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Yet, to his guest though no way sparing,
He eat himself the rind and paring.
Our courtier scarce could touch a bit,
But show'd his breeding and his wit;
He did his best to seem to eat,

And cried, "I vow you're mighty neat.
But Lord, my friend, this savage scene!
For God's sake, come, and live with men;
Consider, mice, like men, must die,
Both small and great, both you and I:
Then spend your life in joy and sport;
(This doctrine, friend, I learnt at court.")

The veriest hermit in the nation
May yield, God knows, to strong temptation.
Away they come, through thick and thin,
To a tall house near Lincoln's-inn:
('Twas on the night of a debate,
When all their lordships had sat late.)

Behold the place, where if a poet
Shin'd in description, he might show it;
Tell how the moonbeam trembling falls,
And tips with silver all the walls;
Palladian walls, Venetian doors,
Grotesco roofs, and stucco floors:
But let it (in a word) be said,
The Moon was up, and men a-bed,
The napkins white, the carpet red:
The guests withdrawn had left the treat,
And down the mice sate, tête-à-tête.

Our courtier walks from dish to dish,
Tastes for his friend of fowl and fish;
Tells all their names, lays down the law,
Que ca est bon! Ah goûtez ca!
That jelly's rich, this malmsey healing,
Pray dip your whiskers and your tail in.
Was ever such a happy swain!

He stuffs and swills, and stuffs again.
"I'm quite asham'd-'tis mighty rude
To eat so much-but all's so good.
I have a thousand thanks to give-
My lord alone knows how to live."
No sooner said, but from the ball
Rush chaplain, butler, dogs, and all:
"A rat! a rat! clap to the door!"-
The cat comes bouncing on the floor.
O for the heart of Homer's mice,
Or gods to save them in a trice!
(It was by Providence they think,
For your damn'd stucco has no chink.)
"An't please your honor," quoth the peasant,
"This same dessert is not so pleasant:
Give me again my hollow tree,

A crust of bread, and liberty!"

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Blest in each science, blest in every strain! Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear-in vain! For him, thou oft hast bid the world attend, Fond to forget the statesman in the friend; For Swift and him, despis'd the farce of state, The sober follies of the wise and great; Dextrous the craving, fawning crowd to quit, And pleas'd to 'scape from flattery to wit.

Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear,) Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilsome days, Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays, Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate, Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great; Or, deeraing meanest what we greatest call, Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall. And sure, if aught below the seats divine Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine: A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried, Above all pain, and passion, and all pride, The rage of power, the blast of public breath, The lust of lucre, and the dread of Death.

In vain to deserts thy retreat is made; The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade: 'Tis hers, the brave man's latest steps to trace, Re-judge his acts, and dignify disgrace. When interest calls off all her sneaking train, And all th' oblig'd desert, and all the vain; She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell, When the last lingering friend has bid farewell. Ev'n now she shades thy evening-walk with bays (No hireling she, no prostitute to praise), Ev'n now, observant of the parting ray, Eyes the calm sunset of thy various day, Through Fortune's cloud one truly great can see, Nor fears to tell, that Mortimer is he.


VITAL spark of heavenly flame,
Quit, O quit this mortal frame
Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying,
O the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.

Hark! they whisper: angels say,
"Sister spirit, come away."
What is this absorbs me quite,
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirit, draws my breath?
Tell me, my soul, can this be death?

The world recedes, it disappears;
Heaven opens on my eyes; my ears
With sounds seraphic ring.
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! Ifly!
O Grave, where is thy victory?
O Death, where is thy sting?


HAPPY the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter, fire.

Blest, who can unconcern'dly find Hours, days, and years slide soft away In health of body, peace of mind, Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night: study and ease
Together mixed; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.


FATHER of all! in every age,
In every clime adored,

By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!

Thou great First Cause, least understood,
Who all my sense confined

To know but this, that thou art good,
And that myself am blind;

Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill;
And, binding nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will.

What conscience dictates to be done, Or warns me not to do,

This, teach me more than hell to shun, That, more than heaven pursue.


What blessings thy free bounty gives Let me not cast away;

For God is paid when man receives,
To enjoy is to obey.

Yet not to earth's contracted span
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think thee Lord alone of man,

When thousand worlds are round.

Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land
On each I judge thy foe.

If I am right, thy grace impart
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, O teach my heart
To find that better way!

Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denied,
Or aught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe,
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.

Mean though I am, not wholly so,
Since quickened by thy breath;
O lead me wheresoe'er I go,

Through this day's life or death!
This day be bread and peace my lot;
All else beneath the sun,
Thou know'st if best bestowed or not,
And let thy will be done.

To thee, whose temple is all space,
Whose altar earth, sea, skies!
One chorus let all Being raise!
All Nature's incense rise!


JOHN GAY was born in Barnstaple, Devonshire, in 1688. He was apprenticed to a silkmercer in London, but quickly forsook the business for literature. His first publication was "Rural Sports," in 1711. The next year he became secretary to the Duchess of Monmouth, and wrote "Trivia," which was greatly admired. In 1714 he wrote "The Shepherd's Week," to ridicule Philips's pastorals, and it met with popular favor to an unexpected degree. His poems were published by subscription in 1720, and brought him £1,000. In 1713 he had written a comedy, which failed. He was more suc


cessful with a play entitled "What d'ye call It?" Another, entitled "Three Hours after Marriage," failed; and again he was successful with his tragedy "The Captives." In 1727 his "Beggars' Opera," having been rejected at Drury Lane, was brought out at Lincoln's Inn, and had a run of sixty-three nights. By this and his fables he is best known. He wrote a sequel to the "Beggars' Opera," which the Lord Chamberlain would not allow to be represented on the stage; but its publication brought the author £1,200. Gay died on December 4, 1732, and was buried in Westminster Abbey


You, who the sweets of rural life have known,
Despise th' ungrateful hurry of the town;
In Windsor groves your easy hours employ,
And, undisturb'd, yourself and Muse enjoy.
Thames listens to thy strains, and silent flows,
And no rude wind through rustling osiers blows,
While all his wondering nymphs around thee

To hear the Syrens warble in thy song.

But I, who ne'er was blest by Fortune's hand, Nor brighten'd plowshares in paternal land, Long in the noisy town have been immur'd, Respir'd its smoke, and all its cares endur'd; Where news and politics divide mankind, And schemes of state involve th' uneasy mind: Faction embroils the world; and every tongue Is mov'd by flattery, or with scandal hung: Friendship, for sylvan shades, the palace flies, Where all must yield to interest's dearer ties: Each rival Machiavel with envy.burns, And honesty forsakes them all by turns; While calumny upon each party's thrown, Which both promote, and both alike disown. Fatigu'd at last, a calm retreat I chose, And sooth'd my harass'd mind with sweet repose, Where fields and shades, and the refreshing clime, Inspire the sylvan song, and prompt my rhyme. My Muse shall rove through flowery meads and plains,

And deck with rural sports her native strains; And the same road ambitiously pursue, Frequented by the Mantuan swain and you.

'Tis not that rural sports alone invite, But all the grateful country breathes delight; Here blooming Health exerts her gentle reign, And strings the sinews of th' industrious swain. Soon as the morning lark salutes the day, Through dewy fields I take my frequent way, Where I behold the farmer's early care In the revolving labors of the year.

When the fresh Spring in all her state is crown'd,

And high luxuriant grass o'erspreads the ground,
The laborer with a bending scythe is seen,
Shaving the surface of the waving green;
Of all her native pride disrobes the land,
And meads lays waste before his sweeping hand;
While with the mounting Sun the meadow glows,
The fading herbage round he loosely throws:
But, if some sign portend a lasting shower,
Th' experienced swain foresees the coming hour;
is sun-burnt hands the scattering fork forsake,
And ruddy damsels ply the saving rake;
In rising hills the fragrant harvest grows,
And spreads along the fields in equal rows.

