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Your ill-judg'd aid will you impart,
And spoil by meretricious art?"
Or had you, nature's error, comme
Abortive from the mother's womb,
Your forming care she still rejects,
Which only heightens her defects.
When such, of glitt'ring jewels proud,
Still press the foremost in the crowd,
At ev'ry public show are seen,
With look awry, and awkward mien,
The gaudy dress attracts the eye,
And magnifies deformity.
Nature may underdo her part,
But seldom wants the help of art;
Trust her, she is your surest friend,
Nor made your form for you to mend.
A Goose, affected, empty, vain,
The shrillest of the cackling train,
With proud and elevated crest,
Precedence claim'd above the rest.
Says she, I laugh at human race,
Who say geese hobble in their pace;
Look here!the sland'rous lye detect;
No haughty man is so erect.
That peacock yonder! Lord, how vain
The creature's of his gaudy train!
If both were stript, I pawn my word
A goose would be the finer bird.
Nature, to hide her own defects,
Her bungled work with finery decks;
Were geese set off with half that show,
Would men admire the peacock! No.
Thus vaunting, 'cross the mead she stalks,
The cackling breed attend her walks ;
The sun shot down his noon-tide beams,
The Swans were sporting in the streams;
Their snowy plumes and stately pride
Provok'd her spleen. Why there, she cried,
Again what arrogance we see!
Those creatures! how they mimic me!
Shall ev'ry fowl the water skim,
Because we geese are known to swim!
Humility they soon shall learn,
And their own emptiness discern.
So saying, with extended wings,
Lightly upon the wave she springs;
Her bosom swells, she spreads her plumes,
And the swan's stately crest assumes.
Contempt and mockery ensued,
And bursts of laughter shook the flood.
A Swan, superior to the rest,
Sprung forth, and thus the fool address'd:
Conceited thing, elate with pride!
Thy affectation all deride :
These airs thy awkwardness impart,
And show thee,inly as thou art.
Among thy quals of the flock
Thou hadst escap'd the public mock;
And, as thy parts to good conduce,
Been deem'd an honest hobbling goose.
Learn hence to study wisdom's rules;
Know, foppery 's the pride of fools;'
And, striving nature to conceal,
You only her defects reveal.
$287. FABLE VIII. The Lawyer and Justice.
LOVE! thou divinest good below!
Thy pure delights few mortals know:
Our rebel hearts thy sway disown,
While tyrant lust usurps thy throne.
The bounteous God of nature made
The sexes for each other's aid;
Their mutual talents to employ,
To lessen ills, and heighten joy.
To weaker woman he assign'd
That soft'ning gentleness of mind,
That can by sympathy impart
Its likeness to the roughest heart.
Her eyes with magic pow'r endued,
To fire the dull, and awe the rude.
His rosy fingers on her face
Shed lavish ev'ry blooming grace,
And stamp'd (perfection to display)
His mildest image on her clay.
Man, active, resolute, and bold,
He fashion'd in a different mould,
With useful arts his mind inform'd,
His breast with nobler passions warm'd;
He gave him knowledge, taste, and sense,
And courage for the fair's defence.
Her frame, resistless to each wrong,
Demands protection from the strong;
To man she flies when fear alarms,
And claims the temple of his arms.
By nature's Author thus declar'd
The woman's sovereign and her guard,
Shall man by treach'rous wiles invade
The weakness he was meant to aid?
While beauty, given to inspire
Protecting love, and soft desire,
Lights up a wild-fire in the heart,
And to its own breast points the dart,
Becomes the spoiler's base pretence
To triumph over innocence.
The wolf, that tears the tim'rous sheep,
Was never set the fold to keep;
Nor was the tiger, or the pard,
Meant the benighted trav'ller's guard;
But man, the wildest beast of prey,
Wears friendship's semblance to betray;
His strength against the weak employs;
And where he should protect, destroys.
Past twelve o'clock, the watchman cried;
His brief the studious lawyer plied;
The all-prevailing fee lay nigh,
The earnest of to-morrow's lie.
Sudden the furious winds arise,
The jarring casement shatter'd flies;
The doors admit a hollow sound,
And rattling from their hinges bound;
Waen Justice, in a blaze of light,
Reveal'd her radiant form to sight.
The wretch with thrilling horror shook;
Loose ev'ry joint, and pale his look;
Not having sea her in the courts,
Or found her mention'd in reports,
He ask'd, with falt'ring tongue, her name,
Her errand there, and whence she came ?
Sternly the white-rob'd Shade replied
(A crimson glow her visage dyed);
Canst thou be doubtful who I am?
Is Justice grown so strange a name?
Were not your courts for Justice rais'd?
'Twas there, of old, my altars blaz'd.
My guardian thee I did elect,
My sacred temple to protect,
That thou and all thy venal tribe,
Should spurn the goddess for the bribe.
Aloud the ruin'd client cries,
Justice has neither ears nor eyes;
In foul alliance with the bar,
Gainst me the judge denounces war,
And rarely issues his decree
But with intent to baffle me.
She paus'd-her breast with fury burn'd; The trembling Lawyer thus return'd: I own the charge is justly laid, And weak th'excuse that can be made; Yet search the spacious globe and see If all mankind are not like me.
The gown-man, skill'd in Romish lies, By faith's false glass delndes our eyes: Oer conscience rides without control, And robs the man to save his soul.
The doctor, with important face,
By sly design mistakes the case;
Prescribes, and spins out the disease,
To trick the patient of his fees.
The soldier rough with many a scar,
And red with slaughter, leads the war;
If he a nation's trust betray,
The foe has offer'd double pay.
When vice o'er all mankind prevails,
And weighty int'rest turns the scales,
Must I be better than the rest,
And harbour Justice in my breast?
On one side only take the fee,
Content with poverty and thee?
Thou blind to sense, and vile of mind,
Th' exasperated Shade rejoin'd,
If virtue from the world is flown,
Will other's faults excuse thy own?
For sickly souls the priest was made;
Physicians for the body's aid;
The soldier guarded liberty;
Man, woman, and the lawyer me.
If all are faithless to their trust,
They leave not thee the less unjust.
Henceforth your pleadings I disclaim,
And bar the sanction of my naine;
Within your courts it shall be read,
That Justice from the law is fled.
She spoke; and hid in shades her face,
Till Hardwicke sooth'd her into grace.
Can't I another's face commend,
Or to her virtues be a friend,
But instantly your forehead lours,
As if her merit lessen'd yours?
From female enyy never free,
All must be blind because you see.
Survey the garden, fields, and bow'rs,
The buds, the blossoms, and the flow'rs;
Then tell me where the woodbine grows
That vies in sweetness with the rose;
Or where the lily's snowy white,
That throws such beauties on the sight?
Yet folly is it to declare,
That these are neither sweet nor fair.
The crystal shines with fainter rays
Before the diamond's brighter blaze;
And fops will say the diamond dies
Before the lustre of your eyes:
But I, who deal in truth, deny
That neither shine when you are by.
When zephyrs o'er the blossoin stray,
And sweets along the air convey,
Sha'n't I the fragrant breeze inhale,
Because you breathe a sweeter gale?
Sweet are the flow'rs that deck the field;
Sweet is the smell the blossoms yield;
Sweet is the summer gale that blows;
And sweet, tho' sweeter you, the rose.
Shall envy then torment your breast,
If you are lovelier than the rest?
For while I give to each her due,
By praising them I flatter you;
And praising most, I still declare
You fairest, where the rest are fair.
As at his board a farmer sate,
Replenish'd by his homely treat,
His fav'rite Spaniel near him stood,
And with his master shar'd the food;
The crackling bones his jaws devour'd,
His lapping tongue the trenchers scour'd;
Till, sated now, supine he lay,
And snor'd the rising fuines away.
The hungry Cat, in turn, drew near
And humbly cray'd a servant's share;
Her modest worth the master knew,
And straight the fatt'ning morsel threw:
Enrag'd, the snarling Cur awoke,
And thus with spiteful envy spoke:
They only claim a right to eat,
Who earn by services their meat;
Me, zeal and industry inflame
To scour the fields and spring the game;
Or, plunged in the wint'ry wave,
For man the wounded bird to save.
With watchful diligence I keep
From prowling wolves his fleecy sheep:
At home his midnight hours secure,
And drive the robber from the door :
For this his breast with kindness glows,
For this his hand the food bestows;
And shall thy indolence impart
A warmer friendship to his heart,
That thus he robs the of my due,
To pamper such vile things as you!
I own (with meekness Puss replied) Superior merit on your side; Nor does my breast with envy swell, To find it recompens'd so well; Yet I, in what my nature can, Contribute to the good of man. Whose claws destroy the pilf'ring mouse? Who drives the vermin from the house? Or, watchful for the lab'ring swain, From lurking rats secures the grain ? From hence, if he rewards bestow, Why should your heart with gall o'erflow? Why pine my happiness to see, Since there's enough for you and me? The words are just, the farmer cried, And spurn'd the snarler from his side.
§ 289. FABLE X. The Spider and the Bee. THE nymph who walks the public streets, And sets her cap at all she meets, May catch the fool who turns to stare; But men of sense avoid the snare.
As on the margin of the flood,
With silken line, my Lydia stood,
I smil'd to see the pains she took
To cover o'er the fraudful hook.
Along the forest as we stray'd,
You saw the boy his lime-twigs spread;
Guess'd you the reason of his fear,
Lest, heedless, we approach too near?
For as behind the bush we lay,
The linnet flutter'd on the spray.
Needs there such caution to delude
The scaly fry, and feather'd brood?
And think you, with inferior art,
To captivate the human heart?
The maid who modestly conceals
Her beauties, while she hides, reveals.
Give but a glimpse, and fancy draws
Whate'er the Grecian Venus was.
From Eve's first fig-leaf to brocade,
All dress was meant for fancy's aid;
Which evermore delighted dwells
On what the bashful nymph conceals.
When Celia struts in man's attire,
She shows too much to raise desire;
But, from the hoop's bewitching round,
Her very shoe has pow'r to wound.
The roving eye, the bosom bare,
The forward laugh, the wanton air,
May catch the fop: for gudgeons strike
At the bare hook and bait alike;
While salinon play regardless by,
Till art like nature forms the fly.
Beneath a peasant's homely thatch
A Spider long had held her watch;
From morn to night with restless care,
She spun her web, and wove her snare.
Within the limits of her reign
Lay many a headless captive' slain;
Or flutt fing struggled in the toils,
To burst the chains, and shun her wiles.
A straying Bee, that perch'd hard by,
Beheld her with disdainful eve,
And thus began: Mean thing! give o'er,
And lay thy slender threads no more;
A thoughtless fly or two, or most,
Is all the conquest thou canst boast;
For bees of sense thy arts evade,
We see so plain the nets are laid.
The gaudy tulip, that displays
Her spreading foliage to gaze;
That points her charms at all she sees,
And yields to ev'ry wanton breeze,
Attracts not me; where blushing grows,
Guarded with thorns, the modest rose,
Enamour'd round and round I fly,
Or on her fragrant bosom lie;
Reluctant she my ardor meets,
And bashful renders up her sweets.
To wiser heads attention lend,
And learn this lesson from a friend:
She who with modesty retires,
Adds fuel to her lover's fires;
While such incautious jilts as you
By folly your own schemes undo.
§ 290. FABLE X1. The Young Lion and the Ape
'Tis true, I blame your lover's choice,
Though flatter'd by the public voice;
And peevish grow, and sick, to hear
His exclamations, O how fair!
I listen not to wiid delights,
And transports of expected nights;
What is to me your hoard of charms,
The whiteness of your neck and arms?
Needs there no acquisition more
To keep contention from the door?
Yes; past a fortnight, and you'll find
All beauty cloys, but of the mind.
Sense and good humor ever prove
The surest cords to fasten love.
Yet, Phillis, simplest of your sex,
You never think but to perplex;
Coquetting it with ev'ry ape
That struts abroad in human shape;
Not that the coxcomb is your taste,
But that it stings your lover's breast.
To-morrow you resign the sway,
Prepar'd to honor and obey:
The tyrant mistress change for life,
To the submission of a wife.
Your follies, if you can, suspend,
And learn instruction from a friend:
Reluctant hear the first address,
Think often ere you answer Yes:
But, once resolv'd, throw off disguise,
And wear your wishes in your eyes;
With caution ev'ry look forbear
That might create one jealous fear,
A lover's ripening hopes confound,
Or give the gen'rous breast a wound;
Contemn the girlish arts to teaze,
Nor use your pow'r, unless to please;
For fools alone with rigor sway,
When, soon or late, they must obey
The King of Brutes, in life's decline,
Resolv'd dominion to resign;
The beasts were summon'd to appear,
And bend before the royal heir.
They came; a day was fix'd; the crowd
Before their future monarch bow'd.
A dapper Monkey, pert and vain,
Stepp'd forth, and thus address'd the train:
Why cringe, my friends, with slavish awe,
Before this pageant king of straw?
Shall we anticipate the hour,
And, ere we feel it, own his pow'r?
The counsels of experience prize,
I know the maxims of the wise;
Subjection let us cast away,
And live the monarchs of to-day;
Tis ours the vacant hand to spurn,
And play the tyrant each in turn.
So shall he right from wrong discern,
And mercy from oppression learn;
At others woes be taught to melt,
And loath the ills himself has felt.
He spoke his bosom swell'd with pride; The youthful Lion thus replied:
What madness prompts thee to provoke My wrath, and dare th' impending stroke? Thou wretched fool! can wrongs impart Compassion to the feeling heart? Or teach the grateful breast to glow, The hand to give, or eye to flow? Learn'd in the practice of their schools, From women thou hast drawn thy rules: To them return; in such a cause, From only such expect applause; The partial sex I don't condemn, For liking those who copy them. Wouldst thou the gen'rous lion bind? By kindness bribe him to be kind; Good offices their likeness get, And payment lessens not the debt; With multiplying hand he gives The good from others he receives; Or for the bad makes fair return, And pays with int'rest scorn for scorn.
|Then, when life's winter hastens on,
And youth's fair heritage is gone,
Dow'rless to court some peasant's arms,
To guard your wither'd age from harms;
No gratitude to warm his breast,
For blooining beauty once possest;
How will you curse that stubborn pride
Which drove your bark across the tide,
And sailing before folly's wind,
Left sense and happiness behind!
Corinna, lest these whims prevail,
To such as you I write my tale.
A Colt, for blood and mettled speed
The choicest of the running breed.
Of youthful strength and beauty vain,
Refus'd subjection to the rein.
In vain the groom's officious skill
Oppos'd his pride, and check'd his will;
In vain the master's forming care,
Restrain'd with threats, or sooth'd with pray'r;
Of freedom proud, and scorning man,
Wild o'er the spacious plains he ran.
Where'er luxuriant nature spread
Her flow'ry carpet o'er the mead,
Or bubbling streams soft gliding pass,
To cool and freshen up the grass,
Disdaining bounds, he cropt the blade,
And wanton'd in the spoil he made.
In plenty thus the summer pass'd,
Revolving winter came at last;
The trees no more a shelter yield,
The verdure withers from the field,
Perpetual snows invest the ground,
In icy chains the streams are bound
Cold, nipping winds, and rattling hail,
His lank unshelter'd sides assail.
As round he cast his rueful eyes,
He saw the thatch'd-roof cottage rise,
The prospect touch'd his heart with cheer,
And promis'd kind deliv'rance near.
A stable, erst his scorn and hate,
Was now become his wish'd retreat;
His passion cool, his pride forgot,
A Farmer's welcome yard he sought.
The master saw his woeful plight,
§ 291. FABLE XII. The Colt and the Farmer. His limbs that totter'd with his weight:
TELL me, Corinna, if you can,
Why so averse, so coy to man?
Did Nature, lavish of her care,
From her best pattern form you fair,
That you, ungrateful to her cause,
Should mock her gifts, and spurn her laws?
And, miser-like, withhold that store,
Which, by imparting, blesses more?
Beauty's a gift by Heaven assign'd
The portion of the female kind;
For this the yielding maid demands
Protection at her lover's hands;
And though by wasting years it fade,
Remembrance tells him once 'twas paid.
And will you then this wealth conceal,
For age to rust, or time to steal?
The summer of your youth to rove
A stranger to the joys of love?
And, friendly, to the stable led,
And saw him litter'd, dress'd and fed.
In slothful ease all night he lay,
The servants rose at break of day;
The market calls-along the road
His back must bear the pond'rous load.
In vain he struggles or complains,
Incessant blows reward his pains.
To-morrow varies but his toil;
Chain'd to the plough, he breaks the soil;
While scanty meals at night repay
The painful labors of the day.
Subdued by toil, with anguish rent,
His self-upbridings found a vent.
Wretch that I am! he sighing said,
By arrogance and folly led :
Had but my restive youth been brought
To learn the lesson nature taught,
Then had I, like my sires of yore,
The prize from ev'ry courser bore.
