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And took his leave with signs or sorrow,
Despairing of his fee to-morrow.
When thus the Man, with gasping breath ;
I feel the chilling wound of death.
Since I must bid the world adieu,
Let me my former life review.
I grant my bargains well were made,
But all men over-reach in trade;
"Tis self-defence in each profession :
Sure self-defence is no transgression.
The little portion in my hands,
By good security on lands,
Is well increas'd. If, unawares,
My justice to myself and heirs
Hath let my debtor rot in jail,
For want of good.sufficient bail;
If I by writ, or bond or deed,
Reduc'd a family to need,
My will hath made the world amends;
My hope on charity depends.
When I am number'd with the dead,
And all my pious gifts are read,
By heaven and earth 'twill then be known,
My charities were amply shown.
An Angel came. Ah friend! he cried,
No more in flatt ring hope confide.
Cau thy good deeds in former times
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,
Embrace with joy the happy hour.
Now, while you draw the vital air,
Prove your intention is sincere.
This instant give a hundred pound:
Your neighbours want, and you abound.
But why such haste? the sick Man whines;
Who knows as yet what Heaven designs?
Perhaps I may recover still;
That sum and more are in my will.
Fool! says the Vision, now 'tis plain,
Your life, your soul, your heaven was gain.
From ev'ry side, with all your might,
You scrap'd, and scrap'd beyond your right;
And after death would fain atone,
By giving what is not your own.
While there is life there's hope, he cried;
Then why such haste? So groan'd and died.
$118. FABLE XXv111. The Persian, the Sun, and the Cloud.
Is there a bard whom genius fires,
Whose ev'ry thought the god inspires ?
When envy reads the nervous lines, -
She frets, she rails, she raves, she pines;
Her hissing snakes with venom swell;
She calls her venal train from hell:
The servile fiends her nod obey,
And all Curl's authors are in pay.
Fame calls up calumny and spite;
Thus shadow owes its birth to light.
As prostrate to the god of day,
With heart devout, a Persian lay,
His invocation thus began:
Parent of light, all-seeing Sun
Prolific beam, whose rays dispense-
The various gifts of Providence?
Accept our praise, our daily pray'r,
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 vapor, tost
(The sport of winds) in air, was lost.
The glorious orb the day refines;
Thus envy breaks, thus merit shines.
$119. FABLE XXIX. 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 nuni'rous race around him stand,
To learn their dying sire's command:
le 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 chickens 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 inore.
Does not the hound betray our pace,
And gins and guns destroy our race?
Thieves dread the searching eye of pow'r,
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 naine 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,
Honest 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 clocks!)
Go, but be moderate in your food;
A chicken too might do mne good.
With secret ills at home he pines,
And, like infirm old age, declines.
As twing'd with pain he pensive sits;
And raves, and prays, and swears by fits;
A ghastly phantom, lean and wan,
Before him rose, and thus began:
My name, perhaps, hath reach'd your ear;
Attend, and be advis'd by Care.
Nor love, nor honor, wealth, nor pow'r,
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,
The Setting Dog and Resolves to venture on a wife.
§ 120. FABLE XXX.
THE raging Dog the stubble tries,
And searches ev'ry 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 wing she tries,
Thus to the creeping Spaniel cries:
Thou fawning slave to man's deceit,
Thou pimp of lux'ry, sneaking cheat,
Of thy whole species thou disgrace;
Dogs shall disown thee of their race!
For, if I judge their native parts,
They're born with open, honest hearts;
And ere they serv'd man's wicked ends,
Were gen'rous 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 ign'rant 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 favor 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.
FABLE XXXI. The Universal Appa
A RAKE, by ev'ry passion rul'd,
With ev'ry vice his youth had cool'd;
Disease his tainted blood assails;
His spirits droop, his vigor fails:
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 murd'ring crew;
Alarms him with eternal frights,
Infests his dream, or wakes his nights.
