|Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733)|
Bernard Mandeville, Aesop Dress’d; Or, A Collection of Fables Writ in Familiar Verse (London, Sold at Lock’s-Head adjoyning to Ludgate. 1704).
See also the facs. PDF.
|The two Dragons||Page 1|
|The Wolf and Dog||2|
|The Pumkin And Acorn||5|
|The Hands, and Feet, and Belly||7|
|The Countryman and the Knight||10|
|The Plague among the Beasts||14|
|The Grashopper and Ant||17|
|The Milk Woman||18|
|The Cock, the Cat, and the young Mouse||20|
|The Cock and Pearl||22|
|The Lyon's Court||23|
|The Drunkard and his Wife||24|
|The Nightingale and Owl||27|
|Council held by the Rats||34|
|The Bat and the two Weasels||36|
|The two Bitches||37|
|The Sick Lyon and the Fox||38|
|The Satyr and the Passenger||40|
|The Lyon in Love||41|
|The Angler and the little Carp||43|
|The Wolves and the Sheep||44|
|The Wasps and the Bees||46|
|The Lyon and Knat||48|
|The Woodcleaver and Mercury||50|
|The Hare and his Ears||52|
|The Rat and the Frog||53|
|The Cat and old Rat||56|
|The Weasel and the Rat||59|
|The Wolf and the Stork||60|
|The Frogs asking for a King||62|
|The Wolf and Lamb||64|
|The Lyon grown old||65|
|The two Physicians||66|
|Love and Folly||67|
|A She-Goat, a Sheep, and a Sow||69|
|The Dog and Ass||71|
|The Fox and Wolf||73|
Prefaces and Cuts are commonly made use of much to the same Purpose; to set off, and to explain. The latter, being too expensive, are pretty well out of date, in an Age, where there are abundance of fine things to be bought besides Books. But the first by wicked Custom, are become so necessary, that a Volume would look as defective without one, as if it wanted the very Title Page. Though it is hard I should be compelled to talk to my Reader, whether I have any thing to say to him or not. Nay, what is worse, every Body thinks a Man should be more lavish here of his Skill and Learning, than anywhere else: Here they would have him shew his Airs, and therefore most Authors adorn their Prefaces, as if they were triumphal Arches; there's nothing empty to be seen about 'em, and from top to bottom they are to be crowded with Emblems and pretty Sayings, judiciously interwoven with Scraps of Latin; though they should borrow 'em from the Parson of the Parish. These, I say, are the Entertainments where they love to glut us with Wit and fine Language; though they starve us for ever after: Which makes some of 'em look like a rich piece of Fillegrew Work over the Door of an empty Parlour. But I am resolved my Portico shall suit with the rest of the House, and, as every thing is plain within, nothing shall be carv'd or gilt without: Besides, I hate formality, Good Reader, and all my Business with you is to let you know, that I have writ some Fables in Verse, after the Familiar Way of a Great Man in France, Monsieur de la Fontaine. I have confin'd my self to strict Numbers, and endeavour'd to make 'em free and natural; if they prove otherwise, I'm sorry for it. Two of the Fables are of my own Invention; but I am so far from loving 'em the better, that I think they are the worst in the Pack: And therefore in good Manners to my self I conceal their Names. Find 'em out, and welcome. I could wish to have furnish'd you with something more worthy your precious time: But as you'll find nothing very Instructive, so there's little to puzzle your Brain. Besides, I desire every Body to read 'em at the same Hours I writ 'em, that's when I had nothing else to do. If any like these Trifles, perhaps I may go on; if not, you shall be troubled with no more of 'em: And so fare ye well Reader.
Not long ago th' Ambassador
From the great Turk to the Emperor,
Extoll'd his Master's strength, beyond
The German Force; a Courtier, fond
Of his own Country, boastingly
Said, his Imperial Majesty
Had many Princes under him,
So powerful, that each of 'em,
Could raise an Army of his own,
And more than one that wore a Crown.
I know, says th' other, very well,
Your Dukes and Pow'rs Electoral,
With others, that advance the glory
Of th' Empire. But I'll tell y' a story:
I dreamt I saw a frightful Beast,
That had a hundred Heads at least;
At first I startled at the sight;
But soon recovering from my Fright,
I ventured on, and coming near it,
I found I had no cause to fear it:
For every Head did what it would;
Some work'd with all the Force they could;
But most of 'em lay of a heap,
And look'd as if th' been asleep;[Pg 2]
Others, in hopes of better Prey,
Were pulling quite another way.
I turn'd my Head about, and spied
A mighty Beast, on the other side:
One Head adorn'd his Brawny Neck;
But hundred Tails did close his Back;
And as the Heads march'd o'er the Land,
The Tails did follow at Command;
Did Execution every where;
I waked, and thought the Monsters were
Both Empires; but the Tails are ours,
And all the glorious Heads are yours.
A Wolf so pitious poor and thin,
His very Bones stuck through his Skin,
(A sign the Dogs were watchful) met
A sturdy Mastiff, slick and fat.
Sir Wolf, revengeful on his Foes,
Had murder'd him, as one of those
That hinder'd him from stealing Cattle;
But was afraid of joyning Battle
With one, that look'd, as if he could
Stand buff, and make his party good.
And therefore in an humble way
He gives the Dog the time o'th' Day;
Talks mighty complaisant, and vents
A Waggon Load of Compliments[Pg 3]
Upon his being in such a Case,
His brawny Flank and jolly Face.
Sir Wolf, replies the Mastiff, you
May be as fat as any Doe,
If you'll but follow my advice;
For Faith, I think you are unwise,
To ramble up and down a Wood,
Where's nothing to be had, that's good,
No Elemosynary meat,
Or e'er a bit, that's good to eat,
But what is got by downright force,
For which at last you pay in course.
And thus yourselves, your hagged Wives
And Children lead but wretched lives;
Always in fear of being caught,
Till commonly y'are starv'd or shot.
Quoth Wolf, shew me a livelyhood,
And then, the Devil take the Wood:
I stand in need of better Diet,
And would be glad to feed in quiet:
But, pray, What's to be done, an't please ye?
Nothing, but what is very easy;
To bark at Fellows that look poor,
Fright pilfring Strolers from the Door;
And then, which is the chiefest matter,
To wag your Tail, to coax and flatter
Those of the Family; for this
They'll give you hundred Niceties,
As Chicken Bones, boyl'd Loins of Mutton,
As good as ever Tooth was put in,
The licking of a greasy Dish,
And all the Dainties Heart can wish;[Pg 4]
Besides, the Master shall caress ye,
Spit in your Mouth, and——Heaven bless ye.
Good Sir, let's go immediately,
Reply'd the Wolf, and wept for Joy.
They went; and tho' they walk'd apace,
The Wolf spy'd here and there a Place
About the Neck of Mastiff, where,
It seems, his Curship lost some Hair,
And said, pray Brother Dog, What's this?
Nothing. Nay, tell me, what it is;
It looks like gall'd. Perhaps 'tis from
My Collar. Then, I find, at home
They tie you. Yes. I'm not inclin'd to't,
Or goes it loose when y'have a Mind to't,
Truely not always; but what's that?
What's that! quoth he; I smell a Rat;
My Liberty is such a Treasure,
I'll change it for no Earthly Pleasure;
At that his Wolfship fled, and so
Is flying still for ought I know.
A Frog threw his ambitious Eyes
Upon an Ox, admired his size,
And, from the smallness of an Egg,
Endeavoured to become as big.
He swells himself, and puffs, and blows,
And every foot, cries there he goes.[Pg 5]
Well, Brother, have I bulk enough,
An't I as large, as he? What stuff!
Pray look again. The Dev'l a bit.
Then now. You don't come near him yet.
Again he swells, and swells so fast,
Till, straining more, he bursts at last.
So full of Pride is every Age!
A Citizen must have a Page,
A Petty Prince Ambassadors,
And Tradesmens Children Governours;
A Fellow, that i'n't worth a Louse,
Still keeps his Coach and Country-house;
A Merchant swell'd with haughtiness,
Looks ten times bigger than he is;
Buys all, and draws upon his Friend,
As if his Credit had no end;
At length he strains with so much Force,
Till, like the Frog, he bursts in course,
And, by his empty Skin you find,
That he was only fill'd with Wind.
A Self conceited Country Bumkin
Thus made his glosses on a Pumkin.
The Fruit, says he, is very big,
The Stalk not thicker than a Twig,
Scarce any Root, great Leaves; I wonder,
Dame Nature should make such a blunder:[Pg 6]
Had I been she, I would have plac'd it
On yon high Oak, and 'twould have grac'd it
Better than Acorns; its a whim
A little Shrub would do for them;
Why should a Tree so tall and fine,
Bear small stuff only fit for Swine?
But hundred things are made in waste,
Which shews the World was fram'd in haste.
Had I been sent for in those Days,
'Twould have been managed otherwise:
I would have made all of a suit,
And large Trees should have had large Fruit.
Thus he went on, and in his Eyes,
The Simpleton was very wise;
A little after, coming nigh
An Oak, whose Crown was very high,
He liked the Place and down he laid
His weary Carcass, in the Shade:
But, as the find-fault Animal
Turn'd on his Back, an Acorn fell,
And hit his Nose a swinging Blow.
Good God was this the Pumkin now!
The very thought on't struck him dumb:
He prais'd his Maker, and went home.