While man bestow'd rewards and praise,
And females crown my latter days.
Now lasting servitude's my lot,
My birth contemo'd, my speed forgot;
Doom'd am I, for my pride, to bear
A living death from year to year.
$292. FABLE XIII. The Owl and the Nightingale.
To know the mistress' humor right,
See if her maids are clean and tight;
If Betty waits without her stays,
She copies but her lady's ways.
When Miss comes in with beist'rous shout,
And drops no curtsey going out,
Depend upon 't, mamma is one
Who reads, or drinks too much alone.
If bottled beer her thirst assuage,
She feels enthusiastic rage,
And burns with ardor to inherit
The gifts and workings of the spirit."
If learning crack her giddy brains,
No remedy but death remains.
And all are sweet to such a wife.
the various ills of life,
At home superior wit she vaunts,
And twits her husband with his wants;
Her ragged offspring all around,
Like pigs are wallowing on the ground;
Impatient ever of control,
She knows no order but of soul;
With books her litter'd floor is spread,
Of nameless authors, never read;
Foul linen, petticoats, and lace,
Fill up the intermediate space.
Abroad, at visitings, her tongue
Is never still, and always wrong;
All meanings she defines away,
And stands with truth and sense at bay.
If c'er she meets a gentle heart,
Skill'd in the housewife's useful art,
Who makes her family her care,
And builds contentment's temple there,
She starts at such mistakes in nature,
And cries, lord help us! what a creature!
Melissa, if the moral strike,
You'll find the fable not unlike.
An Owl, puff'd up with self-conceit,
Lor'd learning better than his meat ;
Old manuscripts he treasur'd up,
And rummag'd ev'ry grocer's shop;
At pastry-cooks was known to ply.
And strip for science ev'ry pye.
For modern poetry, and wit,
He had read all that Blackmore writ
So intimate with Curl was grown,
His learned treasures were his own;
To all his authors had access,
And sometimes would correct the press.
In logic he acquir'd such knowledge,
You'd swear him fellow of a college;
Alike to ev'ry art and science
Ilis daring genius bid defiance,
And swallow'd wisdom with that haste
That cits do custards at a feast.
Within the shelter of a wood,
One evening as he musing stood;
Hard by, upon a leafy spray,
A Nightingale began his lay.
Sudden he starts, with anger stang,
And screeching interrupts the song:
Pert, busy thing! thy airs give o'er,
And let my contemplation soar.
What is the music of thy voice,
But jarring dissonance and noise?
Be wise; true harmony thou 'lt find
Not in the throat, but in the mind;
By empty chirping not attain'd,
But by borious study gain'd.
Go, read the authors Pope explodes:
Fathom the depth of Cibber's odes;
With modern plays improve thy wit
Read all the learning Henley writ;
And if thou needs must sing, sing then,
And emulate the ways of men ;
So shalt thou grow, like nie, refin'd,
And bring improvement to thy kind.
Thou wretch, the little warbler cried,
Made up of ignorance and pride!
Ask all the birds, and they 'Il declare
A greater blockhead wings not air.
Read o'er thyself, thy talents scan,
Science was only meant for man.
No senseless authors me molest,
I mind the duties of my nest,
With careful wing protect my young,
And cheer their evenings with a song:
Make short the weary traveller's way,
And warble in the poet's lay.
Thus, following nature and her laws, From men and birds I claim applause; While nurs'd in pedantry and sloth, An Owl is scorn'd alike by both.
$293. FABLE XIV. The Sparrow and the Dovt.
Ir was, as learn'd traditions say,
Upon an April's blithsome day,
When pleasure, ever on the wing,
Return'd, companion of the spring,
And cheer'd the birds with am'rous heat,
Instructing little hearts to beat;
A Sparrow, frolic, gay, and young,
Of bold address, and flippant tongue,
Just left his lady of a night,
Like him to follow new delight.
The youth, of many a conquest vain,
Flew off to seek the chirping train;
The chirping train he quickly found,
And with a saucy case bow'd round.
For ev'ry she his bosom burns,
And this and that he woos by turns;
And here a sigh, and there a bill;
And here - those eyes, so form'd to kill!
And now, with ready tongue, he strings
Unmeaning, soft, resistless things;
With vows and dem-me's skill'd to wo
As other pretty fellows do.