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Is it in charity you game, To save your worthy gang from shame? Unless you furnish'd daily bread, Which way could idleness be fed 2 Could these professors of deceit Within the law no longer cheat, They must run bolder risks for prey, And strip the traveller on the way. Thus in your annual rents they share, And 'scape the noose from year to year. Consider, ere you make the bet, That sum might cross your taylor's debt. When you the pilfering rattle shake, Is not your honour, too, at stake Must you not by mean lies evade Tomorrow's duns from every trade; By promises so often paid, Is yet your taylor's bill defray'd? Must you not pitifully fawn To have your butcher's writ withdrawn? This must be done. In debts of play, Your honour suffers no delay; And not this year's and next year's rent The sons of rapine can content. Look round, the wrecks of play behold, Estates dismember'd, mortgag’d, sold! Their owners now, to gaols confin'd, Show equal poverty of mind. Some, who the spoil of knaves were made, Too late attempt to learn their trade. Some, for the folly of one hour, Become the dirty tools of power; And, with the mercenary list, Upon court charity subsist. You'll find at last this maxim true, Fools are the game which knaves pursue. The forest (a whole century's shade) Must be one wasteful ruin made: No mercy's shown te age or kind; The general massacre is sign'd. The park, too, shares the dreadful fate, For duns grow louder at the gate. Stern clowns, obedient to the 'squire, (What will not barbarous hands for hire?) With brawny arms repeat the stroke; Fall'n are the elm and reverend oak. Through the long wood loud axes sound, And Echo groans with every wound. To see the desolation spread, Pan drops a tear, and hangs his head: His bosom now with fury burns; Beneath his hoof the dice he spurns. Cards, too, in peevish passion torn, The sport of whirling winds are borne. “To snails inveterate hate I bear, Who spoil the verdure of the year; The caterpillar I detest, The blooming Spring's voracious pest; The locust, too, whose ravenous band Spreads sudden famine o'er the land. But what are these? the dice's throw At once hath laid a forest low. The cards are dealt, the bet is made, And the wide park hath lost its shade. Thus is my kingdom's pride defac'd, And all its ancient glories waste. All this” (he cries) “is Fortune's doing : *Tis thus she meditates my ruin. By Fortune, that false, fickle jade, More havock in one hour is made,
Than all the hungry insect race,
FABLE-XIII. plurus, cupin, AND Trve.
Of all the burthens man must bear, Time seems most galling and severe: Beneath this grievous load oppress'd, We daily meet some friend distress'd. “What can one do? I rose at nine * 'Tis full six hours before we dine: Six hours! no earthly thing to do! Would I had doz'd in bed till two l’” A pamphlet is before him spread, And almost half a page is read; Tir'd with the study of the day, The fluttering sheets are toss'd away. He opes his snuff-box, hums an air, Then yawns, and stretches in his chair. “Not twenty, by the minute hand! Good gods,” says he, “my watch must standi How muddling 'tis on books to pore" I thought I'd read an hour or more. The morning, of all hours, I hate. One can't contrive to rise too late.” To make the minutes faster run, Then, too, his tiresome self to shun, To the next coffee-house he speeds, Takes up the news, some scraps he reads. Sauntering, from chair to chair he trails; Now drinks his tea, now bites his nails. He spies a partner of his woe; By chat afflictions lighter grow; Each other's grievances they share, And thus their dreadful hours compare. Says Tom, “Since all men unust confess, That time lies heavy, more or less, Why should it be so hard to get, Till two, a party at piquet 2
Play might relieve the lagging morn:
By that alone he sway’d debates,
That Time (when truly understood) Is the most precious earthly good.
The owl, rue swan, The cock, rhe spider, the
Ass, AND THE FARMER. to A Motheft.
Conversisc with your sprightly boys, Your eyes have spoke the mother's joys. with what delight I’ve heard you quote Their sayings in imperfect note! I grant, in body and in mind Nature appears profusely kind. Trust not to that Act you your part; Imprint just morals on their heart; Impartially their talents scan : Just education forms the man. Perhaps (their genius yet unknown) Fach lot of life's already thrown; That this shall plead, the next shall fight, The last assert the church's right. I censure not the fond intent; But how precarious is th' event} By talents misapply'd and crost, Consider, all your sons are lost. One day (the tale's by Martial penn'd) A father thus address'd his friend: “To train my boy, and call forth sense, You know I've stuck at no expense; I've try’d him in the several arts; (The lad, no doubt, hath latent parts) Yet, trying all, he nothing knows, But, crab-like, rather backward goes. Teach me what yet remains undone; 'Tis your advice shall fix my son.” “Sir,” says the friend, “I’ve weigh'd thematter; Excuse me, for I scorn to flatter: Make him (nor think his genius checkt) A herald or an architect.” Perhaps (as commonly ’tis known) He heard th’ advice, and took his own. The boy wants wit; he's sent to school, Where learning but improves the fool. The college next must give him parts, And cran him with the liberal arts. Whether he blunders at the bar, Or owes his infamy to war; Or if by licence or degree The sexton share the doctor's fee; Or from the pulpit by the hour He weekly floods of nonsense pour; We find (th' intent of Nature foil'd) A taylor or a butcher spoil'd. Thus ministers have royal boons Conferr'd on blockheads and bussoons: In spite of nature, merit, wit, Their friends for every post were fit. But now let every Muse confess That merit finds its due success. Th’ examples of our days regard; Where's virtue seen without reward 2 Distinguish'd and in place you find Desert and worth of every kind. Survey the reverend bench, and see Religion, learning, piety is The patron, ere he recommends, Sees his own image in his friend's.
Is honesty disgrac'd and poor * What is 't to us what was before ? We all of times corrupt have heard, When paltry minions were preferr'd; When all great offices, by dozens, Were fill'd by brothers, sons, and cousius. What matter ignorance and pride? The man was happily ally'd. Provided that his clerk was good, What though he nothing understood? In church and state the sorry race Grew more conspicuous fools in place. Such heads, as then a treaty made, Had bungled in the cobbler's trade. Consider, patrons, that such elves Expose your folly with themselves. 'Tis yours, as 'tis the parent's care, To fix each genius in its sphere. Your partial hand can wealth dispense, But never give a blockhead sense. An Owl of magisterial air, Of solemn voice, of brow austere, Assum'd the pride of human race, And bore his wisdom in his face; Not to depreciate learned eyes, I've seen a pedant look as wise. Within a barn, from noise retir’d, He scorn'd the world, himself admir'd; And, like an ancient sage, conceal’d The follies public life reveal’d. Philosophers of old, he read, Their country's youth to science bred, Their manners form'd for every station, And destin'd each his occupation. When Xenophon, by numbers brav'd, Retreated, and a people sav'd, That laurel was not all his own; The plant by Socrates was sown. To Aristotle's greater name The Macedonian ow’d his fame. Th’Athenian bird, with pride replete,
Their talents equall'd in conceit.
And, copying the Socratic rule, ,
Fach took the part that he advis'd,
“Blockhead,” says he, “by what you've done,
FABLE XV. The cook-MAID, rhe Tuanspri, AND THE ox.
to a poor MAN.
Considen man in every sphere, Then tell me, is your lot severe? 'Tis murmur, discontent, distrust, That makes you wretched. God is just. I grant, the hungry must be fed, That toil, too, earns thy daily bread. What then? Thy wants are seen and known; But every mortal feels his own. We're born a restless, needy crew: Show me the happier man than you. Adam, though blest above his kind, For want of social woman pin'd. Fve's wants the subtle Serpent saw, Her sickle taste transgress'd the law: Thus fell our sire; and their disgrace The curse entail'd on human race. When Philip's son, by glory led, Had o'er the globe his empire spread; When altars to his name were dress'd; That he was man, his tears confess'd. The hopes of avarice are check'd : The proud man always wants respect. What various wants on power attend Ambition never gains its end. Who hath not heard the rich complain Of surfeits and corporeal pain? He, barr'd from every use of wealth, Envies the ploughman's strength and health. Another, in a beauteous wife, Finds all the miseries of life: Domestic jars and jealous fear Embitter all his days with care. This wants an heir; the line is lost: Why was that vain entail engrost? Canst thou discern another's mind? What is 't you envy 2 Envy's blind. Tell Envy, when she would annoy, That thousands want what you enjoy. “The dinner must be dish'd at one. Where's this vexatious Turmspit gone 2 Unless the skulking cur is caught, The surloin's spoilt, and I'm in fault.” Thus said, (for sure you'll think it fit That I the Cook-maid's oaths omit) With all the fury of a cook, Her cooler kitchen Nan forsook:
The broom-stick o'er her head she waves;
FABLE XVI. The Raven, The sexton, and The sawrn-woo, - to laura.
Laura, methinks you're over-nice. True; flattery is a shocking vice!
Yet sure, whene'er the praise is iust,
Beneath a venerable yew, That in the lonely church-yard grew, Two Ravens sate. In solemn croak Thus one his hungry friend bespoke. “Methinks I scent some rich repast; The savour strengthens with the blast; Snuff then, the promis'd feast inhale; I taste the carcase in the gale. Near yonder trees, the farmer's steed, From toil and every drudgery freed, Hath groan'd his last. A dainty treat? To birds of taste, delicious meat!” A Sexton, busy at his trade, To hear their chat suspends his spade. Death struck him with no farther thought, Than merely as the fees he brought. “Was ever two such blundering fowls, In brains and manners less than owls Blockheads,” says he, “ learn more respect: Know ye on whom ye thus reflect? In this same grave (who does me right, Must own the work is strong and tight) The 'squire, that yon fair hall possest, To-night shall lay his bones at rest. Whence could the gross mistake proceed? The 'squire was somewhat fat indeed. What then the meanest bird of prey Such want of sense could ne'er betray; For sure some difference must be found (Suppose the smelling organ sound) In carcasses, (say what we can) Or where's the dignity of man?” With due respect to human race, The Ravens undertook the case. In such similitude of scent, Man ne'er could think reflections meant. As epicures extol a treat, And seem their savoury words to eat, They prais'd dead horse, luxurious food! The venison of the prescient brood. The Sexton's indignation, mov’d, The mean comparison reprov’d ; Their undiscerning palate blam’d, Which two-legg'd carrion thus defam'd. Reproachful speech from either side The want of argument supply'd : They rail, revilt ; as often ends The contest of disputing friends. “Hold,” says the fowl; “since human pride With confutation ne'er comply'd, Let's state the case, and then refer The knotty point, for taste may err.” As thus he spoke, from out the mould An Farth-worm, huge of size, unroll'd His monstrous length: they straight agree To chuse him as their referee: So to th’ experience of his jaws Each states the merits of the cause. He paus'd ; and, with a solemn tone, Thus made his sage opinion known: “On carcasses of every kind This maw hath elegantly din'd; Provok'd by luxury or need, On beast, or fowl, or man, I feed: Such small distinction's in the savour, By turns I chuse the fancy'd flavour: Yet I must own (that human beast!) A glutton is the rankest feast. Man, cease this boast; for human pride
Hath various tracts to range beside.