« PreviousContinue »
Or that* to which old Socrates was curst,
Or henbane-juice to swell them till they burst.
"The patron, as in reason, thought it hard
To see this inquisition in his yard,
[barr'd. By which the sovereign was of subjects' use de-. All gentle means he tried, which might withdraw The' effects of so unnatural a law;
But still the Dove-house obstinately stood,
Deaf to their own and to their neighbours' good;
And, which was worse, if any worse could be,
Repented of their boasted loyalty:
Now made the champions of a cruel cause,
And drunk with fumes of popular applause;
For those whom God to ruin has design'd,
He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind.
"New doubts, indeed, they daily strove to raise,
Suggested dangers, interpos'd delays,
And emissary Pigeons had in store,
Such as the Meccan Prophet us'd of yore,
To whisper counsels in their patron's ear,
And veil'd their false advice with zealous fear.
The master smil'd to see 'em work in vain
To wear him out, and make an idle reign:
He saw, but suffer'd their protractive arts,
And strove by mildness to reduce their hearts;
But they abus'd that grace to make allies,
And fondly clos'd with former enemies; [wise.
For fools are doubly fools, endeavouring to be.
“After a grave consult what course were best,
One, more mature in folly than the rest,
Stood up, and told them, with his head aside,
That desperate cures must be to desperate ills
And, therefore, since their main impending fear
Was from the' increasing race of Chanticleer,
Some potent bird of prey they ought to find,
A foe profess'd to him and all his kind;
Some haggard Hawk, who had her eyry nigh,
Well pounc'd to fasten, and well wing'd to fly;
One they might trust, their common wrongs to
The Musquet and the Coystrel were too weak,
Too fierce the Falcon; but, above the rest,
The noble Buzzard ever pleas'd me best;
Of small renown, 'tis true; for, not to lie,
We call him but a Hawk-by courtesy:
I know he hates the Pigeon-house and farm,
And more, in time of war has done us harm;
But all his hate on trivial points depends;
Give up our forms, and we shall soon be friends;
For Pigeons' flesh he seems not much to care,
Cramm'd chickens are a more delicious fare.
On this high potentate, without delay,
I wish you would confer the sovereign-sway;
Petition him to' accept the government,
And let a splendid embassy be sent.'
"This pithy speech prevail'd, and all agreed, Old enmities forgot, the Buzzard should succeed. "Their welcome suit was granted, soon as heard, His lodgings furnish'd, and a train prepar'd, With B's upon their breast, appointed for his guard.
He came, and crown'd with great solemnity,
'God save King Buzzard!' was the general cry.
"A portly prince, and goodly to the sight,
He seem'd a son of Anach for his height;
Like those whom stature did to crowns prefer,
Black-brow'd and bluff, like Homer's Jupiter;
Broad-back'd, and brawny-built, for love's delight,
A prophet form'd, to make a female proselyte.
A theologue more by need, than genial bent;
By breeding sharp, by nature confident.
Interest in all his actions was discern'd;
More learn'd than honest, more a wit than learn'd.
Or forc'd by fear, or by his prophet led,
Or both conjoin'd, his native clime he fled:
But brought the virtues of his heaven along,
A fair behaviour, and a fluent tongue.
And yet with all his arts he could not thrive;
The most unlucky parasite alive.
Loud praises to prepare his paths he sent,
And then himself pursued his compliment;
But, by reverse of fortune, chas'd away,
His gifts no longer then their author stay:
He shakes the dust against the' ungrateful race,
And leaves the stench of ordures in the place.
Oft has he flatter'd and blasphem'd the same;
For, in his rage, he spares no sovereign's name :
The hero and the tyrant change their style,
By the same measure that they frown or smile.
When well receiv'd by hospitable foes,
The kindness he returns-is to expose :
For courtesies, though undeserv'd and great,
No gratitude in felon-minds beget;
As tribute to his wit the churl receives the treat.
His praise of foes is venomously nice;
So touch'd, it turns a virtue to a vice:
'A Greek, and bountiful, forewarns us twice.'
Seven sacraments he wisely does disown,
Because he knows confession stands for one;
Where sins to sacred silence are convey'd,
And not for fear or love to be betray'd:
But he, uncall'd, his patron to control,
Divulg'd the secret whispers of his soul;
Stood forth the' accusing Satan of his crimes,
And offer'd to the Moloch of the times.
Prompt to assail, and careless of defence,
Invulnerable in his impudence,
He dares the world; and, eager of a name,
He thrusts about, and justles into fame.
Frontless, and satire-proof, he scowers the streets,
And runs an Indian-muck at all he meets:
So fond of loud report, that not to miss
Of being known, (his last and utmost bliss)
He rather would be known for what he is.
"Such was, and is, the captain of the Test,
Though half his virtues are not here express'd;
The modesty of Fame conceals the rest.
The spleenful Pigeons never could create
A prince more proper to revenge their hate:
Indeed, more proper to revenge than save;
A king, whom in his wrath the' Almighty gave;
For all the grace the landlord had allow'd,
But made the Buzzard and the Pigeons proud;
Gave time to fix their friends, and to seduce the
They long their fellow-subjects to entral,
Their patron's promise into question call, [all.
And vainly think he meant to make 'em lords of
"False fears their leaders fail'd not to suggest,
As if the Doves were to be dispossess'd;
Nor sighs, nor groans, nor goggling eyes did want;
For now the Pigeons too had learn'd to cant.
The house of prayer is stock'd with large increase,
or doors nor windows can contain the press:
For birds of every feather fill the' abode;
E'en atheists, out of envy, own a God;
And reeking from the stews, adulterers come,
Like Goths and Vandals, to demolish Rome.
That Conscience, which to all their crimes was mute,
Now calls aloud, and cries to persecute;
No rigour of the laws to be releas'd,
And much the less, because it was their lord's request;
They thought it great their sovereign to control, And nam'd their pride-Nobility of soul.
""Tis true, the Pigeons, and their prince-elect, Were short of power their purpose to effect; But with their quills did all the hurt they could, And cuff'd the tender chickens from their food; And much the Buzzard in their cause did stir, Though naming not the patron, to infer, With all respect, he was a gross idolater.
"But when the' imperial owner did espy That thus they turn'd his grace to villany, Not suffering wrath to discompose his mind, He strove a temper for the' extremes to find, So to be just, as he might still be kind; Then, all maturely weigh'd, pronounc❜d a doom Of sacred strength for every age to come. By this the Doves their wealth and state possess, No rights infring'd, but license to oppress: Such power have they as factious lawyers long To crowns ascrib'd, that kings can do no wrong: But since his own domestic birds have tried The dire effects of their destructive pride, He deems that proof a measure to the rest, Concluding well within his kingly breast, His fowls of Nature too unjustly were opprest,