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$ Thus some are born, my son,' she cries,
And some are born with none.
But virtue can itself advance
By fortune feem defign'd;
Upon th’ unworthy mind.'
THE FABLE OF JOTHAM,
TO THE BOROUGH-HUNTERS,
BY RICHARD OWEN CAMBRIDGE, ESQ
Jothan's fable of the trees is the oldest that is extant, and as beautiful as
any which have been made fince that time.
JUDGES, CHAP. IX.
Still thrives by his oilshop in Leadenhall Street,
• Some books, pr'ythee, landlord, to pafs a dull hour!
O Lord !
• O Lord !' says mine hoft, you may hunt the town round, . I question if any such thing can be found : • I never was alk'd for a book by a guest ; • And I'm sure I have all the great folk in the West. • None of these, to my knowledge, e'er call'd for a book. • But see, Sir, the woman with fish, and the cook! • Here's the fattest of carp; shall we dress you a brace ? • Would you have any foals, or a mullet of plaice ?'
• A place,' quoth the knight, we muft have, to be fure, • But first let us see that our borough's secure, • We'll talk of the place when we've settled the poll: • hey may dress us for supper the mullet and soal. • But do you, my good landlord, look over your shelves, • For a book we must have, we're so tir'd of ourselves.'
• In troth, Sir, I ne'er had a book in my life, • But the prayer-book and bible I bought for my wife.' • Well! the bible must do: but why don't you
take in • Some monthly collection--the new Magazine?'
The bible was brought, and laid out on the table, And open'd at Jotham's most appofite fable.
Sir Freeport began with this verse, tho' no rhyme • The trees of the forest went forth on a time,' (To what purpose our candidates scarce could expect, For it was not, they found, to transplant-but ELECT ;) • To the olive and fig-tree their deputies came, • But by both were refus:d, and their answer the fame :
Quoth the olive, “ Shall I leave my fatness and oil " For an unthankful office, a dignify'd toil;" “ Shall I leave," quoth the fig-tree,“ my sweetness and fruit, “ To be envy'd or slav'd in so vain a pussyit !” • Thus rebuff’d and surpriz’d they apply to the vine : • He answer d, " Shall I leave my grapes and my wine,
(Wine, the sovereign cordial of god and of man!) • To be made or the tool or the head of a clan ?" • At last, as it always falls out in a scramble, • The mob
" A bramble
U Ne thou, O man! who deal'st the tort, misween
“ A bramble for ever!” O chance unexpected! • But bramble prevaild, and was duly elected.'
(0! ho!' quoth the knight, with a look most profound, • Now I see these's some good in good books to be found. « I wish I had read this fame bible before; Ý Of long miles, at the leaft, 'twould have sav'd us fourscore.
You, Plumb, with your olives and oil might have staid, • And myself might have tarry'd my wines to unlade. © What have merchants to do from their business to ramble ! ? Your electioneer-errant should still be a bramble."
Thus ended at once the wise comment on Jotham,
that suffer wrong,
(Though viewless to the eyne they diftant sheen)
Spectators reckless of our actions been.
Where auncient saws in fable may be seen,
What time Arcadia's flow'ret vallies fam’d,
Pelasgus, first of monarchs old, obey'd;
Unaw'd by conscience, of no gods afraid,
• Ne justice ruld his heart, ne mercy fway'd. Some held him kin to that abhorred race,
. Which heaven's high towers with mad emprize affay'd; And some his cruel lynage did ytrace From fell Erynnis join'd in Pluto's dire embrace,
But he, perdy, far other tale did feign,
And claim'd alliaunce with the Sitters nine ;
The peerless paragon of wit divine:
Vaunting that every foe should rue it's tine, Right doughty wight! yet, footh, withouten smart,
All powerless féll the lofel's shafts malign: 'Tis Virtue's arm to wield Wit's heavenly dart, Point it's keen barb with force, and send it to the heart,
One only impe he had, Paftora hight,
Whose 'fweet amenaunce pleas'd each shepherd's eye : Yet pleas'd she not base Lycon's evil sprite,
Tho'blame in her not Malice moten spy,
Clear, without spot, as summer's cloudlefs íky. Hence poets feign'd, Lycëan Pan array'd
• In Lycon's form, enflam'd with pasfion high, • Deceiv'd her mother in the covert glade, • And from the stol'n embrace ysprong the heavenly maid:'
Thus fabling they. Meanwhile, the damsel fair
A shepherd youth remark'd, as o'er the plain She deffly pac'd along so debonair ;
Seem'd she as one of Dian's chosen train.
Full many a fond excuse he knew to feign,
Till love unwares his heedlefs heart did gain.