing Sun! When thus the Man, with gasping breath; Prolific beam, whose rays dispense I feel the chilling wound of death.
The various gifts of Providence !
Accept our praise, our daily pray'r,
To us descends the long disgrace, Smile on our fields, and bless the year!
And infamy hath mark'd our race. A Cloud, who mock'd his grateful tongue, Though we, like harmless sheep, should feed, The day with sudden darkness hung ;
Honest in thought, in word, and deed, With pride and envy swell'd aloud,
Whatever hen-roost is decreas'd, A voice thus thunder'd from the Cloud :
We shall be thought to share the feast. Weak is this gaudy god of thine,
The change shall never be believ'd ; Whom I at will forbid to shine.
A lost good name is ne'er retriev'd. Shall I nor vows nor incense know !
Nay, then, replies the feeble Fox, Where praise is due, the praise bestow.
(But, hark! I hear a hen that clocks !) With fervent zeal the Persian mov'd, Go, but be moderate in your food; Thus the proud calumny reprov'd :
A chicken too might do me good.
§ 107. FABLE XXX. The Setting Dog and the
The raging Dog the stubble tries,
And searches ev'ry breeze that flies; The gale arose ; the vapor, tost
The scent grows warm ; with cautious fear (The sport of winds) in air, was lost.
He creeps, and points the covey, near: The glorious orb the day refines ;
The men, in silence, far behind, Thus envy breaks, thus merit shines.
Conscious of game, the net unbind.
A Partridge, with experience wise,
The fraudful preparation spies : $ 106. FABLE xxix. The Fox at the Point of She mocks their toils, alarms her brood; Death.
The covey springs, and seeks the wood; A Fox in life's extreme decay,
But ere her certain wing she tries, Weak, sick, and faint, expiring lay;
Thus to the creeping Spaniel cries : All appetite had left his maw,
Thou fawning slave to man's deceit, And age disarm’d his mumbling jaw.
Thou pimp of lux'ry, sneaking cheat,
Of thy whole species the disgrace;
Dogs shall disown thee of their race !
For, if I judge their native parts, And thus was heard the feeble tone :
They're born with open honest hearts ; Ah, sons! from evil ways depart;
And ere they serv'd man's wicked ends, My crimes lie heavy on my heart.
Were gen'rous foes, or real friends. See, see, the murder'd geese appear!
When thus the Dog, with scornful smile Why are those bleeding turkeys there?
Secure of wing, thou dar’st revile. Why all around this cackling train,
Clowns are to polish'd manners blind; Who haunt my ears for chickens slain ?
How ign’rant is the rustic mind ! The hungry Foxes round them star'd,
My worth sagacious courtiers see, And for the promis'd feast prepar'd.
And to preferment rise, like me. Where, sir, is all this dainty cheer?
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 favor feasts my days:
I might have guess'd, the Partridge said, 'When peace of conscience is no more.
The place where ġou were train'd and fed; Does not the hound betray our pace,
Servants are apt, and in a trice, And gins and guns destroy our race?
Ape to a hair iheir master's vice. Thieves dread the searching eye of pow'r,
You came from court, you say? Adieu !
She said, and to the covey fiew.
$ 108. FABLE xxxi. The Universal Apparition. Would you true happiness attain,
A Rake, by ev'ry passion ruld, Let honesty your passions rein ;
With ev'ry vice his youth had coold; So live in credit and esteem,
Disease hís tainted blood assails; And the good name you lost redeem.
flis spirits droop, his vigor fails ; The counsel's good, a Fox replies,
With secret ills at home he pines, Could we perform what you advise.
And, like infirm old age, declines. Think what our ancestors have done ;
As twing'd with pain he pensive sits ; A line of thieves from son to son :
And raves, and prays, and swoars by fits;
A ghastly phantom, lean and wan,
They weigh'd the dignity of fowls, Before him rose, and thus began :
And pried into the depth of Owls.
With gen'ral voice rever'd our name;
And all ador'd th’ Athenian bird.
Brother, you reason well, replies With health all taste of pleasure fies.
The solemn mate, with half-shut eyes : Thus said, the phantom disappears;
Right-Athens was the seat of learning; The wary counsel' wak'd his fears;
And truly wisdom is discerning. He now from all excess abstains;
Besides, on Pallas' helm we sit, With physic purifies his veins;
The type and ornament of wit ; And, io procure a sober life,
But now, alas ! we're quite neglected, Resolves to renture on a wife.
And a pert sparrow's more respected. But now again the Sprite ascends :
A sparrow, who was lodg'd beside, Where'er he walks his ear attends ;
O'erhears them sooth each other's pride, Insinuates that beauty's frail ;
And thus he nimbly vents his heat: That perseverance must prevail ;
Who meets a fool must find conceit. With jealousies his brain inflames,
I grant, you were at Athens grac'd : And whispers all her lovers' names.
And op Minerva's helm were plac'd: In other hours she represents
But ev'ry bird that wings the sky, His household charge, his annual rents, Except an Owl, can tell
why. Increasing debts, perplexing duns,
From hence they taught their schools to know And nothing for his younger sons.
How false we judge by outward show; Straight all his thought to gain he turns, That we should never looks esteem, And with the thirst of lucre burns.
