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Politely asked him what the phrase These would-be sages rarely speak, meant;
For they know well
The solemn spell.
VIII. THE MUSICAL ASS.
The fable which I now present,
Occurr'd to me by accident.
A stupid ass this morning went
Into a field by accident, Too many authors intersperse, And cropp'd his food and was conAffectedly, their prose or verse
tent, With Gallicisms, that defile
Until he spied by accident Their native purity of style,
A flute, which some oblivious gent And, like the parrot, labour thus
Had left behind by accident;
When, sniffing it with eager scent,
And made the hollow instrument VII.-THẾ CATHEDRAL BELL AND THE
Emit a sound by accident.
“ How cleverly I play the flute !" A mighty bell, Which never, save at Easter, swung One solemn knell;
A fool, in spite of nature's bent, And then so sternly all around
May shine for once by accident. Its echoes fell, The peasants trembled at the sound IX. THE SWAN AND THE LINNÉT. Of that big bell,
As oncé a linnet on a tree
Was piping like a lover's lute,
A swan exclaim'd; “ All birds should And in its belfry-tower of wood
be, A little bell;
When I am nigh, entranced and mute;
A vocalist of such repute!
66 It heeds me not, but warbles still3. The hermit-he who own'd the same,
Was ever songster half so vain ? And loved it well,
The creature, with its tiresome trill, Resolved that it should share the fame
May thank its stars that I disdain Of the big bell ;
To open my melodious bill, So tolling it but once a year,
And pour an overpowering strain. With one brief knell, He taught the peasants to revere
3. His little bell.
For if, as poets truly tell,
My very death notes are divine, 4.
My voice, of course, when I am And there are fools in vast repute,
Is still more exquisitely fine,
That simple song by one of mine."
* A term employed by modern corrupters of our language, when they affect to ridicule those who speak it with purity.--YRIARTE.
• What virtue is more lovely than "I grant thy fame in former years," Fidelity in brute or man?
The linnet answer'd; but, as thou The dog, who guards his master's Art never heard by modern ears,
store Thy song is deem'd a fiction now, And drives the robber from the door, And, like the music of the spheres, Deserves the praise of every mouse A tale which moderns disallow. That has an interest in the house!”
A cat replied, “ Thy praise should 5
be « But give me, sweet one, I beseech,
Bestow'd as readily on me; A sample of that olden lay.”
For like the dog, and with a zeal The swan, too flatter'd by the speech, As watchful for my master's weal,
To answer with a churlish nay, Throughout the night I keep aloof Began to sing_but gave a screech :
A host of robbers from his roof, The linnet laugh'd, and flew away.
And guard from thee and thine the
Of dainties that should crown his 6
board." Thus many a coxcomb, with a name For talents which he ne'er possess'd,
On this the mouse withdrew again
Into its hole, and answered then, On turning author finds his fame
“ Henceforth, since thou art faithful, Unequal to the trying test,
mice And like the swan, exposed to shame, Becomes a byword and a jest.
Shall call fidelity a vice."
X. THE MOUSE AND THE CAT.
'Tis ever thus-for we commend
The smallest virtue in a friend; What modern fables can compare with While in a foe we should abhor it, those
And even damn the fellow for it. Of Esop, whose sublime invention chose
What think you, honest reader? Is The noblest incidents for each, and not this then
A clever little fable?" Oh! di. Express'd them in inimitable prose!
vine! Well, since I want a subject for my 'Tis quite in Esop's style, and only
pen, And have his book at hand, I'll even You see his mighty mind in every choose
line.” A fable from him, and request the Nay, courteous reader, check your
praise awhile; To hitch it into good Castilian The fable is, in fact, my own, and rhymes ;
written For I am sure that, merely for its Precisely in my customary style. merit,
- The deuce it is! then I am fairly The tasteful reader will at once pre
bitten." fer it
And, dear discerning reader, now To any apologue of modern times.
Have own'd it and you know it to A mouse one evening, as it stole
be mine, In quest of plunder from its hole, Your better judgment will, of course, Exclaim'd aloud (for mice could speak decry Of yore, though now they only The trifle you once deem'd so very squeak),
XI. THE TWO RABBITS.
A rabbit fled-or flew,
Were wing'd, like Mercury's two.
One morning, as they chanced to meet at sea,
“ Ho! brother, whence and whither art thou sailing ?" And in a speech emitted or exprest
As speeches ever must be from the chest,' NO, CCLXXXVI, VOL. XLVI.
The tea return’d an answer to the hailing
My European countrymen, despise
The Chinaman is, Heaven be praised ! more wise.
5. But, like the gouls of eastern lore, An owl one night profanely flew
These critics batten on the dead; Into a church, and chanced to see And when each author is no more, A lamp or lantern- but the two To whom they meanly quail'd of yore, Are much alike, and one will do, Attack him without dread.
Whichever it might be.
3. A story, which in other days
I often heard my grandam tell
6. And yet, methinks, anent the pair,
It was, if I remember well,
* Garcilasso de la Vega, one of the most celebrated poets of Spain. An elegant translation of his works into English verse, has appeared from the pen of Mr Wiffen. A lamp ; but whether round or square, The frighten’d vagrant flung away Or made of glass or earthenware, His stick, or, as himself would say, Is more than I can tell.
He cut his stick, and ran.
14. But there it hung, in pious proof The dog pursued him as he fled; Of Catholicity, before
And "what a wretch is this,” he The Virgin's shrine a thing aloof, cried, Just ninety feet below the roof, “ Who holds a living dog in dread, And nine above the floor.
Yet, when he meets with one that's
Will strip it of its hide !" The owl, who felt at such a sight
His appetite for oil arise, Swoop'd boldly towards it; but the XV. THE FROG AND THE FROGLING. Alack! was too intensely bright, From their dwelling in a bog, And scorch'd his lidless eyes. Cried a frogling to a frog:
“ Mother, see, on yonder banks 9.
How the canes, in even ranks, So reeling backwards in despair, Lift their leafy heads on high He mutter'd, as he left the shrine,
Till they seem to touch the sky, " Oh! but for this terrific glare, Tell me, have you ever seen How gloriously would I fare
Any trees so tall and greenUpon that oil of thine !
Any that in stalk or stem
Would deserve to vie with them?" 10.
But the words had scarcely past, “But trust me, lamp, though now I flee, When an unexpected blast If ever I should chance to find
Rush'd, and with a mighty blow Thy flame extinct-with fearless glee Struck' the grove and laid it low. I'll glut my thirsty beak in thee,
Then, retorting from the bog, Nor leave a drop behind.”
To the frogling cried the frog :
“ Look, my child-a child may gain 11.
Wisdom even from a caneAnd such are critics. But if they Look, and learn no more to prize Should feel dissatisfied with this,
Objects for their gloss and size. Perhaps another fable may
For each trunk that seem'd to thee Present their likeness in a way, Massy as a forest tree, That none can take amiss.
Is as empty, frail, and thin,
As the vilest reed, within."
Was poking in the kennel, when Many bardlings in a strain
But inordinately long,
And, despite of much pretence, 13.
Quite without the sap of senseAnd rushing headlong to the fray, Flourish for a day, and then
With bark and bite attack'd the man; Vanish from the eyes of men.