British Women Romantic Poets Project

Original Fables.

A Lady.


Leigh Rios, -- creation of electronic text.

Electronic edition 196 Kb
British Women Romantic Poets Project
Shields Library, University of California, Davis, California 95616
2001
I.D. No. LadyAOrigi

Copyright (c) 2001, University of California

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Davis British Women Romantic Poets Series

I.D. No. 81
Nancy Kushigian, -- General Editor
Charlotte Payne, -- Managing Editor


Original fables

by a Lady


Printed by W. Calvert, Shire Lane, Lincoln's Inn, for B. Crosby and Co.
London,
1810

[This text was scanned from its original in the Shields Library Kohler Collection, University of California, Davis. Kohler ID no. ISuppl:678. Another copy available on microfilm as Kohler ISuppl:678mf.]


The editors thank the Shields Library, University of California, Davis, for its support for this project.

Purchase of software has been made possible by a research grant from the Librarians' Association of the University of California, Davis chapter.

All poems, line groups, and lines are represented. All material originally typeset has been preserved, with the exception of running heads, the original prose line breaks, signature markings and decorative typographical elements. Page numbers and page breaks have been preserved. Pencilled annotations and other damage to the text have not been preserved.



Frontispiece
[Frontispiece]

                Reason, to profit and to pleasure youth,
                In Fiction's varied garment dresses Truth;
                Who scorning falshood, to remove the doubt,
                Holds to the Infant Throng her mirror out.

title page
[Title Page]



Page [i]

ORIGINAL
FABLES.

BY

A LADY.


DEDICATED TO
HER ROYAL HIGHNESS
THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE OF WALES. EMBELLISHED WITH FIFTY-FOUR ELEGANT
Engravings on Wood. LONDON:

Printed by W. CALVERT, Shire Lane, Lincoln's Inn;
FOR B. CROSBY AND CO. STATIONERS' COURT,
PATERNOSTER ROW;

AND SOLD BY ALL BOOKSELLERS. 1810.
Page [ii]



Page [iii]

DEDICATION.

TO HER
ROYAL HIGHNESS
THE
Princess Charlotte of Wales.

To your Royal Highness the following Fables are dedicated, with a wish that in an interval of leisure some transient amusement may be obtained.


Page [iv]

Your Royal Highness must necessarily draw information from the richest mines of knowledge, and amusement from the brightest sources of pleasure.

To contribute to the first I cannot have the smallest pretensions; but should this publication be so fortunate, from mere novelty, as to gain your attention, the youthful part of society, whose minds it is intended to enlighten and expand, will peruse with increased pleasure a work which your Royal Highness has honored with observation.


Page [v]

I flatter myself a Dedication to your Royal Highness will not be considered as presumption. Your affable demeanor has given me encouragement, and the example of gracious condescension which your Royal Highness constantly receives from every branch of your illustrious family, induces me to rely on the generosity of your Royal Highness.

May this offering be considered as a testimony of my respect and regard for a Princess, who, at so early an age, gives the most flattering hopes to every heart, lulled in peaceful expectation by the judgment already formed of your Royal High-


Page [vi]

ness's merit and abilities. Although mine is a proud attempt to gain your Royal Highness's favour, it is with the utmost humility I beg to be forgiven, and to subscribe myself Your
ROYAL HIGHNESS'S
Most faithful
and devoted Servant,
THE AUTHOR.


Page [vii]

PREFACE.

NATURE gives hints for observation in her minutest works, and the whimsicality of forming conversations for creatures that never spoke, and ideas for things that never thought, create a transient amusement. It has been allowed, that the most studious mind, by unbending, is rendered capable of more vigorous exertions. From the remotest times, Fables and Parables have been esteemed a proper vehicle to convey instruction blended with amusement. They are Truth and Fiction going hand in hand to


Page [viii]

point out the path of Error, which to Ignorance often appears the smoothest; and the Juvenile Mind, by a careful and attentive perusal, may have a light cast thereon, so as to enable it more clearly to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil, and virtue from vice. Fame and success have their charms, but often carry with them a lure which dazzles our imaginations, and sometimes a snare from which we can never get free.

May every reader of mine avoid such misfortunes; and as early impressions are not easily forgotten, may the moral of some of these Fables, at a future period, not unsea-


Page [ix]

sonably occur to check pride, envy, avarice, or tyranny, in the struggling uncorrected heart of some, and as seasonably encourage moderation, justice, and benevolence, in others, to the total expulsion of cruelty and revenge.


Page [x]


Page [xi]

CONTENTS.


Page [xiv]



Page [1]

THE
PIGEON CARRIERS.

An introductory Fable.

WHEN we correctly place the glass,
And view things truly as they pass,
By seeing in a proper light,
Our conduct may be just and right:
But many, who to sense pretend,
Gazing thro' the improper end,
With pompous arrogance declare
The thing they see is round or square,
Is great or small, is dark or pale,
Then act, and wonder when they fail.
        Two Pigeons, by aerial flights,
Set things most difficult to rights;


Page 2

They pass'd large tracts of land and seas
With most important messages;
Beneath their wings they safely bore
Intelligence to distant shore,
Whether to load the heart with grief,
Or soothe the mind and give relief,
On rapid wings the tidings flew,
Success and disappointment too.
These mounting once the azure sky,
Their destination to descry,
Neither could clearly make appear,
The course direct they ought to steer,
Or how far northward, or to west,
But each pronounced his judgment best.
Thus asserting and denying,
His own opinion justifying,
Indignant spread his wings in scorn,
So by an adverse route were borne;
The air with well-formed pinions ply'd,
And Observation was the guide.


Page 3

Time, which ne'er faileth to disclose
Even what's done beneath the rose,
Reveal'd the fate of one poor bird,
Whose course was right, as he aver'd,
Who to his point had truly steer'd,
Howe'er the wind had chang'd and veer'd.
The wish'd-for signal met his sight,
His eye surveyed, and knew 't was right!
Chear'd by the view, he onward strain'd,
But transient was the bliss obtain'd.
Spies who were set to intercept
His way as through the air he swept,
When his weary task was ending,
Saw him gracefully descending,
An arrow from a bow so well
Was aimed, that the Pigeon fell;
It struck him deeply thro' the heart,
And thus was finished his part.
        The bird who steer'd a random course,
Surely could not have fared worse.--


Page 4

But let whatever ills betide,
Be Right considered our true guide.--
He reach'd the port the second morn,
And safe were his credentials borne.
The spies, who thought their duty o'er
Were all departed from the shore;
The few to whom the news pertain'd,
The only persons that remain'd;
With tenderness they kindly used
The Pigeon that was self-accus'd,
Because he deign'd not to pursue
The track in which his comrade flew.
        "Poor bird," said he, "I mourn your lot,
"Nor be it e'er by me forgot,
"How true and well you did your part,
"With an unerring eye and heart;
"Whilst arrogant, and full of pride,
"I your opinion dar'd deride.


Page 5

"There's nought but right can bear the test,
"Tho' wrong hath now succeeded best.
"Let no one then false airs assume,
"Or ever on his luck presume:
"He that doth right may not succeed ;
"He that doth wrong, be wrong indeed;
"And in himself will feel contempt,
"From which the other is exempt."
        THOSE who this simple fable read,
May kindly wish me to succeed;
'Tis hop'd none will condemn me quite,
Whose aim is ever to act right,
And please those readers that peruse
The fictions of my sportive muse,
That makes the brute creation talk,
Birds reason, and the forests walk.
Could I but boast my wolves and bears
Amuse grown people or their heirs,
I then should fancy I am right,
And shew things in their truest light:


Page 6

But if I fail in my design,
The disappointment will be mine;
For praises few I should obtain,
To compensate my labours vain,
Haply, should these my efforts tend
One head t'enrich, or heart to mend,
If they one folly but correct,
Or one flagitious vice detect,
A pleasure will from thence accrue,
Tho' neither gain or praise ensue,
Proudly I'll select the story,
And resign the fame and glory.


Page [6a]


Page [6b]

[illustration]


Page 7

FABLE I.

The inconstant Dove.

TWO Doves, more constant in their kind
Than any creatures that we find,
Freely conversing mate with mate,
On their own truly happy state;
Pluming his neck, the male bird cry'd--
"Thou my delight and only pride!
"Without thee, could I pass thro' life,
"My friend, my comforter, my wife!
"Ah no!--such happiness to miss,
"Long had I dy'd--ah! long ere this!"
        "Perhaps ere long," the mate reply'd,
"My place had not been ill supplied:


Page 8

"Suppose I leave you, just to try
"Who is the truest, you or I:
"For three days only I'll be gone,
"Then freely own the truth anon.
"If wretched, as you now suppose,
"We will renew our constant vows;
"From doubts of constancy releas'd,
"Our love renew'd, shall be increas'd."
    Thus was given no denial,
Sure that he could stand the trial:
Cooing tenderly, they parted,
Nor was either much faint-hearted.
    The three days o'er, return'd the Dove,
Hoping her solitary love
Would rejoice the trial ended,
On which happiness depended.
But how can we her feelings state,
When she beheld another mate
Perch'd near her false inconstant spouse
Listening to his perjur'd vows.


Page 9

        Stagger'd by doubts, she said, in brief,
"I find you would not die with grief:--
"Wish your companion a good night,
"And then confess that I am right.
"Being so happy, love of mine,
"Let the confession pray be thine,"
Said the once constant tender bird,
And then the simple case referr'd
To her, who sitting by his side,
Own'd he was free to chuse a bride,
And leave his own misjudging mate,
Who knew her happiness too late.
        Flying to the adjacent grove,
Forlorn the poor forsaken Dove
Repented, while she liv'd, her folly,
Died a prey to melancholy.


Page 10


MORAL.

Since happiness is found so rare,
Much it behoves us to beware,
Being blest in the possession,
'Tis not lost by our transgression;
Foolish experiments, 'tis known,
Are ever better let alone.


Page [10a]


Page [10b]

[illustration]


Page 11

FABLE II.

The two Asses.

WHO , from benevolence and zeal,
Doth kindness for another feel,
Will pleasure find in his own heart,
More than interest can impart.
        Two Asses met upon the road,
One bore a heavy cumbrous load,
The other free, and light as air,
His saddle only had to bear.
'Tis scarcely fair to beg a friend,
For your reliefs, his back to lend;
Still more bold to ask a stranger,--
Of refusal greater danger;
Yet, the loaded Ass appealing
To the other's sense of feeling,


Page 12

Bid him reflect what he endur'd
From mis'ry, which might soon be cur'd;
And bid him recollect the gain
Which all good services obtain;
The pleasure of a kindly act,
Had interest annexed, in fact.
        A passing stranger thought it fair,
That each by turns should take his share.
Thus the simple beast submitted,
And to his back the load was fitted.
Jogging on quiet, side by side,
The laden'd beast with sorrow cry'd--
"My friend, your burthen I would share,
"But all is more than I can bear;
"I am too weak by far, alack!
"So take it quickly from my back."
        The other, on his word, assur'd
The weight might easy be endur'd.
        "Give us a proof what you can do,
"And your reward remember too."


Page 13

Adding--"Friend, I thought you stronger;
"Carry it on a little longer."
        The panting beast, with pain oppress'd,
Reply'd--"The truth must be confess'd;
"And if I gain, or if I loose,
"I tell you that I must refuse.--
"Who'll put another's burthen on?
"Why, many a fool, and you are one,"
Cry'd the relieved ungrateful beast;
"Some knowledge you have gain'd at least:
"Creep you on, you'll meet my master;
"I shall move a little faster."
        Turning his back, he ran away,
While Grizzle brayed to make him stay.
Fatigued, and fretted at his state,
His legs bent down beneath his weight:
While curious passengers survey'd,
Chance led his master to his aid;
Recognis'd was the Ass that minute,
But the load, or what was in it,


Page 14

Was not so clearly understood,
Altho' it augur'd something good.
Grizzle's weak shoulders being eased,
He bray'd, poor fellow, seeming pleas'd;
Released from his weight and pain,
He envy'd not his master's gain,
Nor car'd how they divide the spoil;
As all he wanted for his toil,
To make a profitable day,
Was one good mouthful more of hay;
Which poor pittance being granted,
He laid him down, nor more he wanted.


MORAL.

He that doth good himself to serve,
Will claim much more than he deserve;
Who on interest is not bent,
Will scarcely fail to be content;
But Virtue, disregarding pelf,
Should have compassion on itself,
And not a cumbrous burthen bear,
For one that's treacherous and unfair.


Page [14a]


Page [14b]

[illustration]


Page 15

FABLE III.

The dying Swan and the Owls.

THE moon first rising cast a gleam
Across a dear meand'ring stream,
On which an aged Swan, in state,
Sat close by his majestic mate:
The pure, but gently rippling wave,
Rose just their snowy breasts to lave.
The aged bird--unusual thing--
In solemn notes began to sing.
Two Owls were seated on a tow'r,
And list'ning from their ivy bow'r,
Wonder'd, in a tone of spleen,
What could disturb the solemn scene;


Page 16

That priv'lege they thought their own,
Belonging to themselves alone.
Thus hooting screams were sent around,
Echo repeating the shrill sound.
        The dying Swan cry'd--"Cruel maid!
"Dost thou unkindly lend thy aid?
"I never rais'd a note before,
"Nor shall I trouble you much more."
        The Owls flew forth, the Swan they reach'd,
And hooted round his head, and screech'd:
Infirm, he no resistance made,
Yet glanc'd his watchful mate for aid;
Who, trembling for the stroke of fate,
Rose on the stream in mournful state.
But now with rage and vengeance fraught,
She soon the noisy pedants taught,
A clamorous and weak pretence,
Without the aid of strength and sense,


Page 17

Could ne'er their foolish wrath support,
Which did their punishment but court;
So rushing on them in the wave,
She plunged them to their wat'ry grave.
Now unmolested was the strain,
The Swan, expiring, pour'd again,
Only that Echo, as subdued,
Return'd the mournful notes less rude,
Gave plaint for plaint, till sound no more
Was heard upon the silent shore;
The waves' inhabitant releas'd,
The dying strain at length had ceas'd.


MORAL.

Pert interference, and conceit,
Are evils which we often meet.
Those who're attack'd are much annoy'd,
While those offending are destroy'd,
Public examples they are made,
Their plans expos'd, as ill portray'd.


Page [18]


Page [18a]


Page [18b]

[illustration]


Page 19

FABLE IV.

The three Mice.

A SHEPHERD , 'midst the smiles of May,
When all was chearful, blithe, and gay,
Lay languid stretch'd beside the path;
His nerveless hand had drop'd his staff;
His hair was floating to the wind,
Wild as the thoughts within his mind.
        A Hermit pass'd--"Say, friend, what grief?
"Let not reserve preclude relief."
        "There's none for me," reply'd the Swain:
"Vainetta's false, and mocks my pain."


Page 20

        "That," said the Hermit, "straight implies,
"Nay, proves she's neither good nor wise.
"Your gentle soul, if form'd for love,
"Should find an object far above
"One who, from vanity, disdain
"Receiving pleasure, gives back pain.
"Then cease your fond, your fruitless care,
"And seek some kind, more gentle fair."
        "This to prove am I unable--
"Elucidate it by a fable."
        A DORMOUSE wrapp'd in cotton, lay
In painted box, and slept away
Her time, till hunger's grand appeal
Made her comply with ready zeal;
Slumber from her eyes was shaken,
By alluring bits of bacon.
Invigorated by her meal,
She ventured from her box to steal,


Page 21

Just o'er the carpet's rim to creep,
Before she gave herself to sleep.
Her skin was as the ermine white;
No wonder then it should delight
A tawny Mouse, whose sparkling eye
Survey'd her just while running by:
Forth from his hiding he crept out,
And chas'd the little thing about,
Practis'd all art, that they might meet
Just at the brink of his retreat,
Where, granting Fortune stood his friend,
They both might luckily descend.
Whether some sylph, who guards the fair,
As many tell you some there are,
Or whether Coyness stood her friend,
As all its advocates pretend,
She safely gained the painted box,
As cunning as a little fox.
        Another female in the house
Watch'd about strict the tawny Mouse;


Page 22

And witnessing the flirting scene,
In wrath cried out-- "What can he mean?"
"Such an insipid thing as her,
"He cannot possibly prefer;
"Sleep engrossing half her life--
"A pretty creature for a wife!
"I'll go direct, and let him know
"The folly of his thinking so."
To seek him, therefore, forth she went,
Convinc'd him to her heart's content;
For soon united, both declar'd
Two Mice were never better pair'd.


MORAL.

True happiness we often find
Not in the object, but the mind;
And missing that for which we strove,
Doth sometimes happiness improve.
Then ardent seek not to obtain
The wish, wherein may lurk a pain.


Page [22a]


Page [22b]

[illustration]


Page 23

FABLE V.

The Myrtle, the Laurel, and the Vine.

A MYRTLE in her highest bloom,
Spread thro' the air a rich perfume;
And, wanting sense, extremely vain,
Her neighbours treated with disdain;
Conceiving beauty all compris'd,
She every other shrub despis'd.
        A Vine experienced first her scorn--
"Surely," she said, "there ne'er was born
"A more insipid creeping thing,
"To all you meet you hang and cling;
"Even unto that dirty wall,
"As if without its aid you'd fall."


Page 24

        Still resolving for to quarrel,
Pertly she attack'd the Laurel.
        "And you, dull Evergreen," said she,
"Why don't you learn to bloom of me?
"I think a sombre thing like thee
"Might join the Yew and Cypress tree,
"Grace a church-yard, and nigh some tomb,
"With plants of death, increase the gloom."
        The Vine, who having courage gain'd,
Reply'd--"Each circumstance explain'd,
"I think we are as good as you,
"Perhaps you'll find more useful too;
"Men love the grape, and gods divine;
"Great Bacchus is the god of wine:
"And nectar, which they quaff above,
"Springs from the grape approv'd by Jove."
        The Laurel felt his spirit hurt,
So would his privilege assert.
"My wreaths," cry'd he, "confer renown,
"And form the conqueror a crown.


Page 25

"Poets exchange their leaves for mine,
"And I immortalize each line.
"Therefore your vanity may cease,
"And not disturb your neighbour's peace."
        "Really, good folks," the Myrtle said,
"Your arguments might some persuade:
"You talk of heroes, poets, gods,
"That one would think you had the odds;
"Furnishing the grape for nectar;
"Crowning your country's protector.
"But know you, Rose with Myrtle twin'd,
"Make the happiest wreath combin'd;
"And Venus, whom you can't deny
"Surpasseth all on earth, in sky,
"Deigns to let it deck her brow:
"Thus I'm superior, you'll allow."
        "My purple grapes," the Vine reply'd,
"For beauty need not be decry'd,


Page 26

"And set aside their use and pow'rs,
"Are more than equal to your flow'rs."
        "To make men tipsy," she exclaim'd,
"And sometimes mad, your grapes are fam'd:--
"Ask the first stranger passing by,
"Which has the pref'rence--you or I?"
        The Vine was happy to see pass
A friend who dearly lov'd his glass,
Jovial, hearty, honest, free,
A votary to Bacchus he.
A long lash'd whip, inspiring awe,
He held, and smack'd at all he saw.
The Myrtle tree attracts his eye;
Placing himself conveniently,
He cuts until no flowers remain,
Then cried--"Old Grannum, bloom again."
        The Vine, delighted at the sight,
Laughed with some degree of spite.


Page 27

The Laurel saw it, too, with glee,
Smiled, 't was thought, contemptuously.
A look expressive oft affords
A satire keener than in words,
Thus all description would but mock,
How much the Myrtle felt the shock:
Nought could relieve her wounded pride,
Drooping, she languish'd till she died.


MORAL.

Those most conspicuous for their charms,
Furnish their enemies with arms.
Beauty is lost, unless 'tis join'd
With modesty and strength of mind.


Page [28]


Page [28a]


Page [28b]

[illustration]


Page 29

FABLE VI.

The Ploughman and the Thrush.

THE birds were warbling in the trees,
The pure and healthy morning breeze
Shed fragrance as it lightly flew,
Stol'n from the floweret tipt with dew.
        A Ploughman sullenly pass'd by,
With heavy step and languid eye:
"Alas!" said he, "how shrill the sound
"Those noisy songsters pour around.
"Hush, hush!" impatiently he cry'd.
        "Pray, friend, for what?" a Thrush reply'd:
"Why dost thou silence thus impose?
"Why knit thy brows, with look morose?


Page 30

"What is your cause for discontent?"
        "I want two pounds to pay my rent,"
The Ploughman earnestly reply'd.
"How happy you, who well supply'd,
"Have choice of food, and choice of trees,
"And build and warble where you please.
"Then do not bid me be content,
"While I have nought to pay my rent."
        Assembled now the feather'd crew,
Some this way, some the other flew;
All were astonished to find
A being of superior kind,
So discontented at his state;
And thinking theirs a better fate,
"How hard," they cry'd," this mortal's lot,
"Oblig'd to give what he has not;
"Better we are, in truth, than he,
"And happy surely birds should be,
"Who unmolested live so gay,
"And sing, and frolic where they may."


Page 31

        A Morn or two was scarcely by,
When came the Ploughman merrily,
Not like the man of discontent,
He sang, and whistled as he went.
The birds all in a flutter seem'd,
They really almost thought they dream'd:
The Thrush beg'd eagerly to know
The reason he was alter'd so.
        Pleas'd at the happy turn of fate,
The Ploughman told his change of state:
"Providence," said he, "has granted
"That assistance which I wanted;
"For digging up my bit of ground,
"A little 'bacco box I found,
"In it, as I am here alive,
"Two guineas were, and shillings five;
"So off I ran, and paid my rent,
"And here you see me quite content."


Page 32

        "Then," cry'd the Thrush, "you ne'er again
"Must be so hasty to complain:
"The birds you envy'd in despair,
"Don't always breathe a pleasant air:
"Whilst thou, froward and uneasy,
"When things happen not to please thee,
"Betray a discontented mind,
"Forgetting Providence is kind."


MORAL.

He who reflects how much is granted,
Will not regret the trifle wanted,


Page [32a]


Page [32b]

[illustration]


Page 33

FABLE VII.

The Goose and the Farmer.

A BROOD of Geese was rambling o'er
A damp low green by cottage door;
They plump and fit were, all but one,
Who, wretched bird! of flesh had none,
Scarce had strength enough to hobble,
Voice to cry out, gobble, gobble.
Day after day, and weeks went by,
Till Michaelmas at last drew nigh.
To fair the plump and hearty went,
But the poor lean one was not sent.
The Farmer knew it was no use,
To carry there a sick lame Goose,
When some weeks of rich dry stubble
Just would make her value double.


Page 34

So from the barn door to the field,
She found what health and plenty yield.
But with these gifts, tho' rich the store,
She felt she wanted something more;
She sought her mates, who, fat and rude,
Did often on her peace obtrude.
And now grown hearty, plump, and strong,
She gabbled as she pass'd along,
With ardour wishing to renew
Acquaintance with the happy crew.
Society by man is sought;
She sought it too, by nature taught;
'Tis a gift, by heaven design'd
To harmonize the restless mind.
While thoughts like these her heart imprest,
She stately stood, and rear'd her crest;
Seeing the Farmer at his gate,
She waddled off in solemn state;
And being clear that her demand
Was what he ought not to withstand,


Page 35

Exclaimed, in a haughty tone--
        ''Why am I doom'd to live alone?
"Time seemeth for to have no end:
"Give me companions, and a friend;
"For friendship I would fain renew
"With that same happy brood I knew;
"Which I suppose are at their ease,
"Roving, wandering, where they please."
        "Yes, in Elysian fields," he cry'd,
Laughing almost to split his side,
"Where you shall go;--but no matter,--
"Try to get a little fatter."
        Elated was the Goose, to find
The Farmer prove so very kind;
And elated was the Farmer,
Who knew fretting much would harm her.
        "Those fields," said she, "pray are they near?
"I'd fatten there, as well as here."


Page 36

        "Silence, fool," the Farmer cried,
"Your wants will soon be all supply'd;
"March along to yonder stubble,
"For the future, take no trouble,
"As in a market day or two,
"Of those same fields you'll have a view."


MORAL.

Fate concealeth what is certain,
And in kindness holds the curtain.


Page [36a]


Page [36b]

[illustration]


Page 37

FABLE VIII.

The Birds and the Gardener.

A CHERRY-TREE the Birds allur'd;
The evil could not be endur'd;
So something, under veil of night,
Was plac'd, well fitted to affright:
Nor did the scheme of terror fail,
Silence pervaded all the vale;
Music, that strikes the list'ning ear,
Seem'd now to be o'ercome by fear,
All harmony dispell'd and fled,
Music herself appearing dead.
Thus not a Bird could raise a note,
To swell with joy his little throat,
And, as of Tantalus we read,
Were doom'd to look, but not to feed;


Page 38

So where they tempted with the view
Of fruit, that daily riper grew.
Attentively they all began
To mark the figure, looking man.
Not any, with the keenest eye,
The smallest motion could descry,
Except a rag, that here and there
Just lightly flutter'd in the air.
        When, perceiving the deception,
Wond'ring at their misconception,
All in a chirping joyful shout
Exclaim'd--"The secret is found out--
" 'Tis wood, 'tis straw, a hat, and wig."
So flying nearer on a twig,
Finding safety now, and pleasure,
Near ally'd, and move in measure,
All resolving to be merry,
Each began to pick his cherry;
But moderation none possest,
And short the moments they were blest.


Page 39

        The Gard'ner, when he next return'd,
With rage and indignation burn'd,
Few cherries seen upon the tree,
"Confound the cunning Birds," said he.
So in resentment lime he got,
And smear'd it all about the spot,
The ground, the trees, the leaves, and all;
Birds caught he plenty, great and small.
And being captur'd all alive,
Some much enrag'd, for freedom strive;
While those most tame and humble, thought
'Twas wrong to aggravate their fault.
        The Blackbird and the Thrush implore,
And promise ne'er to rob him more;
While the impatient find it vain,
Their struggles but increase their pain;
So joining notes, all cry'd--"Alack!
"We never, never, will come back."
        "No pity in my breast is found,"
The Gard'ner said: "you knew no bound;


Page 40

"Gluttony has you degraded,
"Nor can judgment be evaded;
"Justice awhile may sometimes wait,
"But still she cometh, tho' 'tis late.
"With comfort, some degree of praise,
" 'Twas in your pow'r to end your days;
"But he who's guilty of excess,
"Must ever suffer, more or less."


MORAL.

Happy are those who don't abuse
Pleasures, but moderation use.


Page [40a]


Page [40b]

[illustration]


Page 41

FABLE IX.

The Philosopher, the Snail, and the
Glow-worm.

A GLOW-WORM sparkling on the ground,
Cast a faint lustre all around.
A Snail, who feasted at his ease,
First on the blossoms, then the pease,
Observing an uncommon light,
Was rather startled at the sight;
But drawing near, rejoic'd to see
An insect still more small than he.
A gleam of courage fill'd his breast,
An thus the Glow-worm he addrest--
        "Who dares think I come to plunder,
"Some mistake must labour under,


Page 42

"Must bear suspicion in his mind,
"And not be very well inclin'd;
"Thus I'm astonish'd at the sight,
"To see an insect bearing light."
        "And pray why not?" the Glow-worm said:
"Suppose I light you home to bed;
"You are not sober, friend, I trow,
"For Glow-worms you must surely know."
        "I know you not," return'd the Snail,
"Nor will impertinence avail;
"You have a light, 'tis very true--
"I may destroy both it and you."
So on he march'd, with horns shot out;
The Glow-worm wisely turn'd about,
And all was dark. The angry Snail,
Perceiving he could not prevail,
Crawling off, exclaim'd--"To-morrow
"You'll behold me, to your sorrow."


Page 43

        The morning rose, the Snail in spleen
Advanc'd, no Glow-worm could be seen.
The ground the owner came to view--
A philosophic man, 'twas true--
But when such ravages he found,
His anger overleap'd its bound.
        "I wish, in vengeance, I could see
"The Snail that maul'd this crop," cry'd he.
        Beneath a shrub there timid lay
The Worm, out glitter'd by the day;
But eager on the luckless Snail
A cruel mischief to entail,--
Urged by keen revenge, no doubt,--
His adversary pointed out.
        The accusation heard, the Man
Smiled, observing nature's plan,
Where each contrives his faults to skreen,
By testimony false and mean.
For failings if we can but smother,
None scruples 't accuse the other.


Page 44

        "Why," cries he, "this sly informer!
"Hides he meanly in a corner?
"I meant not what I said, in troth,
"I am not so extreme in wrath,
"A hapless Snail to wish to kill,
"Because the creature ate his fill:
"They're surely insects that annoy;
"Aye, could I the whole race destroy--
"There I'm wrong, and impious too--
"What Nature doth, shall man undo?--
"Much I admire the wond'rous pow'r,
"In insect shewn, bird, brute, and flow'r;
"And own it as a great neglect,
"Never a Glow-worm to inspect.
"Methinks I have a strong desire,
"To see what 'tis resembles fire;
"And why these gems, of darkest night,
"Appear so luminous and bright."
So spoke the Man, when drawing near.
        "Last eve," the Snail exclaim'd, "just here,


Page 45

"Appear'd the thing you want to see--
"The oddest insect that can be--
"Insolent--I did not mind him--
"If we search, I think we'll find him.
"Scandalous it was t' abuse me;
"Then this morning to accuse me."
        The Man reply'd--"Your tale don't move;
"I shall find reason to reprove:
"I'll seek the Glow-worm." So he sought,
And soon unto the light was brought
A grub, extremely dark and mean,
For nothing luminous was seen.
"Now," said he, "explain your story;
"When night cometh, I'll explore ye,
"Remark on your uncommon light,
"Then freedom give to him who's right;
"But the malignant I'll forsake,
"And kill him for example's sake."


Page 46

        The facts explain'd against the Snail,
His condemnation could not fail;
For surely will an upright heart,
Justice unprejudic'd impart.
        Now the bright Glow-worm was observ'd
Accurately, as deserved;
Yet not illumin'd was the cause
How operated nature's laws:
The lustre, like sun, moon, and star,
All see, but none knows what they are;
Ev'ry object round they brighten,
Yet our minds do not enlighten;
Their splendour, more or less we mark,
But still we wander in the dark.
        Serious thoughts flow'd unforbidden,
As the Glow-worm had been chidden
For the malignity of heart,
In acting the informer's part.


Page 47

        "Go hence," he cry'd, "and if bold zeal
"Direct thee vices to reveal,
"Pronounce them candidly and fair,
"So let the world know what you are."


MORAL.

For slight affront and private pique,
Be cautious t' accuse or speak.
Slander at first may credit gain,
But truth is eager to explain.
Then state your grievance true and fair,
And place it in the light 't will bear.


Page [48]


Page [48a]


Page [48b]

[illustration]


Page 49

FABLE X.

The Hawthorn and Forest Trees.

WHERE Forest Trees their foliage spread,
A low born Hawthorn rear'd its head;
But still, tho' lowly, it is true,
Its shape, and shade, and blosoms too,
In fair conjunction, made it vie
With shrubs in estimation high;
To share attention with the rest,
Pleas'd not--it would be thought the best.
It grew so wide, so proud, so tall,
That soon it overtop'd them all.
        Observing which, the Gard'ner said--
"My shrubs droop here beneath this shade;
"And to admit both sun and air,
"I'll fell this Hawthorn, tho' so fair."


Page 50

        The axe close by the root was laid,
The Gar'dner's foot upon the spade;
He paus'd--"Why let it stand," said he;
"I'll only lop this spreading Tree."
        'Twas done. The Hawthorn, once elate,
Now patiently submits to fate;
Access gives free to air and light,
And much abash'd shrinks from the sight.
        The lofty Trees that grac'd the bound
Of this well decorated ground,
In triumph wav'd their branches tall
At the poor humbled Hawthorn's fall.
        But, ah! what things will come to pass,
When Time has turned up his glass.
Fortune, we see, her fav'rites shun--
The lord of the domain was one;
Who, to appease her angry frown,
Cut his loftiest timber down.


Page 51

Each Tree in falling sadly moan'd;
At ev'ry stroke the Dryads groan'd;
While their last look they cast about,
And saw the Hawthorn sprouting out,
Who since the last reverse of fate,
More modestly had borne her state;
With proper dignity, she cry'd--
        "It does not gratify my pride;
"I triumph not at what I see,
"Nor exultations found in me:
"With that reproof which he'ven has sent,
"I rest, both humbled and content."
        A modest sprig each year brought out
Blossoms, the fairest that could sprout;
Whilst scatter'd on the fields around
Lay Trees and barks all o'er the ground.
Convincing proof, Trees, Pride, and all,
With their great master had a fall.


Page 52


MORAL.

Those who in time their faults correct,
May reasonably good expect.
And who exults in such a case,
Will scarce escape from worse disgrace.


Page [52a]


Page [52b]

[illustration]


Page 53

FABLE XI.

