[ocr errors][ocr errors]

And every shocking vice beside ;
Whose wings were rapid, strong, and light:

But, when to virtuous hands 'tis given,
The pigeon strength of wing despis'd,

It blesses, like the dews of heaven:
And the cock’s matchless valour priz’d.

Like heaven, it hears the orphan's cries,
The fishes wish'd to graze the plain ;

And wipes the tears from widows' eyes.
The beasts, to skim beneath the main.

Their crimes on gold shall misers lay,
Thus, envious of another's state,

Who pawn'd their sordid souls for pay?
Each blama'd the partial hand of fate.

Let bravos, then, when blood is spilt,
The bird of heaven then cry'd aloud ;

Upbraid the passive sword with guilt."
Jove bids disperse the murmuring crowd;
The god rejects your idle prayers.

Would ye, rebellious mutineers !

A lion, tir'd with state-affairs,
Entirely change your name and nature,

Quite sick of pomp, and worn with cares,
And be the very envy'd creature ?
What! silent all, and none consent?

Resolv'd (remote from noise and strife)
Be happy, then, and learn content;

In peace to pass his latter life.
Nor imitate the restless mind,

It was proclaim'd; the day was set;

Behold the general council met.
And proud ambition, of mankind.”

The fox was viceroy nam’d. The crowd

To the new regent humbly bow'd.
The wind was high, the window shakes,

Wolves, bears, and mighty tigers bend,
With sudden start the miser wakes;

And strive who most shall condescend.
Along the silent room he stalks,

He straight assumes a solemn grace,
Looks back, and trembles as he walks.

Collects his wisdom in his face.
Each lock and every bolt he tries,

The crowd admire his wit, his sense;
In every creek and corner pries;

Each word hath weight and consequence.
Then opes the chest with treasure stor'd,

The flatterer all his art displays:
And stands in rapture o'er his hoard.

He who hath power is sure of praise.
But now, with sadden qualms possest,

A fox stept forth before the rest,
He wrings his hands, he beats his breast,

And thus the servile throng addrest:
By conscience stung, he wildly stares,

“ How vast his talents, born to rule,
And thus his guilty soul declares:

And train'd in virtue's honest school!
" Had the deep earth her stores cónfin'd,

What clemency his temper sways!
This heart had known sweet peace of mind.

How uncorrupt are all his ways !
But virtue's sold. Good gods! what price

Beneath his conduct and command,
Can recompense the pangs of vice!

Rapine shall cease to waste the land.
O bane of good !' seducing cheat!

His brain hath stratagem and art;
Can man, weak man, thy power defeat ?'

Prudence and mercy rule his heart.
Gold banish'd honour from the mind,

What blessings must attend the nation
And only left the name behind;

Under this good administration."
Gold sow'd the world with every ill ;

He said. A goose who distant stood,
Gold taught the murderer's sword to kill :

Harangu'd apart the cackling brood :
'Twas gold instructed coward-hearts

" Whene'er I hear a knave commend,
In treachery's more pernicious arts.

He bids me shun his worthy friend.
Who can recount the mischiefs o'er?

What praise! what mighty commendation!
Virtue resides on earth no more !”

But 'twas a fox who spoke th' oration,
He spoke, and sigh’d. In angry mood

Foxes this government may prize,
Plutus, his god, before him stood.

As gentle, plentiful and wise ;
The miser, trembling, lock'd his chest:

If they enjoy the sweets, 'tis plain
The vision frown'd, and thus address'd :

We geese must feel a tyrant reign.
“ Whence is this vile ungrateful rant,

What havoc now shall thin our race,
Each sordid rascal's daily cant?

When every petty clerk in place,
Did I, base wretch! corrupt mankind ?

To prove bis taste, and seem polite,
The fault's in thy rapacious mind.

Will feed on geese both noon and night!"
Because my blessings are abusid,


curs’d, accus'a ?
Ev'n virtue's self by knaves is made

A monkey, to reform the times,
A cloak to carry on the trade ;

Resolv'd to visit foreign climes ;
And power (when lodg’d in their possession)
Grows tyranny, and rank oppression.