How shall he chase this hideous guest?
Pow'r may perhaps protect his rest.
To pow'r he rose again the Sprite
Besets him morning, noon, and night;
Talks of Ambition's tott'ring seat,
How envy persecutes the great;
Of rival hate, of treach'rous 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 flow'rs..
But Care again his steps pursues;
Warns him of blasts, of blighting dews,
Of plund'ring insects, snail, and rains,
And droughts that starv'd the labor'd plains.
Abroad, at home, the Spectre's there:
In vain we seek to fly from Care.
At length he thus the Ghost address'd:
Since thou must be my constant guest,
Be kind, and follow me no more;
For Care by right should go before.
How is the modern taste decay'd!'
Where's the respect to wisdom paid?
Our worth the Grecian sages knew;
They gave our sires the honor due;
They weigh'd the dignity of fowls,
And pried into the depth of Owls.
Athens, the seat of learned fame,
With gen'ral voice rever'd our name;
On merit title was conferr'd,
And all ador'd th' Athenian bird.
Brother, you reason well, replies
The solemn mate, with half-shut eyes:
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 sooth 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 ev'ry 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 vainglory be destroy'd:
Humble your arrogance of thought;
Pursue the ways by Nature taught:
So shall your delicious fare,
And grateful farmers praise your care;
So shall sleek mice your chace reward,
And no keen cat find more regard.
123. FABLE XXXIII. The Courtier and
WHENE'ER 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 reigh
Like Philip's son, would fain be doing,
And sighs for other realms to ruig..
As one of these (without his wand)
Pensive, along the winding strand
Employ'd the solitary hour,
In projects to regain his pow'r,
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 ev'ry 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, i
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 mane, he spurns the sands;
Now a fierce lynx, with fiery glare,
A wolf, an ass, a fox, a bear.
Had I ne'er lived at court, he cries,
Such transformation might surprise;
But there, in quest of daily game,
Each abler courtier acts the same.
Wolves, lions, lynxes, while in place,
Their friends and fellows are their chace.
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 ev'ry shape.
In cords the struggling captive ties.
So said, upon the god he flies;
Now, Proteus, now, (to truth compell'dy
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 lies.
§ 124. FABLE XXXIV. The Mastiffs. 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 honor seam'd his face;
In ev'ry 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 flies,
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! 't is 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 Hockley-hole and Mary-bone
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 honor 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 ev'ry side
Rebounded from the Mastiff's hide.
All reeking now with sweat and blood,
Awhile 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.
In musing contemplation warm,
His steps misled him to a farm,
Where, on the ladder's topmost round,
A peasant stood: the hammer's sound
Shook the weak barn. Say, friend, what care
Calls for thy honest labor there?
The Clown, with surly voice, replies:
Vengeance aloud for justice cries.
This kite, by daily rapine fed,
My hens' annoy, my turkies' dread,
At length his forfeit life hath paid;
See on the wall his wings display'd,
Here nail'd, a terror to his kind,
My fowls shall future safety find;
My yard the thriving poultry feed,
And my barn's refuge fat the breed.
Friend, says the Sage, the doom is wise,
For public good the murd'rer dies.
§ 125. FABLE XXXV. The Barley Mow and But if these tyrants of the air
How many saucy airs we meet
From Temple-bar to Aldgate-street!
Proud rogues, who shar'd the South-sea prey,
And spring like mushrooms in a day!
They think it mean to condescend
To know a brother or a friend;
They blush to hear a 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 multiplied the next year's corn.
A Barley-mow, which stood beside,
Thus to its musing master cried;
Say, good Sir, is it 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 filtry sight, that nauseous fume,
Meet objects here? Command it hence ;
A thing so mean must give offence.
The humble Dunghill thus replied:
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.
Demand a sentence so severe;
Think how the glution man devours ;
What bloody feasts regale his hours!
O, impudence of pow'r and might,
Thus to condemn'a hawk or kite,
When thou perhaps, carniv'rous sinner,
Hadst pullets yesterday for dinner!
Hold cried the Clown, with passion heated,
Shall kites and men aljke be treated?
When Heaven the world with creatures stor'd,
Man was ordain'd their sov'reign lord.
Thus tyrants boast, the sage replied,
Whose murders spring from power and pride,
Own then this manlike kite is slain
Thy greater lux'ry to sustain ;
"Petty rogues submit to fate, That great ones may enjoy their state."
§ 127. FABLE XXXVII. 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 applied?
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 ( 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!
§ 126. FABLE XXxvi. Pythagoras and the And when the butler clears the table,
PYTHAG'RAS rose at early dawn,
By soaring meditation drawn,
To breathe the fragrance of the day,
Through flow'ry fields he took his way..
For thy desert I'll read my fable.
Betwixt her swagging panniers' load
A farmer's wife to market rode,
And jogging on, with thoughtful care,
Summ'd up the profits of her ware;
* Garth's Dispensary.
When starting from her silver dream,
Thas 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'erturn'd the panniers lay,
And her mash'd eggs bestrew'd the way.
She, sprawling in the yellow road,
Rail'd, swore, and curs'd: Thou croaking toad,
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,
Through all the Ravens of the hundred
With croaking had your tongue out-thunder'd, Sure-footed Dun had kept his legs,
And you, good woman, sav'd your eggs.
$128. FABLE XXXVIII. The Turkey and the Ant.
Ix other men we faults can spy,
And blame the moat that dims their eye;
Each little speck and blemish find;
To our own stronger errors blind.
A Turkey, tir'd of common food,
Forsook the barn, and sought the wood ;
Behind her ran her infant train,
Collecting here and there a grain.
Draw near, my birds, the mother cries,
This hill delicious fare supplies;
Behold, the busy Negro race:
See, millions blacken all the place!
Fear not. Like me with freedom eat;
An Ant is most delightful meat.
How bless'd, how envied were our life,
Could we but 'scape the poult'rer's knife!
But man, curs'd man! on Turkey preys,
And Christinas shortens all our days;
Sometimes with oysters we combine,
Sometimes assist the sav'ry chine.
From the low peasant to the lord,
The Turkey smokes on ev'ry board.
Sure inen 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 neighb'ring beach : Ere you remark another's sin,
Bid thy own conscience look within
Control thy more voracious bill,
Not for a breakfast nations kill;
No more solicitous he grew, And set their future lives in view; He saw that all respect and duty Were paid to wealth, to pow'r, and beauty, Once more he cries, Accept my pray'r; Make iny lov'd progeny thy care. Let me first hope my fav'rite boy, All fortune's richest gifts enjoy. My next with strong ambition fire: May favor teach him to aspire, Till he the step of pow'r ascend, And courtiers to their idol bend! With ev'ry grace, with ev'ry charm, My daughter's perfect features arm. If heaven approve, a Father's blest: Jove smiles, and grants his full request, The first, a miser at the heart, Studious of ev'ry 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 fancied want (a wretch complete!) He starves, and yet he dares not eat.
$129. FABLE XXXIX. The Father and Jupiter.
THE Man to Jove his suit preferr'd :
He begged a wife; his pray'r 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 worries Heaven with
Jove nods assent. Two hopeful boys
And a fine girl reward his joys.
The next to sudden honors grew :
The thriving art of courts he knew :
He reach'd the height of pow'r and place,
Then fell the victim of disgrace.
Beauty with early bloom
His daughter's check, and points her eyes.
The vain coquette each suit disdains,
And glories in her lover's pains.
With age she fades, each lover flies,
Conten'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.
§ 130. FABLE XL. The Two Monkeys, 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 strunter, 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 contenin; For what are we but apes to them?
Two Monkeys went to Southwark fair, No critics had a sourer air: