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Likeness appears in every lineament;
THE COCK AND THE FOX:
OR, THE TALE OF THE NUN'S PRIEST. A nobler beauty in thy piece appears.
THERE liv'd, as authors tell, in days of yore,
Since last she laid her husband in the ground,
To bring the year about with much ado. All nations all immunities will give
The cattle in her homestead were three sows, To make you theirs, where'er you please to live; An ewe callid Mallie, and three brinded cows. And not seven cities, but the world would strive. Her parlor-window stuck with herbs around,
Sure some propitious planet then did smile, Of savory smell ; and rushes strew'd the ground. When first you were conducted to this isle :
A maple-dresser in her hall she had, Our genius brought you here, t' enlarge our fame: On which full many a slender meal she made ; For your good stars are everywhere the same. For no delicious morsel pass'd her throat; Thy matchless hand, of every region free,
According to her cloth she cut her coat: Adopts our climate, not our climate thee.
No poignant sauce she knew, nor costly treat,
Before the day was done, her work she sped,
If yet thou hast not reach'd their high degree, Her dancing was not hinder'd by the gout. 'Tis only wanting to this age, not thee.
Her poverty was glad; her heart content; Thy genius, bounded by the times, like mine, Nor knew she what the spleen or vapors meant. Drudges on petty draughts, nor dare design
Of wine she never tasted through the year, A more exalted work, and more divine.
But white and black was all her homely cheer: For what a song, or senseless opera,
Brown bread, and milk, (but first she skimm'd her Is to the living labor of a play;
bowls) Or what a play to Virgil's work would be, And rashers of sing'd bacon on the coals. Such is a single piece to history.
On holy-days an egg, or two at most ; But we, who life bestow, ourselves must live : But her ambition never reach'd to roast. Kings cannot reign, unless their subjects give : A yard she had with pales inclos'd about, And they, who pay the taxes, bear the rule: Some high, some low, and a dry ditch without. Thus, thou, sometimes, art forc'd to draw a fool : Within this homestead, liv'd, without a peer, But so his follies in thy posture sink,
For crowing loud, the noble Chanticleer; The senseless idiot seems at last to think.
So hight her cock, whose singing did surpass Good Heaven! that sots and knaves should be so The merry notes of organs at the mass. vain,
More certain was the crowing of the cock To wish their vile resemblance may remain! To number hours, than is an abbey-clock; And stand recorded, at their own request,
And sooner than the matin-bell was rung, To future days, a libel or a jest!
He clapp'd his wings upon his roost, and sung: Else should we see your noble pencil trace For when degrees fifteen ascended right, Our unities of action, time, and place:
By sure instinct he knew 'twas one at night. A whole compos'd of parts, and those the best, High was his comb, and coral red withal, With every various character exprest;
In dents embattled like a castle wall; Heroes at large, and at a nearer view :
His bill was raven-black, and shone like jet ; Less, and at distance, an ignobler crew.
Blue were his legs, and orient were his feet: While all the figures in one action join,
White were his nails, like silver to behold, As tending to complete the main design.
His body glittering like the burnish'd gold. More cannot be by mortal art exprest ;
This gentle cock, for solace of his life, But venerable age shall add the rest,
Six misses had, besides his lawful wife; For Time shall with his ready pencil stand; Scandal, that spares no king, though ne'er so good, Retouch your figures with his ripening hand; Says, they were all of his own flesh and blood, Mellow your colors, and embrown the teint; His sisters both by sire and mother's side ; Add every grace, which Time alone can grant; And sure their likeness show'd them near allied. To future ages shall your fame convey,
But make the worst, the monarch did no more And give more beauties than he takes away. Than all the Ptolemys had done before :
When incest is for interest of a nation,
Bui passing this, as from our tale apart,
How dar'st thou tell thy dame thou art affear'd ? Dame Partlet was the sovereign of his heart : Hast thou no manly heart, and hast a beard ? Ardent in love, outrageous in his play,
" If aught from fearful dreams may be divin’d, He feather d her a hundred times a day :
They signify a cock of dunghill kind. And she, that was not only passing fair,
All dreams, as in old Galen I have read, But was withal discreet, and debonnaire,
Are from repletion and complexion bred ; Resolvid the passive doctrine to fulfil,
From rising fumes of indigested food, Though loth ; and let him work his wicked will: And noxious humors that infect the blood : At board and bed was affable and kind,
And sure, my lord, if I can read aright,
Are certain symptoms (in the canting style)
Engenders all these visionary thoughts.
Red dragons, and red beasts, in sleep we view,
And wasps and hornets with their double wings. But, Oh! what joy it was to hear him sing Choler adust congeals our blood with fear, In summer, when the day began to spring,
Then black bulls toss us, and black devils tear. Stretching his neck, and warbling in his throat, In sanguine airy dreams aloft we bound, “ Solus cum sola," then was all his note.
With rheums oppress'd we sink, in rivers drown'd. For in the days of yore, the birds of parts
“ More I could say, but thus conclude my theme, Were bred to speak, and sing, and learn the liberal The dominating humor makes the dream. arts.
Cato was in his time accounted wise, It happ'd, that, perching on the parlor-beam And he condemns them all for empty lies. Amidst his wives, he had a deadly dream, Take my advice, and when we fly to ground, Just at the dawn; and sigh'd, and groan'd so fast, With laxatives preserve your body sound, As every breath he drew would be his last.
And purge the peccant humors that abound. Dame Partlet, ever nearest to his side,
I should be loth to lay you on a bier ; Heard all his piteous moan, and how he cried And though there lives no 'pothecary near, For help from gods and men: and sore aghast I dare for once prescribe for your disease, She peck'd and pull'd, and waken'd him at last. And save long bills, and a damn'd doctor's fees. * Dear heart," said she, “ for love of Heaven, declare Two sovereign herbs, which I by practice Your pain, and make me partner of your care.
know, You groan, sir, ever since the morning-light, And both at hand (for in our yard they grow ;) As something had disturb'd your noble spright." On peril of my soul shall rid you wholly
* And, madam, well I might,” said Chanticleer, of yellow choler, and of melancholy: Never was shrovetide cock in such a fear; You must both purge and vomit; but obey, Ev'n still I run all over in a sweat,
And for the love of Heaven make no delay. My princely senses not recover'd yet.
Since hot and dry in your complexion join, For such a dream I had of dire portent,
Beware the Sun when in a vernal sign;
For when he mounts exalted in the Ram,
Replete with choler, I dare lay a groat,
A day or two before your laxative,
Your father's son was never born to fear." “Now fy for shame," quoth she, “ by Heaven above, Madam," quoth he, “gramercy for your care, Thou hast for ever lost thy lady's love;
But Cato, whom you quoted, you may spare: No woman can endure a recreant knight,
'Tis true, a wise and worthy man he seems, He must be bold by day, and free by night: And (as you say) gave no belief to dreams. Our sex desires a husband or a friend,
But other men of more authority, Who can our honor and his own defend;
And, by th' immortal powers, as wise as he, Wise, hardy, secret, liberal of his purse:
Maintain, with sounder sense, that dreams forebode; A fool is nauseous, but a coward worse :
For Homer plainly says they come from God.
“ Believe me, madam, morning dreams foreshow Ye magistrates, who sacred laws dispense, Th'event of things, and future weal or woe : On you I call, to punish this offence.' Some truths are not by reason to be tried,
“The word thus given, within a little space, But we have sure experience for our guide. The mob came roaring out, and throng'd the place An ancient author, equal with the best,
All in a trice they cast the cart to ground, Relates this tale of dreams among the rest. And in the dung the murder'd body found ;
“ Two friends or brothers, with devout intent, Though breathless, warm, and reeking from the On some far pilgrimage together went.
wound. It happen'd so, that, when the Sun was down, Good Heaven, whose darling attribute we find They just arriv'd by twilight at a town:
Is boundless grace, and mercy to mankind, That day had been the baiting of a bull,
Abhors the cruel ; and the deeds of night 'Twas at a feast, and every inn so full,
By wondrous ways reveals in open light: That no void room in chamber, or on ground, Murder may pass unpunish'd for a time, And but one sorry bed, was to be found :
But tardy Justice will o'ertake the crime. And that so little it would hold but one,
And oft a speedier pain the guilty feels : Though till this hour they never lay alone. The hue and cry of Heaven pursues him at the heels:
“So were they forc'd to part; one stay'd behind, Fresh from the fact, as in the present case, His fellow sought what lodging he could find : The criminals are seiz’d upon the place : At last he found a stall where oxen stood,
Carter and host confronted face to face. And that he rather chose than lie abroad.
Stiff in denial, as the law appoints, "Twas in a farther yard without a door;
On engines they distend their tortur'd joints : But, for his ease, well litter'd was the floor. So was confession forc'd, th' offence was known,
" His fellow, who the narrow bed had kept, And public justice on th' offenders done. Was weary, and without a rocker slept :
" Here may you see that visions are to dread; Supine he snor'd; but in the dead of night, And in the page that follows this, I read He dreamt his friend appear'd before his sight, Of two young merchants, whom the hope of gain Who, with a ghastly look and dolesul cry,
Induc'd in partnership to cross the main. Said, “Help me, brother, or this night I die : Waiting till willing winds their sails supplied, Arise, and help, before all help be vain,
Within a trading town they long abide, Or in an ox's stall I shall be slain.'
Full fairly situate on a haven's side ; “ Rous'd from his rest, he waken'd in a start, One evening it befell, that looking out, Shivering with horror, and with aching heart. The wind they long had wish'd was come about : At length to cure himself by reason tries ; Well pleas’d they went to rest; and if the gale "Tis but a dream, and what are dreams but lies ? Till morn continued, both resolv'd to sail. So thinking, chang'd his side, and clos'd his eyes. But as together in a bed they lay, His dream returns; his friend appears again : The younger had a dream at break of day. • The murderers come, now help, or I am slain :' A man he thought stood frowning at his side ; "Twas but a vision still, and visions are but vain. Who warnd him for his safety to provide, He dreamt the third: but now his friend appear'd, Nor put to sea, but safe on shore abide. Pale, naked, pierc'd with wounds, with blood be- I come, thy genius, to command thy stay; smear'd:
Trust not the winds, for fatal is the day, Thrice warn'd, Awake,' said he ; relief is late, And Death unhop'd attends the watery way.' The deed is done ; but thou revenge my fate : “ The vision said : and vanish'd from his sight: Tardy of aid, unseal thy heavy eyes,
The dreamer waken'd in a mortal fright: Awake, and with the dawning day arise :
Then pull'd his drowsy neighbor, and declar'd Take to the western gate thy ready way,
What in his slumber he had seen and heard. For by that passage they my corpse convey :
His friend smil'd scornful, and with proud contempl My corpse is in a tumbril laid, among
Rejects as idle what his fellow dreamt. The filth and ordure, and inclos'd with dung: Stay, who will stay: for me no fears restrain, That cart arrest, and raise a common cry ; Who follow Mercury the god of gain; For sacred hunger of my gold, I die :'
Let each man do as to his fancy seems, Then show'd his grisly wound; and last he drew I wait not, I, till you have better dreams. A piteous sigh, and took a long adieu.
Dreams are but interludes which Fancy makes ;
A mob of cobblers, and a court of kings:
Sometimes forgotten things long cast behind And oft to share the spoils with robbers join'd. Rush forward in the brain, and come to mind. “ His dream confirm'd his thought : with troubled The nurse's legends are for truths receiv'd, look
And the man dreams but what the boy believ'd. Straight to the western gate his way he took ; Sometimes we but rehearse a former play, There, as his dream foretold, a cart he found, The night restores our actions done by day; That carried compost forth to dung the ground. As hounds in sleep will open for their prey. This when the pilgrim saw, he stretch'd his throat, In short, the farce of dreams is of a piece, And cried out murder with a yelling note.
Chimeras all; and more absurd, or less : • My murder'd fellow in this cart lies dead, You, who believe in tales, abide alone ; Vengeance and justice on the villain's head. Whate'er I get this voyage is my own.'
• Thus while he spoke, he heard the shouting crew While thou art constant to thy own true knight, That call'd aboard, and took his last adieu. While thou art mine, and I am thy delight, The vessel went before a merry gale,
All sorrows at thy presence take their flight. And for quick passage put on every sail :
For true it is, as in principio, But when least fear'd, and ev'n in open day, Mulier est hominis confusio. The mischief overtook her in the way:
Madam, the meaning of this Latin is, Whether she sprung a leak, I cannot find, That woman is to man his sovereign bliss. Or whether she was overset with wind,
For when by night I feel your tender side,
Though for the narrow perch I cannot ride,
"By this example you are taught again, He said, and downward flew from off the beam.
Then crowing clapp'd his wings, th' appointed call, “ Kenelm the son of Kenulph, Mercia's king, To chuck his wives together in the hall. Whose holy life the legends loudly sing,
By this the widow had unbarr'd the door, Warn'd in a dream, his murder did foretell
And Chanticleer went strutting out before, From point to point as after it befell;
With royal courage, and with heart so light, All circumstances to his nurse he told
As show'd he scorn'd the visions of the night. (A wonder from a child of seven years old :) Now roaming in the yard he spurn'd the ground, The dream with horror heard, the good old wife And gave to Partlet the first grain he found. From treason counsel'd him to guard his life; Then often feather'd her with wanton play, But close to keep the secret in his mind,
And trod her twenty times ere prime of day: For a boy's vision small belief would find. And took by turns and gave so much delighi, The pious child, by promise bound, obey'd, Her sisters pind with envy at the sight. Nor was the fatal murder long delay'd :
He chuck'd again, when other corns he found, By Quenda slain, he fell before his time,
And scarcely deign’d to set a foot to ground;
And his seven wives came running at his call. Which at your better leisure you may read.
"Twas now the month in which the world began " Macrobius too relates the vision sent
(If March beheld the first created man:) To the great Scipio, with the fam'd event: And since the vernal equinox, the Sun, Objections makes, but after makes replies, In Aries, twelve degrees, or more, had run; And adds, that dreams are often prophecies. When casting up his eyes against the light, “Of Daniel you may read in holy writ,
Both month, and day, and hour, he measur'd right, Who, when the king his vision did forget,
And told more truly than th' Ephemeris : Could word for word the wondrous dream repeal. For Art may err, but Nature cannot miss. Not less of patriarch Joseph understand,
Thus numbering times and seasons in his breast, Who by a dream enslav'd th' Egyptian land, Ilis second crowing the third hour confess'd. 'The years of plenty and of dearth foretold, Then turning, said 10 Partlet,“ See, my dear, When, for their bread, their liberty they sold. How lavish Nature has adorn'd the year; Nor must th' exalted butler be forgot,
How the pale primrose and blue violet spring, Nor he whose dream presag'd his hanging lot. And birds essay their throats, disus'd to sing :
“ And did not Crasus the same death foresee, All these are ours; and I with pleasure see Rais'd in his vision on a lofty tree?
Man strutting on two legs, and aping me:
An unfledg'd creature, of a lumpish frame,
" Much more I know, which I forbear to speak, Than, since I was an egg, I ever found.” For see, the ruddy day begins to break;
The time shall come when Chanticleer shall wish Let this suffice, that plainly I foresee
His words unsaid, and hate his boasted bliss : My dream was bad, and bodes adversity :
The crested bird shall by experience know, But neither pills nor laxatives I like,
Jove made not him his masterpiece below; They only serve to make the well-man sick: And learn the latter end of joy is woe. Of these his gain the sharp physician makes, The vessel of his bliss to dregs is run, And often gives a purge, but seldom takes : And Heaven will have him taste his other tun. They not correct, but poison all the blood,
Ye wise, draw near, and hearken to my tale, And ne'er did any but the doctors good :
Which proves that of the proud by flattery fall : Their tribe, trade, trinkets, I defy them all, The legend is as true, I undertake. With every work of 'pothecary's hall.
As Tristran is, and Launcelot of the lake :
Which all our ladies in such reverence hold,
A fox, full-fraught with seeming sanctity,
That fear'd an oath, but, like the Devil, would lie ; So may my soul have bliss, as, when I spy Who look'd like Lent, and had the holy leer, The scarlet red about thy partridge eye,
And durst not sin before he said his prayer;
This pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood, For women, with a mischief to their kind,
Where at heart's ease he lived; and might have And in his high imagination cast,
been By stratagem to gratify his taste.
As free from sorrow as he was from sin.
Silence in times of suffering is the best,
'Tis dangerous to disturb an hornet's nest. Then skulk'd till afternoon, and watch'd his time, In other authors you may find enough, (As murderers use) to perpetrate his crime. But all they say of dames is idle stuff. O hypocrite, ingenious to destroy,
Legends of lying wits together bound, O traitor, worse than Sinon was to Troy!
The Wife of Bath would throw them to the ground; O vile subverter of the Gallic reign,
These are the words of Chanticleer, not mine, More false than Gano was to Charlemain !
I honor dames, and think their sex divine. . Chanticleer, in an unhappy hour
Now to continue what my tale begun; Didst thou forsake the safety of thy bower: Lay madam Partlet basking in the Sun, Better for thee thou hadst believ'd thy dream, Breast-high in sand: her sisters, in a row, And not that day descended from the beam! Enjoy'd the beams above, the warmth below. But here the doctors eagerly dispute :
The cock, that of his flesh was ever free,
Sung merrier than the mermaid in the sea :
Among the coleworts, on a butterfly,
I need not swear he had no list to crow:
But cried, “Cock, cock!" and gave a sudden start Or its eternal prescience may be vain :
As sore dismay'd and frighted at his heart; As bad for us as prescience had not been,
For birds and beasts, inform'd by Nature, know For first, or last, he's author of the sin.
Kinds opposite to theirs, and fly their foe. And who says that, let the blaspheming man So Chanticleer, who never saw a fox, Say worse ev'n of the Devil, if he can.
Yet shunn'd him as a sailor shuns the rocks. For how can that eternal Power be just
But the false loon, who could not work his will To punish man, who sins because he must ? By open force, employ'd his flattering skill; Or, how can he reward a virtuous deed,
" I hope, my lord,” said he, “ I not offend; Which is not done by us; but first decreed? Are you afraid of me, that am your friend? I cannot bolt this matter to the bran,
I were a beast indeed to do you wrong, As Bradwardin and holy Austin can;
I, who have lov'd and honor'd you so long :
Stay, gentle sir, nor take a false alarm,
To learn the secrets of your soft recess.
Far be from Reynard so profane a thought, Another sort there is conditional.
But by the sweetness of your voice was brought : The first so binds the will, that things foreknown For, as I bid my beads, by chance I heard By spontaneity, not choice, are done.
The song as of an angel in the yard; Thus galley-slaves tug willing at their oar, A song that would bave charm'd th' infernal gods, Content to work, in prospect of the shore ;
And banish'd horror from the dark abodes; But would not work at all, if not constrain'd before. Had Orpheus sung it in the nether sphere, That other does not liberty constrain,
So much the hymn had pleas'd the tyrant's ear, But man may either act, or may refrain.
The wife had been detain'd, to keep the husband Heaven made us agents free to good or ill,
there. And forc'd it not, though he foresaw the will.
My lord, your sire familiarly I knew, Freedom was first bestow'd on human race, A peer deserving such a son as you : And prescience only held the second place. He, with your lady-mother (whom Heaven rest)
If he could make such agents wholly free, Has often grac'd my house, and been my guest : I not dispute, the point's too high for me; (sound, To view his living features, does me good ; For Heaven's unfathom'd power what man can For I am your poor neighbor in the wood; Or put to his Omnipotence a bound?
And in my cottage should be proud to see He made us to his image, all agree;
The worthy heir of my friend's family. That image is the soul, and that must be,
" But since I speak of singing, let me say, Or not the Maker's image, or be free.
As with an upright heart I safely may,
the By nature bound to good, not free to sin,
ground I waive, for fear of splitting on a rock.
One like your father for a silver sound. The tale I tell is only of a cock,
So sweetly would he wake the winter-day, Who had not run the hazard of his life,
That matrons to the church mistook their way, Had he believ'd his dream, and not his wife : And thought they heard the merry organ play