« ElőzőTovább »
Tis certain that you'll be the jest Of every insect, bird and beast, When you lie batter'd by your fall Just at the bottom of the wall.
Be prudent then, improve the pow'rs
Which nature gives in place of ours.
You'll find them readily conduce
At once to pleasure and to use.
But airy whims and crotchets lead
To certain loss, and ne'er succeed:
As folks, though inly vex'd and teas'd,
Will oft seean satisfy'd and pleas'd."
ape approv'd of every word,
At this time utter'd by the bird:
But nothing in opinion chang'd,
Thought only how to be reveng'd.
It happen'd when the day was fair,
That Poll was set to take the air,
Just where the monkey oft sat poring
About experiments in soaring:
Dissembling his contempt and rage,
He stept up softly to the cage,
And with a sly malicious grin,
Accosted thus the bird within.
"You say, I am not form'd for fight;
In this you certainly are right;
'Tis very plain upon reflection,
But to yourself there's no objection,
Since flying is the very trade
For which the winged race is made;
And therefore for our mutual sport,
I'll make you fly, you can't be hurt."
With that he slyly slipt the string
Which held the cage up by the ring.
In vain the parrot begg'd and pray'd,
No word was minded that she said;
Down went the cage, and on the ground
Bruis'd and half-dead poor Poll was found.
Pug who for some time had attended
To that alone which now was ended,
Again had leisure to pursue
The project he had first in view.
Quoth be, "A person if he's wise
Will only with his friends advise,
They know his temper and his parts,
And have his interest near their hearts.
In matters which he should forbear,
They'll hold him back with prudent care,
But never from an envious spirit
Forbid him to display his merit;
Or judging wrong, from spleen and hate
His talents slight or underrate:
I acted sure with small reflection
In asking counsel and direction
From a sly minion whom I know
To be my rival and my foe:
Que who will constantly endeavour
To hurt me in our lady's favour,
And watch and plot to keep me down,
From obvious interests of her own:
But on the top of that old tow'r
An honest daw has made his bow'r ;
A faithful friend whom one may trust,
My debtor too for many a crust;
Which in the window oft I lay
For him to come and take away:
From gratitude no doubt he'll give
Such counsel as I may receive;
Well back'd with reasons strong and plain
To push me forward or restrain."
One morning when the daw appear'd, The project was propos'd and heard: And though the bird was much surpris'd To find friend Pug so ill advis'd, He rather chose that he shou'd try At his own proper risk to fly, Than hazard, in a case so nice, To shock him by too free advice.
Quoth he, I'm certain that you'll find The project answer to your mind; Without suspicion, dread or care, At once commit you to the air; You'll soar aloft, or, if you please, Proceed straight forwards at your ease: The whole depends on resolution, Which you possess from constitution; And if you follow as I lead,
'Tis past a doubt you must succeed.” ́
So saying, from the turret's height The Jack-daw shot with downward flight, And on the edge of a canal,
Some fifty paces from the wall,
'Lighted obsequious to attend
The monkey when he should descend:
But he, altho' he had believ'd
The flatterer and was deceiv'd,
Felt some misgivings at his heart
In vent'ring on so new an art:
But yet at last, 'tween hope and fear,
Himself he trusted to the air;
But far'd like him whom poets mention.
With Dedalus's old invention :
Directly downwards on his head
He fell, and lay an hour for dead.
The various creatures in the place,
Had diff'rent thoughts upon the case,
From some his fate compassion drew,
But those I must confess were few;
The rest esteem'd him rightly serv'd,
And in the manner he deserv'd,
For playing tricks beyond his sphere,
Nor thought the punishment severe.
They gather'd round him as he lay,
And jeer'd him when he limp'd away.
Pug, disappointed thus and hurt,
And grown besides the public sport,
Found all his different passions change
At once to fury and revenge:
The daw 'twas useless to pursue;
His helpless brood, as next in view,
With unrelenting paws he seiz'd,
One's neck he wrung, another squeez'd,
Till of the number four or five,
No single bird was left alive.
Thus counsellors, in all regards
Though different, meet with like rewards,
The story shows the certain fate
Of every mortal soon or late,
Whose evil genius for his crimes
Connects with any fop that rhymes.
THE BOY AND THE RAINBOW DECLARE, ye sages, if ye find 'Mongst animals of ev'ry kind, Of each condition, sort, and size, From whales and elephants to flies, A creature that mistakes his plan, And errs so constantly as man?
Each kind pursues his proper good,
And seeks for pleasure, rest, and food,
As nature points, and never errs
In what it chooses and prefers;
Man only blunders, though possest
Of talents far above the rest.
Descend to instances and try;
An ox will scarce attempt to fly,
Or leave his pasture in the wood,
With fishes to explore the flood.
Man only acts, of every creature,
In opposition to his nature.
The happiness of human kind,
Consists in rectitude of mind,
A will subdu'd to reason's sway,
And passions practis'd to obey ;
An open and a gen'rous heart,
Refin'd from selfishness and art;
Patience which mocks at fortune's pow'r,
And wisdom never sad nor sour:
In these consist our proper bliss;
Else Plato reasons much amiss:
But foolish mortals still pursue
False happiness in place of true;
Ambition serves us for a guide,
Or lust, or avarice, or pride;
While reason no assent can gain,
And revelation warns in vain.
Hence through our lives, in every stage,
From infancy itself to age,
A happiness we toil to find,
Which still avoids us like the wind;
Ev'n when we think the prize our own,
At once 'tis vanish'd, lost, and gone.
You'll ask me why I thus rehearse
All Epictetus in my verse,
And if I fondly hope to please
With dry reflections such as these,
So trite, so hackney'd, and so stale?
I'll take the hint and tell a tale.
One ev'ning as a simple swain
His fleck attended on the plain,
The shining bow he chanc'd to spy,
Which warns us when a show'r is nigh;
With brightest rays it seem'd to glow,
Its distance eighty yards or so.
This bumpkin had it seems been told
The story of the cup of gold,
Which Fame reports is to be found
Just where the rainbow meets the ground;
He therefore felt a sudden itch
To seize the goblet and be rich;
Hoping, (yet hopes are oft but vain):
No more to toil through wind and rain,
But sit indulging by the fire,
'Midst ease and plenty, like a 'squire:
He mark'd the very spot of land
On which the rainbow seem'd to stand,
And stepping forwards at his leisure
Expected to have found the treasure.
But as he mov'd, the colour'd ray
Still chang'd its place and slipt away,
As seeming his approach to shun;
From walking he began to run,
But all in vain, it still withdrew
As nimb y as he cou'd pursue;
At last through many a bog and lake,
Rough craggy road and thorny brake,
It led the easy fool, till night
Approach'd, then vanish'd in his sight,
And left him to compute his gains, With nought but labour for his pains.
CELIA AND HER MIRROR.
As there are various sorts of minds,
So friendships are of diffrent kinds :
Some, constant when the object's near,
Soon vanish if it disappear.
Another sort, with equal flame,
In absence will be still the same :
Some folks a trifle will provoke,
Their weak attachment soon is broke;
Some great offences only move
To change in friendship or'in love.
Affection, when it has its source
In things that shift and change of course,
As these diminish and decay,
Must likewise fade and melt away.
But when 'tis of a nobler kind,
Inspir'd by rectitude of mind,
Whatever accident arrives,
It lives, and death itself survives;
Those different kinds reduc'd to two,
False friendship may be call'd, and true.
In Celia's drawing-room of late
Some female friends were met to chat;
Where after much discourse had past,
A portrait grew the theme at last:
'Twas Celia's you must understand,
And by a celebrated hand.
Says one, "That picture sure must strike,
In all respects it is so like;
Your very features, shape and air
Express'd, believe me, to a hair:
The price I'm sure cou'd not be small,"
"Just fifty guineas frame and all.”—
"That mirror there is wond'rous fine."-
"I own the bauble cost me nine;
I'm fairly cheated you may swear,
For never was a thing so dear."-
"Dear!"-quoth the looking-glass-and spoke,
Madam, it wou'd a saint provoke:
Must that same gaudy thing be own'd
A pennyworth at fifty pound;
While I at nine am reckon'd dear,
'Tis what I never thought to hear.
Let both our merits now be try'd,
This fair assembly shall decide;
And I will prove it to your face,
That you are partial in the case.
I give a likeness far more true
Than any artist ever drew:
And what is vastly more, express
Your whole variety of dress:
From morn to noon, from noon to night,
I watch each change and paint it right;
Besides I'm mistress of the art,
Which conquers and secures a heart.
I teach you how to use those arms,
That vary and assist your charms,
And in the triumphs of the fair,
Claim half the merit for my share:
So when the truth is fairly told,
I'm worth at least my weight in gold;
But that vain thing of which you speak
Becomes quite useless in a week.
For, though it had no other vice,
'Tis out of fashion in a trice:
The cap is chang'd, the cloke, the gown;
It must no longer stay in town;
But goes in course to hide a wall
With others in your country-hall.”
The mirror thus :-the nymph reply'd,
"Your merit cannot be deny'd:
The portrait too, I must confess,
In some respects has vastly less.
But you yourself will freely grant
That it has virtues which you want.
'Tis certain that you can express
My shape, my features, and my dress,
Not just as well, but better too
Than Kneller once or Ramsay now.
But that same image in your heart
Which thus excels the painter's art,
The shortest absence can deface,
And put a monkey's in its place:
That other which the canvas bears,
Unchang'd and constant, lasts for years,
Wou'd Leep its lustre and its bloom
Though it were here and I at Rome.
When age and sickness shall invade
Those youthful charms and make them fade,
You'il soon perceive it, and reveal
What partial friendship shou'd conceal:
You'll tell me, in your usual way,
Of furrow'd cheeks and locks grown gray;
Your gen'rous rival, not so cold,
Will ne'er suggest that I am old;
Nor mark when time and slow disease
Have stol'n the graces wont to please;
But keep my image to be seen
In the full blossom of sixteen:
Bestowing freely all the praise
I merited in better days.
You will (when I am turn'd to dust,
For beauties die, as all things must,
And you remember but by seeing)
Forget that e'er I had a being:
But in that picture I shall live,
My charms shall death itself survive,
Aud figur'd by the pencil there
Tell that your mistress once was fair.
Weigh each advantage and defect,
The portrait merits most respect:
Your qualities would recommend
A servant rather than a friend;
But service sure, in every case,
To friendship yields the higher place."
IMITATED FROM THEOCRITUS.
By all the sages 'tis confest That hope when moderate is best: But when indulg'd beyond due measure, It yields a vain deceitful pleasure, Which cheats the simple, and betrays To mischief in a thousand ways: Just hope assists in all our toils, The wheels of industry it oils; In great attempts the bosom fires, And zeal and constancy inspires. False hope, like a deceitful dream, Rests on some visionary scheme, And keeps us idle to our loss, Enchanted with our hands across,
A tale an ancient bard has told
Of two poor fishermen of old,
Their names were (lest I should forget
And put the reader in a pet,
Lest critics too shou'd make a pother}
The one Asphelio, Gripus t'other.
The men were very poor, their trade
Cou'd scarce afford them daily bread:
Though ply'd with industry and care
Through the whole season, foul and fair.
Upon a rock their cottage stood,
On all sides bounded by the flood:
It was a miserable seat,
Like cold and hunger's worst retreat: And yet it serv'd them both for life, As neither cou'd maintain a wife; Two walls were rock, and two were sand, Ramm'd up with stakes and made to stand A roof hung threat'ning o'er their heads Of boards half-rotten, thatch'd with reeds. And as no thief e'er touch'd their store, A hurdle serv'd them for a door. Their beds were leaves; against the wall A sail hung drying, yard and all. On one side lay an old patch'd wherry Like Charon's on the Stygian ferry: On t' other, baskets and a net, With sea-weed foul and always wet. These sorry instruments of trade Were all the furniture they had: For they had neither spit nor pot, Unless my author has forgot.
Once, some few hours ere break of day,
As in their hut our fishers lay,
The one awak'd and wak'd his neighbour,
That both might ply their daily labour;
For cold and hunger are confest
No friends to indolence or rest,
"Friend," quoth the drowsy swain, and swore, "What you have done has hurt me more Than all your service can repay
For years to come by night and day;
You've broke the thought on't makes me mad—
The finest dream that e'er I had." [ prove
Quoth Gripus: "Friend your speech wou'd
You mad indeed, or else in love;
For dreams shou'd weigh but light with those
Who feel the want of food and clothes:
I guess, though simple and untaught,
You dream'd about a lucky draught,
Or money found by chance: they say,
That hungry foxes dream of prey."
"You're wond'rous shrewd, upon my troth," Asphelio cry'd," and right in both My dream had gold in't, as you said, And fishing too, our constant trade/ And since your guess has hit so near, In short the whole on't you shall hear. Upon the shore I seem'd to stand, My rod and tackle in my hand; The baited hook full oft I threw, But still in vain, I nothing drew: A fish at last appear'd to bite, The cork div'd quickly out of sight, And soon the dipping rod I found With something weighty bent half round: Quoth I, Good luck has come at last, I've surely made a happy cast: This fish, when in the market sold, In place of brass will sell for gold;"
To bring it safe within my reach
I drew it safely to the beach,
But long ere it had come so near,
The water gleam'd with something clear;
Each passing billow caught the blaze,
And glitt'ring shone with golden rays.
Of hope and expectation full
Impatient, yet afraid to pull,
To shore I slowly brought my prize,
A golden fish of largest size:
'Twas metal all from head to tail,
Quite stiff and glitt'ring ev'ry scale.
Thought I, My fortune now is made;
'Tis time to quit the fishing trade,
And choose some other, where the gains
Are sure, and come for half the pains.
Like creatures of amphibious nature
One hour on land and three in water;
We live 'midst danger, toil and care,
Yet never have a groat to spare:
While others, not expos'd to harm,
Grow rich, though always ary and warm;
This treasure will suffice, and more,
To place me handsomely on shore,
In some snug manor; now a swain,
My steers shall turn the furrow'd plain,
While on a mountain's grassy side
My flocks are past'ring far and wide:
Beside all this, I'll have a seat
Convenient, elegant and neat,
A house not over-great nor small,
Three rooms, a kitchen, and a hall.
The offices contriv'd with care
And fitted to complete a square:
A garden well laid out; a wife,
To double all the joys of life;
With children prattling at my knees,
Such trifles as are sure to please.'
Those gay designs, and twenty more,
I in my dream was running o'er,
While you, as if you ow'd me spite.
Broke in and put them all to flight,
Blew the whole vision into air,
And left me waking in despair.
Of late we have been poorly fed,
Last night went supperless to bed,
Yet, if I had it in my pow'r
My dream to lengthen for an hour,
The pleasure mounts to such a sum,
I'd fast for fifty yet to come.
Therefore to bid me rise is vain
I'll wink and try to dream again."
"If this," quoth Gripus, "is the way
You choose, I've nothing more to say ;
'Tis plain that dreams of wealth will serve
A person who resolves to starve;
But sure, to hug a fancy'd case,
That never did nor can take place,
And for the pleasures it can give
Neglect the trade by which we live,
Is madness in its greatest height,
Or I mistake the matter quite :
Leave such vain fancies to the great,
For folly suits a large estate:
The rich may safely deal in dreams,
Romantic hopes and airy schemes.
But you and I, upon my word,
Such pastime cannot well afford;
And therefore if you would be wise,
Take my advice, for once, and rise."
WHO sets his heart on things below,
But little happiness shall know;
For every object he pursues
Will vex, deceive him, and abuse:
While he whose hopes and wishes rise
To endless bliss above the skies,
A true felicity shall gain,
With freedom from both care and pain.
He seeks what yields him peace and rest,
Both when in prospect and possest.
A swain, whose flock had gone astray,
Was wand'ring far out of the way
Through deserts wild, and chanc'd to see
A stripling leaning on a tree.
In all things like the human-kind,
But that apon his back behind
Two wings were from his shoulders spread
Of gold and azure ting'd with red;
Their colour like the ev'ning sky:
A golden quiver grac'd his thigh:
His bow unbended in his hand
He held, and wrote with on the sand;
As one whom anxious cares pursue,
In musing oft is wont to do.
He started still with sudden fear,
As if some danger had been near,
And turn'd on every side to view
A flight of birds that round him flew,
Whose presence seem'd to make him sad,
For all were ominous and bad;
The hawk was there, the type of spite,
The jealous owl that shuns the light,
The raven, whose prophetic bill
Denounces woe and mischief still;
The vulture hungry to devour,
Though gorg'd and glutted ev'ry hour;
With these confus'd an ugly crew
Of harpies, bats, and dragous flew,
With talons arm'd, and teeth, and stings,
The air was darken'd with their wings,
The swain, though frighten'd, yet drew near,
Compassion rose in place of fear;
He to the winged youth began,-
"Say, are you mortal and of man,
Or something of celestial birth,
From Heaven descended to the Earth ?"
"I am not of terestrial kind,"
Quoth Cupid, "nor to Earth confin'd:
Heav'n is my true and proper sphere,
My rest and happiness are there:
Through all the boundless realms of light
The phoenix waits upon my flight,
With other birds whose names are known
In that delightful place alone.
But when to Earth my course I bend,
At once they leave me and ascend;
And for companions, in their stead,
Those winged monsters there succeed,
Who hov'ring round me night and day,
Expect and claim me as their prey."
Sir," quoth the shepherd, "if you'll try. Your arrows soon will make them fly,;
Or if they brave them and resist,
My sling is ready to assist."
Incapable of wounds and pain," Reply'd the winged youth again,
These foes our weapons will defy;
Immortal made, they never die;
But live to haunt me every where,
While I remain within their sphere."
"Sir," quoth the swain, "might I advise,
You straight show'd get above the skies:
It seems indeed your only way,
For nothing here is worth your stay:
Beside, when foes like these molest,
You'll find but little peace or rest.”
THE SWAN AND OTHER BIRDS.
EACH candidate for public fame
Engages in a desp'rate game:
His labour he will find but lost,
Or less than half repaid at most:
To prove this point I shall not choose
The arguments which Stoics use;
That human life is but a dream,
And few things in it what they seem:
That praise is vain and little worth,
An empty bauble, and so forth.
I'll offer one, but of a kind
Nót half so subtil and refin'd;
Which, when the rest are out of sight,
May sometimes chance to have its weight,
The man who sets his merits high
To glitter in the public eye,
Shou'd have defects but very small,
Or strictly speaking, none at all:
For that success which spreads his fame,
Provokes each envious tongue to blame,
And makes his faults and failings known
Where'er his better parts are shown.
Upon a time, as poets sing,
The birds all waited on their king,
His hymeneal rites to grace;
A flow'ry meadow was the place;
They all were frolicsome and gay
Amidst the pleasures of the day,
And ere the festival was clos'd,
A match at singing was propos'd;
The queen herself a wreath prepar'd,
To be the conqueror's reward;
With store of pinks and daisies in it,
And many a songster try'd to win it,'
But all the judges soon confest
The swan superior to the rest,
He got the garland from the bride,
With honour and applause beside:
A tattling goose, with envy stung,
Although herself she ne'er had sung,
Took this occasion to reveal
What swans seem studious to conceal,
And, skill'd in satire's artful ways,
Invective introduc'd with praise.
"The swan," quoth she, "upon my word,
Deserves applause from ev'ry bird :
By proof his charming voice you know,
His feathers soft and white as snow;
And if you saw him when he swims
Majestic on the silver streams,
He'd seem complete in all respects:
But nothing is without defects;
For that is true, which few wou'd think,
His legs and feet are black as ink-"
"As black as ink !- if this be true, To me 'tis wonderful and new," The sov'reign of the birds reply'd; "But soon the truth on't shall be try'd. Sir, show your limbs, and for my sake, Confute at once this foul mistake, For I'll maintain, and I am right, That, like your feathers, they are white." "Sir," quoth the swan, "it wou'd be vain For me a falsehood to maintain;
My legs are black, and proof will show
Beyond dispute that they are so :
But if I had not got a prize
Which glitters much in some folks eyes,
Not half the birds had ever known
What truth now forces me to own."
THE LOVER AND HIS FRIEND.
'Tis not the point in works of art With care to furnish every part, That each, to high perfection rais'd, May draw attention and be prais'd, An object by itself respected, Though all the others were neglected: Not masters only this can do, But many a vulgar artist too: We know distinguish'd merit most When in the whole the parts are lost, When nothing rises up to shine, Or draw us from the chief design. When one united full effect Is felt before we can reflect, And mark the causes that conspire To charm, and force us to admire. This is indeed a master's part, The very summit of his art, And therefore when ye shall rehearse To friends for trial of your verse, Mark their behaviour and their way, As much, at least, as what they say; If they seem pleas'd, and yet are mute, The poem's good beyond dispute; But when they babble all the while, Now praise the sense, and now the style, 'Tis plain that something must be wrong, This too weak or that too strong. The art is wanting which conveys Impressions in mysterious ways, And makes us from a whole receive What no divided parts can give: Fine writing, therefore, seems of course Less fit to please at first than worse. A language fitted to the sense Will hardly pass for eloquence. One feels its force, before he sees
The charm which gives it pow'r to please,
And ere instructed to admire,
Will read and read and never tire.
But when the style is of a kind
Which soars and leaves the sense behind, 'Tis something by itself, and draws From vulgar judges dull applause; They'll yawn, and tell you as you read, "Those fines are mighty fine indeed;"