The Spider and the Bailiff.

A SPIDER , that had lost his loom
By some too well directed broom,
Sat in a corner, dull and sad,
Well knowing nothing could be had
Without a web:--and yet to grieve
Was folly,--so began to weave.
He quickly ran from nich to nook,
For some secluded spot to look,
Where careful Betty's prying eye
His labour'd work could not descry:
Then to a thread securely hung,
From side to side again he slung;
Circles in circles nicely draws,
Uniting with his artful claws


Page 54

Each interstice, till cunning rare
Made the work seem to hang in air.
        In ambush sat the speckled thing,
To watch whatever chance might bring.
        A Man who saw the whole affair,
With indignation seem'd to stare;
And as discreetest, wisest, best,
The wary Spider thus addrest--
        "Well, sly, insidious, artful wretch,
"What do you now expect to catch?
"Who to your prison would you draw,
"And crush beneath your harpy claw?
"I'll watch; and whatsoe'er it be,
"Depend on't I will set it free."
        Benevolent to an excess!
Who in the world could ever guess
A Bailiff was the man who spoke?
The Spider thought it all a joke;
For he in prison oft had seen
This very man drag pris'ners in.


Page 55

        "You're very merciful," rejoin'd
The Spider; "but not quite so kind,
"When men you in a dungeon throw,
"For what to you they do not owe;
"Misfortunes turning to a trade,
"It is not comfort, is not aid
"You offer to the wretch whom you
"With cruelty and wrath pursue:
"Yet you would aid, you know not why,
"A little paltry flut'ring fly,
"Which, perhaps, for my subsistence,
"Nature call'd into existence.
"Pleas'd with the pow'rs that he'ven bestows,
"I spread my nets, as instinct shows,
"And cannot any other way
"My small abilities display.
"Were I a man, indeed, like you,
"Another track I would pursue,


Page 56

"A nobler use for talents find,
"And be of service to mankind;
"Not Spider like, watch day by day,
"To make unhappy men my prey."


MORAL.

A base and sordid mind is known,
By marking all faults but its own.


Page [56a]


Page [56b]

[illustration]


Page 57

FABLE XII.

The Tiger, the Wolf, and the Fox.

A WOLF and Fox were in discourse,
When a starv'd Tiger seiz'd a Horse,
Whose milk-white sides were stain'd with gore
Long ere the tragic scene was o'er.
Oppression, on so great a scale,
Made Renard and his friend look pale,
And moralize in sage debate,
On the poor Horse's cruel fate.
        Exclaim'd the Wolf--"A tyrant mind
"Has tyrant appetites subjoin'd.
"How the fierce beast doth tear his prey!
"I finish mine a gentler way."


Page 58

        More soften'd still, he thought the meal
Was too enormous a great deal:
Rank'd him as an hungry glutton,
Who might well have fed on mutton.
Some curb'd their passions with much ease;
A lamb his hunger would appease.
        The Fox was highly pleas'd, to boast
His moderation was the most;
"For only sometimes, now and then,"
Cry'd he, "I eat a goose, or hen."
And as an orator of weight
Will ev'ry argument debate,
Continued--"Strange 'tis men pursue
"Wild animals and tame ones too.
"We, like wild beasts, fly fast from man,
"Who surely kill us if he can:
"Horses and dogs are all he spares;
"For he kills sheep, cows, deer, and hares.
"Therefore a Tiger only can,
"In cruelty, exceed a man."


Page 59

        "Friend," quoth the Wolf, with sneering grin,
"Pray have a care how you begin
"Talking freely of your betters--
"Adverse fate may forge you fetters:
"Words like yours amount to treason."
        "Argument, and truth, and reason?"
Return'd the Fox: "and so I'll say,
"Undaunted, to my dying day."
        "Sir," said the Wolf, "you need not scoff;
"That day, perhaps, is not far off.
"Your sentiments are truly fine;
"But doth your strength, pray, equal mine?
"Thus, to shew the effects of pow'r,
"Thou shall not live another hour."
        The Fox ran off--it would not do--
The Wolf both stopt and kill'd him too.
        The Tiger, from his ambuscade,
Beheld them busy at his trade;


Page 60

So forth he rush'd, cry'd--"Wolf, you're right,
"Justice must ever yield to might."
Then fixing fast his treach'rous claws,
Bore Fox and Wolf off in his jaws.


MORAL.

Not only in the forest pale
Do arguments like these prevail:
Yet tyrant to his proper race
Is man alone, when high in place.


Page [60a]


Page [60b]

[illustration]


Page 61

FABLE XIII.

The Beggar's Cur and the Spaniel.

VALLIES the painter sketches fair;
Draws rocks still rougher than they are;
Making the contrast thereby strong,
To captivate the wond'ring throng.
So venal authors rarely fail
To gild a plain unvarnish'd tale,
And, to raise a childish wonder,
Try to roll terrific thunder.
What is observ'd in our short view,
Must universally be true:
Whereas the half we hear and see
Is false, in a supreme degree.


Page 62

        A Dog, most wretched of his kind,
Led an old beggar, who was blind.
Misery and famine blended,
Made him wish his days were ended.
        Another Dog, devoid of spleen,
With visage open and serene,
Well fed, caress'd, and seldom teaz'd,
Who freely rov'd where'er he pleas'd,
Trembling, observ'd the starv'd Cur's fate:
And wishing to emancipate
A fellow brute with care oppress'd,
Forlornly wretched and distress'd--
        "What meaneth, friend, that string?" said he;
"Leave the old man, and follow me.
"Our race is surely greatly blest,
"Short our fatigues, and long our rest."
        The Dog of sorrow, by a sigh,
Proffer'd a short, but full reply.


Page 63

        The advocate for pleasure cry'd--
"I homage neither wealth nor pride.
"Friend, yours can be no common case;
"Distress and grief are in your face:
"By long experience, well I know
"What I assert is truly so.
"Nor would I change my race and birth
"With any creature on the earth.
"Men, who promised joys await,
"Oft prove the patient dupes of Fate;
"Look forward with a doubtful eye,
"And give a retrospective sigh
"On many scenes that's past and o'er,
"Which fancy fed on, pleas'd before.
"Man faileth in his fav'rite scheme;
"Those seeming happy, only seem.
"Then, o'ercome by such disaster
"As inherits your old master,
"What misery, what grief has he;
"Famish'd, poor, and cannot see.


Page 64

"Dogs may be happy when they please;
"Men only when their hearts' at ease."
        The Beggar's Cur, with freedom, said--
"Mistaken notions fill your head;
"Your argument is very new,
"I cannot say 'tis quite so true.
"I from my natal hour have been
"As poor a brute as can be seen,
"Condemn'd to pace the flinty street,
"With scarce a morsel for to eat.
"My master, whom you wretched deem,
"Breakfasts on rolls, with tea and cream,
"Dineth on mutton, beef, or veal;
"While I that lead him starve or steal.
"You're pamper'd; what you want, you get;
"But quite unknowing are you yet--
"I hang my tail, 'tho' yours is curl'd;
"But, Dog, I better know the world.


Page 65

"Your master, whom you deem unblest,
"Perhaps finds joy in his own breast.
"Tho' retrospection gives men pain,
"Hope yet enlivens them again:
"And disappointment may produce
"Something not quite devoid of use.
"Good luck, or bad, may be the theme,
"But things are seldom what they seem.
"The man I lead, 'tis true, is blind,
"But he can peace and comfort find;
"Fears he has none, and cares but few.
"Thus, promiscuously we view,
"In ev'ry race, in ev'ry state,
"One part depress'd, and one elate.
"Remember, tho' our turn we take,
"My heart may leap, while yours may ach;
"At least, the adage old doth say,
"That ev'ry Dog must have his day."


Page 66


MORAL.

The ways of Providence are such,
That when man speculates too much,
Like ramb'ling in a tangled maze,
He knows not when, nor where he strays.
Judgment pass not, on case unknown,
'Tis wond'rous if we trace our own.


Page [66a]


Page [66b]

[illustration]


Page 67

FABLE XIV.

The Oxen and the Grazier.

AN Ox that in rich pasture fed,
Daily saw beasts to slaughter led,
His quiet peace became disturb'd,
And all his passions where perturb'd;
Struggling with grief, and sore opprest,
Thus he a fellow brute addrest--
        "Is man," said he, "a friend or foe?--
"That he supports us, all must know--
"But can it be substantial good,
"To grant us pasture for our food,
"To let us breath the vital air,
"Merely for market, or for fair?


Page 68

"The thought so much destroys repose,
"I seldom can my eyelids close."
        His comrade cry'd--" 'Tis surely vain,
"Futile, and useless to complain;
"For should we never cease to weep,
"And rob faint nature of her sleep,
"We should grow restless, wan, and pale;
"But what would suffering avail?
"Who anxious lies all night awake,
"Daylight may shew him his mistake.
"For where's the creature that can know
"What's really good or bad below?"
        But then the mournful Ox rejoin'd--
" 'Tis not alone distress of mind:
"Lameness, and humour in my blood,
"Render my spirits not so good."
        "That's nothing, nothing," cry'd the friend,
                
"Advantages may ills attend:


Page 69

"Were your blood better, mine the worst,
"To market you would go the first,
"Supposing you the nicest meat,
"Lieu of not being fit to eat."
        The Grazier came, their ribs to feel;
Their dread they scarcely could conceal;
For fear all have when danger's nigh,
Let them look bold, or let them sigh.
        The beast least daunted, as 'fore told,
Was fattest, and of course was sold.
But when from pasture he was led,
The other cry'd--"What truths he said!
"Let me no more for health entreat,
"Least they should find me fit to eat.
"Infirmity has health surviv'd:
"But what's ordain'd, or how contriv'd,
"Beasts want the reas'ning pow'rs to know,
"And only see that things are so.
"Nor do I think that man can soar
"To boast abundantly of more.


Page 70

"Our instinct none can disavow,
"Altho' they grudgingly allow.
"I yet must think, that nature meant
"We should enjoy the blessing sent;
"That man doth tyrant like devour,
"And much too far extends his pow'r."
        The evil pond'ring o'er and o'er,
He gave a most outrageous roar.
        The owner pass'd--"Ah, boy?" said he
"You're getting fat, and full of glee:
"Time cometh on, I hope, when you
"Will be sold off, and eaten too.
"I'll make ye pay for extra feed!
"Fatter, and better both, indeed,
"In time not distant far, you'll rise,
"And be a most enormous size.
"Nor is that only all I view,
"The markets will be rising too."
        The beast, incens'd, could hear no more;
So roaring louder than before,


Page 71

He turn'd aside with stately gait,
To draw conclusions on his fate.
        "This is too hard, too hard," he cry'd:
"Could man but suffer for his pride,
"His av'rice, his injustice too--
"But this gross insult he shall rue.
" 'Tis evident, that die all must.--
"My death shall punish the unjust--
"To him, tho' arrogant and vain,
"My forfeit life shall bring no gain.
"I'll not be fattened and fed,
"To be by him to market led,
"Nor butchers let my carcase carve;
"No, ill lay nobly down and starve."
        So day by day he thinner grew,
His strength grew weak and weaker too.
        The Grazier came at dawn one day;
Observing where the creature lay,
He hobbled briskly o'er the path,
Accosting with a boisterous laugh,


Page 72

His crooked staff to wield began,
When starting back, the affrighted man
Saw the insulted beast lay dead,
And with him all his profits fled.


MORAL.

Those who would increase their treasures,
Oft pursue fallacious measures;
The hop'd for chance do not obtain,
From too rapacious thirst for gain.


Page [72a]


Page [72b]

[illustration]


Page 73

FABLE XV.

The Butterfly and the Bee.

STERN Winter with his howling blast,
Slowly had retired at last,
To regions where he might be join'd
By rushing torrents, storms, and wind:
And Spring, possessing ev'ry grace,
With joy was hail'd to fill his place.
Now birds rejoice, and ev'ry grove
Is fill'd with harmony and love;
The roving Bee trys ev'ry flow'r,
With rapture doth their sweets devour,
Blending in a happy measure,
Useful industry and pleasure.


Page 74

        A Butterfly with painted wing--
A little idle flutt'ring thing--
Enjoy'd the smiles of Nature's face,
And flew around from place to place,
Tasting woodbines and the briar,
But less to feed on than admire:
He wonder'd at the little Bee,
And scarcely knew 'twas industry
Made him apparently devour
Ev'ry herb and ev'ry flower.
Pleasing his form, his temper vain,
And ever in an airy strain--
        ''You're greedy, friend," said he, "to sup
"The very bottom of the cup:
"I can observe how deep you dip;
"While I just lightly take a sip."
        "What you may do," the Bee rejoin'd,
"Is nought to me; I business mind.


Page 75

"And probably no harm 'twould be,
"Supposing that you did like me."
        The flutt'ring thing exclaim'd--"My life
"Is undisturb'd by care or strife:
"Nor is there ought I ere requir'd,
"Unless to rove, and be admir'd."
        "To be admir'd, I never sought,"
Return'd the Bee, "as few folks ought.
"Some to the voice of praise attend,
"And think they listen to a friend.
"Modest people who neglect it,
"Neither hear it, nor expect it."
        The Butterfly, retorting, cry'd--
"Self-praise is worse than all beside."
Adding, in his frivolous way,
"Keep you to work, and I to play."
        Now suddenly appeared there
A little urchin, in his air,


Page 76

Like Cupid, playful with his bow,
For mischief seeking to and fro;
In culling flow'rs he took delight,
Till this gay creature caught his sight.
Enamour'd at his bright attire,
Next to possess it doth aspire:
Creeping sometimes, to betray him,
Boldly then with hat dismay him.
At length the persevering boy,
Crown'd with success, was full of joy.
Those wings he saw with powder strew'd,
Were seiz'd on by his fingers rude,
And all their beauty, unaware,
Instant vanished into air;
And what so charm'd his sight before,
Alas, he could behold no more.
        The Bee contented, and tranquil,
Was getting all the while his fill;
But satisfy'd, a look he cast,
Observ'd the captive was held fast;


Page 77

Neither with triumph, nor with scorn,
He saw the boy first pluck a horn;
Proceeding next a leg to tear,
He cooly cry'd, "I could not bear
"To be so much admir'd as you;
"It would not greatly suit my gout.
"But I am call'd a humdrum thing."
        "You are--but you have got a sting,"
The tortured insect made reply;
"And thus add torments while I die."


MORAL.

To pass through life the safest way,
Be none too grave, nor yet too gay.
Of admiration be aware;
For praise is many times a snare.
And vanity doth sorrow bring,
So sharp, we need not add a sting.


Page [78]


Page [78a]


Page [78b]

[illustration]


Page 79

FABLE XVI.

The Robins revenged.

TWO Robins, in a bitter frost,
When the creation seem'd half lost
In dropping icicles and snow,
On feeble wing from woodlands go,
And both for shelter, and for food,
Off Myra's premises intrude.
But had they known 'twas hers, alas!
They ne'er had come to peck her glass.
        Myra had led a pleasant life,
And many years had been a wife:
So fortunate in ev'ry state,
She never had repin'd at fate.
Some e'en pretended to explain,
Her very losses were her gain;


Page 80

For it was clearly understood,
She still prefer'd her widowhood.
She'd garden, house, and equipage,
With ev'ry thing that could engage,
One thing excepted--Who could guess
'Twas charity? not more nor less.
This was a want she had indeed.
'Twas vain for poverty to plead;
She gave folks only what they earn'd;
And what she lent must be return'd.
To be infirm, or to be sick,
Was ever call'd an artful trick.
And if babes languished for food,
She wish'd that folks would feed their brood.
        Closely sat the birds together.
Myra's heart was like the weather,
Too much frozen for to melt
At the distresses which they felt.
The wind their little red breasts shook;
Their bead-black eyes for pity look;


Page 81

While their notes, with sweet expression,
Of their suff'rings make confession;
And in a soft and warb'ling strain,
Implore for crumbs of bread in vain.
        "On bread," she cry'd, "my chickens feed;
"And 'twould be wasting it indeed,
"To give a little shabby crew
"Of starving Robins, such as you.
"I eat my poultry when 'tis fed
"And fatten'd with the crumbs of bread.
"Bad luck, they say, a Robin brings,
"So haste away, ye gaping things."
        "We stay," the Robins said, "and trust
"Your prophecy may turn out just.
"And may hearts devoid of merit,
"Feel the achs of a mean spirit."
        Weak superstition join'd with wrath,
Made her look very fierce, in troth:


Page 82

And dinner serv'd, she sat her down,
With sullen air and angry frown;
Greatly enraged as she carv'd,
She wish'd the Robins might be starv'd;
And flashes from her eyes were thrown,
As she demanded--"Are they flown?"
Reply when gave--"They still are there,"
Becoming faint, she wish'd for air:
Just then she heard the Robin's note;
Sighs issued from her swelling throat,
Her breath seem'd flying past recall;
She sunk, Death put an end to all.
        When Superstition's head uprears,
The work is sometimes done, she fears;
And things most strangely do fall out,
To leave the wond'ring world in doubt.
The Robins surely could not sing
For any mischief they could bring;
Yet still, in this uncommon case,
They were reveng'd, their wish took place;


Page 83

Rage, which a deadly aspect wears,
Might cause to close the fatal shears,
Yet wanting proof the fact to clear;
Suffice, she dy'd without a tear.
This was implicitly believ'd,
And no one thought himself deceiv'd.