The World's vast Fabrick is so well
Contrived by its Creator's Skill;[Pg 7]
There's nothing in't, but what is good
To him, by whom its understood;
And what opposes Human Sence,
Shews but our Pride and Ignorance.
The Hands and Feet in Council met,
Were mightily upon the Fret,
And swore 'twas something more than hard,
Always to work without reward.
The Feet said, truly its a Jest,
That we should carry all the rest;
March at all Hours thro thick and thin,
With Shoes that let the Water in;
Our Nails are hard as Bullock's Horns,
Our Toes beset with plaguy Corns;
We rais'd four Blisters th' other Night,
And yet got not a farthing by't.
Brothers, reply'd the Hands, 'tis true,
We know what hardship's y' undergo;
But then w' are greater Slaves than you;
For tho' all day we scrape and rake,
And labour till our Fringers ake;
Tho' we've been ply'd at every thing;
Yet then, without considering
What pains or weariness we feel,
W'are forced to serve at every meal,[Pg 8]
And often, whilst you're set at ease,
Drudge to the Knucles up in Grease;
As for your Corns and Nails in troth,
We have the trouble of cutting both.
Take this not, Brothers, in a sence,
That might create a Difference;
We only hinted it, to shew
We're full as badly us'd as you;
Our Grievances are general,
And caused by him that swallows all;
The ungrateful Belly is our bane,
Whom with our labour we maintain;
The ill natured'st Rogue, that e'er was fed,
The lazy'st Dog, that lives by Bread.
For him we starve; for what d'ye think
Becomes of all the Meat and Drink?
'Tis he, that makes us look so thin,
To stretch his everlasting Skin;
Tho' we do all his Business,
What did he ever give to us?
And therefore let my Lord Abdomen
Say what he will, we'll work for no Man.
Nay if we scratch him tho' he itches,
Calls us a hundred Sons of Bitches.
And, if you do the same, you'll see, }
He'll quickly be as lean as we; }
What say ye, Brothers, do y' agree? }
Yes, says the Feet, and he be curst,
That dares to think of stirring first.
And thus the Rebels disobey;
Who swear they'll now keep Holy-day,[Pg 9]
Resolv'd to live like Gentlemen.
His Gutship calls and calls again,
They answer'd they would toil no more;
But rest as he had done before:
But soon the Mutineers repent; }
The Belly when his Stock was spent, }
Could not send down the Nourishment, }
That's requisite for every part;
The weakness seiz'd the drooping Heart:
Till all the Members suffer'd by't,
And languished in a woeful plight:
They saw, when 'twas too late, how he,
Whom they accused of Gluttony,
Of Laziness, Ingratitude, }
Had labour d for the common Good, }
By ways they never understood. }
The Belly is the Government,
From whence the Nourishment is sent,
Of wholesome Laws for mutual Peace,
For Plenty, Liberty, and Ease,
To all the Body Politick,
Which where it fails the Nation's sick.
The Members are the discontent
Pleibeians; that are ignorant,
How necessary for the State
It is, that Princes should be great:[Pg 10]
Which, if their Pomp and Pow'r were less,
Could not preserve our Happiness.
The Vulgar think all Courts to be
But Seats of Sloth and Luxury;
Themselves, but Slaves compell'd to bear
The Taxes, and the Toils of War;
But in this Fable they may see
The dismal Fruits of Mutiny;
Whilst Subjects, that assist the Crown,
But labour to maintain their own.
An honest Countryman had got
Behind his House a pretty Spot,
Of Garden Ground, with all what might
Contribute to the Taste and Sight,
The Rose and Lilly, which have been
Still kept to compliment the Skin,
Poppies renown'd for giving ease,
With Roman Lettice, Endive, Pease,
And Beans, which Nat'ralists do reckon
To be so ominous to Bacon.
The Beds were dung'd, the Walks well swept,
And every thing was nicely kept.
Only a Hare wou'd now and then
Spite of the Master and the Men[Pg 11]
Make raking work for half a day,
Then fill her Gut and scow'r away.
In vain they beat and search the Ground,
The cunning Jilt can ne'er be found,
The Master once in angry Mood }
Starts up and swears by all that's good, }
He'd be revenged, that he would. }
Runs to a Country Knight his Neighbour,
And there complains how all his labour
Was spoil'd by one confounded Hare,
Which though the'd watch'd her every where
He nor his People ne'er could catch,
And of a certain was a Witch.
His Worship smiles and promises
To rid him of the Sawcy Puss.
At break of Day Jack winds his Horn,
The Beagles scamper thro' the Corn;
Deep mouth'd Curs set up a Cry,
And make a cursed Symphony.
Now stir you Rogues; the Knight is come
With Robin, Lightfoot, Dick and Tom.
The House is full of Dogs and Boys,
And ev'ry where's a horrid Noise,
Well, Landlord, Come, What shall we do?
Must w' eat a Bit before we go?
What have you got? Now all's fetch'd out,
The Victuals rak'd, and tore about.
One pairs the Loaf, another Groom }
Draws Beer, as if he was at home, }
And spils it half about the Room. }
What Horseman's yonder at the Door?
Why, Faith, there's half a dozen more:[Pg 12]
They're Gentlemen, that live at Court,
Come down the Country for some Sport;
Some old Acquaintance of the Knight,
Who whips from Table, bids 'em light.
They ask no Questions but sit down,
Fall too as if it was their own.
One finishes the Potted Salmon,
Then swears, because he had no Lemon.
Good Lord, how sharp the Rogues are set!
It puts my Landlord in a Sweat.
His Daughter comes with fresh Supplies
Of Collard Beef, and Apple-pies.
His Worship falls aboard of her;
The modest Creature quakes for fear.
When do we marry Mistress Ann?
Who is to be the happy Man?
He takes her Hand, and chucks her Chin,
Stares in her Face, commends her Skin,
Removes her Linnen, shews her Neck;
There's Milk, and Blood, Gad take me Jack.
She blushes, and he vows she is
A pretty Girl, then takes a Kiss;
She don't consent, nor dares deny,
Defends herself respectfully;
And now the Knight would let her go; }
Another Rake cries, Damme no: }
I'll have a Kiss as well as you. }
He hugs her close, then calls her Dear,
And whispers bawdy in her Ear.
My charming Rogue, I would not hurt ye.
She answers not, but drops a Courtsie.[Pg 13]
He's rude, and she's asham'd to squeak;
Her Father sees it, dares not speak;
But patiently enduring all,
Stands like a Statue in the Hall.
Now for the Garden and the Hare,
The Dogs get in, and scrape and tear,
The Horsemen follow, leap the Rails;
Down goes the Quick-set-hedge, and Pales.
The Huntsman hollows, runs and pushes,
All goes to Rack, the Borders, Bushes.
And now my Landlord cries amain,
You've ruin'd me; but all in vain.
The Cabbages are kick'd about,
And Flowers with Roots and all pull'd out.
The Beds are levell'd with the Ground,
At last poor trembling Puss is found
Hid underneath a Collyflower.
The Prey is took, away they scower,
And leave our Countryman to think
On all his Loss of Meat and Drink:
What havock's made in ev'ry place,
His Daughter wrong'd before his Face.
Small was the Mischief of the Hare
To ravenous Hunters to compare.
He wrings his Hands, and all in Tears
Repents his foolish rashness, swears,
He'll ne'er call help again in haste,
Since Hounds and Horses made more waste,
In half an hour, than all the Hares
Of th' Country could in Seven Years.
When petty Princes can't agree,
And strive for Superiority,
They often take my Landlord's Course,
Invite for Aid a foreign Force;
And when their Subjects Slaves are made,
Their Countries all in ruins laid,
As commonly it proves their fate,
Repent with him when it's too late.
One time a mighty Plague did pester
All Beasts Domestick and Sylvester,
They try'd a world of Remedies;
But none that conquer'd the Disease:
And, as in the Calamity
All did not dye, so none were free.
The Lyon in this Consternation
Sends by his Royal Proclamation
To all his loving Subjects greeting,
And summons 'em t' a general Meeting;
And when they're come about his Den,
He says, my Lords and Gentlemen,
I believe you're met full of the Sence
Of this consuming Pestilence;[Pg 15]
Sure such extraordinary Punishment
On common Crimes was never sent;
Therefore it took its derivation,
Not from the trivial Sence of the Nation;
But some notorious Wickedness; }
Then let us search our Consciences, }
And ev'ry one his Faults confess. }
We'll judge the biggest and the least,
And he that is the wicked'st Beast
Shall as a Sacrifice be giv'n,
T'allay the wrath of angry Heav'n,
And serve our Sins an expiation
By ancient way of Immolation;
And, since no one is free from Sin,
Thus with my own I'll first begin.
I've kill'd an Ox, and which is worse,
Committed Murder on a Horse;
And one Day, as I am a Sinner,
I have eat seven Pigs for Dinner,
Robb'd Woods, and Fens, and like a Glutton,
Fed on whole Flocks of Lamb and Mutton:
Nay sometimes, for 'tis in vain to lie,
The Shepherd went for Company.
This was his Speech; when Chanc'lor Fox
Cries out, what signifies an Ox,
Or Horse? Sure those unworthy things
Are honour'd, when made sport for Kings.
But, Sir, your Conscience is too nice,
Hunting's a Princely Exercise:
As for the Sheep, that foolish Cattle,
Not fit for Carriage nor for Battle,[Pg 16]
And being tolerable Meat,
Are good for nothing, but to eat.
The shepherd your sworn Enemy
Deserv'd no better Destiny.
Thus was he, that had sin'd for Twenty,
Clear'd Nemine Contradicente.
The Bear, the Tyger, Beasts that fight,
And all that could but scratch or bite
Came off well; for their gross Abuses
Others as bad found Excuses.
Nay even the Cat of wicked Nature
That kills at play his Fellow Creature
Went scot free: But his Gravity
An Ass of stupid Memory
Confess'd, that, going to Sturbridge-Fair
His Back most broke with Wooden-ware,
He chanc'd half starv'd, and faint, to pass
By a Church-yard with exc'lent Grass,
They had forgot to shut the Gate,
He ventur'd in, stoop'd down and ate.
Hold, cries Judge Wolf, no more, for Crimes
As these, deserve such fatal Times.
By several Acts of Parliament
'Tis Sacriledge, they all consent;
And thus the silly virtuous Ass
Was Sacrifis'd for eating Grass.
The Fable shews you poor Folk's fate
Whilst Laws can never reach the Great.
A Merry Grasshopper, that sung
And tun'd it all the Summer long,
Fed on small Flies, and had no Reason
To have sad thoughts the gentler Season;
For when 'twas hot the Wind at South,
The Victuals flew into his Mouth:
But when the Winters cold came on,
He found he was as much undone,
As any Insect under Heav'n;
And now the hungry Songster's driv'n
To such a state, no Man can know it,
But a Musician or a Poet,
He makes a Visit to an Ant,
Desires he would relieve his want;
I come not in a begging way, }
Says he, No Sir, name but a day }
In July next, and I'll repay, }
Your Interest and your Principal
Shall both be ready at a Call.
The thrifty Ant says truly Neighbour,
I get my Living by hard Labour;
But you, that in this Storm came hither,
What have you done when 'twas fair Weather?
I've sung, replies the Grasshopper;
Sung! says the Ant, your Servant, Sir;[Pg 18]
If you have sung away the best
Of all the Year, go dance the rest.
A Straping Dame, a going to Town
To sell her Milk with thin Stuff Gown,
And Coats tuck'd up fit for a Race,
Marches along a swinging Pace:
And in her Thoughts already counts
The Price to which her Milk amounts;
She fancies all is sold, and lays
The Money out a hundred ways;
At last she's fix'd, and thinks it plain,
That Eggs would bring the surest Gain:
She buys a hundred, which she reckons
Will four Weeks hence be six Score Chickens.
Such mighty care she takes to rear 'em,
No Fox or Kite can e'er come near 'em,
The finest Hens are kept for Eggs;
The others sold to buy some Piggs;
To whom a little Bran she gives
With Turnep-tops and Cabbage leaves;
And tho' they get no Pease to speak on,
Yet in short time they're sold for Bacon.
O! how the Money pleas'd her Thought
For which a Cow and Calf are bought;
She'll have 'em on the Common kept,
There see 'em jump, at that she leapt[Pg 19]
For joy; down comes the Pail, and now
Good Night t'ye Chickens, Calf and Cow,
Eggs, Bacon; all her busy care,
With them are dwindled into Air.
She looks with Sorrow on the Ground,
And Milk, in which her Fortune's drown'd:
Then carries home the doleful News,
And strives to make the best Excuse:
Her Husband greets her with a Curse,
And well it was she far'd no worse.
The Hermit, and the Man of Fame,
Pompeus, and our Country Dame,
The wisest Judge, and my Lord May'r,
They all build Castles in the Air:
And all a secret Pleasure take
In dreaming whilst they are awake:
Pleas'd with our Fancies we possess
Friends, Honour, Women, Palaces.
When I'm alone I dare defy
Mankind for Wit and Bravery.
I beat the French in half an Hour,
Get all their Cities in my Power.
Sometimes I'm pleas'd to be a King,
That has success in every thing,
And just when all the World's my own,
Comes one to dun me for a Crown;
And presently I am the poor,
And idle Dunce I was before.
A Mouse of no Experience
Was almost nabb'd for want of Sence.
Hear how the silly young one told
Her strange Adventure to the old.
I cross'd the Limits of our State,
And ran as swift as any Rat;
When suddenly I spy'd two Creatures
Of very different Form and Features.
The one look'd smiling, milde, and Civil,
The other was a very Devil;
He look'd so fierce, made such a rout,
Then tore the Ground, then turn'd about;
He ne'er stood still, upon his Head
He wore a piece of Flesh that's red;
A bunch of Tails with green and black
Stood staring higher than his back.
And thus describes the simple Mouse
A Cock he had seen behind the House,
As had it been some Beast of Prey
Brought over from America.
With insolence, says he, he strides,
And beats with his broad Arms his sides;
Then lifts his shrill and frightful Voice,
And made so terrible a Noise,
That tho' I can assure you, Mother,
I've as much Courage as another,[Pg 21]
I trembled, and as I am here,
Was forc'd to fly away for fear.
I curs'd the Bully in my thought;
For 'twas that strutting Ruffi'n's Fault;
Or else that other Beast and I
Had been acquainted presently.
He sat so quiet with such Grace,
So much good Nature in his Face,
He's furr'd like we, and on his Back
So purely streak'd with gray and black;
He has a long Tail, shining Eye,
Yet is all over Modesty.
I believe he is a near Relation
To our Allies the Rattish Nation:
His Ears and Whiskers are the same
With ours, I would have ask'd his Name,
When with his harsh and horrid sound
The other made me quit my Ground.
Replies the Mother, well 'scap'd Son,
You have been very near undone;
That formal Piece of Modesty,
That Mirror of Hypocrisy,
Was a damn'd Cat of wicked Fame;
My Heart akes at the very Name,
The everlasting Foe to Mouse,
Death and Destruction to our House.
Whereas that other Animal
Ne'er did us hurt, nor never will;
But may, when he is dead and gone,
Serve us one Day to dine upon.
Then prithee son, whate'er you do,
Take special Care of him, whom you[Pg 22]
For such an humble Creature took,
And judge not People by their Look.
A Cock, not very nicely fed,
A Dunghill raker by his Trade,
Whilst scraping in the dirt, had found
A Pearl worth Five and Twenty Pound:
He goes hard by t' a Jeweller,
And like a silly Dog, says Sir,
In yonder Rubbish lay a bit
Of something that in't good to eat,
If you think it will serve your turn,
I'll change it for a grain of Corn.
Nay sometimes Men will do as bad,
I've known a foolish Heir, that had
A Manuscript of Wit and Labour,
Say to a Bookseller his Neighbour,
I've got some Sheets my Uncle writ,
They say he was a Man of Wit,
But Books are things I don't much matter,
A Crown would do my Business better.
It happen'd that some Years ago,
The Lyon had a Mind to know,
What beastly Nations up and down
Belong'd to his Imperial Crown:
And therefore in his Princely care
Sends word by Letters every where,
That he would keep an open Court,
Grace it with every Royal Sport;
And so invites 'em to his Palace,
A Cave that stunk worse than the Gallows.
The Bear snorts at it, snuffles, blows,
Draws hundred Wrinkles in his Nose.
What need the Fool to have made such Faces?
The Lyon frown'd at his Grimaces,
And for the Niceness of his Smell
My Gentleman is sent to Hell.
The Monky fam'd for flattery
Extalls this Action to the Sky,
Then prais'd the King's majestick Face,
The stately building of the Place,
The Smell, whose Fragrancy so far
Exceeds all other Scents that are,
That there's no Amber, said the Sot,
But what's a house of Office to't.[Pg 24]
This gross insipid stuff the Prince }
Dislikes and calls it Impudence, }
To speak so contrary to Sence. }
And as the one was thought too free,
So th' other dy'd for Flattery.
This Lyon had the reputation
To be Caligula's Relation.
The Fox being near; the peevish King
Ask'd his Opinion of the thing.
Tell me what smell it is, be bold,
Sir, says the Fox, I've got a Cold.
If you would have your Answers please
Great Men make use of such as these.
Bluntness and bare-faced Flattery
Can never with the Court agree.
Man is so obstinate a Creature
No Remedy can change his Nature.
Fear, Shame, all ineffectual prove
To cure us from the Vice we love.
A Drunkard, that had spent his Wealth,
And by the Wine impar'd his Health,
One Night was very Drunk brought home;
His Wife conveys him to a Tomb;
Undresses him from Head to Feet,
And wraps him in a Winding-sheet:[Pg 25]
He wakes, and finds he's not a Bed,
All over dress'd like one that's dead:
Besides, she counterfeits her Voice,
With Torch in hand, and grunting Noise,
Looks frightful in a strange Array,
To pass for Dame Ctesiphone.
And every thing is done so well,
He thinks he's fairly gone to Hell;
And satisfy'd it was his Merit,
He says to his dissembling Spirit,
Who are you in the Name of Evil?
She answers hoarsely I'm a Devil,
That carries Victuals to the Damn'd,
By me they are with Brimstone cramm'd.
What, says the Husband, do you think
Never to bring them any Drink?
A Handsome Carp genteely bred,
In fresh and running Water fed,
Puff'd up with Pride and Vanity,
Forsook the Thames and went to Sea;
Thro' Shrimps and Prawns he cuts his way,
Sees Cods and Haddocks frisk and play;
He ask'd some questions, but in vain,
All spoke the Language of the Main;
He frets he can't be understood,
When, at the latter end of Flood,[Pg 26]
Two Herrings vers'd in Languages
Were talking about Business;
Carp heard 'em, as he swum along,
Discoursing in his River Tongue,
And made a stop, they did the same,
One of the Herrings ask'd his Name,
And whence he came; the Traveller
Reply'd, I am a Stranger, Sir,
Come for my Pleasure to these Parts
To learn your Manners and your Arts:
Then Herring asks what News of late?
Which are your Ministers of State?
Indeed, said Carp, he could not tell,
Nor did much care, quoth Herring well
What Laws, what Form of Government?
Are Taxes rais'd, without consent
Of Parliament? what Courts of? Pish,
Says th' other, I'm a gentle Fish,
And we know nothing of those Matters;
Quoth Herring, I'm no Fish that flatters,
I find you've neither seen nor read,
And wonder you should break your Head,
With what's in other Countries done,
That knows so little of your own.
At this the haughty Fool takes snuff,
Turns from 'em in a mighty huff;
And whilst he slides and flourishes
He meets a Country Fish of his,
One us'd to Sea, a subtle Spark,
A Pike that serv'd his time t' a Shark;
Who leads him into Company
Of Riot and Debauchery;[Pg 27]
The scandalous Gang in little time
Infect him with the Salt, and Slime:
They robb'd his Row, till scurvily
At last he's forc'd to leave the Sea.
His Scales begin to drop by scores,
And all his Body's full of Sores.
Half of his Tail, and Snout are gone,
And he, lean, shabby and undone,
Sneaks home as vain and ignorant,
As e'er he was before he went.
Some Fops that visit France and Rome,
Before they know what's done at home,
Look like our Carp when come again.
Strange Countries may improve a Man,
That knew the World before he went;
But he, that sets out ignorant,
Whom only Vanity intices,
Brings Nothing from 'em, but their Vices.
The Bird of Jove, who was all Day,
As much intent upon his Prey,
As any Prince in Christendom,
Was not well pleased, that coming home,[Pg 28]
He always found his Folks a Bed,
(Sure Courtiers should be better bred.)
For, as Crown'd Heads have much to think,
Some Nights he could not sleep a wink;
And thought it hard to have ne'er a Bird
In all his Court could speak a Word,
Or snuff a Candle, hundred things,
That are of use to waking Kings.
Some Birds strove hard, did what they could;
Yet when 't grew dark, slept as they stood.
Others pretended that they watch'd,
And swore and ly'd till they were catch'd.
The King would not be put upon:
Asks all his Court what's to be done?
One talks no wiser than a Horse,
Another makes it ten times worse,
The Ostrich said, It's plain to me,
We sleep because we cannot see;
Ask Jupiter, he can't deny't,
To let it when 'tis dark be light——
At that all stopt his Speech a laughing,
Except the King, who fell a coughing.
Says one more learned than the rest,
I'm for a Crane with stone in Fist;
If he should sleep it must be known,
For presently he'll drop the stone.
But as the Watchmen were to be
In the upper Garret of the Tree,
The King for weighty Reasons said,
He'd have no Stones held o'er his Head,
Then cries the Swan, and he was right,
If one pretends to watch all Night.[Pg 29]
He cannot do a better thing,
To make us believe it than to sing.
His Majesty approves of it,
And Letters presently are writ;
By which the Airy Prince invites
All Birds to Court, that sung a Nights;
But most of 'em look on the same
As things of no concern to them.
Yet some that had Ambition
Would very willingly have gone,
But since they could not watch in short,
And might perhaps be punish'd for't,
At best they could propose no Gains.
But t' have their Labour for their Pains.
Only the Nightingale, whose Art
Man knows, had fill'd his little Heart
With so much Joy, he's more than glad,
And almost ready to run mad;
Calls on all Birds and shakes his Wings,
Tells them how every Night he sings;
(A thing, which they knew nothing of,
For by that time they're fast enough.)
Says he it hits so luckily,
As if it was contriv'd for me,
What cause to doubt of being chose,
When there's not one that can oppose.
His Friend the Black-bird says, if so, }
Make haste to Court; why don't you go? }
The haughty Bird cries truly No, }
Glory's a thing I never went for,
Nor shall go now unless I am sent for.[Pg 30]
At last the King by Mistress Fame,
'S acquainted with his Skill and Name,
And hearing of his Stateliness
Sends half a dozen Deputies;
Who, when they're come, are forced to wait:
The Bird makes every thing look great;
He humbly thanks his Majesty;
But could not leave his Family.
They still persuade and press him hard,
He need not doubt of a great Reward.
And as the Nightingale delays,
And banters 'em for several Days;
A Magpye in the Field at play
Heard how he made the Courtiers stay,
Goes home and there relates the Story,
The Message, and the Bird's Vain glory,
T' an Owl, who from his Infancy
Had liv'd in the same Family;
And adds, why don't you take a Flight?
I've often heard you sing at Night;
When wak'd by our unlucky Boys.
Says the Owl, I know I have no Voice
As well as you: But if you hear me,
Young Jackanaps you need not jeer me.
By George, says Mag, I'm not in jest,
What though the Nightingale sings best,
He is so proud, takes so much state,
A thing I know all Princes hate,
That if y'are there before the other,
Who wants such Courtship, keeps such pother,
I don't know but your solemn Face,
And modest Mein may get the place.[Pg 31]
I'll go my self for Company: }
And Mag discoursed so winingly, }
The Match is made away they fly. }
The King by this time thought it long
To stay for a Nocturnal Song
When Master Magpy, and his Friend,
Were just come to their Journy's end.
They told their Business modestly,
And are lodg'd on the Royal Tree.
The Owl sets up his Note at Night,
At which the Eagle laugh'd out right,
Then went to sleep and two Hours after
He wak'd, and wanted to make Water.
Call'd to his Watch, who presently
Jump'd in, and cry'd Sir, Here am I.
So, tho his Owlship could not sing,
His watchfulness had pleas'd the King.
Next day arrives the Nightingale,
With his Attendance at his Tail.
His Majesty would by no Means }
Admit him to an Audience; }
But sends a stately Bird of Sence, }
Who thus accosted him. Signior,
Whom we so long have waited for;
Since Yesterday a Bird came hither,
As grave as ever wore a Feather,
Who without promise of Reward
Last Night has serv'd upon the Guard,
With him to Morrow Night the King
Has order'd you to watch and sing,
Says Nightingale, what do I care
For Orders? I am free, and swear[Pg 32]
My Master-lays shall mix with none,
They make a Consort of their own:
But who has so much vanity,
That dares pretend to sing with me?
And hearing twas th' Athenian Bird,
He star'd and cou'd not speak a Word,
Grew pale, and swell'd, his Wind came short,
And Anger overwhelm'd his Heart.
He foams at Mouth, and raves, and blusters,
And utters all his Words in Clusters.
A King! a Devil, stupid Fowl,
That can compare me to an Owl!
Pray says the Courtier, have a Care,
Consider in what place you are;
But, as the Fool would hear no Reason,
He went, and left him sputt'ring Treason,
Then told what happen'd to the King,
Who said he'd never hear him sing;
The Owl should be kept in his Place,
And th' other punish'd with Disgrace;
He wisely weigh'd one's Complaisance
Against the other's Insolence,
Oppos'd the Humble to the Rude,
And thought the one might do more Good,
With Loyalty and Diligence,
Than th' other with his Skill and Sence.
The Nightingale is kick'd from Court
And serv'd the little Birds for sport;
Till full of Shame and Grief he went,
And curs'd the King and Government.
Princes can never satisfy
That Worth that rates itself too high.
What Pity it is! some Men of Parts
Should have such haughty stubborn Hearts:
When once they are courted they grow vain:
Ambitious Souls cannot contain
Their Joy, which when they strive to hide,
They cover it with so much Pride,
So Saucy to Superiors,
Impatient of Competitors,
Th' are utterly untractable,
And put off like our Nightingale.
Many with him might have been great,
Promoted Friends, and serv'd the State,
That have beheld, with too much Joy,
The wish'd for Opportunity;
Then slipt it by their own Delays,
Sloth, Pride, or other willful Ways,
And ever after strove in vain
To see the Forelock once again.
A Cat, whose Sirname pretty hard was,
One Captain Felis Rodilardus
Had made so terrible a slaughter
Among the Rats; that little after
There's hardly one to shew his head,
Most part of 'em were maim'd or dead.
The few that yet had 'scap'd the Grave,
Liv'd in a subterranean Cave,
Where they sat thinking mighty dull,
With Bellies less than quarter full,
Not daring to stir out for fear
Of Rodilard, who's ev'ry where.
They tried a hundred ways to sun him:
But finding they could never shun him,
The Wretches look upon him, that
He's more a Devil than a Cat.
Once, when our am'rous Spark was gone
A hunting Wenches up and down,
The poor remainder to improve
The time their Enemy made love,
Assembl'd, and employ'd their Cares
About the straits of their Affairs.
Their President, a Man of Sence,
Told 'em, by long experience;
I know, the Captain used to come
In Ambush without beat of Drum.[Pg 35]
Methinks, that if we could but hear him
We need not half so much to fear him:
And therefore, th' only way's to take
A Bell, and tie't about his Neck;
And then let him be ne'er so arch
He'll advertise us of his march.
His Council took, and every one }
Was of the same Opinion; }
Sure nothing better could be done. }
But pray, says one, who is to tie it;
For I desire not to be nigh it.
How! cries another, tie the Bell,
I dare draw all his Teeth as well.
A third, a fourth, all say the same,
And so they parted as they came.
Thus Cits advise what's to be done,
This way they should attack the Town;
Now here, then there, why don't they come?
So, often in a Coffee-room,
Where prudently they rule the Nation,
I've heard some Men of Reputation
Propose things which they dare as well
Perform, as Rats to tie the Bell.
A Purblind Bat a heedless Beast
Ran headlong into a Weasel's Nest,
Who big with Child, and Passionate,
Had long since bore a mortal hate
To Mice; she rises, takes a Knife,
Runs to 'm resolv'd to have his Life,
And says: What Rascal in my House!
O impudence! a'nt you a Mouse?
Confess: Yes, I am sure you are,
Or I'm no Weasel: Have a Care,
No Names, good Lady, says the Bat,
No more a Mouse, than you a Rat.
What, I a Mouse? I scorn the Word;
And thank the Gods that made m' a Bird;
Witness my Wings, they're proof enough;
Long live the Birds, and so came off.
Some two Days after giddy brain
By a mischance, intrudes again
T' another Weasel's, who hates Birds,
She lets him enter, made no Words;
But fairly caught him by his Crupper,
And went to cranch him for her Supper.
In quality of Bird, says he,
Madam, this is an Injury,
Damn all the Birds, I do Protest
You wrong me: Sure y'are but in jest,[Pg 37]
What reason I should pass for one?
All Birds have Feathers, I have none.
I am a Mouse long live the Rats,
And Jupiter confound the Cats.
The Trimmer that will side with none,
Is forc'd to side with ev'ry one;
And with his Comp'ny change his story,
Long live the Whig, long live the Tory.
A Bitch, who hardly had a day
To reckon, knew not where to lay
Her Burthen down: She had no Bed;
Nor any Roof to hide her Head;
Desires a Bitch of the same Pack,
To let her have, for Heaven's sake,
Her House against her Lying-in.
Th' other, who thought it was a Sin,
To baulk a Wretch so near her Labour,
Says, Yes, 'tis at your Service, Neighbour.
She stays the Month out, and above,
And then desires her to remove:
But th' other tells her, there's yet none
Of all my Whelps can walk alone,[Pg 38]
Have patience but one Fortnight longer.
I hope by that time they'll be stronger.
She grants it, and when that's about,
Again she asks her to turn out;
Resign her Chamber, and her Bed:
The other shew'd her Teeth, and said,
My Children now are strong enough,
Some of 'em able to stand buff.
W' are free to go, but don't mistake us,
That is to say, if you can make us.
Whoever lets the Wicked in
Shall hardly get them out again;
What they can keep, they'll ne'er restore,
And by fair Means you'll have no more
Returns from them, than from the Grave,
Therefore he that will lend a Knave,
Must be resolv'd on Law and Force;
If not, he'll bid you take your Course.
The King of Brutes sent all about,
He was afflicted with the Gout;
And orders ev'ry Species
To visit him by Embassies.[Pg 39]
To see his Subject Beasts would be
Some Comfort to him in his Misery:
He swears them faithfully, they shall
Be lodg'd, and treated very well.
Then for a Safeguard, sends forsooth,
Passes against his Claw and Tooth.
His Vassals in obedience come, }
And ev'ry Species sends him some. }
Only the Foxes stay at home; }
Their Reason was, they saw the Print
Of ev'ry beastly Foot, that went:
But found no Marks, by which, 'twas plain,
That any e'er came back again:
And truly that's suspicious,
Says one, poor Folks are timerous.
We know the King would not abuse us;
But yet desire him to excuse us.
As for his Pass we thank him for't,
And believe 'tis good. But in his Court
We know, which way we may go in,
But not, which to come back again.
Wise Men sometimes Instruction find
In that, which others never mind;
Examining the least of things,
By Deeds, not Words, they judge of Kings;
And never venture on that Coast,
Where once they knew another lost.
A Satyr at his Country House,
A dismal Cave, was with his Spouse,
And Brats a going to eat some Broth:
Without a Chair, or Table-Cloath,
On mossy ground they squatted down,
With special Stomachs of their own.
And just as they fell to a main,
Comes one to shelter for the Rain:
The Guest's invited to sit down,
Tho' in the mean time they went on.
He shiver'd, look'd as cold as Death,
And warm'd his Fingers with his Breath,
Says ne'er a Word, takes good Advice,
And stays not till they ask him twice,
Falls to the Porridge, takes a sup;
But being newly taken up,
'Twas hot, he blows it. Says the Satyr,
Whose Palate could bear scalding-water,
Friend, what the Devil are you a doing?
What do you mean by all this blowing?
The Stranger answers, I did blow
At first to warm my hands, and now
I blow again to cool my Broth.
How, says my Landlord, does it both!
Than y'are not like to stay with me,
I hate such juggling Company.[Pg 41]
What! Out of the same Mouth to blow
Both hot and cold! Friend, prithee go.
I thank the Gods my Roof contains
None such as you. The Fable means.
None are more like to do us wrong;
Than those that wear a double Tongue.
Before the Reign of Buxom Dido,
When Beasts could speak as well as I do;
Lyons and we convers'd together,
And marry'd among one another.
Nay, why not? they have more bravery,
And are of the eldest Family.
One of 'em walking in a Grove,
Met with a Wench, and fell in Love.
Says he, dear Girl, upon my Life,
Y'are handsome, and must be my Wife.
Then sees her Home, and asks her Father,
Th' old Gentleman would have had rather
A Son-in-Law of milder Nature,
And not so terrible a Feature;
He could not give her heartily,
And yet 'twas dangerous to deny.[Pg 42]
Besides she lov'd a fierce Gallant,
Says he, they have ask'd my Consent;
If now I make a Noise about it,
Who knows but they may do't without it.
Therefore he us'd a Stratagem
With honey-words to wheedle him.
My Daughter thanks you, Sir, for the honour,
Which you are pleas'd to bestow upon her.
To talk of Joyntures would be rude;
I know what's for my Children's good.
She's wholly yours, and from this hour,
Son, I resign her to your power.
I only wish, because your Bride
Has but a foolish tender Hide,
That when you take her in your Arm,
For fear your Claws might do her harm,
You'd suffer somebody to pare 'em;
And then your Spouse need not to fear 'em.
Your Teeth indeed look fine and strong;
But yet th'are somewhat sharp and long;
If y'had 'em filed an Inch or two,
'T would be no prejudice to you,
And she'd respect you ne'er the less,
Admire the softness of your kiss,
And be more free with you a Bed.
So senceless is a Lover's head:
The Lyon yields, and stupidly
Lets 'em disarm him Cap-a-pe.
And so the loving Son-in-Law,
Remaining without Tooth or Claw,
Look'd as defenceless as a Town
With all the Walls and Gates broke down,[Pg 43]
With Dogs his complaisance they pay,
To whom he falls an easy Prey.
Where Love his Tyrany Commences;
There, farewell Prudence, farewell Sences.
That little Fishes may be greater,
And that, the larger th' are the better
I know; but then, to let em swim,
And all the while to stay for 'em;
Since catching so uncertain is,
I think's a foolish Business.
An Angler patiently a fishing
Employ'd with looking on, and wishing,
Catches at last a little Carp
That's very poor; but being sharp
He thought 'twas something to begin,
Opens his pouch to put him in.
But cries the Prisoner pitiously
Alas, what would you do with me!
Let me grow bigger, throw me in.
Some two Year hence you'll catch m' again;
I'll stay for you, for you may be sure;
Then sell me to some Epicure,[Pg 44]
But now I'm such a silly Fish,
A hundred would not make a Dish;
And if they should, when all is done,
There would be only Skin and Bone.
Says the Angler I've a Mind to try you,
And if y' an't fit to Stew, I'll Fry you.
Leave preaching till anon, and then
Discourse your Mattets to the Pan.
I Chuse One is for two May be's,
One sure for Ten Uncertainties.
Between the Wolves, and Sheep, the Wars
Had lasted many hundred Years.
The Sheep could never feed in quiet;
But Wolves disturb'd 'em at their Diet:
And truly Wolf is every Day
By Mastiff hunted from his Prey.
The Shepherd often cuts his Throat,
And turns his Skin into a Coat.
But now both Parties are for ease;
And met to agree on terms of Peace.
When in Debates some time was spent,
On each side Hostages are sent:[Pg 45]
As such both Nations were to give
What's valued most, the Wolves receive,
The Dogs, of which in Awe they stood;
The Sheep young Wolves of noble Blood:
And thus the Peace is ratify'd,
With Joy proclaim'd on every side.
But in short time the Whelps grew strong,
The sturdy Rogues began to long
For Blood, and Mischief; watch'd a day,
The Shepherds were not in the way,
Then hunt the young ones from their Dames,
And pick'd and cull'd the finest Lambs;
Kill'd and devour'd a Multitude;
The rest they carry'd to a Wood,
Where with the other Wolves they joyn,
Who knew before hand their design.
The Dogs on publick Faith secure
(And pray what ties could be more sure)
Where whilst they slept, and thought no harm,
Throttled before they heard th' alarm.
Some Nations, fond of slothful Ease,
Trust to deluding Enemies;
And striving to avoid Expence,
Will leave themselves without defence;
But cunning Tyrants call 'em Friends,
No longer than it serves their Ends.
Against a mighty King that is,
Regardless of his Promises,[Pg 46]
Proclaim an everlasting War,
Observe his Motions, watch with care;
And never hearken to Peace,
Proffer'd by faithless Enemies.
A Troop of Wasps claims openly
Some Honey Combs without a Tree.
A Regiment of Bees declares, }
The Honey, and the Combs, were theirs, }
And let him touch the Goods that dares; }
They'd shew that they were Bees, and forsooth.
Then says the Wasps, we'll pluck a Crew for't,
An shall not fly for Bees, we scorn it.
However 'tis left to Justice Hornet,
Who could with all his subtle Sence
Make nothing of the Evidence;
In general they depose, 'tis true,
That Insects of a yellow hue,
With Tails containing poysonous Stings,
Long Body'd, buzzing with their Wings,
And all the Signs to paint a Bee,
Had been observ'd about that Tree.
But this could be no proof for them;
For in the Wasps they are the same,
His Lordship, for his Reputation
Heard a whole Ant's Nest's Information.[Pg 47]
But being no wiser than before,
At last said he could do no more;
And made a learned Speech to shew 'em:
That this Court could say nothing to 'em:
It must be try'd in Chancery.
Up starts a pert well meaning Bee,
And Says, an't please your Lordship; 'tis
Six Months we left our Business:
And heard of nothing but Vacations,
And Writs of barbarous Appellations;
And all this while, you know we are,
My Lord, but even as we were.
The Honey every Day grows worse,
And greedy Lawyers drain our Purse.
Under submission we've enough
Of all this formal conjuring stuff.
I believe I can inform you better,
Which way you may decide the matter
What signifies our looking on,
And hearing Council pro and con?
Let's go to work and then you'll see,
Which spoke the Truth, the Wasps or we.
If they can make such Combs and fill
With Honey each sexang'lar Cell;
The Cause is theirs, and we'll pay Cost;
If not, I hope they'll yield it lost.
Which when the Wasps refus'd to do
Judge Hornet rose, and said, Oho!
I smoak you, Sirs, and gave the Bees
The Suit, with Costs and Damages.
Thus would I have all Judges give
Their Judgment. With the Turks I believe,
That common Sence to end a Cause,
Is worth a hundred Common Laws.
They lead us such a way about,
Raise new Disputes, make such a Rout.
Between the Plaintiff and Defendant;
That by the time they make an end on't,
The Suit looks like an Oyster, where
The Fish falls to the Lawyer's Share;
And if the Cause be manag'd well,
Each of the Clients gets a Shell.
Away base Insect, that took Birth
From th' Exhalations of the Earth.
Thus spoke the Lyon to the Gnat;
Who answer'd, Bully, Think ye that
I'll bear Affronts? No: And declar'd
A War against him to his Beard;
And told the Hector, void of fear,
You'll find Sir King, how much I care
For all your Titles, Tooth and Claw,
Of which great Loobies stand in awe:[Pg 49]
I'll quickly curb your haughtiness,
Damn'd Brute; and hardly utter'd this,
But sounds the Charge (he serv'd for all
For Trumpet and for General.)
He nimbly shifts from Place to Place,
And plays before the Lyon's Face;
The other snaps and strikes the Air;
The Gnat avoids him every where;
He watch'd his time, then seiz'd his Neck,
From thence he mov'd, and stung his Back,
There fasten'd, made his Kingship mad,
His Eyes sparkle in his Head;
He foams and roars, and all what's near
Trembles, and hides itself for fear,
Yet, of this general Hurrican,
And dire Alarm th' Occasion
Is, what one would suspect the least,
So small an Atom of a Beast.
With hundred rambling flights he teases
The Brute, and leads him where he pleases;
Gets up his Nostrils, laughs to see
With how much Rage his Enemy
Tore his own Flesh, and all in Blood
Ran raving through the affrighted Wood.
He still pursues, till out of Breath
The Lyon dropp'd, and bled to Death.
The merry buzzing Conqueror
Flies from the dismal Seat of War,
And as he sounded chearfully
The Charge, so sounds the Victory.
But going to proclaim his Story,
Puffed up and blinded with his Glory,[Pg 50]
He met a Cobweb in his way,
And fell a silly Spider's Prey.
So one that cross'd the Ocean o'er,
May smother in a Common Shore.
In Ancient times, when Jupiter
Was pretty free, a Labourer,
That earn'd his Bread with cleaving Wood,
Lost with his Ax his Livelyhood.
'T would grieve ones Heart to hear what sad
And pitious moan the Fellow made:
He had no Tools to sell again,
And buy another Ax, poor Man!
It was his All, and what to do,
Or how to live he does not know,
And as the Tears stood in his Eyes,
My Ax! O my dear Ax! he cries:
Sweet loving Jupiter! restore
My Ax. Olympus hear his roar;
And Mercury the Post-Boy, or
The Flying Post (his Character
Suits either for he's God of Lying
Beardless, and fam'd for News and Flying.)[Pg 51]
Came to the Labourer, and said,
Your Ax in't lost, cheer up, my Lad:
I've got it here; but can you tell
Which is your own? I very well,
Quoth he. Says Mercury take hold,
And gives him one of Massy Gold;
To this, quoth th' other, I've no claim;
To a Silver one he said the same.
But when his Iron one was shewn,
He cries, I Faix this is mine own;
God bless you, Sir. And Mercury }
Said, to reward his Honesty, }
Th' are all your own, I give 'em ye. }
The Story's quickly nois'd about;
The way to Riches is found out:
'Tis but to lose one's Ax; the Fools,
That had none, sold their Cloaths and Tools
To get one; and whate'er they cost,
They're bought in order to be lost.
The God of Thieves and Merchants, who
By chance had nothing else to do,
Came as they call'd; his Deity
Gave every one the choice of three:
The lying Rogues deny'd their own,
And swore they lost a Golden one:
But as they stoop for't, Mercury
Chops off their Heads, and there they lie.
The Fable shews you, Honesty
Is always the best Policy.
Some stupid horn'd Beast or other,
Trotting along to get some fother,
Had run the Lyon in his Side;
Who, for the future to provide
Against such Accidents as this,
Sends Writs, by which he banishes
From his Dominions every one,
That wore a Horn: And when 'twas known,
The Stags sneak off with Bulls and Rams,
The very Calves went with their Dams:
And, whilst they are moving every where
To foreign parts, a fearful Hare,
That saw the shadow of his Ears,
Was startled at the sight; and fears,
Some Villain might maliciously
Say they were Horns; What Remedy?
Says he, they're long, and I can't tell.
Well Neighbour Cricket Fare-you-well:
My Ears are Horns too; I'll march off;
They're very long, and that's enough:[Pg 53]
Nay, were th' as short as Ostrich Ears,
It would not rid me of my fears;
For if they catch m' I go to Pot.
Foh! says the Cricket, y'are a sot.
Hares Horns! what Puppy calls 'em so?
Th' are Ears. But yet, for ought you know,
Replies poor Puss, they'll pass for Horns;
And may be Horns of Unicorns.
They call the Rabbet's Fore legs, Wings,
I hold no Argument with Kings.
At Lyons Courts, in case of Treason,
I rather trust my Heels, than Reason.
A Graceless Rat, in special case,
Kept neither Lent nor Holidays;
But lov'd his Gut beyond his Soul,
And look'd as slick as any Mole:
Who one day having time to spare,
Went to the Marshes for some Air;
There meets a Frog, not over fat,
Who says, your Servant Mr. Rat;
And seemingly with much good Nature,
Invites the Stranger o'er the Water:[Pg 54]
Says he, I live in yonder Fens,
Go with me I'll treat you like a Prince.
The Rat who had a mind before
To ramble, need t've heard no more;
But yet the Frog made a whole Lecture
On Country Bagnios, and their Structure,
The Voyage, and the Recreation
He'd find in his amphibious Nation;
Their Manners, and a hundred things,
Of which in Winter Evenings,
He'd tell fine Stories ten Years after,
By Fire sides in Praise of Water:
And, since he always liv'd a Shore,
There's nothing could refresh him more.
These Reasons pleas'd his Ratship so,
That he was raving mad to go.
But as your pamper'd Folks are fearful,
He said, one cannot be too careful;
'Tis true I swim, but not like you,
And Cramps, or other things, you know,
Might happen: If I could but have
Some small Assistance.——Says the Knave,
Prithee be quiet, to prevent
All harm, I've an expedient,
That has a thousand times been tried.
Then took a bit of Rush and tied
One of the Fore feet of the Rat
To his Hind leg, and out they set.
But O thou wicked World! how evil
Are all our Hearts! this croaking Devil
Swum to the deep; where, when he got him,
He strove to pull him to the bottom;[Pg 55]
And thought it was a lucky hit,
To meet with such a dainty bit;
Good wholesome Meat, and so went on.
The Rat, who felt he was undone,
Cry'd out, and foul'd himself for fear, }
And, tho' sometimes in half a Year, }
The Varlet never said a Prayer; }
Yet (as the Proverb tells us, he
That cannot pray, must go to Sea.)
So now, with all the Sugar Words,
A frighted Coward's Heart affords;
He call'd the Gods, and coax'd the Frog;
But, No: That false hard-hearted Dog
Is deaf to all his Protestations,
And violates the Law of Nations.
One lugs and labours like a Horse,
Th' other resists with all his Force.
The Frog's for going down; the Rat,
If 't pleased the Gods, would rather not.
And, whilst they're struggling different ways,
A Kite, that hover'd o'er the Place,
Saw what our Gentry was about,
Would fain have seen the Battle out;
If 't had been safe; but being loth
To lose his Stomack, took 'em both:
And, doubly blessed beyond his wish,
Supp'd like a Lord, on Flesh and Fish.
He, that's entangled in a Plot,
For want of Strength, is often caught:
And in his Practices detected
By Accidents, he ne'er suspected.
What cares a Frog for Kites, in Water?
But Villany rewards its Author.
I've heard, and if it be a Lie,
You have it e'en as cheap as I;
That a huge Cat of mighty Name,
A second Rodilard for Fame,
The Alexander of the Cats;
An Attila, a scourge to Rats,
Had brought such horrid devastation,
And Mischief on the latter Nation;
'Twas thought he would depopulate
The World, and swallow every Rat.
The long Tailed Gentry, far and near,
Are all possess'd with so much fear,
That there's not one in six Miles round,
That dares to venture above ground;
Their bloody minded Enemy
Is sorry, that they're grown so shy.[Pg 57]
In vain he watch'd, and lurk'd about,
The De'l a bit as one came out.
Says he, the Scoundrels are alive,
I hear 'em stir, and must contrive
To draw 'em out; for, where they dwell,
I'm sure, they're uncomatable.
At that he gets upon a Shelf,
And to a String he hangs himself
By one Foot, dangling with his Head
Downward, as if he had been dead.
The Rats all thought, he had been taken
At stealing Cheese, or gnawing Bacon;
Perhaps he might have foul'd the Bed,
Murder'd a Bird; or, that he had
Committed any other Evil,
By instigation of the Devil,
Or his own more malicious Nature;
For which they'd hang'd the wicked Creature.
The Prisoners, who wanted Bread
Thank'd Heaven, and were very glad.
They show their Snouts, and now begin
To peep out and pop back again;
Till growing bold they leave their home,
And scamper up and down the Room.
Down comes the treacherous Malefactor,
Who rais'd to Life without a Doctor.
Fell with such rage about their House
Each Blow kill'd either Rat or Mouse;
Some made Resistance, but in vain,
The Ground is cover'd with the slain,
Such Execution did his Claw,
But when the cunning Warrior saw,[Pg 58]
The nimble ones go off in Sholes,
And get within their crooked Holes,
He call'd to 'em, for all your haste,
I know, you'll come to me at last.
This trick you never knew before,
But I can shew you hundred more.
He'd kill'd enough to live upon
Some few Days; but when that was gone,
He kept his Word, and wheedled 'em
With quite another Stratagem.
He jump'd into a Tub of Flower,
And there stood powd'ring half an hour,
'Till thinking he was dawbd enough,
He walks into an open trough
Where lying snug as white as Snow,
And roul'd up like a piece of Dough,
He waits the Starvlings coming to'm,
And now and then he pick'd up some.
But an old Rat, who full of Scars,
Had lost his Tail in former Wars;
Standing at th' Entrance of the Cave,
Call'd to our Cat. You, Mr. Knave,
Your Hanging or your Flower won't do,
I know your Tricks as well as you.
You was a Cat, and are so still:
Change to what form or shape you will:
Nay be a Log, I wont come nigh't.
Says th' other, Faith he's in the right.
And wisely knows, distrust to be
The Mother of Security.
A Hungry Weasel poor and lank,
With wrinkled Jaws, and Taper Flank,
Hardly recover'd from her Weakness,
Occasion'd by a Fit of Sickness.
Met with a Granary, and stole
Into it thro' a little Hole.
She bless'd herself to see the store,
No Miser sure could covet more:
And, thinking Nobody could harm her,
Fell to, and fed like any Farmer.
At Nights she slept, and snor'd at Ease,
And having Peace and Quietness,
Four Meals a Day, a wholesome Air,
A dainty Diet, little Care,
She quickly chang'd her meagre Feature,
And look'd like quite another Creature.
The Truth is, it would be a hard Case,
If all this should not mend one's Carcass.
Once, sitting at a Dish of Wheat,
She heard a Noise, forsook her Meat,
Ran to the Hole to save her Bacon,
Squeez'd to get thro'; but was mistaken.
And as she searches all about,
And finds no Crevish to get out,
She spies a Rat, and tells him, pray
What must I do, I've lost my way,[Pg 60]
Which is the Hole? No, says the Rat,
Your way is right; but y'are too Fat.
Stay but a Week, and fast, good Dame, }
Till y'are as lean, as when you came, }
And then you'll find the Hole's the same. }
A Man in profitable Station,
Grown rich by Plundering the Nation,
Is often willing to resign,
But seldom to refund the Coin.
Wolves commonly are fam'd for Eating,
As much, as Foxes are for Cheating.
One of 'em, at a Mutton Feast,
Devour'd his Meat with so much haste;
A Bone got in his Throat, and there
Stuck fast; some Learned Authors swear,
It was the Os Sacrum; others say,
It was one of the Vertebræ.
But hang disputes; since it is all one
What Bone it was; so 'twas no small one.
There stood Sir Wolf, and full of Grief
Made signs he wanted quick Relief.[Pg 61]
And well it was he could not Cry;
For no Soul would have come a nigh.
At last he shews it to a Stork,
The long-leg'd Surgeon goes to Work;
Takes out the Bone immediately;
And when 'twas done, desir'd his Fee.
Sure, says the Wolf, whoever draws
His Head out harmless from my Jaws,
May boast of such a Happiness,
As far o'erpays all Offices;
A thing which ne'er was done before,
And may be, ne'er will happen more.
But O Damn'd Vice Ingratitude!
To scape with Life, and be so rude,
As to ask Fees! take care young Man,
You never see my Face again.
Some Folks are so mischievous grown,
They claim Thanks if they let y' alone.
The Frogs, after some Ages spent
In Democratick Government,
Grew weary of it, and agree,
To change it for a Monarchy;
And humbly begg'd a King of Jove,
The God comply'd, and from above
Dropt 'em a very peaceful one;
But only in the falling down,
He made such Noise, that all the Frogs,
Who are but fearful skittish Dogs
Were frighted and drove under Water,
And there remain'd a good while after,
Among the Weeds; their fear was such,
There was not one, that dar'd so much
As look upon him, whom they thought
Some Giant, or the Lord knows what.
Tho' all this while 'twas but a Log,
At last came up a daring Frog;
But took care, not to swim too nigh it,
Till, seeing it lay so very quiet,
He went on, tho' in mighty awe;
But when his Fellow Subjects saw
Their Bulky King did him no harm,
In half an Hour the Pond did swarm
Of Frogs. O! what a pretty thing
It was to play about their King:[Pg 63]
The meekest that e'er wore a Crown;
And soon they're so familiar grown,
That laying all respect aside,
They jump upon his Back, and ride.
The King says nothing, keeps his Peace,
And let's em work him as they please.
But this they hate, they'd have him move.
A second time they call on Jove,
And tire his Brain with clam'rous rout,
To have a King, that stirr'd about.
Jove mad for being plagu'd again,
Sends em a Damn'd devouring Crane;
Who only was for Kill, and Slay,
And eat whoe'er came in his way.
Much louder now the Rascals cry;
Deliver us from Tyranny!
O Jupiter! if he goes on, }
We shall be murder'd every one, }
This is the Devil upon dun. }
Quoth he, I'll humour Fools no more,
You might have kept what ye had before;
You left your common wealth, to seek
A King; and then he was too meek;
You must have one forsooth, that stirs:
I hope now you have got one, Sirs.
You never chang'd without a Curse,
Keep this, for fear you get a worse.
Thank God, this Fable is not meant }
To Englishmen; they are content, }
And hate to change their Government. }
It is a thing without contest,
That he that's strongest reasons best.
The Weather being sultry hot,
A Lamb to cool himself, was got
A paddling in a purling Stream.
(To Rhiming Fools a mighty Theme)
When a she Wolf (the De'l sure sent her)
Came down, in quest of some Adventure,
And hardly spy'd poor Innocence;
But pick'd a Quarrel void of Sence;
Began to sputter, Damn and Sink,
Ask'd how he dar'd to spoil her Drink,
A nasty poysoning Dog. Odsbud!
He'd make it all as thick as mud.
For which he'd punish him by Jove.
Madam, reply'd the Lamb, I love
To reason calmly, and will show ye,
That I am Twenty Yards below ye.[Pg 65]
And humbly craving leave, from thence
I draw this reg'lar Consequence;
That I can't, standing in this Place,
Disturb the Liquor of your Grace.
You do, says the other, and last Year
You told some lies of me. I swear,
I was not born then, quoth the Lamb:
I han't left sucking of my Dam.
'Twas either you or else your Brother.
I've ne'er a one. Then 'twas your Mother,
Or any other near Relation;
For all your wicked Generation
Hates me; your Dogs and Shepherds too
And without any more a do,
The Lamb was carry'd to the Wood
And serv'd the cruel Wolf for Food.
A Valiant Lyon, now grown old,
His Limbs and Jaws benumb'd and cold,
Lay thinking on his Royal Bed,
With scarce a Tooth in all his Head:
And Claws worn to the Stumps with Tearing:
(But every thing's the worse for wearing)
And whilst he labour'd to repent,
Complaining of his Youth mispent,
His Rebel Subjects paid no more,
That Honour, which they gave before,[Pg 66]
But treat him with Contempt and Scorn:
The Bull does push him with his Horn,
The Horse affronts him with his Heels:
No Tongue can tell what grief he feels
From these insulting Enemies.
In comes the Ass; but when he sees,
That Coward too forget his Duty,
He dying said, Tu quoque Brute?
Two graduate Physicians,
Of many Years Experience,
With Coaches to proclaim their Skill,
Are sent for to a Man that's ill.
One feels his Pulse and gives him over:
But th' other says he may recover;
I have great hopes, we'll give him some
Of my Antithanaticum.
No, cries the first, he is too weak;
Yes truly Sir, I'm very sick,
Replies the Patient; down they sate,
And enter'd in a deep Debate:
One quotes four Words of Arabick,
Th' other an Aphorism in Greek.
They're very hot, and every one
Sticks to his own Opinion.
The Upshot was, they writ a Bill,
Which neither lik'd of very well:[Pg 67]
They visit him some Days, and vent
Many a learned Argument;
But as his Life went on full Speed,
He could not stay till they agreed,
And so march'd off; and when he's dead,
Both still are in the right; one said,
I told you so, his very Eye
Prognosticated he would dye:
And th' other cry'd, had I been believ'd,
I'm very sure, he would have liv'd.
The charming God, that with his Bow,
So many Thousand Years ago,
Came to that troublesome Employ,
He serves in still, is but a Boy:
His Art is so mysterious,
That to explain his business,
His Tackle, Arrows, Quiver, Taper,
Would take up several Reams of Paper;
Which being more than I've a mind
To fill; I'll only, since he is blind,
Tell you which way he lost his sight,
With what came on't, and so good Night.
Folly and Love took one another
Aside, as Boys will run together,
And crept into a Nook of Heaven,
To play at Seven or Eleven;[Pg 68]
And here good People, Gamesters may
Behold what mischief comes from Play:
There 'rose a quarrel about the Main,
Its Eight says Love, and thought 'twas plain;
Quoth Folly, but I'm sure 'tis Nine,
You Little Cheat, the Game is mine:
At last Words growing very high,
Love gives his angry Foe the Lie;
Then up starts Folly, flings the Dice
At Love, and beats out both his Eyes.
Venus would be reveng'd, bawl'd out,
And shed so many Tears about
The Peepers of her little Son,
That she was like to have spoil'd her own.
She would have Justice done, she swore,
Call'd Folly Rogue and Son 'f a Whore:
How did you do't; I'll make you dance?
Indeed said Folly, 'twas by chance.
Cry'd Cupid, you're a punning Cur,
And snobb'd. In comes the Thunderer,
With all the Gods and Goddesses,
To sit upon the Business,
Between Love and the Boy at Bar.
The Cuckold and the God of War
Were very hot, they'd have him dye;
But when Minerva ask'd him, Why?
They said, because——Be free from rage,
Ye Gods, said Themis, mind his Age,
And then the Council seem'd to incline
To make him only pay a Fine
To Love. But the injur'd Mother cries,
That won't do, I'll have both his Eyes,[Pg 69]
Secundum legem Talionis,
He shall pay Corpore non bonis.
Apollo bids her to be civil.
T'have two blind Boys would be the Devil,
Said Juno, and this gave the hint
To Jove, t'inflinct a Punishment,
That might ease Love; what must he do?
He could not walk alone; and so
'Twas fixed by all the Gods above,
That Folly should be guide to Love.
A She-Goat that gave exc'lent Milk,
A Sheep, whose Fleece was soft as Silk,
And a fat Sow went to the Fair
In the same Cart, not to take th' Air,
Or to see Shows; but, as I am told,
Downright in order to be sold;
All the way long the Sow did squawl,
And scream enough to deafen 'em all;
Had she been follow'd by six score
Butchers, she could have done no more:
The other Creatures wonder'd at her,
And could not dream what was the matter;
They thought it must proceed from fear;
And yet perceived no danger near;
The Carter told her, What d'ye mean?
Who gives you reason to complain?[Pg 70]
Your Cries have stunn'd us; what d'ye make
This horrid Noise for? prithee take
Example by your Company,
Be silent or talk civilly.
Look on that Sheep, he thinks you're mad;
Has he spoke one Word good or bad?
No: He is wise.——The Devil he is,
Replies the Sow, could he but guess,
Whither you carry us, or why;
I'm sure he'd bawl as loud as I:
He's used to Shears, and so the Fool
Thinks only that you'll take his Wool;
And this good Lady with the Beard
Has no great Cause to be afear'd;
She's daily milk'd and does depend on't,
you'll drain her Dug, and there's an end on't:
And 't maybe so, or 't may be not:
But, wou'd you have me such a sot,
Who 'm good for nothing, whilst I've Breath,
To be afraid of less than Death?
Upon my Word 'twas shrewdly said,
Of one that was no better bred:
Yes all this sad complaints and fear
Are for the Thing she's forced to bear:
And tho' she knew, she was to dye,
She could not change her destiny.
Therefore I think, where all is lost,
He, that sees farthest, suffers most.
Help one another is, no doubt,
A Law we can't live well without:
Yet one Day, (and how't came to pass
I don't know) 't happen'd that an Ass,
Who's otherwise an honest Creature,
Of no uncharitable Nature,
Did slight it: A large Dog and he
Were travelling in Company,
Without a thought of Strife or Care,
Followed by him whose Goods they were;
And coming to some curious Grass,
The latter went to sleep; his Ass,
Who was a Lover of good Pasture,
Made better use on't than his Master,[Pg 72]
And fell a feeding heartily:
But the poor Dog stood starving by,
And said, Much good may do thy heart,
Dear fellow Traveller; thou art
My loving Friend.—But Mr. Gray,
My Meat is in your Panier, pray,
Stoop down, and let me take out some,
I han't eat since we came from home;
He gets no Answer, asks again,
But No, th' Arcadian Gentleman
Thought every Word a mouthful lost,
And would say nothing to his cost,
So held his Tongue a while; at last
He told him, Friend, I am in haste,
And, when I stoop my Back, it akes;
Have patience till your Master wakes,
It won't be long, and then you'll get
Your Belly full, if he thinks fit.
Just then a Wolf came from the Wood,
And they have Appetites as good
As any; Grizz'l at a distance
Hears him, and asks the Dog's assistance;
But he don't budge, and serves him right;
Says he, I never us'd to fight
Without a cause for fighting's sake;
Stay till your Master is awake;
Hear what he says, it won't be long;
Sir Wolf won't offer any wrong;
And if you fear his Teeth or Claws,
Knock but his Brains out, break his Jaws,
And lay him sprawling on the Ground;
You're newly Shod, and Iron bound;[Pg 73]
And whilst this fine Discourse went on,
Poor Grizzle's business was done.
None can live happily together,
Without assisting one another.
The Fox went on the search one Night,
The Moon had hung out all her light;
He sees her Image in a Well;
But what it was he could not tell;
Gets on the Bricks to look at ease:
At last concludes it is a Cheese:
One Bucket's down, the other up,
He jumps in that which was a-top,
And coming to the Water, sees
How little Skill he had in Cheese.
Poor Ren, remov'd from all Acquaintance,
Sits in the Bucket of Repentance;
And when the Rascal ought to have laid
The fault upon himself, it's said,
He blam'd his Stars, tho' I b'lieve rather
He curst the Moon, and all fair Weather.[Pg 74]
Well, there he sat, and wish'd, no doubt on't,
For half his Tail that he was out on't:
Sometimes he rav'd and talk'd like mad, }
And every thing came in his Head, }
That to his purpose could be said. }
Happy are those that don't love Cheese;
We may go downward when we please,
But to come back again, hoc opus,
All tricks are vain; my only hope is,
That Somebody as wise as I,
Hits on my Whim, or else I die.
Two Days are past; poor Animal,
Sees Nobody come near the Well;
And now old Time had in one Place,
Cut a good piece of Cynthia's Face;
For as he does all things, he eats her,
And takes a slice, where'er he meets her:
Volpone spies it, and it grieved him,
To see that spoil'd which had deceiv'd him,
Thinking his case was desperate:
When on the third Night pretty late,
A Wolf who could not sleep, because
He felt an itching in his Jaws,
Look'd into it; What are you there?
Says Ren; pray see what I got here;
It is a groaning Cheese, 'twas made
From Io's Milk, and Faunus had
The ordering of it, 'twould have been
Kept for Dame Juno's Lying in,
But she miscarry'd: I took off
This Corner; still there's Meat enough[Pg 75]
For two or three, I thought on you,
Wish'd I might see you, and to shew,
How I esteem, love, and adore ye,
That Bucket's left on purpose for ye.
The silly Wolf believes, gets in,
And draws Volpene up again.
Don't blame the stupid Animal,
You credit things less probable;
And most Men easily give ear,
To what they either wish or fear.