To bring politer manners home.
Thus, when the villain crams his chest,

So forth he fares, all toil defies:

Misfortune serves to make us wise,
Gold is the canker of the breast;

At length the treacherous snare was laid; 'Tis avarice, insolences and pride,

[ocr errors]

For men in distant regions roam,

Poor Pug was caught; to town convey'd;

Proficient in the toilette's duty; There sold. (How envy'd was his doom,

Had form’d her sleeve, confin'd her hair, Made captive in a lady's room !)

Or given her knot a smarter air ; Proud, as a lover, of his chains,

Now nearest to her heart was plac'd, He day by day her favour gains.

Now in her mantua's tail disgrac'd: Whene'er the duty of the day

But could she partial fortune blame, The toilette calls, with mimic play

Who saw her lovers serv'd the same ? He twirls her knots, he cracks her fan,

At length from all her honours cast, Like any other gentleman.

Through various turns of life she past; In visits too, his parts and wit,

Now glitter'd on a taylor's arm, When jests grew dull, were sure to hit.

Now kept a beggar's infant warm; Proud with applause he thought his mind

Now, rang’d within a miser's coat, In every courtly art refin'd;

Contributes to his yearly groat ; Like Orpheus, burnt with public zeal,

Now rais'd again from low approach, To civilize the monkey-weal;

She visits in the doctor's coach : So watch'd occasion, broke his chain,

Here, there, by various fortune tost, And sought his native woods again.

At last in Gresham hall was lost. The hairy sylvans round him press,

Charm'd with the wonders of the show, Astonish'd at his strut and dress.

On every side, above, below, Some praise his sleeve, and others gloat

She now of this or that inquires, Upon his rich embroider'd coat;

What least was understood admires. His dapper perriwig commending,

'Tis plain, each thing so struck her mind, With the black tail behind depending ;

Her head's of virtuoso kind. His powder'd back, above, below,

“ And pray what's this, and this, dear sir ?" Like hoary frosts, or fleecy snow;

A needle,” says th' interpreter. But all, with envy and desire,

She knew the name; and thus the fool His fluttering shoulder-knot admire.

Address'd her as a taylor's tool. “ Hear and improve," he pertly cries :

" A needle with that filthy stone, I come to make a nation wise.

Quite idle, all with rust o'ergrown; Weigh your own worth ; support your place, You better might employ your parts, The next in rank to human race.

And aid the sempstress in her arts; In cities long I pass'd my days,

But tell me how the friendship grew Convers’d with men, and learn'd their ways. Between that paltry flint and you." Their dress, their courtly manners see ;

“ Friend,” says the needle," cease to blame; Reform your state, and copy me.

I follow real worth and fame. Seek ye to thrive? In flattery deal ;

Know'st thou the loadstone's power and art, Your scorn, your hate, with that conceal.

That virtue virtues can impart? Seem only to regard your friends,

Of all his talents I partake: But use them for your private ends.

Who then can such a friend forsake? Stint not to truth the flow of wit;

'Tis I direct the pilot's hand Be prompt to lie whene'er 'tis fit.

To shun the rocks and treacherous sand: Bend all your force to spatter merit;

By me the distant world is known, Scandal is conversation's spirit.

And either India is our own. Boldly to every thing pretend,

Had I with milliners been bred, And men your talents shall commend.

What had I been the guide of thread; I knew the great. Observe me right;

And drudg'd as vulgar needles do,
So shall you grow, like man, polite."

Of no more consequence than you.”
He spoke, and bow'd. With muttering jaws
The wondering circle grinn’d applause.

Now, warm’d with malice, envy, spite,
Their most obliging friends they bite ;

Lest men suspect your tale untrue, And, fond to copy human ways,

Keep probability in view. Practise new mischiefs all their days.

The traveller leaping o'er those bounds, Thus the dull lad, too tall for school,

The credit of his book confounds. With travel finishes the fool;

Who with his tongue hath armies routed, Studious of every coxcomb's airs,

Makes even his real courage doubted. He drinks, games, dresses, whores, and swears; But flattery never seems absurd; O'erlooks with scorn all virtuous arts,

The flatter'd always takes your word:
For vice is fitted to his parts.

