« הקודםהמשך »
For, when the hero we rehearse,
To grace his actions and our verse,
'Tis not by dint of human thought,
That to his Latium he is brought;
Iris descends by Fate's commands,
To guide his steps through foreign lands;
And Amphitrite clears the way
From rocks and quicksands in the sea.
And if you see him in a sketch
(Though drawn by Paulo or Carache),
He shows not half his force and strength,
Strutting in armour, and at length;
That he may take his proper figure,
The piece must yet be four yards bigger.
The nymphs conduct him to the field,
One holds his sword, and one his shield;
Mars standing by asserts his quarrel,
And Fame flies after with a laurel.
These points, I say, of speculation
(As 'twere to save or sink the nation)
Men idly learned will dispute,
Assert, object, confirm, refute;
Each mighty angry, mighty right,
With equal arms sustains the fight;
Till now no umpire can agree 'em:
So both draw off and sing Te Deum.
Is it in equilibrio,
If deities descend or no?
Then let the affirmative prevail,
As requisite to form my tale,
For by all parties 'tis confessed,
That those opinions are the best
Which in their nature most conduce
To present ends, and private use.
Two gods came therefore from above, 53 One Mercury, the other Jove; The humour was, it seems, to know If all the favours viney bestow, Could from our own perverseness ease us; And if our wish enjoyed would please us. Discoursing largely on this theme, O'er hills and dales their godships came; 60 Till, well nigh tired and almost night, They thought it proper to alight. Note here, that it as true as odd is, That in disguise a god or goddess Exerts no supernatural powers, But acts on maxims much like ours. They spied at last a country farm, Where all was snug, and clean, and warm; For woods before and hills behind Secured it both from rain and wind. 70 Large oxen in the fields were lowing: Good grain was sowed; good fruit was growing; Of last year's corn in barns great store; Fat turkeys gobbling at the door; And wealth, in short, with peace consented That people here should live contented. But did they in effect do so? Have patience, friend, and thou shalt know. The honest farmer and his wife, To years declined from prime of life, 80 Had struggled with the marriage noose, As almost every couple does; Sometimes, my plague! sometimes, my darling! Kissing to-day, to-morrow snarling; Jointly submitting to endure That evil, which admits no cure.
Our gods the outward gates unbarred:
Our farmer met them in the yard;
Thought they were folks that lost their way,
And asked them civilly to stay;
Told them, for supper, or for bed
They might go on, and be worse sped.
So said, so done; the gods consent;
All three into the parlour went:
They compliment, they sit, they chat;
Fight o'er the wars, reform the state;
A thousand knotty points they clear,
Till supper and my wife appear.
Jove made his leg, and kissed the dame:
Obsequious Hermes did the same.
Jove kissed the farmer's wife, you say;
He did—but in an honest way.
Oh! not with half that warmth and life
With which he kissed Amphitryon's wife.
Well then, things handsomely were served:
My mistress for the strangers carved.
How strong the beer, how good the meat,
How loud they laughed, how much they eat,
In epic sumptuous would appear;
Yet shall be passed in silence here.
For I should grieve to have it said
That, by a fine description led,
I made my episode too long,
Or tired my friend, to grace my song.
The grace-cup served, the cloth away,
Jove thought it time to show his play;
Landlord and landlady, he cried,
Folly and jesting laid aside,
That ye thus hospitably live,
And strangers with good cheer receive,
Is mighty grateful to your betters,
And makes even gods themselves your debtors:
To give this thesis plainer proof,
You have to-night beneath your roof
A pair of gods—nay, never wonder! .
This youth can fly, and I can thunder!
I'm Jupiter, and he Mercurius,
My page, my son indeed, but spurious.
Form then three wishes, you and madam,
And sure, as you already had 'em,
The things desired in half an hour
Shall all be here, and in your power.
Thank ye, great gods, the woman says,
Oh! may your altars ever blaze;
A ladle for our silver dish -
Is what I want, is what I wish.-
A ladle! cries the man, a ladle!
'Odzooks, Corisca, you have prayed ill;
What should be great, you turn to farce;
I wish the ladle in your a-.
With equal grief and shame my Muse
The sequel of the tale pursues;
The ladle fell into the room,
And stuck in old Corisca's bum.
Our couple weep two wishes past,
And kindly join to form the last;
To ease the woman's awkward pain,
And get the ladle out again.
This commoner has worth and parts,
Is praised for arms, or loved for arts:
His head aches for a coronet:
And who is blessed that is not great?
Some sense, and more estate, kind Heaven 153 To this well-lotted peer has given; What then? he must have rule and sway; And all is wrong, 'till he's in play.
The miser must make up his plum, And dares not touch the hoarded sum; The sickly dotard wants a wife, To draw off his last dregs of life. 160
Against our peace we arm our will: Amidst our plenty, something still For horses, houses, pictures, planting, To thee, to me, to him is wanting. That cruel something unpossessed Corrodes and leavens all the rest. That something, if we could obtain, Would soon create a future pain; And to the coffin, from the cradle, 'Tis all a Wish, and all a Ladle. 170
IN THE BEGINNING OF ROBE's GEOGRAPHY.
Of all that William rules, or Robe
Describes, great Rhea, of thy globe,
When or on post-horse, or in chaise,
With much expense, and little ease,
My destined miles I shall have gone,
By Thames or Maese, by Po or Rhone,
And found no foot of earth my own;
Great Mother, let me once be able
To have a garden, house, and stable;
That I may read, and ride, and plant, 10
Superior to desire, or want;
And as health fails, and years increase,