Since fools as wise as you might seem. But, when possess'd of fortune's store,
Would ye contempt and scorn avoid, The Spectre haunts him more and more; Let your vain glory be destroy'd : Sets want and misery in view,
Humble your arrogance of thought; Bold thieves, and all the murd'ring crew; Pursue the ways by Nature taught: Alarms him with eternal frights,
So shall you find delicious fare, Infests his dream, or wakes his nights.
And grateful farmers praise your care; How shall he chase this hideous guest?
So shall sleek mice your chase reward,
And no keen cat find more regard.
$ 110. FABLE XXXIII. The Courlier and Talks of ambition's tott'ring seat,
Whene'er a courtier's out of place,
The country shelters his disgrace;
His house and gardens own his wealth ;
Like Philip's son, would fain be doing,
As one of these (without his wand)
In projects to regain his pow'r,
Proteus arose, and thus began :
Came you from court? for in your mien For Care by right should go before.
A self-important air is seen.
He frankly own'd his friends had trick'd him, § 109. FABLE XXXII. The Two Orols and the And how he fell his party's victim. Sparrow.
Know, says the god, by matchless skill,
I change to ev'ry shape at will; Two formal Owls together sat,
But yet I'm told, at court you see Conferring thus in solemn chat :
Those who presume to rival me. How is the modern taste decay'd !
Thus said a snake, with hideous trail, Where's the respect to wisdom paid ?
Proteus extends his scaly mail. Our worth the Grecian sages knew;
Know, says the man, though proud in place, They gave our sires the honor due:
All courtiers are of reptile race.
Like you, they take that dreadful form, Thus said, they swore, and rav'd like thunder; Bask in the sun, and Ay the storin;
Then dragg d their fasten'd Dogs asunder; With malice hiss, with envy glote,
While clubs and kicks from ev'ry side And for convenience change their coat; Rebounded from the Mastiff's hide. With new got lustre rear their head,
All reeking now with sweat and blood, Though on a dunghill born and bred. A while the parted warriors stood, Sudden the god a lion stands;
Then pour'd upon the meddling foe, He shakes his inane, he spurns the sands ; Who, worried, howld, and sprawld below! Now a fierce lynx, with fiery glare,
He rose; and limping from the fray,
By both sides mangled, sneak'd away.
The Barley-mow and But there, in quest of daily game,
the Dunghill. Each abler courtier acts the same.
How many saucy airs we meet Wolves, lions, lynxes, while in place,
From Temple-bar to Aldgate-street ! Their friends and fellows are their chase. Proud rogues, who shar'd the South-sea prey, They play the bear's and fox's part ;
And spring like mushrooms in a day! Now rob by force, now steal with art. They ihink it mean to condescend They sometimes in the senate bray;
To know a brother or a friend; Or, chang'd again to beasts of prey,
They blush to hear a mother's name, Down from the lion to the ape
And by their pride expose their shame. Practise the frauds of ev'ry shape.
As cross his yard, at early day, So said, upon the god he fies;
A careful farmer took his way, In cords the struggling captive ties.
He stopp'd, and, leaning on his fork, Now, Proteus, now, (to truth compell’d) Observ'd the flail's incessant work. Speak, and confess thy art excell’d.
In thought he measur'd all his store, Use strength, surprise, or what you will, His geese, his hogs, he number'd o'ers The courtier finds evasions still,
In fancy weigh'd
the fleeces shorn, Not to be bound by any ties,
And multiplied the next year's corn. And never forc'd to leave his lies.
A Barley-mow, which stood beside, § 111. FABLE xxxiv. The Mastiff
Thus to its musing master cried :
Say, good Sir, is it fit or right Those who in quarrels interpose,
To treat me with neglect and slight? Must often wipe a bloody nose.
Me, who contribute to your cheer, A Mastiff, of true English blood,
And raise your mirth with ale and beer : Lov'd fighting better than his food;
Why thus insulted, thus disgrac'd, When dogs were snarling for a bone,
And that vile Dunghill near me plac'd ? He long'd to make the war his own; Are those poor sweepings of a groom, And often found (when two contend)
That filthy sight, that nauseous fume, To interpose obtain a his end :
Meet objects here ? Command it hence : He glory'd in his limping pace;
A thing so mean must give offence. The scars of honor seam'd his face;
The humble Dunghill thus replied:
Thy master hears, and mocks thy pride :
In me thy benefactor know:
My warm assistance gave thee birth, Away he scours, and lays about him,
Or thou hadst perish'd low in earth;
Cancel at once all obligation.
§ 113. FÅBLE XXXVI. Pythagoras and the Whence sprung this cursed hate to tanners ?
Countryman. While on my dog you vent your spite, PYTHAG'Ras rose at early dawn, Sirrah! 'tis ine you dare not bite.
By soaring meditation drawn; To see the battle thus perplex'd,
To breathe the fragrance of the day,
Through flow’ry fields he took his way.
His steps misled him to a farm,
Where, on the ladder's topmost round, The combats of my Dog have known. A peasant stood: the hammer's sound He ne'er, like bullies coward-hearted, Shook the weak barn. Say, friend, what care Attacks in public to be parted.
Calls for thy honest labor there? Think not, rash fool, to share his fame;
The Clown, with surly voice, replies : Be his the honor or the shame.
Vengeance aloud for justice cries.