Impossibilities seem just; :
They take the strongest praise on trust.

Hyperboles, though ne'er so great,
A pin, who long had serv'd a beauty,

Will still come short of self-conceit.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

So very like a painter drew,

Sat proudly perking on a rose,
That every eye the picture knew;

With pert conceit his bosom glows;
He hit complexion, feature, air,

His wings (all glorious to behold)
So just, the life itself was there.

Bedropt with azure, jet, and gold,
No flattery, with his colours laid,

Wide he displays; the spangled dew
To bloom restor'd the faded maid;

Reflects his eyes and various hue.
He gave each muscle all its strength;

His now-forgotten friend a snail,
The mouth, the chin, the nose's length;

Beneath his house, with slimy trail,
His honest pencil touch'd with truth,

Crawls o'er the grass; whom when he spies,
And mark'd the date of age and youth.

In wrath he to the gardener cries :
He lost his friends, his practice fail'd ;

“ What means yon peasant's daily toil, Truth should not always be reveal'd:

From choking weeds to rid the soil ?
In dusty piles his pictures lay,

Why wake you to the morning's care ?
For no one sent the second pay.

Why with new arts correct the year? Two bustos, fraught with every grace,

Why grows the peach with crimson hue ?
A Venus' and Apollo's face,

And why the plum's inviting blue?
He plac'd in view ; resolv'd to please,

Were they to feast his taste design'd,
Whoever sat he drew from these ;

That vermin of voracious kind!
From these corrected every feature,

Crush then the slow, the pilfering race,
And spirited each aukward creature.

So purge thy garden from disgrace."
All things were set; the hour was come,

" What arrogance !” the snail reply'd; His pallet ready o'er his thumb.

“ How insolent is upstart pride !
My lord appear'd ; and seated right,

Hadst thou not thus, with insult vain,
In proper attitude and light,

Provok'd my patience to complain,
The painter look'd, he sketch'd the piece,

I had conceal'd thy meaner birth,
Then dipt his pencil, talk'd of Greece,

Nor trac'd thee to the scum of earth:
Of Titian's tints, of Guido's air:

For scarce nine suns have wak'd the hours,
eyes, my lord, the spirit there,

To swell the fruit, and paint the flowers, Might well a Raphael's hand require,

Since I thy humbler life survey'd, To give them all the native fire;

In base, in sordid guise array’d; The features, fraught with sense and wit,

A hideous insect, vile, unclean, You'll grant, are very hard to hit;

You dragg'd a slow and noisome train ;
But yet with patience you shall view

And from your spider bowels drew
As much as paint and art can do.”

Foul film, and spun the dirty clue.
Observe the work. My lord replied,

I own my humble life, good friend; “ Till now I thought my mouth was wide;

Snail was I born, and snail shall end.
Besides, my nose is somewhat long:

And what's a butterfly? at best
Dear sir, for me, 'tis far too young."

He's but a caterpillar drest; “Oh! pardon me,” the artist cry'd;

And all thy race (a numerous seed) " In this we painters must decide.

Shall prove of caterpillar breed.” The piece ev’n common eyes must strike,

THE FOX AT THE POINT OF DEATH, I warrant it extremely like.” My lord examin'd it anew ;

A fox, in life's extreme decay,
No looking-glass seem'd half so true.

Weak, sick, and faint, expiring lay :
A lady came; with borrow'd grace

All appetite had left his maw,
He from his Venus form'd her face.

And age disarm'd his mumbling jaw. Her lover prais'd the painter's art;

His numerous race around him stand, So like the picture in his heart!

To learn their dying sire's command:

He rais'd his head with whining moan, To every age some charm he lent; Ev'n beauties were almost content.

And thus was heard the feeble tone:

“ Ah! sons! from evil ways depart; Through all the town his art they prais'd ;

My crimes lie heavy on my heart.
His custom grew, his price was rais’d.
Had be the real likeness shown,

See, see,
the murder'd

geese appear!

Why are those bleeding turkeys there? Would any man the picture own ?

Why all around this cackling train,
But, when thus happily he wrought,
Each found the likeness in his thought.

Who haunt my ears for chickens slain ?"

The hungry foxes round them star'd,

And for the promis'd feast prepar'd.

" Where, sir, is all this dainty cheer? All upstarts, insolent in place,

Nor turkey, goose, nor hen, is here. Remind us of their vulgar race.

These are the phantoms of your brain; As in the sunshine of the morn

And your sons lick their lips in vain.”. A butterfly (but newly born)

[ocr errors]


“ Ogluttons !" says the drooping sire,

Insult not thus the meek and low ; “ Restrain inordinate desire.

In me thy benefactor know; Your liquorish taste you shall deplore,

My warm assistance gave thee birth, When peace of conscience is no more.

Or thou hadst perish'd low in earth ; Does not the hound betray our pace,

But upstarts, to support their station,
And gins and guns destroy our race?

Cancel at once all obligation.”
Thieves dread the searching eye of power,
And never feel the quiet hour.
Old age (which few of us shall know)

The learned, full of inward pride,
Now puts a period to my woe.

The fops of outward show deride; Would you true happiness attain,

The fop, with learning at defiance, Let honesty your passions rein;

Scoffs at the pedant and the science: So live in credit and esteem,

The Don, a formal solemn strutter, And the good name you lost redeem.”

Despises Monsieur's airs and flutter; “ The counsel's good," a fox replies,

While Monsieur mocks the formal fool, “ Could we perform what you


Who looks, and speaks, and walks, by rule. Think what our ancestors have done ;

Britain, a medley of the twain, A line of thieves from son to son.

As pert as France, as grave as Spain, To us descends the long disgrace,

In fancy wiser than the rest,
And infamy hath mark'd our race.

Laughs at them both, of both the jest.
Though we, like harmless sheep, should feed, Is not the poet's chiming close
Honest in thought, in word, and deed,

Censur'd by all the sons of prose ?
Whatever hen-roost is decreas'd,

While bards of quick imagination We shall be thought to share the feast.

Despise the sleepy prose narration. The change shall never be believ’d.

Men laugh at apes: they men contemn; A lost good name is ne'er retriev'd.”

For what are we but apes to them? “ Nay, then,” replies the feeble fox,

Two monkies went to Southwark fair, “ (But, lark! I hear a hen that clucks),

No critics had a sourer air ; Go; but be moderate in your food;

They forc'd their way through draggled folks, A chicken, too, might do me good.”

Who gap'd to catch Jack Pudding's jokes;
Then took their tickets for the show,

And got by chance the foremost row.
How many saucy airs we meet

To see their grave observing face, From Temple-bar to Aldgate-street!

Provok'd a laugh through all the place. Proud rogues, who shared the South-sea prey,

“ Brother,” says Pug, and turu'd his head, And sprung like mushrooms in a day!

“ The rabble's monstrously ill-bred.” They think it mean to condescend

Now through the booth loud hisses ran, To know a brother or a friend ;

Nor ended till the show began. They blush to hear their mother's name,

The tumbler whirls the flip-flap round, And by their pride expose their shame.

With somersets he shakes the ground; As cross his yard, at early day,

The cord beneath the dancer springs; A careful farmer took his way,

Aloft in air the vaulter swings; He stopp'd ; and, leaning on his fork,

Distorted now, now prone depends, Observ'd the flail's incessant work.

Now through his twisted arm ascends. In thought he measur'd all his store,

The crowd, in wonder and delight, His geese, his hogs, he number'd o'er;

With clapping hands applaud the sight. In fancy weigh'd the fleeces shorn,

With smiles, quoth Pug, “ If pranks like these And multiply'd the next year's corn.

The giant apes of reason please, A barley-mow, which stood beside,

How would they wonder at our arts! Thus to its musing master cry'd :

They must adore us for our parts. “ Say, good sir, is it fit or right

High on the twig I've seen you cling, To treat me with neglect and slight?

Play, twist, and turn in airy ring; Me, who contribute to your cheer,

How can those clumsy things, like me, And raise your mirth with ale and beer?

Fly with a bound from tree to tree? Why thus insulted, thus disgrac'd,

But yet, by this applause, we find And that vile dunghill near me plac'd?

These emulators of our kind Are those poor sweepings of a groom,

Discern our worth, our parts regard, That filthy sight, that nauseous fume,

Who our mean mimics thus reward." Meet objects here ? Command it hence;

“ Brother," the grinning mate replies, A thing so mean must give offence.”

“ In this I grant that man is wise : The humble dunghill thus reply'd :

While good example they pursue, “ Thy master hears, and mocks thy pride:

We must allow some praise is due;




But, when they strain beyond their guide,

Comply'd with every thing, like Gay, I laugh to scorn the mimic pride;

Was known by all the bestial train For how fantastic is the sight,

Who haunt the wood or graze the plain ; To meet men always bolt upright,

Her care was never to offend; Because we sometimes walk on two!

And every creature was her friend.
I hate the imitating crew.”.

As forth she went at early dawn,
To taste the dew-besprinkled lawn,

Behind she hears the hunter's cries,
I hate the man who builds his name

And from the deep-mouth'd thunder flies. On ruins of another's fame.

She starts, she stops, she pants for breath ; Thus prudes, by characters o'erthrown,

She hears the near advance of death ; Imagine that they raise their own.

She doubles to mislead the hound, Thus scribblers, covetous of praise,

And measures back her mazy round; Think slander can transplant the bays.

Till, fainting in the public way, Beauties and bards have equal pride,

Half dead with fear she gasping lay. With both all rivals are decry'd.

What transport in her bosom grew, Who praises Lesbia's eyes and feature,

When first the horse appear'd in view! Must call her sister aukward creature ;

“Let me," says she, “ your back ascend, For the kind flattery's sure to charm,

And owe my safety to a friend.
When we some other nymph disarm.

You know my feet betray my fight;
As in the cool of early day

To friendship every burden's light.”
A poet sought the sweets of May,

The horse reply'd,“ Poor honest puss, The garden's fragrant breath ascends,

It grieves my heart to see thee thus: And every stalk with odour bends ;

Be comforted, relief is near ; A rose he pluck’d, he gaz'd, admir’d,

For all your friends are in the rear." Thus singing, as the Muse inspir’d:

She next the stately bull implor'd; “Go, rose, my Chloe's bosom grace ;

And thus reply'd the mighty lord : How happy shall I prove,

“ Since every beast alive can tell Might I supply that envy'd place

That I sincerely wish you well, With never fading love!

I may, without offence, pretend There, phenix-like, beneath her eye,

To take the freedom of a friend. Involv'd in fragrance, burn and die.

Love calls me hence; a favourite cow Know, hapless flower! that thou shalt find

Expects me near yon barley-mow; More fragrant roses there!

And, when a lady's in the case, I see thy withering head reclin'd

You know, all other things give place. With envy and despair !

To leave you thus might seem unkind; One common fate we both must prove ;


goat is just behind.” You die with envy, I with love.”

The goat remark’d“ her pulse was high, Spare your comparisons,” reply'd

Her languid head, her heavy eye: An angry rose, who grew beside.

My back, says he, may do you harm; " Of all mankind you should not flout us;

The sheep's at hand, and wool is warm." What can a poet do without us?

The sheep was feeble, and complain'd In every love-song roses bloom;

“ His sides a load of wool sustain'd;" We lend you colour and perfume.

Said, he was slow, confess'd his fears; Does it to Chloe's charms couduce,

“ For hounds eat sheep as well as hares." To found her praise on our abuse ?

She now the trotting calf address'd, Must we, to flatter her, be made

To save from death a friend distress'd.

“ Shall I,” says he, “ of tender age, To wither, envy, pine, and fade ?”

In this important care engage?

Older and abler pass'd you by ; Friendship, like love, is but a name,

How strong are those ! how weak am I;

Should I presume to bear you hence, Unless to one you stint the flame. The child, whom

Those friends of mine may take offence. fathers share, many

Excuse me, then; you know my heart; Hath seldom known a father's care.

But dearest friends, alas! must part. 'Tis thus in friendships; who depend

How shall we all lament! Adieu ; On many, rarely find a friend.

For see the hounds are just in view." A hare who, in a civil way,

But see,


[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »