« PreviousContinue »
Upon the wall, against the seat
Which Jessy us'd for her retreat
Whene'er by accident offended,
A looking-glass was straight suspended,
That it might shew her how deform'd
She look'd, and frightful, when she storm'd;
And warn her, as she priz'd her beauty,
To bend her humour to her duty.
All this the looking-glass achiev'd,
Its threats were minded and believ'd.
The maid, who spurn'd at all advice,
Grew tame and gentle in a trice:
So, when all other means had fail'd,
The silent monitor prevail'd.
Thus, fable to the human kind
Presents an image of the mind;
It is a mirror where we spy
At large our own deformity;
And learn of course those faults to mend,
Which but to mention would offend.
The LION, the Fox, and the GEESE.
A FABLE. -(GAY)
A LION, tir'd with state-affairs,
Quite sick of pomp, and worn with cares,
Resolv'd (remote from noise and strife)
In peace to pass his latter life.
It was proclaim'd; the day was set :
Behold the gen'ral council met.
The Fox was viceroy nam'd. The crowd
To the new regent humbly bow'd;
Wolves, bears, and mighty tygers, bend,
And strive who most shall condescend.
He straight assumes a solemn grace,
Collects his wisdom in his face:
The crowd admire his wit, his sense;
Each word has weight and consequence :
The flatt'rer all his art displays :-
He who hath power is sure of praise.
A Fox stept forth before the rest,
And thus the servile throng addrest.
How vast his talents, born to rule, And train'd in Virtue's honest school! What clemency his temper sway's ! How uncorrupt are all his ways! Beneath his conduct and command, Rapine shall cease to waste the land. His brain hath stratagem and art; Prudence and mercy rule his heart: What blessings must attend the nation Under this good administration!
He said. A Goose, who distant stood,
Harangued apart the cackling brood.
Whene'er I hear a knave commend,
He bids me shun his worthy friend.
What praise! what mighty commendation!
But 'twas a Fox who spoke th' oration.
Foxes this government may prize,
As gentle, plentiful, and wise;
If they enjoy the sweets, 'tis plain
We Geese must feel a tyrant-reign.
What havock now shall thin our race,
When ev'ry petty clerk in place,
To prove his taste, and seem polite,
Will feed on Geese both noon and night!
The SHEPHERD'S DOG and the WOLF.
A WOLF, with hunger fierce and bold,
Ravag'd the plains and thinn'd the fold:
Deep in the wood secure he lay,
The thefts of night regal'd the day.
In vain the shepherd's wakeful care
Had spread the toils, and watch'd the snare:
In vain the dog pursued his pace,
The fleeter robber mock'd the chace.
As Lightfoot rang'd the forest round, By chance his foe's retreat he found.
Let us a while the war suspend, And reason as from friend to friend.
A truce? replies the Wolf. "Tis done. The Dog the parley thus begun.
How can that strong intrepid mind
Attack a weak defenceless kind?
should prey on nobler food,
And drink the boar's and lion's blood.
Great souls with gen'rous pity melt,
Which coward tyrants never felt.
How harmless is our fleecy care!
Be brave, and let thy mercy spare.
Friend, says the Wolf, the matter weigh;
Nature design'd us beasts of prey;
As such, when hunger finds a treat,
'Tis necessary Wolves should eat.
If, mindful of the bleating weal,
Thy bosom burn with real zeal;
Hence, and thy tyrant lord beseech;
To him repeat the moving speech:
A Wolf eats sheep but now and then;
Ten thousands are devour'd by men.-
An open foe may prove a curse,
But a pretended friend is worse.
The LION and the CUB. (GAY.)
How fond are men of rule and place,
Who court it from the mean and base!
These cannot bear an equal nigh,
But from superior merit fly.
They love the cellar's vulgar joke,
And lose their hours in ale and smoke,
There o'er some petty club preside;
So poor, so paltry is their pride!
Nay, ev'n with fools whole nights will sit,
In hopes to be supreme in wit.
If these can read, to these I write,
To set their worth in truest light.
A Lion-cub, of sordid mind,
Avoided all the lion-kind;
Fond of applause, he sought the feasts
Of vulgar and ignoble beasts;
With asses all his time he spent,
Their club's perpetual president,
He caught their manners, looks, and airs→→
An ass in every thing, but ears.
If e'er his highness meant a joke,
They grinn'd applause before he spoke;
But at each word what shouts of praise!
Good gods! how natural he brays!
Elate with flatt'ry and conceit,
He seeks his royal sire's retreat :
Forward, and fond to shew his parts,
His Highness brays; the Lion starts.
Puppy! that curs'd vociferation
Betrays thy life and conversation :
Coxcombs, an ever-noisy race,
Are trumpets of their own disgrace.
Why so severe? the Cub replies;
Our senate always held me wise.
How weak is pride! returns the sire;
All fools are vain when fools admire :
But know, what stupid asses prize,
Lions and noble beasts despise.
The BUTTERFLY and SNAIL.
ALL upstarts, insolent in place,
Remind us of their vulgar race.
As, in the sunshine of the morn,
A Butterfly (but newly born)
Sat proudly perking on a rose,
With pert conceit his bosom glows;
His wings (all glorious to behold),
Bedropt with azure, jet, and gold,
Wide he displays; the spangled dew
Reflects his eyes, and various hue.
His now forgotten friend, a Snail,
Beneath his house, with slimy trail
Crawls o'er the grass; whom when he 'spies,
In wrath he to the gard'ner cries:
What means yon peasant's daily toil, From choaking weeds to rid the soil? Why wake you to the morning's care? Why with new arts correct the year?
Why grows the peach with crimson hue ?
And why the plum's inviting blue?
Were they to feast his taste design'd,
That vermin of voracious kind?
Crush then the slow, the pilf'ring race;
So purge thy garden from disgrace.
What arrogance! the snail replied;
How insolent is upstart pride!
Had'st thou not thus, with insult vain,
Provok'd my patience to complain,
I had conceal'd thy meaner birth,
Nor trac'd thee to the scum of earth.
For scarce nine suns have wak'd the hours,
To swell the fruit, and paint the flowers,
Since I thy humbler life survey'd,
In base and sordid guise array'd,
A hideous insect, vile, unclean,
You dragg'd a slow and noisome train;
And from your spider-bowels drew
Foul film, and spun the dirty clue.
I own my humble life, good friend :
Snail was I born, and Snail shall end.
And what's a Butterfly? At best,
He's but a caterpillar drest;
And all thy race (a numerous seed)
Shall prove of caterpillar breed.
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,