MORAL.

A sordid mind will ever prove
The bane of friendship and of love.


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[illustration]


Page 85

FABLE XVII.

The Magpie and the Peacock.

SENSE is a treasure; so is gold,
Which, miser-like, we should not hold,
Nor suffer knaves, before our face,
To plunder it, to our disgrace;
For what of both they can purloin,
They use as if their proper coin.
'Tis truly said, those who are wise,
Are seldom known to exercise
Their tongues in ev'ry light debate;
Thus their decision comes with weight.
        A Magpie, vain with some pretence--
For she had knowledge and good sense--


Page 86

Was so impatient to display,
That folly seem'd to bear the sway;
While sense, like persons in a throng,
Was scarcely seen to pass along;
Whereas had she been quite alone,
She had been visible, and known.
Sense must, from folly, ever be
Unblended to eternity;
Mixed, like the conjurer's ball,
Sense cannot be perceiv'd at all.
        A struting Peacock, proud and vain
Of golden fringe that edg'd his train,
Exulting in each glowing tint,
That form'd the shaded spots distinct,
And neck, in which gold green and blue
Shone lovely in each tinge and hue,
With stately charms came unaware,
And struck the Magpie with his glare.
To shine with beauty like to his,
No hope, no chance was left for this.


Page 87

But then to shine by sense and wit,
Was no hard task, and not unfit.
Not Newton, with a clearer eye,
Could view each gradiating die.
But praise was here her last design;
She meant to sparkle in her line;
And quickly found she time to say,
Nothing was permanantly gay:
Nature ordain'd nought to remain
Long in a glitt'ring, flaunting strain;
Nor charms it like the sober scene,
Which soothes, while gayer gives the spleen.
She next threw out some learned hints:
Colour was nought but vary'd tints
Reflected from the solar ray,
Which ignorance calls fine, and gay;
Some bodies would reflect the light,
And some absorb it, like the night;
Black mix'd with white she chose to wear,
Not wishing to make people stare.


Page 88

        In answer to this tedious theme,
The Peacock gave a hideous scream;
And, inattentive to the sound,
Spreading his tail, he turn'd around
To catch the many mingling rays,
The pratling pedant to amaze.
The small birds did not warble sweet,
But gave a most contemptuous tweet,
Envy's snakes being seen to pass,
And heard to hiss beneath the grass.
Maggy knew the jeering titter,
And return'd a scornful twitter,
By which her thoughts were well convey'd
'Gainst vanity, and false parade.
        Eyeing the Peacock with disdain,
She cry'd--"I'll not the truth explain;
"I'll turn my future thoughts on pelt,
"And keep my learning to myself.


Page 89


MORAL.

To aim at Wisdom's prize, is vain,
While we're too eager to obtain.
Let Knowledge run a sober pace,
She'll never fail to win the race,
Nor to her triumph add beside,
By getting start of saucy Pride.
Those that first set off too fast,
Are often distanc'd at the last.


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[illustration]


Page 91

FABLE XVIII.

The Zebra and the Lion.

ONCE a Zebra, fam'd for beauty,
Was estrang'd from slavish duty,
Ne'er felt the lash, or irksome goad,
Nor drag'd thro' dirt the cumbrous load;
Was free to wander, and to feed
In orchard, avenue, or mead.
But which of all the bestial train,
Or man himself, more proud and vain,
Who bless'd with gifts kind heav'n has sent,
Seem'd ever happy and content!
        No wonder then we should not trace
In creature of the jackass race,
One that prosperity could bear,
Knowing how hard such trials are.


Page 92

        First in a meadow rich in food
He fed, yet did not think it good.
Spoil'd by indulgence, he complain'd
Of hardships which he ne'er sustain'd;
And still howe'er the Zebra far'd,
He always thought his treatment hard.
Hard was his phrase, to foe or friend,
Which prov'd destructive in the end.
        Now in the avenue that led
From gate to mansion, Zebra fed;
But little wanton urchins try'd
To get upon his back and ride;
So that was hard.--The orchard next
Had charms that could not be exprest;
The trees were bending down with pears,
That brush'd the Zebra's nose and ears.
He made the lower branches clear,
Then casting a signific leer,
Survey'd the ruddy ones on top,
And cry'd how hard those pears wont drop.


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        Thus pamper'd still, from day to day,
He pleas'd his master by his play,
Who now resolv'd, where'er he went
The saucy fav'rite should be sent.
        Thus, being shipp'd upon the sea--
His fodder and his hay had he--
In every place how well he far'd!
But still exclaim'd 'tis very hard.
        Fate so decreed, his master dy'd:
The Zebra, humbled in his pride,
Was turn'd adrift.--Now here, now there,
He wander'd, tho' he knew not where;
For such a state quite unprepar'd,
He really now perceiv'd it hard.
        Beauty's a passport, tho' it leads
Not ever to the flow'ry meads.
Where'er he went he met with friends,
Was fed, and so far gain'd his ends;
But as the language still he used,
Of hard, how hard! he got abus'd


Page 94

By those who thought 'twas hard to meet
Rudeness from guests they kindly treat;
And being of this fault accus'd
By many beasts, was roughly used.
        The Lion had a gen'rous heart,
And therefore chose to take his part.
"I never want a meal," said he,
"And what I get partake with me;
"I will defend you against those
"Who mean to make themselves your foes."
        The Zebra flatter'd was indeed,
To find himself so well succeed:
But to the Lion's cave when led,
The stench had nearly struck him dead,
The place with filth was so replete,
And not a morsel fit to eat:--
To monarchy paid no regard,
But cry'd out--"Zounds, 'tis dev'lish hard!"
        The Lion added--"Bless us, Jack!
"If you are angry, pray go back:


Page 95

"The meat that's good enough for me,
"I think might almost do for thee."
        Trembling, the wary brute rejoin'd--
"I meant 'twas hard I could not find
"Words to express how much I feel,
"And how I'm flatter'd by your zeal."
        The Lion now seem'd satisfy'd;
But yet, to calm redundant pride,
In whisper said--"If he complain,
"Or ever say 'tis hard again,
"I'll be reveng'd, by Jove I swear--
"For insolence I cannot bear."
        Thus they both went out together,
Walk'd thro' sands in scorching weather,
And gain'd a mountain's summit high,
Nearly as far as eagles fly.
And looking down, the Zebra spy'd,
Thro' flow'ry vale, the streamlet glide:--
"Oh, could I feed on that sweet spot!
"How bless'd, how envy'd were my lot;--


Page 96

"To be from such a place debar'd,
"Upon my life 'tis dev'lish hard!"
        The royal mandate being past,
Veng'ance came rapidly at last;
Nor could the helpless victim fail,
When headlong hurl'd to meet the vale--
The vale which his too shallow sight
Presented in so fair a light.


MORAL.

When bounteous Fortune liberal sheds
Her choice influence o'er our heads,
None idly false, or proudly vain,
Of unfelt hardships should complain.


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Page 97

FABLE XIX.

The Owls and the Sparrows.

THE glowing west had lost its red,
And sable clouds began to spread;
The Sparrows' pert and greedy brood,
Persisted still to seek for food.
A pair of Owls, from hollow tree,
Excited all their foolish glee.
The giddy flock, like idle folks,
Hasted to make their gibes and jokes.
With manners frivolous and rude,
Insulting, they the Owls pursu'd;
When suddenly the biggest bird
Fac'd them, and beg'd he might be heard.
On this the coward noisy crew,
Wishing the weakest to pursue,


Page 98

Pass'd with rapid flight the other,
Calling--"Hearken to your brother."
        Both Owls, with visage round and grave,
Now turn'd, the flippant tribe to brave.
        Folly, when join'd with insolence,
To valor has but small pretence;
Which in each Sparrow was evinc'd,
For not a single one but flinch'd:
Mock bravery, like spark expir'd,
Their trembling hearts no longer fir'd.
        In haste off flew the saucy brood,
And very close the Owls pursu'd:
Nor hopes, nor fears could much avail,
The Owls with talons fierce assail.
        The bicorn birds, exciting awe,
Each with a Sparrow in his claw,
Flying triumphant to his nest,
From thence the captives thus addrest:--
        "We'll give you pardon, if your brood
"Will be less arrogant and rude,


Page 99

"Less offensive to your betters,
"Folks especially of letters.
"For want of beauty, sense, and wit,
"Make insolence still more unfit."
        The Sparrows cry'd--"You think us bold,
"Therefore you shall the truth be told.
"You have us now within your pow'r;
"Our lives perhaps scarce worth an hour.
"Know then, that Sparrows, if not best,
"At least are birds the happiest;
"And this, tho' fools, 'tis wise to know,
"And happily have prov'd it so.
        "Whoever scarce in any age,
"Observ'd a Sparrow in a cage?
"Not distinguish'd like the linnet,--
"Wing unmark'd no charm has in it;
"Our voice the ear will not regale,
"Like lark, or thrush, or nightingale.


Page 100

"Thus we remain within the grove,
"And chirip, if not sing, notes of love.
"Parrots, words a few can utter,
"Therefore seen in cage to flutter,
"Magpies as much, or little more,
"Observ'd to grace an alehouse door.
"A dove for constancy is known,
"And therefore doom'd to live alone,
"To leave his true beloved mate,
"And mourn in bondage his hard fate.
"There have been some admire an Owl;
"His knowing face, and angry scoul,
"For wisdom sometimes he's renown'd,"
(At this both Owls look'd grave and frown'd)
"And had the feather'd tribe a cause,
"Would wish him to interpret laws.
        "Now, sirs, if ye are truly wise,
" 'Twould be no matter of surprize,
"Seeing charms we want, and merit,
"Should you let us but inherit


Page 101

"That independence nature gave:
"We're no man's property, nor slave;
"Prais'd by none; no one protects us;
"Then we're free, no one corrects us,
"Which makes us sometimes saucy, bold,
"As you have seen, and I have told."
        The Owls, in spite of gravity,
Laughed to an extreme degree.
        "I think," said one, "our settled rules
"Are for the wise to suffer fools;
"Let them at any rate retain
"The 'vantage which we would not gain,"
        The other said--"We owe them grudge;
"As birds of wisdom, and as judge,
"Thus surely punish'd should they be;
"For in what court is insult free?"
        The friend to mercy said--"My spleen
"Doth not extend to things so mean:
"Sparrows may be gay and jolly;
"What joy have fools, unless 'tis folly?"


Page 102


MORAL.

Children, like fools, when uncontrol'd,
Will be too forward and too bold;
And who hath wisdom, and is mild,
Gently reproves both fool and child.


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Page 103

FABLE XX.

The Sheep and the Wolf.

A WOLF , solicitous to keep
In favor with a flock of Sheep,
With venal flat'ry thus began,
Their weak credulity to scan:--
        "Were I," said he, "by Providence
"Blest but with half your wit and sense,
"I surely would assert my right,
"And let no shepherd day and night,
"On frivolous pretence watch me,
"Who doubtless am by nature free."
        "Alas!" the gentle Sheep reply'd,
"Our shepherd is our faithful guide,
"Beneath his tender guardian eye,
"Secure from ev'ry enemy."


Page 104

        "Secure!" rejoin'd the Wolf: "you know
"Progressive each to market go:
"And he who watches nights and days,
"The faithless creature that betrays.
"Does he not take from wand'ring dams
"Successively their bleating lambs?
"And having lost the precious store,
"Say which hath e'er regain'd more?"
        A Sheep--the eldest of the flock--
Reply'd--"Alas, our woes you mock!
"You shew us that we are not free,
"But not to shun the treachery."
        "Advice, if you but chuse to take,
"I'll give it you, for pity's sake."
        The Wolf with cautious art reply'd,
Then pausing, shook his head, and sigh'd--
"To serve you, I'll do all I can;
"But I abhor to kill a man.--
"I've said it; and the work is done
"When once with spirit 'tis begun.


Page 105

"The shepherd I must then devour,
"And gain unto myself the pow'r,
"To be your warmest friend I swear,
"And for your welfare all my care."
        Each caught the other's sheepish eye,
His friend's opinion to descry:
One nodded; round the nodding went,
And then all bleated their consent.
        The ev'ning came; the shepherd laid
In soft repose beneath the shade.
The bloody deed black night conceal'd,
Till blushing morn the truth reveal'd:
Then boldly came--the mischief done--
The Wolf in face of noontide sun,
And cry'd--"Now be it understood,
"That out of evil cometh good.
"You all must steadily submit
"To be control'd as I see fit;
"And ev'ry fleecy lamb must be
"Resign'd by its dam to me:


Page 106

"In yonder vale, where shelt'ring rocks
"Better than shepherds guard the flocks,
"I'll bring them up with tend'rest care,
"Which you'll confess, when grown, they are:
"When you see them--now believe me--
"You'll avow I've not deceiv'd ye."
        These words made ev'ry mother feel
Doubts, that she could not well conceal.
The promise foolish was in fact,
Each wish'd with honor to retract.
But the mischief now being done,
Each mother sighing o'er her son,
Surrender'd up the little heirs,
Blessing them with parting prayers,
For the last time beheld them skip,
And felt their little moisten'd lip.
        The Wolf, impatient to retreat,
Headed the flock, whose endless bleat


Page 107

Was to his ear a pleasant strain--
The mother's heard it not again.
        The Wolf and lambs were seen no more.
But time, which secrets doth explore,
Proclaim'd it loud to all around,
No valley safe had ere been found;
No shelter kind amid the rocks,
Secur'd from foes the tender flocks;
For they of life had been bereft,
And not a single lambkin left.
        The mournful news their dams await;
Each curs'd the fell decrees of fate.
        "Alas!" said one, distress'd and meek,
"We have been credulous and weak.
"We doubted all--and what is doubt
"But caution, pointing danger out?
"And who to caution not attends,
"Oft fosters foes, and loses friends."


Page 108


MORAL.

How often those, of whom 'tis known
To have no judgment of their own,
Impute the deeds of ignorance,
Not unto folly, or to chance;
'Tis Providence, 'tis angry Fate,
That ever on their footsteps wait.


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[illustration]


Page 109

FABLE XXI.

Winter, April, and May.

APRIL affecting to be gay
And beaut'ous as her sister May,
While cowslips blossom'd round her seat,
Saw hoary Winter slow retreat,
And with a vain, presuming sneer,
"Hasten," she cry'd, "and disappear:
"All will rejoice when you depart,
"And I sincerely, from my heart."
        Hoar-headed Winter, whom old Time
Could scarce remember in his prime,
Frown'd as on his staff he leant,
And thus he mutter'd as he went--


Page 110

        "Imperious and capricious maid,
"All know you a deceitful jade;
"Next morn I will return and show,
"By wind, and rain, and drifting snow;
"Your violets, cowslips, flow'rets gay,
"Shall all be nip'd, and brush'd away:
"My reign, believe me, is not past;
"Boreas shall soon renew his blast;
"The drenching rain, and rattling storm,
"At my command shall still deform."
        No longer was perfum'd the breeze,
The vernal tinge forsook the trees;
For blighting frost and drenching rains
Spread their influence o'er the plains:
Pomona droop'd; a secret dread
Made even Ceres hang her head;
And Flora, totally dismay'd,
Lay heart-sick shiv'ring in the shade;
Till Winter, with revenge content,
His storms within their caverns pent;


Page 111

His countenance became less drear.
        Seeing pale April shed a tear,
And while preparing to depart,
Said--"Nature pleases more than art:
"You have not sympathy to charm,
"Nor yet my frozen heart can warm;
"So should we chance to meet again,
"If you resolve to be less vain,
"Usurping not another's place,
"I will respect your pretty face;
"But now, fair maid, contentedly,
"Without a murmur, follow me."
        Thus weeping April fled away,
And forth came lovely smiling May,
Deck'd with endless wreaths of flowers,
She adorn'd the vernal bowers:
Flora, Pomona, all resort
To pay their homage at her court;
All enjoy the halcyon days,
Incence bestow, of sweets and praise,


Page 112

Nor from her dew-bespangled seat,
Incline they ever to retreat;
Till she, with modest blushing grace,
From flaming Sol averts her face,
Permitting Summer, warm and bold,
To meet his ardour uncontrol'd.


MORAL.

Those who would seem more young, more fair,
More brave more witty than they are,
Suffering by the competition,
Oft prove objects of derision.


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[illustration]


Page 113

FABLE XXII.

The Soldier, the Picture, and the
Wooden Leg.

A SOLDIER slept, devoid of care;
His Wooden Leg lay on a chair;
Across the back of which was flung
A chain, whereto a Picture hung.
        An air of woe the Picture bore--
The conscious Leg would fain explore--
        "I mark," said he, "your doleful look;
"My master's loss you cannot brook:
"Your grave regards on me are thrown;
"Me was it made him lose his own?
"Thirst of gold, and love of glory--
"Oft I've heard him tell the story--


Page 114

"With ardour fir'd his youthful heart,
"Made him from home, and you depart:
"Yet, tho' his better leg is gone,
"I greatly am prefer'd to none."
        The Picture seem'd in listening strain;
To sigh, unwilling to explain.
Look'd with anxious wish to speak,
Check'd by a temper mild and meek.
        The Leg, impatient for reply,
Said--"Do explain the reason why:
"So distressing 'tis to endure
"An evil, when there's known a cure.
        "Keep then your alienated heart,
"And from your truest lover part.
"What, altho' glory had a share,
"The jewel, which might deck your hair,
"Was not forgot; the riches too,
"He strove and fought for, were for you:
"This led him to the fatal wars;
"This fill'd his manly face with scars."


Page 115

        The Picture look'd, at last it cry'd--
"Edmund's unhappy destin'd bride
"I represent.---- The fair's derang'd;
"But still her heart was ne'er estrang'd.
"Report announc'd her lover slain,
"And phrenzy wild distracts her brain.
"Not honors, nor encumb'ring wealth
"She sought, but Edmund's dearer self.
"Therefore, when war, with scars, alack!
"Sent her wounded votary back,
She cry'd--"Alas it cannot be
"This Edmund!--no, it is not he.
"Edmund I lov'd--I ne'er can change.
"Remove me from this object strange."
        Each art her Edmund try'd in vain,
To lead her reason back again.
For if Hope shot a doubtful gleam,
The ray made madness stronger seem.


Page 116

        The Picture paus'd on Edmund's grief.
He wak'd from sleep without relief;
For day and sorrow both return'd;
He thought of glory dearly earn'd.
The chain he saw the Leg entwine,--
"My heart," he cry'd, "Maria's shrine;
"So doth a chain entwine around,"
And added with a sigh profound,
"To fix Maria's image there,
"Ev'n with her sad disorder'd air.
"Nor other mistress will I have,
"Glory except, this side the grave."
        The Leg exclaim'd--"Spread o'er with scars,
"Good Sir, think not again of wars:
"Your heart none doubts may steady prove:
"Who should mistrust a Soldier's love?


Page 117

"And should Maria ever be
"Releas'd from her insanity,
"If constant to her you remain,
"A sure reward at last you'll gain;
"Glory you've won, no more her court,
"But ever make me your support."


MORAL.

Impatience often, when too great,
Its promis'd purpose doth defeat.
And who too eager grasps at wealth,
Knows not how poor he makes himself.


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[illustration]


Page 119

FABLE XXIII.

Clara and the Sky-lark.

A LARK had been from youth to age
A little captive in a cage;
But having liberty regain'd,
He ply'd his wings, and unrestrain'd
Enjoy'd the privilege to fly,
Singing, while soaring to the sky.
        Oft pleasure's steps are check'd by woe--
The Lark that secret did not know.--
Nor much his liberty avail'd,
When high in air his pinions fail'd.
Long the time was since he had flown,
His inert wings seem'd scarce his own;


Page 120

And while he higher strove to soar,
Becoming feeble more and more,
He sunk, he fell--but dire mishap,
He fell into Misfortune's lap.
        A simple lad, devoid of art,
That lov'd a bird's nest at his heart,
What happiness could be prefer'd,
To finding he possess'd a bird?
        The Lark immur'd, in cage once more,
Less felt the iron sway of power;
Finding the joys of freedom vain,
Captivity had charms again;
Security, soft rest, and food,
Seem'd now the most substantial good.
But here again the unhappy Lark
Found he was fix'd for Sorrow's mark.
        The stripling, like a luckless wight,
Made not thraldom a burthen light;
And ev'ry hour, the Lark distrest,
Sigh'd to repose on Clara's breast;


Page 121

Which, fool like, with little reason,
He thought in former time a prison.
Sometimes he sang, but not a note
Of pleasure fill'd his swelling throat;
'Twas woe, anxiety, and grief,
From which he scarce dar'd hope relief.
        Clara, who since her bird had flown
Little tranquillity had known,
Her favorite sought with anxious care,
Thro' all the village, in despair.
        The Lark, whose heart with grief was wrung,
                
A strain of gratitude now sung,
For Clara's kindness in a state,
Which he regretted nigh too late.
        The song she heard, the note she knew,
And eager to the cottage flew.
        The Lark had been the lad's chief joy--
But what more fickle than a boy?


Page 122

A piece of gold had charms beyond
The bird, of whom he erst was fond;
And Clara gold consider'd nought,
Could her lost bird by that be bought.
        Again the Lark on Clara's breast
Secure, his wonted joy exprest.
        "No more," the happy creature cry'd,
"Your bird shall wander from your side."
        "Nor I," said Clara, "ere again
"Lamenting, will of fate complain;
"Whatever sorrows may befall,
"Hope shall revive me in them all.
"Pleasure and birds may take their flight;
"Yet both return, and all be right."


MORAL.

Blessings unseen are often nigh,
To wipe the tears from Sorrow's eye.


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Page 123

FABLE XXIV.

The Magpie turned Preacher.

A MAGPIE chanc'd one day to perch
Upon a pulpit, in a church.
He heard them preach, he heard them sing,
And thought it was an easy thing.
He eye'd the door, then out he flew,
Call'd all the birds he ever knew;
Said that religion he should teach,
Turn parson, and begin to preach;
Subscriptions would be taken down
In the fir grove, beyond the town.
        'Twas strange, but plausible--and so
They all agree'd that they should go;


Page 124

But precluded not was wonder.
Each together, and asunder,
Declar'd, while waving on his twig,
He was a sly presuming prig.
Tho' not to flinch, the gen'rous tribe
All carry'd something to subscribe.
One took a single grain of wheat,
Which all the while he wish'd to eat;
One took a cherry; one a stone;
A seed another, newly sown.
Mag, in the grove beyond the town,
Sat in great state, and took names down.
When Sunday came, they heard the bell--
For who the difference could tell?--
Maggy had got a hollow bone,
Which hard he hit against a stone.
When all assembled, seats were made,
Some boughs were stript, some form'd a shade.


Page 125

Maggy was seated on a spray
The topmost, and began to pray;
Then with solemnity to preach,
Nodding and bending round to each;
He rais'd his voice, and sunk it too,
Then made a pause, as parsons do.
        The time arriv'd for them to sing;
This was to touch a tender string.
Who can shine in every way!
Maggy could talk, and preach, and pray,
But could not raise a single note;
While ev'ry warbler swell'd his throat,
Nor ceas'd, till Mag, half tir'd to death,
Had chatter'd till he lost his breath.
Then all declar'd he was a cheat,
Receiving dainty food to eat;
But not a word they understood,
And not a sentence was there good.


Page 126

So in the grove, if long he staid,
He should repent his new-found trade,
Which they could all explain as well
As any thing that he could tell.


MORAL.

So vain pretender e'er was born,
But saw his hopes o'erturn'd with scorn.


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Page 127

FABLE XXV.

The old Wolf and her Cubs.

EXPERIENCE often bids us say,
Advice to youth is thrown away:
But then experience says again,
Let talking be however vain,
Mothers, aunts, and ancient cousins,
Deal out cautions by the dozens.
        A WOLF , once hardy, rough, and bold,
Was now grown weak and very old;
Her days were wearing to an end,
Without obtaining any friend.
Her retrospective views gave pain;
She wish'd to pass her life again:


Page 128

Resolv'd, could she her time renew,
Just and mild courses to pursue,
        Calling around her gaping Cubs,
Who thought she had the mulligrubs,
She charg'd the hungry rav'ning brood,
To be less thirsty after blood:
Alluded to the dire mishaps
Ensuing oft from dogs and traps:
And for proofs--if wanted any--
In herself existed many.
She vow'd no tender lamb again
Should ever more by her be slain.
Then felt a joy, this duty o'er,
Had not been witnessed before;
She felt what wolves full rarely know,
The joys which from good actions flow:
And exhortations done and past,
She seem'd much quieter at last.


Page 129

        The worry'd Cubs wish'd not for more.
Her growling blessings being o'er,
They greet, as signal for departure;
All that they had listen'd after,
Yet seem'd to take her anxious cares
As much to heart as human heirs.
        Releas'd, depart the howling crew,
Uncertain what they ought to do.
One said--"We cannot live by rule;
"Our mother's old, and grown a fool;
"We'll listen not to her again,
"But all start off, and scour the plain."
        So forth they went, their ill star led--
And can there be a worse thing said?--
Dogs surround from ev'ry quarter;
Dismal scene of blood and slaughter!
Some were sadly maim'd and torn;
Others left even more forlorn
Than the old Wolf, who staid at home,
And charg'd the young ones not to roam.


Page 130

        One, in an agony of pain,
Limp'd off and cry'd--"I'll ne'er again,
"So rash, and so ungovern'd be;
"My mother now may out live me:
"She is not the fool I thought her--
"But much wiser than her daughter."
        This most prudent Cub, we are told,
Saw length of years, and grew quite old:
Mark'd the same faults in all her young,
Reprov'd them in her mother tongue;
Heard them remit it down again
To wild ones roving o'er the plain.
        Thus all that ever yet were born,
Give the advice they took with scorn.


MORAL.

As up life's rugged steep you rise,
The friendly admonition prize.


Page 131

Many a bitter pang shall share,
Who scorns a parent's tender care.
If Reason's eye could pierce so far,
To see not only what things are,
But what the future may produce,
Advice would be of little use.
Experience still affords a proof,
We seldom get advice enough.


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[illustration]


Page 133

FABLE XXVI.

The Rose and the Rose-bud.

THO ' evening blights, with morning dews,
Their baneful influence did infuse,
A full blown Rose its charms retain'd,
And all its odour still remain'd;
It stood like fabrics past repair,
Which shake at ev'ry breath of air.
        An opening Bud made strong advances,
Pressing thro' the tangled branches,
Crying--"I claim your place; make way;
"Your time is past, you've had your day:
"I lack each ray and beam of sun,
"For my career, now your's is run."
        The Rose return'd--"There's none can say
"Whose race is run, who's had their day:


Page 134

"Therefore be humble, change your strain;
"None know which longest may remain."
        "Is it not Nature's own decree,"
Retorts the Bud, "that all should be
"Progressive making room for more,
"As others did for them before?
"Look first at me, then view your form,
"And judge which best can bear the storm."
        "Nature," resum'd the full blown Rose,
"Has laws; but she departs from those,
"At least permits, in certain case,
"Her own wise laws should not take place.
"Thus whether humble, proud, or bold,
"We see young die, and we see old.
"Then of presumption be aware,--
"A parent may outlive an heir."
        Sol's ardour now shot sudden heat;
The Bud, with arrogance replete,
Cry'd out--"I open to your view:
"Methinks you're faded in your hue."


Page 135

        The Rose with spirit said--"Again
"Take my advice, be not too vain."
        Camilla pass'd; she saw the Rose.
"Sweetest flower," she cry'd, "that blows!
"What have you been?--it strikes my mind,
"The very fairest of your kind:
"The change I can perceive, with grief.
"May the winds spare your drooping leaf:
"Remain, tho' you are past your prime,
"And beg another day of Time.
"This bud falls short of you, in truth;
"I'll crop the little upstart youth."
        Thus sudden snap'd it from the stem,
Unmindful of each spark'ling gem.
        Now droop'd, now hung his blushing head,
As if to say, my life seems fled.
Silent the Rose was all the while,
Retorting only by a smile.


Page 136

        Camilla took another view,
Crying--"Fairest flower, adieu!
"This Bud, this foolish Bud," she said,
" 'Tis nothing worth, 'tis almost dead,"
Then turn'd once more to look around,
And careless threw it on the ground;
Where laying in degraded state,
"Justice," he cry'd, "is in my fate;
"And makes the matter past dispute,
"For, Rose, I perish at your root."


MORAL.

Thus the bold youth impatient waits
To be possessor of estates,
Arms, titles, he has right to bear,
When once become the lawful heir:
But nought from his proud claim derives;
Death strikes him, while his sire survives.


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Page 137

FABLE XXVII.

The Lion and the Fox.

A LION , without fix'd abode,
Travers'd each path and winding road;
Knew ev'ry forest, ev'ry glen,
Avoiding all the haunts of men.
Fierce in his nature, tho' so mild,
Not anger'd, would not hurt a child,
Yet dreaded he to meet a man;
Knowing a contest once began,
Must rueful end, and fatal prove
To one that he aspir'd to love.
        "Man in a savage state," said he,
"Except in strength, is just like me.
"Should I o'ercome, 'twould be a curse;
"And to be overcome, still worse."


Page 138

        With roving tir'd, he sought a cave:
He found one; then a friend would have.
But friendship, it is very rare
In cities, forests, ev'ry where.
Acquaintance then.--He spy'd a Fox.
Wolves make acquaintance with the flocks;
So surely Renard will be glad
To make acquaintance, good or bad.
Civil the greeting was, and so
At least 'twas friendship a propos .
        Things were settled in the cavern,
Snug as if it were a tavern.
And those who had not frequent seen
How oft ill luck will intervene,
Had sworn that Renard was a friend,
And that the compact ne'er would end:
But Renard let the Lion know,
It pleased him to be a foe;
Mischief his joy, and craft his trade,
Which he should follow undismay'd.


Page 139

        The Lion, with resentment fraught,
Justly despis'd him, as he ought.
His angry glare, and lifted paw,
Drove him away with fear and awe.
But 'tis not greatness, nor contempt,
Can make the innocent exempt
From malice, which the wicked bear,
And keep to strike folks unaware.
        A shepherd, roving o'er the plain,
Observ'd the Fox. The thirst of gain
Excited him to lay a snare,
In which fell Renard, unaware.
This sight might Av'rice awaken,
Had it slept. "Ah ha! you're taken,"
Cries out triumphantly the clown;
"You'll not get off, for half-a-crown.
"As compensation must be made,
"Your skin will pay for 't, I'm afraid."
        Renard, quite ready to begin,
Cry'd--"Kill me then, and take my skin.


Page 140

"But let it pray be understood,
" 'Tis not a thing will do much good.
"Were I a Lion, then indeed,
"With pleasure you might see me bleed."
        "A Lion!" cry'd the man, "d'ye say?
"We see not Lions every day:
"A Fox will please me pretty well;
"Where Lions are we cannot tell."
        "Sir," said the Fox, "if you are brave,
"I'll lead you to a Lion's cave."
        And to the Lion's cave he led,
When soon the noble beast lay dead.


MORAL.

Impertinence will sore annoy,
But cunning malice will destroy.


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FABLE XXVIII.

The Magpie and the Raven.

WHO takes a hint, a fault to mend,
Observ'd in either foe or friend,
Deserveth praise; but not so he,
Copying faults, makes that a plea;
It rather aggravates the case,
As he sees clearly the disgrace;
While him, who first commits the fault,
Perhaps is better fed than taught;
Incautiously it may be err'd,
Therefore less wrong, and less absurd.
        A MAGPIE , in the way of joke,
Reprov'd a Raven for his croak.


Page 142

        "Whether successful, whether not,
"You croak," said he, "none knows for what.
"If a dead carcass you espy,
"It is lamented with a sigh.
"Ah what an awful sight is death!
"But one hour past the thing had breath.
"Then fancy fills your ears with groans,
"But cheerfully you pick his bones.
"If ever you in fact lament,
" 'Tis better morsels were not sent:
"Because I know you like a lamb,
"And much prefer it to the dam.
"Epicureans never humble,
"Are morose, and apt to grumble.
"You also croak, from morn till night,
"As if nought else could give delight."
    The Raven cry'd--" 'Tis very true;
"What will not habit make us do?


Page 143

"To copy them, and do the same?
"Examples given, who's to blame."
        The Magpie said--"Nought can permit,
"Or make what's wrong, be right and fit:
"Copying faults is ever wrong,
"To whomsoever they belong.
"Good neither wants excuse or clokes;
"Leave bad examples to bad folks.
"Man often grumbles at his lot,
"His daily benefits forgot."


MORAL.

When bad examples men assail,
Reason is often known to fail.
Shall Instinct be a better guide?
No, not if Reason calls in Pride.


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[illustration]


Page 145

FABLE XXIX. The two cunning Foxes.

TWO Foxes thought the highest praise
Was to excel in crafty ways;
And greatest he who could succeed
In a mischievous wicked deed.
Thus did they settle, that each should
Deceive the other when he could.
But each so clever in his way,
None scarcely knew which bore the sway.
        After a many cunning trick,
One chanc'd to fall a little sick;
And losing appetite for food,
He thought his teeth were not so good.


Page 146

        "How do your teeth," he cry'd, "hold out?
"For mine are going, past a doubt."
        "Oh," cry'd the other, "mine are gone,
"There is not left a single one;
"They all dropp'd out the other night--
"Oh! how I suffer'd by the fright!"--
But added, skrewing up his chops,
"I must submit to live on sops."
        A few days past, when something said,
Renard laugh'd out, and in his head
A row of ivory was seen,
Extremely perfect, white, and clean.
        "So you have to a dentist been,
"And got a set of teeth put in,"
Cry'd out his friend, for once deceiv'd:
"Well, I could never have believ'd
"Such things were put in mortal jaws,
"To help us for to fill our maws."


Page 147

        This made the other's laugh increase,
Nor did it for a long time cease,
Which made him shew his fangs the more,
And while he laugh'd his neighbour swore.
        But when the laughing fit was past,
He cry'd-- "You're taken in at last,
"And doubly so:--should you ask why--
"These teeth are mine, or let me die.
"You complain'd your teeth were going,
"And the fact not rightly knowing,
"I really thought if your's were out,
"You would steal mine, beyond a doubt."
        Where love did never much abound,
A diff'rence seemed to gain ground:
Renard's wit did not digest;
The last was but an aukward jest.
        Foxes were now without controul,
In ev'ry place they had a hole,
Rewards were offer'd all about,
To point their hiding places out.


Page 148

        Thus creatures, which in former days
United in such various ways,
Turn'd their thoughts to the undoing
And plotting of each other's ruin;
In which, like mischief-making elves,
They brought destruction on themselves:
For tho' each met success, no doubt,
In pointing his confederate out,
Yet when the tale they went to tell,
Each a deserved victim fell,
And both on perfidy cry'd out,
'Till dogs had got them by the snout.


MORAL.

When theives project another's ruin,
They oft promote their own undoing.
And those who crafty knaves will trust,
If they complain, they are unjust.


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[illustration]


Page 149

FABLE XXX.

The Owl and the Cuckow.

IF we look round the world, we find
Each creature has it's task assign'd.
The smallest bird obtains not rest,
Till it with labour forms a nest;
And ev'ry insect has its bole,
And creeps not in another's hole;
For if they vary from this plan,
We see them scouted by their clan.
        A CUCKOW , whom all birds detest
For laying in another's nest,
Was taken in the very fact,
And try'd according to the act.


Page 150

An owl was judge; the juryman
Young robins, linnets, larks and wren;
Counsellors were chiefly sparrows,
Pert and bold, and keen as arrows;
Th' attorney was a bird of prey,
Whose suits succeed as folks can pay.
But lucky was the Cuckow's cause;
For what with blunders, and the flaws,
She fairly got off uncondemn'd,
'Tho by the feather'd court contemn'd.
And having lost an honest name,
She went on still, and sin'd the same.
With boist'rous and clam'rous tongue,
She "Cuckow" cry'd till valleys rung.
        A Ringdove, ever mild and tame,
Said--"You possess no kind of shame;
"Or would you make the air resound
"A name, wherein no virtue's found?
"In your case, I should die with spleen,
"At least be neither heard nor seen."


Page 151

        "How mighty squeamish some folks are,"
The Cuckow cry'd; "you make me stare:
"What tho' a saucy owl has screech'd,
"My character is unimpeach'd;
"I've been acquitted of all blame,
"And own I've neither fear nor shame."
        Reply'd the Dove--"Your are too elate,
"I think your courage is too great,
"Your shame in truth not great enough--
"Adieu!"--and left her in a huff.
        Bright Sol was sinking in the west,
Just as an Owl slip'd off her nest:
Both judge and jury were forgot,
Off flew the Cuckow to the spot;
Eager her errors to repeat,
Informally she took a seat.
        The Owl of mischief now aware,
Return'd with diligence and care,
And found the Cuckow self-betray'd,
Sitting amidst the eggs she'd laid.


Page 152

Escape was vain--a hooting screech
Call'd all the owls within their reach.
Aided only by their fury,
They, without a judge or jury,
Stop'd the Cuckow's treacherous ways,
By ending finally her days;
But ere she dy'd, the Ringdove's word
Fresh to her memory recurr'd:
"My boast'd courage, void of shame,
"Now proves," she cry'd, "I've been to blame."


MORAL.

Those who in vice persist too long,
Find temptation still more strong;
With courage false, then brave all shame;
From gallows sav'd, would do the same.


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Page 153

FABLE XXXI.

The Bear turned Doctor.

A BEAR had long been in the train
Of a quack Doctor, pert and vain;
Had learnt the invalids to teaze,
But not to cure, or give them ease;
Persuaded that he knew the trade,
He wish'd a Doctor to be made,--
A Doctor for quadrupede race,
Worn down by time, or in the chace.
        Occasion watch'd, he left the quack,
Who never try'd to get him back;
Not being in the least afraid
A Bear would interrupt his trade.
Had he sat up nearest neighbour,
None had call'd him an invader;


Page 154

Because the Bear, not to oppose,
A diff'rent mode of practice chose;
Adhering to the grand rule still,
Of patients more than half to kill;
That part alone he kept in view,
As all the greatest doctors do:
But taking fees he quite decry'd,
And eat his patients when they dy'd,
Which relatives do oft prefer,
As saving trouble to inter.
        The wretched beasts refusing food,
Their Doctor did no kind of good;
Waiting impatiently for death,
He watch'd till they resign'd their breath,
Then made his meal without a qualm,
Content, tho' gold ne'er touch'd his palm.
        His own health needed no repair;
For frequent walks in wholesome air,
Made him so ravenous and bold.
A patient's hand he scarce could hold,


Page 155

From strong temptation to devour
The poor weak victim in his pow'r.
        Every beast could now observe
The trade a trick, without reserve.
        "Whoe'er departs from settled rules,"
The Lion said, "are knaves and fools.
"To kill a beast is my delight,
"I eat him, and I think it right;
"But then not falsely I pretend
"To be his Doctor, or his friend."
        So said the Wolf--"A lamb I eat,
"And kids I also think a treat.
"But why should I incur a curse?
"I ne'er pretend to be their nurse."
        Thus ev'ry beast of rav'nous breed
Seem'd one and all to be agreed,
To take a life none should gainsay,
Suppose they follow'd but their way.
        The Horse stood forward to descry
Those who their crimes did justify.


Page 156

        "I find," said he, "ye all allow
"Your tribe in ev'ry outrage now,
"Believing those your lawful prey
"Which are too weak to run away:
"But crimes to which ye are not prone,
"Ye see not tamely like your own.
"The Bear but stepping from his path,
"Excites your censure, or your laugh;
"Forgetting your own acts inspire
"Disapprobation, wrath, and ire."


MORAL.

Those the least savage in their heart,
Act a forgiving candid part.
Those, for not one good action known,
No faults excuse, except their own.


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[illustration]


Page 157

FABLE XXXII.

The Swallow and the Linnet.

IT was a Swallow's adverse fate
To choose a Linnet for his mate;
He knew that in a high degree
'Twas foolish eccentricity;
Which made him act a double part,
And neither give nor keep his heart;
Yet he mark'd the timid creature,
Seldom failing for to meet her;
And if she perch'd upon a tree,
There perch'd constantly was he;
Then, if into a bush she flew,
In the same bush he would be too.


Page 158

But reason stopping his career,
He saw his folly very clear,
And often suddenly would fly,
Leaving the Linnet to guess why.
She knew the union could not be,
Because 'twas wrong, as well as he,
And therefore begg'd him; as a friend,
To let their short acquaintance end.
        "My heart," he cry'd, "can ne'er agree
"To that unkind, that harsh decree;
"Only to see you gives new life,
"Altho' you ne'er could be my wife."
        So vows and protestations serv'd
Only to shew how much he swerv'd.
Imprudent contracts seldom last,
And promises are broken fast.
Both indiscreetly did declare,
Parting was what they could not bear;
So sweetly warbled was the cry,
"Let's live together, or let's die."


Page 159

        The Autumn came, the days got short,
And Swallows flagging in their sport,
Seem'd steadily on matters bent,
Productive of some great event.
Th' excentric bird, within his mind,
Labor'd hard excuse to find;
His thoughts were difficult to hide
From her he wish'd should be his bride;
He knew 'twas fit he should explain,
Whether to go, or to remain;
Unresolved how to speak,
He try'd some subterfuge to seek.
        "If I depart, sweet bird," he cry'd,
"The parting need not us divide;
"Love shall in kindly whispers tell
"The safe retreat where Swallows dwell:
"Supposing I return no more,
"Your little wings may waft you o'er.
"And tho' the parting causeth pain,
"We'll live in hopes to meet again."


Page 160

        "Impertinent and false," she said,
"Are these the promises you made?
"Shall I to other climes pursue
"A bird so fickle and untrue?"
Emotions caus'd her breast to swell,
She spread her wings, and cry'd--Farewell."
        The low'ring sky portended snow,
Which signals Swallows ever know.
Irregular they skim and veer,
As if uncertain how to steer,
They mount, then wantonly they dip
In marsh or pool their wide wings tip,
Till all prepar'd, they soar on high,
And one broad phalanx dims the sky.
        The doubtful bird, condemn'd to prove
The errors of mistaken love,
Was solitary left behind
To try what comfort he could find.


Page 161

Ah! comfort never found he more!
Those blissful hours and days were o'er,
His mate was flown, alas! what woe!
'Twas equal grief to stay or go.
        The Linnet by a fowler snar'd,
Was taken rather unprepar'd.
This fatal truth he never knew,
Yet wild he with impatience grew,
And often in a fury said--
"Were she well cherished and fed,
"No matter what became of me,
"For happiness I ne'er shall see."
        Few days remain'd for him to spend
Before his suff'rings had an end;
The Linnet he gave up for lost,
Then fell a victim to the frost.


Page 162


MORAL.

Rove not, where fancy doth invite;
The straightest path is oftenest right.


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[illustration]


Page 163

FABLE XXXIII.

The Horses and the Grooms.

TWO Horses, in a verdant mead,
Seem'd a most pleasant life to lead;
They spent in feeding many hours,
Then roll'd upon the fragrant flow'rs,
Saunt'ring up and down together,
Heeding not the wind and weather,
Quite rational they seem'd to walk--
Judge of their reas'ning by their talk:
        Cries one--"The Lad that rides me out,
"Is an ill-natur'd surly lout;
"He beats me so about the head,
"At times I wish that I were dead:


Page 164

"His blows have nearly made me blind;
"Resentment harbours in my mind;
"The time may come--I'll give a kick,
"Perhaps may make him rather sick;
"Patience, more insolence produces,
"I'll be reveng'd for his abuses."
        "Mine," cries the other, "is a Lad
"Somewhat like your's, almost as bad;
"He kicks, and flogs, and pulls me so,
" 'Tis difficult to stand or go,
"And jerks my head so much awry,
"I see not what is passing by;
"But I just let him have his way,
"Then shake my ears, and give a neigh;
"By this, his rage receives a check,
"So he bend forwards, pats my neck,
"Cries 'softly boy, let's loose the rein,'
"And all goes smooth and well again.
"Revenge, for certain, will not do;
"So mark my words, you'll find them true."


Page 165

        A few days past, the 'vengeful Horse
Met with treatment worse and worse;
Patience her aid lent less and less,
And blows called loudly for redress.
Arching his neck, his pointed ears
Express'd his malice, not his fears;
He gave a kick, aim'd but too well--
With fractur'd thigh the enrag'd Boy fell.
With pitchfork striking, like Death's dart,
Fix'd in the Horse's breast and heart,
Just as return'd his peaceful friend,
To mark the sad and mournful end.
        "Alas!" said he, "with grief I find,
"What I foreboded in my mind--
"Impatience, insolence may spurn,
"Which still more boldly takes its turn;
"Mischief ensues, as I foretold,
"To form the scene we now behold.
"Patience can never make bad worse,
"Revenge must ever be a curse."


Page 166


MORAL.

So, scorning to be undeceiv'd,
Meet the aggressor and th' aggriev'd;
Imperious Honour satisfy'd,
One gentle hand may turn aside,
And Death, impatient of his prey,
Will disappointed stalk away.
Honour, wouldst thou exalt thy name,
Nobly give up your barb'rous claim,
Nor wantonly, for thy own sake,
Suffer proud man his life to stake.


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[illustration]


Page 167

FABLE XXXIV.

The Mare and her Colt.

ONE accident another brings,
And thus misfortunes come in strings.
If carelessly your leg you strain,
Step but awry, 'tis bad again.
Youth, too presuming, vainly bold,
Think caution's only for the old;
So we observe them pains endure,
Sick, and oft dying immature.
        A COLT of spirit could not bear
The lessons of the matron Mare.
High was his blood; at any rate,
Six times in nine he won the plate;


Page 168

But so much mettl'd, wanton, gay,
That all reproof was thrown away.
Much the good mother griev'd to see
A creature of his pedigree,
As he grew old, get worse and worse,
And be disgrac'd on ev'ry course;
For ev'ry time the news was told,
The beast was certain to be sold;
Which not the least enhanc'd his price,
But sunk it more than once or twice:
Yet, those that purchas'd, fondly thought
The Horse might still be broke and taught.
        Again he combats for the plate--
How many tremble for his fate!--
The bets run high that he shall beat,
And he keeps foremost all the heat.
Those oft gain least that look for most--
The Colt run short against a post,
He postrate fell; folks throng to gaze,
All reprobating headstrong ways.


Page 169

With dislocated shoulder, force
Is us'd to drag him from the course;
While one less able, more sedate,
Ran steady on, and won the plate.
Many a horse that so had sped,
Had got a bullet thro' his head;
But this, by kindly care and zeal,
His headstrong folly liv'd to feel;
Sorely repenting, day by day,
He drag'd a little cart of hay,
And with it drag'd a life of pain,
Devoid of pleasure, honor, gain,
Exclaiming ev'ry hour--"With shame
"I've lost my happiness and fame."
        "Those who in follies persevere,
"Purchase experience very dear,"
The mother cry'd: "when youth reject
"Council, 'tis this that I expect;
"But as it is too late to shun
"An evil that's already done,


Page 170

"And no retrieving of your fault,
"My son, then bear it, as you ought."


MORAL.

When Providence inflicteth pain,
We yet may sigh, if not complain.
When our own suffr'ings we create,
Repentance best befits our state.


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Page 171

FABLE XXXV.

The wounded Soldier and the Mice.

SOME Mice had liv'd the whole year round,
And nought but peace and plenty found;
With pains they neatly gnaw'd a hole,
And entrance gain'd, without controul,
To ev'ry shelf and ev'ry hoard,
Which the lock'd pantry could afford:
But, ah! one day, the hole was clos'd--
Some hand unfriendly interpos'd;
And chance there was the wretched Mice
Might all be famish'd in a trice.
Fully convinc'd this would befall,
They met half starving in the hall,


Page 172

And many friends and strangers join'd,
To see what comfort they could find;
For ev'ry creature, just like man,
In new distress, seeks some new plan;
All wish'd for succour and advice,
When the prime minister of Mice
Uprose, with some degree of pride,
Casting a glance on either side.
        "Know ye," he cry'd, "a thing there be,
"I've heard it call'd philosophy:
"Can we live on it? is it found
"Upon the earth, or under ground?
"Does it diminish, or increase,
"During the time of war, or peace?
"Know ye what profits it will give?
"Will it enable us to live?"
        Nought from this speech could be deduc'd,
Th' harangue had not a word produc'd;
On reply no Mouse had ventur'd,
When a meagre Soldier enter'd;


Page 173

Of his right arm he'd taken leave,
Memento left an empty sleeve;
The arm remaining was apply'd
To hold a crutch on t'other side,
For chance of war a ball had sent,
And struck his leg, but being spent,
'Twas made by so much weaken'd force
Much less destructive in it's course.
        "You little active things," he said,
"The war prevents your being fed:
"By war, my limbs, my fortune's gone--
"A dismal wretch! to look upon--
"But by philosophy am taught
"To bear misfortunes as I ought;
"It teaches us our ills to bear."
        "Will it teach us to live on air?"
A more than half starv'd Mouse rejoin'd,
"For not a single crumb we find:
"Luxury's in one cheese-paring;
"Hunger is a thing past bearing:


Page 174

"And if fairly you examine,
"Death hath preference to famine.
"Your sufferings are less by far;
"You help to carry on the war;
"And ev'ry evil that has rise
"In us, or in our own devise,
"Will in no one degree compare
"With those who have not any share:
"You feel that you are self-betray'd,
"So bear the mischief you have made."
        "But self-reproach," the Soldier cry'd,
"Is worse than any thing beside.
"I'm urg'd by honor, urg'd by fame,
"To acts I almost shrink to name,
"Yet see inevitable ruin
"Fix'd on all we have been doing.
"Scanty my means, perhaps like you,
"I shortly may be starving too:
"But you are free from all offence,
"For nothing has misled your sense;


Page 175

"Death from your cares will set you free,
"While Conscience keeps a scourge for me."


MORAL.

When to Conscience we attend,
We find an umpire and a friend.


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Page 177

FABLE XXXVI.

The Ass and the Goose.

EVERY Ass is glad enough
To cram himself with sorry stuff,
But Dapple took exceeding pains
For paltry gleanings in the lanes,
Fields being very seldom seen
By him, unless gates stood between;
And of this lamentable truth
His ribs gave most sufficient proof.
        A Goose too, doom'd to slender fare,
Seem'd to have all the Ass could spare,
And as she waddled by his side,
Her bones, like his, peep'd thro' her hide.


Page 178

        In truth, it could not well be said
These animals together fed.
Alas! too clear they understood,
Vain was their search for daily food;
And being ask'd if they agreed,
We could not say 'twas well indeed;
For if the Jackass chose to bray,
The Goose would scream and run away,
Which, added to the Ass's tone,
Made music strange as ere was known.
Once growing angry, she said--
"An Ass you are from foot to head."
        The Ass reply'd--"What strange abuse!
"When man acts wrong, they call him Goose;
"Nor is there scarce a pin to choose,
"Between an Ass and silly Goose."
        "A silly Goose!" the other cry'd,
"What wond'rous insolence and pride!
"A silly and a stupid Ass,
"I've often heard--but let that pass--


Page 179

"A stranger's coming on this way;
"We'll hear what he has got to say.
"Speak, friend, the truth," she boldly cries,
"We wish for truth without disguise:
"Which creature is esteemed the most,
"An Ass, or Goose?"--"A Goose, to roast,"
Return'd the man, "beyond a doubt,
"An Ass to carry loads about."
        "To roast, friend! surely you forget;
"I never have been roasted yet;
"Another answer I expect:
"Which do you think has most respect?
"Say which, I'll be resolv'd by you,
"Which is the wisest of the two?"
        The umpire, smiling, said--"You ask,
"What is indeed no easy task;
"For when men wrangle, swear, and rail,
"Finding bad words of no avail,
"Your names oft are link'd together,
"None knows which is worst of either;


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"And thus to finish the abuse,
"Man is called an Ass, and Goose."


MORAL.

Fools look for fools, in hopes to meet
Some in whom folly's more replete;
And many people wish to pass
For wise, tho' stupid as an Ass.
A Goose will for a fool be known,
In all opinions but her own.


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FABLE XXXVII.

Ceres, Avarice, and the Villagers.

IN former times, the happy swain
Reap'd chearfully the golden grain;
Sure to obtain his modest share,
His nerv'd arm never did he spare.
The rustic, once so gay and glad,
No longer seems the ruddy lad,
But pale and wan returns to feel
The horrors of a scanty meal.
        Thus Roger, with a stifled sigh,
Marking his neighbour's downcast eye,
"What loss, he cry'd, "do you sustain?
"I know you love not to complain."


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        "The loss of bread--our chief support,"
Return'd the man with quick retort.
"Our efforts, our endeavours fail,
"We see our infants languid, pale;
"Our wives to constant anguish wake,
"And vainly struggle for their sake."
"Let's rise betimes--they wisely say--
"And to the goddess Ceres pray."
"The counsel's good--'t will save our
                lives;
"We'll join in prayer with our wives."
        When Phoebus mounted in his car,
The Villagers were seen from far;
Assembled all, they all complain,
Imploring greater store of grain.
        Ceres, on hearing of her name,
With her horn of plenty came:
" I come," she cry'd, "with wonted store,
"And if you crave, I'll grant you more:
"But first I must the truth expose;
"I'm not to blame--'tis treach'rous foes;


Page 183

" 'T is sordid wretches who destroy
"What I design'd you should enjoy;
" 'Tis Av'rice that doth attend you,
"Not Ceres ceasing to befriend you."
        Av'rice appear'd, his sullen face
Distorted by a sour grimace,
With malice were his eyes inflam'd;
"I defy Ceres," he exclaim'd.
"Expose me then, expose me not,
"I'll buy your stores, and let them rot.
"See here!" then with malicious look,
Both hands he rais'd, and purses shook.
        Ceres, with a generous smile,
Said--"Peasants, let the wretch revile;
"The wicked thrive but for a day,
"Riches make wings and fly away;
"Let him commit what crimes he durst,
"And when his o'er-cram'd bags shall burst,
"Ceres shall flourish without end,
"And be to rich and poor a friend."


Page 184

        Avarice, hearing this prediction,
Thought it not altogether fiction,
Went to rest, new mischief planning,
Dream'd of halters and of hanging.


MORAL.

The wicked flourish for a time,
But oft are punish'd in their prime;
Some drag a wretched load of years,
With added burthen, cares, and fears.


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Page 185

FABLE XXXVIII.

The Owl, the Nightingale, and the
Eagle.

A NIGHTINGALE on hawthorn spray,
Pour'd her melodious plaintive lay.
An aged oak, whose branches threw
A pleasing gloom, was close in view,
And shelter to an owl bestow'd,
From whose rough throat harsh discord flow'd.
Neither side gave marks of favor,
Each call'd t'other noisy neighbour;
And whensoe'er they chanc'd to meet,
With malice were they both replete.


Page 186

The Nightingale sang all the night;
The Owl he hooted it downright,
And deem'd it was a shameful thing
A bird should sit all night and sing;
While t'other thought it equal breach
Of manners, for to stand and screech.
But those which are the most in fault,
Are often loudest in retort;
Like ill-assorted men and wives,
Who lead uncomfortable lives.
        'Midst rocks and cliffs, secure retreat,
An Eagle long maintain'd his seat,
But from his brethren insults met,
He could not pardon nor forget.
Thus he in wrath forsook the place,
And bade adieu to all the race;
Many a weary league he past,
Then rested on a ship's topmast;
Here and there the sailors ran,
All wish'd to take him, to a man;


Page 187

And many in the ardent hope
To catch him, scrambled up a rope;
But all their scrambling would not do,
When they got nigh him, off he flew,
And cut his passage thro' the air
Many a mile, he knew not where.
For objects searching, at length sees
The verdant land, the spreading trees;
At last he spy'd the lofty oak,
Of which has been already spoke,
There dropping on the topmost branch,
Resolv'd no creature should advance.
        The Nightingale with fear now shook.
The Owl, no boldness in his look,
Remark'd the circumstance was new,
Unpleasant, and was dangerous too;
In such a case their should be peace,
And hop'd their enmity would cease.
        The Eagle thought it best to roam,
Nor try to find his food near home;


Page 188

Thus never offer'd to assail
The Owl, nor yet the Nightingale;
Who said--"Altho' a bird of prey,
"He may be gentle in his way;
"And could we gain him for a friend,
"It may be wisest in the end.
"Thus, an experiment to try,
"Suppose into the oak I fly,
"And as he silent sits aloft,
"Sing a strain melodious soft,
"Which may some tenderness impart,
"And soothe his hard obdurate heart."
        The plan was try'd. The Eagle swore
By Jupiter,--could he do more?
They need no danger apprehend,
He rather wish'd to be their friend;
Offended by his proper race,
If kind, they should supply their place.
Thus not assaulting one the other,
Malice nor rage had they to smother,


Page 189

Altho' they were of diff'rent tribes,
To gen'ral kindness each subscribes;
And thus in a contented state,
Liv'd free from discord, strife, and hate.


MORAL.

Contentment, to retain at home,
Drive Discord from the social dome,
Whether paternal friendly ties,
Or connubial, it is wise.


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Page 191

FABLE XXXIX.

The Woodmen and the Grasshopper.

TWO men were at the same employ;
One had a mind attun'd to joy,
The other, wheresoe'er he went,
The emblem seem'd of discontent.
England's pride, the lofty oak,
Which now resounded to their stroke,
Engag'd their time, but left the mind
Reflections suited to it's kind;
Each gave the well-aim'd steady stroke,
But one nor t'other frequent spoke;
In silence work'd the gloomy man,
Unless his thoughts on mischief ran;


Page 192

The other's words, devoid of art,
Flow'd freely from an honest heart,
But wasted on his comrade rude;
From converse, pleasure small ensu'd.
        The light Grasshopper passing by,
Chirp'd, and sat up his little cry.
The mal-content, with sullen air,
Cry'd--"What do you do squeaking there?
"Gaffer, what think you of that thing,
"What use is he, unless to sing?"
        "Use!" cry'd the other, "where's your sense?
"Go, and demand of Providence."
        The pliant insect thro' the air
Sprang, and alighted here and there,
Regardless both of wrong and right,
Settled too near the crabbed wight,
Who not little was offended,
Therefore shamefully descended
To aim a stroke, and cry'd--"I fegs!
"I'll have the short'ning of your legs!


Page 193

"And luck you'll have if you escape."
        "He'll not hurt you in any shape,"
The good and feeling Swain reply'd,
"So mind your work, and let him bide.
"His legs, I trow, are as they ought;
"He did na make un long or short.
"Life is a road, I've heard folks say,
"Where some must work and others play;
"But 'tis the duty of each man,
"To pass on quiet if he can:
"So let the little thing slip by,
"Nor watch him with an evil eye."
        The object of the man's dispute
Try'd, but could be no longer mute
Thus boldly did the little sprite
Pretend to set the great ones right:
        "Too minute for contemplation,
"Are some objects in creation;
"Some from hugeness are tremendous--
"Who dare judge of the stupendous?


Page 194

"But all is on the proper plan,
"The insect small, and large the man.
"Cease then, friend, your observation,
"False conclusions on creation,
"Ev'ry thing that's placed here,
"I trust is in it's proper sphere:
"Altho' I idly set and chirp,
"You cannot say that I usurp;
"You have a nobler task assign'd,
"Go, act the part by Heav'n design'd."


MORAL.

Those who have Reason for their guide,
Should but indulge one kind of pride;
Not in asserting they excel,
But proving it, by acting well;
Not judging free of Nature's plan,
Which is beyond the pow'rs of man.
Grateful, what Heaven gives receive,
The rest unto it's goodness leave.


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Page 195

FABLE XL.

The Fox and neglected Friends.

A FOX , like any other rogue,
Was pleasant, and was much in vogue;
No fierce beast bid him defiance,
All were glad of his alliance;
For great and small, with kindness fraught,
Most eagerly his friendship sought.
        The Lion said--"Believe me thine;
"When your strength fails, accept of mine."
        "And," said the Horse, "if, Sir, you be
"Accused, please to send for me;
"For so respected is my name,
" 'Twill readily restore your fame."


Page 196

        "Sir," said the Cow, "I humbly think,
" 'Twill do you good my milk to drink."
"And," cry'd the Sheep, "my wool is warm;
"Should you be sick, 'twill do no harm."
        He thank'd them, nodding with his head--
The careless knave had nearly said--
"My strength and pow'r I highly prize,
"And all your offers I despise;
"D' ye think that I'm a grov'ling elf,
"Not all-sufficient of myself?"
Now vice he courts, and advice shuns,
        Into all sort of danger runs,
Till in a trap he rueful begs
Compassion for his broken legs,
And in a wild half angry tone,
Laments his suff'rings all alone:--
"Oh! if the Lion's strength would snap
"The iron of this cruel trap!--
"Oh! if the Horse would but afford,
"To some kind creature, one good word!--


Page 197

"Oh! I grow faint--and gladly now
"Could drink a drop from that good Cow!--
"I shiver like a tremb'ling fool--
"Where is the Sheep that offer'd wool?
"There's not a single creature nigh,
"And very shortly I must die."
        By chance the Lion pass'd that way,
And saw in what distress he lay.
He spoke, and said--"My blood it boils
"To see a friend caught in the toils,
"Such might have been my very case,
"And I now suff'ring in his place.
"You do not merit, my good friend,
"To come to this untimely end;
"You've not deserv'd a fate like this."
        "Ah!" Renard cry'd, "you judge amiss;
"I have been cruel, false, and vain,
"And own I well deserve this pain.
"Value receiv'd I've had, 'tis true,
"And now am paying what is due."


Page 198

        "This," said the Lion, "is too much;
"Your pain, and your remorse is such,
"The trap shall in one moment be
"To atoms crush'd, and you set free."
        "To see you, Sir, so near my side,
"Relieves me much," the Fox reply'd.
"But, Sir,----" he faulter'd, wanting breath,
A sigh profound proclaim'd his death.


MORAL.

Thus, when ostentatious Pride
The hand of Friendship doth deride,
Solicitation comes too late,
Our doom is fix'd, and seal'd our fate.


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Page 199

FABLE XLI.

The Lion and his Cub.

GIVE not your son the reins to guide,
Who's led by mad ambitious pride;
Howe'er impatient, let him wait,
Nor be spectator of his fate.
While on your faithless prop you bend,
Your silver hairs shall lack a friend;
Your sight, tho' weak, you'll wish was gone,
Rather than see a guilty son.
        A LION , of demeanor grave,
Watch'd at the mouth of his lone cave.
A full grown Cub, bold, ill inclin'd,
Of manners rough, imperious mind,


Page 200

Filled with wrath, address'd his Sire,
His eyes half flashing flames of fire:
"Ne'er," he cry'd, "shall cease my wonder,
"While your roar exceeds the thunder,
"And ruling all, in might so great,
"That you assume not proper state.
"Believe me, when I fill your place,
"I'll shew a very diff'rent face;
"For lenity, I'll not be fam'd,
"But all shall tremble when I'm nam'd."
        The Lion said--"Consider, Son,
"Power is given, seldom won;
"There's other beasts, are no less strong,
"To whom such power does not belong.
"Stirring up foes, we gain no ends,
"But lose our steady truest friends.
"Crowns are granted by permission,
"And the people's tame submission.
"Look round, you'll see all those in place
"Shrink at dishonour and disgrace.


Page 201

"So, Son, your wanton rage restrain,
" 'Twill spare an age of grief and pain."
        The Cub, impatient, made reply--
"Then let me practice ere you die;
"Give me experience, so I'll learn
"Knowledge, and shall the truth discern;
"Shall see my errors, change my schemes,
"Which you regard as airy dreams:
"But I'll exalt still more my name,
"And on those dreams I'll build my fame."
        "Well, Son," the Lion said, "I doubt--
"But my best wish you're not without;
"So take the government, and prove
"Yourself right worthy of my love."
        The liberated heir sat out:
He rang'd, he roved, he tore about;
All his commands must be obey'd.
Some brutes seem'd angry, some afraid;
Many he slaughter'd to devour,
And many fell to prove his power.


Page 202

A Tyger came, the carnage found
As it lay welt'ring on the ground;
Hunger forbade him to explore
The truth, till he could eat no more;
Which done, he cry'd--"A wanton treat!
"Wretch, destroy more than thou canst eat!
"Commences thus thy tyrant reign?
"Thou shall ne'er do the like again;
"I'll free the forest from a knave,
"Who has no wish but to enslave."
        Thus, fiercely leaping on his side,
He tore him down, and quick he dy'd,


MORAL.

From envy and impatience, learn
That each must wait to take his turn:
Then, even then, of pride beware,
For insolence all will not bear.
To be superior, gain your ends
By making, not by losing friends.


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Page 203

FABLE XLII.

The Hares and the Stag.

THE burthen fitted to the back,
Who can deny, altho' a hack?
Yet from the peasant to the 'squire,
And by gradations go still higher,
If thought of change we entertain,
'Tis quickly given up again.
        Two HARES were sitting tête à tête,
Apparently in high debate:
One cry'd--"We never shall agree,
"But if you chang'd, what would you be?"
"Beyond a doubt," the other said,
"A Stag, with horns upon my head."


Page 204

        A man just then was passing by,
Whose wife was frail, and very shy--
"If you think horns so mighty fine,
"Friend," murmur'd he, "you may have mine."
        "Where are they then?" reply'd the Hare,
Casting his eyes behind to stare;
And both Hares turn'd towards the spot,
They saw the man, but horns saw not;
His agitation was so great,
It shew'd his mind's disorder'd state.
        A sigh preceded his reply:--
"At Doctors' Commons there they lie;
"I'd give a thousand pounds, or two,
"That ev'ry creature saw like you:
"But man, by looking in my face,
"Knows well the cause of my disgrace."
        All this desultory discourse
Might still have lasted, but a horse,
Alas! there was the huntsman too,
And all the yelping pack in view.


Page 205

        The Hares sat off upon the prance,
And led the dogs a curious dance;
Yet t'escape had no pretence,
Had not a Stag just leap'd his fence,
Hares may return from whence they came,
When once in view a nobler game.
Thus was the Stag an hour pursu'd,
Till ruthless hounds his blood imbue'd.
        The Hares, who from a neighb'ring hill
Beheld what pass'd, sat wond'rous still,
And softly one to t'other said--
"The Stag with horns upon his head
"Is not so safe as you and me,
"Which proves how foolish wishes be:
"The dogs left us, the Stag to chace,
"Or we had suffer'd in his place.
"That oft is best which least we prize;
"Then wish not to increase your size;
"That you are small, esteem good luck,
"The biggest mark is soonest struck.


Page 206

"And man himself, you see complain'd
"Of some great evil he sustain'd.
"But as to horns, 'tis very true,
"I saw them not, no more than you:
" 'Twas apparent he despis'd them;
"You lack'd judgment when you priz'd them."
        The Hare, who found he'd all along
Egregiously been in the wrong,
Said--"I see now extremely plain,
"Just what one is, one should remain;
"What we have not, we can't compare;
"And what we have, we learn to bear.
"I'll not complain, nor will I brag,
"Or wish again to be a Stag."


MORAL.

Oft we reverse a happy lot,
By not enjoying what we've got.
And those who envy most excite,
Ask them, they'll say, all is not right.


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Page 207

FABLE XLIII.

The Cow and the Bear.

THOSE who look for approbation,
Must relinquish affectation:
For to the merit we possess,
It doth not add, but makes it less;
And those who think they act the best,
Are frequently a public jest.
        A BEAR was drag'd about the street,
And people always stopp'd to see't;
When rais'd upon his hinder paws,
He gain'd both money and applause;
First retreating, then advancing,
Some resemblance bore to dancing.


Page 208

Thus was he follow'd by a crew
Of idle folks who'd nought to do.
        A Cow with envy stood to stare:--
"If a poor mean and shaggy Bear,"
She cry'd, "can please to this degree,
"What will the people think of me?
"How readily will they allow
"Superior merit in a Cow!"
        So off she bounc'd, and vaulting high,
It seem'd as if she meant to fly;
But her unweildy prancing pace
Was without any marks of grace;
All the spectators that she had,
Thought probably she was run mad:
Some thought it quite unsafe to stay,
And some disgusted walk'd away.
        A Cow-boy drove her home with scorn,
Rapping her smartly on the horn;
While from afar, more modest kine,
Who saw her vain attempts to shine,


Page 209

Feeling no grief at her disgrace,
Look'd with derision in her face.


MORAL.

Thus, those whom vanity betrays,
Censures obtain instead of praise,
Lose th' applause, which might been given,
And from society are driven.


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[illustration]


Page 211

FABLE XLIV.

The Man and the Pointer.

'TWOULD really almost vex the saints,
To hear each creature make complaints.
        The Snail lamented, he, alack!
Carried his house upon his back;
And who could ever rest content,
That under such a burthen bent!
        The Lark, who heard him, said--"I swear
" 'Tis good to have a house to bear;
"For in the fields, the whole year round,
"My resting-place is on the ground."
        "And what of that," reply'd the Crow,
"Your happiness you do not know:


Page 212

"My nest upon the high tree top,
"It rocks, it shakes, as if 't would drop;
"And when the storm alarms us all,
"You're safe, and can no lower fall."
        The Linnet said--" 'Tis fine to preach,
"When you are safe and out of reach:
"What boy can mount to take your young,
"Or ever heeds your clam'rous tongue?
"Notes like mine entice each stranger;
"Pleasing most, am most in danger."
        A Partridge, springing from the corn,
Fan'd the air on wings up borne,
Attentive, in a trembling state,
She heard the querulous debate:--
"Alas!" she cry'd, "if it were true,
"That I were less admir'd than you,
"I should not at this moment shake,
"And feel my throbbing heart to ache:
"Men like your music, soft and chaste;
"But me alas! they love to taste:


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"Triumphant not, but sad my boast,
"For could I sing, I should not roast."
        A Pointer cry'd--"The ills I bear,
"Still more severe and deeper are;
"Blows I get,--and for reproaches,--
"Safer is the wretch that poaches:
"I scent the birds, I mark the game,
"My master kills not, yet the blame
"Lighteth on me, tho' cause there's none.
"Then fly, nor fear his harmless gun,
"Which, in spite of his endeavour,
"Ne'er will hurt a single feather:
"I should rejoice to see you free,
"Altho' he vent his spleen on me."
        Now the bird, in firm reliance,
Sprang, and bid the man defiance.
        "Who," cries the Gunner, "can bear this?
"I fire too late and ever miss:


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"Pointer, by thee I am misled,
"The mischief fall upon thy head.
"In scale of beings, foremost Man,
"Yet disturbed in ev'ry plan;
"With honors, power, and with wealth,
"Wretched, from creatures like yourself."


MORAL.

Thus Man, who ever most enjoys,
Keenest invective oft employs.


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[illustration]


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FABLE XLV.

The sick Lady, Nature, and the Doctor.

BELINDA , in a languid way,
Reclin'd on satin sofa lay,
Her handmaid, Nature, standing by,
Gave animation for her eye,
And try'd, in ev'ry way she could,
A score of pranks to do her good.
        Belinda was a friend to art,
She lov'd it dearly at her heart;
The rose and lilly on her cheek
Declar'd it, tho' she did not speak:
Thus was a Doctor called in;
And not the most uncommon thing


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Could happen in the universe,
The Lady ev'ry day grew worse.
        Nature, the malady, and Art,
Each perform'd their separate part;
The dart of Death, among them all,
Seem'd ev'ry hour as if 'twould fall,
And while they bandy'd it about,
The malady almost wore out.
        Nature and Art strove not in vain,
The Lady was restor'd again.
Her health establish'd, each now feel
Separate interest and zeal,
Both aspir'd to wear the laurel,
Prize well worthy of a quarrel;
For Art nor Nature could endure
To lose the honor of the cure,
Each seem'd to each to bear a grudge,
Belinda was herself to judge:
She said--"To set the matter right,
"I like the Doctor--my delight


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"Was thinking he would soon appear,
"And watching when the hour drew near;
"So, from the pleasure I deriv'd,
"I really think that I surviv'd;
"Thus the Doctor, more than Nature,
"I esteem my preservator."
        Nature reply'd--"Then, it is clear,
"Since you confess the Doctor's dear;
"And nothing truly is more sure,
"That love alone perform'd your cure:
"And can you any way dispute,
"That Nature did not lead you to 't?
"As you please relate the story,
"Full on me redounds the glory."


MORAL.

When Truth is hid, or in disguise,
We give assent to many lies;
The veil remove, and see her face,
You form right judgment on the case.


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[illustration]


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FABLE XLVI.

The Snake and the Toad.

IF folks of fashion sometimes jar,
And tell each other what they are,
With threat'ning air, insulting mien,
No wonder reptiles should be seen
Ranc'rous to attack the other,
Hate incompetent to smother.
        THUS once, with glossy sides, a Snake,
Creeping in quiet from the brake,
Pursu'd his straight and ready road,
Till intercepted by a Toad;
And as we often have our way
Contested, in like manner they,


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Tho' large and wide the country round,
Boldly maintain their inch of ground.
        With anger swell'd, the Toad began.
And thus his fierce invective ran:--
"Curse of mankind, I bid thee flee;
"Shall I give up the way to thee?
"A creature I survey with rage,
"Whose deeds stand forth in holy page;
"A creature all mankind detest."
        "Stop," cry'd the Snake, and rear'd his crest,
His crest, all lovely to behold,
Streaked with green and ting'd with gold:
"All that to me thou dar'st impute,
"I give a ready answer to 't;
"Despising much a thing like thee,--
"Who could tempt Eve, unless 'twas me?
"I alone had power, address,
"Skill, beauty, cunning,--then confess."
        Confession now, harangue, abuse,
No longer were of any use.


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        A Gard'ner with his spade appeared:
The Snake no more his crest upreared;
The Toad no more was heard to scoff,
But sullenly was crawling off,
Till sudden the sharp spade divides
From tail to head his bloated sides;
The Snake in writhing angles glides,
But the same mischief him betides.
        "Cunning reptile," cried the Man,
"If I strike true, your race is ran."
Three times he struck, nor struck in vain,
Three shiv'ring pieces met again,
But trying vainly to unite,
Sunk with the Toad in endless night


MORAL.

Our rage and malice oft prevent
The good on which we might be bent,


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Blinding us to opening ruin,
Leaving us to our undoing.
Thus had the Toad and Snake pass'd by,
Incurring not the keen reply,
Each to his hiding-place had crept,
Where he might quietly have slept.


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[illustration]


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FABLE XLVII.

The half-reclaimed Fox.

RENARD nocturnal visits made,
Stealing in silence o'er the glade,
To poultry walks, and paths that led
To barn doors where the chickens fed,
Eating each time a hen or duck,
According to his choice or luck.
        Like other knaves who meet success,
He soon grew guilty of excess,
Nor stopp'd, till gins and traps were laid,--
A sad embargo on his trade.--
Yet cautiously he now and then,
Lur'd by the chuckling of a hen,--


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Who to a distance slyly stray'd
To form a nest, her noise betray'd,--
Triumph'd still more, to make a prey
In the broad open face of day;
Counting the higher danger's charg'd,
The more the pleasure is enlarg'd.
But meals diminish'd--strange to tell--
Seem'd to agree with him as well
As gorging hastily each night
His o'er-charg'd stomach in a fright.
        Another Fox that had been scar'd,
Met him, and ask'd him how he far'd.
        "Far'd?" reply'd Renard, "not amiss:
"But, friend, I have discover'd this,--
"We all are greedy after food,
"And eat much more than does us good;
"Whole nights my eyes I ne'er could close,
"But now I sleep in calm repose,
"Taking quiet what's presented,
"And if little, am contented."


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"Then you're informed," the friend reply'd,
"That traps and guns are laid aside;
"The coast has been a long time clear,
"And all that like it may go near."
        "Indeed," cry'd Renard; "what a fool!--
"Why then I need not live by rule;
"No cause to run, except in chace;--
"I'll go and just survey the place."
        So when night came, he rambled there,--
Warn'd not by caution of a snare,--
Thinking to make a good repast,
He had one, but it prov'd his last.
Returning, stumbling o'er a gin,
His fate it was to tumble in,
Where, with groans, he thus lamented:--
"Temperance with thee contented,
"Having once drawn the line, and seen
"The diff'rence wrong and right between,


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"The little pleasure could be had
"From actions that are truly bad;
"Why rush on Death, so unprepar'd?
"To make a meal could well been spar'd."


MORAL.

We may by care, ere 'tis too late,
Be the self-guardian of our fate;
By vigilance and wise retreat,
Escape the dangers that we meet:
Shun then temptation, watch the hour
When ills rush forward to devour.


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[illustration]


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FABLE XLVIII.

The Children and the Bees.

FOLLY sometimes, and sometimes fear,
Shews matters in a light unclear;
What is not rightly understood,
May pass for either bad or good.
Thus may a transient golden gleam
To folly give a pleasing dream,
Persuade, what's sought, we may obtain
Our pleasures unalloy'd with pain;
Whilst fear will make us idly run
From what we have no cause to shun.
        THE sun was bright, and clear the day,
While harmless children were at play,


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Spending their jocund guileless hours,
Selecting little weeds and flowers.
        Some Bees amidst the herbage lurk'd,
And while the children play'd, they work'd;
Fear seiz'd on all the infant crew,
Soon as the dismal tale they knew;
Deserted was the pleasant spot,
Where all their sorrows were forgot,
And--"Kill the Bees, they'll sting us all!"
Was then the universal squall.
One Bee advanc'd,--I do not mean
To say it was the lawful queen,--
She vainly try'd t' appease their fears,
By buzzing gently round their ears,
And to calm the little strangers'
Apprehensions of their dangers,
Assur'd them it was really true
That Bees had stings, and sharp ones too;
"But those," she cry'd, "that don't offend,
"Are safe, we never sting a friend:


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"To those kind folks that offer good,
"Who would be cruel if they could?
"Tho' prudence bids us to disarm
"Those who're inclin'd to do us harm.
"Go, and your little playmates tell,
"Honey we give when treated well."


MORAL.

Thus kindness makes new friends, we're told,
And seldom fails to keep the old.


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[illustration]


Page 231

FABLE XLIX.

The Poet and the Horses.

A POET could not well combine
Reason with rhyme, to end his line;
Biting his lip, with angry frown,
He sullenly his pen cast down,
Crying--"The work I will resign,
"And may the Furies take the Nine!"
        Thus, here dropping all preamble,
On his Horse prepar'd to ramble.
Briskly o'er the wild heath pacing,
Health and Pleasure's footsteps tracing,
He freely breath'd the vital air,
Feeling releas'd from pining care.


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Passing the forest, he survey'd
Many a pleasing opening glade:--
"I'll not," said he, "resume my pen,
"But oft pass here to view this glen:
"On none will I depend, not I;
"Nor to please any one will try."
        His Horse stopp'd short; the whip apply'd,
Affected not his stubborn side.
        The Poet said--"You ne'er before
"Refus'd me twenty miles, or more;
"This lazy fit I disapprove,
"And quickly will the cause remove."
Then on his neck he gave a stroke,
Which prov'd it was not done in joke.
        The Horse reply'd--"The lesson's new,
"I got it, Sir, just now from you,
"Who mean to lead a life of ease,
"Which I will follow, if I please;
"Th' example your's and what pretence
"Is there for you to take offence?"


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        A Miller's Horse, with many a sack
Heap'd high and heavy on his back,
Listened as he pass'd along,
And cry'd--"Ye surely both are wrong;
"But if the man will idle be,
"Why let him starve, 'tis nought to thee:
"We mostly are caress'd and fed,
"Often are by our master led;
"You, friend, should make a wiser choice,
"And not at idleness rejoice;
"Employ your time, that it may tend
"To real comfort in the end,
"Which idleness can never do;
"The man's bad plan is nought to you.
"Begging or thieving,--each a trade,
"Only the very worst that's made,--
"Danger and trouble both attend:
"Timely consider then, good friend,
"In poverty, in fear, and strife,
"Your labour is to save your life:


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"My track is mark'd, be your's the same,
"Let's try to trace it void of blame."
        As he mov'd slowly from the spot,
The Poet's Horse began to trot,
And passing by him in a trice,
Said--"Friend, I follow your advice."


MORAL.

Examples being good and bad,
Great attention should be had;
And motives also, true and strong,
Ere we exchange, and it be wrong.


Page 235

THE
AUTHOR'S CONCLUSION

OPEN to the world's predictions
Lays the Writer of these fictions.
For pleasure was the work begun,
Tho' nearly left at last undone,
But adding some small share of pains,
Pleasure at length may turn to gains;
Tho' pains like mine, some Critics may
Remark, in their ill-humour'd way,
Will never praises great ensure,
Nor any mighty sum procure.
Should this prove true, kind Fate has sent
Enough for moderate content.


Page 236

The hope to which inclines my heart,
Is, if not all, at least some part,
Of these my labours may produce
Hints, which to Youth may be of use;
And that it gain some approbation
In honor to my dedication.

FINIS W. Calvert, Printer, 24, Great Shire-lane, Temple-bar.



Page [237]


Page [238]

TO THE BOOKBINDER.

Place the Frontispiece opposite the whole Title.

Place the Cuts opposite each Fable, according to the corresponding number of the Fable, not as to the Folio of the Page.

You are particularly desired not to beat the Book too soon.