Now when the height of Heaven bright Pho-
bus gains,

And level rays cleave wide the thirsty plains,
When heifers seek the shade and cooling lake,
And in the middle path-way basks the snake:
O lead me, guard me, from the sultry hours,
Hide me, ye forests, in your closest bowers,
Where the tall oak his spreading arms entwines,
And with the beach a mutual shade combines;
Where flows the murmuring brook, inviting

Where bordering hazel overhangs the streams,
Whose rolling current, winding round and round,
With frequent falls makes all the woods resound,
Upon the mossy couch my limbs I cast,
And e'en at noon the sweets of evening taste.

Here I peruse the Mantuan's Georgic strains,
And learn the labors of Italian swains;
In every page I see new landscapes rise,
And all Hesperia opens to my eyes;

I wander o'er the various rural toil,
And know the nature of each different soil:
This waving field is gilded o'er with corn,
That spreading trees with blushing fruit adorn;
Here I survey the purple vintage grow,
Climb round the poles, and rise in graceful row:
Now I behold the steed curvet and bound,
And paw with restless hoof the smoking ground;
The dewlap'd bull now chafes along the plain,
While burning love ferments in every vein;
His well-arm'd front against his rival aims,
And by the dint of war his mistress claims.

The careful insect 'midst his works I view,
Now from the flowers exhaust the fragrant dew;
With golden treasures load his little thighs,
And steer his distant journey through the skies;
Some against hostile drones the hive defend,
Others with sweets the waxen cells istend,
Each in the toil his destin'd office bears,
And in the little bulk a mighty soul appears.

Or when the plowman leaves the task of day,
And trudging homeward, whistles on the way;
When the big-udder'd cows with patience stand,
Waiting the strokings of the damsel's hand;
No warbling cheers the woods; the feather'd choir,
To court kind slumbers, to the sprays retire;
When no rude gale disturbs the sleeping trees,
Nor aspen leaves confess the gentlest breeze;
Engag'd in thought, to Neptune's bounds I stray,
take my farewell of the parting day;
Far in the deep the Sun his glory hides,
A streak of gold the sea and sky divides:
The purple clouds their amber linings show,
And, edg'd with flame, rolls every wave below:
Here pensive I behold the fading light,
And o'er the distant billow lose my sight.

Now Night in silent state begins to rise,
And twinkling orbs bestrow th' uncloudy skies;
Her borrow'd lustre growing Cynthia lends,
And on the main a glittering path extends;
Millions of worlds hang in the spacious air,
Which round their suns their annual circles steer;
Sweet contemplation elevates my sense,
While I survey the works of Providence.
O could the Muse in loftier strains rehearse
The glorious Author of the universe,
Who reins the winds, gives the vast ocean bounds,
And circumscribes the floating worlds their rounds;
My soul should overflow in songs of praise,
And my Creator's name inspire my lays!

As in successive course the seasons roll,
So circling pleasures recreate the soul.
When genial Spring a living warmth bestows,
And o'er the year her verdant mantle throws,
No swelling inundation hides the grounds,
But crystal currents glide within their bounds:
The finny brood their wonted haunts forsake,
Float in the sun, and skim along the lake;
With frequent leap they range the shallow streams,
Their silver coats reflect the dazzling beams.
Now let the fisherman his toils prepare,
And arm himself with every watery snare;
His hooks, his lines, peruse with careful eye,
Increase his tackle, and his rod re-tie.

When floating clouds their spongy fleeces drain,
Troubling the streams with swift-descending rain;
And waters tumbling down the mountain's side,
Bear the loose soil into the swelling tide;
Then soon as vernal gales begin to rise,
And drive the liquid burthen through the skies,
The fisher to the neighboring current speeds,
Whose rapid surface purls unknown to weeds:
Upon a rising border of the brook

He sits him down, and ties the treacherous hook;
Now expectation cheers his eager thought,
His bosom glows with treasures yet uncaught;
Before his eyes a banquet seems to stand,
Where every guest applauds his skilful hand.

Far up the stream the twisted hair he throws,
Which down the murmuring current gently flows;
When, if or chance or hunger's powerful sway
Directs the roving trout his fatal way,

He greedily sucks in the twining bait.
And tugs and nibbles the fallacious meat:
Now, happy fisherman, now twitch the line!
How thy rod bends! behold, the prize is thine!
Cast on the bank, he dies with gasping pains,
And trickling blood his silver mail distains.

