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“O gluttons!” says the drooping sire,
“Restrain inordinate desire.
Your liquorish taste you shall deplore,
When peace of conscience is no more.
Does not the hound betray our pace,
And gins and guns destroy our race?
Thieves dread the searching eye of power,
And never feel the quiet hour.
Old age (which few of us shall know)
Now puts a period to my woe.
Would you true happiness attain,
Let honesty your passions rein;
So live in credit and esteem,
And the good name you lost redeem.”
“The counsel's good,” a fox replies,
“Could we perform what you advise.
Think what our ancestors have done;
A line of thieves from son to son.
To us descends the long disgrace,
And infamy hath mark'd our race.
Though we, like harmless sheep, should feed,
Honest in thought, in word, and deed,
Whatever hen-roost is decreas'd,
We shall be thought to share the feast.
The change shall never be believ’d.
A lost good name is ne'er retriev'd.”
“Nay, then,” replies the feeble fox,
“ (But, hark! I hear a hen that clucks)
Go; but be moderate in your food;
A chicken, too, might do me good.”
THE BARLEY-MoW AND THE DUNGhill.
How many saucy airs we meet From Temple-bar to Aldgate-street! Proud rogues, who shared the South-sea prey, And sprung like mushrooms in a day ! They think it mean to condescend To know a brother or a friend ; They blush to hear their mother's name, And by their pride expose their shame. As cross his yard, at early day, A careful farmer took his way, He stopp'd ; and, leaning on his fork, Observ'd the flail's incessant work. In thought he measur'd all his store, His geese, his hogs, he number'd o'er; In fancy weigh'd the fleeces shorn, And multiply'd the next year's corn. A barley-mow, which stood beside, Thus to its musing master cry’d: “Say, good sir, is it fit or right To treat me with neglect and slight? Me, who contribute to your cheer, And raise your mirth with ale and beer? Why thus insulted, thus disgrac'd, And that vile dunghill near me plac'd? Are those poor sweepings of a groom, That filthy sight, that nauseous fume, Meet objects here? Command it hence; A thing so mean must give offence.” The humble dunghill thus reply'd : “Thy master hears, and mocks thy pride:
Insult not thus the meek and low ;
In me thy benefactor know;
My warm assistance gave thee birth,
Or thou hadst perish’d low in earth;
But upstarts, to support their station,
Cancel at once all obligation.”
The learned, full of inward pride,
The fops of outward show deride;
The fop, with learning at defiance,
Scoffs at the pedant and the science:
The Don, a formal solemn strutter,
Despises Monsieur's airs and flutter;
While Monsieur mocks the formal fool,
Who looks, and speaks, and walks, by rule.
Britain, a medley of the twain,
As pert as France, as grave as Spain,
In fancy wiser than the rest,
Laughs at them both, of both the jest.
Is not the poet's chiming close
Censur'd by all the sons of prose
While bards of quick imagination
Despise the sleepy prose narration.
Men laugh at apes: they men contemn;
For what are we but apes to them?
Two monkies went to Southwark fair,
No critics had a sourer air;
They forc'd their way through draggled folks,
Who gap'd to catch Jack Pudding's jokes;
Then took their tickets for the show,
And got by chance the foremost row.
To see their grave observing face,
Provok'd a laugh through all the place.
“Brother,” says Pug, and turn'd his head,
“The rabble's monstrously ill-bred.”
Now through the booth loud hisses ran,
Nor ended till the show began.
The tumbler whirls the flip-flap round,
With somersets he shakes the ground;
The cord beneath the dancer springs;
Aloft in air the vaulter swings;
Distorted now, now prone depends,
Now through his twisted arm ascends.
The crowd, in wonder and delight,
With clapping hands applaud the sight.
With smiles, quoth Pug, “If pranks like these
The giant apes of reason please,
How would they wonder at our arts!
They must adore us for our parts.
High on the twig I've seen you cling,
Play, twist, and turn in airy ring;
How can those clumsy things, like me,
Fly with a bound from tree to tree ?
But yet, by this applause, we find
These emulators of our kind
Discern our worth, our parts regard,
Who our mean mimics thus reward.”
“Brother,” the grinning mate replies,
“In this I grant that man is wise:
While good example they pursue,
We must allow some praise is due;
But, when they strain beyond their guide,
I laugh to scorn the mimic pride;
For how fantastic is the sight,
To meet men always bolt upright,
Because we sometimes walk on two
I hate the imitating crew.”
I hate the man who builds his name
On ruins of another's fame.
Thus prudes, by characters o'erthrown,
Imagine that they raise their own.
Thus scribblers, covetous of praise,
Think slander can transplant the bays.
Beauties and bards have equal pride,
With both all rivals are decry’d.
Who praises Lesbia's eyes and feature,
Must call her sister aukward creature;
For the kind flattery's sure to charm,
When we some other nymph disarm.
As in the cool of early day
A poet sought the sweets of May,
The garden's fragrant breath ascends,
And every stalk with odour bends;
A rose he pluck'd, he gaz'd, admir’d,
Thus singing, as the Muse inspir'd :
Comply'd with every thing, like Gay,
Was known by all the bestial train
Who haunt the wood or graze the plain;
Her care was never to offend;
And every creature was her friend.
As forth she went at early dawn,
To taste the dew-besprinkled lawn,
Behind she hears the hunter's cries,
And from the deep-mouth'd thunder flies.
She starts, she stops, she pants for breath;
She hears the near advance of death ;
She doubles to mislead the hound,
And measures back her mazy round;
Till, fainting in the public way,
Half dead with fear she gasping lay.
What transport in her bosom grew,
When first the horse appear'd in view
“Let me,” says she, “your back ascend,
And owe my safety to a friend.
You know my feet betray my flight;
To friendship every burden's light.”
The horse reply'd, “Poor honest puss,
It grieves my heart to see thee thus:
Be comforted, relief is near ;
For all your friends are in the rear.”
She next the stately bull implor’d;
And thus reply'd the mighty lord:
“Since every beast alive can tell
That I sincerely wish you well,
I may, without offence, pretend
To take the freedom of a friend.
Love calls me hence; a favourite cow
Expects me near yon barley-mow;
And, when a lady's in the case,
You know, all other things give place.
To leave you thus might seem unkind;
But see, the goat is just behind.”
The goat remark'd “her pulse was high,
Her languid head, her heavy eye:
My back, says he, may do you harm;
The sheep's at hand, and wool is warm.”
The sheep was feeble, and complain'd
“His sides a load of wool sustain'd ;”
Said, he was slow, confess'd his fears;
“For hounds eat sheep as well as hares.”
She now the trotting calf address'd,
To save from death a friend distress'd.
“Shall I,” says he, “ of tender age,
In this important care engage?
Older and abler pass'd you by ;
How strong are those! how weak am I;
Should I presume to bear you hence,
Those friends of mine may take offence.
Excuse me, then; you know my heart;
But dearest friends, alas! must part.
How shall we all lament! Adieu ;
For see the hounds are just in view.”
whilst some affect the sun, and some the shade, Some flee the city, some the hermitage; Their aims as various, as the roads they take In journeying through life;—the task be mine To paint the gloomy horrors of the tomb; Th’ appointed place of rendezvous, where all These travellers meet.—Thy succours I implore, Eternal king whose potent arm sustains [thing! The keys of hell and death-The grave, dread Men shiver when thou’rt nam'd: Nature appall'd, Shakes off her wonted firmness.-Ah! how dark Thy long-extended realms, and rueful wastes! where nought but silence reigns, and night, dark Dark as was chaos, ere the infant sun [night, Was roll'd together, or had try’d his beams Athwart the gloom profound.—The sickly taper, By glimm'ring through thy low-brow'd misty vaults, Furr'd round with mouldy damps, and ropy slime, Lets fall a supernumerary horror, And only serves to make thy night more irksome. Well do I know thee by thy trusty yew, Cheerless, unsocial plant! that loves to dwell Midst skulls and coffins, epitaphs, and worms; Where light-heel'd ghosts, and visionary shades, Beneath the wan cold moon (as fame reports) Embody'd, thick, perform their mystic rounds. No other merriment, dull tree! is thine. See yonder hallow'd fanel—the pious work Of names once fam'd, now dubious or forgot, And bury'd midst the wreck of things which were; There lie interr'd the more illustrious dead. The wind is up : hark 1 how it howls! Methinks Till now I never heard a sound so dreary : [bird, Doors creak, and windows clap, and night's foul Rook'd in the spire, screams loud: the gloomy aisles Black plaster'd, and hung round with shreds of scutcheons And tatter'd coats of arms, send back the sound Laden with heavier airs, from the low vaults, The mansions of the dead.—Rous’d from their In grim array the grisly spectres rise, Grin horrible, and obstinately sullen Pass and repass, hush'd as the foot of night. Again the screech-owl shrieks; ungracious sound! I’ll hear no more; it makes one's blood run chill. Quite round the pile, a row of reverend elms, (Coeval near with that) all ragged show, Long lash'd by the rude winds: some rift half down Their branchless trunks; others so thin a-top, That scarce two crows could lodge in the same tree. Strange things, the neighbours say, have happen'd here:
Wild shrieks have issued from the hollow tombs: Dead men have come again, and walk’d about; And the great bell has toll'd, unrung, untouch'd. Such tales their cheer, at wake or gossiping, When it draws near to witching time of night. Oft, in the lone church-yard at night I've seen, By glimpse of moonshine cheq'ring through the The school-boy with his satchel in his hand, [trees, Whistling aloud to bear his courage up, And lightly tripping o'er the long flat stones (With nettles skirted, and with moss o'ergrown) That tell in homely phrase who lie below. Sudden he starts! and hears, or thinks he hears, The sound of something purring at his heels; Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind him, Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows: Who gather round, and wonder at the tale Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly, That walks at dead of night, or takes his stand O'er some new open'd grave; and (strange to tell!) Evanishes at crowing of the cock. The new-made widow, too, I've sometimes spied, Sad sight! slow moving o'er the prostrate dead; Listless, she crawls along in doleful black, Whilst bursts of sorrow gush from either eye, Fast falling down her now untasted cheek. Prone on the lowly grave of the dear man She drops; whilst busy meddling memory In barbarous succession musters up The past endearments of their softer hours, Tenacious of its theme. Still, still she thinks She sees him, and indulging the fond thought, Clings yet more closely to the senseless turf, Nor heeds the passenger who looks that way. Invidious grave! how dost thou rend in sunder Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one! A tie more stubborn far than nature's band. Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul; Sweet'ner of life, and solder of society, I owe thee much. Thou hast deserv'd from me, Far, far beyond what I can ever pay. Oft have I prov'd the labours of thy love, And the warm efforts of the gentle heart, Anxious to please.—O! when my friend and I In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on, Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down Upon the sloping cowslip-cover'd bank, Where the pure limpid stream has slid along In grateful errors through the underwood Sweet murm'ring; methought the shrill-tongu'd thrush Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird Mellow'd his pipe, and soften’d every note:
The eglantine smell'd sweeter, and the rose
Assum'd a dye more deep, whilst ev'ry flower
Vied with its fellow plant in luxury
Of dress.-Oh! then, the longest summer's day
Seem'd too, too much in haste: still the full heart
Had not imparted half: 'twas happiness
Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed,
Not to return, how painful the remembrance!
Dull grave—thou spoil'st the dance of youthful
Strik'st out the dimple from the cheek of mirth,
And ev'ry smirking feature from the face;
Branding our laughter with the name of madness.
Where are the jesters now the man of health
Complexionally pleasant? where the droll,
Whose ev'ry look and gesture was a joke
To clapping theatres and shouting crowds,
And made ev'n thick-lip'd musing Melancholy
To gather up her face into a smile
Before she was aware : Ah! sullen now,
And dumb as the green turf that covers them.
Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?
The Roman Caesars, and the Grecian chiefs,
The boast of story Where the hot-brain'd youth
Who the tiara at his pleasure tore
From kings of all the then discover'd globe;
And cry'd, forsooth, because his arm was hamper'd,
And had not room enough to do its work
Alas! how slim, dishonourably slim,
And cram'd into a space we blush to name !
Proud royalty how alter'd in thy looks
How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue !
Son of the morning ! whither art thou gone?
Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head,
And the majestic menace of thine eyes
Felt from afar? Pliant and powerless now
Like new-born infant bound up in his swathes,
Or victim tumbled flat upon his back,
That throbs beneath the sacrificer's knife.
Mute, must thou bear the strife of little tongues,
And coward insults of the base-born crowd;
That grudge a privilege thou never hadst,
But only hop'd for in the peaceful grave,
Of being unmolested and alone.
Arabia's gums and odoriferous drugs,
And honours by the herald duly paid
In mode and form, ev'n to a very scruple;
Oh cruel irony these come too late;
And only mock, whom they were meant to honour.
Surely there's not a dungeon-slave that's bury'd
In the high-way, unshrouded and uncoffin'd,
But lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he.—
Sorry pre-eminence of high descent,
Above the baser-born, to rot in state.
But see : the well-plum'd herse comes nodding on,
Stately and slow ; and properly attended
By the whole sable tribe, that painful watch
The sick man's door, and live upon the dead,
By letting out their persons by the hour,
To mimic sorrow, when the heart's not sad.
How rich the trappings: how they're all unfurl’d,
And glittering in the sun; triumphant entries
Of conquerors, and coronation-pomps,
In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts of people
Retard th' unwieldy show; whilst from the case-
And houses' tops, ranks behind ranks close wedg'd
Hang bellying o'er. But tell us, why this waste
Why this ado in earthing up a carcass
That's fall’n into disgrace, and in the nostril
Smells horrible —Ye undertakers, tell us,
Midst all the gorgeous figures you exhibit,
Why is the principal conceal’d, for which
You make this mighty stir –"Tis wisely done:
What would offend the eye in a good picture,
The painter casts discreetly into shades.
Proud lineage, now how little thou appear'st!
Below the envy of the private man :
Honor, that meddlesome officious ill,
Pursues thee ev'n to death; northere stops short.
Strange persecution when the grave itself
Is no protection from rude sufferance.
Absurd to think to over-reach the grave, And from the wreck of names to rescue ours! The best concerted schemes men lay for same Die fast away: only themselves die faster. The far-fam'd sculptor, and the laurel'd bard, Those bold insurers of eternal fame, Supply their little feeble aids in vain. The tapering pyramid, the Egyptian's pride, And wonder of the world ! whose spiky top Has wounded the thick cloud, and long outliv'd The angry shaking of the winter's storm; Yet spent at last by th’ injuries of heav'n, Shatter'd with age, and furrow'd o'er with years, The mystic cone with hieroglyphics crusted, Gives way. Olamentable sight! at once The labor of whole ages lumbers down; A hideous and mis-shapen length of ruins. Sepulchral columns wrestle but in vain With all-subduing Time; his cankering hand With calm deliberate malice wasteth them: Worn on the edge of days, the brass consumes, The busto moulders, and the deep cut marble, Unsteady to the steel, gives up its charge. Ambition, half convicted of her folly, Hangs down the head and reddens at the tale.
Here all the mighty troublers of the earth, Who swam to sov’reign rule thro' seas of blood; The oppressive, sturdy man-destroying villains, who ravag'd kingdoms, and laid empires waste, And in a cruel wantonness of power Thinn'd states of half their people, and gave up To want the rest; now, like a storm that's spent, Lie hush'd, and meanly sneak behind thy covert. vain thought to hide them from the general scorn That haunts and dogs them like an injur'd ghost Implacable. Here too the petty tyrant, Whose scant domains geographer ne'er notic'd, And, well for neighboring grounds, of arm as short, Who fix’d his iron talons on the poor, And grip'd them like some lordly beast of prey, Deaf to the forceful cries of gnawing hunger, And piteous plaintive wo misery
(As if a slave was not a shred of nature,
Of the same common nature with his lord;)
Now tame and humble, like a child that's whipp'd,
Shakes hands with dust, and calls the worm his
Nor pleads his rank and birthright. Under ground
Precedency's a jest; vassal and lord,
Grossly familiar, side by side consume.
When self-esteem, or others’ adulation,
Would cunningly persuade us we were something
Above the common level of our kind, [tery,
The grave gainsays the smooth-complexion'd flat-
And with blunt truth acquaints us what we are.
Beauty! thou pretty plaything! dear deceit!
That steals so softly o'er the stripling's heart,
And gives it a new pulse, unknown before!
The grave discredits thee: thy charms expung'd,
Thy roses faded, and thy lilies soil'd,
What hast thou more to boast of? Will thy lovers
Flock round thee now, to gaze and do thee homage?
Methinks I see thee with thy head low laid,
Whilst surfeited upon thy damask cheek
The high-fed worm, in lazy volumes roll'd,
Riots unscar'd.—For this, was all thy caution
For this, thy painful labours at thy glass?
To improve those charms, and keep them in repair,
For which the spoiler thanks thee not Foul feeder!
Coarse fare and carrion please thee full as well,
And leave as keen a relish on the sense.
Look how the fair one weeps l—the conscious tears
Stand thick as dew-drops on the bells of flow’rs:
Honest effusion! the swoll'n heart in vain
Works hard to put a gloss on its distress.
Strength too: thou surly, and less gentle boast
Of those that laugh loud at the village ring!
A fit of common sickness pulls thee down
With greater ease, than e'er thou didst the stripling
That rashly dar'd thee to th’ unequal fight.
What groan was that I heard?—deep groan indeed!
With anguish heavy laden I let me trace it:
From yonder bed it comes, where the strong man,
By stronger arm belabour'd, gasps for breath
Like a hard-hunted beast. How his great heart
Beats thick! his roomy chest by far too scant
To give the lungs full play.—What now avail
The strong-built sinewy limbs, and well-spread
See how he tugs for life, and lays about him,
Mad with his pain!—Eager he catches hold
Of what comes next to hand, and grasps it hard,
Just like a creature drowning ; hideous sight!
Oh! how his eyes stand out, and stare full ghastly :
Whilst the distemper's rank and deadly venom
Shoots like a burning arrow cross his bowels,
And drinks his marrow up.–Heard you that groan:
It was his last.—See how the great Goliah,
Just like a child that brawl'd itself to rest, [boaster,
Lies still.—What mean'st thou then, O mighty
To vaunt of nerves of thine what means the bull,
Unconscious of his strength, to play the coward,
And flee before a feeble thing like man;
* knowing well the slackness of his arm,
Trusts only in the well-invented knife 2
With study pale, and midnight vigils spent,
The star-surveying sage, close to his eye
Applies the sight-invigorating tube; [space,
And travelling through the boundless length of
Marks well the courses of the far-seen orbs
That roll with regular confusion there,
In ecstacy of thought. But ah! proud man!
Great heights are hazardous to the weak head;
Soon, very soon, thy firmest footing fails;
And down thou dropp'st into that darksome place,
Where nor device nor knowledge ever came.
Here the tongue-warrior lies! disabled now,
Disarm'd, dishonour'd, like a wretch that's gagg'd
And cannot tell his ails to passers by.
Great man of language! whence this mighty change?
This dumb despair, and drooping of the head?
Though strong persuasion hung upon thy lip,
And sly insinuation's softer arts
In ambush lay about thy flowing tongue;
Alas! how chop-fall'n now! Thick mists and silence
Rest, like a weary cloud, upon thy breast
Unceasing. Ah! where is the lifted arm,
The strength of action, and the force of words,
The well-turn'd period, and the well-tun'd voice,
With all the lesser ornaments of phrase!
Ah! fled for ever, as they ne'er had been 1
Raz'd from the book of fame: or, more provoking,
Perchance some hackney hunger-bitten scribbler
Insults thy memory, and blots thy tomb
With long flat narrative, or duller rhymes,
With heavy halting pace that drawl along;
Enough to rouse a dead man into rage,
And warm with red resentment the wan cheek.
Here the great masters of the healing art,
These mighty mock defrauders of the tomb,
Spite of their juleps and catholicons,
Resign to fate. Proud AEsculapius' son!
Where are thy boasted implements of art,
And all thy well-cramm'd magazines of health?
Nor hill nor vale, as far as ship could go,
Nor margin of the gravel-bottom'd brook,
Escap'd thy rifling hand;—from stubborn shrubs
Thou wrung'st their shy-retiring virtues out,
And vex'd them in the fire: nor fly, nor insect,
Nor writhy snake, escap'd thy deep research.
But why this apparatus? why this cost?
Tell us, thou doughty keeper from the grave!
Where are thy recipes and cordials now,
With the long list of vouchers for thy cures?
Alas! thou speakest not. The bold impostor
Looks not more silly, when the cheat's found out.
Here the lank-sided miser, worst of felons !
Who meanly stole (discreditable shift:)
From back and belly too, their proper cheer,
Eas'd of a tax it irk'd the wretch to pay
To his own carcass, now lies cheaply lodg’d,
By clam'rous appetites no longer teas'd,
Nor tedious bills of charges and repairs.
But ah! where are his rents, his comings-in
Aye! now you've made the rich man poor indeeds
Robb'd of his gods, what has he left behind?