You must not every worm promiscuous use,
Judgment will tell the proper bait to choose :
The worm that draws a long immoderate size,
The trout abhors, and the rank morsel flies;
And, if too small, the naked fraud's in sight,
And fear forbids, while hunger does invite.
Those baits will best reward the fisher's pains,
Whose polish'd tails a shining yellow stains:
Cleanse them from filth, to give a tempting gloss
Cherish the sullied reptile race with moss;
Amid the verdant bed they twine, they toil,
And from their bodies wipe their native soil.

But when the Sun displays his glorious beams,
And shallow rivers flow with silver streams,
Then the deceit the scaly breed survey,
Bask in the sun, and look into the day:
You now a more delusive art must try,
And tempt their hunger with the curious fly.
To frame the little animal, provide
All the gay hues that wait on female pride;
Let Nature guide thee! sometimes golden wire
The shining bellies of the fly require;
The peacock's plumes thy tackle must not fail,
Nor the dear purchase of the sable's tail.
Each gaudy bird some slender tribute brings,
And lends the growing insect proper wings;
Silks of all colors must their aid impart,
And every fur promote the fisher's art.
So the gay lady, with excessive care,
Borrows the pride of land, of sea, and air; [plays,
Furs, pearls, and plumes, the glittering thing dis-
Dazzles our eyes, and easy hearts betrays

Mark well the various seasons of the year,
How the succeeding insect race appear:
In this revolving Moon one color reigns,
Which in the next the fickle trout disdains.
Oft have I seen the skilful angler try
The various colors of the treacherous fly;
When he with fruitless pain hath skimm'd the brook
And the coy fish rejects the skipping hook,
He shakes the boughs that on the margin grow,
Which o'er the stream a waving forest throw;
When, if an insect fall, (his certain guide,)
He gently takes him from the whirling tide;
Examines well his form with curious eyes,
His gaudy vest, his wings, his horns, and size,
Then round his hook the chosen fur he winds,
And on the back a speckled feather binds;
So just the colors shine through every part,
That Nature seems again to live in Art.
Let not thy wary step advance too near,
While all thy hopes hang on a single hair;
The new-form'd insect on the water moves,
The speckled trout the curious snare approves;
Upon the curling surface let it glide,
With natural motion from thy hand supplied,
Against the stream now gently let it play,
Now in the rapid eddy roll away.

The scaly shoals float by, and, seiz'd with fear,
Behold their fellows tost in thinner air:
But soon they leap, and catch the swimming bait,
Plunge on the hook, and share an equal fate.

When a brisk gale against the current blows,
And all the watery plain in wrinkles flows

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Then let the fisherman his art repeat,
Where bubbling eddies favor the deceit
If an enormous salmon chance to spy
The wanton errors of the floating fly,
He lifts his silver gills above the flood,
And greedily sucks in th' unfaithful food;
Then downward plunges with the fraudful prey,
And bears with joy the little spoil away:
Soon in smart pain he feels the dire mistake,
Lashes the wave, and beats the foamy lake,
With sudden rage he now aloft appears,
And in his eye convulsive anguish bears;
And now again, impatient of the wound,
He rolls and wreathes his shining body round;
Then headlong shoots beneath the dashing tide,
The trembling fins the boiling wave divide.
Now hope exalts the fisher's beating heart,
Now he turns pale, and fears his dubious art;
He views the tumbling fish with longing eyes,
While the line stretches with th' unwieldy prize;
Each motion humors with his steady hands,
And one slight hair the mighty bulk commands;
Till, tir'd at last, despoil'd of all his strength,
The game athwart the stream unfolds his length.
He now, with pleasure, views the gasping prize
Gnash his sharp teeth, and roll his blood-shot eyes,
Then draws him to the shore, with artful care,
And lifts his nostrils in the sickening air:
Upon the burthen'd stream he floating lies,
Stretches his quivering fins, and gasping dies.
Would you preserve a numerous finny race;
Let your fierce dogs the ravenous otter chase
(Th' amphibious monster ranges all the shores,
Darts through the waves, and every haunt explores):
Or let the gin his roving steps betray,
And save from hostile jaws the scaly prey.

I never wander where the bordering reeds
O'erlook the muddy stream, whose tangling weeds
Perplex the fisher; I nor choose to bear
The thievish nightly net, nor barbed spear;
Nor drain I ponds, the golden carp to take,
Nor troll for pikes, dispeoplers of the lake;
Around the steel no tortur'd worm shall twine,
No blood of living insects stain my line.
Let me, less cruel, cast the feather'd hook
With pliant rod athwart the pebbled brook,
Silent along the mazy margin stray,
And with the fur-wrought fly delude the prey.


Now, sporting Muse, draw in the flowing reins, Leave the clear streams awhile for sunny plains. Should you the various arms and toils rehearse, And all the fisherman adorn thy verse; Should you the wide encircling net display And in its spacious arch enclose the sea; Then haul the plunging load upon the land, And with the sole and turbot hide the sand; It would extend the growing theme too long, And tire the reader with the watery song.

Let the keen hunter from the chase refrain, Nor render all the plowman's labor vain, When Ceres pours out plenty from her horn, And clothes the fields with golden ears of corn. Now, now, ye reapers, to your task repair, Haste! save the product of the bounteous year: To the wide-gathering hook long furrows yield, And rising sheaves extend through all the field.

Yet, if for sylvan sports thy bosom glow, Let thy fleet greyhound urge his flying foe. With what delight the rapid course I view! How does my eye the circling race pursu He snaps deceitful air with empty jaws; The subtle hare darts swift beneath his paws; She flies, he stretches, now with nimble bound Eager he presses on, but overshoots his ground; She turns, he winds, and soon regains the way, Then tears with gory mouth the screaming prey What various sport does rural life afford! What unbought dainties heap the wholesome board; Nor less the spaniel, skilful to betray, Rewards the fowler with the feather'd prey. Soon as the laboring horse, with swelling veins, Hath safely hous'd the farmer's doubtful gains, To sweet repast th' unwary partridge flies, With joy amid the scatter'd harvest lies; Wandering in plenty, danger he forgets, Nor dreads the slavery of entangling nets. The subtle dog scours with sagacious nose Along the field, and snuffs each breeze that blows; Against the wind he takes his prudent way, While the strong gale directs him to the prey; Now the warm scent assures the covey near, He treads with caution, and he points with fear; Then (lest some sentry-fowl the fraud descry, And bid his fellows from the danger fly) Close to the ground in expectation lies, Till in the snare the fluttering covey rise. Soon as the blushing light begins to spread, And glancing Phoebus gilds the mountain's head, His early flight th' ill-fated partridge takes, And quits the friendly shelter of the brakes; Or, when the Sun casts a declining ray, And drives his chariot down the western way Let your obsequious ranger search around, Where yellow stubble withers on the ground, Nor will the roving spy direct in vain, But numerous coveys gratify thy pain. When the meridian Sun contracts the shade, And frisking heifers seek the cooling glade; Or when the country floats with sudden rains, Or driving mists deface the moisten'd plains; In vain his toils th' unskilful fowler tries, While in thick woods the feeding partridge lies. Nor must the sporting verse the gun forbear, But what's the fowler's be the Muse's care. See how the well-taught pointer leads the way; The scent grows warm; he stops: he springs the


The fluttering coveys from the stubble rise,
And on swift wing divide the sounding skies;
The scattering lead pursues the certain sight,
And death in thunder overtakes their flight.
Cool breathes the morning air, and Winter's hand
Spreads wide her hoary mantle o'er the land;
Now to the copse thy lesser spaniel take,
Teach him to range the ditch, and force the brake
Not closest coverts can protect the game:
Hark! the dog opens; take thy certain aim.
The woodcock flutters; how he wavering flies!
The wood resounds: he wheels, he drops, he dies
The towering hawk let future poets sing,
Who terror bears upon his soaring wing:
Let them on high the frighted hern survey,
And lofty numbers point their airy fray.
Nor shall the mounting lark the Muse detain.
That greets the morning with his early strain;

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